Tag Archives: Friends


Every once in a while I do something right around here. Last night an excellent example of one of those times. Mrs S turned 50 on Thursday and I wanted to celebrate half a century of grace and loveliness in way that would be meaningful for her and not get me in big fat trouble for not listening to her wishes. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention in any way, shape or form and she emphatically told me that this was to be an drama free event, no big party, no expensive gifts no nothing. A quiet dinner and we would call it good.

Can’t let 50 go like that. So knowing her as I do and knowing how much she cherishes friends I organized a little surprise birthday dinner for her at Cafe Maude in South Minneapolis. Operative word LITTLE. The restaurant is small so anything more than about 12 people would be bigger than they would probably want to handle on a Friday night. Plus she was very adamant that she didn’t really want to do anything except go out to dinner, so a big ass deal at someone’s house with thousands would not be in spirit of celebrating the birthday as she would like.

So, two months ago I put the wheels in motion. Reservations for 12 at Maude. I thought it would be really cool if I could sneak the boys home from college and have them join us at the affair. Although I was ready to fly the Auburn kid home, he had a test on Friday and Mrs S would not be happy to learn that he missed something important for this. He would have to Skype in. The Michigan Tech kid was able to get away despite losing two days of school this week to snow. 5’ of snow in Houghton in two days. Upper Peninsula living.

Arrangements were made, people invited, flowers purchased, and everything was a go.

We have some wonderful friends, really like family. Several of the women had taken her to lunch the day before, not a word was passed. On game day, she had no idea.

Here’s the thing about the other gender, just when you think you can predict their actions…

For the last 28 years Mrs S has been late to every event I’ve ever been too with her. She just runs late, it’s how she rolls. FALS- Females Always Late Syndrome I call it. Seems to be pretty common out there. But last night, the night of her big event, when I fully expected her to start getting ready 11 minutes before we had to leave, she’s freaking ready to go 30 minutes early. Yeah, half hour. Comes downstairs and says “You ready? Leszgo”. I panicked. I had instructed the guests to arrive at 7:00. Mrs S was ready to leave the house at 6:30 which meant we potentially could be sitting down 10 minutes before folks were scheduled to arrive.

“We got 30 minutes my precious turtle dove, chill.” “Been chilling all day, lets go early and sit a the bar.” Employing the following stall tactics I bought us almost 45 minutes:

  • Couldn’t find my keys. This didn’t work so well as she countered with “we’re taking my car aren’t we?” and handed me her keys.
  • Couldn’t find my muffler thingie. “It’s gone, you dropped it somewhere, it’s not that cold out LETS GO”.
  • Gotta go the bathroom. Spent about 5 minutes in there playing doodlejump until she knocked on the door to ask if I was ok.
  • Gotta let the dog out before we go. “Since when” was her response.
  • “Let me make sure the DVR is set to record CSI” “That’s on Wednesday night”..”CSI New York”, “Since when do watch that” Since you came downstairs early. “Honey just a sec I kinda forgot how to do this.” 3 minutes.
  • Took the wrong freeway to get there. That was good for about 10 minutes alone.
  • Drove 10 MPH below the speed limit. “Why are you driving so slow” “It’s icy” “People are passing us on the right now whats the deal?” “Want to be safe” “Seriously? Then wear your seatbelt.”

Unknowingly intent on blowing this event, as we got the restaurant at exactly the right time she says “let us out (daughter too) and you can go park the car.
“No, I’ll park right here.” Right here was street parking two blocks away. It had snowed about 5” during the day and as a result there was a snow bank on her side of the car. She had a hard time A) opening the door and B) Climbing over the mini-glacier only to get to an un-shoveled sidewalk.  This accentuated the gripe factor “can’t just let us off at the clean shoveled front door, blah blah blah. “

It was all worth it when we walked in (and she thankfully didn’t notice one of the party on the phone in the lobby as he was ducking behind a coat rack) and her face lit up. Seeing a little misty eye when she realized that her son was in the crowd, even better.

It was a fantastic evening judging by how happy she was chatting and enjoying what she enjoys most, time with friends.

Dinner BTW, phenomenal as always and the staff at Cafe Maude were awesome, atmosphere was outstanding as always and the food is fantastic every time I eat there. I told the server to “bring us stuff” and she did. Great choices of different flat breads, and a lobster croquette that was the best thing I’ve eaten in 2013. Soft cheese filling with a chunk of lobster.. the gourmet mac and cheese for the daughter, gnocchi in lemon sauce with capers, spinach and feta.. awesome.

Best part of the deal, came in about half the cost I had figured it would be. A huge surprise given the quality of the whiskies and wines people were enjoying.

It was a great evening for a great lady.



Filed under Life

Blake Lake Report- Remarkable Day

Sometimes is the simple things that all come together which make a day remarkable, Saturday was one of those days.

After the last couple weekends at the lake I spent the week fantasizing about getting back up to the cabin for some reason. Mrs S, the daughter and Red were leaving on Sunday so I had to secure a pass to be cleared to see them off on Friday night instead of being there for them Sunday morning to see them off.

The plan was to come to the lake on Friday night, after work. We did. We also managed to stop and pick up a canoe I’d loaned out a few years ago. I’ve been wanting to bring it to the lake for a while, now seemed as good a time as any. Driving the 60 miles from St. Paul to Blake lake with a canoe on the roof of the car, especially when the canoe is moving a bit, just a bit mind you, was a bit uncomfortable. It didn’t move a lot, but enough to give me a little personal “movement” with every canoe movement that happened.

After a couple stops we’d used more rope, bungee and ratchet straps on the canoe than you would have thought was possible. Overkill? You bet. Peace of mind, not perfect, but better, and after after a few dozen miles I let it go. Good news is, we arrived intact.

After an uneventful Friday night, Saturday dawned bright and early. Arising at my usual 5:30 I headed down stairs to make coffee. A friend was coming over to meet me to go fishing at 6:00, least I could do was have coffee ready for him. I had told him, if you wake up and it’s raining, call first. No sense in making the trip if there was a big storm or something that would put the fish off the bite.

Saturday morning, between about 4:00 am and 7:00, it was exactly that, lots of lightning and thunder, and heavy heavy rain. If my cell phone charger was working I would have called him, as it were I could barely manage to get out a text. “P O U R I N G H E R E”. He responded by driving into my driveway.

And though the day was clearly off to an auspicious start, it would turn out to be a lesson in “do it”. While lesser men would have just cancelled, we persevered, honestly it would have been stupid not to. The raid stopped and the sky settled down. I explained to my friend that with all the lightning and rain and fronts and “well we would be lucky to catch a fish or two.” He’d driven a long way and my wimpiness wasn’t going to change his mind. “Lets hit the water anyway” he said, and uh.. we did.

Rolling up on my favorite spot on the lake, the “rock pile” I tied on crayfish colored crank bait and tied him up with Carolina rigged worm. I looked down to check the depthfinder, looked on shore to be sure I was lined up with my markers, in this case a flagpole on one shore and a certain boat house across the lake on the other. According to my calculations I should cast away from the near shore and towards the boathouse, the lure would bounce along a narrow ridge of rock that I knew from experience ran underneath us.

First cast; fish, and a decent one. Second cast; another fish. Third cast; nailed another one. We were on a hot bite it seemed. By about the fifth fish my friend asked if he could switch baits, no problem. An hour and half later we’d caught and released 20 fish, and we’d had a rare encounter with a muskie. As is typical, I wasn’t paying attention, matter of fact I was joking about the Swamp People show, fishing for alligators, looked down and “OMG there’s a gator now” as a giant fish with a toothy maw trailed behind my lure. Muskie follow- one of the more annoying habits of those fish.

We moved around a few times, continued to catch fish until about 9:30 or so when the sun cam out and, just like a switch, the bite turned off.

We spent the rest of the morning hanging out, playing with dogs, doing a whole lotta nuth’n. Speaking of dogs, my friend brought his three dogs with him for the day. He’s the only person I know with three Great Danes. Good news is these dogs are fantastic. Bad news is my little shit dog spent the day hiding behind chairs and sulking around in fear. I suppose it would be intimidating if three 800 pound 18 foot tall people came visiting my home.

Later in the afternoon we out fishing again, this time with my oldest kid, mission- catch dinner.

We spent about an hour out on the lake fishing and were lucky enough to fill the livewell with a meal full of decent sunfish and crappie. Back at the house I filleted the fish and we were able to enjoy a fantastic fish fry. Nothing better than fresh sunfish.

Evening was a very peaceful pontoon ride around the lake. We got back to the dock around 9:15 and sat around the table listening to a loon calling out on the lake, it was awesome.

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Filed under Life