Friday, May 31, 2013

Where are the Mini-Donuts?

Meet Jeff, Melissa, and Oreo!

I passed by this couple I liked them almost instantly.  I think Melissa's smile and red glasses caught my eye first.   Oreo didn't have much interest in me.  He was, however, MOST interested in the food!

I believe they said they were looking for mini-donuts!   And, I believe I added, "who isn't!"

Thanks Jeff, Melissa, and Oreo!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Serving up Gyros

I like small businesses.  They include the hopes and dreams of families and individuals all over the world.  

Meet Andy:

And meet Andy's father, Ron.

They have been selling gyros for 15-20 years.  They attend local and state celebrations and ensure that people are fed!

Thanks guys!  The conversation was delightful and the food was GREAT!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Heart of the Beast

In early may, the Heart of the Beast Theatre organizes the annual May Day parade. 

Meet Laney!

I thought she had a great smile.   She is the communications coordinator for the Heart of the Beast.  She informed me that their organization funds the entire budget for the parade.  Of course, they solicite donations and grants.  But, Heart of the Beast is THE organizing force.

In her spare time, if she has any, she runs a catering business!

Thanks Laney.   It was a great parade!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day: 2013

During my travels, I was asked to do a few photos as a favor for someone.  While doing them, I took these for myself.

It occured to me that WW I was the war to end all wars.  How have we learned so little? 

I want to say "may we never forget".  But, I wonder how many times people have stopped in the last 10 years and wondered about William Austin, Floyd Monroe, Percy Watson, Arthur Joquel, Charles Herpst, Lloyd Boutwell, Oscar Huerner, Henry Cornet, Norris Singleton and Armand Baldenweck.  Have we wondered about the lives they left behind, broken by loss.

Pause this day and remember.  It isn't a day of picnics and beer.  It is a day to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.  May we never give up that freedom.  May we fight for it everyday, even when there are those who would take it from us.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".  Speak up.  Fight the good fight. And remember those brave men and women who went before us.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day 2013: A Prelude

I had to travel this last week.   But, I woke very early one morning as the sun was coming up and looked out the window to see this:

OK.   The car lot isn't important.   What you see beyond are gravestones from Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

May we never forget the supreme sacrifice of these men and women.

Thank you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A College Reaches Out

Meet Steve!

Steve's job is to leverage the knowledge and skills at the local college and try to engage businesses for specialized employee training.  The idea is that combining education with job skills can produce better results.

Thanks Steve!  I couldn't agree more.  We need need smarter and better skilled workers to compete and survive in today's world.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Mentor!

Sharing the booth with Jerrica was her boss, Lori!

Meet Lori!

She should be a great mento!  She was #1 in sales last year.   She has a family and loves to take them traveling.  Most of the time, she is off to Texas to visit family!

Thanks Lori!  And, congratulations!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Lovely Smile and Fantastic Eyes

Meet Jerrica!

She was part of a two person team at the AFLAC booth!  She is new to the business but has learned a lot over her last 7 months!

She enjoys sales, sports, and video games!  And, she has a few sisters with whom she enjoys hanging around!

Good luck on the job, Jerrica and thank you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Everyone needs a Lawyer Now and Then!

Meet Kristi!

Kristi is the owner of a local law firm.  I don't often see law firms at Business Expos.  But, I liked seeing the legal profession represented.  Everyone needs a lawyer now and then.   And, it was nice seeing them in a smaller community.

Meet her associate:  Steve!

As a smaller firm, they do a LOT of stuff.  And, that's good for the community.  If you need help with business/HR law, real estate, wills and trusts, probate, family law and personal injury, you have a local firm standing by ready to help.

Thanks Kristi and steve!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Real Estate Agents have Lives OUTSIDE of RE, too.

Meet Travis!

I enjoyed chatting with Travis.  I have known the housing industry has struggled for some years now.  But, he said the market has changed and there are about 3.5 buyers to every seller.  It has become a sellers market! 

He keeps active couching baseball. 

Thanks Travis!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mortgage Specialist

Meet Karen!

Karen likes her job.   When I asked why, she said she really enjoys seeing people get into the homes they need and want.  She likes helping her customers.

It is the first ingrediant to success!

Thanks Karen.  And, good luck!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A New Career and Financial Gamble on Fairway Liquors

Meet Bruce:

I like someone willing to risk it all on a new venture.  That is, after all, the idea of entrepreneurship.  Bruce had a long career at Target.  After long hours and long commutes, he gave it all up and purchased a small liquor store in the area.  He took a month to remodel it.  And, he has been open for less than a year.  I know where this store is.  And, I can't say that I have ever been there.  But, I am certainly willing to drive up and check it out one of these days.

Thanks Bruce.  And, good luck!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Golf Pro!

I am not a golfer.   I don't mind going out now and then.  But, I don't believe I've hit a ball for the last 3 or 4 years.  I would rather do other things, I guess.  

There was a time, when the Big D was smaller, I golfed more.   He worked at a nearby course, his first job, and was able to golf for free.  He routinely worked 8 hrs and golfed 36 holes.  

It wasn't long before he was clobbering me.  And, that was fine with me.

Meet Theo!

He is the pro at the course where the Big D worked.   And, he remembered him working in the pro shop.  It can be a small world sometimes.

Thanks Theo!  Now, how about help with that slice?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I really like supporting family run small businesses.  I believe they are the backbone of our economy.  We need them to create goods and services within the community.

Meet Jesus:

He started in the family business when he was 13.  He was serving up some great breakfast for all who wanted a taste.

And, small businesses don't just hire family.  They hire FRIENDS of family!

Meet Mike:

He's been helping for the last 2 years. 

My sincere thanks, gentlemen!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Interior Design

Meet Corrie:

She is the interior designer for a construction/remodeling company.  It is VERY nice to see contruction picking up.  Maybe there is hope for the economy after all!

She loves downhill skiing, softball and volleyball.  And, she manages that while managing 2 kids!

Thanks Corrie!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Armstrong Ranch

Meet Ana:

She has been working at the Armstrong Ranch since the age of 12.   Yup! You guessed it, it is a family business!

Thanks Ana!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Willy McCoy's

There is a nice little bar/restaurant not far from me, a bit north.  I rarely go there.  There isn't anything wrong with it.  I just don't have a reason to go that way much.  When I worked in the area, I was a regular customer as I went with co-workers.

At the business expo there was a bar/restaurant I hadn't heard of before:  Willy McCoy's. 

Meet Tom:

He told me that Willy McCoy's is the old Spectators.   I didn't even know it has been sold and remodeled!  He's been open since July.  So, I may need to swing in and check it out.

The menu looks good!

Thanks Tom!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Kind Face

Meet Brian:

Brian had this very nice smile and was very approachable.   It turns out he is a psychologist who does counseling and testing.  No wonder he had a nice smile!

Besides his work, he LOVES football and the Beatles!  Who doesn't? 

Thanks Brian!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Polite Engineer

Meet Kevin:

He is a civil engineer and has been with the same firm for 15 years!  In today's world, that is amazing.  He may not look like it, but he has 6 kids and 3 grandkids.  

He also doesn't have time for many hobbies except loving up the kiddies!

Thanks Kevin!

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Banker and Mom, too!

A local community business expo would not be complete without at least one bank being represented.

Meet Tracy!

She has four kids and has NO time for hobbies.  But, she does enjoy a good movie and a Pino now and then at the end of the week.  A very nice way to relax.

Thanks Tracy!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thrive for Wellness and Health Coaches

Meet LoAnn:

She is a Life Coach.  When I asked what that meant, she replied that she helps people with a variety of life issues.  A lot of it is dealing with weight issues.   Fortunately I was done eating the nummies at the table next to hers!  She's been helping people for 3 years and loves it!

Sharing the table with LoAnn was Lindsay.

Meet Lindsay: 

Why is it when I ask what I hobbies or interests they have, many younger women laugh and say, I am working full time and chasing kids.  I have NO time for hobbies!   Lindsay has two kids.  But, she is hoping to get some softball in this summer!

Thanks all!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Custom Digging

When I was a kid, my dad was in the contruction business.  And, I remember watching the big equipment dig basements and trench for sewer and water lines.  I played in the dirt and had a great time.  Maybe it's a guy thing.

So, it is no surprise to run into guys who still love to play in the dirt. 

Meet Dave:

He runs Dave's Custom Digging.  And, he's been playing in the dirt for 41 years!   Ahhh..what fun!

Thanks Dave!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Keeping Fit

The layout for the business expo was pretty good.   Next to the food (the Falls Cafe), was a table for Anytime Fitness!

Meet Julie:

She has been one of the owners for about a year.  When I asked whether she had any hobbies or interests, she laughed and said, "working and keeping up with three and four year old children!   No wonder she didn't have time for hobbies!

Thanks Julie.   Oh...she wanted me to mention, there is a BIG sale going on.   Join for $1.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Good Food: The Falls Cafe

I have been feeling under the weather for a few days.  A cold has knocked my on my backside and I had no energy to get out for long.   This was, however, the weekend with LOT's going on around the area.  So there were a plethora of photo opportunities.

Saturday woke to very cool temps and rain.  I really didn't want to stand in the rain for the raptor release.  Water is a little hard on cameras!  And, I didn't need another chilled body!

I was very happy to see a local business expo that was indoors! 

Off I went!

The first table was filled with fresh fruit and desserts.  My kind of place!

Meet Jill:

She is one of the owners of the Falls Cafe.   I used to work in the area and have eaten there often for both business and personal reasons.  The food is wonderful.

She mentioned that there is starting to be a waiting list on Friday and Saturday nights!  So, you may need to call for a reservation.

Thanks Jill!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

An Afternoon at Kaldi's

It was a beautiful afternoon with warm sun and not much of a breeze.  After coming in from the tundra where winter will not end, it was lovely to be outside.

But, the place was packed.

Meet Brenda.

This was my first view of her.  She was busy working on her computer.  But, there was an empty chair at her table.  So, I asked if I could sit and not bother her. 

Here she is with me not bothering her looking at her computer.  :)

I had to tell her about the blog.  So, I did end up bothering her for a bit.   But, she was most gracious.
So, here is a photo with a lovely smile!

She had moved to St. Louis from Florida.  And, she is busy writing a book with her neice!  

Thanks Brenda!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Taking a Snooze

Nothing better than taking a nap on someone who loves you.

Meet Mary and Kila!

Life can be pretty good sometimes.

Thanks Mary and Kila!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I don't usually make a big deal of it. But this one is sort of a milestone.  Sure, I know it is a young person's world.  But even as I get older I am not complaining about it.  I am a strong believer of aging gracefully and with dignity.  Complaining doesn't help.  It just makes people want to avoid you.  I believe in being comfortable with who you are.   And, I believe in striving to be better.  Remember, you are leaving a legacy..a history.  You really don't want people showing up at your funeral and saying, "Thank GOD!".   You'd like a little tear or two.

Below is a snow blower that is about 40 years old.  This is WAY before global warming (sorry Al).  I was around when my father purchased it.  He used it for his business of building custom homes.  We used it after the snow storms to clear out jobs and driveways, etc. when I was younger.  It sure beat shoveling.

I think it is beautiful. To the untrained eye, this is an ancient, monstrosity, belching smoke and noise.  But, to me, it is history.  It is my life.

My father left it in the care of my maternal grandfather, Carl.  Carl loved to take care of it.  He changed the spark plug every year.  He once told me to hold that black wire when he pulled the starter rope.  Think of it as a painful version of the "pull my finger" joke.  It hurt.  But, I remember that event well.

I am fortunate.  I had good medical care growing up.   Good food.   Well, there was that sugary cereal that all the kids ate. Now, I get something like an annual..or bi-annual physical.  I think of it as just getting a tune up.  Getting thespark plug and oil changed. 

It is important to not forget the oil in the gears that turn the blades. Carl even changed that every couple of years.  Just like a colonoscopy.  Can't forget the business end of things.  It kept things running smoothly.

And, we can't forget the exhaust.  Carl didn't do much with the exhaust.  But, I seem to recall him taking some steel wool to it a few times.

I am not going to talk about my own exhaust.  I could.  But, there are a few people who read this blog who actually know me and that is just a bit TMI.  Maybe it is just the wrong mix of gas.   Ohhhh, I can't tell you how tempting this road is.

But, I digress.

The point is that I did not take care of this snow blower the last couple of years.  I was busy.  And, I could always get it running.  And, it blew snow further than those new fangled,light-eight blowers.   Of course, no one could run it except me.  And, that was fine.  We formed a bond.  I was proud of that machine.  And, could clear my driveway faster than all the neighbors.  I could also wake them up from a sound sleep 3 houses away.  hehehehehe

It died this year.  The truth be told, it died at the end of the winter season that wouldn't end.  I gave it a transfusion of oil as it tackled it's last snow fall.  8" of heavy wet snow.  For a younger machine, it would have been a challenge.  For a 40 year old snow blower low on oil, it was fatal.

He fired....and growled...and turned into the whiteness.  Finally, after the last pass of the driveway, cutting to the edges, on the way back to the garage, he died.  He had finished his task.

I now have a new blower in the garage anxiously waiting for winter.   It is shiny.  Powerful.  5 forward speeds and two reverse.   I don't like it much.  It has no passion for it's purpose.  It has no humility for a lifetime of doing it's job, without fail.  It knew it couldn't quit until it was done.   And, it didn't.  I really miss it.

Take care of yourselves.  You only get one pass at this.  And, don't quit until you are done.  You know what I mean.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Confidence Grace and Polish revisited

As I sat in the bar/restaurant that night looking for subjects, I noticed the woman below walk in.  And, I knew instantly that I had photographed her for the blog before.

I stopped by her table and introduced myself again. She remembered me and was willing to let me photograph her again.

Meet Doreen again!

I recognized her immediately as she walked by.   Her hair was different.  But, I didn't realize that until I got home and looked at the other image I had of her.

I think she is quite photogenic!

Thanks Doreen!