Sunday, September 30, 2007

When It Rains, It Pours

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. In River City it was everywhere today.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Autumn Colors Slowly Arrive

I found a tree that has changed to its autumn colors. This photo is from Friday, yesterday, and was taken at St Paul's Battle Creek Park while I was on a quest for colorful trees. This guy didn't seem stressed, so I guess the foliage change is in progress.

A photo from my refrigerator. These young fries have not yet learned to write all the characters correctly (note the backwards "n" and "¢" on the sign), but are actively engaged in capitalist behavior. And they are pretty cute. It's 1986 and it's taken in the front of the homestead on a hot day.

Tennis was played by the geezers this morning at 9 pm. We managed to hold the session to two and a half hours. The weather was a bit brisk, but the predicted precipitation didn't materialize. I am not the oldest of the players, just second oldest. Bill C. is 68. I should actually get photos of these old guys to prove that we are actually playing all this tennis. Maybe next week.

The rest of the day was more restful. I did a little cooking this evening. It's autumn food time, so we had spaghetti squash and new red potatoes, along with fried chicken thighs. Nothing too special, but a good sign that fall has fallen is the urge to devour squash. I think that we'll have an extended fall this year. The weather is predicted to remain in the 70's through much of this week.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Squirrels Are Vermin

On my last trip to Park o'Minnehaha, I came upon a dead tree trunk standing in the park. It has a tiny door built into the trunk at about eye level, and hinged, decorated and supplied with a tiny handle. See photo. I'm suspicious that it was put there by Carl P., but who knows. As curious as I was, I opened the door slowly and the fake squirrel tail slowly sailed out. You can see it in the photo. A practical joke trap! If I had opened it rapidly as many would, I would have been startled by the "squirrel" on a spring jumping out at me. What is this doing in a public park in Minneapolis?

A beautiful day again, nearly 70 and sunny most of the day. No tennis.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Lily Pad Said It's Time To Change

The leaves are slow to change, although they are leaning in that direction. I found these exotic lily pads at the Como Conservatory in a pool outside in the elements. They are not native plants, but as you can see they are beginning to change colors.

A closer view of a few of the same variety. They are the largest lily pads that I've seen. There is a sign next to the pool pleading with the public not to throw coins into them. What is it about water pools that makes people tale out their spare change and toss it into the water?

It was a nice day most of the day until about five pm when the skies opened for some more rain to grace our plants. I visited Minnehaha Falls, too, looking for color changing trees, without much success.

I played mixed doubles at Wooddale tonight. It was a lot of fun, two 7-6 sets and a lot of competitive back and forth points. I played well enough, but my shots were not as lucky as last night, so a trip to the lottery ticket seller was not in order tonight. Incidentally, my three powerball chances from last night came up extremely dry. Only one of the 6 money numbers showed up anywhere on any of my three chances, and then only once. It's a good example of how good I am at picking numbers, and I'm probably just as good as everyone else.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Lightning and Thunder on the Tundra

It was a nice day, most of the day, to play outside a little bit. The geezer tennis session was scheduled for 5 pm and the weather was mostly sunny. The courts at Marie Park have accumulated some leaves so we swept and raked them off before starting. We played two sets and a 10 point tiebreaker before the darkness began to impinge. There was a large dark area in the sky as we played and it began to light up with lightning and thunder as we quit. I was able to get home without getting wet, but the heavy rains came soon after. I had a good tennis day and had enough "lucky shots" that I stopped and treated myself to three powerball tickets. I'll let you know if I won anything sometime later this week.

The photo below is from 1985. Herb and I chatted on the internet with Kagami Sensei this morning from her apartment in Japan. She's was doing pretty well, but having some moments when she wished to be home. She wanted some photos for her Japanese language blog (one that I'm not able to read). She especially asked for this and another photo that have been on my refrigerator for some time. It's of her and her goony bro playing in the backyard with a hose and having a whale of a good time. Happy days. I sent the photo via email, but it is also "grab"able, I told her. She has another entry today in her xanga English language blog, part of which she wrote for therapy. Have a look, it's a good read.

This is a cartoon with some editorial content that I did a couple of days ago. Unky Herb liked it well enough that he said I should put it on the blog. Since I'm not much of an artist, I should apologize for the art content. Shoulda woulda.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Racketry Science

The temperature managed to rise to 57 degrees today on a dark, dank day in September. I stayed off the bike because of the wind and chill, and played no tennis either. I trekked around Como Park for about an hour this afternoon. The tree damage from the early August wind storm has not yet been removed. Large piles of limbs and trunks are scattered throughout. There were chain saws in use, workers trimming back jagged branches to add to the piles. There is also a campaign to rid the park of the buckthorn menace, which also adds to the piles.

I took a picture of my current racketry. On the left is "Wilson", the newest of the two, a Prostaff k Six-One 95 that I thought would be a first stringer, but he had weight problems. On the right is a six year veteran, a lighter Wilson Hyper ProStaff 6.1, my current weaponry.

The weather promises better for tomorrow.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Growing Season Continues

Just so you know, the tomato plants are still growing outside my back door. There are a couple of reddish orbs that I'll be picking soon, and the weather creatures haven't yet predicted an end to the growing season. The tomatoes are invading the lawn in their quest for sunshine and have a reasonable crop of greenies for frying. Dad used to say that he only would eat tomatoes when they were green and fried. I've eaten some since and am not that impressed. Yes, he didn't like ripe, red, luscious tomatoes. He claimed that he had eaten his fill as a youngster on too many occasions to still appeciate their sweet redness. I, on the other hand, still like ripe tomatoes.

The zukes are giving up. They have no potential fruit and the leaves are beginning to brown.

The tennis goes on. We (the geezers and me) tried to play at Marie Park at about 5:15 and managed to get in two games before the deluge. We retreated to Woodbury Tennis Club via US 494 through a driving rain, and bumper to bumper traffic, to finish the evening's fray. We managed another two sets and a fraction before calling it a night. The courts at Marie are getting marginal for evening tennis. They are accumulating a lot of leaves dropped on them from the fading foliage, and that's distracting. In addition, the sun retreats completely out of the sky by about 7 pm and that's just not enough court time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

First Day of Fall

Today was the first day of autumn. It seemed much like summer, except that the length of the day has shortened. Lacking a tennis matchup, I took another bike ride around the city. It was windy, not as windy as Friday, but windy enough. I rode up to Hamline and through residential streets making a loop back through the Macalester campus and along St Clair to home. It was a meandering 11 mile journey and mostly out of the wind. I have a picture of one of the street art figurines that St Paul has been putting up over the last several years. This one stands in front of the vets office where we used to take Taggy for his rabies shots. They always treated Taggy with TLC. The art is Woodstock acting like a doggy doctor for Snoopy. It's the right place for this particular piece of art.

There are no alpaca farms in St Paul, so there will be no photos of those particular exotics on this blog. There may be something comparable at the Hoofed Animals building at the Como Zoo. I know that they have giraffes, bison and ostriches, but I don't think they have llamas or alpacas.

Herb spent another weekend in Chicago. There's a pretty good zoo in Chicago, too.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


This is my photo of the autumnal equinox. It should be understood that Grand Avenue runs east and west in St Paul. I took this photo on Grand at sunset on September 22, the closest sunset to the equinox in Minnesota. The sun shines directly east on the equinox. Grand is a busy street and I should have found one with fewer vehicles so I could concentrate on the photo, rather than saving my neck.

I played some tennis this morning again. It was a couple of sets at 9 am, before the sun was very high in the sky. It was a little chilly, but the day warmed and it was a beauty of a day.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Winded Again

I'm posting a photo that I actually took today. It was warm this morning, but the weather prognosticators were predicting strong winds with gusts to 35-40 mph. Undeterred, because I had no tennis to play today, I took a ride to the windiest place I know of, down by the river. It went along very nicely until after this photo was taken at the turn around point, some distance downstream from the Lafayette Bridge. The photo captures the Mississippi and the Capital City all right, but doesn't capture the essence of the wind. The journey after the turn was upwind, reaching, at times, six miles an hour. Another lesson relearned.

It was another 12 miles for the summer and gets me to about the mileage that Santini and Mr Moohoo had near the end of April.

There will be tennis in the morning, rain or shine, and opportunities to catch the turning of the leaves. Then, on Sunday at 4:52 CDT the autumnal equinox arrives. [I looked it up this time.]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gorilla My Dreams

We had big storms come through the city at about six p.m. There were reports of a tornado somewhere near South St Paul. I was inside the tennis facility at Wooddale at the time and heard the loud drumming on the roof and some loud cracks of thunder. We played two sets of mixed doubles in a sparsely populated facility and then went home to check for damage. We were unscathed. I didn't see any significant damage anywhere, so I'll have to rely on the TV talking heads to fill in the details.

In lieu of a pretty flower picture or anything tennis related I offer up this photo of a gorilla at Como Zoo. It's a pretty nice zoo with quite a few animals that no one wants to see running free in our neighborhoods. This guy appeared bored when I was there yesterday, and I can't say that I blame him (or her?). He sort of qualifies under wildlife, but not native wildlife, but we all have to come from somewhere. I like to visit the zoo once in a while to check on the primates and the big cats. The zoo is supported by the taxpayers of St Paul, mostly with real estate taxes, so I pay my share. I like to see what they do with my money, and they seem to be spending it fairly wisely. It has been upgraded quite a bit over the last few years.

The autumnal equinox is Saturday.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

There's a Hare in Your Flowers

It's starting to feel fallish in the great outside. Frost has appeared in many parts of the state and the equinox lurks. I went to find some flowers before they disappear. These are in Como Park in the flower beds that are meant to attract butterflies. The fall seems to be a good time for flowers, although the flutterbyes were not around today.

I walked around to the far side of the garden and encountered this wild hare. He's a park hare, so wasn't easily startled so I was able to get three photos of his quivering nose. This is the best of them. He represents wildlife in St Paul. He has a cousin that lives in my back yard.

We chatted with the Kagami Sensei again this morning. Her jellyfish bite is healing up nicely. She reported that she spent last weekend camping out and participating in a Japanese "rave." She had a pretty good time, I guess. She also was able to view cormorant fishing - a Japanese fishing strategy that uses bird eating fish to catch the fish and then forces them to give them up after they have been swallowed. It's a tourist attraction for Gifu City. She's doing well.

I played a couple of sets of tennis with the geezers at Marie Park this evening. The long shadows of sunset come earlier and earlier. The failing light makes for interesting points. We'll be taking the games inside in the near future, I think. Tennis Dennis stopped by to chat with the other geezers. He has had his cataracts fixed, with some minor complications, but will be back to the tennis courts in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rain, Rain, Rain

It rained almost all day. I took an umbrella and found wildlife at Harriet Island. Gulls. In a puddle.

Monday, September 17, 2007

This and That

I mentioned Amelia Earhart in a previous entry, and the fact that she lived on my street back in 1913. I decided to see what the house looked like it. It was a house so large and expensive to heat that her dad nearly went broke that winter buying coal for the furnace. This is her residence which is about two blocks east of my own homestead. It's quite an attractive abode, is it not? An architectural gem?

I also have a photo from 1990 that I like, and since my tennis photos lack any excitement, I include this one. It's the cousins acting waif-like and cute in scarves. They were about seven years old. Who knew that they would turn into world travelers and go traveling in opposite directions? Who knew? And why didn't someone tell me?

My tennis story for the day is short. The day was nice, but the afternoon brought a blast of warm air to River City, and by the time the geezers met to compete it was 81 and humid. We played a couple of sets and by the time we finished the sun was nearly down and the light inadequate. We talked some about seeing Fred at the tournament this weekend. Everyone seems to have a Fred story. One. His marriage only seems to work when they live separately, but Fred is getting worried that his wife is thinking about moving back in with him. He's noticed that his closets are filling up with her clothes and considers this some sort of omen. As I said before, he's a funny guy.

Check on the Kagami Sensei xanga site. She has more interesting chat from Ogaki City.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tennis Weekend Weakened

The weekend of tennis is over. Our little 8.0 Mixed doubles team finished out of the medals, but we were assured by the organizers that we should be proud of our appearance in the playoffs. My own odyssey finished in another loss to a reasonably good pair. The guy hit big topspin on forehands and backhands and possessed a strong serve. His partner was consistent and more agile than I foresaw. We got off to a slow start and were down 4-1, before coming back a little and losing 6-3. The second set was similar, in that we lost the first four games, but we rallied enough to get to 5-4 in our favor and just two points from winning the set, but lost finally in a tie breaker, 7-6. My excuses for subpar play weren't needed. Below is the scene of the tournament, Nicollet tennis center in Minneapolis.

I spent some time talking to a tennis friend that I hadn't seen in a couple of years and who is now living and playing out of Duluth. He played on a 7.0 team that lost all of their matches. Fred is 70 years old and probably the oldest player in the tournament. He used to be a professional baseball player and took up tennis at age 40. He's one of those slice and dice, lob and drop shot guys that people hate to play against, but love to have on their team. He says he can't see very well any more, but still is unafraid to call the close shots out. When questioned about his calls by people familiar with his eyesight weaknesses, he just says that he calls them the way he sees them. I was happy to see Fred still playing and enjoying himself.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mixed Doubles Tourney

On a cold morning I set out to play tennis at the Reed-Sweatt Tennis Center. The Stahnke 8.0 team was scheduled for a match with a Minneapolis team at 11 and a team from Eau Claire, Wisconsin at 5 pm. The team picture came in between the two matches. Left to right: Jerry, Becky, Tousan, Marsha, Jan, Bob. Two members were not there and thus not pictured, Barb and James.

We lost both matches, sorry to report.. The Stahnke team (us) lost the morning session 2 matches to one, and the afternoon matchup 3 matches to zero, the fat zero. I played with Marsha as my partner in both sessions. We won the first one 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (10-7). It was nice comeback sprinkled with some good and entertaining back and forth points. The afternoon was a good match, too, but we fell 7-5, 6-3 to a couple of kids without a gray hair between them. It was fun, competitive, and I didn't need to pull out my prepared excuses for subpar play. We play another Minneapolis team at 9:30 tomorrow morning, but the playoff match in the afternoon is out of reach.

As you may have seen on other blogs, it was cold here in River City. I covered the tomatoes and photographed them this morning before the frays. There was no frost on the grass this far south and within the city heat island, but it was cold - I think about 39. We are not in the outlying areas that got frosted. The day turned pretty and the growing season is expected to continue for another two weeks or so.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Four Bridges

It's a cold day and the weather guys are predicting frost "in the outlying areas." As Dad would say, "I can out lie anyone." So I'm covering my tomato plants with the hope that the growing season can be extended. I plan to let the zukes freeze if it gets cold enough. I may be able to use a couple more tomato plant photos here, too, over the next weeks. I'm looking for the old sheets to use as tomato cover.

I had a walk this morning by the river in the Lilydale Regional Park. There were five bikers who came by during the walk, all of whom looked well bundled up with ruddy faces. The temp was in the 40's. I was confident that the deer ticks and mosquitos were moving pretty slowly, too.

This photo is from my last search for Minnesota Rocks number 9, which is supposed to be at Upper Landing Park near downtown St Paul. It's not to be found, but I took this picture from a spot very near where it should be. It's one of the few places where you can view and photograph four bridges in one frame. One of the bridges is for railroads, and the nearest is the Wabasha Street bridge. As you can see, none of them have fallen into the Mississippi yet.

I have the tennis schedule for tomorrow and Sunday. I'll be playing at 11 am and 5 pm tomorrow and 9:30 am on Sunday at Nicollet Tennis Center. If we win enough, I get another opportunity at 5 pm Sunday. I expect knackerdom to be achieved by the end of Saturday evening. I have carbbed up and thought up several possible excuses for subpar play. Let the games begin.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I found another of the Minnesota Rocks. It took a little googling and some google mapping, but I was able to locate the 13th of the 15 original sculptures. This one is outside the city limits of St Paul, in St Anthony Village, in Salo Park. Salo Park is new and located at 39th and Harding in a new development near Silver Lake. The artist is a Finnish guy, Sakari Peltola. He calls the sculpture "The Weatherman." It's a sculpture in two parts separated by at least twenty feet. Public art.

More tennis tonight, too. We played inside, beginning Thursday night mixed doubles at Wooddale. We had three active, fairly well played tennis and it was quite a bit of fun. The area mixed doubles tournament begins Saturday at Read Sweatt Tennis Center. I am scheduled to play three matches and if we win them, probably a fourth. I expect that any blogging this weekend will be tennis-centric.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Herb at Eight

I guess autumn is here to stay. We may get some more warmth, but it looks like the tomatoes are slowing down and the zukes have given up completely. The temperature inside is 64 degrees and I've considered turning on the heat, but so far it's still not essential.

This is another photo from 1989. Unky Herb, at eight years old, is in his cut-off sweat pants standing by the door of Old Blue. Old Blue has been gone a couple of years now, but it was a long lasting member of the family - a Toyota Camry station wagon. It toted camping gear for at least three father-son boy scout canoe trips to the Namakagon River in northern Wisconsin. The trips always came in May, and were always beset with wood ticks and occasionally a thunder storm. We slept in tents for two nights each time and I was rained on enough to know what it's like to sleep in a puddle. See the kind of memories that old photos dredge up.

I played three sets of tennis in the dwindling light this evening. The light became pretty dim by the time we quit, and I have begun to notice that my eyes aren't handling dim light nearly as well as they used to. I definitely prefer bright midday sunlight. And a little more warmth would be appreciated. The tennis for the rest of the week will be inside where at least the light intensity is constant and from the ceiling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

October in September

It was primary election day in St Paul. I felt my civic duty and went to the polls. There was a single race on the ballot - the race for City Council for Ward 2. While I was signing in, the election judge noticed the street that I live on. He wasn't busy. I was the only prospective voter in the room. He said that he thought that Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) had lived near me in St Paulwhen she was a teen-ager. That sounded interesting, so when I got home, I used my favorite search engine and found a biography of the famous aviatrix(?), "East of the Dawn." According to the book, she lived just down my street about a block, but only lived here in 1913, the year she was 16, and the year my mother was born. They lived in a house that they couldn't afford to heat. I'll get a picture of the house soon, and launch it into cyberspace. She moved to Chicago the next year and graduated from high school there. She became world famous as a dare devil flyer. In 1937 she and her airplane were lost in the Pacific and her body was never found.

It was cold enough today that it reminded me of Christmas. I have an old photo of Kagami Sensei and her baby cousin, Wireless, from, Christmas, 1989. It's cute enough to be reproduced here. KS looks like she's about to break into a dance.

As unbelievable as it seems, a hard freeze is expected tonight in the northern half of the state. Less than a week ago it was over 90 and I had to stop playing tennis because I only had one bottle of water and its contents had been swallowed. My tomatoes are safe tonight here, the weather creatures predict 38 degrees.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Twelfth of Fifteen Rock Sculptures

Apparently the city of St Paul has been installing the Minnesota Rocks sculptures in the last month while I was otherwise occupied. I found Minnesota Rocks 12 at the Phalen Picnic Pavilion today. I had been in the exact spot at least twice in July and the stone was not yet there. There are a total of 15 sculptures, of which I have discovered and photographed 12. See link to Minnesota Rocks. The three that are left are number 9 (should be at Upper Landing Park by the Mississippi), number 13 (should be on Mounds Boulevard and McLean, but has been removed for repair because it apparently was vandalized), and the one by a Finnish sculptor which is supposed to be in Salo Park in St Anthony Village. As the monkey said when the train ran over his tail, "it won't be long now."

This one is a beauty and is located in a lovely spot. It was created by a Chinese sculptor, Lei Yixin, and is called "Meditation." After I find them all I'll try to pick out the top three most impressive. This is a top contender.

I have located the rugby World Cup tournament on Versus, the same channel that telecasts the Tour de France. The USA and England were having at it this afternoon and I watched a few scrums. Many thanks to Santini.

Also more information than necessary about Carver's Cave can be found at link. Carver's Cave was a recent subject in this blog relating to Friedrich Schiller's connection to St Paul's Como Park. He was a popularizer of the cave to his German readers.

Two sets of tennis today. It was a lovely evening and I played so-so, but managed to be on the winning side twice in the two sets.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Minnesota Rocks Again

I ventured outside my sphere of influence to track down another of the Minnesota Rocks sculptures that I've been sporadically photographing and posting here. This one is called the "Goodnight Kiss" by an Italian stone sculptor, Pasquale Martini. It was perched at its current location and dedicated in late July. The location is more in Mr. Moohoo's biking range, if I'm not mistaken, in Vadnais Heights at City Hall. A map is included this time.

The map. Clipped out with Mac software and modified to JPG format by iPhoto.

I talked to the beloved Japan-sited English teacher this morning. She was using her air conditioning in her Ogaki apartment while I shivered in the 55 degree heat in Minnesota. She had tales to tell, but you'll have to check her xanga blog to get the gist of them. She looked marvelous to these old eyes.

Herb has returned from Chicago again. His Corolla has over over eighty thousand miles now, many of the miles on I-94 and I-90 to Chi-town.

The finals of the men's US Open tournament are now history. Roger Federer won his fourth consecutive championship. Congratulations. Novak Djokovic had set points in each of the first two sets, but was unable to convert. Several of the key points were decided by the software of the "Hawk-Eye" lookalike. Software! I know enough about software to distrust the results, especially when a ball misses a line by millimeters. Soon we may even be trusting the results of national elections to software. Oh, I guess we already do.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Some old photos again

Saturday is often predominately a tennis day for me, but today was more so than usual. As usual, I played with the older gentlemen this morning at Marie Park. It was the second tennis day in a row, but it was pretty social and I played well enough to split sets. The US Open men's semifinals and the women's finals were played today and were televised on CBS. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer won their matches in straight sets and will meet for the championship tomorrow after the Vikings play their opening season game. Justine Henin won her seventh major championship pretty easily over Kuznetsova. She's a very good player and has a better serve than most men.

And I bought some tennis balls and a tennis shirt at a local sporting goods store to load up for next week's matches.

Adam is still in Chicago, but I used his scanner again to move these photos to digital format. They are both from 1990 - 17 years ago when times were much different. This is Kelsey with a fish she caught in Wisconsin at Fred Prouse's cabin that summer. It's the only fish that I know she caught - ever - and she was pretty excited, and cute. I used to have the picture on my desk at work.

This is also from 1990. Adam and his buddy, Andy (Mr. Excitement, we called him), were making movies with the video camera. I think they did some sound dubbing and maybe some story boarding for their mini-classic, "The Package." The footage is still in existence and can be made available for a modest fee. This film making was fitted in between the video gaming sessions that went on quite a bit in those years.

I tried to do some digging today to find out why that Friedrich Schiller guy has a statue in Como Park. There was some googling to do and a pass through Wikipedia. It seems that Schiller made Carver's Cave in St Paul popular in some of his writings and thus may have encouraged some of his compatriots to emigrate to Minnesota. Carver's Cave used to exist in Dayton's Bluff in St Paul, but was destroyed many years ago in an orgy of railroad building. It had been a sacred site for the Indians when they owned the land and was reputed to be quite lovely. Another example of unplanned urban development.

Friday, September 7, 2007

September Tomatoes

I haven't shown the backyard tomato plants for a while. The tomato patch isn't very pretty any more because of some collapse of the plants under the weight of the fruit and the supporting branches. The season is still going strong, however. The ripe tomatoes continue to appear, a couple of them every couple of days. That should continue until the first hard freeze.

I had a trek over to Como Park to view the Minnesota Rock sculpture that Gzmoohoo discovered a couple of days ago. It is where he reported it to be and I took a photo of the sculpture (by a guy from Ely, Michael Sinesio.) It would be redundant to post that photo, so I am posting this photo of a statue of Friedrich Schiller, the German philosopher, which is also in Como Park. I don't know why his life and work deserve a statue in Como Park, but it's a pretty nice one. Schiller was born in Germany in 1759 and died at 45 of tuberculosis in 1805, also in Germany. As far as I know he never visited the USA, much less St Paul, but he was a good friend of Goethe.

After a day off from tennis, I played somewhat better today. I spent several hours yesterday restringing my newest racket, but didn't use it today. It's a nice racket, but I haven't adjusted to playing with it very well. It's a heavier racket and very much like the one that Roger Federer uses. Roger thrives with the racket, but it just tires me out. I used the restringing machine that Mr Moohoo sold me some months ago to change the tension on the strings from 55 pounds to 50 pounds with the purpose of gaining some power. I'll try the restrung racket soon, perhaps tomorrow when the geezers gather to play.

Venus Williams lost to Justine Henin today in the US Open 7-6, 6-4. It was a pretty good match, played in the wind, and Justine was just a little the better. She's in the finals against Kuznetsova tomorrow night, and should win easily. Roger Federer has to beat the Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who he has beaten 13 times in a row, to gain the finals. Novak Djokovic is likely to be there to play him in the finals. That could be a decent match-up.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


It was a plus 90 degree day again, but I found myself on the tennis court for the fifth consecutive day. The Wednesday geezer group plays on Wednesday, even if we have to risk heat exhaustion. I was mediocre on the court, splitting the two sets we played, 7-5, 2-6. The effects of too much tennis were evident and I have resolved to take tomorrow off.

The excitement of the last few days is the wildlife shown below. It appears to be a puma peering from the garage top into my backyard native grass garden where the bunnies live. Shortly after the picture was taken the puma pounced into the garden. I went to investigate and apparently the pounce was fruitless. The bunnies live on.

Maybe I've had too much sun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Hot September Day

It was 90 degrees in St Paul this afternoon, maybe more if I could find any recent temp records on the internet. I played about an hour and a quarter of tennis on a quaint single court at MacKubin and Laurel. The surface was a little rough and the net a tad low, but it was 9:30 and the day was still cool, in the 70's. There is ivy growing on the fences, too. Picture a couple of retired guys banging ground strokes at each other. Most of the rest of the day was spent avoiding the heat.

This former elm tree stands across the street from the governor's mansion on Summit Avenue. It's starting to deteriorate a bit, but to me it is authentic public art.

The US Open had some good matches on TV today. The match between Novak Djokovic, the number 3 seed, and Juan Monaco was inspired tennis and a grueling 4 hours long. Djokovic won in four sets, but not without using most of his resevoir of energy. In tonight's featured women's match, Justine Henin beat Serena Williams 7-6, 6-1 to get to the semis, where she may have to play Venus.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Unky Herb rendered this photo into something exotic with free photo software called GIMP that he found on the internet. I liked the effect well enough to post it here on the blog. The original photo, featuring the Tousan, was taken at the Sculpture Garden near Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

There was more tennis this a.m. to ready the 8.0 mixed doubles teams for the tournament. We played at Highland High School again. We got in two and a half sets and a ten point tie breaker, and finished in about two hours. I am nicely knackered and plan to take a day off tomorrow.

I collected my spices from GZ and Wireless tonight. I ordered Watkins 100% organic nutmeg and basil flakes from Wireless because her boat company owns Watkins and she gets an employee discount. I'll be using the nutmeg on my morning oatmeal, and the basil will spice up my homemade soup concoctions and veggie burgers.

The second week of the US Open is starting and my favorites in the women's tourney, Serena and Venus, are still unbeaten. Serena plays Justine Henin tomorrow. Roger Federer, my men's favorite, is also going along pretty well

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More and better bridges

It's the first Sunday in September. I'm leading with the bridge again. This is more of a context shot that I took last week on Friday from the Cedar Avenue Bridge. The 35W bridge still fills the river. Barge traffic upriver is stopped here. The workmen have built a road out into the Mississippi to haul off the pieces of bridge as they are separated from the pile of debris. Up river you can see the locks normally used for barge traffic, the dam that holds back the river and allows the water level to be lowered for the work, and the stone arch bridge that is a bike and pedestrian crossing of the Mississippi. The Metrodome, home of the Vikings and Twins can be seen off to the left in the distance. The IDS tower can be seen, too. The water downstream from the bridge is muddy and murky, while upstream it is fresher and cleaner.

On the east side of 10th Street, which is the northeast extension of Cedar Avenue, stands this large old apartment building. This is in the heart of the University of Minnesota campus and someone hung out this sign on a sheet. It speaks for itself.

Two other things to report. Herb and I chatted with KS this morning via the internet. She is back from the Miyazaki organic farm and from a week visiting her old friends in Takehara. She can report on her activities herself, and probably will, but I am gratified to know that she is back in Ogaki and in contact with her tousan. She had a good time and likely will share some photos on xanga. She starts teaching English again on Tuesday. She looked marvelous.

The recent tennis activity continued. It was a hot day for tennis, but Jerry scheduled the mixed doubles team to practice in the middle of the day, two p.m. I played two sets before I ran out of water in my water bottle. Using my geezer status and my good sense, I quit. "When I'm out of water, I'm out of here." We had 12 people and used four courts at Highland High School for at least the 90 minutes I was there. I played with Marsha and we split sets with two separate teams, 6-4, 2-6. We are scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow, a more civilized hour of the day.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Twin Cities Traffic Signs

I live in St Paul, but this is the Twin Cities, really just one metropolitan area. I have photos of traffic signs from each city for the first of the month theme day. The Minneapolis signs below are nestled among the debris of the 35W bridge, upside down and currently, not of much use. The whole scene is other worldly and the bridge is not of much use.

These signs are on Summit Avenue to announce the bike lanes which are used mainly in the summer, and, below that sign, the reminder for parkers on the street when the snow plows are to be expected after those four inch snows. These are fairly representative of typical activities in St Paul, my fair city.

I played some tennis today with the older gentlemen. We started at 9 a.m. and lasted about 90 minutes. That compares, not well at all, to the four hours that James Blake and Fabrice Santoro played Thursday night in the US Open. Today's big news was the ouster of Maria Sharapova.

It was, and continues to be, top-notch weather here in River City.