Sunday, January 20, 2019

All grown up and looking for tail

This Beta flashes a sign to the fish in the neighboring tank, displaying what it hopes will entice. The last time I was at Hotel California, I saw this magnificent specimen as a tiny egg, cascading from its mother's womb, without a hint of what the future would bring. These are being bred for fun.

Friday, January 18, 2019

He's gone....

Dan Neilson, Kathleen's older brother, died peacefully Thursday, Jan. 17 at 2:30 p.m. after numerous struggles with a variety of infirmities. We were with him and are assured that his trials are over and he is in a better place. Thank you for your support. He was a kind, generous man who will be missed. We grieve his passing.
Details on a memorial service will be posted here in the future.

Here's the obituary we are getting ready for the paper:

Neilson, Daniel L.

Age 80 of St. Paul passed away peacefully on January 17, 2019. Dan was a retired Brown and Bigelow employee. He is preceded in death by his parents Leonard and Florence Neilson, brother James Neilson, and brother-in-law David Brewer.  He is survived by his sisters Mary Lou Brewer of Colorado and Kathleen (Stan) Rolfsrud of Eden Prairie.  Nieces Melissa, Marcelline, Jennifer, and Heidi and nephew Anthony. Grand niece Emily and grand nephew Maxwell. Special thanks to the staffs at Highland Chateau and Alina Hospice.  We love and miss you Dan.  Memorial services pending. Full notice to follow in the spring. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Doing fine. . .

Keep your eyes on your fries, Dan.

After a brief stint at United Hospital, brother Dan has returned to his usual digs at the Highland Chateau in elegant St. Paul. We visited today and found him in good spirits and not quite sure what the bruise is under his eye, but not to worry, he said. He's bracing for the cold weather that is about to ensue, and got a big hug from his sister, Kathleen, on behalf of his niece, Jennifer, who was being infused today as part of the international study she's participating in, supporting breast cancer victims, and a company that thinks it has something in the works.

Although the food is fine at le Chateau, Dan likes an occasional diversion from le McDonald's Restaurant across the street. Therefore his sister, from time to time, brings him his favorite: cheeseburger, large french fries and a coke, the All-American choice. But his vulnerability to a casual fry-snatcher was demonstrated today, and was photographed in the act by Dan's sister.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas in Dundas (near Northfield)

Front row, Kathleen, Maxwell, Jennifer; Back row, Stan, Marcelline, Jody, Jim; Melissa and Emily are in Mexico.
Jennifer hosted a wonderful gathering of Christmas cheer at her home in Dundas. So much to be happy about.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Beside the warm waters. . .

Photo by Melissa Blethen
Toweling down for the day, Emily will enjoy the warm waters of the beach at Mazatlan for two more weeks. The water is surprisingly warm, they note, never have they had such an enjoyable time in mid-winter. Our granddaughter,12, is vacationing there with her mother. Meanwhile, the parents babysit their cat in Eden Prairie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Annual Letter

This will have to do for the old-fashioned Christmas letter (we don’t own a printer any more), you know, the annual brag sheet we used to mail out with all the year’s accomplishments of the girls and of our future plans on paper, with only the good parts showing. Let’s do it again this way for fun, now that social media has all but disappeared the more traditional greetings.

They’re adults now with lives of their own, but it’s still fun to tell about the girls and us, in the very best light, in this season of joy and happiness.

Of course on the top of the list is the respite our daughter has received from the growing tumors so devastating for the last three years. She volunteered for a study to find possible cures for her type of breast cancer, and in short order the tumors disappeared, became undetectable. She is still in the study with its draconian treatments before FDA approval, but has enough good days to host a Christmas gathering for us in her rehabbed Dundas home. We continue in our hopes for her continued recovery.

Our Grandson graduated from the University of Minnesota (like Mom and Pop) and immediately snagged a position at a major firm in Minneapolis as a software developer. We try to understand what it is he does, but are impressed by the five layers of security he must daily pass to get to his desk (do they still have them?) and his enthusiasm for his team of co-workers and the company. Nearby, his father continues to toil at Seagate, managing whatever it is for that International firm. His mother continues in her Bodywork and related pursuits, bringing health and healing to people.

Our eldest runs her own daycare and side business, and as a single Mom raises her 12-year old, who is fast becoming a beautiful, balanced young adult. Too fast, of course, for Grandma and Grandpa. She enjoys astronomy, pitching a softball and shopping with an indulgent Grandfather, baking cookies and such with Grandmother. Plays violin and seems constantly involved with her school iPad doing homework, but who really knows? Mother and daughter are presently in Mazatlan, enjoying the sun and their large nearby “adopted” family they help support.

Emily in Mazatlan
Grandma and Grandpa think they’re done moving for a while, after moving from Shakopee to St. Paul back to Eden Prairie. We love our present “Leaping Deer Lane” location near the Eden Prairie shopping center and “all roads” which lead to many nearby family and friends. We’re on a three-year lease and will look to buy in the neighborhood, we think, when that expires.

We sold the condominium in the Chicago Midtown Exchange after Kathleen’s brother moved to a St. Paul home for a more comfortable situation. Stan’s Hotel California beckons, and we’ll get there soon, despite the earthquakes, fires, mudslides and traffic. His stroke symptoms continue to subside, and at the behest of his youngest, has adopted a vegan diet. Kathleen enjoys her gaming pursuits with friends and reading Grisham, Patterson and Sanford. She’ll enjoy Michele Obama’s new book coming from Santa.

For these reasons and others we consider ourselves blessed during this season of joy and light. We hope your own celebrations and traditions are similarly marked by memories of the happiness of loved ones and by the gifts of the present.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Early Christmas 2018

Grandma got some great pictures of the gathering. From left, Jennifer, Emily, Stan, Melissa, Marcy and Max. Maybe someone will send one with Kathleen in it.
Melissa and Emily are heading to Mazatlan for Christmas and New Year's with their adopted family there, so we had a brunch and early opening in Eden Prairie just for the two of them. Favorite gifts were a mini-fanny pack -- so you won't have the embarrassment of wearing a full-size one -- and a secret Spam can valuables bank, where no one would suspect you had hidden your money.
A great first impression for a first date, Max volunteered. "You could say 'Here, I've got the bill. I have a bank in my little fanny pack.' Then you could take out the Spam bank and open it and pay the check!" He had us in stitches. Great pre-Christmas gathering.

Shortly after my plea for a Christmas picture with Kathleen in it,  this arrived. Thanks to Jennifer who knows how
to operate the timer on her phone camera!

Wednesday, December 05, 2018


They are Melissa's favorite Christmas cookie. She and daughter Emily will spend Christmas season in Mazatalan, Mexico, so we're having an early opening just for them on Sunday. Naturally the special cookie will be there too.  Spritz away, Grandma.