Sunday, December 28, 2008
The white elephant part is always a lot of fun. We bring gag gifts, and sometimes ones that make us gag, and exchange them in a sort of random (but orderly) process. I usually end up with a Christmas salami or something like that. I almost was able to hang onto the Sarah Palin tee shirt, but Tula snatched it away at the last moment. I was hoping to wear it to my next tennis match. PP got a salad shooter (as seen on TV) and Gino grabbed the M&M dispenser that he is displaying in the photo. There was much merriment and witty talk. Eleven of the participants with their booty can be seen in the photo. I took the snapshot. Herb is in charge of my salami.
"Nothing says Christmas like a good piece of meat," Gino says.
And this piece of urban nonsense was spouted several times. What is it, and what does it mean? You'll have to check with the princess.
"I am a serious monster.
I have powers that you can't understand.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Merry Christmas to all.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Now as I sit at home on my painful butt, the worst hurt is the wrist, followed by my left gluteus maximus. My spine has gone back to its former length, but still hurts, getting stiff and stiffer. I've used ice on the sore wrist.
I stopped playing after the the fall while I stood and tested the injured body parts while the other three guys played "cut throat" tennis - one against two. After about twenty minutes I opted back in to finish the set. We had been ahead 4-2, 30-40, but we lost the next four games when I returned to play. And we played five games of a second set before we had to give up the court. I played gingerly, but reasonably well, so I have hopes for a quick recovery. But I remain 66 years old, and I'm on the ibu train.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Curling last night was a good game, but we lost on the last rock delivered. I was the deliverer and nearly did enough to get a point to break a fifth end tie. Alas, we went down by a point. Our season has not been very successful, but we have hopes for the new year.
But I played a little better tennis tonight and the result was a little better, too. We managed to finish two sets and a part of a third, before we were timed off the court and I was able to go to Yang's for my Thursday night lomein dinner. I brought it home and shared it with Herb, who had not yet eaten dinner at my arrival at 9 pm. Tasty.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
There was early afternoon geezer tennis that began at 2:30 pm and 27 degrees. By four when we quit playing the mercury (?) had slid to seven. The wind was blowing and the lights inside the Fort Snelling bubble, in rsponse to the wind, were swaying noticeably. I guess we are having our first blizzard of the season.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The sculpture "Crest of the Wave" is located in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory Palm Dome at Como. The artist, Harriet W. Frishmuth, made this bronze sculpture in 1925. It still looks pretty good, although not many people have heard of Harriet Frishmuth. Behind it is a horse from the Cafesjian's Carousel which is also located at the park. And flowers and red leaves.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I substituted for Ex-prof Bill today in a good group of tennis ball strikers - Gary, Dennis, and Bill filled out the day's roster. We played two competitive sets, changing partners between sets, 3-6. 7-5.
I came home for a late lunch and a short nap.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I played my first USTA match in a while tonight at Wooddale. It was Jerry's 8.0 mixed team against a team based at the University of Minnesota courts. We managed to win two of the three matches for a team victory. I played with Marsha and we eked out a 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (7) win. I think that leaves us in second place in the league. To celebrate and to alleviate our hunger, Jerry and I went to Ronnally's Pizza in Woodbury, next to Yang's and shared a sausage and mushroom pie. I rate the pizza a four star (****) pie.
PP and Herb are on their way back from their road trip to Chicago. PP took the Japanese proficiency test at the Japanese government offices there. They called from the road, near Madison, to let me know they were on their way home, and to check on the whereabouts of their tousan.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I have shoveled snow once, but the weather creatures seem to think that I should do it again tomorrow. Herb and PP are off to Chicago for the weekend, where PP is taking a Japanese language test. It's at the Japanese government offices in Obama's home town. Herb will be visiting the Shinnyo-en temple and doing a lot of driving in the snow. I'm playing tennis at Wooddale twice this weekend. Saturday with Jerry's group and then Sunday evening is a USTA mixed doubles match.
Tennis statistics for November: I played on 17 different days, a total of 36 full sets and 11 partial sets, a total of 382 games, 216 won and 166 lost. An average day was 22.4 games. No serious injuries.
And the economy continues to crumble. The Minnesota state budget is 5.2 billion bucks short of balance. A pittance actually compared to what the big three auto makers are asking for from Congress - I've heard 35 billion green backs needed to keep them alive a while. I wonder when I get bailed out.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We - the Moohoo rink - had curling tonight, but we had a bad night against a good team and, as a result, were able to go home early. I'm baking a pumpkin pie tomorrow for Thanksgiving at the Moohoos. The princess who occasionally lives here (PWOLH??) will be doing her pie crust from scratch, that she learned to make while in Japan, and sweet potato pie. We'll be well set for dessert after the turkey feast that precedes it.
I am again this year thankful for my kids and my extended family here and in the other parts of this country. I am thankful to be healthy and retired. And I'm thankful to be living in a great state in a great nation. There are lots of things to be thankful for.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Thanksgiving is three days away and I've been thinking about how much cinnamon should go into the pumpkin pie that I plan to bake. I usually double the amount called for in the recipe, but I'm contemplating kicking it up a little more to triple strength. I'm wondering what quantities of cinnamon other people have used in their pumpkin pies. I'd like to know. Then I'll go for the record.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
The Prairie Princess was home for the weekend. She had laundry and video gaming to do. She's back in Minneapolis now with her clean clothes and a good attitude.
Herb, PP, and I were chatting about the new president's cabinet and his penchant for naming his rivals to the cabinet, much like Abe Lincoln did in 1860 when the U.S. was facing a Civil War. Obama has chosen Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson, both former rivals for the Democratic nomination, to serve in his cabinet. I wondered aloud what has become of John McCain and where he might fit into the new cabinet. Herb suggested that he could serve as Secretary of "The Guy I Beat". To loud guffaws.
More tennis today for me, and good tennis it was. We four geezers played nearly three sets at Fort Snelling, beginning just as the Viking game was concluding. It was my 14th day of tennis in November, during which I have completed 31 complete sets and several partials. There may be a rendering of statistics when the month finally concludes. I'm ready for some time off.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I managed to get in almost two hours of tennis this afternoon with the hard core retirees. The only guy not retired labors in the financial sector of the economy and was happy to be away from work as the world economy continues its slide into some sort of swamp. It was good tennis and I was playing well, even visiting the elusive "zone" for short periods of time. A pretty good day in spite of the lack of outdoor heat causing the thermometers to register below freezing data all the live long day.
The recount of the vote for U.S. Senator from Minnesota goes on. It's a pretty good spectator sport for this time of year. My neighborhood guy, Norm Coleman, still holds a tenuous lead - slightly ahead of Al Franken, Dean Barkley and the Lizard People.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I spent a few minutes outside today and can affirm that it was a cold, windy, chilly day. There was also a chance to play tennis again, but it was inside and there was no wind, so I wore shorts.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Wednesday night is the night when we curl (on ice) at SPCC. We had the full complement of curlers and came very close to a win. It came down to the last rock. We had the hammer, down by one, and we barely missed a shot that would have sent us into extra time. It was an enjoyable game with some very good shots and a lot of hard, productive sweeping. Our fan, the Prairie Princess, came to watch her roomie, her uncle, and her tousan [and Burt] compete.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This photo was taken almost a month ago when PP and I were visiting Santini and family in Michigan. T.J was only nine then, but he was having a good time at Tunnel Park. I'm not sure what he has in his hand - some sort of magic weapon, I presume.
Monday, November 17, 2008
At about 4:30, I trekked to Linwood to see if the sun sets in Minnesota in that attractive way that it does in Michigan. As you can see, there is a qualitative difference between summer and late fall sunsets, but they both have some allure. The sun is much further south now at time of setting than it is in June, and that allows the event to be seen in the southwest sky visible from the high hill at Linwood.
Another fact about bacteria, from "Discover"::
"4. Bacteria have been around for at least 3.5 billion years, making them the oldest known life-form on the planet."
It makes me want to ask, "how many is a Brazilian?"
Sunday, November 16, 2008
From "Discover" magazine: "20 Things you didn't know about bacteria."
"9. No escaping them: Your body has 10 times more bacteria cells than human cells."
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Instead, I offer old photos from my stock of classics. On exhibit today are G.L. Miller (1848-1920) - my great grandfather - and his wife and my great grandmother, Nancy Jane McDill Miller (1847-1926). Between the two of them they account for about a quarter of my DNA (and that of a number of readers of the blog). G.L. was an attorney, a politician, a newspaper owner-editor and a gentleman farmer in Wisconsin. He led what seems to be a very interesting life. Much of his editorial writing exists on newspaper archives at various Historical Society sites at Wisconsin colleges.
Nancy Jane married G.L in DeSoto, Wisconsin, on January 17, 1875. A little over seven months later my grandfather, G.E Miller, was born (undoubtedly prematurely) in DeSoto, followed by Charles and Mayme some years later. One of Nancy's brothers, George Davis McDill, was a captain of the Wisconsin Volunteers in the Civil War and a Wisconsin State legislator. When he died in1899, two of his children (Ruth and Ella) came to live with G.L. Nancy and family.
I think that G.L bears a striking resemblance to one of his great grandsons.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This next photo was taken in August of 1969 in my nearly unfurnished apartment near Lake Owasso. Santini is familiar with the youngsters in the photo and has been married to the guy in the foreground forever. I am standing in the background surrounded by some of my possessions at the time. I think I still have the bricks that were part of the bookcase - and the stereo. I don't know where the golf club came from.
I did manage to play my usual Thursday night mixed doubles with the hard core girls and Jerry at Wooddale tonight. And on the way home I stopped at Yang's Chinese Food Emporium to get some fried tofu lomein. And when I got home I was able to share the largess with Herb and the Prairie Princess. All in all, not a bad day.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
PP took the GRE today, so she won't be nervous about that any more. She says that she's landed a part time job, too, so life is getting a little more structure.
It was a dreary November day that started out with snow on the ground and finished with puddles everywhere. It was a good day to do some curling.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Several gallons of water have passed over the dam since then.
It continues to look like late fall in the land of 10,000 lakes. Norm Coleman holds a 206 vote lead on Al Franken in the contest to be known as "Landslide Norm" or "Landslide Al" and to be Minnesota's U.S Senator for the next six years (barring jail sentences).
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Friday, November 7, 2008
My eight thirty tennis match went off as scheduled. It was early but the older gentlemen that I compete with were all there and ready to play. On one of the adjoining courts there were four octogenarians flogging the tennis balls and having fun. They all seemed to be nursing ailing joints, but it was,all in all, a beautiful sight. I should have brought my camera. Our match went 90 minutes and nearly three sets before running out of time - and I was nearly out of steam. 6-4, 6-2, 0-5 (out of time).
"Squirrels are vermin."
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I played some mixed dubbs with the hardcore girls and Jerry this evening. Thursday night tennis takes place at Wooddale. The tennis was pretty good tonight. My partner was Becky. We are seldom partners, because she has an established partnership with Jerry, but sometimes they like to mix it up a little. The scores, 6-1, 6-7, 6-3, indicate a close and entertaining match, which it was. After the match I drove to Yangs to get some lomein. I convinced them to use fried tofu rather than the usual chicken. They happily obliged, because I'm a Thursday night regular. Incidentally, they don't have anything with mock duck on the menu. Jerry says that it is possible to buy mock duck in cans at the grocery store in the veggie area near the green beans. Is that really true? I have not yet seen canned mock duck at Cub. Or Kowalski's.
There was curling last night and it went reasonably well. Mr Moohoo was under the weather and stayed home so we played with three players. The team we played was way too good for the Metro league, but we got a handicap of two points and managed to go up 3-2 after two ends before they got ahead for good. We had some nice shots, but the skip (me) missed a couple of crucial shots at the wrong time and we lost big time (about 10-4). I did score on the last rock of the night, while the house was unoccupied, with a draw to the button. [Love that nomenclature].
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
It was a nice day today, especially for November. Daylight Saving Time went away overnight so everyone had an extra hour of slumber. On the down side, darkness came early tonight.
There was Sunday tennis at Fort Snelling. It was pretty good tennis, but we quit early because I banged my toe into one of the building's tennis bubble supports and I stopped the action to take off my shoe and have a look at my foot. I guess everyone was tired of playing because there was immediate and universal agreement to stop for the day. My injury was decidedly superficial, but I was happy enough to quit, just ten minutes before our time was to expire. We left the court and sat around a while to chat about the financial meltdown and the complicated financial times we apparently live in. 6-3, 6-3, 2-2 (retired).
Saturday, November 1, 2008
In this photo one may find the prize for chuck-a-puck that PP brought home from the Lady Gopher hockey game. It may be valuable one day. Where's Waldo?
Three sets of tennis today - this time at Wooddale. I may try to keep a log of the number of games and sets that I play this month - just for giggles. 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 (with Jerry, Pat, and Bob). My knee problems appear to be abating, although I have been treating myself with ibu, and using a knee support.
PP has been around this weekend. We had to replace her Suburu's tires yesterday, because the tread was beginning to separate from the body of the tire. We had excellent service from Andy at All American Auto. Andy is Herb's childhood friend well known as Mr. Excitement.
Will I blog every day this month? Who knows? I have today, at least.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As I walked along the Minnesota River I encountered wildlife. Two deer were munching on some succulent leaves. This one, the buck, pretty much ignored my presence. I guess it's not yet deer season or they would have been skittish. I don't think that they have a deer season in the park, if my memory serves.
There was curling tonight at SPCC. The three of us - Curt was sick - forced a team of four young guys to extra ends. Gino had executed a last rock draw to the house to get us to overtime. The young guys beat us on a fortunate shot on the last stone and we went home. The victors (them) sweep the ice after the game, so it was a nearly perfect end to a fun game. It was a nice job from Gino and Wireless to keep us in the game.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I was able to play some tennis yesterday with the old guys. They have not lost their tenacity and their reluctance to lose a set. Tennis Dennis, with his new hip and a steady partner beat my partner and me 7-6 in about an hour and fifteen minutes. It was a nice way to be welcomed back.
A quote from rom the Strib:
"I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization." Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
A story about monkeys:
Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $5 each. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.
The man bought thousands at $5 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.
He further announced that he would now buy at $10. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again. Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms.
The offer increased to $15 each and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it.
The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50. However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on his behalf.
In the man’s absence, the assistant told the villagers “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $45 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each.”
The villagers rounded up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys. Then they never again saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere!
And THAT ladies and gentleman is how the stock market works…
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
After we took photos we went to the store and bought food to fix. Santini and I figured out how to make sweet potato pie, and the Prairie Princess contibuted pie crust. It was my first shot at this delicacy and it was sublime. I plan to repeat this particular endeavor.
Time flashes by when you are having a good time. The weather guys promise reasonable weather, so we're going to continue with the fun.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The winner of Friday's Chuck-a-puck (above) went with us to Hemlock Park today as we attempted to find a prairie setting to her liking. We managed to find big and little blue stem grasses as well as a raft of tree species in the forest nearby - oaks, maples, beeches, white and red pines, and all lending some color to a beautiful autumn afternoon.
We also had a trek to Tunnel Park just north of here on the beach. I had a run down the dune and so did the youngsters in attendance, PP, TJ, and Nikki.. I took a picture by the tunnel to prove that we were actually there. Unlike our August visits to this park, we were very nearly alone. But then, who goes to the beach in October in Michigan?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
I played three sets of tennis tonight at Wooddale with Jerry and the hardcore girls. On the way home I stopped at Yang's to get chicken lomein. I didn't have to order. The woman behind the counter wrote down my name and the food I always order and told me it would be ready in five minutes. And it was. I'm still a regular on Thursday nights.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I managed to get in another three sets of pretty good tennis early this afternoon at Fort Snelling. The courts at that time of day on Tuesday are mainly populated by the geezer set, of which I am a member. I was subbing for a guy who still works, but the tennis was good - lots of long points and tactical shots - and no one got hurt. The Fort Snelling facility is a good place to play. It's a bubble and thus subject to lack of warmth in the really cold months, but the courts are good, wide and well maintained. They also have a very visible youth program with a lot of ten to 13 year-olds, many of them minorities, coming in the afternoon to learn the sport.
The Prairie Princess is home from Glyndon and is interviewing for another Nature Conservancy job tomorrow. She. Herb and I went to Pad Thai to celebrate her return and the passage of another Tousan year. That's some good eatin'.
In biking news. Lance Armstrong agreed to ride in next year's Giro d'Italia and suggested that that the Italian race will be the main target of his comeback year. Not the Tour de France?? "Say it ain't so, Joe."
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It was a very nice day. One of the nicest days in the history of days [credit to Mr Moohoo for the phrase]. I played inside tennis at Wooddale with some of the geezers. It was my third day in a row and the quality of my play was down a little, but my minor maladies didn't flare up much. We managed to fit three sets into about 90 minutes. It seems a shame to play inside on a day like this, but in October almost any weather can arrive on any given day, and often without much warning. I managed to spend a little time outside - surveying the mass of green tomatoes that still hang off the tomato plants just outside my back door. I've noticed that the squirrels have finally discovered the low hanging fruit and are taking advantage of the availability of food to get ready for the coming [shudder] winter. They are leaving plenty for my autumn feast of fried green tomatoes.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The maples are beginning to get serious about changing colors. It has been cold enough to discourage the production of the green chlorophyll and only the sugars remain in the leaves. It hasn't actually frozen here yet, but it has been cold enough to get me to turn on the heat plant in the basement.
The stock market roils and 401k's are halved as this October passes. There is an election in a few weeks and the TV channels have been purchased by politicos to try to slime their opponents. And the Prairie Princess will be coming back to the Cities next week from her job in Glyndon. It's October.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
What grasses are these? They are planted in Longfellow Gardens at the park. I don't think that they are a native species, but I'll have to wait for the Prairie Princess to weigh in.
Indoor tennis has begun. I have played doubles inside four times this week already, and the weather has actually been good enough to be outside. But we signed up for permanent time and the times began last week. That means we have to pay for it if we use it or not. There is no wind inside. I am not against that. I'm splitting my allegiances between Wooddale and Fort Snelling tennis emporiums.
Herb is off to Chicago for the weekend and PP is in Glyndon. I am left to watch out for the Twins, the Vikings, and the banking debacle. It's a lot of responsibility, but I'm up to the task.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
The Prairie Princess is home for the weekend. She's been off visiting friends and socializing. We have had several opportunities to chat and catch up on her Glyndon orchid activities. It's nice to have her around.
Unky Herb has a new toy. He bought a new bike - I think at Erik's. It's a Specialized and seems pretty nice. He went for a ride on it today and pronounced it better than the previous one, which had been stolen out of the garage a couple of weeks ago.
Today's picture is a soccer practice I encountered at Linwood Park. The season of kids kicking the round ball is upon us. It reminds me of the years I spent coaching and following Herb's teams to various soccer fields in the area.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
The lilies have some nice flowers emerging from the depths of the pools.
I had a Super Seniors USTA tennis match tonight at Interlachen Country Club. It's a great venue for tennis. We played three doubles matches on clay. Our team hasn't been winning many matches and tonight was no exception. Of course, being the visiting team, we weren't used to the courts, but we had three out of three close matches. My own match ended in a loss, 7-6, 7-5, a few minutes after the sun went down. There was still light, but it was getting marginal. It was the last team match of the season and I'm not sad to see the season end. The teams in the league are located all over the metro area and I had to drive through Minneapolis on I-94 during rush hour to get to the match site.
The new 35W bridge over the Mississippi River opens tomorrow morning. It replaces the one that collapsed on August 1, 2007, that resulted in 13 deaths. The Minnesota Dept of Transportation says that this one is very safe.