Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Walk a Mile

There are some days when it's too hot to ride a bike and there are no tennis shenanigans to report and a tousan doesn't have a decent photo for blogging. Today is such a day. These are my tennis shoes after two hours of tennis on Sunday. I can run in them and serve tennis balls in them, and when I do, the toe part of the shoe drags and gets worn away. I have a closet full of tennis shoes with useable uppers with the toe part reduced to a hole. So it goes.

The photo below is the grandfather of KS and UH - Thomas Eugene Miller - and was taken in about 1940. The background brands the scene as the yard at Marvin Anderson's "cabin" across county road U from Dick's Ranch. It was home to Tom and Lillie and the kids for some time in the 1940's. There is a doghouse and the Yellow River in the background. Tom was born on January 26, 1909, on his grandfather's (George L Jones) 75th birthday. Twenty eight years later, on his birthday, Tom's dad (George Eugene Miller) died. It makes you wonder about his karma. He's looking pretty sporty with his suspenders and in his clean shirt.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Trek to Alma Mater

KS took me on a bicyle ride up Chatsworth to Hamline University and on to Como Park on this sunny, sunny day. The streets on the route to HU are being completely redone, much like what was done in my neighborhood last summer. We dodged around a bit before arriving on campus. There were quite a few people around as we rolled slowly through our common alma mater. I took this photo near the statue of Bishop Hamline, where the hybrid black-eyed susans were growing, They are quite impressive, but not authentic native Minnesota plants, says KS.

We looked for KS's favorite professors to talk to. We found KS's former advisor, F. Aziz, in her office. We chatted for a while and she advised grad school for KS, when she gets a round toit. They compared notes on experiences in the Far East, too. We tried calling BB from Professor Aziz's office, but she was out - lunching perhaps.

The trip to Como was uneventful. The butterfly garden was pretty, but a little dry and short of butterflies. We rode to the Global Harmony Labyrinth and walked the prescribed route. Felt harmonious. Then home for tuna salad sandwiches from tousan's special recipe. About eleven miles.

I finished Sunday's NY Times crossword today. It featured the "worst pickup lines." An example, 23 across. "Pardon me, are you from the Caribbean? Because ..." was answered, "Jamaican me crazy." Reasonably hard puzzle, but only minimal google support needed.

Unky Herb rode to work on his bike again today - 30 miles in his log for today. He arrived home at about 8:20 pm. KS is visiting friends.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

One from WWII

There was USTA mixed doubles at St Kate's at five p.m. It was in the high 80's, but not very humid. My partner, Carol, and I played against a Sylvia and a Mike. It was the first time that I'd played against this Sylvia, and probably any other Sylvia. I tried to be kind and also to compete adequately. It was pretty good tennis and used most of two water bottles before we finished, and we snatched victory from the jaws. Two hours of fun in the sun.

"A man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest." Paul Simon, "The Boxer."

A photo from the past. One of my favorites. It is me as a toddler with my grandpa, Richard W. Anderson. There is a shadow of the head of the photographer, and I take it to be Lillie. Grandpa was born October 9, 1877. This photo was taken in 1943 or 1944 at his farm near Webster, Wisconsin, the place they called "Dick's Ranch," but it wasn't a ranch. He was, likely, 65 or 66 when this picture was snapped, about a year older than I am today. He is carrying a cane, because of his arthritis, I think, and looks older than 65 to me. I was born a scant 5 days after his 65th birthday. He lived another twelve years after I was born.

He was born in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, and married my grandmother, Hansine, when he was 35, nearly twice her age. His dad and his older brother, Frank, were born in Sweden. He and Hansine had six children.

The bicycle tour of Paris ended today and a winner was named. It's hard to accept that the doping expulsions had no effect on the outcome. They should give yellow jerseys to the top three and work for a better and cleaner tour next year.

KS continues her visit in these parts and will be looking forward to more road trips. To track down the blueberries.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Haircuts and Tomatoes

The Satuday morning tennis encounter was on again this morning. The Gang of Geezers showed up and hit tennis balls at each other and the net. We played two sets and then Tennis Dennis had to leave for granddaughter babysitting duties and we broke up. The two sets were 6-2, 6-0, so it was a little uneven, but there are maladies to account for the lopsided score. Curt and I hit ground strokes and generally rallied for another half hour before calling it a day.

Ms Kagami Sensei went to the haircutter this afternoon. She donated her long hair to cancer patients without locks, and came home looking like this. She has very curly tresses and a generous heart.

The cherry tomato outside my back door is beginning to bear fruit. This morning there were about 15 to pick and some green ones beginning to turn crimson. The full size tomatoes take a little longer, but some orange is starting to appear.

The French Bike Race is over tomorrow in Paris. The podium sitters have been chosen, although the final positioning may yet be shuffled. The Discovery Channel team has done very well. Again.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Last Friday of the Week

Unky Herb and Kagami Sensei in the backyard under the maple tree together.

This was day three of the visit of the English teaching environmentalist. She finished the last of the Harry Potter series and pronounced it satisfying enough. Apparently young Harry was not killed off by Ms Rowling. She's off with some friends tonight, and tomorrow she's getting her hair cut. There may be pictures sometime later.

Herb rode his bike to work today. It was reasonably pleasant and he got home sweaty, but unscathed from his trek through Minneapolis.

I checked in on the French Bike Race again, but it was lacking in drama, and there was no obvious doper to root against. The top riders retained their positions. Tomorrow is the big time trial to determine the final yellow jersey guy and the winner in Paris the next day. Lance Armstrong is in Iowa doing the RAGBRAI with John Edwards, so it won't be him. Rasmussen and Vino went home early. I predict that it'll be a new guy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Hottest Day of 2007, So Far

The last of the heat stroke inducing days is nearly done. It was 97 F. this afternoon in the Capitol City, according to Minnesota Weather Underground. After some rain, the temp has fallen to a pleasant 77 as I peck away here. KS and I had a walk around Como Lake in the heat to check out the shore line restorations and the rain gardens planted with native species. I learned the names of some plants and also learned that butterflies lay their eggs on milk weed plants. There was a lot of evidence of egg laying on Como's milk weeds. The walking paths around the lake were nearly empty today, a silent tribute to the heat index, and the TV weather creatures who keep us aware of its existence.

Below is pictured an icon of Como Park. Shown is a gate-like structure that is planted with flowers which, on Saturdays, when a lot of weddings occur, is the backdrop for photos of young ladies in white dresses and guys in tuxes. Who can argue with tradition like that?

We took in a movie at Rosedale to get through the heat of the day. We viewed "Harry Potter 5" or "Order of the Phoenix" I fell asleep during the most exciting part and was chided by the lass for my lack of attention. It was an exciting part, but only if you had read some of the books that form the basis for the filmed abbreviation. I had not. I should perhaps be given a pass, since I did buy several of J.K. Rowlings books over the ages - for other readers. [KS only caught me napping twice.]

I didn't watch the Tour d' Fr. today. My heart wasn't in it. My rooting interest against Rasmussen has lost its edge with the skinny Dane (alleged) doper going down the road.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Days of Harry Potter

The Kagami Sensei is slogging through the latest iteration of Harry Potter. She's on page 225 (of 759) after spending much of this overly humid day perched as you see in the photo, in the backyard, under a tree, with a mint julip at hand.

I spent some of my time trying to get her green Bianchi ready to ride. I had to fetch it from the attic in the garage, where the temp must have been close to 130. Both of the tires were flat. That was to be expected after two years without a ride. I inflated both tires to 65 psi and they seemed to hold the air ok. I went inside for a moment to escape the mugginess and some ice tea. I heard a loud pop and a crash. The tube blew out after holding for about five minutes and the bike fell over. I don't have an explanation for the delay, nor for why it took so long to expel Rasmussen from the Tour, but I knew what to do. I took the green Bianchi to the bike shop where they sold me a tube and a new Michelin tire, installed. I pronounce the bike "road worthy." Ready to roll.

It was much too hot for a comfortable ride so we drove off to get Thai food at Pad Thai, near Macalester. As we entered, they explained that the air conditioning had failed. It was hot like Bangkok in the eatery. We ate there anyhow, in the mugginess, and enjoyed their cuisine as the sweat poured off us.

The Tour de France has seen better days than today. It was an exciting mountain climb, followed a few hours later by the exit of the wearer of the yellow jersey. I'll be reading Mr. Moohoo for more details.

Happy Birthday, Santini. Remember to hydrate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Days of Jet Lag

I went to the airport and brought back Ms. Kagami Sensei. She was later reunited with Wireless and her old friend, Harry Potter. And then Herb. She has some reading to do, and hopes that the plot spoilers keep their distance for a couple of days until the jets stop their infernal lagging.

There was a high dew point today, so I laid low. The humidity is supposed to be out of here by the weekend, and life will resume at a normal pace then. There was no bike race in France today, and, with the doping and the subsequent drop outs, it has become a hollow contest. So it goes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Nice Neckties on an Elm

The last time I rode up the gut-busting Benhill Street hill, I stopped at the top and took this photo of some excellent elm tree art. It's a special catagory of art, because it nearly always resides on the boulevard and it relies on the death of a large, regal elm tree nearly a century old, for its raw material. The people who live by this carving are really into this attraction. They have planted flowers at the base and have blessed the characters - Christopher Robin, Pooh, and Eeyore (I think) - with really colorful neck ties. It's nice to arrive at the top of Benhill and be greeted by these denizens of the Hundred Acre Woods.

Another old scanned in photo from 1945 or 1946. Santini is the "baby" and I know when she was born. The guy in the sailor uniform is Julius Hanson, my mom's first cousin, son of Jake Hanson. I scanned this in because one of my second cousins called and was looking for old photos of her side of the Hansen clan. Her dad, Nels, is not in the photo, but her Uncle Julius is, and looking good in uniform right at the end of WWII. It's a nice shot of Tommy, Santini and T. Tousan. Santini is the only child civilized enough to be wearing shoes. It has always been thus.

I played a single set of tennis with the Gang of Geezers tonight. It was humid and the sweat was flowing off my body. I've always been a pretty good sweater, a sort of lost art. [There must be a pun there somewhere.] Jerry and I won an 8-6 nail-biter.

I see that Vino was not completely fried yesterday at the French Bike race. He was able to snatch another stage victory in the high mountains. I wonder if he was doping today. He looked quite strong.

Ms. KS returns on a jet plane tomorrow in the afternoon for blueberries and Thai food.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bad Photography, Better Tennis

I spent about two hours at Read-Sweatt Tennis Center (was once Nicollet Tennis Center) slowly getting beaten by a mixed doubles team whose member's ages didn't add up to mine. The guy was also tall and rangy, very quick and equipped with a big spin serve. It was 6-4, 6-3. We had our shining moments, too, and it was quite a bit of fun, but the result was not what we had hoped for. I took this photo before the match inside the dome and had to stretch iPhoto's capabilities to make it even acceptable. There are four courts in this photo that were just about to be filled by our respective teams. It was hot and steamy and the sweating was easy.

Yesterday I was over to Mr Moohoo's. Anyone who has followed my photography trajectory knows that I like these trick shots, having executed many of them over my career. I apologize for the quality of the photo and the plagiarism.

Because the photos were so abysmal, I have enclosed a photo of some pretty yellow flowers in the interest of my pitiful blog's reputation for beauty. These flowers were encountered on my trek to Lake Harriet and are growing near the Rose Garden.

I watched the first Pyrenees stage of the French Bike Tour. It was a very exciting race, especially the last climb. Even if these guys are doping, and it appears that at least some are, they are doing things on bicyles that ordinary mortals can only dream about. I only wish that the race was to find the strongest rider, rather than the best doctor or pharmacist.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Mania

Saturday morning came bright and beautiful and the regular gang gathered for some tennis. We played two sets on the courts at Marie Park again, but there have been injuries and sore joints that needed some rest, so we bypassed a third set and scheduled a Monday return match. I switched rackets again, as reaction to my disheartening loss on Thursday, back to the Wilson k SixOne.

I haven't shown the locally grown tomato plants for a while, but here they are. The weight of the fruit has caused collapse of the main stalks and wind and rain have added to the droop. There are a lot of green tomatoes that should be ready to harvest about the first of August. Do I smell spaghetti sauce? I have picked 7 cherry tomatoes and two zukes from the "garden." They are all organic, too.

I liked the mailbox "yard art" proposed by Santini and take this opportunity to enter this fine, old classic mailbox into the contest. It shows a traditional sense of style mixed with utility and grace.

My mailman delivered a copy of "Harry Potter" to my door this morning. It was apparently ordered ahead of time by the Kagami Sensei, so that she would have something to guide her through the impending period of jet lag beginning on Tuesday. It was addressed to her with an admonition to the mail creature not to deliver before July 21, 2007. The whole population of teenagers and a bunch of older fans are at this moment trying to discover the fate of one fictional Harry Potter.

I had corn on the cob tonight purchased this p.m. from the hardware store farmer's pickup as recommended by Mr Moohoo. Very good stuff. The corn crop is ready.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bee's Knees

After thinking about yesterday's tennis result, I realized that the match turned because I was tired, some would say knackered. I've been too diligent in my pursuit of exercise and athletics and the tank was empty. Maybe not enough food for the task. So, even though it was one of the most beautiful days in the history of days, I rested today. I drove the Matrix to Lake Harriet in Minneapolis to walk around the grounds with my camera. The Rose Garden is there. The Peace Garden is there. A lot of flowers and a lake with a 2.75 mile circumference is there, too. I was hoping to find wildlife and capture some images. This pollinator was just taking off as I snapped, but I got him. I think he's a bumble bee. And wildlife.

The walk along the lake was scenic. It was close to noon and a lot of people were out to walk and rollerblade or bike. I encountered another Science Museum dinosaur and took his picture with the band shell and the lake behind him. He's a little bony, but a good representative of his species. I think he may qualify as "yard art."

The young lady visitor from the East will be arriving on Tuesday by air. I have promised Thai food, blueberries and hugs. There will be jet lag and a heat wave to contend with, but it's stiil summer at home.

Herb rode his bike to work again today and added another 30 miles to his total for the year. He seems fully recovered from the accident and back to full vigor.

I have been caught up in the Tour de France excitement. I have to admit it kind of grows on you. I watched the stage this morning in real time and now I'm starting to get some better familiarity with the names and reputations - thanks to the boys at Versus.

Harry Potter mania gets into full swing tomorrow. No spoilers from me.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Just Ducky

Wildlife. At Como Park there is a pool with little islands as refuge for the ducks.

A very disappointing night of Super Seniors Tennis. After winning the first set at love, we managed to lose two tie breakers in a row and go home empty handed. I forget how much I still like to win and how nervous I can still get when there is a close match in progress, even when it is pretty much meaningless. It was just ducky. 0-6, 7-6, 1-0.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Photos Containing Two Bridges

It rained very hard this evening. It was a million dollar rain for local farmers and a life saver for a lot of city owned trees that line the streets of the Capitol City. I can never figure out why the city spends beaucoup euros to plant thriving trees on the boulevards, but won't spend a farthing to water them so they will survive through a drought. The mayor should be contacted. The urban forest needs a champion.

No bike ride for me today, either. I had tennis scheduled for 5 pm, and had started on my way to the site, when the skies opened and drowned the courts. We moved the game inside to Wooddale, thereby avoiding the cancellation. It rained very hard while we were playing. I could hear it on the roof, but it had no effect on the outcome. Our time was curtailed by other tennis court renters, but we managed two sets in a little over an hour.

The photo of the day is the latest of my series of photos that contain at least two bridges. I may use "two bridges" as my new theme for slow blog days - usually rainy days. This one is of one of the least used entrances to Fort Snelling State Park, and is in the city of Mendota. The bridges are both railroad bridges, and old one and a newer one. One can discern the Minnesota River through the bridge entrances with the use of a little imagination.

Herb had a fried tofu sandwich for dinner and one of TT's noted kiwi, tomato, and veggie salads with feta cheese. It's time to get creative with salads again, because it's nearly time for the trip to blueberry country.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Ride on the Mendota Side

I had to wait for a guy to come and replace the windshield on my auto this morning, so my ride was in the heat of the day. The windshield was cracked by a stone kicked up on the freeway about a week ago on a day when my karma was on the wane. Today it was humid and I was not feeling too energetic, so I decided on a fairly short jaunt over the 35E bridge to Lilydale and down along the old railroad tracks to Mendota. I also wanted to see if the people who bought my old tennis club in Lilydale for condo development were still in business. I have been wishing them ill since they broke up the tennis community that had been there for many years. And there have been rumors. I rode around their parking lot and near their sales office and no one was there. It was about noon, so the rumor that they had fallen victim to the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent crash in speculative condo buying, is perhaps true. They should have had sale creatures on duty. I breathed a silent cheer and rode on. The resistance from the club's former members may have hastened their demise.

Mendota is one of the oldest towns in the state and the Faribault House one of the few surviving structures from the early days. Mendota sits on the west side of the Mendota Bridge. Jean Baptiste Faribault built this stone house there, across the Minnesota River from Pike Island, in 1839. He was a fur trader and early settler of Minnesota.

The ride was about 14 miles and it was enough for a high dew point day. It included the gut busting Benhill hill, too.

The Tour d' France was exciting and a good day for a Columbian guy. I'm getting ready to make a prediction, possibly sometime before Paris.

The two recent earthquakes in northern Japan did not affect the English teacher employed near there, and she had enough audacity to accuse me of worry wart-hood for inquiring about her welfare via electronic mail. True enough.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Monday Morning Doubles Action

Monday morning doubles at Visitation High School in Mendota Heights was a good way to start the day. There was some wind, but the morning was cool and the tennis was easy. Two hours with some intervals of good play and some bad. 6-4, 7-5 today. Tomorrow is a rest day from tennis, so I may get in a bike ride.

I passed the rest of the day at retirement pace. I had lunch with the Shark and Branny at the Royal Buffet, trying in our way to solve some of the big issues of the day - mainly the energy crisis and how to more efficiently use the sun and water. You know, pleasant BS-ing. And then I went home to water the plants on my property so that it would look nice for the impending visit of she who teaches English in a far land.

This is the tunnel under 35E on the route of my most nearly usual biking route. This gets me almost to Crosby Farm Park and the ride along the river to Hidden Falls. I may very well be using this route tomorrow, but today - no.

This is Crosby Lake in Crosby Farm Park and it has an immense amount of lily pads this time of year. The lake is next to the bike path on the way to the Big River, and is entirely within the Park - no buildings on its banks.

This ride has a lot of nature to experience and it's in the middle of a city. It's a respectable (for me) 15 miles. It does include a climb up Benhill Street, too, always a gut buster.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Hundred Fifty Today

It's Nils Olai Hansen's 150th birthday. Since he's not a famous man, not many folks are celebrating the milestone and not many know anything about him. He was my grandmother's immigrant father. Happy Birthday, old guy.

He was born in Magisaas, Salangen, Norway, on July 15, 1857, and died at 80 on March 30, 1938 in Burnett County, Wisconsin. His father was Hans Nilsen, his mother, Berit Marie Samuelsdtr. His father died by drowning at age 47 when Nils Olai was 5 years old. Nils married Jacobine Sorensdtr in 1887 in Norway. They had three children, all born in Norway: Jakob, Aminda, and Hansine (my grandmother, born in 1895). They came to America in 1903. He wrote a diary during the Atlantic crossing describing the adventure.

This is Nils Olai Hansen in about 1925.

This is the family in Wisconsin in about 1908. They had a farm in Burnett County, Wisconsin, between Webster and Danbury.

This is Nils Olai and Jacobine Hansen with their grandchildren in about 1930. The older children are offspring of Hansine, their youngest daughter, and her husband, Richard Anderson. The others are children of Jake, their son.

Nils Olai Hansen is buried in the Oakland Township Cemetery near his home.

Nils is older than the state of Minnesota, which celebrates its Sesquicentennial next year.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Herb's New Skates

Happy Bastille Day.

I played tennis on a pleasant, but windy morning at Marie Park. The courts were wet from some overnight rain and we had to sweep the courts. I seem to be in a slump. Perhaps too much tennis and not enough biking. I lost two sets - close but no cigar. 5-7, 6-8.

The Bastille Day photo is Unky Herb wearing his Raggedy Adam disguise and looking happy. We've been having some fun using Kagami's Raggedy Ann hat and very red wig. I had to use iPhoto to take out the red-eye from this photo of a very brown-eyed guy. I love iPhoto.

Herb has new skates - well, actually roller blades. They are called Land Rollers and feature large wheels and reflecting material on the boots.

SS sent me some old B&W photos. One was of Paul Bunyun in 1952 with four kids standing at his feet. I used iPhoto to crop and enhance the part of the photo that has the kids in it. It's better this way, although you can't see much of Paul. He may be still standing in Bemidji looking much the same as he did in 1952. The kids have aged significantly, but are still doing pretty well.

Friday, July 13, 2007


It was Friday the 13th today. I had a ride over to Minnehaha Falls and along the river to Lake Street, down the River Road to Summit and home. It was just over 13 miles. I do not suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (the fear of Friday the thirteenth), but I am a little nervous.

I took this photo of Minnehaha Falls. The water level is down some since Mr. Moohoo's photo earlier in the year - a testiment to the rampant dryness in this mosquito district. The "Laughing Waters" Falls was only giggling.

I succumbed to some word searches after learning the long word in the title. Here's some more useful (not really) things I learned.

The fear of Friday the 13th stems from two separate fears -- the fear of the number 13 and the fear of Fridays. Both fears have deep roots in Western culture, most notably in Christian theology. Thirteen is significant to Christians because it is the number of people who were present at the Last Supper (Jesus and his 12 apostles). Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th member of the party to arrive. Christians have traditionally been wary of Fridays because Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Additionally, some theologians hold that Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit on a Friday, and that the Great Flood began on a Friday. In the past, many Christians would never begin any new project or trip on a Friday, fearing they would be doomed from the start.

The word "paraskevidekatriaphobia" was devised by Dr. Donald Dossey who told his patients that "when you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!"

The word "friggatriskaidekaphobia" also means a morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. Friday is Frigga's Day. Frigga (Frigg) was an ancient Scandinavian fertility and love goddess, equivalent to the Roman Venus who had been worshipped on the sixth day of the week. Christians called Frigga a witch and Friday the witches' Sabbath; modern Wiccans are happy to oblige. There is also "triskaidekaphobia", the irrational fear of things or events associated with the number 13.

Today is July 13, 2007, the second Friday the 13th of the year. There won't be another one until June 2008. The months beginning on a Sunday are the ones with a Friday the 13th.

A lot of the above stuff should be cited and in quotes. Sorry.

And I ran across "googlewhacking" a game associated with my favorite search engine. It is a game where you enter two words into google and only one hit results. For example: "gerrymandering jillionaire" which now probably has two results including this one. The game has a web site:
googlewhacking which gives some other examples.

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, followed by Nils Olai Hansen's 150th birthday. Nils was born on July 15, 1857, in Magisaas, Norway, to Hans Nilsen and Berit Marie Samuelsdtr. He was my great-grandfather. He will be pictured here on his birthday.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Flutterbyes are Free

The wildlife I saw today consisted of ducks, squirrels, and some butterflies. I always thought they should be called flutterbyes beacause they flutter by. I was at Como park where they have a flower garden they call "Monarch Station" which is reputed to attract butterflies. And I took some photos of this monarch using the macro setting on the camera. This is the best of the lot.

This is another view of the Monarch Station. It's located very near the Conservatory and contains a great variety of fragrant and colorful flowers. A lot of them are now blooming. And issuing odors.

I'm sort of late with this writing tonight because of another USTA match. I played Super Seniors doubles at 98th Street Lifetime Fitness Club at 6:30 pm. Tom and I were beaten 6-2, 6-3 by a couple of pretty good players - Rick and Ralph, but I felt like we should have had a better result. To be a Super Senior, you must be 60 by the end of 2007. The other two matches went to third set tiebreakers and we had split results. Both tiebreakers were 10-8. There will be other matches, but it's always nicer to win than lose.

I also have a picture of a door on an outdoor rest room in Crosby Farm Park. The door is brown. I think that brown is a mixture of blue and orange pigments. But I could be wrong. SS will correct me, I hope.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Time to Watch the TdF

The cool weather the last two days lured me back onto the Trek chained up in the garage. The goal was to go down by the river and get a couple of photos and get in some miles for July. I had just watched stage four of The Tour d' France (TdF) and the idea of a quiet ride appealed to me. It was a little windy, but as SS says, "if you don't ride in the wind, you don't ride" in the wind.

This is taken from the Wabasha Bridge in downtown St Paul. The boats are tied up at a fairly large marina at Harriet Island. A lot of the owners of these boats live in them. Many live there all year around. It seems like a miserable place to be in Minnesota winters, but they insulate the boats and make it through the winter just fine.

I liked this spot at the Science Museum of Minnesota because there is a garden of black-eyed susans. There are a few of them in KS's native grass garden in the yard, but not so many as this. The Science Museum is 100 years old this year, but it hasn't been in this building that long. The Museum spawned a big brood of ceramic dinosaurs (see yesterday's blog), but there weren't any on the Shepherd Road level, at least that I was able to find. They do have a lot of native grass and flower plantings, and they are quite attractive. They also have quite an attractive miniature golf course there that may be associated with the museum, and maybe not. In any case, it also has native plants as part of the landscaping.

It was another night for tennis. We were scheduled for 5:15 pm and at 5:10 the skies opened and it rained mightily for about ten minutes and made the tennis courts at Marie Park into a lake. It may be a case of bad karma. I had my trusty broom - the one that used to belong to Abraham Lincoln, only 10 new handles and 4 new heads - and we swept the courts. This shows Curt of the geezer gang using my broom. We were able to get the courts dry by six o'clock and managed to get in two evenly played sets. Maybe 6-4, 6-4.

Gas was $3.399 at the SuperAmerica on 35E and Highway 13. A possible new high.

I understand that there is a standard for rest room door colors in Michigan parks. Blue and orange are allowed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Wicked Wind from the North

It was a very windy day. We had wind advisories from the weather bureau which the TV weather creature says means wind at 30-35 mph. I deferred a bike ride and went to find a photo of the wind. This is a stretched out American flag down near Harriet Island, extended by the wind.

I walked along the river at Harriet Island and over the Wabasha Street bridge looking for one of the ceramic Science Museum dinosaurs. The wind lived up to the forecast. And I found this Renaissance Festival dino on the downtown side, very near the bridge. The dinosaurs are meant to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Science Museum. They are popping up all over St Paul.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Playing on the Clay

Monday night is tennis with the old guys. Tonight we played at a new place. Dennis is nursing his injured hip and was unable to play. Our sub tonight, George, belongs to Somerset Country Club in West St. Paul and he invited us to play on the clay at the club. Curt and I arrived early enough to sweep the court smooth and sweep the lines, a necessary ritual for playing on clay. This photo is Curt starting the job while I climbed a nearby hill for a vantage point. And the tennis was pretty good, too. We played two sets of sufficiently close tennis and then George and I won a third set in a tie breaker. It was a very pleasant evening after the torrid heat of last weekend.

I finished the New York Times (NYT) Sunday crossword puzzle today. It had a baseball theme and used a technique that I usually don't like, but seemed ok in this one. A few of the answers had whole words fit into a square. The words were "home", "first", "second", and "third", and were arranged on the page like a baseball field. For instance, the 66 across clue was "commoners" and the answer was "third estate" with third crammed into a single square. The down clue was "Precede the the cleanup spot" and was "bat third" - "third" in the single square. There were some other clever clues and answers as usual, but I've beaten this dead horse enough.

As an aside, my stat counter disclosed that I have been a google hit eight times for "waters of tener" aka "water softener" from last week's NYT poser. Technology rules.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

It Rains At Last

Wimbledon is done and Roger Federer is the men's champion for the fifth straight year, tying the streak of the stoic Swede, Bjorn Borg. Rafael Nadal gave it a pretty good shot, but came up a little bit short in five sets. It was a very good match. Defending men's doubles champions, twins Bob and Mike Bryan lost in the finals to two Frenchmen (should make some readers happy) Clement and Llodra.

For Minnesota, it was a wild weather day. It was very hot in the morning and this afternoon it rained cats and puppies. I was inside at Wooddale playing a mixed doubles league match. Our team is an average team in this 8.0
league, but we managed two wins (out of three) and won the face-off. I could hear the rain pounding on the roof as we played. My partner and I had a relatively easy match and finished early enough to watch the downpour outside.

It rained copiously in St Paul and battered down my tomato plants. They are fine, but not so tall. The fruit may be prime targets for Peter Rabbit, who apparently lives in KS's native grass garden. I'll try to get a photo of this wild creature. He is often hanging around in the yard and we startle each other frequently.

I picked the first zuke of the season today, sliced it up with some onions and marinaded it in some fancy Tarragon vinegar for lunch. Only green tomatoes thus far.

Without any recent photos for this site, I have reverted to about 1950 or so for a picture from Webster of my two younger siblings. It's taken in front of the place we lived on Main Street. Santini has clamp-on roller skates and thus appears much taller than her bro. Mr Moohoo has rudimentary ski poles and a cool hat.

Another photo from the deep past. Maybe 1953? This one is early spring near the hollyhock site at the side door at 108 Hartley Avenue. Santini is underdressed and is trying to get inside. TT is wearing a stylish overcoat and an odd smirk. We all need to be reminded occasionally where we came from, and that time flees.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Seven Seven Oh Seven

It was the hottest day of the year thus far. It is 8:45 pm and the temperature according to the car thermometer is still 93. But life continues. The Saturday morning tennis match was again on the schedule. The characters were somewhat different because of injuries to two of the geezers, but with subs we blasted through three sets in a couple of hours and all in attendance went home whole. Scores do not matter when the blast furnace begins.

This evening Herb and I drove to Hampton where a new Buddhist Temple is being dedicated this weekend. The large Cambodian immigrant community has financed and built this temple on farmland between Hampton and Farmington about 25 miles south of St Paul. They are the remnants of people from Cambodia that survived Pol Pot, one of the last century's major mass murderers. They have settled in Minnesota and elsewhere in the USA. They are mostly farmers and supply much of the produce for the several farmer's markets in the Twin Cities.

It was an odd experience in the farm fields of Minnesota to be among a small minority of European Americans and be outnumbered by Asians. It was much like the experience of Japan in some ways. The people were friendly and the surroundings a little out of the ordinary. There were about 100 orange clad Buddhist monks on the premises talking and advising and taking their ease. And thousands of Cambodian Americans, some selling food, produce, and art work, some listening to the Cambodian dance music and some talking with family and friends.

Here's Herb next to a statue of a Buddha along with gifts to Buddha and to the monks. Herb and the monks were similarly coifed.

Venus Williams won at Wimby today, her fourth singles title there since 2000. I predicted Serena, but Richard Williams, their father (tousan), about two weeks ago, predicted Venus would win. He is a better prognosticator than this tousan. Tomorrow is the men's final between Federer and Nadal. My prediction is still Roger Federer. It should be an interesting morning.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Silk Purse Out of Sow's Ears

Friday came on Tuesday this week, because there was a Wednesday holiday. The weekend promises extreme heat and I'll be on the tennis courts both Saturday and Sunday. Today I watered the lawn and tried to figure out the puzzle that is Medicare. Part A through D, with options and prices and lots of insurance companies wanting to sell a plan. Bah.

The native grasses are still doing well in the garden that KS planted. I used the macro setting on the digital camera again and the results are displayed below. There are many signs of the ongoing drought in the city, lots of burned out crunchy lawns. The garden is not doing badly despite the dryness. It's harder to kill native grasses, I suspect.

This is what Hamline looks like this summer. I bike by fairly often because it's just a couple of miles away. Old Main is in the background, and the statue of the founder, Bishop Hamline, is in the foreground. I spent four years there and so did KS some forty years later. It's very pretty in the summer when the flowers bloom and the grass is green. I remember it mostly in the fall and winter. While the autumns were pretty and the odors of fall full of memories, most of the time I spent there I was inside, because it was frigid outside and besides I needed to study. I think the campus is really decorated for alumni and their nostalgia.

Herb says "Hooba, hooba."

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Patio Picture

The day after the 4th of July and all those hot dogs. It was a nice day and I used it to rest and recuperate from the effects of the dogs. KS sent email and needed photos of home for a class she's teaching. She is doing a house tour of an American home, and we were selected as the home by a wide margin. One-nil. This is one of the eleven photos I sent. It is the relaxing spot in the back yard, our little patio.

That's it for today, folks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

And They're Racing

The annual outing at Canterbury Downs for Independence Day was today, Independence Day. The cast of characters pictured below does not include TT, who was the photographer.

We were treated to horse racing, free hot dogs, a race among a whole bevy of wiener dogs, and a hot dog eating contest. The dachshund race was won by Gage, a 2-year old male, in a close race for his second consecutive win. The hot dog eating contest has become tradition for the 4th. Last year's champ, "Gus De Dog", a large man in a red teeshirt, returned to defend his title against several rotundish men and a single filly. Gus was able to defend, eating six dogs in about 90 seconds, if I remember the contest correctly. He dedicated the win to his departed parents in an emotional moment after the fray. The woman, who finished last, was asked about the contest and about what went wrong. She replied, "I like catsup."

This horse, Gentleman's Club, raced in the 5th race a few minutes after the photo was taken in the paddock. He was a lovely piece of horseflesh.

A photo of the horses coming to the finish line in the 5th race. Gentlemen's Club is in blue and somewhere in the photo, I think, tied for third at the time.

We had a fine time at the track. The hot dogs were much improved by the condiments supplied by Gino and family: saurkraut, banana peppers, and a fine variety of grey poupon mustard. The betting on the horses was just entertainment and we all went home with some money still in our pockets.

Wimby update. Venus beat Sharapova fairly easily, but Serena went down to Justine Henin in three sets, leaving the family honor (or should i say "honour") in Venus' capable hands. Federer plays again soon.