Friday, September 30, 2011

Hand-Rolled Butter. Co-op's Finest.

We were food-shopping at Lakewinds Co-op the other day.  Love that place: the unfamiliar brands, unusual packaging, great graphics, the "you must try me now" appeal of so many items on the shelves.

I mean, check this out:  hand-rolled butter.  Can you imagine?  Don't you want to slather a whole loaf of peasant bread about a half-inch think with this yummy, natural, organic goodness?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Baker Park Biking - Great Day to Ride!

Chris, jess, Diver and I took a tour of the park path this afternoon.  What a great day for a ride!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Phil Builds Frame for Judy's Mom's Art.

While best friend bicycle frame builders (like Alex Cook, see photo that follows) are working their magic, old pal Phil is creating his art at Fast Frame in Wayzata. Check this successful artisan/businessman at work above.

Nancy and I have taken a number of pieces of art, photos, memorabilia to Phil's shop to be framed; we've hung them in a place of prominence in our home.  Phil is a great craftsman, with good taste and perspective, and an eye for color and composition.

Our friend Judy O gifted us with a painting that her octogenarian Mom has created.  Really special, we must say.  We entrusted it to Phil to frame-up, and should have the piece on the wall in about 10 days.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A-Train Handcrafted Cycles. Alex Cook, Builder.

I should have pedaled to the Minnecycle Framebuilders Collaborative  Display this evening. Instead I drove the KIA to Vine Arts Center on 27th Ave. S and 26th Street.  And there I saw THE best looking, coolest custom-built bikes on the face of the earth.

Twelve designer/builders in all. Gorgeous, exquisite and spendy bikes and frames. Fixies, commuters, mountain bikes, randonneurs, even a unicylce!

I met young builders, like Alex Cook of A-Train Cycles, who is just about to hang out his shingle full time, but didn't mind posing for a goofy foto for PPV.

Curt Goodrich told me he'd been at it for 16 years -- "still standing," as he put it. "Not so much hair as before, but I've been able to make a living at it."  And what incredible machines he delivers to bike aficionados all over the country.

The show goes on tomorrow nite, 9/24. and/or if you get the chance to check it out.

Harley Charlie at the South Rim.

My son-in-law, "Harley Charlie," just returned from a 3-day, 1200 mile western cycle road trip. He and four fellow pilotos flew into Phoenix, rented their Hogs, headed to the Grand Canyon, and slowed down long enough to get a snap shot of Charlie standing as close to infinity as I'd ever want to get!  Charlie promises to fill in the details soon; you'll know more, dear reader, as soon as I do!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inside the Kenwood Cafe.

My buddy Claire Lewis and I were solving the world's problems over coffee this morning at Kenwood Cafe on W. 21st St. in Minneapolis. Far reaching chatter covered politics, investing for the future, state of the magazine biz (where Claire and I worked together for 10 years), online media, friends we have in common, kids, parents, grandkids, etc.   Nice lady, nice place that Kenwood.

I stayed behind after Claire left to check e-mail and take a foto or two ... including this one of the counter action, chalk board menu, and some of the habitues who come to Kenwood for the "Puppy Dog Tail" cinnamon breakfast pastries, toasty warm and dripping in vanilla icing.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Did They Ban "James + Giant Peach?"

Breaking news (I think).

If you believe the sign and titles on display in the Plymouth Library, some iconic books may be banned from enjoyment by young Minnesota readers.

James + The Giant Peach, To Kill A Mocking Bird, and one of many coming-of-age novels by Judy Blume.  All of these appear to be off-limits.


I need to learn more. Will investigate more.  In the meantime I've read that Slaughterhouse Five is out of circulation in at least one school library in Missouri.  And I'd bet the late, great  J. D. Salinger would be appalled to know his Catcher in the Rye is again the target of moral and cultural thought police.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dunn Bros., Plymouth: Awesome People!

If you want to know why some java joints succeed, some do just so-so, while some knock it out of the park, look no further than the counter.

It's ALWAYS the people that make a place like Vicksburg Dunn Bros. a winner.

And, speaking of winners, let me tip my Infinity Black iced coffee pint glass to my fave bean, counter, and yummy breakfast burrito bunch.

(L-R): Jocelyn, Kevin, Dawn, and Danielle at the register.  Michael was pulling shots for the drive in customers when i took this.  Owner Bill was watching some beans roast.

I must hit this great shop 4 days a week. Maybe more.  The coffee is excellent, the ambiance perfect for my taste but mostly it's the folks who work there who keep me coming back.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hand-Made Pastels: Get 'em at St. Paul's Wet Paint.

Did you know that as few as ten companies world-wide make all the pastels used by artist all over the globe? Only 10 companies serving seven billion people!  And I met Darren Richeson the main man at the leading pastel manufacturer and importer today at Wet Paint in St. Paul.

Unison is the brand.  And Jack Richeson & Co. from Kimbery, WI is the maker and importer.  Pastels are "rolled" by hand in a little shop in England, from the finest clays -- pretty much they way they've been made for centuries.

Craftsmen tint the clay with an array of pigments that yield over 400 colors in the Unison palette. Imagine: yellow earth values .. green values .. blue green earth values ... over 200 hues in this set of "values" alone.

My new friend Darren pointed out that a pastel stick is about 1 1/2" tall. Artists who work in the medium can never have too many sticks. And a "Grey 11" from Unison is not interchangeable with a similar shade of grey from another manufacturer.

Trade secrets, don't you know ....

Darren and his senior rep Steve had set up a huge table display inside the door at Wet Paint.  I watched as customers stopped by for the sales pitch, deliberated and dreamed, and made their pastel purchases.

Me? Took a few fotos, chatted it up with Darren, and  imagined British pastel rollers, doing for the world of art what Cuban hand-rolled cigar makers do for aficionados of fine tobacco.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mike Puts Lisa's Plow + Pulling Horses through Paces.

Serious sustainable small farm farmgal Lisa has three big pulling horses -- two Percheron and a Shire -- plus the old fashion International Harvester plow to dig up any back 40.

We were invited to watch Mike put the rig through its paces today -- impressive driving, skilled plowing, remarkable command of these magnificent draft animals.

Lisa called it quits after two long furrows -- earth was hardpan: much too dry, rocky, and tough on the horses.  We got quite a demonstration nonetheless.  We were honored and humbled to witness this Pioneer Spirit made manifest.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ladies Who Lunch - With Me!

Just as soon as "Magazine Guy" Rocky K. saw this foto, he shot back: "How does one fella get to have lunch with so many pretty ladies?"

Well, Rocky:  just dumb luck! (Plus, I got an e-mail from Rezzie inviting me to the party today).  Pays to be available!

And who might my lunch-mates be? Each is a former colleague from our days together at NAMG, and all are about the best work friends a lunch guy could ever hope for.

From the left, Debbbbbb, and next to her Ali G. and then yours truly, and Patti F. and then Linda R. ("Rezzie"), and Alli T. and her little girl.

Good times, good chatter, good chow, and most of the ladies took turns babysitting!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Becky's Laluke's Cukes - Aandrea Assists.

These gals know their pickles!

From growing the cukes though the packing process -- brine, garlic and jalpeno (hubby Rob said he's a pickle packer) --  Becky and daughter Aandrea have been at it with yummy success for the better part of a decade.

I met up with the Laluke Team at Otten Bros. fall benefit and sale last weekend. Tasted some of Becky's harvest from last year.  Bought an $8.00 jar of the jalapeno pickles, and, following Laluke advice, tucked my purchase into the fridge where it has to sit for six months from date of "put up" until the ex-cukes are are at their tender, tasty, garlicky, peppery and pickley best!

As a bonus:  met Becky's mom-in-law, Ginny, at the Laluke truck/stand. She's a hoot -- and you can see where much of the family energy, sense of humor, and gregarious grace comes from.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

James J. Hill Days, Wayzata.

I pedaled over this afternoon to the James J. Hill Days celebration along Lake Street in Wayzata.  This annual event was bustling with foot traffic and exhibitor expectations, and there was excellent people watching to be done.

Austin McDevitt, 1st Vice Commander of American Legion, Post #118 and I were having a good conversation in the Legion tent when a bigger-than-life animal advocate guy stopped by to get a cold Pepsi.  Wish I'd asked Austin's friend's name, but he did agree to a foto, and was not at all shy about showing off arm tatts and recent face painting!

Back to American Legion for a moment:  Commander McDevitt gave me lots of literature and encouraged me to drop by the Post on the second Monday of some month and attend a meeting.  I'm a vet, haven't done much since being discharged, and realize that lots of vets have needs far greater than mine.  I might be able to help.

Folding Bike For Sale - $85.00.

Brand new Citizen "Tokyo" foldy for sale. Ridden less than 1-mile. Won in a raffle by original owner; I bought it from her in July. Fenders, rack, kick-stand, bell. 6-speed Shimano rear derailleur, grip shift, single chain ring. 16" wheels -- a little small for my 6' 1", 200-lb. frame.

Bike folds easily into handy, durable carry-bag .. see pic of folded bike in adjoining column.    $85.00 -- I can deliver in Twin Cities metro..  You pay shipping otherwise.

Great way to "get started" with foldies -- small investment for huge return in pleasure.    Reply in "comments."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Local Artist Wows 'em at Otten Bros. Benefit.

Local glass artist Linnea Peterson Rowe and her Garden Glass Creations were out in full bloom last night at Otten Bros. in Long Lake.   Linnea designs and hand-crafts uber-cool, eclectic garden decorative pieces out of found glass -- cups, saucers, tea pots, figurines, etc.  You must see Rowe's work to appreciate the wistful, whimsical and just plain enjoyable nature and quality of her work.

We went home with a treasure for Pina's Posey garden.  Adorable blown glass turtle atop a melange of cups and saucers -- it's going to be perfect amongst the perennials.

Connect with Garden Glass Creations at:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pedaling the Dakota Regional Trail

Labor Day -- yesterday -- turned out to be the pluperfect time for a ride. Temps in the 70's, gentle breeze, bright sunshine, made you feel ALIVE in a way so many days this Minnesota summer have not.

Decided to run a second test on the new Giant "Expressway" foldy.  Put the bike (even unfolded it fits easily into the back of the KIA) in the Sportage, along with:  helmet, gloves, water bottle, seat bag, trail map, tools, phone, camera, wallet, sunscreen -- I felt like a lady with a humongous purse! -- and headed to the Dakota Regional Trail.

No sooner had I set up my bike and entered the west-bound lane toward St. Boni than a drop-bar Specialized rider came up behind me. "How do you like that bike? It folds up, right?"

"Yeah," I replied, not having ridden enough to be breathless.  "It's a Giant -- got it last week. This is only my second ride. Kinda like a shakedown cruise."

"My neighbor showed up the other day," Mr. Specialized continued, "with a fluorescent yellow foldy. And I decided then and there that I had to have one myself!"

The trail was packed. Never seen it so busy.  Drop-bar Specialized guy (s), in-liners, tandems, trikes, hardbodies in blackbottoms, old guys wearing Tommy Bahama, families decked out in every imaginable outfit.  Most with helmets, which I always think is a good idea.

In and out we weaved, on-your-left we said in respectful voices. Past lovely homes in the Minnetonka Beach community; the elegant Lafayette Club; across wooden plank bridges spanning the Lake itself. Huffing, puffing, legs beginning to burn.

Exited the trail in Mound for Caribou coffee. It used to be somewhere around here. Took time for an iced cold press -- then headed back to my parked car in the lot at Crystal Bay post office.

But first, a foto for the scrapbook and Poppy's Velo Ventures.  My new friends, above, volunteered to pose in front of the Mound Harbor District sign so I could document the day.  I gave the Mrs. a card with my contact info, encouraging them to get in touch so I could e-mail a copy of the foto.

I'll let you know how that goes.  In the meantime, know that I had a ball yesterday. The foldy works fine.  My glutes were a little sore after the ride.  Folks admired my bike. And I began to wonder what a cross-country trip on this baby might be like .....?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tasteful, powerful and understatedly patriotic.

You don't see the patriotic display around Labor Day that you do earlier in the summer -- Memorial Day, 4th of July.  And when there are flags and bunting and an occasional sign this first weekend in September, they tend to be understated.  I think that makes sense.

Here's the perfect expression for this important holiday; sets just the right celebratory tone.  I loved this fence on Hunter Drive. Indeed, I stopped my car when I saw the fence, pulled into the driveway, and went to the house to express my gratitude and appreciation.  The owners were not at home at the time, so I hope they see the blog and know just how nice their fence decor tuned out to be.