Tuesday, November 30, 2010

November ends

It was a little too cold for much outside activity today, but I walked a little around the neighborhood. I thought that the state Christmas tree had been dedicated yesterday at the mansion, so I walked by there with my camera this morning, but I didn't see any sign of lights nor the guv.   The tree must be inside.

But I have some scanned photos from from 1982 from a vacation trip when Unky Herb was just about two. He's walking a while in someone else's shoes. Er, boots. It's a good enough to end a full month of blogging every day. Tomorrow is December.

Some more tennis tomorrow, too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shortest blog of the month

Rain. A lot of rain.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Salad and Pie Party

The usual after Thanksgiving pie party was tonight. We had three varieties of pizza, a great multi-veggie salad, and some tasty apple and French silk pie. It was a fun get together and we ate and talked for a couple of hours until it was over. It was filling food and there are even leftovers for tomorrow. We will gather again in December for a white elephant party, sometime after Christmas.

Next comes December.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Unseen in twenty-nine years or so

As the blogging every day month starts to near its end, I continued my scanned slide project. The latest group of slides was taken in 1981 and developed in 1982. I think they are around Christmas time. Everyone was dressed for a party, and we were hanging around home, so it must have been Christmas.

I'm enjoying rediscovering these images and remembering what everyone used to look like before time, the old bandit, did what it does. The first is a pretty photo of Santini.

And Nancy (aka OSLO) with her cousin Adam (aka (Unky Herb) when he was about 20 months old.  He is wearing lederhosen that his parents bought for him in Germany the previous fall.  He looks like he has just finished a game of dominoes, wherein he sweeps them off the table to the floor and someone else picks them up.  I wonder what ever happened to those lederhosen.

I should have done a "Where's Waldo?" on yesterday's scenic shot in Bavaria, although "Who's Waldo?" may have been equally effective.

I awoke in time this morning for the scheduled 8:30 tennis skirmish at Wooddale.  We played our 90 minutes and two sets.  My conditioning was better today after letting another day pass since the Thanksgiving incident of overeating.  Jerry was my partner and we both played well enough in spurts to be satisfied with the results.  After the match we sat around and chatted about water pollution (Jerry works for the PCA) and what we did for the holiday.  I mentioned the discussions we had yesterday about "What's the frequency, Kenneth?" and Dan Rather, but none of these guys remembered the incident.  I guess I'm enough older than they are that it made some impact on me.  Who would mug Dan Rather?

The long Thanksgiving weekend is going pretty well.  And the cold has abated a bit.  Must be time to have a few slices of pizza.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Ramblings

The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, named for the hope that the stores will sell enough to be able to get into the black - thus showing a profit for the year. I boycott this particular secular holiday, but not because I don't want to see the stores become profitable. It's just too early for me to start buying Christmas gear. I still feel like I'm living in September. So I played some tennis at Fort Snelling, working off some of those calories from yesterday and having a little fun.

This photo is to remind me that the ground has a layer of snow on it and it likely will remain for quite a while. The weeds that were growing on the fence have wilted and won't be growing any more this year.

The slide scanning project goes on. This photo is from a business trip that I took in 1981 to Bavaria. It was a Cray User Group Meeting and I was called upon to give a speech on the state of Cray's software. As I recall there was something controversial going on and I was required by my management to give several dry runs to be sure that I got all the wording correct and in the right order. As I recall, during the presentation the slides and my notes got out of sync and I was forced to wing it. There was a frozen moment or two when I searched my memory for the correct wording and the correct order. In the end no one remembers but me.

After the conference, we took about a week to tour around Bavaria and see the sights. This is what Bavaria looks like in several places. This area is fairly close to Hitler's Eagles Nest, but it was taken 29 years ago, so don't ask me for much more detail.

It's starting to seem like time for a pizza and dessert pie party.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


It was a great Thanksgiving day at Gino's. Emmy made the turkey, Kelsey made an apple pie, and the rest of us contributed in one way or another to putting on a feast. It was a cold twelve degrees outside, but the inside was warm and the odors were pure Thanksgiving. Another set of photos from the turkey cook can be found elsewhere on the inner tubes.

The turkey cook and the nicely browned up bird.

The hostess behind the table festooned with flowers and set to begin the feasting.

The turkey cook emeritus and consultant to this year's cook as he finished the carving up task, just before the real serious eating began.

And Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess as they awaited the onset of eating.

We ate well and had a couple of hours of good conversation, laughter, including some remembrances of the phrase, "What's the frequency, Kenneth" among other varied and engrossing topics.  What's with the French preoccupation with thumbs?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Old photo of Unky Herb

The scan of slides revealed this shot from 1981 of a young Unky Herb and his affection for hats. This one is a size or two too large for him at a year and a half, but he carries it off quite well.

The weather turned sour this afternoon just after I made it to Fort Snelling Tennis Center. We played some doubles, ignoring the outside conditions. A warm tennis bubble is a good place to ride out a snowstorm - at least for a while. We managed two complete sets. Bill, two guys named Dennis and me. Then I drove home in rush hour traffic. It took a long time, because the roads were icy and everyone was being careful.

I guess I'll be able to do some shoveling again tomorrow. Winter has arrived.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who are these people?

I found an old photo today as I was tidying up my desk. Apparently someone sent me this years ago and I hadn't scanned it into my computer. Since I've been in scan mode for the last few weeks, I scanned this one in, too. This time I used a flat bed scanner of some vintage, but it seems to have done the job pretty well.

The photo seems to be of a significant event, perhaps confirmation into church adulthood, perhaps a school graduation. In any case, I think that the two youngsters to the far right are my mom's Aunt Minda and her Uncle Jake, siblings of her mom, Hansine Hansen. I think it must have been taken between 1903, when they came to America, and 1913, when Hansine married Richard Anderson. And probably taken in Wisconsin within walking distance of Little Yellow Lake in Burnett County.  They are all dressed in their best finery.  There is also a display of photos directly behind them, photos that may give a hint or two who is here and what is going on.  I love old photos.  This one is probably a hundred years old.

Not much else to report today, except that I tried a recipe from the family experimental cooking blog - Wireless' Stuffed Acorn Squash.  I admit to taking some liberties with the ingredients, but the result was spot on delicious.  I think that the Prairie Princess, who also partook of the squash, agrees.  The perfect food for a cold day in November, waiting for the next ice storm.

Monday, November 22, 2010

This is not Hawaii

The Prairie Princess is back and nearly recovered from her minor case of jet lag. Coincidentally, my scanning project reached the tray when Unky Herb was last in Hawaii. I was there briefly in the meantime, but PP has been there twice. This is a photo from 1981 when we visited Anne and Larry Day on the island of Oahu. It is also the place where Adam took his first solo steps. He was about 11 or 12 months old.

Boy, was this a gloomy, gray day. It almost makes me want to write verse. You know, poetry. There are lots of words that rhyme with gloom, too. Doom, tomb, witches broom. I was outside for a while on a mission to the drugstore, on foot, but in the daytime. Little pebbles of ice were popping out of the air and landing on the ground. The sidewalks were a little slippery, but not like Sunday morning when my neighbor stepped out his front door onto the icy sidewalk and fell down right away. The rescue squad came, but I guess he's ok. Today was better.

My tennis experience last night was not what I had hoped, but it was enough fun, even though we were crushed by a couple of thirty-something players. It was USTA mixed doubles and there is no age distinction, so we did the best we could. Has anyone noticed how fast thirty-something guys can move? I did hold my serve twice (out of four), but it was not the sweetest of nights at St Paul Indoor Tennis. I'm just happy that I was able to get out on the court and compete.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nothing so interesting as toes

The scan of old slides in chronological order has reached 1981. That's 29 years ago. It was the first year of Adam's (aka Unky Herb) life and he was the subject of a lot of photography. I had a fancy filter on my camera that delivered multiple images to the film, and this is one of the images. Adam playing with his toes.  Ain't he cute?

This next one is later in the year. In fact I suspect it was Thanksgiving time at Santini's place.  DeKalb??  A lot of the familiar family faces are lounging about. What better opportunity to freeze time.

I'll be playing USTA mixed doubles tennis tonight at St Paul Indoor Tennis Center. It's Jerry's team and so far we've managed to squeak out victories. Tonight I'm playing in the number 2 slot against the other team's number 2.  It will be my third match with my current doubles partner, Kathy.  It should be interesting, but could end up finishing after 10 pm. So that goes.

Incidentally, this blogging everyday begins to wear on a guy. I need to come up with a photo or two and some verbiage for nine more days. Luckily, I have slides in reserve, and if push comes to shove, I have the ability to scan in old negatives.

The Prairie Princess has returned from the tropics. She left sunny weather to return to a place where ice storms are possible and occurred as recently as this morning. She arrived, chipper and feisty late this afternoon.  As luck would have it, I was able to avoid driving in the mess.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Another Interesting structure

It's always interesting when a structure appears where there was recently open space. This one appeared directly across the street from Fort Snelling Tennis Center over the last few months and seems completed. The property on which the structure is built is under the control of the Boy Scouts of America as of sometime last summer. They are planning to use the area for a "urban base camp" for city kids to experience some natural surroundings within the city, i.e. Fort Snelling State Park.

These structures seem to be climbing towers where energetic young guys can learn something like rock climbing.

Of course the only reason I get to this area of the Twin Cities is to play tennis.

The scanning of slides goes on, but I'm taking it a little slower today. There will undoubtedly be more postings as this every day blogging month grinds to a conclusion.

The Prairie Princess is expected back from the tropics tomorrow about the time the Vikings v. Packers game kicks off. I'll ask her about the full body scanning experience.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Summer of 1980

The scanning project is bigger than I thought, but I continued today to look at images from the past. These are all from the summer of 1980, in the period of time when Adam was an infant. There seem to be a lot of photos of him in this period, which makes sense. He was new. But I was surprised at how many of them were images of a naked Adam. It apparently was the style at the time. They most likely won't be posted in the interests of modesty.

This is supposed to be a tennis blog, so I'm posting a photo of Adam with my Pancho Segura Sweetspot tennis racket. Other than the facts that the racket is far too big for him and that it needs a restring job, it's a pretty cute shot.   I don't remember much about the racket except that it had a weird string pattern, with more string density in the center of the racket.

This is a shot in my backyard when Santini and crew were in town - the slide indicates July, maybe to visit the new baby, or maybe on the way to Deer Lake.   I sure don't remember.  Santini is not wearing her favorite red top in this photo.

And a nice photo of Andy and his first child, Vanessa. Thirty years is a long time ago.  I think they came to visit the new baby.

In addition to scanning slides, I was able to squeeze in the usual 90 minutes of Fort Snelling based tennis. It was one of those rare days lately when I've played well. And surprisingly, I was wearing the tennis shoes that I have been blaming for my bad performance on off days. It's certainly a puzzle. The weather outside managed to rise to about 39 in St Paul, but the weather prognosticators are predicting scattered frigidity for next week. And less daylight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Birthdays, birthdays

The weather has been chilly and not conducive to photos.  It's November.  I did have a walkabout around noon at Harriet Island including a walk around Raspberry Island. I didn't take any pictures, partly because I knew that there were slides that I had scanned that I'd prefer to post. It was about 32 degrees and windy, so I didn't do much sight seeing either.

The slide scanning project, ironically, reached Adam's birth, and on Totally Jammin's birthday (Happy 12th Birthday, T.J.). These photos, taken in April, 1980, were recording the events in Adam's first hour after birth. He's a little tired, I guess, but all the fingers and toes were present and in working order. This is another image that I hadn't seen in probably 20 years.  He kinda sorta looks like himself.

And this is Adam's dad in scrubs after witnessing his son's birth. I guess I was supposed to be of some use, but all I remember is participating in his first bath. And taking this and several other unposted photos.  Here I'm rolling in his bed for his first day in the nursery.

So much for birthdays.  There was also some tennis at Wooddale tonight.  I managed to get in quite a bit of exercise today, in spite of the coolness and the premature darkness.  My play was erratic, but we managed to win a couple of sets and finish in 90 minutes.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

High Tech 1978 style

This from 1978 when I was just beginning my working life at Cray Research. I was working on writing an operating system for the IO Subsystem of the Cray-1S (a follow-on to the Cray-1) - at the time the Cray-1 was the fastest computer in the world.  The Cray-1 is in the foreground.  It's the structure with the naugahyde bench.  My co-worker, sitting on the bench consulting the manual, is Dave Judd.

Another view of the computer room. The big blue boxes in the foreground are very fast disk units for the time. Today their capabilities in volume and speed would be dwarfed by flash drives that connect to your PC via a USB connection - available for less than $20 at Target.   At the time we were blown away by their speed and capacity.  The other guys in the picture are working at CRT terminals, probably making software changes to try to fix whatever bugs we were chasing that day.  Larry, Clay, and Don at the left with Dave in the center.

The slide scanning project turns up surprises every day.  I hadn't seen these photos in years, but I'm happy to have come across them and the images of my old friends.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Small Town Public Library

It was too dark to go out much today. Instead I continued with the scan project. I did have a fairly long walk in the late afternoon as the weak November sun was giving up and going down. I went to the neighborhood Trader Joe's and browsed around a little, ending up with some lentil soup in a can, some raclette cheese, and some Trader Joe's hummus.

This is a photo on the front steps of the Coleraine public library, taken in 1978. It's one of the 2,509 Andrew Carnegie libraries built between 1883 and 1929, Of these 1,689 were built in the USA.  Notice the required lamp posts, symbols of enlightenment, built in nearly every library.   There were club rooms in the basement where meetings could take place.  There were parties and dances here and as a child I remember that I participated in a magic show, where I did magic tricks for some of my dubious friends and classmates. I must have been about ten.

It also had books, and I used my library card pretty often to borrow books for school and for recreation when times were slow - like in the late fall when the light was beginning to fail.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The lakes are still ice free

It's the Ides of November and there is a layer of fresh snow on the ground. It's not cold enough yet to completely hunker down, and I needed some exercise after tussling with the slide scanning project. Incidentally, I'm on box 17 of the possible 37. This one records 1978. I took a break and went for a walk around Lake Como, one of my favorite destinations. The water has not yet solidified and there were ducks swimming about, not yet convinced that it was time to mosey off to a better climate. It was overcast and calm so the lake was allowing a nice mirrored effect to photos. This is representative.

And, yes, the slide scanning project continues. I uncover photos I haven't seen in a decade and I find them every time I start a new box of slides. This is from a trip to DeKalb to visit Santini and family in the summertime. It's remarkable how young we all were in 1978.

And another team picture, a reasonably upbeat photo of a kid's football team, the members of which think of themselves as number one. I think they may have won the league championship. I suspect that one of the coaches has a better memory about the team's results than I. I was serving mainly as team photographer that year, as I recall.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Princess goes west ... at last

I had to get up early this morning to drive the Prairie Princess to the airport. Her delayed trip to the tropics resumed this morning at 7:55 and she is likely not yet at her final destination. The last I heard she was in Chicago, actually on a plane about to depart for Honolulu. She's staying at a hotel in Kauai, and maybe tomorrow spending a couple of days with my old college roomo, Larry Day, who lives there. I expect there will be fun and playing in the surf. There may be access to photos when she returns, too.

Me, I stayed home and coped with the snow emergency. I shoveled some slush as did Unky Herb to make the garage accessible. PP's car had to move to let the plows come through and I am the temporary keeper of her car keys. I think this snow is going to melt this week, so they probably could have skipped plowing and saved some money. So it goes.

The slide scanning continues. My scanned photos of the day include slides from an Anderson family reunion in 1978. I think it was at Yellow Lake. Some of the attendees may remember better than I do. The first shot is Aunt Louise. Dad once said in my earshot that she was his favorite of Mom's siblings. I liked her quite a bit myself. She, like the others of her generation in our family, has gone, as they say, to a better place. But 32 years ago she was going strong and here cutting cake.

A group photo of most of the attendees at the reunion. I recognize most of them, although they have changed mightily in the intervening 32 orbits of the sun. See if you can find Waldo, or maybe Santini.

I watched a bit of football and completed a couple of crossword puzzles today. It qualifies as a down day and a chance to recharge the batteries for the week. Oh, and I took a nap to catch up on the sleep that I missed when I got up at 5:15 am to get PP to the airport.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The first snowfall is the worst

Reality arrived this morning. While not actually winter by the calendar, it is the winter season in Minnesota and days like Tuesday when it was 65 degrees are odder than days like today when a snow event clogs the St Paul streets. I took this photo this morning and went off to Wooddale to play tennis. The usual suspects arrived on time and we played two and a half sets, 1-6,6-3,3-3. It was warm inside and slushy snow outside. I forgot that my snow scraper was in the garage at home so I had to clear the windshield by hand. I had gloves.

The first snowfall is the worst. But now we know that winter is here and it's time to hunker down.

PP's trip to the tropics was pushed off a day. Her plane couldn't get out of here in time to make her connections, so she's leaving tomorrow morning, again. Her shot at fresh pineapple will wait a day. Somebody owes her a day in Eden.

Another photo from 1977. We visited Coleraine that summer and this spot is iconic to my youth. At the top of this set of steps on a very cold winter day when I was about seven, I tried licking the railing and found that my tongue would stick to metal when it was that cold. I survived, as did my injured tongue, but I learned at least a minor lesson that day - keep a civil tongue in your mouth. Or something.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving is rolling around again soon

As the first snowstorm of the season begins to bear down on our fair state, I continue the slide scanning project. I'm still in 1977, apparently a very busy year. It's tray number 15. I think that Thanksgiving was at my house and that Santini and family attended, probably leaving as a snowstorm, much like the current one, began to approach from the west. This is just one of the photos that made me think that Thanksgiving was here. There is also one, not as pretty a photo, but a historic one with John playing the board game, Clue, in the middle of my living room with his kids. It's available for the curious.

This was just 33 years ago.  But more like it was yesterday.  They sure seem like they were having some fun in my living room.

And another photo from 1977. Gino was coaching some kid football players in Highland-Groveland Rec. Assn. (HGRA) along with BIll Nagel and I helped out a bit, too - mostly doing team photos and serving as a blocking dummy. This is the team photo from one of the teams, the 1977 team. I don't remember much about the team or its record, but I suspect they did reasonably well. Gino and Bill always got their attention and they liked playing for their coaches. Maybe Gino still has the stats and the team record.

It's Friday and the summer-like weather is gone. It feels like fall, perhaps the only day of fall before winter sets in tomorrow. I played some tennis at Fort Snelling at around one p.m. I'm starting to get warn down this week for some reason. Maybe it's the new tennis shoes. It was competitive again - two Denis's, a Bill, and me played two sets in 100 minutes and then called off the jam. We even shortened the second set and played the tie breaker at 5-5 so we could finish and go have a sit down.

PP is off on a vacation tomorrow - going to Kauai for a week, where Larry lives - to get some sun, visit Larry and Anne and learn to surf. I'm hoping she brings back some of that tasty pineapple when she returns.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November eleventh

There is a danger of showing up at the Mayflower in 1977 when I'm around with a camera. Your photo may be posted on my blog 33 years later without warning or permission. That's what's happening to this young lady. She came with her parents and wasn't warned of the dangers. I'm sure Nancy can handle the notoriety, maybe even enjoy it.

This project to scan in old slides is fun and sentimental all at the same time. Thirty-three years pass in the twinkle of an eye it seems and I wonder how we could have reached this age and this year in history. The slides are mostly scanning pretty successfully, with some tweaks from the iPhoto software, but some not so much. I have been able to save some that had subjects who were too far away, with judicious use of the "crop" function.

This is Mr Moohoo and BB, also at Deer Lake in 1977. Moohoo was still exhibiting longer hair style which was the fashion at the time - or maybe a badge of honor. They seem to be having some fun.  They sure look young.

There was tennis at Wooddale tonight. Jerry and the hardcore girls in mixed doubles. We split the first two sets 3-6, 6-3, and were nearing the end of the third when the court time expired. I was a bit off my game, so I took my anxiety to Yang's and ordered some Singapore Rice Noodles - extra mild.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tousan Predicts

The humble prognosticator, Tousan the Correct, has two predictions:

1) There wil be no more days in Minnesota with temperature above 65 degrees until at least March 1, 2011.
2) Mark Dayton will win the governorship of Minnesota by more than 5000 votes.

I continued the slide scanning project today. It's going a little faster, although today there was an unexpected glitch when the scanner froze and had to be restarted. I think it was bad software.  Today I scanned almost all photos from 1977 - 33 years ago.  33 years ago, the person on the left in the photo was exactly half of her current age, unless my brain's math processor is experiencing some sort of software glitch.

This photo is from the summer of 1977. I took it of an attractive group of very, very young folk at a now defunct resort on Deer Lake near Grand Rapids, Minnesota.  Names: back row: Sylvi, Mary, Barb, Gino, John.  Front row: Johnny, Nancy.  Regular readers will recognize all of them.

I played tennis again today, too.  I have no statistics about the number of sets or games I've played, but it's has been a wheel barrow full.  Today, the players were the geezers at Fort Snelling where we played two 6-3 sets in 90 minutes.  And we decided that we are likely to attend, as a group, a tennis exhibition at Fort Snelling in December featuring the Bryan Brothers, twin brothers who constitute the best doubles team in the world.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snelling Lake with the Princess

It was 68 degrees on my car thermometer as I drove with the prairie princess for a walk in the big state park. Maybe the nicest day of the month and the last time we'll see temperatures over 68 until maybe March. We walked around Snelling Lake, the lake nearest the Fort Snelling State Park entrance that lies in the flight path for the Twin Cities Airport - the Lindbergh one. PP said that she liked to be on top of things so I took her picture on top of this boulder. We didn't know what sort of rock it is, but PP thought there might be a geologist or at least a faux geologist among the readers who could make the call. It looked like old lava to me.

The slide scanning continues. I'm up to 1977 and found some gems, some of which I'll save for other occasions. This was a Miller family reunion and features the remaining siblings of my dad.  From the left: John Miller, Betty Riehle, and Jane Brockett.  I think it was taken in White Bear Lake where Betty used to live.  John was the youngest and also best man at my parents' wedding in 1940.  Betty was the next to youngest and her kids still live in the St Paul area.  Jane, the fourth child, lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for much of her life, but retired to St Petersburg, Florida, where I last saw her.

More tennis tomorrow.  It may even be possible to play outside, but the weather is expected to start to head down towards the normal range later in the week, and I expect we'll continue to play in the bubble at Fort Snelling.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sixty-four freaking degrees

This November is turning out to be one for the record books. My car thermometer registered 64 several times this afternoon, all the while the radio was broadcasting 62. I don't know which is right, but it doesn't really matter. About noon I decided that it was nice enough for a long walk in a state park. Afton State Park is not far away by auto, and it lies on the border of Wisconsin on the St Croix River. It also has the virtue of having a prairie restoration project. I though I could get the Prairie Princess to go along, but she had some work to do and begged off. Did I say it was a beautiful day?

This map has a "you are here" sticker, so it seemed like a good subject for a blog photo. I took the photo after more than half of my trek was completed. I spent an hour an a half strolling through the prairie and the forest at the edge of the river. November photos are relatively colorless, but it's November and it's what we have.

This gives a pretty good view of the Afton visitor center with a stretch of restored prairie in the foreground. It was a good day to be in the state park and there were some other walkers and a couple of runners that I encountered on the way.  They were all friendly and seemed to be enjoying an outstanding November day.

For part of the way the trail went through a red pine forest. I think red pines are what I knew as a child as Norway pines. At least that's what Grandpa Anderson told me they were.  This part of the park was part of a farm for about sixty years and was donated to the state in about 1985.  I guess it wasn't very good farm land.  Too hilly.

When I got home from trekking, I was so hungry that I made my newest coleslaw recipe, which I promise I'll post on the family cooking blog soon, and was convinced by the aforementioned princess to make a stir fry from our stash of leftover rice and various other veggie ingredients that we keep around for such hunger events. I guess I don't have a recipe for this one. It always depends on the type and amount of the various ingredients, but always includes some mild curry paste I discovered a while back, ginger, and some favorite stir fry sauce. And eggs.  She chopped.  I fried.

Tomorrow is expected to be another day of sixty-four freaking degrees.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Old and Wrinkled

PP carved a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. Its days are numbered. The pumpkin has developed major league wrinkles. I took his picture before placing him gingerly in the garbage. His work here is done. Halloween is gone.

After watching the Vikings and Brett Favre work some uncommon magic this afternoon, I got myself ready for USTA tennis action at the University of Minnesota tennis center in Ridder Arena. I once again had to play the number one position against the best team of the opponents. We lost a couple of close sets 6-7, 4-6, but the two and three positions prevailed and the team as a whole remains undefeated. This is a photo of the court on which we played. It was taken before our match, and the mixed team on the far side were the team we played two weeks ago.  The U courts are nice, but the surface is a little slow and it often puts off my timing a bit.  No excuses, we could have won.

It was a nice day outside, too.  Our string of exceptional weather continues.  It hovered in the sixties in mid afternoon.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unusually nice for November

Saturday is usually quite busy around here. Even as a retired guy the activities I participate in rely on the presence and influence of people who actually do productive work. I play early Saturday morning tennis at Wooddale. By early, I mean that we are on the court at 8:30 am. I'm not sure whose idea it was to start then, but the die seems to be cast. Jerry and I were partners today and we both started pretty slow. He was tired and me, well I'm a little bit older and hard to get started. We lost the first set 6-2 and then rallied to win the second 6-3. We played a partial third set, but the next occupants of the court wanted their time and we quit, essentially tied.

The weather was clear and cool, but was warming up and the wind was beginning to blow a little. After some lunch (three bean salad) I went to Como Park to enjoy the afternoon. I think I've photographed everything of interest on the lake circumnavigation, but I took one more shot, partly to demonstrate the weather and partly to have a photo to post here. There were also some ducks and geese hanging around the water's edge - mallards and teal - plus some Canada geese, the scourge of golf courses and other manicured lawns. There were also an unusual number of walkers by the lake, enjoying one of the last nice days before the winter chill sets in.

Unky Herb and the Prairie Princess were around some in the afternoon. We rustled up some tasty vittles for dinner - my new favorite, chicken Marsala and Santini's version of oven baked yams from the Experimental Cooking Blog.  I may yet post the chicken Marsala recipe.

The slide scanning project continued.  I'm up to the spring of 1977.  This box of slides contains photos taken on a vacation to the Yucatan in Mexico.  I'm only scanning about 12 slides from each box at the moment, but it's still a pretty big task.  It's fun and oddly sentimental.  I find it hard to believe that I was once this young.  I chose this photo to represent the trip, partly because it's at the Mayan ruins at Uxmal and partly because it's one of the last photos that I've found wherein I'm sans mustache.  I almost don't recognize this guy.

I don't have that hat or that shirt any more.  Or the gold ring on my left hand.  Changes happen.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Pike Island, where the rivers merge

I hadn't been to Pike Island since the fall flood. Since I had a tennis off day and since it was 45 degrees and sunny, I decided to have a walk in the woods.  Pike Island is the woods, too, and there is a herd of white tailed deer that overpopulate the area and it's always nice to catch a glimpse of one of them bouncing through the underbrush.  The map below places Pike Island between St Paul and Minneapolis, just where it actually is, and at the confluence of the Minnesota (to the south) and Mississippi Rivers.  It's part of Fort Snelling State Park, and, I think, run by the DNR.

There are several benches by the Mississippi with a clear view of the running water and whatever flotsam and jetsam are floating by. I stopped here for a photo and a short sit down. It was a brisk day, not windy on the island, a fine day for glimpsing deer. I actually encountered an antlered buck on my journey, but he was far enough off and moving fast enough that I was unable to get a satisfactory photo of his magnificence. There will be other days.  And other bucks.

As you can see there was standing water in places on the island. The trees seem acclimated to sitting in water for long periods of time and still are able to thrive. There was soil and other debris deposited on the ground, left over from the flood waters, and they gave some areas a definite drab appearance.

There were a few other hikers taking in the natural settings - maybe five or six of them. I went by the flood pole, too. It is marked for the high water marks in each of the major floods since white folks have been living in the area, back to the early 1800's. The top mark is 1965, followed by 1952 a couple of feet lower. Someone, a volunteer or a DNR person has marked this year's flood (2010) above the 1952 mark and about half way up to 1965. The water has come down a long way since then, probably due to one of the driest Octobers on record in these parts.

It was an educational walkabout, and it made me hungry for three bean salad, my own favorite recipe. I came home and whipped up a batch for enjoyment the next few days.