Meanwhile, Back at a Sports Venue . . .


We momentarily interrupt the holiday season to bring you the latest sports results.  As so often happens, the girls’ hockey and basketball teams came home to play at the same time (7:00-ish) on the same day (Tuesday).  I’m not yet cloned – I had to make a choice.  A late afternoon U of M alumni meeting kept me in town to bewitching hour -I rushed home to pick up the supervisor and headed for the RCC.  The boys’ team was playing first giving us a chance to get our first glimpse of them this season . . . and we knew we had good staff coverage of the pumpkin pushers (to be reported following).

3-27-10-1The girls’ hockey team was hosting St. Cloud (population 65,000), which as we all know from our previous readings is a conglomeration of all that city’s high schools:  Tech, Apollo, and Cathedral.  That should be a daunting task for our Cards (population 12,000).   But for whatever reason, girls’ hockey in the Granite City isn’t what it used to be – Tech used to be a real power all by itself.  The Cards came away with a very workman-like victory.  It was fun to watch, because we played well and we won, but the game just didn’t have the pizzaz of the old games with the St. Cloud schools.


[Nicole warming up – as a know-nothing fan, I’d like to see her as a forward?]


[Lauren, above and below]


[With McKenzie, will provide a terrific youthful defense tandem for the next 3 years.]


[Micaela (34)]


[If we all meet at Perkins after the game, we can have breakfast for dinner!]

Video of the Cardinal player introductions . . . and of Super Fans Roger Riley and Dusty Johnson singing the National Anthem.  The Cardinals are undefeated when they do such, so we’re waiting for the school to send a limo to pick them up before every game:

Video of the first 5 minutes of the game:


[Good offensive spacing as Melissa (6) lurks in the scoring zone.]


[Then Shelby (and below) scored on a scrum in front of the net.]



[Shelby’s crash landing is just a ploy as Becca (37) is open behind the defense!  😉 ]


[With the eye of a discerning professional fan, I deduce the puck is in the right-hand corner.]


[Tied one-to-one after one.  The same score after two as the teams treaded water.]


[The puck shoot between periods 2 & 3 featured two Cardinal hockey alums home on holiday break.  Claire Illies (class of ’11), in red on the left, fired one through the $25.00 hole (and thus, I assume, treated her family to dinner), and Alia Kopischke (class of ’12) just missed that same slot!  🙂 ]


[Celebrating Melissa’s goal making the score 3 – 1 – Anna Carlsen got the Cards 2nd goal.]


[I got it, Robo!!]


[And then Melissa scored our 4th goal (like the coach said, she likes to score goals in 2’s!).  We could see it coming as she broke out from our blue line – I fumbled to get the camera turned on and fired at the last second as Mel was swooping in.  Fellow Super Fan, Robo, asked if I got it?  I wasn’t sure at the time . . .  🙂 ]




[Game over!  The Icebreakers got the final goal with just seconds remaining.  They had a 5-on-3 power play, pulled the goalie for a 6-on-3, and while the Cards held them off for about a minute, they finally scored on a rebound.]

The girls are at Hopkins tonight for another game against a big city team.

We missed the 1st period of the boys’ game against St. Cloud Apollo.  Those who were there said Alex looked great with a 17 – 6 shots-on-goal advantage, but the period ended in a scoreless tie.  The following 2 periods we saw were Apollo’s, who deservedly won 2 – 0.  They looked quicker and handled the puck better.  This was not the same Cardinal team that just beat Willmar 12 – 0.  The coach and a hockey grandmom said team has been battling the flu, and they did look sapped.  The Cards are very young – half the varsity are sophomores.


[Jack Wensman (8), senior forward, and Ben Allen (1), senior goalie]



[Coach Scott Woods and the bench.  Unfortunately, the penalty box on the right includes two Cardinals for a 5-minute major and a 10-minute misconduct.  The Eagles did score during that long power play.]


[Looks like two No. 9’s?  😉  The No. 9 on the right is junior forward Matt Resch; on the left must be No. 19, senior forward Tom Schmidt.]


[Schmidt and Resch]


[The Sin Bin.]


[Patrick Leary (6), senior forward.  Hmmm, I talk about all the sophomores and only get photos of seniors?  😉 ]


[Hang in there, Ben!]


[Tom Schmidt (19), Ryan Marciniak (20), and Aaron Steidl (38)]


[Close . . . but no cigar.]


[Still no luck.]


[Kevin Finley (16), junior defense.  The younger brother of last year’s Rachael.  Mom Jenna checked in with us at the game.  🙂 ] 


[Got the draw . . .]




[Well, hi there, big fella!]

When the boys’ game ended, the arena, as usual, emptied leaving a skeleton crowd for the girls’ game.  That always leaves we Super Fans, well . . . disgusted!  We still can’t sell the girls’ game no matter how good they are and how much fun they are to watch?

Finally, people have been asking for years to see the video of my beautiful golf swing.  Your wish is my command:

Politically correct (meaning “generally favorable”) comments on the Christmas postings:

Tom & Ruth:  Thanks for your greeting, and the same to you!  Might see you at some of the basketball games now that our grandson has moved up to the 10th grade team.  ~ Rich/Marlene

Terrific, Tom you are the best, yes we have had grouper, best when you can’t get walleye. Get lots of snow, we need the moisture or we won’t be getting the pontoon and boats out next sprint without putting in extended docks.  MERRY CHRISTMAS AND KEEP ENJOYING LIFE TO THE FULLEST.  ~ Jo

Tom, Thank you for a great Christmas program, I have shared it with my Camp Ballentine email list of  35-40.  ~ Jim

Dear Friends, Loved all the snow photos, but primarily Ruth with the shovel.  It was a nice picture, however, we failed to see where any snow had been shoveled.  Did she finish the job?  Did she even start?  Florida life is much different than Kansas, but we are forcing ourselves to like temperatures in the 70s most of the time (except the summer months).  Stay healthy and have a great Christmas!!  ~ Gus & Mary

Absolutely love it!  Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you!  I’ll have to get up to Alex this summer to see the new 7th hole!  ~ Roogggggg

Tom, We wish you and your Supervisor a Very Merry Christmas and a Very Happy and Healthy New year. May all your news be Happy News in 2013.  Thanks again for all the great photos and articles in 2012. You have indeed a great talent and then sharing it with others.  ~  Jerry and Millie

Merry Christmas. I appreciate your sometimes but always weekly updates.  It is like a Christmas letter every week.  Thanks!  ~ Beth

Merry Christmas to you as well.  Libby will be retiring in 2013 [Libby denies it!] and hopefully we can get to MN before the year ends.  Love your e-card.  Best wishes for happy and healthy New Year.  ~ Michelle

Thanks, Tom!  I hope you and Ruth have a wonderful Christmas!  The Jefferson High School Christmas Concert sure was great the other night, wasn’t it!?!  (And it will one day be even nicer when we get to sit in the theatre seats at the new high school.)   🙂  All the best to you and Ruth in 2013!  ~ Amy 

Will open Christmas morning.   🙂  – The HQ

She does look like a McCabe [Terri McCabe Steidl] … Way back in ’63 year book…for homecoming I wore her sister Cheryl’s dress.   In those days, we could[n’t?] get a new one.  🙂  ~ The HQ       

Great game. Alex girls 63: Brainerd 27.  Phenomenal defensive play (aggressive but MN nice).  Coach Kohler pulled the starters about 5 minutes into the 2nd half so everyone got to play.  Amanda Christianson, Karly Betterman, and Kalli Bowser were all in double digits. I didn’t record their actual totals before they were pulled.  Kendall Kohler an 8th grader came in for about 5 minutes and scored 4 points.  ~ Super Fan Mike

We love all of your beautiful pictures all year long, and now this special Christmas greeting to top it off!!!  Thank you and Seasons Greetings from Anne & El

Tom and Ruth, Merry Christmas to both of you.  We love you too.  What a beautiful clever Christmas greeting.  Sorry to say it wouldn’t accept a reply from us.  And … Actually I want to sign my name to it and forward it to all my Christmas list.  If you ever decide to write sample Christmas letters put our name on the top of the list as your first customer.  We wish you that picture perfect holiday and a wonderful New Year.  Love, Larry & Laura

I must say that I had the same thought on the Christmas letter, but yours is in the snail mail.  The next trip to Minnesota may need to be by air unless I find a driving partner. But where’s my autographed Lisa Lynn album?  ~ Marcus

The dog with no legs is packing her satchel to bring to Grandma’s house by the lake in Alexandria.  Thank you for these memories.  Love to the Oberts.  ~ M

Long story short. You were too cheap to buy the stamps, cards and envelopes. With the money you didn’t spend buy yourself another bottle of wine while our poor postal workers go homeless and starving. Merry Christmas!  ~ Carolyn [Our loving sister-in-law  😉  ]

Loved the “card” and all of the pics.  Your family pics are all like Norman Rockwell paintings!  I was in DC recently to visit Mary.  Tried to hook up with Gretchen but it didn’t work out. Had a nice time. I’ll be spending Christmas in Niskayuna, NY (near Albany) with my older daughter and her family,. I am sure it will be a cold and probably white Christmas!  Considering that it is 80 here today, I’m ready for some cold!  Hope you have a wonderful holiday and a healthy and happy 2013!  Best, Liz

Tom and Ruth:  Loved your Christmas card.  I especially like the view from your dining area, so peaceful. ~  Jeanne  p.s. Will show card to Erika.

I like the photos and look forward to the text.  Happy Holidays!  ~ Paul

Tom! I loved your Dad and Mom (Tommie) and the Vic. Hght. days! You introduced me to the Beatles dude. Will never forget all the great times. Your dad’s Edsel! Wow! So cool. Uncle Deek!  So many great memories. Thanks for the cameo, my parents would love it also! Merry Christmas, Dr. Thompson Oboat   😉

Merry Christmas to you too.  We will miss the game tonight.  The boys have their Christmas program at school. Hope it is a good game.  Cheer loud!  ~ Karen

Same to you. I may need to do New Years cards this year – but I’m always late. We’re heading to see the tulips in the Netherlands . . . on a river cruise. Would love to have you join us. Otherwise no plans but we’d love to go somewhere with you – where should it be?  Merry Christmas!  ~ Anne

Hi Ruth,  “Two feet of snow.  Thanks to the Oberts for the holiday card, and for including this photo in it. 🙂 ”  ~ Jess

There oughtta be a law against co-opting sacred references like the name attached!!  I’m grading exams…off to Wichita for Shocker game Saturday at the 2-yr old “Intrust Bank Arena” downtown (the Shocks play 1 game a year there), then off to Amst, Brussels, and Bruge on Sunday.  – B’ball Dan

May I forward this to my son Matt?  It’s wonderful – and has memories of things Les would have remembered, too!  ~ Sue

Man, really great stroll down memory lane. Merry Xmas to you both — please pass word to my other cousins.  ~ Cousin Bruce  PS:  I have to lure my sweetheart to pay a visit to Alex at some point.  I had always assumed summer (pontoon boats, winery, etc.) — but your pictures make winter look pretty inviting …

Very, very cute!!! You guys totally rock! Been a great year and excited for fresh beginnings! See you around Alex! Merry Christmas!   ~  Rachel

Merry! Merry!  Right back to you!!!!!  I think of your parents with GREAT LOVE and such fond memories!!!!!! Thanks for keeping me in the Obert loop! Also Happy, Happy New Year1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  ~ Vince

Tom and Ruth, Great Christmas posting.  Enjoyed it.  Take care, be happy, and I hope you shoot your age next year.  Merry Christmas to both of you and a great new year.  ~ Fitz

I made the mistake of printing your card, increasing the national debt by $240.  [He’s just kidding . . . I think?]  Season’s greetings!  ~ Tim

Hi Tom and Ruth, I decided to send my greetings electronically as well.  As always, I enjoyed yours very much.   Sorry I didn’t see you this summer.  Hopefully, next summer.  It would be tons of fun to play around of golf with you at the Club!  ~ Barb

I’ll print it for him.  ~ Rita [Good luck with that – ha!]

Hey Tom, You found me.  Hope you guys are both well.  I retired from the Corps at the end of 2010 and then retired from consulting for Dept. of Energy in September this year.  Have a great Christmas.  ~ Greg

Many thanks for the lovely e-card.  If I had the e-talents and the e-addresses of everyone on our list, I would follow your example.  Unfortunately though, I have virtually no pictures of anything, that’s Jane’s job.  And I sympathize with Ruthie’s position, no camera growing up and then too cheap to buy one once an adult.  Retirement is MUCH to my liking; don’t know how I ever had time to work.  I am attaching our Christmas letter that will eventually be sent out the old-fashioned way.  Despite both being retired, we persist in our family tradition of late Christmas cards.  At least the letter is finished.  Hope you guys have a great Christmas!!  ~ Jim 

BTW, I liked your Christmas letter.  [Verbal commitment] ~ Boy Tenor

Wonderful card.  Thanks a lot.  ~ “Weakie”

I miss lefse at this time of year.  ~ Gretchen

Many thanks, Ruthie & Tom.  Terrific, sentimental pics.  Have great holidays this year and the health and happiness to enjoy many, many more. ~ Tom Mc

Merry Christmas back at ya…   Love your letter and pictures.  Last summer I didn’t have a chance to read about your Uncle Dick…plan to read it…must be posted in Aug…  think your youngest brother looks just like Uncle Dick.  Know you two will fun filled holiday.  ~ Diane

Pris and I watched the videos of the concert.  Thanks so much for the info on your blog.
Also enjoyed your e-Christmas card.  Merry Christmas….Happy New Year.  ~ Paul

Sister Gretchen, who has lived in Washington, D.C. since the Taft administration, took a tour of the White House yesterday:

Woke up this morning excited about my White House self-guided tour. The day was sunny, in the 50s, with a slight breeze. Perfect day for a visit to the People’s House. I first sent an email on Nov. 4th to my Congresswoman, Eleanor Holmes Norton, requesting a tour. They, in turn, had to send my pertinent info. to the Secret Service for clearance. Normally they tell you it takes 4 – 6 weeks to get approval and notification of the date and time of your tour. I got approved in a little over a month. I really wanted to see the White House decorated for Christmas. My wish came true.

Upon my arrival at the White House, I went through two i.d. checks at two separate locations and finally a body scanner and sensor check.  Didn’t take long at all. The instructions sent were very specific about what items you could carry with you. Basically it boiled down to your house/car keys and your photo i.d. No purses, video cameras, cameras, sharp objects, etc.  They did say that cell phones were allowed but couldn’t be used for messaging or talking. Cell phones, in my opinion, are the most annoying device ever invented by man. Unfortunately when we first entered the White House an attendant offered to take pictures of folks with their cell phones. Oh Lord … here we go. . .. That was the beginning of what proved to be the only annoying/distracting aspect of the entire tour. We were handed a souvenir “Holidays at the White House 2012” booklet as a historical guide (also included a recipe for Ginger Crinkles cookies and instructions for making a snow globe). We were also given a paper bookmark tucked inside with a picture of “Bo” on the bookmark and a challenge to spot 8 different “Bo” ornaments throughout the various rooms. We got to view the East Garden Room, Library, China Room, Vermeil Room, East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room (which had the 300 lb. gingerbread White House with “Bo” in front on display) and the Grand Foyer. Since it was a self-guided tour, you could take your time and browse. They had Christmas cards in frames from former First Families. We saw the pieces of different administration’s china and glassware collections. Of course portraits of First Ladies and Presidents were displayed in various rooms. From a distance, I thought Grover Cleveland (of all people) had the best portrait. Jacqueline Kennedy’s was elegant and somewhat spiritual. I wasn’t happy with the oils done of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton. Clinton’s face didn’t have the most flattering expression and his suit and the rest of his clothing were flat. No highlights or depth to those articles of clothing. Strange. Gilbert Stuart’s picture of George Washington is impressive (remember, Dolley Madison rolled it up and fled the White House with it so the British wouldn’t burn it). Paintings of Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin were also very good. My favorite room is the Blue Room. It is small but looking out the window toward the Ellipse – one sees a glorious view of the grounds of the White House, the fountain and a wonderful view of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. I wanted to walk outside and sit on the veranda  and gaze at the sights before me but, of course, that would not be allowed.  The Christmas trees and wreathing have been up for more than a month now. They appear to be dry. I was told that the decorations come down on Dec. 26th. One tourist, of course, had to TOUCH some of the garland and needles fell to the floor. Another woman put her FINGER on the glass case which showcased the White House dinner plates. Windex anyone? Why she had to touch the glass is beyond me. The cell phones were very annoying. People posing in front of every tree, exhibit, etc. I asked the Secret Service about the prohibition of cameras on the list of instructions given to us and he said this was the ONLY time they were allowed. Why? Because he said the camera taking/posing is what slows a group down and that’s why no picture taking is normally allowed. He said for some reason, the tour groups were small today so they were letting folks take pictures with their cell phones. A choir of young students from the Maret private school in DC was singing carols in the Entrance Hall as we looked at the last decorated trees and exited out the front of the White House. What a wonderful day. I stood in the driveway and looked at the People’s House and saw the American flag ripple at half staff – honoring those killed in Newtown. I lingered and wanted to take in the moment in front of the White House. I surveyed my surroundings. Landscapers were planting bushes on the left side of the White House. A gardener in hip boots was cleaning out leaves from the fountain in front by using a net. Carpenters were banging away constructing the wooden viewing stand in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. for the Inauguration. I looked at the Executive Office Building next door and noted the American flag flying over the top, at half staff, with a beautiful blue sky framing it from above. Visitors and tourists were walking briskly beyond the fence of the White House grounds. The air had by now turned cold. I wrapped my scarf around my neck tightly, donned my gloves and headed in the same direction for lunch as most of the tourists – to the Old Ebbitt Grill which was established in 1856. Ahhh, I love being a tourist for a day. I love Washington, D.C. I hope to spend more time this year exploring this city and partake in all that it has to offer. Happy Holidays!  — Gretchen

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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