Sunday, July 21, 2019

Dear Kids,
         We’re all waiting for the good news from Tom and Kim.  Naturally they’re waiting, too.  Kim’s due date was July 18, and she’s never been more than a day overdue, so this is a new one for them.  Of course the main thing is that little Tyler will be born healthy, and the delivery will go well. A new baby is such a great blessing!
         I guess you all have your food assignments for the family reunion.  Holy Cow, it’s practically here!  If anybody isn’t sure what they’re supposed to bring, contact Vanessa.  Her text message said that the schedule will be similar to what it was 2 years ago, with a beach day Friday, and on Saturday a morning bike ride, Go-karts, and a trip to Bloomington Lake.  I can’t wait!  We’re bringing our younger cats because we’ve never been away from them for more than a day, and I’m afraid they’d freak out with us gone that long.  I know we’re crazy about them, but we don’t have kids to worry about.  Tina will be staying here.  We don’t worry much about her.
         We’ve had great fun with Sharon’s family coming and going.  Sharon is always determined to pack every ounce of fun that’s possible into their Utah adventures.  I admire her energy! 
         My neighbor Jessie does eyebrow microblading and eyeliner tattooing, so I’ve been having her work on my face.  Thursday afternoon I was having my second session, lying on my back on our couch, and she had her little tool humming away, when she shouted out, “Stop that! You’re going to electrocute yourself!”  I was so surprised I almost jumped up, but then I realized she must be yelling at a cat.  Probably Scout.  Sure enough, he was fighting with her electrical cord and biting it.  I got up and threw him outside, and then we went on with my treatment.  BTW, having your brows microbladed is a little bit painful, and having eyeliner tattooed on is really, really painful!  When Jessie told me I could have my free touch-up in six to eight weeks, I wasn’t sure I would want it.  Jessie is really good at what she does, though, and was one of the pioneers of “permanent makeup.”
         So much happening!  So much fun!  Love to all, Mom

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Dear Kids,
         What a fun, crazy week we’re having.  Charlie and Matthew came Sunday afternoon with Nora’s family, and they entertained us until Tuesday, when Dad drove them up to Wolf Creek Pass.  They had fun throwing snowballs at each other while they waited for Thackers to come pick them up.  They’ve been in Upalco ever since, but Thursday afternoon Sharon arrived with Lucy and Conrad, fresh from the airport.  Sharon’s rental car is very peppy, she discovered, when she got a speeding ticket leaving the airport.  She and the kids are keeping their stuff here, and they sleep here, but they go different places during the day to link up with friends and have fun.   When they’re here, we’re totally Fun Central, because Donna’s family is usually here, too.  We haven’t been bored a single minute.
          Last Sunday afternoon I was dumb enough to take an overdose of my pain pills.   I always put one day’s worth in a little container, and count them during the day to make sure I’m on track.  So on Sunday, at noon,  I was supposed to still have five.  I dumped them out on the kitchen counter to count them, and I was right on.  I pushed aside the one I was going to take, and then, without thinking, I took the other four.  (I often take four ibuprofin at a time, so it felt totally natural.)  I called poison control, because I know you can have seizures if you take too much Tramadol.  They said I was on the border of the danger zone, and that I would definitely get very sleepy.  Dad was supposed to check on me every half hour or so to make sure I was breathing.  I’m pretty sure he did, but I slept so soundly I was unconscious of everything.  I didn’t even get to talk to all of you who were here!   I hope you all had fun.  Thanks for cleaning up. Everything looked fine when I woke up Monday morning.  I was groggy for a day or so, but fortunately there was no long-lasting trouble.
        Thursday afternoon I met with my oncologist, and I wondered how much he could find out, since he hadn’t made me get a CAT scan beforehand.  He found out a lot.  He listened to my breathing and thumped my liver, and looked for yellow in my eyes.  He said my weight was good. (Cancer eats calories, and you lost weight without trying.)  He did a blood test, which showed only normal amounts of cancer cells in my blood.  (We all have them.)  So evidently the “spot” on my lung isn’t doing anything bad yet.  Hopefully it never will.  I sure appreciate all your prayers!  My next oncology appointment is in October, and this time I’ll have to get a CAT scan first.  I just hope and pray everything will still be OK.
        Eleven more  days till the Family Reunion!  And we should have good news from Tom and Kim before that!
        Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Dear Kids,
         The Fourth of July party last Thursday was moved from John’s house to Nora’s, where Dad and I have gone anyway for the last two years.  There isn’t such a great view of the valley any more, since two new houses have been built just lower than theirs, but we always go down to the parking lot of the church down on Main street.  There were three or four other families, besides Donna’s and Paul’s and Nora’s and Dad and me.  So it was a pretty good crowd.  Everybody else had the usual assortment of fun stuff that stays on the ground, or else sparklers, but I had two packs of spectacular aerials from Sams Club.  Naturally I had to light them myself!  It looks like the 4th of July event at Nora’s might become a permanent tradition, and the more fun traditions we have, the better.
         Speaking of which, the family reunion at Bear Lake is coming up in less than three weeks! I’m sure Vanessa will be sending out the agenda pretty soon, with food assignments and a general idea of what we’ll be doing.  I can’t wait for it!  Each one gets better and better.
         Last night Dad and I went to a barbecue with my brothers and sisters at Richard’s cabin in American Fork canyon.  Most of us were there, including Charley!  He looks really good, but he walks bent over.   He doesn’t talk much, but listens to everything.  He had me feel the holes in his head, where they’ve drilled in to work on his brain.  It’s really creepy!  He also had me feel the shunt that drains fluid from his brain down the side of his head and neck, down into his stomach.  There’s a magnet implanted in his head that the doctors use to adjust it.  It’s all very high tech, but we’re just grateful he’s still alive.  The barbecue itself was great fun!  Bonnie and Curt left early because Maddie was probably having her baby (a girl!) and they didn’t have phone reception there.
         Charlie and Matthew are coming here this afternoon to spend a couple of days with us, and we’re really excited for that.  Sharon will be coming Thursday, with Lucy and Conrad.  Seth will be here for the family reunion, but his Utah visit is always short.  I’m so glad they can all be here!
         I had a wonderful load of topsoil delivered Friday morning, the best I’ve ever had, and most of it is still sitting on our driveway, because I’ve been so busy with other things.  I can’t wait to spread it!  Hopefully my burst of energy right now will hold out!
         Life is good!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dear Kids,
         The Fourth of July is coming up this Thursday!  I can’t believe we’re really into summer. Last Sunday morning it was 35 degrees at our house and I was on the phone with Sharon, whining about the cold.  I said, “We’re NEVER going to have spring!”  She said, “Uh, Mom, it’s summer.”  And it is.  We went from 35 to 85 in three days.  And we never had spring.
         So, about the 4th of July: John is planning a barbecue, and everybody is invited.  You can call Heather, or better yet text, for a food assignment. We’ll be eating at six, and since it doesn’t get really dark until 9:30 or so, we’re all invited to haul rocks.  I’m planning to pitch in!  I don’t have any rocks left in our yard to haul, just dirt.  Who would’ve thought?  I figured I would be hauling rocks forever, but I’ve totally finished leveling the back yard, and I’m just now finishing the sprinkling line on the north side, the last one!  I can still find plenty more to do, though.  I won’t ever be done.  I don’t want to be. So, back to the Fourth of July--I hope we’ll see lots of you there!  And this afternoon, you’ve probably heard, we’ll be having a dinner at our house at 5.  Be there or be square!
         John’s cats have always outdone ours in hunting, but when we went there on Friday, Aaron informed me that I had to pay Poseidon $5.00.  He killed a magpie!  Or maybe he found it dead, but probably not.  He’s pretty aggressive, and he has claws, too.  Go, Poseidon!  Our cats show their guts now by going right into Harley’s yard.  If I call them, they just ignore me.  Sonia creeps right up to Harley and touches noses with him.  He points his ears at her and wags his tail.  Scout manages to make him bark, and then he races back into our yard.  They’re both very brave, but I worry about them a lot.  Matthew, I hope they’re both still  alive when you get here.  If anything happens, we can borrow John’s cats, and you can play with them.
         There was a little work done at our cabin, and then the contractor left to do another job.  He said not to worry--he’d be back in a week or two.  But Dad and I have started working on the yard.  I’m pruning bushes that haven’t been touched for six years, and Dad will be mowing the lawn tomorrow.  On the first calm morning, I’ll be spraying roundup on the driveway to get rid of the weeds.  There’s no end of outside projects, and someday our cabin will be its old self again.
         Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Thanks for the wonderful Fathers Day presents you gave Dad.  Thanks especially to all of you who went in on the self-propelled lawn mower.  It’s really fast!  Dad has to run along behind it, and he finishes the lawn in record time.  It’s probably good exercise for him, too.  What he’s lost in pushing (the old one) he more than makes up in running after the new one.  Thanks again!  And thanks to everybody who went in on the tablet, too.  Dad really likes the bigger screen, and he uses more apps now.  Gospel Library didn’t even run on his old one, or at least it didn’t use all its capabilities.  Hooray for technology for studying the Gospel!
         Most of you know that Chad Van Leuven is getting married next month.  Donna and Anna and I got to meet his fiancee at a shower at Bonnie’s yesterday afternoon.  We’re all delighted with her! Her name is Sarah Schwartz, and I think there are pictures of her on facebook.  She’s really nice looking without being glamorous.  She and Chad are getting married in the Medford Oregon temple. Barbara admitted she had totally given up on Chad ever getting married, so this is wonderful for her.
         After the shower, Donna and Anna and I went food shopping at the Orem Winco.  Donna’s not quite the shopping tornado that John is, but she filled two carts!  I planned to help her,  but I had to go to the ladies room first.  One of the stalls was locked with nobody inside it, and there was a lineup of ladies, so I crawled under the door to unlock it.  I came up fine on the inside, but I had cut open my wrist on something, and it bled and bled.  So instead of helping Donna, I was clutching a piece of toilet tissue over my wrist to stop the bleeding.  When Donna found out, she gave me a bandaid.  She always carries them in her purse.  With children like hers, she says, you just naturally carry bandaids.
         I’ve been working really hard in our yard, digging and hauling rocks and doing sprinklers.  My leg still hurts a lot, but I have plenty of energy, which I’m really grateful for. There’s a spot of something in my lung, and I have another appointment with my oncologist on July 11.  If he decides it needs treatment, I might have to have chemo or radiation, which could lay me up for a while.  So I’m doing all the outside work I can right now (and lovin’ it).  Hopefully the spot will turn out to be nothing at all. 
         I’m having trouble typing this because Scout keeps walking on the computer keys.  He’s head-butting me, too.  Last Monday while I was giving Anna her piano lesson, Scout jumped up on the piano keys and walked back and forth on them.  Anna said, “He just wants attention!”  Don’t we all!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Happy Fathers Day to all of you wonderful sons and sons-in-law of ours!  We appreciate all you do to support and help your families, and to make life better for Dad and me.  I hope you know how much we love all of you!Our Fathers Day dinner will be at 5 pm tonight, here at our house.  Be there or be square!  There’s only a 5 percent chance of rain!  We’ll be able to go outside, or at least send the kids out. 
         I texted you guys my picture of the Jordanelle filled to the brim.  I went hiking down there Friday afternoon, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  Sharon, I hope it’s still that green when you get here next month! 
         Yesterday afternoon Dad and I drove up the Mirror Lake Highway to see how far we could get.  At milepost 14 the sign said the road was closed, but the gate was open, so we kept going.  By milepost 20 there were snowbanks next to the road.  At the Provo River Falls, milepost 24, there was a barrier across the road, but people were going around it.  It was far enough for us, though.  We got out and watched the falls.  They were absolutely roaring.  Little streams were running in from everywhere.  Where’s all that water going?  It sure won’t be staying in the reservoirs.  Deer Creek is full, too. 
         Good news about our cabin: the roof joists are up.  The contractor has been working there between rainstorms.  Bad cabin news: there are leaks in the water lines everywhere, at practically every joint.  Dad thought the pump people had blown out all the water lines last fall, but I don’t think they did it.  We’re now on our second plumber,  and he said every joint was originally soldered poorly.  But that was 40 years ago, so why did they hold out this long?   And why did they all fail at once, this winter?   Maybe because all the lines froze solid with water in them, for the first time ever.   Or maybe we’re being suckered.  Dad already paid the plumber $800 for one afternoon of work, (with Dad helping) and there’s a lot more to do.  Well, it’s only money!  I keep reminding myself how lucky we were that the cabin didn’t burn to the ground.  (But it sure would have been less hassle!)
         Our kitties send their greetings. Their biggest entertainment these days is harassing Harley.  They stroll along next to the fence, and when he barks at them they jump away in terror.  But then they go back.  Scout chases birds, too, with Tina’s help.  They’re a tag team.  But they can’t seem to catch anything. 
         Love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Next Sunday is Fathers Day, and we’ll be having dinner here at our house at 5pm.  This won’t be an elegant sit-down dinner, but it won’t be our usual haphazard Sunday night mealtime, either.  We’ll just have a nice buffet-type meal.  Donna suggested lasagna, and I think that’s a great idea.  Stefanie’s bringing a fluffy salad, and Donna’s doing one pan of lasagna, and everything else is wide open.  I’ll be making BT cake for dessert.  If you want to go in on the present for Dad (a new tablet), let me know.  It will be lots of fun. says that it will be in the 70's, with only a 30% chance of rain.  That sounds good to me.  Hopefully we can go outside and play on the playground. Or go for a walk.  Or just enjoy being outside.
         Friday night Dad and I went to Adelaide’s “Family and Friends Night” at Oakcrest.  I think we had the shortest drive of anybody there!  It was fun to see Addie in her Oakcrest gear (hat, sweats, and T-shirt,) and hear what she’d done so far.  It was staff week only, no campers till tomorrow, and Addie had spent the week learning to cook for 300 people, and earning her food-handlers permit.  We had fun hanging out with Nora and James and their kids too, and watching their  younger boys do the zipline.  There was an assembly at the amphitheater, and then refreshments at the lodge.  Addie had helped make 300 brownies, and they were fabulous.  I’d like to have the recipe, but it’s probably something like 200 eggs, 100 pounds of sugar, etc. etc. 
         I’m  having lots of fun digging in the yard, although my leg hurts every night.  (While I’m digging and raking, I’m too excited to feel anything!)  I feel greatly blessed to be as well as I am.   I love being outside, and I’ve missed that for all my months of cancer recovery and shingles pain.  The kitties have stuck by me, but they like being outside now, too.  While I’m getting ready to go out, putting on my work boots and visor and headphones,  Scout sits on the little table by the front door and reaches over to put his paw on the doorknob.  If we had levers instead of doorknobs, he would let himself out, instead of waiting for me.
         Life is good.  I love you all!  Mom