Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fowl line

Hey Alfred, who's the white guy?

Down, but not out

Don't know the name of this potted succulent in the backyard, but you've got to like its spirit. Somehow the fourth branch on it got knocked down. You can see its three kin are standing tall in the background. But once the drooper got a sense that the fence rail was solid, it regrouped and started pointing up again.

Monday, November 28, 2016

For Coot fans in Washington

Here's one from the Menifee Lakes back nine especially for faithful blog reader Seattle Sue. She's a coot fan, we're sure, so when we passed this flock on The Lakes No. 11 today, we immediately thought of her. Rains in Southern California have softened everything, including the greens, where a lucky shot can leave a deep ball mark. (We cleaned it up.)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Katie's Gardenia

This Gardenia bush, planted for Kathleen, covered itself with blooms last Spring. Not so during the winter months, but today the plant surprised with a solitary blossom, perhaps to honor a Minnesota visitor. It won't last long, perhaps a day or so, but its compelling fragrance hangs on a permanent memory peg. Today we squeezed garden-fresh peppermint into our green tea, perhaps tomorrow we'll go for a hint of gardenia.
Hai and his Mom are busy fussing and chatting over the garden today, giving special attention to the prolific succulents and to the Beverly tree. Haismom trimmed the older leaves away from it, thus forcing the tree to produce more new growth, which means blossoms, which create more fruit. It's a cycle of life repeated constantly in this philosopher's garden -- and everywhere else.
Cool and breezy today, not in a mood to hang the ceiling fans over the patio today. Who needs 'em.
There's time.

Today's encounter

A mass of tree stumps, dumped near the corner of Lindenberger and Newport Road, provided today's oddity for the daily walk. This massive stump, perhaps 10 feet tall, could be 300 years old. What is it doing in this urban setting? More for the hiker to ponder.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Dewy fresh morning

A moment of Zen this dewy fresh morning in the back yard. Then an odd experience: watching the Vikings and the Lions kickoff at 9:30 a.m. local time. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Catch of the Day

Count only seven? Hai's cleaning on No. 8.
It's a mess of fish. It's not supposed to be beautiful. Beauty comes later when they're prepared and presented on a pretty plate.
After hanging and finishing the artwork at the Nails Shop, the artist/carpenter put on his lucky hat and headed south to San Diego harbor for an afternoon of ocean fishing.
He brought back these eight rockfish, averaging a couple of pounds apiece. He's cleaning them for a pre-Thanksgiving feast tonight.
A real Fresh Catch of the Day.

(Fun Fact: Hai loves to fish and cook them up in special concoctions, but he doesn't eat fish.)

Art is in

Final touches last night to the Nail Shop art work. Whadda ya think? Customers get the first look today.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Picture this

We screwed on a variety of patches and timbers to keep the frame rigid, then connected them to
the trailer. Hai will drive. Stan will cringe at the corners.

There was only a nine-foot trailer left at the U-Haul place today so it required some extra
 reinforcement to steady this home-built 16-foot by 54-inch picture frame bound for a hanging at the Nail Shop tonight.
The load is still legal, but just barely, right down to the red flag on the back, which is Stan's workshirt, zip-tied in place.
It's a few miles through traffic to the shop, we're leaving soon to avoid the rush. Your good thoughts and best wishes are appreciated. :)

Update: Traffic was light, with some drizzle. Rain apparently keeps Californians inside. It was also a quiet morning at the Nail Shop so we took advantage of the lull and hoisted the frame on the wall. Back tonight for final touches. Then the insertion of the artwork.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Christmas at the nails shop

A brand new tree, icicle lights, arrangements, balls and lights galore and eight fresh poinsettias, just off the truck this morning. Christmas has come to the new and improved nails shop. Hai's been working to upgrade Xuan's business with new granite counters, cabinetry, plumbing and a dozen new chairs. It all looks like a million bucks, customers love it. Hai's garage shop is a mess, but the nail shop sparkles!
Tomorrow we hang a massive 16 foot by 4 foot homemade art frame on the west wall. (It's in the living room tonight -- the only place big enough to accommodate it.)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A flight of snowbirds in from Abbey Point

A few of our neighbors here at Abbey Point in Shakopee got together for some fun in Florida this week and sent this photo back home to us. A gathering of snowbirds, each has a winter residence in or near Ft. Myers. Most will be back home in time for the holidays -- and the snow and cold. They've missed the great November we've enjoyed in Minnesota, but they've had their great days as well. Greetings from Carolyn, Gary, Marsha, Jeff, Anne, Bill, Sandy and Tom.

It's time. . .

When jiggling the handle just won't work anymore.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Where did it go?

Birdie contemplated the first "real" snowfall of 2013 on Dec. 4.
Walking home from lunch at the O’Brien Public House today, the pedestrian stepped aside for an orange county maintenance truck sporting a recently-mounted snow removal blade. The massive 12-foot curved plowshare glinted in the sunlight, shined and sharpened and ready. Perched high above the county road, two eager operators returned a thumbs up sign from the pedestrian. Nobody moves snow better or with more pride than Minnesotans. After a spate of unseasonably warm weather, snowcasters are now waffling on weekend predictions, Friday snowshowers seem to be the prevalent choice. Whatever happens, operators are standing by. A good thing too. We may need their plows to get to the airport on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Going, going

With Dan on a power wheelchair now, the occasionally-used push model was just taking up space in his condo. We listed it on Craigslist in the Free Stuff section and within the hour David sent us a message from Inver Grove Heights that he needed a wheelchair for his wife.
Seven others who also responded got turned down.
David arrived before rush hour traffic. He explained that his 50-year-old wife, Marie, had contracted a severe form of pneumonia that had immobilized her. She'll be going to Courage Center soon. We've never heard of pneumonia having such a debilitating effect.
We're delighted to see Dan's chair go to a grateful recipient and are amazed at the lightning-fast workings of the free stuff section on Craigslist.
Next task, pull the ad. It was up for a mere two hours.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Chili Cookoff!

Vote for your favorite. We liked No. 4 the best, upper right.  No.8 was more appealing, and good too.
"I Can't Believe It's Not Badder" is the name of the Korean Rabbit 
Hole restaurant concoction. -- Not very good-looking and a bit muddy.
We gave it a 4 on a scale of 10.
While waiting for the new shelves drying in a closet upstairs, the painter checked out the Midtown Global Market today to see just what the line was about. It was a competition to see who makes the best chili. A dozen restaurants and food vendors vie for top honors.
Get in line, fork over $5 and sample away.
About half of the concoctions were predictable, but there were some surprises as well.
Jakeeno's Trattoria had the best-looking offering, a Smoked Chicken and White Bean Chili that stood up nicely.  Pham's Rice Bowl produced an Aztec Chicken chili and got a "7 Rating" from your taster.
But the best all around honors went to the Sabbai Cuisine's Beef Red Curry Chili, an outstanding mix of heat and body with a sweet surprise popping from kernels of fresh corn that gave just the right balance of sugar and spice.
Other notables included the Eastlake Craft Brewery's unimaginatively named Eastlake Chili and an outstanding entry from Fresco's Italian Pasta Bar and its "Italian Chili" that rated a seven.
Sampling a dozen chilis is a bit of a challenge to the palate and, eventually at least, to the stomach.
We do it so that you don't have to.

Paint was dry by the time the chili was finished and judged. Back to work on a full stomach.
(Where does Dan keep the Tums?).

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Last Supper?

Kathleen, Hai and our host Laurie, Hai's colleague and friend.
After doing his best impression of Lenardo da Vinci's 15th Century mural, Hai Dang sat down last night to enjoy what may be his Last Supper at Laurie's,. We hope that's not true, but Hai's contract with the newspaper company will run out soon and there are no plans for renewal, by mutual agreement. That means Hai won't have an excuse to come to Minnesota -- in winter or summer-- anymore. Stan intends to join Hai in California next week for a brief expedition. (Snow is predicted for Saturday in Minnesota) There's a project to pursue and maybe some fish in the ocean. . . for supper.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Getting away from it all

No Facebook, no Cable TV up there.
We enjoyed another unseasonable November afternoon today as a local balloon drifted lazily over our back yard under calm, clear blue skies.

Veteran's Day 2016

Photo by Kathleen Rolfsrud
Drafted on 7-7-70. You're welcome.
 (Okay, okay, the bottom button's a bit tight.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Lost a bet?

No, Andrew didn't lose a bet. Today after golf he kindly lugged a year's worth of softener salt down the embankment and into our basement. Thanks, Andrew, that's a load off. These things weigh 40 lbs apiece.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Who wants Beer???

This sign confronted Voter No. 280 on the way to the polls this morning.
Church in background is convenient, well-run polling location.
No lines, no waiting, no ID. Easy peasy. After a brisk walk to the polls this sunny fall morning, at 9 a.m. Voter No. 280 thought how nice it is to live in a secure suburban Republican precinct where you can exercise your Right to Vote in such a convenient, casual way. The friendly volunteers in charge today didn't happen to know this voter, but no matter. Signing his name under his registration after stating his address was plenty good enough. As it should be.
The hard part came when confronted with the box on the ballot for the Scott County Commissioner race. The incumbent is a personal friend, has done a good job and deserves to be re-elected. Her opponent is named Dave Beer. This put the voter in the uncomfortable position, for the first time in his long life, of voting against Beer.
The voter exited the precinct with an "I Voted" sticker and a sense of patriotism. But also some uncertainty. Would long lines have been discouraging? How long would he be willing to wait to exercise his right to vote? Would he become an "early voter?"
As Voter No. 280 strolled home on the neat pathways, he was happy to know that as long as he doesn't move, his patriotic determination will probably never be tested.
Nothing but respect for those patiently standing in line today. Courage, patriots!

Appearing in a Man Cave near you. Order yours now from VoteForBeer.Com

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Where's dinner?

It's uncanny. Every day at 4 p.m. Birdie somehow knows it's time for dinner. If Mom forgets, she's there to remind her that it is 4 p.m. and it is time for "num num," as Kathleen likes to say.
Today, as the Vikings were suffering another devastating loss, Birdie jumped up on Mom's lap, not for comfort, but to remind her that it is past dinner time. She maybe even growled a bit.
It was 3:10 p.m.
She apparently forgot to set her clock back an hour last night.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The Giving Tree

In the Spring our Flowering Crab mounts a gorgeous display of pink blossoms, summers it blends with the green foliage, and in the autumn, when all the leaves are gone, it still contributes with a cheerful display of red fruits, an offering to the birds. At Christmas time we will deck it with lights, our Giving Tree for All Seasons. (Remembering the Shel Silverstein book of that name we read to the kids.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

There's meat in the house tonight

World Series Baseball, roast beef, potatoes and gravy, teevee trays. . . Kathleen jacked the testosterone level sky high tonight as she whipped out a late dinner for her men, just in time for the Addison Russell Grand Slam, putting the Cubbies ahead 7-0. This is a Chicago house for now, the sympathy level is high, we need our strength to get out of the hole. Cubs in Seven.
Andrew will spend the night, make us breakfast, then head out with Stan to a forenoon tee time at Creeksbend National.
It's the first of November and we haven't had a freeze yet. We shall exploit it fully.