Friday, May 30, 2008

Herb's Home

He came in from London last night at about ten o'clock. BC and I were at the Lindbergh terminal to greet his jet-lagged oneness. The photo was taken at home some time later as he had a little snack. He says he has 400 photos of his trip to download.

It was another marginal day. No biking for me, because it was USTA mixed doubles match day at Wooddale. Jerry's 8.0 team managed to win two of the three matches, but, unfortunately, it was I on the losing end of a very close match: 6-4, 3-6 1-0 (11). That notation means that we made it to the third "set" ten-point tiebreaker, but lost 13-11. And we managed to waste two match points in the tiebreaker. It may take me until tomorrow toget over the bitter disappointment :-) Hardcore Barb and I again fell victim to a young guy's top spin returns and superior serves. This neverending story is sad, but also gives me an obstacle to overcome. It was an enjoyable match against two nice people and I am happy to have been able to take the court and crunch a forehand or two.

And as you, who read BC's blog, know, BC has a job starting very soon for the Nature Conservancy somewhere near Fargo.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Name Games

It was a beautiful day in the Capital City. It was warm without much wind and after a cool start the sun came out and most of the chill vanished. There will be a native grass planting party in Crosby Park on Saturday so KS and I decided to scout out the area. We got the bikes out and started towards the river. KS had a minor collision with a parked car on the way, but the only difficulty was a slightly bent front brake and a displaced rear mirror. The brakes may require professional help, but the bike was ridable, and we rode down Benhill, Victoria, Otto and Shepherd Road to Crosby Farm. The ride through the woods got us to the big open area where the native flowers will be planted. We found growing milkweeds, which are a magnet for flutterbys, and which KS is hoping to plant in the backyard. We walked around, took a photo, and then biked home, finishing with my first climb of Benhill for the year. I finished several seconds behind the younger rider. She suggested that her name on this blog be changed to something more appropriate. KS doesn't make it anymore since her return from Japan. Since she rides a Bianchi, we have suggested Bianchi Cutie, or BC - in the spirit of the blogs emanating from other related sites. BC has the spotty jersey. I added a little over 10 miles to my paltry total for May.

In other news, I played three sets of tennis at Marie Park this evening with the current set of geezers. I played better than my recent outings, but, after winning the first two sets, was on the short end of the third set. Not bad, and to be expected some days. It was a super fine night to be crushing forehands in the great out of doors.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Designated Memorial Day

Today has been designated Memorial Day by Congress. I know that Memorial Day is May 30, the day that Tommy was born, and for most of my life, the designated day to remember those who have departed this turf. I took a bike ride to the Minnesota Capitol and the memorials to Minnesota involvement in wars of the 19th and 20th Centuries. I've taken this bike ride for the last few years on this day, and every time there is a group of Viet Nam era vets clustered around the memorial to the war they know about intimately. These people decry war, rage against war. I guess they know something about the subject.

There were flowers in front of the memorial with all the names of Minnesota casualties on it.

There is a new memorial on the mall. It was dedicated last year, I think. It's the monument to commemorate the big war of the 20th century - World War II. I took a picture of that, too, with the Minnesota Capitol in the background with the flags at half staff, as they always are on Memorial Day. It was early enough in this gray day for some blue sky to be showing through the gathering clouds.

If Kurt Vonnegut were still alive and visiting the Minnesota capitol mall, he would notice that we have been at war a major part of the last century. Rightly or wrongly he might comment that we seem to be quite a warlike people. Rightly or wrongly.

My bike ride was a shade over 10 miles.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Weekend

The funeral turned out to be a celebration of a long life, well spent. There were tears and there were stories and remembrances by family and friends. We, the members of the Han-derson family remembered that we are very similar and bound together by memories that were stitched together by Aunt Louise and her five siblings over her 89 years and the several more of her sisters. I realized again that I am lucky to be part of that large extended family and the smaller nuclear one, too.

The weather has been better this week than last. That means warmer, but tonight a tornado leveled a bunch of homes in Hugo. Mother Nature gives and takes away with the same breath. And in the end, as a wise person keeps reminding me, "Mother Nature bats last."

My photo is from the backyard of my place. My daughter and my sister. In the shade of a growing maple tree, in the grass, in the summer, in 2008.

My tennis game has been stinking up whatever courts I play on. It's partly a reaction to the shift to outside play and the wind's effects, but also to a minor calf injury that I thought might be serious. There is room for creative excuse making, but whatever the cause it isn't as much fun to be south of the zone as it is to be tightly cradled in its center. I've taken a couple of days off from the grand game for the holiday, and to nurse my wound back to normal - with the aid of my friend, ibuprofen. I won't be testing it again until Wednesday.

Unky Herb is off in England visiting his college roomo, Andy, and also Stu, a roomy from his time in Kure, Japan, but will be home, jet-lagged, on Thursday. KS is off to southern Minnesota to visit her mom, and the house is very quiet. I'm going to watch some Laker-Spurs basketball and wait for my calf to heal.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Neck Flowers

There are several uses for dandelions. One is to make necklaces from the flowers and than sit in the backyard and read. Luckily I have quite a few of the yellow symbols of spring in my possession and an artiste familiar with the construction of previously mentioned necklaces.

I played some outdoors tennis tonight. It was a beautiful night with some breeze and the tennis should have been great. What is the opposite of the zone? That's where I was tonight. Luckily most of the rest of the quartet were in the same neighborhood and we had a couple of close, but artistically miserable sets that took nearly two hours to finish. That's how it goes some nights in May.

And finally a family photo from the 1930's sometime. Marian, Dorothy, Leona, Lillie, Louise, and Marvin Anderson. The family is all gone now. My aunt Louise died this week at the age of 89. May they all rest in peace.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cool Sunday in May

It was a rest day for me. I connected the water hose for the season and did some minor yard work before I took my usual walk around the neighborhood. There were a lot of people out and about, doing yard work and enjoying the sunshine.

The trees are blooming in St Paul. Many of them are quite pretty. This one is on the grounds of the law school on Summit. It seems that many of the most perfect lawns and best landscaped properties belong to private educational entities.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Spring-ish Activity

The morning was superb for tennis. There was some wind, but the sun was shining. We had eight older gentlemen show up at Marie Park for Saturday morning doubles. Three sets in two hours went on the record for me. I should probably keep a log of sets played this summer, but it seems like a tedious exercise.

I caught Unky Herb lying around on the grass in the back yard. I mowed it yesterday and it was inviting enough that he had to stretch out and contemplate the sky, or perhaps his next trip to London. It was probably the first opportunity of the year for such activity, since the year refuses to get very warm. He made it look like an inviting activity.

Some storms and rain passed to the north this afternoon, and the wind blew pretty hard, but the native plant expert was out pulling weeds and rescuing her plants from the invasive species that have moved in on them while she was away. I caught her hugging a clump of North American grass, species unknown to me. I think that she'll get the garden into pretty good shape in short order.

The rain never arrived in our part of the city.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Ides of May

Finally. My biking season restarted. It was a nice day and the wind was very timid, plus KS was interested in looking over the native plants at Minnehaha Park. Biking was called for.

The creek is full of water and the falls are roaring. It's not Niagara Falls, but it's pretty nice.

The statue of Hiawatha and Minnehaha are on an island in the creek and easily seen through the scant "early" spring foliage.

We found the native grasses in old Longfellow Park across Hiawatha Avenue from Minnehaha Falls. The plants are beginning to grow and thrive, but there is still a lot of last year's brown in view. There may be pictures later in the season.

On the way back home we had to stop and see if Guv T. Paw was at the mansion on Summit. There was no sign of the guy, but the legislature is in session, so he may be at work balancing the budget. There is word in some quarters that John McCain may tap him for the VP slot on the Republican presidential ticket. That could leave Minnesota with its first woman Governor: Carol Malnou. Stranger things could and have happened in the North Star state.

I have attained my first biking goals of May: double figures, and beating last month's total mileage. Woowee!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Greening Up

The rains came again today and I stayed off the bike paths. Ms KS, however, put in a few miles on a trip over to Hamline to have lunch with Auntie BB. And yesterday Unky Herb partook in the ride your bike to work week, by riding his bike to work - round trip of 28 miles. Good job by the young'uns. One day soon, I may begin to amass some miles myself. The photo is a tree that grows in Minneapolis, somewhere near the merge of Minnehaha Creek with the big river. I was there surveying the damage to the creek bed from the wall collapse last week. It has been reported in the Strib, with requisite photos and by the TV talking heads, so I expected drama. I found the scene of the collapse to be less than dramatic, so I'm going with this tree photo - the leaves are filling out in spite of a general lack of May warmth.

Yesterday, I played some tennis with the gang of geezers at the courts at Marie. Dr Bill, the retired professor of American Lit from NDSU brought a play bill advertising a play that he will be performing in June. Apparently he has a 15 minute performance where he plays Mark Twain at a small theatre in Minneapolis. He looks a little like Mark Twain, white bearded with a twinkle in his eye, so it may be something worth seeing. This gang of guys that I play tennis with are an interesting and varied group. And they're pretty good at the game, too.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Rained All Afternoon

For a Saturday afternoon, it was a washout. a gully buster, a throwback to Noah.

But I played some tennis in the morning. It was nice to be on the court after a two day rest, and rest seems to work for me. I played better and enjoyed the points a little more. But then, on the way home the rain started. The April showers have extended into May.

The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, May 9, 2008

Pretty Ones

Minnesota tulips are blooming this week. While not competing with the Michigan tulips in abundance, they do exhibit some brave beauty. These are growing at Linwood Playground.

Flat tire. The same rear tire that went flat last week on KS's Bianchi did it again this afternoon. On a day when I hoped to improve my monthly mileage, we set out for Como and perhaps a lap or two around the lake. We made it across Summit before the telltale hiss of air escaping from rubber came from her rear tire. We walked it home and went off to the bike shop to find out why the previously new tube was now leaking. The bike guy was apologetic and fixed it for free. It was a piece of glass stuck through the tire and unnoticed the first time. KS is seen below, looking a little sad perhaps, but the tire is back to round and has been around the block a few times as a test of its new reliability. It put a kink in the day, but there will be others like it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Every once in a while a political cartoon will make me laugh out loud (LOL!). This morning the Strib featured this little topical beauty by their usual cartoonist - Sack is his name. He deserves a lot of credit for his sense of humor.

It was a coolish day and my outing was on foot again. Soon the weather may improve, if only the sunspots would start to appear on the sun. I walked by the baseball field at Linwood and a game was in session. The teams were about 4th graders, I'd guess, and they were in uniform playing what seemed to be a game that counted - notice the umpire. It's nice to see the game being played by kids and watching them do the same little things that I did at about the same age, but also realizing that they are operating with somewhat better equipment - metal bats and gloves that will actually catch a baseball.

I also stumbled upon several gardens which had blooming tulips. blazing red and bright yellow flowers, but I realized that my photos of tulips would pale next to those of the Tulip Festival going on downwind of here. The spring flowers are slowly appearing, but it sure has been a cold spring.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Little Maple Leaves

The backyard maple tree is continuing to leaf out. The tree thinks that spring has arrived and it is safe to green up.

It was a nice sunny day with a mild breeze. Tennis Dennis judged it to be in the top ten tennis ready days of the year - cool enough to be comfortable but not too cool. The sun was low enough in the sky to be a nonissue, so we played two pretty competitive sets in ninety minutes. Both Dennis and Jerry were there at Marie Park Courts, hitting little yellow tennis balls with each other on the other court. Dennis is about two weeks from his hip replacement and Jerry is reaching the end of his chemotherapy. They were being pretty gentle with the tennis balls, but were happy to be out on such a fine day in May. I pronounce them both hardcore.

KS went out for a run this afternoon. She motored over to the Cathedral and back, a fair distance. Then she went to yoga for ninety minutes this evening. At the same time Unky Herb was out biking in the city by the big river. It has been an active day in the T. Tousan household.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tulip Time?

It must almost be Tulip Time along the eastern shore of the big lake. In honor thereof, and the bright sun of the morning I present a mini tulip (MinniTulip?). It's brightly colored, but not likely to last much longer.

The rains began to roll in around 1:30 this afternoon. I scuttled my plans to bike, but thought that I could get to Minnehaha Falls to check out the collapsed wall along the creek that was reported by the Strib this morning. I was able to get KS to go along for an outing to the usually scenic spot. No sooner did we leave the dry comfort of the auto, than it began to drizzle. It increased in volume as we made our way to the falls under cover of umbrella. I was able to take this photo of the falls - the waters rolling merrily over the precipice - but that was the end of the adventure, to be completed on a day without rain. Somewhere along the creek there is a collapsing wall that I'll find and photograph.

The April rains continue to grace the days of May.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

Not Mexican Independence Day which is September 16.

I had another tennis marathon week last week. With USTA and Thursday mixed doubles I played 13 sets and a 10 point tiebreaker. It was a lot of tennis and I had to take Sunday off to recuperate. It was a good thing to do for my body, but it also meant that I didn't get on my bicycle. So far, Unky Herb has been doing the biking from the house where we live.

My main excitement of the day (other than the tennis at Wooddale) was a long walk to Kowalski's to buy tofu, onions and Matt's chocolate chip cookies. It would be nice if I could make it exciting, but it was mainly just a nice day with the temperature in the mid-60's. The chocolate chip cookies are very good and a favorite of KS and are also made of natural ingredients which meets the approval of the greens in the building where I live.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Package from India

The postman bought us notice of a package about noon with the other mail. Ms KS knew that it was one of the several packages that she had mailed to herself from Japan and India. We went to fetch the package from the post office, and this is the parcel they gave up. It's the one from India. Apparently when you mail packages from India, you must leave them for a while while they wrap them up in white cotton cloth. The wrapping is sewn shut and the addresses are written on the cloth. An interesting system.

I used iPhoto to mess with the image. I obliterated part of the address on the package with the retouch option.

I played two sets of tennis tonight with Jerry and the hardcore girls. It was pretty good tennis and Jerry seems to be doing well with his treatments. He has eight more days to go. I'm in the second day of a four consecutive day string of tennis matches. I'm already a little fatigued, but I'll get a good night's sleep and I'll be good to go again tomorrow.