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Sunday, December 30, 2012. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. I'm debating whether or not to follow my usual habit, staying up to watch the festivities in New York City's Times Square. I don't think I've got the flu, but I've also felt better than this.

This winter's flu seems to be quite popular: it's been held over for another week here in Sauk Centre. I think they'd have closed the schools, if we hadn't been on Christmas-New Year's break.

Aside from that, there's a beautiful snow cover outside and clear skies. At least there were. Right now, about 7:30 p.m., all I see outside is a lot of dark.

Here in central Minnesota, we've had bright clear days, a winter storm, and just about everything in between. For Minnesota, that's about par for the course.

Christmas Eve in Our Lady of the Angels church. December 24, 2012.

I didn't get out much this week, but expect that next week will be different. Now that's a very safe prediction.

Sunday, December 23, 2012. Today is lille Julaften (pronounced "yule-aften"), or little Christmas Eve. There's a lot of flu going around town, which encouraged the nursing home to restrict visiting. Happily, we've still got telephones, so it's possible to stay in touch without actually touching: so to speak.

Early morning fog, or something close to it, left frost on twigs last Minday. December 17, 2012.

I like the frost patters we get on some evergreens. December 17, 2012.

Not exactly picture-postcard weather: but definitely one of the variations on winter, Minnesota style. December 17, 2012.

That's a happy snowman. Quite a few folks knew what to do with recent snowfalls. December 18, 2012.

A quite - calm - snowman. Minnesota. December 18, 2012.

One of the nativity scenes folks set up in their yards. December 18, 2012.

This display should really brighten up the yard at night. December 18, 2012.

And - yep, another snowman. December 18, 2012.

I'm looking forward to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I think it helps that I haven't been planning or preparing anything elaborate.

Sunday, December 16, 2012. I don't have much to say this week, apart from some thoughts about the mass murder in Connecticut:

Here in central Minnesota, we've had bright clear days, a winter storm, and just about everything in between. For Minnesota, that's about par for the course.

Thursday morning in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. December 13, 2012.

Half past noon, Saturday, from my webcam. December 15, 2012.

I trust that I'll be back next week, with something happier. Also photos of outdoor Christmas displays.

Sunday, December 9, 2012. I missed last Sunday's entry, but I've got an excuse. I was out of town, on a family trip to North Dakota. Today I've got some catching up to do: mostly photos.

First, good news. This area has gone from 'blizzard warning' to 'light snow fog/mist and breezy, according to Echo Press, Alexandria. I'd planned to drive my wife and #3 daughter to a Soo Bahk Do tournament in St. Cloud today: and was relieved when it was cancelled, due to the weather.

About 8:00 p.m., we got a 'robocall' from Sauk Centre School's automated system. School will be two hours late tomorrow. Smart move!

Part of Echo Press weather statement this afternoon. December 9, 2012.

Holiday decorations were up, right on schedule, downtown.
November 26, 2012.

Yep, it's definitely the holiday season. That banner says so.
November 25, 2012.

Some business owners put on more of a show than a few garlands. This is P's and Q's computers, on Main Street. November 26, 2012.

Now it looks more holiday-seasonal. December 7, 2012.

Tiny flakes of damp snow started Friday. While driving to the Post Office, I noticed that the front of the van was drifting to the right, the speedometer had dropped to zero: but trees and houses were still going by. Sauk Centre already had trucks out, spreading sand near intersections: but they hadn't gotten to that particular street yet.

Sauk Centre this morning, seen through my webcam. December 9, 2012.

I'm looking forward to a tranquil, uneventful, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary few weeks. Somehow, I don't that's going to happen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012. First Sunday of Advent. I got home around mid-afternoon today, after taking the Sauk Centre Gills up to the Red River Valley of the North. My son has been 'on loan' to #2 daughter and son-in-law this week, helping them at Spiral Light Candle.

Meanwhile, here in Sauk Centre, Main Street Theatre has those free Saturday Matinees: a cooperative effort by Sauk Centre merchants, and a good opportunity to see movies like Ice Age.

An article in the Sauk Centre Herald says that western Stearns County has a low unemployment rate, another that the Community Thanksgiving Dinner served 244 people.

Closer to home, my wife and #3 daughter now have a black belt in Soo Bahk Do: or, rather, each of them has a belt, that's actually more of a midnight blue than black. There's a bit of celebrating in this household today.

Sunday, November 25, 2012. I've had a good Thanksgiving Day weekend. #2 daughter and son-in-law came down from North Dakota. Snow arrived this week: just enough to say 'winter is coming.' Some of my neighbors lit up their Christmas displays Friday evening, which is customary around here.

Sauk Centre this afternoon, seen through my webcam. November 25, 2012.

Christmas is coming: one of Sauk Centre's more thoroughly-decorated yards. November 25, 2012.

I posted two more images from my Small Town America: Central Minnesota webcam yesterday:

The Our Lady of the Angels, St. Paul's, and St. Alexius parishes will be doing a special collection for folks affected by Hurricane Sandy. That happens next week.

Sunday, November 18, 2012. Thanksgiving is four days away. It's not "early," since the fourth Thursday in November is the usual date. On the other hand, this year November started on a Thursday: so Thanksgiving is a whole lot earlier in the month than I expected.

All of which has nothing to do with today's picture-postcard weather.

Sauk Centre downtown this afternoon. November 18, 2012.

I saw Wreck-It Ralph at Main Street Theatre today, with #1 daughter. That was time well-spent: particularly since it gave me an opportunity to use my camera.

A new(ish) store near the river. November 18, 2012.

A new (to me) store near the river is called Taste of Heaven. I gather that it isn't a '60s shop, and sells retro toys and candy. Maybe that should be 'retro toys, and candy.' I'm not sure that there's much of a market for retro candy.

Which reminds me: Hostess Twinkies, and all the other Hostess products, made the transition from current events to history this week. Some folks must take snack food very seriously, since the Twinkies Wikipedia page had to have its editing disabled: "due to vandalism."

Finally, I see that the Sauk Centre Historical Society is 25 years old. The Sauk Centre Herald has an article about them. (November 14, 2012)

Sunday, November 11, 2012. Veterans Day. Fog was a bit thick last night. Then a line of thundershowers came through: and today we had a few tiny flakes of snow. For Minnesota, this time of year, that's about par for the course.

Fog, seen through my webcam. November 10, 2012.

Street work downtown included putting in new sidewalks north of the Post Office. Maybe other places, too: that was the spot I noticed.

New sidewalks downtown. November 11, 2012.

There's a new store downtown: one I haven't noticed before, anyway. It's just south of Centre Floral. ("Store Hours Monday - Friday 9ish to 5ish...") The new-to-me place is called "I've Got Purseanality Fashion & Accessories." It's not the sort of place I'm likely to shop in: but I like the name.

Snow: just barely, Sunday morning. October 28, 2012.

Thanksgiving is coming, my household is collecting stamps on Coborn's 'turkey card,' and I'll probably be back with more next week.

Sunday, November 4, 2012. The clock my computer's screen says that it's 11:39 p.m., the one sitting on the desk says it's after midnight.

We were treated to the 'fall back' part of Daylight Saving time. I am no fan of the biannual time change, and have said so fairly often:

About "Is Government Really Necessary:" the short answer is 'yes,' which isn't the same as believing that everything a civil servant or politico does makes sense.

As usual, temperatures are dropping, the sun is rising later and setting earlier - which, combined with this nifty rule about time, means that it's dark a whole lot earlier than it was yesterday.

Aside from that, I haven't noticed much. Folks set up Monster Manor at the fairgrounds for Halloween, same as previous years. Halloween costumes are on sale in stores, Thanksgiving decorations are showing up in yards - and one neighbor already has a Santa statue standing near his back door.

Sunday, October 28, 2012. We had a little snow on the ground this morning, and on some roofs. Most of what came down melted, making streets and sidewalks wet. They'd have been slippery, I think, if it had been a little cooler. Not that I'm complaining: we'll most likely have plenty of winter later.

Snow: just barely, Sunday morning. October 28, 2012.

That Halloween comes on Wednesday. I hope to have some photos of Sauk Centre's more exuberant yard displays next week.

A dusting of snow on Halloween decorations. October 28, 2012.

That's all for now, though.

Sunday, October 21, 2012. I'm just about caught up on photos from September. That was a slightly hectic month for me, particularly the week I spent at the Spiral Light Candle factory in North Dakota.

The 'back room' at Spiral Light Candle's factory. September 11, 2012.

That photo shows a sort of 'back room in Spiral Light Candle's ( building. It doesn't have much to do with Sauk Centre, but I like the way it looks.

Sauk Centre's autumn colors weren't as bright as they might have been, but I'm not complaining. There's a charm to muted colors too.

One of those 'picture postcard' days on Ash Street. September 21, 2012.

Utility work on South 4th, east of downtown, seems to be proceeding. The street isn't repaved yet: or wasn't, earlier this week.

Sauk Centre has a new building on south Main, someone stole campaign signs on Ash Street, and Schaefer's Market got held up: at knifepoint. Like I've said before, I love it here, but life in small town America isn't perfect. About the holdup, Zachariah John Thompson got his name in the Sauk Centre Herald as the suspect. That's not the sort of publicity I'd want. Part of the good news about that robbery is that, as far as I know, nobody got hurt.

On a happier note, we had the annual polka Mass at Our Lady of the Angels this morning. I like it, but will admit that it's not everyone's favorite Mass. Dale Dahmen & The Polka Beats provided the music this year. I understand it's a father-son-son-son band.

Sunday, October 14, 2012. I got back to Sauk Centre today, after spending the weekend with #2 daughter and son-in-law up in North Dakota. It was mostly a family get-together, but we talked about the Spiral Light Candle company, too.

I'm still getting caught up on photos from September. This year's drought didn't do grass and trees any good, but we've had some pretty good autumn colors anyway.

One of those 'picture postcard' days on Ash Street. September 21, 2012.

This reddish tree by Lake Wobegon Trail is one of my favorites during autumn. September 23, 2012.

That's all I've got for now. Next week I should have more. Or less.

Sunday, October 7, 2012. It's time for me to get my annual flu shot. But since I've got a cold, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, 'now' is not a good time for that inoculation. Looking on the bright side, if I get the flu first: I won't have to take that flu shot.

Marc'ette Floral had a "retirement liquidation" sign up this week. I'm sure there's been more happening in Sauk Centre, but I'm still catching up on September:

Fractured concrete and assorted debris from utility work on Sauk Centre's east side. I haven't checked to see how this is progressing. September 8, 2012.

That football field should keep looking green, no matter what sort of drought we have. September 8, 2012.

Sauk Centre High School's new football field cost more to install than laying down sod. But the Sauk Centre Herald said that in the long run the FieldTurf will be less expensive to maintain. I'm inclined to believe that.

According to the folks who make FieldTurf, it's the best thing since green asphalt:

From a distance, the material looks like beautifully manicured, perfectly watered, real grass. And it doesn't need to be mowed.

Sunday, September 30, 2012. I've had quite a month:

I enjoyed spending a week at the Spiral Light Candle factory, filling in for the boss. I learned quite a bit about day-to-day operations there: and that I'm not a 40-year-old kid any more. Now that I've rested up from that, I caught a cold: but, like we say in Minnesota "it could be worse."

Here's the first bit of catching up on what's been happening in Sauk Centre: what I've noticed, anyway.

The new building on South Main may be ready by winter: or, not. My guess is that it'll be apartments. or something else. September 8, 2012.

Diversicom, also on South Main, is called Arvig now. September 8, 2012.

Mainstreet Communications/Diversicom, the telephone/cable/Internet company on South Main, has been called Arvig since January of this year. Or maybe it's arvig. Here's what I found at the TriCountyNEWS.MN website:

"Diversicom to change name to Arvig"
TriCountyNEWS.MN (December 2, 2011)

"Arvig Communication Systems (ACS) announced Nov. 28, that its subsidiary, Diversicom, will change its name to Arvig as of
"Jan. 1, 2012.
"In December 2010, Arvig Communication Systems purchased Diversicom and its wholly owned subsidiaries of Melrose Telephone and Mainstreet Communications...
"...'Over the years, customers have referred to us in a variety of ways including Arvig Communication Systems, ACS, and Arvig Communications, among others. We have decided to simplify our name to eliminate confusion and clarify our name and image to our customers, both residential and business,' said Chief Operating Officer, David Arvig. We found the same name confusion with Diversicom with customers referring to the company as Mel Tel, Sauk and Mainstreet.'..."

The article says Arvig started out in 1950 as East Ottertail Telephone Company, and that's another topic. I can see a point to calling all of the Arvig companies "Arvig." I think it'll help if the outfit sticks with that name for more than a few years - yet another topic.

That's all I'll do this week. There are quite a few more photos I took this month, of concrete rubble, chickens, a sunset, a street: and maybe something you'll want to see.

Monday, September 10, 2012. I thought I'd have time to do yesterday's post today. The 'family stuff' got a bit more urgent this morning, so - I expect I'll get back to the Sauk Centre Journal by September 23. Of course, I expected that I'd have time today: and you see how that turned out. :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012. I plan to get today's post done tomorrow. Some 'family stuff' came up, and took more time than I expected.

September 2, 2012: Labor Day weekend. It's the last (unofficial) summer weekend. Folks are visiting family, getting in a last weekend at 'the lake,' or - in my case - grilling burgers.

On a not-so-cheerful note, I've heard that a local grocery is having trouble getting some brands of apples: another result of this year's drought. Still, things could be worse. A lot worse.

Sauk Centre's talking traffic signal isn't new, but I hadn't heard it until yesterday. Street work on South 4th is progressing, and Sauk Hop is now Nic's Diner.

Pipes - culverts, I suppose they should be called - at the east end of South 4th. September 1, 2012.

Pieces waiting to be placed: the east end of South 4th, again. September 1, 2012.

An old Volkswagen 'bug,' with personality, on Sinclair Lewis Avenue, downtown. September 1, 2012.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue and Main: and Sauk Centre's talking traffic signal. September 1, 2012.

It told me to wait, and later to get going. September 1, 2012.

That countdown is a nice feature: and encourages promptness in crossing. September 1, 2012.

Nic's Diner: looks a great deal like the Sauk Hop. I'll want to learn more about the place. September 1, 2012.

So far, this Labor Day weekend has looked like a picture postcard: nearly-clear sky, with occasional artistically-placed cirrus clouds.

Sunday, August 26, 2012. I read that Schaefer's Market, downtown, is changing hands. According to the Sauk Centre Herald, Mark and Mary Lou Schaefer sold the grocery/butcher shop to Chris and Lisa Lawinger, effective August 1. Schaefer's has been a fixture since long before I moved here in 1986 - it's nice to know someone will be carrying on with the business.

A tree with 'character.' August 20, 2012.

Street work continues downtown, on South 4th east of Main. August 24, 2012.

Culligan was here, before moving to the industrial park. Now this building, on Pine, is getting some major remodeling. August 24, 2012.

Labor Day weekend is coming up - next weekend. Leaves have started collecting in my yard: one of the very minor effects of this summer's drought.

Our Lady of the Angels had the first 'blessing of backpacks' this Sunday. I understand it'll be an annual event now.

Sunday, August 19, 2012. It's been a beautiful day. I grilled burgers, spent time with my family, and relaxed. Now it's time to see what I've got for this week's entry.

Resurfacing streets is routine. Looks like there's something bigger happening on South 4th Street. August 14, 2012.

The corner of South 4th and Main, looking east. There's more of that hole in the ground, below what's visible here. August 17, 2012.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue: fresh blacktop, plastic tags you can't see in this photo, showing where traffic markings should go. August 14, 2012.

Construction on south Main, across from the Hillcrest Motel, more or less. August 14, 2012.

There isn't an official 'rummage sale season,' but most of the activity seems to be between Memorial Day and Labor Day.. August 17, 2012.

The Sauk Centre Public Schools website,, says that Open House is August 28, 6:00-8:00 p.m.; and that classes start September 4. The 28th is a week from Tuesday, so there's not much of summer vacation left.

Sunday, August 12, 2012. A gym class - I think that's who the kids were - ran past my house this week: another sign that summer is winding down.

I'm not sure how long that tree's been down. This is on the west edge of what real estate ads called a "lake," a decade or so back. In fairness, it's really wet land, and has flooded. August 11, 2012.

Yes: that is a "road closed" sign. I suppose it's a good idea, for the benefit of folks who might not notice the orange tubs and concrete barriers? That's the corner of South 4th and Main. August 11, 2012.

There's been quite a bit of street work being done, which is par for the course in this season. It's mostly been a matter of scraping down the old asphalt a bit, adding a new layer, and painting appropriate lines on the new asphalt.

Sunday, August 5, 2012.  I don't have much to say about Sauk Centre this week, but do have some photos.

Casino Night is a major fundraiser for Holy Family School. The sign is in Our Lady of Angels' parking lot. August 1, 2012.

St. Paul's spire, trees: a street scene in Sauk Centre. August 1, 2012.

Garden decorations: a couple of discrete frogs. August 1, 2012.

Garage sales, and signs pointing to them: a sort of summer tradition. August 5, 2012.

It's still a dry summer, although a thunderstorm got around to leaving water while roaring through town.

Sunday, July 29, 2012. This has been a dry summer. America hasn't been this dry, I've read, since the 1950s and 1930s. Someone I talked to, who had been working on a well in this area, said that water in the major aquifer in this part of the state starts 61 feet lower than it usually does.

The good news is that Earth isn't running out of water: it's just being distributed a bit differently this year. A normal season or so of rain should percolate down to that aquifer and get water levels back to what we're used to: but right now, a whole lot of water isn't there.

I don't have numbers, but it seemed to me that there weren't quite as many folks at the Stearns County Fair this year. Which isn't to say that the fairgrounds looked empty.

These folks drove by the corner of Ash Street and 9th Street South Saturday morning. July 28, 2012.

I started taking photos on my way to the Knights of Columbus Bingo booth. This was about 6:00 p.m.. July 28, 2012.

Saturday at the Stearns County Fair. Lots of families. July 28, 2012.

The midway: this is the 'amusement park' end of the fair. July 19, 2012.

Same place, a minute or so later. July 28, 2012.

Looking back the way I came, near the ticket booth. July 28, 2012.

"Bingo:" That's where I called numbers for two hours. I like doing that: it's a way I can help. July 28, 2012.

Inside the 'Bingo booth.' There in the lower right of the photo is the board where we keep track of which numbers have been called in each game. July 28, 2012.

About two hours later, my shift is over and I take a look at some of the exhibits. July 28, 2012.

4H does a lot more than model rocketry: but that's one of my favorite stops in their building. July 28, 2012.

This is part of the 'real' fair: agricultural machinery on display. July 28, 2012.

I've got almost two dozen photos of the fair, and am half-done.

Sunday, July 29, 2012: Still more photos. 11 photos down, 11 to go. This next set is inside the Conservation Club building.

Ducks, gadwall and otherwise. July 28, 2012.

Some of the critters in the Conservation Club building are native to Minnesota. Others, like the golden pheasant there, aren't. That Chinese bird certainly is colorful, though. July 28, 2012.

The three-section aquarium that's built into the floor. July 28, 2012.

Whitetail deer, like this fawn, live here in central Minnesota. July 28.

Wallabies, not so much. July 28, 2012.

A family and a horse at one of the livestock barns. July 28, 2012.

Pigs are big in this part of Minnesota: a big part of agribusiness, anyway. You can see a horse's ears, inside the building. July 28, 2012.

Other buildings have commercial exhibits. This is where the arts and crafts are shown. July 28, 2012.

The Ferris  wheel. 'It just wouldn't be a fair without the Ferris wheel.' July 28, 2012.

Daylight is just about done. Whole families are still on the midway, and now groups of teens. July 28, 2012.

An old standard of the midway: a merry-go-round. July 28, 2012.

That's all for this week. Summer is more than half-over. Next big transition on the calendar is the end of harvest, and the start of school.

Sunday, July 22, 2012. As we say in Minnesota, 'it could be worse.' My yard is tan, with patches of green highlighting the weeds: not exactly a 'house beautiful' scene, but the lawn will recover.

It's been a dry summer: but at least the weeds are green. July 19, 2012.

I haven't heard how crops are coming along in this part of central Minnesota: but my guess is that we're better off than folks down in southern Illinois, Nebraska, and other places with "extreme" to "exceptional" drought. I made 'thumbnail' copies of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's U.S. Drought Monitor's last two maps:

(from U.S. Drought Monitor, used w/o permission)
Drought conditions, July 10, 2012.

(from U.S. Drought Monitor, used w/o permission)
Drought conditions, July 17, 2012.

The good news is that it's been worse: in the 1930s, and again in the 1950s. We learned from the Dust Bowl, and farmers should be doing a much better job of soil management these days.

The bad news is that we'll probably be spending more for food, later this year. Still - 'it could be worse.' Pricier steaks and a tighter household budget is a whole lot better than a famine. This article compared this year's drought to some of what happened in 'the good old days:'

"Historic drought to bring higher food prices, experts say" (July 17, 2012)

"The historic drought baking the nation's breadbasket is about to hit American consumers where it hurts most -- the supermarket checkout.

" 'Prices are going to go up, Justin Gardner, assistant professor of agribusiness at Middle Tennessee State University, told the Christian Science Monitor. 'The only question is when.'

"Everything from breakfast cereal to roast beef will cost more as a result of the worst drought in 24 years, which has already prompted authorities to declare more than 1,000 counties in 26 states -- nearly two-thirds of land in the lower 48 states, stretching from Nevada to South Carolina -- natural disaster areas.

"Only in the 1930s and the 1950s has a drought covered more land, according to federal figures released Monday. So far, officials say there's little risk of a Dust Bowl-type catastrophe, but crop losses could mount if rain doesn't come soon -- and that means across-the-board higher food prices...."

That drought map probably doesn't tell the whole story. I was near Hillsboro, North Dakota, this weekend: an area that the U.S. Drought Monitor shows as having 'severe' drought conditions. Harvest was under way: come to think of it, this seems rather early for that sort of thing. Besides, I don't know what the yield per acre is.

Harvest in the Red River Valley of the North. July 20, 2012.

The Stearns County Fair starts this week. Folks were starting to set up the midway when I got home this afternoon.

Getting ready for the Stearns County Fair. July 22, 2012.

I missed Sinclair Lewis Days: that was July 15 through today. It's been a mildly hectic week: at least it felt that way.

Sunset. July 22, 2012.

I plan to get a good night's sleep, start Monday morning refreshed and - good grief. I've got medical stuff to do in St. Cloud tomorrow. Oh, well: there's only a 20 percent chance of rain, and I gather that we could use the moisture.

Sunday, July 15, 2012. I must have driven past Marc'ette Floral several times since they added the 'Ivy Brick Inn' sign to their building's 'other' door. The Ivy Brick Inn website ( shows what I'd expected: photos of the rooms, rates for overnight and "weekend retreats." The eight-guest minimum was a slight surprise, but what do I know about inns?

The website's home page had another surprise. It says that Ivy Brick Inn "is perfect for crafters and other gathering ideas...." Followed by a longish list of ideas:

  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Spiritual Retreats
  • Girls' Weekends
  • Wellness Retreats
  • Small weddings
  • Groom's Dinners
  • Showers
  • Wedding Party Lodging
  • Business Meetings
  • Parties
  • Luncheons

That "Showers" item seemed out of place: until I realized that they probably meant "wedding shower" or "baby shower," not the stand-up personal hygiene service at places like where I fuel up the van.

Marc'ette Floral's south room. This is one of my favorite retail display areas in Sauk Centre. July 11, 2012.

Marc'ette Floral, the gift-and-flowers shop attached to Ivy Brick Inn, redecorates their south display room regularly. That, combined with my not stopping in all that often, means I get a new visual treat each time I'm there.

Marc'ette Floral - plant-related items, flowers, decorations, and candles. July 11, 2012.

Marc'ette Floral and Ivy Brick Inn are at the corner of Main and 6th Street South. About two and a half blocks north, Hidden Treasure doesn't look anything like this photo. Not if you're on Main Street:

Hidden Treasure's back entrance, not-quite-hidden under the stairs. July 11, 2012.

Hidden Treasure is a 'card and gift' shop, with books, decorative items: and candles: including Spiral Light Candle products. I'm particularly interested in that new sort of candle, since my son-in-law and #2 daughter's company makes them.

Butterflies, candles, plaques, and a whole lot of other knickknacks, bric-a-brac, whatnots and curios. July 11, 2012.

I like the look of Hidden Treasure's interior, too. It reminds me of some of the older homes I've been in: the sort where the homeowner likes to collect nifty-looking little doodads.

Sunset at Ash and 9th Street South, Sauk Centre. July 11, 2012.

My Small Town America: Central Minnesota webcam looks in about the same direction as that sunset photo: except it's pointed down to give a view of a hummingbird feeder, birdbath, and whatever's going on near the corner of Sauk Centre's Ash and 9th Street South.

Sunday, July 8, 2012. Independence Day fell on a Wednesday this year.

Last evening for the freedom rosary in Sauk Centre. July 4, 2012.

Wednesday was also the last day of the freedom rosary in the garden by Our Lady of the Angels church for two weeks. Nearly a hundred folks, have been out there, praying and singing for an hour each evening. I found out about it on the Sunday after it started, and was out each evening after that.

Last evening for the freedom rosary in Sauk Centre. July 4, 2012.

It was hot and humid on a few of the days, but happily we didn't get rained on. Then, on the night of July 4, there was a tornado watch. I haven't heard of anything more severe than a thunderstorm in central Crow Wing County, and southeast Cass County, north of Sauk Centre. Can't say I'm disappointed.

More about that freedom rosary:

Mostly, it's been hot this week: the sort of weather where I'm inclined to see blinking my eyes as "strenuous activity." Compared to some parts of the country, though, we've had an easy time of it:

Temperatures got down to more reasonable levels this weekend.

Finally, photos of someone's holiday decorations:

Flags and bunting for Independence Day. July 8, 2011.

Really small flags, but lots of them. July 8, 2011.

The Stearns County Fair is coming later this month, but that's a couple weeks off: July 25 through July 29, I think.

Sunday, July 1, 2012. I've got mostly photos again this week: only not quite so many. Actually one of them is from last week.

'Fireworks tent' in a parking lot on Sauk Centre's south side. Independence Day's coming this Wednesday. June 23, 2011.

The next three photos show part of what I've been doing this week. As many as 98 folks have been gathering in the garden next to Our Lady of the Angels church each evening to pray. Tonight there were 92: I suspect some of us decided to stay inside, out of the heat and humidity.

Freedom rosary, in the Marian garden at Our Lady of the Angels church. June 24, 2012.

Freedom rosary, violins, folks singing. June 25, 2012.

Freedom rosary: photo by Dr. Erik Rivers. June 26, 2012.

There's been more going on in Sauk Centre: folks buying food and fireworks at the grocery; hummingbirds refueling at feeders, including mine; all the usual routines.

Down the road in Alexandria, KSAX television stopped broadcasting. Alexadria's Echo Press ran an article on the closure:

If something special happened here in Sauk Centre: I missed it, but will try to catch up next week.

Sunday, June 24, 2012. Unger's big stock liquidation sale is still going. It started last September.

Ungers: stock liquidation sale in progress. September 27, 2011.

Unger's Furniture, this weekend. Look closely: those signs in the windows aren't the ones from last year. June 23, 2012.

The latest signs are getting a little sun-bleached, though. June 23, 2012.

Look even closer: "new management/new merchandise." June 23, 2012.

Sauk Centre's 'other' Chinese restaurant: Four Seas Buffet, near Walmart. That's where Fitness Guru used to be. June 23, 2012.

Four Seas Buffet is newer than their downtown counterpart. There's another distinction, too. June 23, 2012.

Need a little exercise after your meal? Four Seas Buffet has this batting practice setup next door. June 23, 2012.

Sunset. We get one each day, but they're not all this scenic. June 20, 2012.

That's about all I've got for now. See you next week.

Sunday, June 17, 2012. Father's Day. This was another one of those weeks where I didn't get much done: and took all week doing it. I wrote a few posts, washed a few dishes: all pretty much routine.

The weather at the moment isn't quite 'routine.' There's a tornado watch on until 10:00 p.m., so I'm keeping an eye on the Sauk Centre page of

Whoops. There's a severe thunderstorm warning for St cloud, New Munich, Lake Henry, Freeport, Hawick, Paynesville, Albany, Roscoe, Manannah, Richmond, Avon, Eden Valley, and Cold Spring. Looks like the excitement's going to be mostly east of Sauk Centre.

It's about 9:05 p.m. or so. The lights flickered just now, so I'll add a photo and stop for the night.

Those silos are across the river: but this shows how 'rural' we are. It's not for everyone, but I've gotten used to the lack of smog and traffic jams. June 16, 2012.

Or, rather, I'll get this entry online: Then I'll stop.

Sunday, June 10, 2012. Another week, with the usual bright blue skies, leaden overcast, sweltering heat, and chilly evenings. I like Minnesota: the weather isn't boring.

I noticed a sign being set up - or possibly repaired - at the Central Minnesota Credit Union on south Main Street. 'Set up' is more likely, since the framework is where the CMU's sign-on-a-pole used to be.

Looks like Central Minnesota Credit Union's going for a lower-profile sign. June 8, 2012.

Yards and gardens in town are looking good: we've had a pretty good mix of sunshine and rain. My webcam, "Small Town America: Central Minnesota," shows mostly lawns, streets, and sidewalks. On the other hand, I nudged it over a little and fixed the focus: so the view of the hummingbird feeder is a little better.

Now that I've got that shameless self-promotion out of the way, a couple more photos.

Flowers. Sign. Bright colors. June 8, 2012.

Sunset Friday's sunset, south and west of Sauk Centre. June 8, 2012.

Finally, Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas has been a deacon for 25 years, as of this weekend. He's attached to Our Lady of Angels and St. Paul here in Sauk Centre; and St. Alexius in West Union. He spent another 25 before that, serving around the altar in one capacity or another.

Sunday, June 3, 2012. Life happened quite a bit this week: Nothing major or even serious: just 'stuff.'

It's a beautiful day today: 'picture postcard' weather, blue skies, and all that. This is Minnesota, so the weather will probably be different by the time you read this.

If you're in Sauk Centre, you've got the option of looking out the window to see if the sun's out. If not, you could check out my webcam, that gives streaming video of a corner of Ash Street and South 9th: Small Town America: Central Minnesota. It's on 24 hours a day: except for power failures, Internet outages, maintenance on my computer, and the occasional mysterious technical issue.

One reason that I've been distracted is my son-in-law's company, Spiral Light Candle. Their new factory's grand opening was last weekend, and I've got photos. Actually, the first one shows what the former potato warehouse looked like, during construction.

Spiral Light Candle factory, south section: during construction. December 31, 2011.

Spiral Light Candle factory, south section: about a week ago. May 25, 2012.

Spiral Light Candle factory, Grand Opening: the cake. May 25, 2012.

Spiral Light Candle's website ( shows the "candle with a twist," and stores where you're likely to find them. In town, that's Marc'ette Floral, at Main and South 6th, and Hidden Treasure, downtown. I'd hoped to have more to show this week, but like I said: life happened.

Sunday, May 27, 2012. Memorial Day Weekend. This weekend means quite a few things. It's another three-day weekend, the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, and a federal holiday. I gave my take on citizenship and patriotism on one of my blogs:

I'm keeping this Sauk Centre Journal brief, partly because I want to enjoy the weekend with my family: and partly because I was out of town for part of the week, and got a little preoccupied.

So I'll add a few photos, and call it a day.

Our Lady of Angels church, early Saturday evening. May 26, 2012.

We had a severe thunderstorm warning around midnight last night. Also flash flood warnings. Around two or three inches came down in as many hours.

Around midnight, sometimes the sky looked like this - - - May 26, 2012.

- - - and sometimes it looked like this. May 26, 2012.

There's another severe thunderstorm warning in effect just now, but most of the excitement is east of Sauk Centre. Here's what radar showed:

Here we go again. May 27, 2012.

Like I've said before, Minnesota's weather isn't boring.

Sunday, May 20, 2012. I don't have a photo of the inch-and-a-quarter-size hail that came down around 11:00 Friday night. Our Lady of Angels church's Father Statz said that he'd left his car out that night: and that in the morning it looked like someone had gone over it with a ball peen hammer.

This isn't exactly a new development: but this week I noticed that Jitters Java ( and Main Street Theatre ( have their own websites.

I heard "Just For Fun," the last grades 6-12 band concert of the school year, Monday evening. I enjoy those concerts: partly because my son plays trombone in one of the bands, partly because I like the music. They had the usual mix of styles, from "Drum Schtick" to "The Pink Panther" and "Puttin' On the Ritz." Near the end, band members did a sort of presentation/recognition for the band director, Melissa Vorderbruggen. (I sure hope I got the name right.)

"Just For Fun" band concert at Sauk Centre school. May 14, 2012.

Presentation to the band director. May 14, 2012.

Now that temperatures are summer-like, we've got yard sales and garage sales.

Summer and yard sales: part of life here in Sauk Centre. May 18, 2012.

My wife and #3 daughter went to St. Cloud on Saturday, for a Soo Bahk Do tournament. I went along as driver and photographer This one wasn't as crowded as they usually are. Maybe the looming Memorial Day weekend has something to do with that. "Looming" isn't quite the right word.

Soo Bahk Do tournament in St. Cloud. May 19, 2012.

That's about if for this week. Unless I decide to post a few more photos of the Soo Bahk Do thing on the Sauk Centre Journal Blog.

Sunday, May 13, 2012. Once again, for reasons I may never learn, Mother's Day and the first weekend of Minnesota's fishing season are synchronized.

This is another week where 'all I know is what I read in the papers.' Or paper, in this case: the Sauk Centre Herald. There's a pretty good op-ed titled "Heroes and role models," discussion of parking restrictions at a city council meeting made above-the-fold front page, and so did concerns about Sauk Centre's evolving downtown: that last is the "Downtown bar owners express..." item.

Sauk Centre Herald: Another week in small town America. May 13, 2012.

Charlie Company is still home, for which we're all grateful. And this week there weren't any tornado warnings: which I don't mind a bit.

Saturday afternoon. May 12, 2012.

Things at my household haven't been as uneventfully serene as that photo of Saturday afternoon might suggest. #2 daughter and son-in-law and #1 daughter were here for the weekend - and Mother's Day. I've re-arranged my schedule to make room for a new project or two: more about that will be in tomorrow's post on Apathetic Lemming of the North. Nothing spectacular: but by life hasn't been dull, either.

Sunday, May 6, 2012. Apart from a tornado warning, and the sirens going off at about 5:00 Tuesday afternoon, I don't have much to write about this week. But, boy: do I have pictures

Those clouds were still rumbling when we left the basement. It's a bit faint on the left side: but that's a full rainbow. May 1, 2012.

Same rainbow, a closer look. May 1, 2012.

Rain, sunlight, a little time, and we've got lilac flowers. Almost. May 2, 2012.

Same bush, same day, different angle. May 2, 2012.

Field, Interstate, and Sauk Centre's water tower. May 3, 2012.

"Welcome Home, Troops" on Main Street Theatre's marquee. May 3, 2012.

"Charlie Company Thank You," although you can't see it too well in this photo. May 3, 2012.

"Charlie Company Thank You," a closer look: and you can see the little flags, too. May 3, 2012.

Yellow ribbons, lots of them, downtown. May 3, 2012.

A detail from the same photo. May 3, 2012.

Lilacs: after more rain, still more rain, even more rain, and a few days. May 6, 2012.

An enthusiastic cluster of flowers. May 6, 2012.

That's it for me this week. Next week, I'll probably have more.

Sunday, April 29, 2012. If I paid more attention to the Sauk Centre Herald, I'd have known that the flags were welcoming Charlie Company home. This time around, they had a fairly low-key 'welcome home' that focused on getting the soldiers and their families back together with a minimum of fuss.

Welcome Home, Charlie Company. April 23, 2012.

Monday, I noticed that the storefront where Gold 'N More was is still available. I've mentioned that store a few times over the years. (February 26, 2012, June 12, 2011, April 3, 2004, November 14, 2003, October 16, 2003, October 5, 2003, September 19, 2003)

Still available: a decent-size storefront on Main. April 23, 2012.

I spent a couple of hours just inside the door at Coborn's, handing out Tootsie Rolls and collecting money for the Knights of Columbus. We'll be passing it on: most likely to Camphill Village, and other outfits that help folks with intellectual disabilities.

Candy and fundraising by the Knights of Columbus. April 29, 2012.

The local Knights of Columbus gave folks at Mass this weekend a chance to get some candy - and pitch in for a worthy cause.

Sunday, April 22, 2012. Today is Earth Day. That might explain the flags downtown. I remember the first E.D., back in 1970, and told what I think about environmental awareness in one of my blogs. ("Earth Day, 2012: This Catholic's View") Or maybe the flags are out in anticipation of Administrative Professionals Day which comes Wednesday. Or National Jelly Bean Day, which is today.

Sinclair Lewis Avenue, overcast, and flags. April 21, 2012.

Unger's liquidation sale is in its final week (extended). April 21, 2012.

Even on a gray day, these birdhouses stand out. April 21, 2012.

Let's see: holidays; damp streets; stock liquidation sale; really colorful birdhouses. Yep, that's pretty much what I have this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2012. It's Divine Mercy Sunday. We've had a wonderful, warm, clear-blue-sky day, followed by overcast, thunder, rain, and - in Alexandria - a bit of hail. Now there's a wind advisory out, starting midnight: with snow, a low around 30, clear skies, rain, and fog. Not all at the same time, of course.

Some folks from the local Soo Bahk Do class were in St. Paul Friday evening. As I said in another blog, my wife and #3 daughter are testing for the Soo Bahk Do equivalent of a black belt. I went along as a driver and photographer. ("Martial Arts and the Battle for Purity," A Catholic Citizen in America (April 15, 2012))

The Soo Bahk Do group in Sauk Centre, and others in this area, are quite close to the origins of this martial art. Grandmaster Hwang Kee founded it in 1945; he taught the current head, H. C. Hwang, who taught the man who taught the Sauk Centre group's lead instructor.

That's a long way of saying that there are only four student-teacher steps between the person the local group is learning from, and the founder of the art.

Soo Bahk Do: mental and physical discipline - - -. April 13, 2012.

- - - and no shoes. April 13, 2012.

And, for the folks who came along, a photo op. April 13, 2012.

When the weekend came, I realized that I'd been focusing pretty heavily on the upcoming test. I had a quick look around yesterday: and the rest of Sauk Centre is still there. Maybe I'll have more detail next week.

Sunday, April 8, 2012. Easter Sunday. Ducks have returned to Sauk Lake, flowers are blooming, and bugs are in the air.

Sauk Lake, near St. Michael's. April 4, 2012.

Ducks in Sauk Lake. April 4, 2012.

Not a big bush: but lots of flowers. April 7, 2012.

The Easter Express? I like that yard decoration. April 8, 2012.

Easter Sunday, Our Lady of Angels church. April 8, 2012.

I'm looking forward to consistently warm weather: which shouldn't be too far ahead.

Sunday, April 1, 2012. Palm Sunday. We didn't get that high around 80 today: which was fine by me.

Palm fronds at Our Lady of Angels church. April 1, 2012.

Palm Sunday, Our Lady of Angels church. April 1, 2012.

Today is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week: which tends to be a little hectic for this household. As we usually do, we wove four palm fronds into a sort of St. Andrew's cross:

That, and noting that Summer is definitely here, is about all I've got for this week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012. Next week is Palm Sunday. This week was warm, cold, sunny, overcast, and clear with occasional rain and a noisy thundershower on Monday. All of which is about par for the course this time of year, here in central Minnesota.

The Unger Furniture stock liquidation sale is still going on. The radio commercials are saying that it's almost over. That's the impression I got, anyway.

Knights of Columbus have been bringing an Our Lady of Guadalupe image through this area for a few years now. It was at the church I go to today.

An Our Lady of Guadalupe image at Our Lady of Angels church. Knights of Columbus arranged for it to be here. March 25, 2012.

Apart from that, and my household almost having a working garage again, I haven't noticed all that much out of the ordinary. I'll admit to having been a bit distracted, though.

Sunday, March 18, 2012. Spring is here. Not the sort of 'flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la' thing you read about. Springtime, Minnesota style. It's warm: in the '70s. The snow is gone. Most of it, anyway. Here's a quick review of the month so far:

Snow: It'll make even a construction site look good. March 1, 2012.

Yep. No question about it. It snowed this week. March 1, 2012.

Next stop on the holiday line: St. Patrick's Day. March 4, 2012.

Kids know what snow's for. March 11, 2012.

Snow, and dirt, and mud. Snirt? Smud? Not entirely pleasant, although the clean snow looks nice. March 11, 2012.

That was then. This is now:

Springtime, Minnesota style. March 18, 2012.

One of my kids saw a gnat the other day, so the other invertebrate critters will be adding to the ambiance soon. I've been hearing - and enjoying - birdsongs for several days now. I've seen the usual sparrows, and a junco or two. At least, I think they were juncos. A little smaller and trimmer than sparrows, and gray. I'm no bird expert.

Grass is turning green in the damper and warmer spots: by the time we get something that looks like the sort of 'blooming meadow' version of spring, it'll be summer. And I'll probably be getting nostalgic about winter.

Before Mass at Our Lady of Angels. March 18, 2012.

St. Patrick's day went by this week, so the next holiday is Palm Sunday (two weeks), or Easter Sunday (three weeks), or National Jelly Bean Day (5 weeks).

Sunday, March 11, 2012. First, the good news: the Hair & Body Connection salon on the corner of Sinclair Lewis and Main is open. Now, the bad news: next door, the Sauk Hop Diner isn't.

Sauk Hop Diner, downtown: Open last summer, now closed. March 11, 2012.

The sign they've got on the window says it all.

Sauk Hop Diner: I'll miss that place. March 11, 2012.

Before moving on, two pictures from last summer.

"Sauk Hop?" "Shear Paradise?" Folks are having fun with business names. I like it. June 24, 2011.

Definitely '50s theme inside. Good coffee, too. I haven't had a meal there yet. June 24, 2011.

Some of last week's snow either has melted, or is melting. Quite a bit hasn't gotten around to acknowledging spring yet.

Kids know what snow's for. March 11, 2012.

It's only a matter of time before even the biggest snow piles are gone. Temperatures were in the mid-50s today.

Speaking of time: I enjoyed, if that's the word for it, the 'spring forward' part of daylight saving time today. I'd say something witty on the subject - but today my heart's just not in it.

That's it for this week: see you next Sunday.

Sunday, March 5, 2012. We got a decent cover of snow late Tuesday and early Wednesday. ("Weekly Summary for February 29, 2012," Quite a lot of it is still here, although I'm not expecting the snow to last too long. If next Tuesday's high of 40-plus comes, it'll feel like an early spring.

Snow: It'll make even a construction site look good. March 1, 2012.

I suppose part of the small town stereotype is true: we do talk about the weather. Considering how much of the local economy depends directly or indirectly on agriculture, that's no surprise.

Yep. No question about it. It snowed this week. March 1, 2012.

Next stop on the holiday line: St. Patrick's Day. March 4, 2012.

That's about it for this week. I'm enjoying the wintry scene while it lasts.

Sunday, February 26, 2012. It's been snowing, although the winter storm watch got postponed. As of this evening, the forecast is for wind and maybe a foot of snow to show up between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons.

A smudge on my forehead, marking the start of Lent. February 22, 2012.

I don't have all that much to report this week - aside from some commercial space being available on the west side of Main, downtown. I noticed the sign when my son and I went to an eye clinic this week. Actually, he went: I just tagged along.

That space is still for rent. Or maybe 'again.' If memory serves, that's where Gold 'N More was, until last summer. February 24, 2012.

That's it for now. See you next Sunday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012. Ash Wednesday is coming this week. I missed this year's burning of last Easter's palms. My household's set got deposited last night. Here's a photo of last season's burning:

Burning the palm leaves - last year. We had more snow on the ground then. March 6, 2011.

The estate clearance sale is still going on at Unger Furniture, west of the Palmer House. That block is going to look different without the big "UNGER" lettering on that building.

Inheritance taxes make it challenging to pass a family business along to the next generation. Unger Furniture 'estate sale.' February 16, 2012.

On a happier note, around the corner (The Original) Main Street looks about as busy as ever. It's not exactly New York City's Times Square: but we seem to be doing okay.

Main Street, Sauk Centre, on a Thursday afternoon. February 16, 2012.

I'm not sure when this happened: Felling Trailers ( has a new building. This one's by the Interstate on-ramp, eastbound; behind Dan Welle's (; and north of Minnesota Sawdust and Shavings Company (they don't seem to have a website). I'm not sure how to reach it: but there's a pretty good view of the building from near Sauk Centre's I-94 Raceway.

Felling Trailers - new(ish) building. February 19, 2012.

The weather forecast says there's more ridiculously warm weather coming: but at least there's a pretty good chance we'll get snow. No, wait: that's snow, then rain in the afternoon. Uff da.

Sunday, February 12, 2012. It felt like April this weekend. The good news is that heating bills shouldn't be too bad for this month. The bad news is that at this rate what snow is left will melt off long before April and May finally make an appearance. I don't like 'open winters.' Happily, I haven't noticed blowing dust.

Sauk Lake public landing in Sauk Centre. We've had some picture-postcard days this week. February 10, 2012.

More good news: these crystal-clear blue skies are nice to look at.

I see in this week's Sauk Centre Herald that the public school may put advertising up in the hallways. ("Hallways as billboards?" Randy Olson (February 8, 2012))

The idea is that private/non-school advertisers would pay to have their advertisements posted, with profits going into the school's general fund. Maybe it's crass commercialism: but it also sounds like a reasonable way to help keep the school running. As for the affect on students?

At the lower elementary grades, it might not be the best idea. For the teen population in the school? I spent my adolescence in the '60s: and my classmates were reasonably media-savvy then. I seriously doubt that grades seven-through-12 in the Sauk Centre Public School are any less able to tell the difference between advertising and school announcements.

It looks like the school board is taking time to collect information and think: which I think is a good thing.

One more thing: Valentine's Day comes on TUESDAY of THIS WEEK?! Oh, wait: I've already taken care of what I'll give my wife.


Next stop on the holiday calendar is Ash Wednesday.

Sunday, February 5, 2012. We had frost on the trees Saturday morning. Probably before that, too, what with the fog, but Saturday is why I got some photos.

Frost on evergreens. It's like a fairyland forest is in bloom. February 4, 2012.

A little more than a week, and Valentine's Day is here. February 4, 2012.

Frost crystals: a closer look. February 4, 2012.

I drove to Hillsboro, North Dakota, on Wednesday, coming back the same day. I like driving, usually: but fog was particularly interesting on the return trip. Starting around Fergus Falls, all the way to Sauk Centre, visibility was very far from ideal.

My wife and I, and #3 daughter, spent a little time visiting with #2 daughter and son-in-law: but the trip was mostly 'business.' There were papers to sign.

My son-in-law and daughter started Spiral Light Candle ( about a year ago. They've got a remarkable, new, sort of candle, and folks seem to like it. The candle factory is moving out of their garage, into a building that's going to be the company's factory and offices. While I'm plugging their business, they've got a Spiral Light Candle Corp. Storefront on

Spiral Light Candle factory: My son-in-law took this picture. December 31, 2011.

Same place, a little over a month later. There's still more to get done. February 2, 2012.

My son-in-law and #2 daughter are doing most of the work, but I've been lending a hand where I can. One think I'll say: my life hasn't been boring.

Sunday, January 29, 2012. It looked and felt like winter today, and I'm enjoying it while I can. It's not that I like feeling cold. With snow in the ground, the wind picks up ice crystals: not dust.

Football field behind the school. This is the way winter is supposed to look. January 29, 2012.

Nifty! Now there's a 'time and temperature' sign by Sauk Centre High School's parking lot. January 29, 2010.

The forecast is for (slightly) above-freezing temperatures. Maybe all the snow won't melt.

Sunday, January 22, 2012. As I've said before, Minnesota doesn't have a climate so much as it has weather. So far this month, we've had sub-zero temperatures, a high around 55 degrees, clear skies, dull gray overcast, and several varieties of precipitation.

Interesting as all that is, it doesn't photograph well, so I dug through the archives and found this set of photos from about two years ago:

Fog and frost: on just about everything. January 15, 2010.

Frost. Lots of really delicate frost. January 15, 2010.

Around 11:00 a.m., clearing. Not much wind, happily. January 15, 2010.

County Road 17, near the Sauk River. January 15, 2010.

Someone tried passing a bad check at the Palmer House: which was very imprudent, since the person was already wanted for several serious felonies. The police came, made an arrest, and life went on. This week's Sauk Centre Herald has more about that: also high school guidance counselor Bryce Zieman's resignation; and other news.

My wife is practicing for her black belt in Soo Bahk Do. It's actually a midnight-blue belt, but that takes longer to say. She's with the local Soo Bahk Do group this evening, along with my son and #3 daughter: and, I gather, some of the younger students who are testing for their white belts. I think I got that straight.

Sunday, January 15, 2012. I noticed a new-to-me business in Sauk Centre this week: TecDesk, 'computer specialists,' in one of the storefronts near the river. They've got a snappy sign over the door, but I don't know much more about them. Yet.

TecDesk, on the north side of downtown. January 10, 2012.

I missed a band concert at the Sauk Centre High School: thanks to something I'll call the flu. Or maybe some other sort of bug. My third-oldest daughter recorded the part where my son has a part - wonderful stuff, this new technology.

We've had the usual sort of Minnesota weather: bright blue skies, snow, then a little more snow, some of which melted today.

Sunday, January 8, 2012. Minnesota winters aren't boring. Last weekend we had gray skies, snow on the ground, and plausibly cool temperatures. This weekend it was blue skies and weather that had my son outside in his shirtsleeves. Granted, he's a teenager: but it really was spring-like out there.

I haven't gotten out much this week: partly because I've got a nine-to-five job again, with Spiral Light Candle. It's the shortest commute I've ever had for a 'paycheck' job: about a dozen feet from the kitchen to my desk.

Today is Epiphany Sunday, tomorrow's the last of the 12 days of Christmas, and I took photos at Our Lady of Angels church:

Sunday at Our Lady of Angels church: crèche, poinsettias, and Christmas lights. January 8, 2012.

That's not a bowl of mints: it's chalk, and I forgot to pick up a piece. Oh, well. January 8, 2012.

The chalk in that bowl is for a sort of household blessing/prayer. I forgot to pick up a piece this morning. Frustrating, a bit. Maybe I'll remember, next year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012. Happy New Year! We finally got snow, on Friday. This weekend, we got wind to go with it. Now it's starting to feel like winter.

Snow: not all that much, but enough to make a believable winter scene. And require shoveling. December 30, 2011.

This may be the last of this season's Christmas photos. Or maybe I'll find more to show.

These folks decided to use their front steps as a stage for a manger scene. I like the effect: and they apparently don't mind having to use another door. December 22, 2011.

'Cool' lights on Sauk Centre's east side. December 22, 2011.

Our Lady of Angels church and rectory. December 31, 2011.

Tomorrow's the start of another work-week, today's the start of another year, and I don't have much else to say: profound or otherwise.

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