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!!
Jennifer


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.
Blam!
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.
Show 

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.

Therapy

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.