Thursday, September 29, 2011

Bob's House

The leaves are turning to their varied colors as the season gets serious about changing. I took a road trip to get a better look at the state of the color in the northern part of the state. There are some very pretty sunsets in the north, too, so when one happened I took a picture of it. This one was on Swan Lake.

I was close enough to Hibbing to want to stop for a low key pilgrimage to Bob Zimmerman's house. I've been here before - I think for the last TRAM that we took - we being the team of Santini e Fratelli. Bob used to live on this street which has since been renamed in his honor by some of the city fathers.

And this is his one time home on Bob Dylan Drive. I don't think he gets back there very often, but Hibbing does celebrate Bob Dylan Days every year, just to honor a famous former resident and maybe to get a few extra tourists into town.

And since I've been in possession of these old photos from Santini, I should post one or two from time to time. This one is Lillie Miller and her oldest son, Tommy, in about 1942 - almost 70 years ago.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Not much September left

The trees are working on changing to the vivid colors that mean autumn is really here.  The statuary at Minnehaha Falls is still backed by the green leaves of summer, but the feel of fall is in the air.   I had a good weekend, exploring the parks that I've been to in the summer months and looking for signs of change - both in the great out of doors and in myself.  Hiawatha and Minnehaha in the park seem to have found each other and have arrived at a stable relationship.

My cache of new "old" pictures from my visit to Santini are scanned in and ready for display. The first is from the 1930's sometime. Lillie, foremother of a lot of my readers is standing on the bridge over the Yellow River in northwest Wisconsin.  I've crossed that bridge, or a newer version of it, innumerable times in the last 68 years.  I've even fished from it without very much success.

Another oldie from the late 1930's or early 1940's. It's Adam and Kelsey's "grandpere," Tom, in the great out of doors. I suspect it was a photo taken by Lillie on a warm winter day. I don't recognize the site, but probably in northwest Wisconsin, or the north shore of Lake Superior.  Notice - both suspenders and a belt.

The same guy in the same hat, doing some sawing with one end of a two man saw, I think.  I spent some time on the other end of such a saw with him in the 1950's.  However, when this photo was taken, I was not yet a gleam in the old guy's eye.  I think he's sawing up a birch tree for fire wood.  There does appear to be a gleam in his eye in this photo, but it might just be the angle of the sun.

There are more black and white's from Santini's cache to post, but this is it for today.

I understand that the leaves in the north part of Minnesota are about 30% changed to their fall colors.  Here in the south we are only getting color from the stressed trees and the reds of the sumac.   There hasn't been a hard freeze at my house yet.  My largest tomato plant is still showing green fruit and one a deep orange, which I'm picking soon.

USTA senior mixed doubles league plays tonight at Wooddale.  I'm scheduled to be playing with one of the hard core girls.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old photos

While I was visiting Santini in Michigan last week, she gave me some old photos that I haven't seen in a while, if ever, and suggested that I scan them into my computer and perhaps make them available for the rest of the clan. This is one of the ways I can do that, so I'm posting the three oldest of the photos. This has nothing to do with tennis, but I get to decide what I blog about and today it's black and white photos.

This is my grandfather, Richard Anderson with his wife, Hansine, and their new born daughter, who later in life became my mother, Lillie. I'm pretty sure it was taken in 1914, almost a hundred years ago, in a corn field on their homestead near Webster, Wisconsin. Notice the dog who seems to have Lillie's attention. Interesting stand of corn, too.

Also from 1914, a photo of Grandmother Hansine and Lillie again. It was taken by the bridge over the Yellow River at the edge of the farm where they lived. The bridge has long ago been replaced, but the river still flows there under a more modern structure.

The third one is Lillie again, now grown up, but still pretty young - perhaps early twenties - the photo is not dated, so it's a guess. It's a nice photo and it makes me proud to be her son.

I had to scan the photos twice because I chose some outdated jpeg format the first time that my iPhoto refused to ingest. A guy learns something every day if he'll only just take a few risks. I got it right eventually and scanned in 18 photos from the days before color photography. I'll be posting more as time goes by.

There is rain in the forecast for tomorrow, but the indoor tennis facilities are available again, so I'll be hitting forehands and backhands again tomorrow, somewhere in the city.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Sunset

The sunset last night will have to last for a while. We had our last mosey up the beach to the park with the tunnel through it and then returned for a last view across the big lake as our local star slid beneath the horizon.

The sky was very very blue in the hour before the sunset. I asked the group who sauntered up the beach with me to pose against the sky on the stairs to the top of the dune. Santini (also known as G'ma), Nicole, TJ and Adam (aka Unky Herb and Master of the Universe).

Another pleasant evening on the shore of the big lake.

Friday, September 16, 2011

There are some nice sunsets over the big lake

Michigan's cold days don't get quite as frigid as St Paul, but it was about 43 here at the beach this morning. Most of the day was spent with small tasks - getting a needle to inflate the soccer ball, kicking the ball around a while, and an recreational trip to D&W to get some vittles and olive oil. We also had a talk with the Daughter of Norway via iChat from her latest adventure in Norway. She had some stories of her audition for the choir at the grad school. She had to answer some questions, wear a funny hat, and at the end sing a song - her rendition of "Danny Boy." She seems to be thriving and making friends with international students from lots of the well known corners of the globe.

We had this sunset a couple of nights ago. Tonight we have clouds, so this photo has to stand-in.

Yesterday we were at Saugatuck Dunes State Park a few miles south of here. It's a nice wild, natural area with a mature forest growing on top of sandy dunes. We walked to the beach, about six tenths of a mile. Santini, Unky Herb and me. We could see Big Red, the lighthouse, far off to the north. Unky Herb is shown here near the beach dressed for the weather and with the necessary photographic equipment.

The woods provide shade for Santini. It was an area filled with oak trees dropping their acorns, and beech trees, some scarred with the initials of carvers from years gone by. It was a pleasant walk, sometimes through very sandy patches on the path, testament to the location on ancient dunes.

This evening we took a walk around the neighborhood. We ran into a guy who stopped us and asked if we were residents. Santini nodded. The guy said that he is renting a place here and was frustrated because he was unable to find his mailbox. Santini suggested that it might be among a cluster of them up on Orchard Street. The neighborhood is the kind where the trees and bushes might just camouflage a mailbox. He went on his way and we wished him well in his search.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Dancing on the Deck

I'm having a dancing good time here by the big lake.

Photo credits to Unky Herb.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Journey to Big Red

The walk down the beach to the state park where the lighthouse stands is often referred to as a "death march." That is an exaggeration, but today's walk to Big Red was more arduous a trek than is often the case. The wind at about 25 miles per hour from the north made the journey south easy. In fact I was feeling pretty strong as we walked down the beach. But the way back was quite a bit hampered by having to walk into the wind.

I try nearly every year to get the definitive picture of Big Red. This year's attempt has to overcome the disadvantage of a total cloud cover. During the entire hour and a half journey, we encountered not a single human being on the beach or on the pier by the lighthouse. It was just too chilly. We saw from a distance during the walk, two humans and two dogs - almost a shutout.

Santini joined us for the first section of the trek, but turned back when we reached the yellow boats. She's dressed for the day.

The MOTU (aka Unky Herb) was barefooted, but otherwise warmly dressed. He and I completed the trip, even so far as to go about three quarters of the way to the end of the pier. We stopped because the waves were breaking over the surface of the structure and we thought we'd get drenched if we went further. There were other photos taken, not reproduced here, of a turtle, sandpipers, and more gulls.

Here's one of the gulls as he hovered in the air, or at least appeared to, because his forward progress into the wind was completely nullified. It made photo taking a bit easier.

It was a pretty complete day entailing a trip to the Farmer's Market to obtain veggies for soup and a return here to actually put the 12 veggies and some assorted additions together in a tasty soup. Lunch.

Later this afternoon, the COTU and OSLO and Brad came for dinner and later still the traditional walk to the park with the tunnel through it. I even managed my own first run down the dune on the side opposite the inland sea. There is no video.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Eight Pounds of Apples

It's definitely autumn. Some of the trees, even here in southern Michigan, are getting reddish around the edges. Autumn also means apples are ready for harvest. We decided an outing to score some apples was a good idea. After a little internet searching we decided to go to Crane's Orchard in Fennville.

The young lady at the farm explained the process to us, because I admitted to being a newbie to her orchard. She let us taste the six varieties of apple that were available for pickers today and explained that we could get any combination of those types for seventy cents a pound. We tried a sample of each of the six. She gave us a large plastic bag and directions to the part of the orchard where we could find jonathans and blondees, our choices for picking today.

Here are my picking buddies posing in front of a tree laden with red ripe apples. Santini and MOTU.

The apples were on small tree and thus easy to pick. This tree was laden with jonathans - a slightly tart apple, but one that makes awfully good apple crisp.

We finished with eight pounds of the mix of blondees and jonathons. The blondees are a sweet eating apple. I don't think that I've seen them in the stores that I normally frequent in Minnesota, but I like them quite a bit. The eight pounds of apples cost us $6.01. A bargain and a nice adventure on a beautiful fall day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rosy Mound Park

It was a really nice day in southwest Michigan. I like to find new places to visit when I can, and today Unky Herb and I found an interesting and quite scenic park very near Grand Haven, Rosy Mound Park. It's not real large, but has a lot of wild area leading to a great view of the beach. It's set on a couple of high dunes, so the three quarters mile walk to the beach is very much up and down. There are a lot of steps to climb, but, unfortunately, I did not count them. This is MOTU at the end of the trail at the overlook of the beach.

There was a really nice sunset over the big lake just before eight o'clock. I took this on the daily walk to Tunnel Park - usually it's to watch the sun set, but I got caught up in the US Open men's final and didn't get an early enough start.

Just as I was finishing the above photo, a windsurfer got up on his board just off shore. He was nearly in line with the setting sun, so I snapped off a couple of shots. This is a little out of focus, but I kind of like the effect. The impending darkness and the distances made the focus unreliable, but it is a good image to sum up the day.

Novak Djokovic defeated Raffa Nadal to win the US Open tonight. It was his third major win of this calendar year.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Serena; Not a beast today

Sam Stosur, a fine Aussie tennis player, beat Serena today to become US Open champion. She was the first Aussie to win a major title since Evonne Goolagong. Congrats.

Just a few photos today. Santini and I did a bit of mugging for the camera and the result is relatively cute, especially for a couple of relatively aged siblings. MOTU took the photo.

The COTU were here today. We had a couple of jaunts to Tunnel Park. The autumn dune grass is somewhat modified from the summer version, with seed heads appearing and growing in size. These were encountered at the bottom of the dune on the way to the park with the tunnel through the dune.

These guys were my companions on the way to the park. MOTU (Unky Herb) was there too, standing behind me taking the same photo from a slightly different angle. Nicole, Nancy and TJ. We had a rollicking good time walking down the beach.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Serena's a beast

I'm about to watch the semis of the US Open on TV. It's Serena Williams against that cute Danish woman, Caroline Wozniacki.   As they come onto the court it looks like a physical mismatch. Serena is a beast.

The Master of the Universe (Unky Herb to some of his admirers) and I managed to get to Michigan this afternoon in time to be greeted by Santini's grandkids - the Centers of the Universe. Presumably the same universe. We had to drive through most of Chicago and past a bunch of those signs advertising fireworks sales at Krazy Kaplans. The best offer on the sign is "buy one, get six free) An awesome bargain.

The inland sea that is Lake Michigan was shrouded in mist this afternoon and evening. There was no sunset, but we walked to Tunnel Park in the fog, and scared up the gulls as we encountered them. The park is much as it was last year, although it is now September and the crowds have gone. The few people on the beach and on the dune seemed to be Hope College students getting to know other Hope College students. The photo of MOTU below illustrates the foggy beach area. He brought his camera, too, and in just an hour or so, clicked of 82 frames. It's just memory that he's using and it's easily reclaimed with the delete key.

This next photo is from our stop at the Shinyo-En temple in Chicago. MOTU is standing just outside the door and I managed to get myself into the frame for a two-fer.

I'm anticipating some good sunsets in the next few days. And a conversation with the Daughter of Norway tomorrow afternoon.

Did I mention, Serena's a beast.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Master of the Universe

Unky Herb has a nickname at work that I'm going to introduce here ... partly for variety. The software that he works on has been named "the universe" because it's big and encompasses all the software that his employer supplies. Unky Herb fixes that software as part of his usual job, so the other software guys call him the "Master of the Universe." It's always nice to have a powerful sounding nickname. I'm going with it.

This morning, the Master of the Universe (MOTU) went out in the backyard and began photographing his pottery. He just finished an adult education pottery class and brought the pots home to distribute around the house or perhaps to friends and relatives. There was interesting light, so I took pictures of him taking pictures of pottery.

This is his largest pot - a multi-mouthed flower vase.

The Master of the Universe taking a picture of the big fellow.

And this is the pot that I like the most and may beg for. It would be a good place to store M&M's.

Today Rich went back to Tucson, leaving a perfect day in Minnesota to return to the heat box of Tucson. But before he left we played some more doubles with the gang of geezers at Marie Park. We played a couple of sets and I took him to the airport - HHH, he was flying Southwest Air. As unlikely as it seems the indoor tennis season starts tomorrow night at Wooddale. I'll be inside at 6:30 hitting tennis balls in a windless environment. It should be easy and maybe a little more fun than bucking the elements.

The US Open was rained out again for the second day in a row.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Post Labor Day Tennis

Just to clear up old business, I'm posting the photo of the class reunion. It was taken by Enstrom Studios in Bovey, the same folk who did the Minnesota state photo, "Grace." Of course that was done back in the 1930's and the actual photographer of the reunion shot is different. The photo was done quite quickly - about forty were printed in about two hours starting from the time the graduates of '61 did their posing. Where's Waldo?

Rich is still in town and we were able to get in some high quality rallying on the tennis court on St Clair Avenue. We just smacked forehands and backhands at each other unmercifully until we ran out of steam and went home. Rich has one more day in the idyllic weather in Minnesota before returning to the much hotter Tucson. We're playing once more, the next time with the gang of geezers at Marie Park tomorrow afternoon.

Here's Richard after his stint on the courts this morning.

And a shot of Tennis Tousan. I had to crop the photo a little, and I probably should have done something to enhance the appearance of the old guy with the racket.  I'm still wearing the Santini e Fratelli bracelet, and still using my old Wilson racket.

There was no tennis at the US Open today.  They had rain all day.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fiftieth Class Reunion

It's been a little more than 50 years since I graduated from high school. The event was some time in June of 1961, and it took place in the field house of the high school in Coleraine, Minnesota, the home of the Greenway Raiders. This weekend about 40 of the graduates showed up to have a reunion at the Eagle Ridge Golf Course in Coleraine. In 1961 there was no golf course there, just a rudimentary airport.

It was a much better event than I had feared. Most of the people who showed up knew me, although with some of them I had to first tell them my name. Several were glad to see me and a couple even had stories about things that happened when I was still living there. Maybe I'll tell one or two.

Before the dinner I had a tour around the town looking for landmarks, old ones mostly. This is the sign between Bovey and Coleraine that announces the name of the town you're about to enter.

This is a house in Coleraine's second addition that looks like it has been well maintained and looks somewhat better than we lived there in the 50's and 60's. Yep, 108 Hartley. The kids in front are the newest version of the kids that live there.

In Longyear Park there is an American flag made of painted stones set into the hillside. That was there in 1961 and I think it is in better shape at the moment thanks to the current set of city fathers.

And the Carnegie Public Library, a historic building built in 1910 and still in use. I was there on a Saturday morning and it was closed, but one of my classmates who lives in Coleraine assured me that it's still open during the week. I once performed a magic act in the basement of the library, when I was in my early teens.

The reunion went well and there is much to tell. The really good stories may come out at a later date, but first a few anecdotes. Dennis Hershbach, one of my classmates and now a three time published author, took me aside and thanked me for some math tutoring I did for him in high school when he couldn't get the hang of some concept. Apparently I did a good enough job to get him through the class and awaken in him a love of math. He spent his adult life being a math teacher, and he considered it unfinished business to thank me for a happening that I don't even remember.

Brian Johnson, another life time math teacher - I think in Duluth, welcomed me by complaining that if it wasn't for me he would have had the highest grade in the calculus final. He was still unhappy about it Friday night, although I think he was really just kidding. Who remembers the results of a math class final for 50 years?

Caroline Gilman, a girl from Marble who now lives in Seattle, read me the thing I wrote in her annual (the Blast) in 1961, something to the effect, "You won't remember me in 25 years, so why am I writing in this book, etc, etc" Of course she still remembers me and we had a good chuckle over the quote.

And I'm including the pictures of the 18 members of the class of about 140 who didn't live to make it to the 50th anniversary. Nine men, nine women. A third of the cheerleaders and our homecoming queen. All were missed and were the subjects of much rueful talk.

The reunion itself was a lot of fun. Most of the people are 68 and pretty mellow. Some are very well preserved and a few did not look anything like they did in 1961, even after they said who they were. It was as though they had been stolen by aliens and replaced with an imposter. I make no lists of who was who, but I want it known that I didn't have to tell very many people my name, and I am still able to wear my letter jacket that I wore those years, even after it spent 35 years in an attic cedar closet while I was eating donuts and chocolate chip cookies at work on treat Mondays.