“Let’s Play Hockey!!”

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION ***

November 8

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Goaltending is a normal job, sure. How would you like it in your job if every time you made a small mistake, a red light went on over your desk and 15,000 people stood up and yelled at you?  ~  Jacques Plante

Up Next:

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MERRY CHRISTMAS 2016

*** UNDER CONSTRUCTION, AND LIKELY WILL BE FOR SEVERAL WEEKS  SO NO PEEKING! ***

As one reflects back on events of the past year, one would think that would be source material for the annual Christmas letter.  In fact, I have difficulty imagining another source.  This past year, as with several others of recent vintage, started in winter, moved on to spring, then summer, then autumn, then winter, again.  And yes, despite the continuing onslaught of global climate change (remember . . . it’s science) we will continue to receive snowfalls for the foreseeable future.

[And here’s “Mr. Science” now, applying the scientific method to the holes in napkin rings.  How did they get there?  For what purpose?  Were any animals harmed in the production of such rings?  Was NAFTA responsible for their foreign production?  The inquiry continues . . . ]

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[Finally, a little holiday toast to one and all!]

 

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.  ~  Garrison Keillor

Up Next:

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The Excitement That Is Alexandria

Over just a consecutive three day period . . . 

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[Photo from Explore Alexandria.]

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December 1

[What our venture to the Douglas County Historical Society annual bake sale wrought. (Of course minus two of the krumkake we already snarfed down!)]

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December 2

[Photo from Echo Press.]

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[A Christmas classic must see. The AAAA outdoes itself in costuming, set design, and . . . special effects (wow).]christmas-carol-copy

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December 3

[The Central Lakes Concert Association performance at the AAHS PAC.  I don’t remember what my expectations were . . . but they were exceeded.  A very entertaining show.]

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December 4

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[They just keep getting better! And when they began with “Mars, The Bringer if War,” it raised the hair on the back of your neck. Conductor Brad said you need 4 horns to perform this piece; the CLSO had 6 on this night.]

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After I die, I shall return to earth as a gatekeeper of a bordello and I won’t let any of you enter.  ~ Arturo Toscanini to the NBC Orchestra

Up Next:  Good stuff, hoping hockey, unless another snowstorm.

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“The Winter Sports Season Has Begun (And What a Debut!)”

WINGS UP!!

December 1

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And from swans to Cardinals . . .

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The game . . .

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[Buoyed by the success of the fall-featured football team, our winter teams take to the courts and ice rinks full of optimism and energy.  We began the home season with the Cardinal girls roundballers hosting the Rocori Spartans.  Always looking to the future we try to check in with the JV team.  Here junior guard Taylor Partington (5) and sophomore Matie Wirtjes (21) played a little catch out front while sophomore center Emily Jones (45) kept a close eye on the free throw line.]

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[Junior forward Emily Aker  (31) joined the fray on the far side.]

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[It’s a fumble!!  The JV, ala the varsity, seeks to create havoc with its defense.  Here freshman Ella Grove (51) and junior Francesca Palmer (43) buzz the Spartans.]

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[That action completed, sprint to the other end!]

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[Junior Flora Kvale (11) hounded the Rocori dribbler.  I know when I’m hounded, I tend to dribble.]

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[Flora kept pace as the ball moved into our back court.]

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[Ms. Grove stepped to the line.  Based on observations of first impression, she’s going to be a player.]

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[And here she attempted a drive into the middle.]

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[While the varsity took to the court for warm-ups . . . ]

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[I reeled in the final scoreboard for the JV game.  Well done, ladies!]

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[The varsity has high expectations.  Many seniors back from teams that just barely lost the section final the last two years.  We are preseason No. 2 in the state Class AAA rankings.]

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[It’s a good thing everybody warms-up . . . because everybody plays!  Substitutions are made on the fly, like a hockey game!  ;-)  ]

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[OK, everybody line up!]

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[And introducing senior Emma Ziegler (1) . . . ]

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[And senior Kendall Kohler (3) . . . ]

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[And senior Macy Hatlestad (11) . . . ]

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[And junior Emma Schmidt (25) . . . ]

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[And senior Kayla Feldhake (43).]

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[And Kayla gets the tap.]

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[Schmidty demonstrated proper block out procedures on a shooter.]

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[Pardon me.  Is this not the tango class?]

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[Guess not, huh?]

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[Kayla takes center stage.]

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[Kendall and Schmidty press the inbounds.]

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[Kendall was “3”-on-“3” with the Spartan point guard all night.]

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[Ziegy head manned as sophomore McKenzie Duwenhoegger (35) hustled up court.]

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[I told friend Brad Macy’s first free was off by a tad – it rattled the rim a couple times before it dropped.  The second one was pure swish.]

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[Senior Kelby Olson-Rodel (13) joined Kendall in the full court press.]

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[And again – it’s no fun trying to bring the ball up court against them.]

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[Macy joined the swarm!]

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[Then Ziegy and Emma – we have so many player athletic enough to play this defense.]

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[And ole automatic back at the line again.  She did miss one in this game – an audible gasp arose from the crowd?]

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[Kayla up top with junior Courtney Gould (31).]

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[Yes, Kendall has launched 3’s from there.]

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[Well hellooooooooo, Macy!!]

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[Senior Kiyana Miller (21) had a strong game.  When she’s on the floor with Kelby, they’re the “Whippets,” and with Kendall added they’re, “The Special K’s.”]

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[The ref directing the background choreography?]

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[Kelby at the line.]

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[They closed the gap a bit at the half – I believe we led 32 – 4 at one time.]

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[With the guards doing the brunt of the scoring in the first, it appeared the idea in the 2nd half was to get the ball inside to Kayla.  For the sake of balance, Kayla can, and should be, a double digit scorer.]

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[The paired guards, in their 4th and last year together.]

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[Well, I’m thinking a Blizzard after the game, with those crunchy colored candy things in it.]

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[I got it!]

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[At 5’11,” Schmidty is a tough defender at the top of the D.]

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[Macy and Schmidty move in for a double.]

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[Where’d it go?]

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[Everybody played, all 16 – the starters did not see the floor for most of the 2nd half.]

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[Senior Kara Thomson (23) may be our best pure shooter.]

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[And Kiyana finishing up.]

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[It really wasn’t that close.  I told Brad at the half (we had 44) we wouldn’t hit 70 – you call off the dogs and everybody gets playing time.  Good start to the year – and girls hockey, and boys basketball and hockey, have been exceeding expectations so far!]

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Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win.  ~ Doug Collins

Up Next:  Some more stuff.

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Thanksgiving

A real turkey!

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November 23

[The Super would like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving from the Itasca State Park hostel!]

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November 24

[Now that Jami is a full-time resident of Clearwater County, we decided to join her there for her first Thanksgiving at the Harn.  The Super and I stayed at the Mississippi Headwaters hostel in Itasca State Park, about 9 miles south of the Harn.  This shot from the lobby out at our car, which was packed like Jami’s truck the week before!]

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[The Super immediately located in the fireplace room.]

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[A wall hanging that has hostel written all over it!]

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[Our private room, though it could sleep five, with our own bathroom and shower across the hall.]

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[The all-guest kitchen – it’s a BYOF (the ‘f’ is for food).]

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[And please wash your dishes!]

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[After settling in, it was time for a visit to the Harn.]

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[This is right across the street from the hostel – convenient access to the lake.]

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[Driving out of the park – love it in winter!]

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[Lafayette, we are here!  Jami shows off the 32′ x 9′ addition to the Harn for the cisterns.  All water use here will be captured off the roof.]

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[The road in . . . ]

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[And the tall evergreens that were felled during the big storm on Jami’s first night alone at the Harn.]

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[“The Harn!”]

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[They’ve been doing a lot of work getting the garage/storage area in shape.]

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[The washer and dryer will eventually go in the house; the freezer will stay out here.]

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[And this is stuff!]

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[If the Super had one of these . . . ]

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[She would volunteer to plow everyone’s driveway on the block – at no charge!]

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[Lucky is acclimating to his new house.  I’m sure he misses waking “grandma” at 4:30 am for his feeding.]

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[The rocket stove, i.e., the wood burning furnace that heats the whole place.]

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[If you guessed the kitchen, you win a cookie.]

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[And there’s my mom’s old hutch that was given to her by her mother as a wedding present – so it’s about as old as I am.  (Grandma waited about 5 years to see if the marriage between someone from north Minneapolis and the other from south Minneapolis was going to work!)]

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[I believe will be the library/crafting area.]

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[The bedroom – you can tell because that’s where the bed is.]

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[Jami was planning on de-boxing and shelving all their books upon our departure.]

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[The rocket stove is the centerpiece of the living room.]

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[There’s the old front doors to our house.  Recycling is good!]

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[The recently added closet.]

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[The cistern room from the inside – must be heavily insulated because you don’t want your water source to freeze.]

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[The rocket stove still needs much more “cob,” the mud insulation that will extend all the way to turn.  In total Danny thinks they will have 3,000 pounds of cob covering, which will make it a lot more efficient and will provide couch type seating.]

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[Looking out from their porch to the surrounding woods.]

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[The mail box was being installed as we drove up. It is now officially “The Harn.”]

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[There are some marvelous vistas on County Road 2 between the Harn and Itasca.]

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[Back in the park, the Mississippi River.]

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[And Danny and Jami arrive at the hostel for Thanksgiving dinner.]

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[And so it was Thanksgiving at Itasca State Park.  And believe it or don’t (if you’re a science denier), there was one other couple at the hostel who were from . . . yup, Alex!  We did not know each other but had mutual friends. Go figure?]

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[Where they come to communicate with the world.]

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[Smile, Connie and Fred!]

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[With all the fixin’s!]

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[And Jami made an Elvis Pie!]

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November 25

[Hiking Itasca, to the headwaters and then Schoolcraft Trail. This is the first time I can recall being here with snow. So much nicer hiking without having to deal with heat, humidity, bugs, and crowds. We pretty much had the park to ourselves.]

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[Hi!  Here I am!]

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[Of course, it’s pretty hard to call it the “mighty” Mississippi at this point.  Maybe the “ambling” Mississippi?]

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[This trail wasn’t that easy to find – you had to go down it to a turn before you could see this sign.]

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[And now the wonders of nature’s artistry.]

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[A pretty big tree that looked like it had fallen not that long ago.]

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[I think the Super got her first cell phone signal somewhere along here.  Go figure?]

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[And the river with the lake in the background.]

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[Hmm, haven’t seen that photo yet?]

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[Lest you forgot, only one in 10 Minnesota Thanksgivings are “white.” I think Paul Douglas said that. So, this year was special – even more so with the return of the Minnesota polar bear, as noted by my track sighting while trail walking.]

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[Red pine . . . ‘cuz it’s red!]

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[And the entire red pine.]

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[And we’ve happened upon Lake Itasca.]

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[I thought it a cool tree.]

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[Are we lost?  We’d been on the trail for about 40 minutes.]

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[And now back at the headwaters.]

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[And the boat landing.]

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[Five more steps to a full gainer with one and a half twists?]

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[Views up and down the lake.]

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November 26

[Driving up to the Harn to say good-bye to Jami and Lucky.  We had never taken this side road 3-mile drive to La Salle Recreation Area before, so why not?]

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[There’s the lake.]

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[After a totally gray week, the sun attempted a reappearance late in the morning.]

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November 27

[Back home, an assortment of George Carlin’s perfect murder weapons hanging outside our bathroom window. The two on the far right are at least 6 feet long. Jousting, anyone? With the wind now blowing the hoarfrost off the trees and roof, it sounded like we were having a hail storm!]

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[With a nice hoarfrost.  Then 10 days after the big snow, it was mostly all gone after an all night and morning heavy rain.]

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The Pilgrims had amazing foresight to invent Thanksgiving and football on the same day.
~  Greg Tamblyn

Up Next:  Something for the public good.

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Thanksgiving (before it got here)

November 17

[On this morning, Jami and Lucky us to take up full time residence at “the Harn.”  I had to soothe the Super by reminding her they would only be two hours north of us.]

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[ . . . so she loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly . . . Harn?]

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[THE HARN OR BUST!]

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[Later the same day . . . ]

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[The Boys of ’65 got together for out monthly lunch and “I forgot all about that!” session – at the O-Town Tavern in Osakis.]

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November 18

. . . the day the Earth stood still!

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[Yup, the day before we had been in spring jackets in the continuing mild autumn.  So this 10 inches landed directly on top of as yet unfrozen ground.]

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[Beautiful, but still a shock to our yet unwinterfied senses.]

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November 19

. . . the aftermath.

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[It was a very wet snow and its weight turned evergreen trees into folded umbrellas.  Many limbs were lost throughout the area.  We were lucky the branches we still supple (not frozen) or we could have lost a lot more.]

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[Nevertheless, we did trundle forth that evening.]

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[The Cheese Bots were at SAWA . . . ]

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[Both guitar players are from Mpls and they said it was a tough drive after they got to Freeport.]

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[Hi!  Don David!]

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November 20

FOOTLOOSE!!

[As we posted on FB:  Jeanne and Ken Howell were sitting in front of us. At intermission, Ken just turned around and said, “Wow!” Pretty much sums it up for me. Kudos to everybody involved in this big time production! The kids never cease to amaze me . . . their singing and dancing are always beyond expectations, but this time even their acting really stood out. Word must have gotten out . . . this afternoon’s matinee appeared to be a near sell out in the 1,000 seat auditorium. Oh, and we must give a shout out to Josie Nelson, who we’ve followed since her “early” years and has been oft featured in my blog, for her eye popping performance as Ariel.]

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For those of you who cannot be with family this Thanksgiving, please resist the urge to brag.  ~  Andy Borowitz

Up Next:  Thanksgiving.

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“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Budapest” (Day 20)

May 7

~ THE LAST DAY

It’s over!  It’s done!  This is it!  It only took 6 months to blog a 3-week trip.  I guess I’m just slowing down my old age.  Hope you enjoyed the show?

[We left the hotel with Pam and Tom early in the morning just to say good-bye.  They were staying a bit longer, and at this time taking the train out to see tulips.  A bit later the Super and I would be taking a taxi to the airport.]

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[Good-bye!]

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[The long Minnesota good-bye!]

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[There’s their metro stop.]

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[Yeah, good-bye already!]

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[The metro map from our station.]

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[I have no idea where they were going . . . but I think they did, and that’s what’s important.]

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[Pam’s parting shot.  Good-bye!]

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[The Super and I went for a little neighborhood walk and saw a duck.  He didn’t speak English.]

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[We walked the canal path to the first crossover and then came back.  Pretty exciting!]

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[Back to the station just in time to see Tom and Pam board.  Good-bye!]

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[And before you know it, we were airborne.]

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[I’m not sure where we’re over here . . . but I can tell it’s land.]

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[We seem to be getting higher . . . and no, we did not buy any marijuana.]

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[Ahhh, the mighty Mississippi and Home Sweet Home.]

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Parting Shots

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[And thanks be again to our travel agent!]

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[We will feature here Pam’s overall trip photos, because on several of the occasions . . . I’m on the subject side of the camera!  Ha!  This will be a quick synopsis (OK, maybe not so quick) beginning with Budapest, our first dinner on the town.]

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[Then the day trip to Szentendre.]

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[We never met a wine cave that we didn’t like.]

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[When lost, follow the tracks!]

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[Then heading back to Budapest – with a sunburn!]

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[And a couple of days just roaming around “B” town.  May the art by with you.]

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[My lost watch was left right there, to my left, on the bench . . . ]

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[And just to the right of the Super.]

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[OMG, Kim Kardashian!!]

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[We’ve been framed!]

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[Stairway to heavenly.]

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[Eye on the prize . . . ]

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[Creeping down the alleyway.]

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[General milling around.]

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[“Budapest” . . . so our pursuit was successful!]

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[Came disguised as American tourists.]

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[On the boat, down the river . . . ]

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[Here’s lookin’ at you, kids!]

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[The professor and I share in the Medicare health plan doctrine that an older person should never pass up an opportunity to be goofy.]

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[Feed me!]

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[Appears to be Vienna but don’t hold me to it.  It was a long time ago.]

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[Always remove your camera over the top of your head . . . although occasionally I come close to losing an ear.]

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[Outside was too cold . . . we moved in.]

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[Oh, you silly boys!]

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[Oh, you silly girls!]

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[Vienna was the coldest day.]

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[This is all just so much fun!]

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[Little were aware that this gave me x-ray vision . . . ]

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[Time once again for brats, potato salad, sauerkraut und beer.  I love it!]

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[Leaving the bus for a walking tour of . . . well, I remember the place if not the name at the moment.]

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[Finally, an outdoor place to eat and drink . . .]

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[In Bamberg.]

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[Meanwhile back on the boat, no doubt discussing the relevance string theory in a world of cupcakes.]

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[We’re in a lock.  But they promised to release us when we got to the top.]

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[Synchronize your watches and be back here at the same time a week from Tuesday.]

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[Does your dog bark German?]

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[A tree hugger’s tree hugger.]

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[Little did we know it was a crime to hug a tree.]

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[Why yes, a burger and fries for lunch sounds great!]

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[In the absence of escalators . . . ]

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[Our destination induced bouts of acrophobia and claustrophobia.]

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[Brats, potato salad, sauerkraut, und beer . . . ]

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[The longer than we thought hike back to the boat.]

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[So, three Minnesota Democrats walk in to a bar . . . well, a wine bar . . . ]

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[Tom’s place of employment 46 years ago as a freshly-minted lieutenant.]

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[Front rows seats on a river cruise . . . hard to beat!]

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[ . . . and then the Hapsburg Empire collapsed.]

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[Mustard, please.]

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[All managed to escape the continent before Interpol intervened.]

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[Just me and my Mae West!]

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[Happy Birthday, Tom!  The Big Six Nine!]

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[All hail the Master Lock!]

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[Pretzels and beer!  Woo-woo!]

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[Brat and kraut!  Woo-woo!]

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[Until we meet again . . . ]

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[Watch out for the deer in the river!]

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[Amsterdam]

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[So, good-bye . . . from Budapest again?]

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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.  ~  Susan Heller

And always remember . . .

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Up Next:  Winter sports season or . . .

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