Dog Days are here again

The little bathroom is almost done.  The temps are starting to go down. We’re picking tomatoes.  The State Fair is just ahead.  Svea starts Kindergarten next week. Time to savor the remaining days of summer.

Here’s a photo from each day of last week.

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(8/13/17)  The tiny bathroom is nearly done, thanks to the hard work of expert craftsmen and artists (such as the one pictured here). It’s too bad there was no one around to hold that light for her.

Aug_14_17

(8/14/17)  Urban fishing at its best — Lake Harriet, Minneapolis.  What you may not know is that there are some very large game fish (Muskellunge) in this lake.  Watch the video below to see someone catching a Muskie in Lake Harriet.

Here’s a video of someone landing a 39-inch Muskellunge from a dock in Lake Harriet within the city limits of Minneapolis. Muskies 6-8 inches longer than this one are not uncommon here. 

 

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(8/15/17) No, the PGA Champions Tour was not in town. But Ron Julien was the coolest cat on the course today at Como Golf Course in St. Paul. Thanks, Ron, for inviting me to play!

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(8/16/17) Imagine the odds against being in my photo of the day TWO days in a row! But Ron managed to do it during Happy Hour at Barrio Restaurant on the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis.  Here, he reacts when Mary says, “Whoa, Ron, I think you’ve had about enough bean dip and guacamole.”

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(8/17/17)  It’s that time of year.

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(8/18/17) I tore my Meniscus for this photo of a Hibiscus.

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(8/19/17)  Sometimes those Groupons really pay off.  Osteria I Nonni in St. Paul is a fantastic Italian restaurant, and neither of us had ever been there before.

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Photos to take your mind off nuclear war and white supremacists

Here are my photos of the day from Week #32 of the year that Trump built. Don’t be fooled, we’re not immune to extremism here in the heartland, but it doesn’t hurt to take a little break from the daily news and go out and find some good things.

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(8/6/17) Rainy evening at Lake Nokomis

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(8/7/17) Reid Parkinson at the Nicollet Diner

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(8/8/17)  Barbara Shelton invited us over at dusk for a Mojito and some catching up.  Her backyard screened porch, now in its third summer, is charming . . . and it keeps the rain and bugs away.

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(8/9/17) Roger walks through wildflowers on his way from the tee to his drive (in the middle of the fairway, of course) on the 14th hole at Keller Golf Course in St. Paul. It’s amazing to think that Keller, a Ramsey County public course, was a regular stop on the pro tour for four decades, and even hosted the PGA Tournament twice — in 1932 and 1954! While today’s players disagree about some of the design changes made three years ago, no one disputes that this place is more beautiful than ever right now.

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(8/10/17) As a heretofore non-vegetable gardener, you can imagine how cool this seems. Right in our yard!  Things you can eat!

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(8/11/17)  Mark and Deb Frette joined us for some excellent Scandinavian appetizers at “Erik the Red Nordic BBQ and Barbarian Bar” in the old “Hubert’s” building across the street from the Vikings Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (Karen looked up from checking Facebook for a split second!)

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(8/12/17) A moment, Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

Last week is here already!

I posted 7 pics this morning. I have been behind in posting since April, and I thought time would never catch up with me, but here they are already — last week’s photos. I’ve caught my tail!

 

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(7/23/17) The “Southside Sprint” is a day-long series of bike races through our neighborhood.  It’s the second half of the Big Waters Classic, which begins with the “Rondo Rush” in St. Paul a day earlier. There are some very good bikers in these races, and it’s fun to watch them buzz around and around a 3/4-mile route near the 48th and Chicago Ave. area in south Minneapolis. At 2:30, there’s a kids “race”. My two intrepid grandchildren are seen above mentally preparing for the start.  Svea cranked around the course with the same game-face you see here, while Otto scooted his pedal-less glider bike while his dad ran along trying to keep up. Both kids enjoyed getting a medal at the end and were even more excited about the free water bottles.

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(7/24/17) Filling the ammo tank in preparation for soaking Gramps using the blue and red weapons in the foreground. 

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(7/25/17) Columbia Golf Course in N.E. Minneapolis

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(7/26/17) The Happy Hour group met at LUSH in N.E. Minneapolis this week.  Lori shows how she feels about Claire’s color choices, while Krista and Ron prefer to avert their eyes.

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(7/27/17) Life on the Mississippi

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(7/28/17) Roger is looking good as he hits his second shot on the 15th hole at the University of Minnesota Les Bolstad Golf Course.

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(7/29/17) Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis

 

Doug Westendorp – visual musings

My friend Doug Westendorp is having an art sale and book launch on Saturday, April 1st. He has compiled some of the drawings he’s done over the past few months into a coloring book. He’ll also have some of his other work available.

It’s hard to describe the dream-like images in the coloring book. An odd combination of adjectives comes to mind, such as whimsical, lonely, peaceful, and upsetting. If that doesn’t make any sense, it’s because these drawings are perhaps better contemplated than discussed. Each one is a meditation, asking more questions than it answers.

Here are some examples from this series of drawings — both uncolored and colored — by Doug.

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Doug has been making art for many years, as well as teaching visual arts at the college level. He’s also a writer and a poet. You might remember him from my previous post about his son, Aaron, and the documentary film I’m making about him.  Oh, and by the way, he’s also a musician, and some of his music will be in the film.

Artists, of course, work in different ways.  Doug tends to find a theme and latch on to it for a while, until he either exhausts his energy for it or is inspired to move to something else. Since getting to know Doug over the past few years, we’ve acquired pieces from a couple of his different periods of work.

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If you’re interested in owning something beautiful, made by a local artist (who also happens to be a great guy), here’s the info for Doug’s sale next weekend.  If you’re reading this after the April 1st show, here’s Doug’s website. He’ll be glad to meet you at his studio in Minneapolis if you’d like to see more of his work.

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This cut paper design from last year hangs in our dining room.

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Still life by Doug is in the eating area of the kitchen.

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Doug with granddaughter Ramona Rae and daughter Jill at a show of his work last summer.

The New Frontier Lutheran Radio Hour (you don’t have to be a Lutheran to enjoy it)

I want you to let know about something pretty great that one of my friends is doing.

Although I’m not a churchgoer, several times over the past few years Karen and I have gone to a Christmas Eve service at one place or another. This winter, we decided to check out Diamond Lake Lutheran Church in south Minneapolis. It’s a nice looking building overlooking a small lake, and we drive by it all the time.

After the service, we bumped into Graydon Royce, whom I’ve known for quite a few years, mostly as a golf companion, but you might recognize as a recently retired theater critic at the Minneapolis StarTribune. After chatting for a while about his festive holiday sweater and a few other things, he suggested that we come back in a few weeks, when he would be doing his monthly radio-style show during (actually in place of) the 11:00 service.New Frontier Radio Hour program (1) Knowing of his interests and experiences in all things theatrical, it shouldn’t have surprised me that he was doing something like this — but it did surprise a bit, given that he’s in the sixth year of it, and he hadn’t mentioned it to me before. Geeze, the stuff you DON’T talk about on the golf course . . .

We took Graydon up on his invitation, and were in the audience for The New Frontier Lutheran Radio Hour,  “broadcasting live from the Great Fellowship Hall of New Frontier Lutheran Church, on the shores of Emerald Lake, in historic Midtown, USA” (which, honestly, looked a lot like a large, multi-purpose room at Diamond Lake Lutheran, which coincidentally also sits on the shore of a lake in Minneapolis, USA).

The “broadcast” is actually a podcast of the monthly installments of the show.  Click here to listen to past episodes, going back to the first performance in September, 2011. While there are many other talented and hardworking people from the congregation involved, both on stage and off stage, the show is Graydon’s brainchild, and he is the host, writer, and executive producer.

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“Everett Erickson” interviews Rev. Jean Sidner and her husband, Art, during the January show.

New Frontier is part radio play (think Lake Wobegon, but with actors giving voices to the characters), part music (members of the congregation + guests), part interview (a different religion or spirituality guest each month), and part sermon-like monologue (by Everett Erickson -AKA Graydon).

Graydon and his troupe of volunteer performers manage to produce a professional quality show because they have a lot of talents and skills -plus the guts to get up on the stage and do it. They’re also helped by some financial support from Thrivent Financial.

The live performance each month is a kind of a big deal.  It’s clear that Diamond Lake Lutheran’s congregation is pretty supportive of it, and I have the feeling that many of the church’s members attend both the earlier service as well as New Frontier’s 11:00 show.

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Announcer Jim Lowry (aka Eric Ringham) introduces the February show, while a host of musicians and actors await their turns at the mics.

If you want to see the show live, here’s Diamond Lake Lutheran’s website.  You have 2 more chances to attend before they break for the summer months.  The next show is on April 23 and then May 14. Get there before 11:00. Of course, you can listen to the podcasts any time and make up the visual images in your mind as you close your eyes and sit in front of your grandma’s big old RCA radio.

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Now THIS is the way to listen to The New Frontier Lutheran Radio Hour!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Non-Blizzard of 2017 in Photos

On Wednesday, various weather predictions for Friday ranged from 9 to 24 inches of snow — plus high winds. Not only did we get zero snow on Friday, but at about 3:30, the sun peeked out for a couple of minutes. I’m tempted to say that the snow was knee-deep and post photos of buried cars. But I think I’ll go the other route and declare that the local weather forecast is fake news.

In other big news from last week, the President of the United States said some things that weren’t true.

That’s America these days — global warming and a (literally) unbelievable President.

Here’s a photo from each day last week — Week #8 of 2017.

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(2/19/17)  Ice fishing in shorts appears to be part of the new world order.  But I’ll take this over going swimming in a big parka any day.

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(2/20/17)  It was a rainy, yucky day.  It was starting to get dark and I didn’t have a photo yet,  so I decided to hop in the car and see what I could find. A block and a half from my house I realized that what I really needed to do was hop out and go for a walk — maybe splash in a few puddles with my mom.  It made a yucky day feel kind of happy.

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(2/21/17)  Here’s the highlight of my week (and the reason has nothing to do with the impossibility of hitting golf balls on a driving range in Minnesota in February).  Roger Buoen was out swinging his brand new irons 3 weeks after his final chemotherapy treatment. He’s been my life coach for a few years now (a volunteer position), but he’s taken it to a whole new level with this role-model, teach-by-example thing he’s doing now.  (Note: Please don’t show this photo to any law enforcement officers, however.  You’ll notice he’s hitting off the ground ahead of the mats, in blatant violation of the posted warnings.  But he just had to see how that new 8-iron felt off the turf.)

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(2/22/17) I just love this little old bridge over the creek near my house. (12th Avenue South)

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(2/23/17)  Surprise!!! Karen’s sister LeeAnn, and husband Tony, called us from Pepito’s Restaurant a couple of blocks away and invited us to lunch.  We had no idea they were here from their new home in Florida, but what a nice surprise.  They came back for nephew Chad McNiesh’s military service retirement party.

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(2/24/17)  Minnesota IFP DocuClub founder Melody Gilbert (standing, right) is back after living in Bulgaria for several years, and we’re all thrilled about it.  She’s an accomplished documentary filmmaker who takes the time to help those of us who are learning.  This group has come a long way since I started attending almost 11 years ago.  There are some top-notch filmmakers in the group now, including Jeremy Wilker (standing, left) who is shown doing a camera demonstration.  I’ve been an infrequent attendee of DocuClub over the past few years, but this meeting was great for me — I got some honest and helpful feedback on my project, saw wonderful works-in-progress by fellow video-makers, reconnected with some old friends, and remembered why I used to like coming so much. I’m already looking forward to next month’s meeting.

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(2/25/17)  If Roger’s return to the golf course on Tuesday wasn’t enough to be grateful for, Cindy’s invitation to dinner on Saturday was the icing on that cake.  It’s been a miserable winter for Roger and a very tough one for Cindy. It was great to see them laughing, and so nice of Cindy to cook a wonderful meal for us.

 

 

 

 

My first Photo-A-Day blunder of the year

Week 7 of 2017 was a great week to be outdoors in Minnesota. The weather was crazy-warm for this time of year, and I did get out and shoot photos every day (honest!). But when I went through my week of photos this weekend, my shots from Wednesday were missing!  I mistakenly erased a memory card before uploading all the pictures.  I kicked myself for a couple of minutes and then decided to get on with my life.

However, I am still going to post 7 photos – two of them from Thursday’s visit from the grandkids. So, everything is fine, and any illusions of perfection in my posting a shot from each day have been dropped.

(I really did shoot some photos on Wednesday, though — I swear.)

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(2/12/17)  Neva scores!!! We went to see good friend Neva Kueffer (celebrating with her stick in the air) play a game in her women’s league at the Augsburg College arena. She decided to give us a thrill by flipping one past a very tough goalkeeper. Female hockey has become a big thing in this part of the country, and these women are really good.

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(2/13/17) One of our neighbors a couple of blocks away has created a whimsical contraption in their front yard.  Covered by a cute canopy and surrounded by a colorful fence, this assemblage of little houses  has doors and windows that open and close, and lights that shine — all courtesy of solar panels (and some wind assistance).  It’s an amazing, beautiful little piece of yard art, carefully designed and constructed.  I’m mesmerized every time I walk by it.  One day I’ll knock on the door and ask to meet the person who dreamed this up.

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(2/14/17) Now this is what a principal’s office should look like — no intimidating big desk, just a little round table in the center and about six comfortable chairs arranged in a circle.  That set up tells a lot about my old friend Hernan Moncada’s management style. We taught together at Windom School in Minneapolis about 10 years ago (when he was just a kid).  Señor Moncada texted recently and invited me to stop in and have coffee at his school — Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion Elementary in Eden Prairie, MN. This smart, funny, energetic, young man runs a school with a population of 800 students! I’m proud to call him my friend. I hope the staff and families know how lucky they are.

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(2/16/17) We have a recurring role-playing game at our house that was started by Otto’s sister.  It’s called “Missed our flight and have to sleep at the airport”.   I kid you not.  I don’t think she’s ever had to do that in her 4.7 years of air travel, but Otto also loves to play it  — even when his sister is not around to make the public address announcements.

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(2/16/17)  She’s got style.  Miss Svea arrived wearing an elegant black dress (open in the back), grabbed the earmuffs from the wall hook, and made a bee-line to the front hall closet to find someone’s gloves. Earrings and pearls next time?

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(2/17/17) If you don’t understand the craziness of this picture, you’ve never spent a winter in Minnesota. Today’s high temp was 63, shattering the previous record of 55.  The average high for today is 29 degrees. We have virtually no snow on the ground . . . we’re biking . . . in shorts . . . in Minneapolis . . . on February 17.  

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(2/18/17)  One of the Twin Cities’ best kept secrets is the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, just east of the behemoth shopping center modestly named “The Mall of America” and just below the bluffs from a bunch of office buildings and a Hilton Hotel.  This refuge is part of a 70-mile stretch of land and river that is under the protection of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. You can leave the Big Mall or the MSP International Airport and in 5 minutes be walking in a huge, protected natural setting.  They have a great visitors center and hiking trails down to the water level. I’ve been here several times before with students, but a lot of Twin Cities residents aren’t even aware that it’s here and worth exploring.