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.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

This bird showed up for breakfast this morning with a red bib. We've never seen one like it here before. While awaiting response from our personal birder, Greg "Mayo" Johnson, Kathleen googled "red breasted bird" and we figured it out ourselves, Rose-breasted Grosbeak. It's a male, prefers sunflower seeds to the stuff at our finch feeder, but we hope he'll come back often and bring the family.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More fake news

You've seen this photo before on this blog. It's Grace, a great egret, in our backyard. Hai Dang,  who introduced us to Photoshop at the newspaper years ago, thought this would look better.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Happy eleventh, Emily!

Emily, reacting to an $ll cash gift from her Godfather Marcus.
Mom, with her friend, Diane
 She's 11 years old. We had a birthday party in the sunshine today. Lots of gifts for a much-loved pre-teen. She had her other birthday party earlier, with her young friends. Grandma, grandpa, godfather and aunt were not invited then. :).Today we made up for it. Missy threw a brunch at her place.
Aunt Marcy couldn't make it. She's in Denver, in charge of the punch at a friend's wedding.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Power tools?

Occupational therapy. The right hand is the hardest because
it does so much. Strength is returning thanks to daily
work at the Dakotah. It's a gym where beautiful bodies are
built. And me.
Every spring for 15 years we have taken down the storms and screwed in the screens on our summer porch. The window boxes are filled with petunias and such and we sit back to admire the result of a few hours work. Today’s fabulous weather and optimistic forecast got us itching. Andrew said he’d do the heavy work, but got tied up on another job. 
What the heck, we said, let's go ahead. And so it was today, stroke be damned, that we got the porch done -- the earliest ever, May 5. And what’s more, we used a power tool to tighten the screws on the hinges so the plants can be watered. “Stay away from power tools,” therapists would rightly warn. We were slow, we were careful, we got ‘er done. Stan is eyeing a chainsaw now. :)

Monday, May 01, 2017

Knock, knock; let us in! Open up. It's nasty out here.

It was too ugly today (39 with rain) for even the ducks. Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, two wild ducks looking for nesting hereabouts stopped by the back door today, pecking insistently on the window pane. We didn't offer any assistance however, and they soon waddled on to the pond, where they belong, even on such a gray day in May.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fast food

Grace, our great egret, stopped by for a snack today. She got a big one, gobbled it up and paused a while with it deep in her craw. She explored a bit, inspecting the premises, then she was gone.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Band of Brothers, plus

Photo by Kathleen Rolfsrud
 We hosted a min-reunion of the Band of Brothers tour retracing the steps of the 101st Airborne in Europe. This group coalesced in the back of the bus as we saw the sights you've seen depicting D-Day, etc. That's Chicagoans Dave and Cathy (she didn't go) on the right and Jeff and Patty (she did) from Prior Lake, of all things.  A good time was had by all and there was time to enjoy a wonderful, picture perfect afternoon. Highlight was Face-timing with Bubba, a good ol' boy from Alabama, who continues to proclaim with a distinctive drawl, "The South WILL rise again!"

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Springtime in Menifee

Hai's back yard is in full bloom in Menifee, California, as are the roses on the front porch. It reminds us that spring is coming here as well. . . though we don't hope to exceed the glory of Hai's gardening.

At right, that's Hai's sweetie, Xuan, on her way to work. Busy, busy, but she at least has the time to stop and smell the roses.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Good Morning from Pompano Beach

All we know is that she headed to Pompano Beach with Tasha and family for a good time, a flight to Orlando and a jeep to the coast. Then this comes with the heading "Good Morning." Our Jennifer is having a good time, beaching it in a rental in southern Florida.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter at Dan's

Dan's diner. Missy took the picture.
Dan set the pace down the hallways to Cafe de Nordique (otherwise known as the cafeteria at Abbott Northwestern). The family trooped in and found the premises almost deserted, but with plenty of selections for Easter Dinner. It was a memorable experience, with something for everyone -- but none of the family foods we remember. (Frannie -- where's the orange salad). Oh well, it's the family the matters, and for that Marcy brought  treats, Missy some banana bread and Mom made an Easter basket out of recycled paper. All of which we enjoyed back at Dan's place after dinner.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

In the Lexington at Grand Ave

We joined Virg and Kim for a look-see this afternoon of the reopened Lexington Restaurant at Grand Ave in St. Paul -- and it's gorgeous. You need reservations a month in advance for their formal dinner, our waiter says, but we were happy to simply sample the bar menu in this 1930s setting, repolished for those who appreciate the authentic old school experience. Virg ordered an "Old Fashioned." Which one? she asked. There are five versions on the menu.
Of course we had to top it all off with waffle cones and such at the Grande Olde Creamery just down the street.

It's just scrambled eggs, right?

A 69-year-old stroke survivor was sent out into the pouring rain this morning to harvest fresh chives for his Lenten cheesy-chive scrambled egg breakfast. Wisconsin cheese, shredded. The eggs, of course, are free range, organic, raised on Mennonite farms. Lord, Bless this Food to our use, Amen.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter!

As if rising from the dead, this budding tree sends its message of renewal, new life and beginnings. The Easter season brings with it hope and promise that we can learn from the past as we go into an uncertain future.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

They should have just asked Emily

It's a new Era and a New Look, the Timberwolves basketball franchise announced yesterday. They spent a lot of money on this new look, new logo.
Grandma and Grandpa think they should have just asked Emily, our 11-year-old, who produced this tile some time ago. Looks great, if we do say so.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

It's an Ill wind that does no Good. . ..

One less thing to worry about. Yesterday roofers put a new top on Jennifer's home. 
For years now, Jennifer (and Mom) have worried about her roof... not wanting any rain to spoil the work she's done inside. But where would the money come from? Then, this spring an evil windstorm came to Dundas and tore off some of the roof, enough so that she qualified for a new one, courtesy the insurance company (minus deductible). The experience gave us the opportunity to relearn the meaning of the old axiom: "It's an ill wind that blows no good." Translation:
Few things are so bad that no one profits from them.