Thursday, June 26, 2014

Flood Zone

The crest of the Mississippi is supposed to arrive in the Saintly City sometime tonight. Or maybe it's the first crest. That might depend on what kind of rainfall we get in the next three days. Rain is indeed predicted. I wanted to see how the flood was progressing, and since Harriet Island is in the flood zone, I decided to take a hike around the area this afternoon. I was out and about anyhow, because I needed to get a haircut. The island was scheduled to be the venue for the Taste of Minnesota festival over the Independence Day holiday, just over a week from now, but it was moved to Waconia. I can see why.

I parked my car and walked to the Wabasha Street bridge and entered the park from there. The signs of flood are obvious. People were wading in the river water on the streets leading into the park. The police were out, too, on their horses, to keep people of getting too close to the high water. I guess that must mean young people, because I was wise enough to keep my distance. This is the highest water level that I've ever seen in this part of the flood zone. It's still lower than the record 1965, but I didn't come down to look at it that year. I may have still had finals in my last year in college.

The playground equipment, at least a hundred yards from the river, is swamped.

The building where receptions and large parties are often held is under water.

Another view of Harriet Island, this time pointed towards downtown River City.

I walked back to the bridge and crossed to the downtown side so that I could get a good view of the condition of Raspberry Island, a place that I've often visited on dryer days.

The view of Raspberry Island from the Wabasha Street Bridge. It's nearly completely submerged.

A closer view of Raspberry Island reveals a snow egret or heron looking for food just behind the flooded pavilion.

The USA men's soccer team lost to Germany in Brazil today, but had enough goals to edge Portugal and get into the knockout round of the World Cup tournament. They looked a little tired at the end, but will get a chance to play another European power, Belgium, next week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dad Jokes

I've lately been hearing tales of aggressive red-wing blackbirds in the area around Lake Como, an area with which I have some familiarity. In fact I've been buzzed by them a few times myself. This morning, then, NCW and I went to see if we could locate the pests and see if they are as aggressive as described. I took my camera, but not my tennis racket, to record any bird who got close enough and moved slow enough to get into the photo. The racket would have been for defensive purposes. The birds kept their distance, perhaps respecting my age and size. I did, however, get a few photos, but not of birds. This one is from the dock on the far southwest part of the lake with the pavilion in the distance. The clouds were large and attractive and not at all threatening.

The Como pavilion from a slightly different angle than normal with the midmorning reflection appearing in the lake. We were closer here to where the black birds are nesting, but they were busy flying about getting food and generally socializing with their friends and seemed not to notice us. It was a nice morning and the day one of the nicer of this very rainy June.

Last night I had the last tennis match of the summer schedule for the USTA Super Senior tennis team that I joined this spring. It only allows guys 65 and over to play on a team, so there are only two teams in the twin cities area, or the whole northern region for that matter. The team won the match to arrive at a 7-0 record and a chance to get a free teeshirt with tennis advertising on it, and a trip to a national tournament of geezer tennis players next March in Surprise, Arizona.

"I sat up all night wondering what became of the sun, and then it dawned on me." PP calls this a dad joke. When she read it to me off reddit last night we both (and NCW, too) broke up.

Friday, June 20, 2014

High Water

This World Cup stuff along with Facebook are using up way too much of my time. I wanted to watch Italy play and then France played Switzerland. All good European teams. Italy lost to an upstart Costa Rica, then France manhandled the Swiss. In between the games I hit tennis balls for about an hour in the heat, came home to eat and then settled in for an expected close game. 5-2? That's like a 35-14 American football game.

So instead of watching the third game, NCW and I went to Harriet Island to see the high water. There were actually signs that said, "Warning! High Water." That seemed too obvious to need a sign. The sidewalk one needed to use to get to the sign looked like this:

The Taste of Minnesota, which was scheduled for the July 4th weekend at Harriet Island has to move. Harriet Island is too dangerous. The Mississippi is expected to crest this coming Thursday. This may be an excess of caution, but it is what it is. We've had way too much rain this year, a year which has turned out to be the rainiest year through June since records have been kept - 1871.

So it goes.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

High-fiving a cement snowman

It stopped raining for a while today. NCW and I took the opportunity for an amble around the neighborhood. We passed the school on Linwood that used to be the Linwood Open School and which has been repurposed to some other sort of school. They have a cement, white painted snowman as some sort of mascot. NCW saw an opportunity for a blog photo. This is what came of it. It's raining again now.

The World Cup continues to be exciting. Today's big match was England against Uruguay, two former champions of the tournament. It was good action and good futbol, and it looks like the England side will fall short of the knock-out round. I watched the whole game while the rain dripped incessantly to the ground. Reports say this is the rainiest June since the 1870's. And there are 11 days to go. But so far I've been able to squeeze in two tennis sessions for the week.

I decided to sign up for Facebook. I've been missing out on family news and health updates, so I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and see what happens. So far it's been a pretty big time waster, but I'm new to the game and may figure out how to maintain a normal life. Twenty-two friends so far. I think I'll be able to get PP and UH to join the fold, too, soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Walking Man, Blogging Man

I did get my cameras back and the batteries charged in the one that was dead. But I didn't take any photos. I'm using this one because I like it, it's pretty recent and it is my blog. It was Sunday when we sauntered around the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I've always liked this life size sculpture, "Walking Man" by George Segal. It was created in 1988 from a plaster cast of a real man and later recast in bronze. I've clowned around with him many times before, usually on Father's Day when my kids are there. This photo was taken by Unky Herb and used, I think, with his permission.

It wasn't a very exciting day today, but I did get in some tennis. The geezers were there at Sibley High School and as often happens we had an odd number of players. This is an artifact of the rule that whoever shows up gets to play some doubles. We have a plan for that happenstance where we rotate in the fifth player at the end of every game. We keep score in a way and everybody gets a work out and some time to work on their tennis skills. Today I was the old guy, and it was a trifle windy, but it was worth the effort.

Then I came home and caught the second half of the Spain-Chile tilt at the World Cup. Chili was ahead when I got home and they stayed that way in a game that Spain had to at least get a tie to stay alive in the tournament that they won four years ago. This time they're going home early. 2-0 for Chili. Then later I watched some of the Croatia-Cameroon game, won easily by Croatia after a Cameroon player was red carded and sent off. It was game number 18 of a 64 game schedule. There's a long ways to go before a new champion is known.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Peonies are in bloom

It's Tuesday and it didn't rain, at least not quite yet. I had a pretty good day, highlighted by a trip to Trader Joe's for provisions, some World Cup viewing, and a walk (stroll, amble, mosey) through and among the vegetation at Como Park. The park was last, thus clearest in my memory. I was going to take some photos and perhaps blog. My carry around camera was still at Adam's place, so I got out my Nikon, only to discover it had a dead battery. Apparently I forgot to turn the camera off the last time I used it and the battery went south. (It's getting charged right now) I had to go to my old Minolta Dimage. Its battery looked okay and I carried it with me as I and NCW took a ride to Como to have a saunter.

The only two photos that were good enough for blogging are here. The photo of me by the Schiller statue was taken by NCW. She thought she may have cut the head off Schiller, but I assured her that he's been dead for about two hundred years and it wouldn't matter.

Peonies are growing next to the "frog" pond near the Conservatory. I think they call it the frog pond. I know I do because there is an oversize frog sculpture in the middle of it. It's a good year for flowers, especially peonies, what with all the rain. It's alright to turn off the spigot now.

Unky Herb called while we were at the park. He brought my walk around camera and left it at my house, so I'll be good to go tomorrow.

So the World Cup is going full bore. I watched a very entertaining scoreless game tie between the host nation, Brazil, and a spirited and pretty lucky Mexico team with a hot goalkeeper. In hockey, and also probably in soccer, that's how you win tournaments, you bring a hot goaltender. I'm not convinced that Brazil can win their own tournament. It's a long tournament and lots of things can go wrong, but Germany, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, and Argentina are among the world's favorites. But they have to play the games and win almost all of them to be World Cup champion. As the Miami Heat knows, it's not enough to just have the best player. You have to have the best team, too. It's going to be fun. The final won't be played for almost a month, on July 13.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's raining again

It was a nice enough day until late afternoon. It's raining again now. I don't have new photos today because I left my camera at Unky Herb's place yesterday. So I'm posting a photo of him from yesterday and reminding myself to go fetch the camera. Herb was using his macro lens to get a photo of some small bug who was crawling on that rock. His focus and the camera focus were both pretty good.

It was a busy day. I mowed the lawn again, just the part that isn't going to be part of PP's garden of native plants. Wilderness, or at least wildness is going to be part of my landscape. Rob was here, because he and his men are doing some work for me this summer. He came to have a look at the first part of the project, a new electric box with breakers to replace the fuse box that has been here since I moved here 39 years ago. His men have a plan. He wanted to convince me that it would work.

Then it was off for some geezer tennis at Sibley High School. We had eight older gentlemen playing, enough for two courts of doubles. There was one guy older than me there, a retired English professor. The rest of the guys are in their sixties and retired. It was a very windy day and the Sibley courts are on top of the hill at the school with very little screening from the gale force winds. It's a challenge to play in conditions like that, but at least the rain held off and we got in two sets of pretty good tennis.

Then I came home and watched the USA men's representative team at the World Cup steal a win from a good team from Ghana. 2-1. The World Cup is just beginning, but it's riveting the rest of the world. I think I'm going to join in the fun.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day Number Thirty-four

As is often the case on Father's Day we went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The Pster, NCW and I (TT) met Unky Herb at the parking lot by the Walker Art Center. We ambled, sauntered, and moseyed around the grounds looking for new sights and appreciating the old ones. There were a few new sculptures since the last time I was there, and quite a few people viewing the art works. It was partly because Saturday had been such a lousy day that so many people decided to see some outside art.  The most famous of the art at the garden is Spoonbridge - a giant spoon with a giant red cherry sitting on its end.

The kids and I at the Sculpture Garden.   We were standing very near a rock-like piece of art made of metal.

NCW and I in front of the Spoonbridge with some Minneapolis skyline in the background.

I was having some fun with one of the sculptures and Unky Herb snapped a photo.

Then we went off to meet Ying and had dinner at Grand Szechuan in Bloomington. We let Ying order the food because she's very familiar with Szechuan vittles and we had a very tasty and filling meal.

A pretty good day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


About a month ago I thought that I had chased away the bunny that was living in my yard. He's been gone a while, but has been replaced with Rabbit 2.0, perhaps a relative, but almost certainly a younger buck. I went outside about five-thirty and he was sitting in the grass enjoying his meal. I took his picture and chased him a bit under the impression that I might discourage him enough that he'd move on. I'll see how that theory plays out this time. I'm not very optimistic, because there are plenty of others out there. Rabbit 3.0 and Rabbit 4.0 are waiting in the wings.

It was one of the nicest days in the history of Wednesdays. I played some tennis outside at Sibley High School with a few of the Gang of Geezers. The wind was mild, the sun bright, and the tennis enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Another photo of Minnehaha Falls

There have been several blog postings about the water level in Minnehaha Creek lately. I thought I'd check it out myself, and heaven knows there's not a better blog photo than Minnehaha Falls in full throat. It was as advertised. The water was high and the falls was loud. And there were lots of other citizens there to check out some of the highest water in years.

A view across the creek valley just below the falls finds a couple daring to venture out over an area that has recently slid into the creek. They're young enough to fully believe that they are invincible. I believed that about myself once upon a time, too, but my belief has softened a bit with age, and now I'm a little more careful where I walk. And once in a while I have my blood tested for glucose and cholesterol. I watched them for a while and nothing happened to them. They retreated to safety. And my recent blood tests went fine, too.

A view with the telephoto fully engaged gets us closer to the daredevils and the terrain where they are precariously standing.

We walked down the creek to Bridge 3 and crossed over to the north side of the creek. The water is spilling over its banks all the way to the mighty Mississippi.

Incidentally, the stairs to return to the top level of the falls  has 134 steps.  NCW counted them as we ascended to the top to return to the car and the drive home, stopping briefly at Baker's Square for pot roast pie.