Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Get, go, gone. . .

And the winner is. . .

The Veterans Administration is conducting a colon cancer study that may change the way the disease is diagnosed.
I volunteered because I’m due anyway.
They divide us into two groups. Group A gets a kit and simply mails in a personal sample taken in the privacy of your home and the results are studied. Group B is the control group and gets the traditional classic colonoscopy we all know about.
To find out which group you are in, they tossed our names in a hat (actually, a randomizer) and selected the groups.

Rats. I have never won anything in my life.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Shop 'til you drop

As soon as Bill and Virgil finish their shopping, Kim and Virgil can head home to Minnesota. They've had a wild time at Solveig and Bill's CA place.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Salsa with eggs

Photo by Kathleen Rolfsru
We went downstairs for breakfast at Danny's place today. While we were waiting for our eggs they started pushing aside the tables and chairs in the Global Market and playing salsa music. Pretty soon a man called Rene was giving a salsa class, something they do ever other week. We watched and couldn't help but get into it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Passing of the archives

It took two carloads and six Rolfsruds to get 'er done, but the family archives have successfully been turned over to the next generation. Meet the new custodians.
The late Erling N. Rolfsrud was a meticulous record-keeper, scrapbooker and saver. His late wife was like-minded. Both have passed on and left this trove of artifacts, too good for heirs to throw and hard to keep, especially given that we're downsizing and moving to a new location.
After numerous invitations to family members, Breck was the first to volunteer to take a look at all the material, followed by her brother, Ford and family, encouraged by their mother and father.
We're delighted by their decision to remove it intact, relieving us entirely of the burden, and gamely taking on the chore of "looking things over."
Their grandparents would be proud and grateful.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Our daughter phones it in

Ely, Nevada

Good morning Mom and Stan,

I hiked 8 miles at Arches National Park yesterday and it was so beautiful. Actually all of Utah is so beautiful! Then I was driving across Utah on Highway 50 and I met a walking Monk on the road. I stopped to see if he needed a ride, but of course, he didn't -- because he is the walking monk.
In Ely, Nevada, now, gassing up. Hope you guys have a great day!
I love you.

Jennifer and her walking monk. He's got a website, of course, www.thewalkingmonk.net.


Monday, August 07, 2017

A small announcement

Ruby Rose
The excitement was palpable. What could it be? Virg's cryptic invitation to dinner gave few clues. Kim would have an "announcement" it said. Actually, a "small" announcement. We looked for "tells." Was it time to break out the champagne... again? Time would have to tell.
We arrived right on the dot for dinner last night. As usual. There were still no clues, and believe me, we looked. We turned in our dinner wine house gift, no champagne this time, didn't want to jinx anything.
Right out of the oven.
When Virg's sons and Amber arrived, Kim busied herself on her laptop... mysteriously searching for some "ultrasounds.."
What! Nah, couldn't be.
 By then, even Kim couldn't keep a straight face. The big reveal: Ruby Rose, a brand-new shitzu that will join the household when she's old enough. She couldn't get any cuter and hopes are high for the perfect dog.
Announcement complete, Kim returned to the kitchen, producing a fabulous roast beef dinner, with carrots and potatoes, -- and green beans, finished by a homemade peach crisp that you could top with ice cream and chocolate. We did.
Can't wait for the next "announcement."

From left, Aaron, Amber, Alex, Virg, Kim, Kathleen 

Monday, July 31, 2017

For Sale

We go on the MLS on Wednesday. Still have a carpet to shampoo. Here are links to a drone's eye view of the property and the results of a photo shoot.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cast of characters gathers on the shores of Lake Agnes

Cast members insisted that host Charlie Olson be in the official photo, even if he didn't have a stick. That resulted in Roger Schultz (Stage Left as Judge Brack) being cut out totally, bald head, silver mustache, grin and all. Oh well, his lovely wife made it.
The event was a regular gathering of old thespians for a dramatic reading of Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabbler,” a lengthy but worthwhile play from the late 1800s. Stroke therapists told Stan to challenge himself with new things and this was certainly it for someone who hasn’t taken a part since Sir Joseph Porter of the “HMS Pinafore,” in eighth grade — unless you count being in the chorus in the 1967 Concordia College Production of  “Camelot,” with but one line (which was performed with perfection nightly): “There he is!” 
High School chum Betty Larson invited Stan to drive up and join the unnamed group of players to take the part of George Tesman, the boring husband of Hedda Gabler — Betty’s role, well played. Charlie and Mary hosted the group in their beautifully restored lodge on the shores of Lake Agnes in Alexandria, spreading a buffet luncheon for the reunion of former classmates and others with plenty to talk about.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Live long and prosper

Hi Mom and Stan,
Marcy and I went to listen to the Minnesota Orchestra play the music for Star Trek while viewing the movie on a big screen above their heads. Several people were in Star Trek get up, including my cool sister Marcy, so I wore black and did my hair in a funky style. We had lots of fun!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Remembering Paul

The late Paul Donley earned an athletic scholarship to Concordia College. No thanks to me.
Paul was built for football. Tall, rangy and with some bulk, he was just the thing for the trenches at Jake Christianson stadium in Moorhead. Basketball, not so much. His big brother, Bill, earned a football scholarship too. Bill had distinguished himself in high school, not only on the gridiron, but by ruling the outdoor rink. He played hockey outdoors at Concordia too.
None of that for Paul. He came in from the cold immediately after high school football season was over.
That’s where I got to know Paul, playing basketball for the mighty Alexandria Cardinals. Paul was the red forward, I was black. We scrimmaged daily, grunting, sweating, pushing and shoving each other. Paul was a senior, I was a junior.
Paul was a natural educator with a permanent spot on the second string. He made it clear immediately what he was there for. He had no aspirations to take my place on the starting team, he just wanted to stay warm and make me better. And teach he did. Each afternoon he would take on the personna of the weekend foe, pretending (sometimes comically so) to be whomever I would face that weekend. “Here’s Lyle McIver,” he would say, trying to emulate Lyle’s move to the baseline, or, “I’m Bob Peterson.” No one asked him to help out the coach. He just did it.
We were going hard at it, five-on-five, one day when Paul spotted something unusual out of the corner of his eye.
“Goose” he panted subversively under his breath, using the nickname he had invented and encouraged everyone to use. “There’s a recruiter down on the other end, he’s scouting me for Concordia.” Then he conspired, “When we get under that basket, and if I get the ball, give me a shot. Let me have an unobstructed jumper.”
I agreed to the ruse, of course, wondering how his dubious jump shot could possibly help get him a football scholarship, but oh well. Meanwhile, he was probably already dreaming of making an impressive, unimpeded jump shot right in front of his recruiter, swish, nothing but net.
Unfortunately, the coach blew his whistle, and we started a different drill, now staying under the same basket, with Paul’s group on permanent offense while we worked on something or other on defense. Time passed. 
Our plan would soon go very much awry. 
Eventually, Big Paul was passed the ball in a perfect position for a jump shot attempt. He gathered himself, almost in slow motion, trusting now to so easily take a classic 60’s jump shot, releasing the ball from his fingertips in a confident moment of grace.
The ball ricocheted hard off the concrete wall, slapped to the side in a solid, humiliating shot block. 
I was still in the air when I realized what I had done. To my horror, my mentor, my friend, had thought the conspiracy was still on, regardless. I did not. The result was a mashup of miscommunication, raw instinct, and habit. No wonder his jumper had been so easily blocked.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry,” I said lamely to my crushed teammate. “I don’t know what happened. I thought we were going to wait to get to the other end of the court where your friend is standing! It was the wrong basket! Sorry!” 
“That was really low,” he said sadly, shaking his head at his pupil, who stood ashamed and misunderstood. Paul spoke with little emotion. He didn’t have to.
We”ll never know if the recruiter actually saw that disaster. We do know that Paul got his scholarship anyway, got his degree, then went on to distinguish himself as a gifted educator.
Paul suffered about a dozen heart attacks before one finally took him last month. His obituary impressively tells of his lifelong association with education throughout the state, concluding that Paul will be remembered for his commitment to education, his unwavering devotion to his family, and his life-long friendships. 
Sadly, he got no help from me.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Three generations under the drone

Sam, Grandpa John, Tom--Sam's Uncle, who let her try flying it today.

Tom pilots the new drone home, above, as Grandpa and Sam watch. Tom brought the new GoPro drone and camera to our neighbor John's backyard today, skillfully navigating his machine about before bringing it in for closer inspection. This model is quiet, has a stabilized camera, and costs about $1000. We won't worry about him looking into our windows; he's packed it up and will take it with him when he's done visiting.


Wine center, left, -- puppets, ships and other hobby craft built on white area.
Therapy comes in many forms. Now that laptops and smaller devices are in vogue, we don't need the big computer room in the basement built in the days of the big XTs and their bulky support equipment. And besides, we had a real job back then.
Using materials from two walls that were torn out, we recycled the space into this hobby shop, complete with easy chair for the occasional rest. Stan did most of the work, with Andrew pitching in as needed.
Caitie, personal trainer at Dakotah
The space was built from "mungo" -- stuff that sits around the garage because it's too good to throw away. The painted area is the new bench made from mungo, the wine storage is not painted and was in the original room.
Stan spent a lot less time in the gym to get this project completed, but using a power driver, chop saw, hammer and climbing a ladder seems every bit as therapeutic. (Don't worry Caitie, he's coming back to the gym for more dumbbell and machine work.)
We continue to be grateful for Stan's stroke recovery.

Monday, July 10, 2017

You can do it. . .

A brand-new barn swallow got out of his nest and peered over the edge of the deck, a 15-foot drop to a concrete patio. Nonetheless, the fledge had a successful flight moments later. The barn swallow nest has become a source of controversy. Their dirty nests attach to the house and leave a mess, mom and dad swallow attack passers-by. But they're so cute.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Jennifer's new floor

Jennifer and Terry -- a killer floor team it turns out -- installed this wooden floor during the past week, one nail at a time. The tough part was making the trap door, but they did and it is smooth as silk. The house is looking good.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Birth Day and Abbey Point Night combine for nice evening out

That's a new birthday shirt he wore to Abbey Point night. New neighbors, Kitty and Stacey are to his left. 
A handy carrying case is included.
In a happy coincidence, Stan's birthday was on the same night that the neighbors gather each month -- the first Wednesday of the month. Earlier today during birthday week, Andrew presented an Impact Wrench and bits to the birthday boy. Just the thing for someone who already has a power screwdriver from a previous event. Please note that the driver matches the jacket and safety glasses. It was a nice birthday, more to come.
It's Birthday Week, ya know.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Happy Birthday dinner at Jordan

Longtime business associate Laurie treated us to dinner out tonight at the Jordan Steakhouse, the first 70th birthday celebration this week for her old partner in crime. She's now the publisher of four Scott County newspapers. Topping it all off, of course, was a free birthday dessert.

Mrs. Columbo

We've been watching reruns of "Colombo," the detective who constantly references his wife during the show but we never actually see her. Andrew, left, does the same. He's been helping us on some projects and he often refers to his partner. We've heard so much about her over the months, but never met her so we took to calling her "Mrs. Columbo," and told Andrew that he didn't actually have a significant other, that she probably didn't exist... except in his imagination.
Well, yesterday Andrew put an end to all that when she drove out to the house for a chat and a bite. So, Mrs. Columbo exists! Nice meeting her at last.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Take all the leaves you want, please leave the flowers

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud

A fawn dropped by this afternoon (a male, we checked) to look over the premises and greet the golfers on No. 14.  This done, he came over to the pond and continued his forage. He's too young to fear humans, and there was no sign of mama. He''ll have much to report on the day's adventure.

ahh! That's the spot, just under the eyelid.


Sisters Kathleen and Mary Lou on Grand Avenue in St. Paul.

Monday, June 26, 2017

New dishwasher

Awaiting its turn.
Andrew installed our new dishwasher tonight, using finesse, skill and determination.  Virtually no cussing. The old dishwasher served for l7 years and it's time. The new one will even match the fridge. Novel idea.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

She's 80!

The French Meadow party room was the perfect venue for a pleasant gathering of family and friends.
There was cake for everyone. And a full breakfast.
The sun added a special glow to the celebrant as our
daughter; Jennifer; and grandson, Maxwell, chatted.
Other extended family members enjoyed the breakfast buffet.
Kathleen's big sister Mary Lou is in town this weekend to celebrate her 80th birthday. She got started yesterday at the French Meadow cafe in Minneapolis with a gathering of 30 family and friends hosted by her daughter and son, Heidi and Tony. Festivities continue today with a trip to Madeline Island. The events bring together people from both sides of her family, including ours, with a full contingent represented. The venue was perfect, special doors on the room let the sun shine in as the weather was just right for the occasion. Many more, Mary Lou!
Group hug. From left Kathleen, Heidi, Jennifer, Mary Lou, Tony

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


The first batch of strawberry/rhubarb jam proved so popular, it's time for Round Two, an unprecedented production record. Here Marcy helps her Mom choose eight bunches of rhubarb at the weekly Farmers' Market on Nicollet.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Still Waters

 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. Psalm 23:2

Sunday, June 18, 2017

A two fer?

The card said "Happy Birthday and (added later with a grin)Happy Father's Day.
A wire crossed somewhere in my beautiful daughter’s head this week, and she greeted me today with a heartfelt “Happy Birthday, Stan!” And then she handed me a bag with a cornucopia of gifts marking the special day. We were enjoying breakfast at the Blackbird Cafe on Nicollet when I opened her personalized card that began sweetly “On your 70th Birthday, did you think you would still be hitting the gym?” The thing is, it’s not my birthday until July. We had a big laugh over it, (no turning 50 or dumb blond jokes, please) then finished up a very nice Father’s Day morning. And guess what? In a few weeks we can do it all over again. (We wondered if I should give the card back so she can use it again.) Happy Fathers Day/Birthday to all my friends!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fast and furious -- first time

Here's the latest from California, where Hai continues his ocean fishing off San Diego. He writes:
Bluefin tuna are among the most elusive fish in the Ocean. They can sprint up to 50 mph and weigh in at half a ton. Many people have been drawn out to sea in the hopes of hooking one.
I met couple guys on the boat. They have been out fishing in this water 4 times this month and have not hooked one yet.
 Well, I hooked one today on my first Bluefin trip. We were 60 nautical miles off shore. While it is not a giant, this 50 pound beast put me to work for 45 mins. Bluefin tuna are warm blooded so they can keep their core temperature above the surrounding temperature. This enables them to maintain a high metabolic rate for predation and speed.
They are expensive in Japan because of their high fat content flesh. Bluefin tuna belly is delicious. Japanese sushi masters would love to have their knife on this fish.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Sugar and flour cakes?

Just what you want to come home to, after a nice dinner out. Birdie got into the pantry, pillaged through some miscellaneous before settling on an old recipe whose main ingredients are flour and sugar. The evidence was strewn all over the living room. . . and on her lower lip, to which she seemed totally oblivious . We cleaned the mess then did some shaming. What else can you do? It was our fault for leaving the door open.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Here comes Trouble

Forty feet from the edge of the pond, Trouble, the snapping turtle, meticulously deposited her annual supply of eggs in the lawn this morning, covered them up, then headed back home. Her route took her to a four-foot drop on the waterfall, she looked over, then gamely plunged over the edge, emerging none the worse for wear; a tired mother whose day is done.
Now the debate begins. Do we really need more snappers? Should we dig up the eggs or just leave Nature alone?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goodbye Joe

Neighbors met on the tarmac tonight to bid goodbye to Joe Daly, who has sold his home and will return to California. His daughter, Patty, has been here for a few weeks, packing him up, running an estate sale, shipping the car, and so many other things to prepare for the move. We'll miss Joe, 87, and wish him all the luck in his new place in Santa Rosa, CA.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Jam time

The annual Strawberry/Rhubarb jam fest is under way. Marcy grabbed some rhubarb stalks at the Farmer's Market and now Mom is hard at it, chopping, simmering down, adding ingredients, pouring,etc. And soon there will be eight mason jar pints filled with the coveted product and passed out to family and friends.

Now. . . who gets 'em?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What's he got in there?

Bargain seekers showed up at 7:30 this morning for Joe's Estate Sale. The sale didn't start until 9. The crowd filled the cul-de-sac with their cars and patiently waited for the doors to go up on the big event.(I bet this crowd has garages in their backyard for the stuff they get) A sunny day made the wait a lot nicer!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Busy, busy

He does snow too.
Lots of action in the 'hood today. Joe's pod arrived from The Packrat and was plopped in front of his garage. There will be a big estate sale over the weekend, the pros have been organizing it all week long. Everything must go... including Joe. We're sad to see him return to his home state of California, but at age 87, it was time. His daughter Patty is here from Seattle to make sure everything goes right, and then our new neighbors will move in.
Meanwhile the grass is growing like crazy and our contractor Chris is busy making his rounds.
Just around the corner a summer deck is being rebuilt including new black spindles.
Lots of action in the 'hood.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You never know. . .

No. It's not Emily from years ago. Today Missy stopped by with some of her daycare kids and
this little sweetheart had her picture taken with the birthday girl. (May 24)
You know by now that when a man sits alone in the booth nearby and looks like he’s talking to himself, he’s probably just on a phone, doing the rude thing.


Today we were at our favorite rib place for Kathleen’s annual birthday slab. We were distracted by a gentleman, sitting alone, talking to himself. We looked for a phone, saw none.

Really. Turns out, our waiter later explained, the unfortunate customer comes in at exactly the same time each week and orders the same thing (two cokes, two plates of fries).

He’s a nice polite man, but sadly afflicted with Obsessive-compulsive behavior.

As we finished our birthday treats, we reminded ourselves how lucky we are.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Bogie on No. 16?

It's going to be alright.
Golfers stayed off the course this cold and rainy day, giving the stroke guy a chance to work on his golf stroke, sneaking on in winter coat and hat.
Using a seven-iron, winter gloves and a handful of balls, he did okay on 14 and 15, then, ta da, got to the flag in four strokes on the diminutive Stonebrooke No. 16 par 4. He couldn't finish the bogie because he had no putter, but he didn't care.
It's going to be alright.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Now you see it, now you don't. The flowering crab made its annual performance Sunday for all the Mothers, then the fragile blooms succumbed to 1) wind 2) a grandchild shaking down a rainstorm of blossoms and 3) a deluge today that gave a much-needed drenching to the premises. Kathleen got caught coming home from Macy's but made the garage safely.