Saturday, October 17, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Monica has kittens!  She sent us a video of them fighting.  One of them is a grey tabby, sort of like Scout, and the other is black and white, sort of like Sonia, but they’re both boys.  Or, at least they have boy names: Burt Reynolds and Harold.   The video made me wish Scout and Sonia were kittens again.  They were so cute when they were little, and now they’re just ordinary cats.  Except that they still go on rampages.  Scout was chasing Sonia a couple of mornings ago. It would start with Scout pretending to scratch his claws on the top of the couch, and Sonia would crouch.  Then they were off running, skidding across the dining room table, and leaping over the sofas.  I don’t know what set them off.  Finally I tossed them both outside.

Our ward is meeting every Sunday now, but just for sacrament meeting.  And it’s short–under an hour.  But it seems to take up most of the morning, getting ready, getting there, getting home again, changing clothes. . . .  I like going back to church and seeing our ward people again, but I really miss those long slow Sundays, and having the sacrament at home.  But life has to get back to normal. 

I’ve joined the Francis Camp of the DUP, mostly because all my favorite ladies are in it.  We meet once a month and people share pioneer stories.  The first meeting was great, because we met outside, and most of us didn’t wear masks.  But now we’re meeting in the “social hall” at the city park, and it’s cold in there.   And we’re back with the masks.  And I fell asleep.  I hope I didn’t snore.  I hope the future meetings will be better.

My mouth is full of canker sores, and I hate it.  It’s a side effect of chemo, which I haven’t had for months, but the canker sores are still with me.  Also the nausea, here and there.  Also, my eyelashes keep falling out, but at least they grow back.  Anyway, about the canker sores–there’s a gel called Kanka that I get from Amazon, and it numbs my mouth really well, but not for long. I also have a special mouthwash  made of lidocaine, maalox, and  benadryl.  It helps a little bit, too.  The best help would be if I could quit eating dark chocolate, but I can’t give it up.

Funny how so many of our problems are caused by ourselves.  Oh, well.  Life is good.

Love, Mom

Sunday, October 11, 2020

 Dear Kids,

It’s supposed to rain this morning, but up till now we’ve had the most marvelous fall weather!  So we’ve been trying to finish our summer projects.  At the cabin, I finished the stone wall around the moose, and Dad and I finished the skirting around the front deck. Now we’ve started on the bunkhouse.  Dad has been painting over that decroded waferboard, to discourage the woodpeckers from ripping it up any more, and I’ve been working on the skirting around the bottom.  Next spring we hope to finally put the siding on it.  Here at our house, I’ve been working on the edgings between the gravel parking strip and our property, and spreading more lava rock.  People who walk by every day tell me how nice it’s looking, and I eat it up.  

Then, probably the most fun project of all, was yesterday afternoon at Donna’s.  She had taken apart her front porch so we could pour a cement slab underneath, which would keep the bricks from shifting.  So we did the cement.  Dad and Donna mixed and I tamped it down and smoothed it.   Of course I couldn’t resist writing my name in it, and Donna texted me a picture later showing how Dallin had added his name underneath.  The whole project was very satisfying.  I love doing cement, because you know it’s absolutely going to stay there.

Jana McGettigan was here from Friday morning to yesterday noon, and we had a wonderful time.  Friday afternoon we drove to the Heber airport to watch John take off in his glider (with Dad holding the wing), and then we drove around looking for “fall color.”  Jana’s taking a photography class and she needed to take pictures of the autumn leaves.  We drove through Charleston and Midway, and then back up toward Kamas.  We stopped by the Provo River where it goes under Highway 32, and then we drove to the cabin.  There were gorgeous yellow trees wherever we went, and just a few red ones that hadn’t completely faded yet.  At sunset, back at our house, we sat out in the pergola while Jana took more pictures.  Oh, yes, and we watched a couple of movies, too.  We always love it when Jana comes, and the kitties expect a lot of attention from her, too.  

Sharon is moving ahead with her nursing skills.   Now she’s learned how to give shots.  (They use a dummy that feels like it has real skin.  It used to be that nursing students practiced on an orange.  Thank goodness they don’t practice on real people yet.) Anyway, when Sharon went to get a flu shot, she noticed that the nurse did everything wrong.  We know Sharon won’t ever be so careless!

Life is great.  I love you all.  Mom

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Dear Kids,

Our soup dinner last night was wild and crazy, like most of our get-togethers.  And lots of fun.  After we all ate, the girls and I watched the women’s session of conference on the TV by the kitchen,  while Dad and Tom and Bevan supervised the boys playing upstairs.  At one point I heard thumping and bumping and banging up there, so I climbed the stairs to  see what was going on.  Funny thing, as soon as I got up there, everything was as quiet as a mouse.  Dad and Tom and Bevan said nothing at all had been going on.  I must have been hearing things.  

I’m looking forward to the rest of conference today.  So far, I liked President Oaks’s talk the best.  Don’t you love it how plain he is?  

Five weeks in, our college kids all seem to be doing fine.  Julie is actually getting college credit for doing sound effects for video games and animations.  How cool is that!  Sharon has learned how to take “vitals,” and she’s been checked off on her skills.  So if you want your blood pressure taken for free, just wait till Sharon comes again.   I don’t know how Adelaide is doing, because I forgot to ask Nora.  I’ll give an update next week.  Jacob is doing fine with his classes.  He’s taking general stuff: psychology, humanities, even accounting.  He says when he learns accounting he can work for Heather and get paid a lot.

I thought my hip surgery was scheduled for November 30, but I wasn’t sure.  Dr. Wooten’s nurse was rude to me and she said he didn’t want to do it because I have cancer.  I told her my oncologist had communicated with him and told him it was all right.  She said she would pencil it in, but it wasn’t a sure thing.  And then she never called me back, and she didn’t return my calls.  Finally I just made an appointment to see Dr. Wooten so I could ask him myself.   It was worth the $45 co-payment to find out, because I’ve been staying off chemo to get ready for it, which is sort of a risk.  When I finally saw him in his office, he just looked on his phone and found it scheduled for November 30.  He said he’s still a little worried, and he’ll have everything in place to whip it out, and have the least possible risk to me.  Oh, yeah, I’ll have to be quarantined for three weeks afterwards, because my immune system will be compromised.  No Sunday night parties.  No Messiah in Heber.  No early Christmas parties.  But if all goes well, I’ll be able to give up my cane, and my hip will feel better.

I love you all!  Life is fantastically good.  Mom

Sunday, September 27, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Holy cow, conference is coming up next weekend!  It’s going to be a lot like April conference, broadcast from a small meeting room, and not in the Conference Center, with thousands of people.  The Saturday night meeting is going to be for everybody,  like it was in April, too.  I don’t want to give up our tradition of the Soup dinner, so I’m thinking we can still have that, next Saturday night, say at 5:00 pm, here at our house.  Then we can tune in conference on the big TV in our basement, and also on our main-floor family room TV.  If anybody wants to stay overnight at the cabin, or here at our house, contact me for reservations.  Then you can watch Sunday conference with us, too.  If you want to watch it at the cabin, you’ll need a hotspot.  Or something like Trent’s crazy antenna, made with a 2x4 and coat hangers, remember?  We have so many great conference traditions now!

Thursday night we had a get-together with my brothers and sisters at Richard’s cabin in American Fork canyon.  Dad and I took the short route, (but just as long in time,) through Midway, up to Cascade Springs, then to the Alpine Loop, and down to Tibble Fork.  I figured there wouldn’t be any traffic, but it seems Alpine Loop is always crowded, and sort of scary on that skinny little road.  We had a lot of fun with my family, though.  Andy and Renae talked about the troubles they’re having getting their new house built in Orem.  There’s a wood shortage, so part of their house is framed, and the other part is on hold.  I talked to Charley about his brain troubles.  He’s always glad to let people feel the holes in his head, and he’s on anti-seizure medication.  It’s a miracle he’s alive.  It’s a miracle none of my other brothers and sisters have died yet, either, and I’m very grateful.  I hope I won’t be the first one, but I don’t want to lose any of them first, either.  Katie wasn’t there, or Suzy, or Ben and Monica, or Mark and Kate.  Mark texted that he’d been exposed to Covid from several directions, through his YSA ward, so he wasn’t coming.  I would have been happy to see him anyway. 

Starting two weeks from today, our ward will be meeting every week, live! Relief Society, Elders’ Quorum, Primary, etc. will be later in the day through zoom, but we’ll actually have the sacrament together with our ward members every week.  Dad and I have enjoyed doing a little meeting with Donna and Bevan’s family almost every Sunday, and I’m going to miss that, but the fact that church is getting back to normal shows that this virus is on its way OUT! 

Life is good.  I love you all.  Mom

Sunday, September 20, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Bentley left for San Antonio on Wednesday, and he’s in a threesome there.  They actually do street contacting, which is lots better than sitting in the apartment looking at a screen.  (But of course they have to wear masks.)  I’m glad he can start missionary work in English, and save Cibuano for later.  There’s no word on when he might be able to go to the Philippines, but his application for a passport has been accepted.  It seems the state department had stopped issuing them, but evidently they’re doing it again.  Bentley’s mission president sent some pictures of him, and Tom said he looks happy.  Go, Bentley!

Sharon has finished three weeks of nursing school, and she had her first lab.  She wore her new scrubs and her white Danskos, and she learned to take blood pressure.  Now she practices on her family.  She e-mailed me a short paper she had to write, so I could go over it and make corrections before she turned it in.  It was actually pretty interesting, saying how she could communicate with her patients without putting up “blockers.”  Naturally Sharon can already communicate with anybody without “putting up blockers” so we know she’ll be a great nurse. 

Yesterday Dad and I went to Donna’s house to help her with a couple of projects.  She’s rebuilding her front porch, so we figured out how much cement to get and how to do it.  Also, she wanted an electrical outlet near her front door, inside, so she can plug in her boot dryer there.  Dad helped her figure where the wiring would go, and my job was putting in the electrical box.  I started by cutting a big hole in the wall, so there would be room to drill down through the 2x4 to string the wire down. Drew watch with amazement as I cut out the sheetrock.  I could just see his little brain wondering why that was OK, and if he could do the same thing.  When we left I told Donna to keep her power tools away from him.  I was just like Drew when I was little, and I would have loved to cut holes in walls back then.

Dad and I have church this morning, which is always exciting.  Starting October 11, we’ll meet every week! I wonder if we’ll be singing by then, or still just listening to the music.  At least things are moving ahead, and life is getting back to normal.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 13, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Bentley will be leaving for San Antonio this week, so tonight we’ll have “farewell s’mores” at our house.  You can show up as early in the afternoon as you want to.  I’m not sure when we’ll be actually be toasting our marshmallows, but it will probably be about the time it’s getting dark. Like all our family get-togethers, it will be wild and fun.

Nora’s family had a sleepover at our house Tuesday night because the 100 mile-per-hour winds in Centerville had knocked out their power. There were trees in the park across the street that were blown down, and one lady was texting around to find out what happened to their trampoline.  They found it up on the mountain.  Some of the houses were damaged, but Nora’s house survived OK.  But with no power, they were having a boring time of it, and it was going to be a cold night.  I encouraged them to come, but when they were packed up and finally on their way, they heard their power was back on. (Of course, if they hadn’t come, it would have been out for two or three days.)  Anyway, it was fun having them here.  And Scout enjoyed stretching out alongside Nora while she slept. 

Yesterday Dad and I went to the Heber airport so Dad could help John put his glider together to fly it.  I went along because I’ve never seen the process.  I wondered how they went about putting the wings on so they wouldn’t fall off.  It turns out there are some long bolts that go deep into the plane.  There’s also tape–it almost looks like Scotch tape, which they use to seal the seams, and hold the wing and tail pieces on if everything else fails.  John reminded me that once, on one of our long drives, I had told you kids a story about him building a plane.  John said he was about seven, so the rest of you can be forgiven for not remembering, and some of you weren’t even born yet.  Anyway, in the story, John finds different airplane parts and fastens them all together, making a plane he can fly.  And here he was, yesterday afternoon, putting together a plane in real life.  It’s funny how prophetic my story was!  When his glider was put together we watched him take off (with the tow plane pulling him,) and a couple of hours later we watched him land.  It was all lots of fun.

I’m still spreading the lava rock out on our corner.  It’s easy and fun, and people out walking stop and tell me what a good job I’m doing. Naturally I’m not in any hurry to finish.  Scout supervises me, usually coming from his hunting territory across the street.  He rubs against my legs while I’m shoveling, and he, too, tells me I’m doing a good job. 

I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Mom

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Dear Kids,

        Dad and I had the wonderful privilege of going to the Vernal temple with Bentley yesterday afternoon.  He was lucky to get an appointment anywhere, since they only take one family at a time into the temple (and wipe everything down in between), and this particular session was just Dad and myself, Carl, Trieste, and Bethany, Tom and Kim, and Bentley. They’ve modified the procedures to accommodate the virus, too.  But it was still wonderful.  Dad and I haven’t been in any temple since March, and I’ve missed that peaceful feeling.  I’m so glad Bentley was able to be endowed before he leaves for San Antonio (and hopefully the Philippines, sometime in the future.) 

        There’s a birthday party for Stuart here at our house this afternoon at 5:00.  Nora is putting it on.  She’ll be serving ice cream and cupcakes, and there will be the usual fun.  We’ll put some chairs out on the front lawn for anybody who wants to keep a social distance from everybody else.  I’m sure it will be a great time for any an all of you who come.

        Paul and Stefanie have been at the cabin since Friday afternoon.  Dad and I went over to have dinner with them (and of course we wore our masks) and it was really nice to get together.  Chloe is getting so cute!  I knew every single grandbaby has been cute, and it always seems like each new one is even cuter.  Josh was busy running around, exploring every single detail of the cabin.  Saturday morning Dad and I went back there to work on our outside projects, and Josh ran back and forth in between us.  Dad is putting a coat of paint over the most decroded places on the bunkhouse, to try to preserve it until we can get the siding up.  I’m still working on the rock wall around the moose, and thankfully I’m almost done.  Josh watched me fill my giant decorating bag with mortar, and he said it looked like I was decorating a cake.  I said it was too bad he couldn’t eat it. 

        Dad and I are going to church this morning, and I get to play the organ.  We’re getting a new bishopric, so there will be two sessions, 9 and 10:30, first for last names A-K, and then for L-Z. I think that’s pretty ingenious.  Our present bishopric has been in for more than six years, so they’ll probably be glad for the change.  Naturally the rest of us are curious about who’s been called to replace them.  We have some wonderful people in our ward, so I can’t even guess.

        I hope you’re all doing great.  I love you all!  Mom