Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dear Kids,
      Well, we’re down to just two cats now. Yep. I took Ethyl on a one-way trip to the West Valley animal shelter, and I paid them their “disposal fee” to send her to kitty heaven. In return they gave me a little poem on a piece of paper, about the “Rainbow Bridge” where I’ll meet my beloved pet again. But I was crying so I just stuffed the poem in my purse. So what finally brought me to take Ethyl in? She started pooping in the shop, on the floor, and I had to clean it up every day, or the basement really stank. In fact, while Dad and I were gone on our trip to the East, she created such a big pile of poop that I had to flush it down in more than one batch. You all know how she’s been senile for a long time–well, this was the last straw. I told her where she would be going, and that it’s really great there, and that she could hang out with Scarlett. I think she was OK with it. She lived 14 years at our house, and she had a pretty good life, in spite of all her deficiencies..
      Trent and Vanessa and their kids stayed here Sunday night, on their way to Spanish Fork. Trent’s grandpa Nyberg passed away on Friday, so they were going to the funeral. They had been expecting this for a while, but it was still sad. It was fun for us, though, visiting with them and seeing the kids. Sterling woke up the next morning all excited about playing with Reggie, who had probably awakened them with his screeching, but they had to get on the road. Sarah had a rash, probably from the sun or amoxicillin or her vaccinations, but she looked really cute, anyway. She likes cake! Surprise surprise. Vanessa says she just goes nuts over ice cream. Funny how that gene comes through.
      Ward news: Jimmy*Simko is finally serious about a girl. Susan, his sister, who I visit teach, says this girl really keeps him in line. She makes him eat food he doesn’t like, and she makes him help clean up, when he doesn’t want to. Sounds like it might work!       So, Paul, you don’t want your letters posted on Why not? I think they’re funny and highly entertaining, besides being inspiring and instructive. But we’ll honor your wishes, unless you tell us differently. I’ll send you the waffle recipe, if Dad doesn’t get around to it. I hope your new missionary program is effective! I hope you and Elder Eckman aren’t just standing around the chapel, when you could be eating good dinners with members. Just kidding!
      Donna thinks she now has cell phone reception at Jackson Lake–well, at least her phone beeped her last night, and today she was able to call out. If you forgot her number, because you haven’t called her in a long time, it’s 801 859 5559.
      I’ll be on a different letter writing schedule in July. Usually I write on Wednesday or Thursday, but since I’ll be at the cabin all month, I’ll probably send my letter out on Saturday or Monday. You can check on if you’re not sure I’ve sent it. I’m looking forward to our month in the hills! Dad is going to be there the first week, and the third and the fourth. Tom and his family are going to be there for the second week, and maybe Sharon and Seth, for part of that time. I checked with the log man, and it turns out we have to put the upright logs on the corners before we can do the siding. He’s trying to get them for us, and hopefully we’ll have them delivered next Tuesday. Since Dad and I will only be there until Thursday night (Carly’s wedding is on Friday,) we’ll probably just do the uprights during that time. Then I’ll wait until the next Monday morning, when Tom is there, to cut the bands on the unit of siding, because once it’s cut, the wood has to be put up in 2 or 3 days. You need two people to do it, but a third person would really help, and it would go faster. So, if anybody wants some vacation time along with a fun work party, come to the cabin and help! Nora said she might come with her kids, probably the 3rd week. Anybody is welcome any time! I’ll pay for your gas! It will be fun! Let me know if you can come, and when!
      Aren’t we all “doin’ great and lovin’ it?!!!”
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Dear Kids,

     If you’ve clicked on lately, you’ll notice a couple of changes. “Check out the new blog” will take you to the family letter, with the latest one on top. Tom set it up for me that way. Of course I’ll still be sending the letter to you in the mail, but if any of your old roommates want to keep up on the family news, they can click there. Or, if you don’t like so much mail in your mailbox, let me know, and I’ll save a stamp that way. Also, Tom has uploaded lots of pictures to the other link, the photo gallery. Then, below that on the home page, are pictures of you kids individually, with your families, and links for your own family pictures. Tom is going to give me instructions to send out to you, so you can upload your latest pictures to your own space. If you have cute pictures you want me to put in my coffee table book (when I get it caught up again), just put them on your page, and I’ll download them and print them. Wow, what fun. “Yes, I love technology . . . “ Thanks, Tom, for taking care of us.
     At the cabin, the pheasant is gone. Boo hoo. I guess he died from inhaling the weed-killer fumes. At least I can work outside now. I just planted two more sections of grass, and I’ve been doing outside molding around the new windows. Dad and I are still on track to start putting up the new siding in July. We have lots of scaffolding, now. In fact, we had to put it up over the garage to do the last two new windows. At one point, dad was balancing a 24' plank over a smaller plank, the wind was blowing, and the whole set of scaffolding started to tip. I climbed down and put a better board under one of the feet. That was the closest to disaster that we’ve come so far. Maybe you all ought to pray that we don’t kill ourselves on this project.
     Trent finished his football season, and they lost their last game. So few guys were there, there were only 4 on the bench at any one time. They were glad they lost, because otherwise they would have had to go back and play Wasatch again. (The ex-BYU players.) Go, Trent. He talks about retiring from football, but it isn’t happening yet.
     Donna is having fun in the Tetons. She’s already had a visit from Bevan (according to Sharon) and she’s been called as Relief Society president. Dave Mickelson is there–he said after the pain of his divorce, he needed to be in the “cleansing Tetons.” He still has the phony southern accent. He and Donna went on a “Sunday stroll.” It wasn’t a hike, Donna said. According to Dave, if you don’t break a sweat, you haven’t broken the Sabbath.
     Last weekend Sharon and Seth went to St. George with Holly and Tim, to see “Joseph” at Tuacahn. They borrowed our van, so they could all ride together, and in St. George, they stayed at the elagant house of Holly and Tim’s friends. Both babies were pretty well behaved. Those kinds of trips get to be impossible when more kids are involved, so that was nice they could do it now.
     If you’ve been to Heber lately, you’ve noticed that John and Heather’s yard is looking really nice! The lawn is planted, and Heather has a nice raised garden. Their white fence, which caused them so many headaches, looks really good. You just have to see it all! John called the other night from Outback Steakhouse, where their family was going to have dinner, because they have a gluten-free menu!
     I visited Grandma last week, and Jeanne came by in her brand new Mini-Cooper. It gets 38 miles to the gallon! She's no longer driving the big SUV, which got 12. Of course she would have to drive the Cooper about a million miles to make up the savings, but it’s pretty spiffy. My brother Mark came by, too, in his brand new 1971 Bronco. He explained that it’s sort of a cult car. The broncos made about that time are really “cool” now, he said. The owners of them stop and talk to each other. Grandpa wasn’t impressed, because to him it’s just an old jeep with lots of rust, but I could see where maybe it was cool.
     Well, now I’ll print out this letter to send you all, and have the fun of uploading it, too. If I get a lot of hits, maybe I can sell advertising, and make money off my “Mom” letter. Just kidding.
     Love, Mom

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dear Kids,
     I had a lot of excitement at the cabin yesterday. There’s a pheasant with red on the top of his head, Tom, you know the one. He started following me back and forth as I wheeled dirt in the wheelbarrow, running alongside, and then getting in front of me. I reached down to see if I could pick him up, he seemed so tame. Naturally he fought back. Then he started attacking my legs and biting at my feet. I tried shoveling dirt, and he kept jumping on the shovel, and then going for my legs again. I didn’t want to hurt him, because he’s so pretty, so I kept batting him away, gently. I wheeled dirt around to the front of the cabin, and he kept after me. The faster I ran, the faster he chased me. Finally I went inside, but he waited for me, and when I came out, he attacked me again. I decided to spray weeds, trying to block him with the cannister, and he kept getting downwind of the spray. Too bad. I think it made him really sick. Later in the afternoon, there wasn’t a sign of him. Well, at least I could shovel dirt in peace.

     Dad is really having fun with the dune buggy. Now he’s always excited to go to the cabin, exactly what I wanted. Last Friday night we went for a drive up around the little loop. Hey, it’s sure faster than hiking!! Then we drove down to the river, and then over to see the alpacas. They’ve all been shaved, and they look like skinny little animal crackers. There are baby ones, too! Some dogs were guarding them, and they barked at the dune buggy until they got tired of it.
     Paul, we had a phone call from a nice woman who fed you dinner the other night. She said she told you she would call your “Mum.” Her name was Penny. I’m so glad that nice people feed you! She said you’re working hard. She thinks you and Elder Eckman are wonderful.
     Donna, I got a call from Elder Gaffney, who wanted to know how he could get a hold of you. I started giving him your phone number, but then he couldn’t find a pen to write it down, and I had to wait 5 minutes while he looked for one. I know you’re excited to hear from him. Aso, I’m supposed to tell you Hi from Aaron Rosser. He and his wife Emily were at Stacy and Derrick’s wedding reception. Also from Patrick, who was best man.
     Addie has a new, shorter haircut, way short on one side. That’s because she did it herself. Nora was all engrossed in sewing a quilt block, and Addie took the opportunity to use the scissors. I think the hairdo is cute! Nora could even it up on both sides by giving her a mullet. But instead, Nora curls it under in a page-boy, like I used to do with all you girls on Sunday. (Oh, remember those sessions with the curling iron!) I remember a lot of you kids cutting your hair, too, and each others’.
     This Sunday is Fathers Day. If you want to have dinner with us, let me know. We’ll be eating about 5:00 pm. If you want gift ideas, give me a call. I sure don’t know what I’m going to get Dad. I could never top the dune buggy. I don’t think John could top the Star Trek DVD’s, either.
As always, we’re “doin’ great and lovin’ it.”

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Dear Kids,
     We’ve never had such crazy weather! Back in April, I drove through Parley’s canyon in a blizzard, and I promised myself it was the last one. Same thing happened in May. Yesterday, June 7th, here I was, driving over Parley’s in another blizzard. Cars off the road, the whole bit. The snow was coming sideways. I got off the interstate at Kimball Junction and wandered around Walmart for an hour, and by then it was sunny again. But when I got to the cabin, another snowstorm hit. This morning, when I left the cabin to go to Heber, I had to scrape a thick layer of frost off the car. In Heber, they’d also had frost, and Heather’s beautiful garden had some very sad-looking tomato plants in it.
     I went to Heber to watch John & Heather’s kids while John had hernia surgery. It was an out-patient operation! 20 years ago, when I had surgery for a hernia, they kept me in the hospital for three days! But John was back home again four hours after he left home. He had instructions to just watch TV for three days. Hopefully he’ll heal up OK.
      Donna reports that she’s doing fine at Jackson Lake, except that she was almost charged by a moose. There was a baby moose in the volleyball pit, just nosing around, and Donna got behind a big log and crept close with her camera, trying to get a good picture. She knew the mother was hiding behind a tree, but she thought it was OK. Then she saw the mother walking towards her, with her head down, looking very threatening. Donna got out of there quick! Donna’s been stiffed a couple of times, in the restaurant, but I hear that’s business as usual.
      Brendan Quinn finally got his mission call, to the Las Vegas West mission. It was held up for a long time, while he had extra interviews and tests by a psychologist. He has some kind of separation anxiety, and he’s a complete vegetarian, which could make missionary life kind of hard. But I’m glad they finally decided he would be OK. He goes into the MTC on July 13th. Jane said that up till now, the only boys from their ward who have gone on missions have been the ones who’ve gone to college at BYU or BYU Idaho. Brendan is the first exception. Let’s hope he makes it.
     Grandpa says that Ramona is doing fine, getting very spoiled. She considers it her job to sit in the window, looking out at the bird feeder, which keeps the birds away. I guess the sight of Ramona in a window is enough to scare the birds away. (She certainly kept the mice away at the cabin! They’re finally venturing back.) Grandpa said that Ramona disappeared for a day, but then she showed up in the garage. She always liked to do that disappearing act.
     Hey, Paul, I hope your Stop Smoking clinic goes well. Let us know if you have any success. I’m sending you a copy of our ward newsletter so you can see what’s going on.
     What a great family we have! I love you all!

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Dear Kids,
      Xena just came to the patio door with a big dead bird in her mouth. The feet were stiff, so she might have found it dead already. Who knows? Now that Dad and I have finished our travels and adventures, the cats and birds are my main entertainment.
      Birds? Actually, it’s just “bird,” now. No, there were no deaths in the family. While Dad and I were gone to the East, I asked Barbutos to tend Peep and Scooter. When I called them from New York, they said they were really enjoying the birds, and wanted to get one for Corban. I told them they could have 2, if they wanted. I seriously meant it, and they took me up on it. Peep and Scooter never came home. But I discovered that I really missed those bird sounds, and having somebody to talk to while I do laundry. (Pathetic!) So I easily convinced Nora to give us Reggie (aka Arius/Kirby) back. So now he’s right back where he started from, shrieking up a storm. I forgot that he was so loud. Oh, well, I’m not lonesome in the laundry room.
      Our trip to the East was lots of fun. Cathy’s graduation at Darden (Univ. Of Virginia) was very impressive. Amber, Jessie, and Boyd came. We sat outside, and the sun beat down on us, but fortunately, John Frederick had convinced us to buy straw hats at Walmart, so we were fine. Afterwards there was a fabulous luncheon, distrubuted in Darden gift bags, with pasta, chicken, fruit, cheese, cake, and a roll. There was free pop in big coolers. They really know how to spend money there. Cathy’s only $50,000 in debt from her tuition. I guess some of it paid for our lunch.
      Then we went to a hillbilly barbecue somewhere on the back roads of Virginia. It was put on by some of Ginni’s relatives. She was staying there. They had a pond where they shot catfish so they could fry them. The food was great. That was Sunday. On Monday morning, we rented a car and drove to New York, where we saw all the usual things: Statue of Liberty, top of the Empire state building, Central Park, Manhattan temple, Washington Square, and the Trade Towers site. We had parked the car for the day in an underground lot, and we took the subway all over. But after one day, I’d had enough sightseeing. The next day we drove to Boston, where we hung out for 3 days with Jane and Joe. And their two big fat cats, Allen and Lillywhite, who both have big paws. One day we went to Wachusett Mountain, the highest ski resort in Massachusetts. It’s 2,006 ft. at the summit. And 1,000 feet at the base. We walked to the top, but you can also drive. Jane, Dad, and I also went to a session in the Boston temple, where we were the only patrons. Just like D.C. and San Diego. President Hinckley was right. Outside of Utah, temples don’t get used that much.
      I was glad to come home on Sunday, but I think Dad could have traveled forever. I was excited about the party we had planned for Sunday night, at the cabin. He knew nothing about his presents. Paul, you’re probably the only person in the family who wasn’t in on the secret. We got him a Yerf Dog go-kart. (Model 3206, if you look for it online.) He honestly had no clue. As we pulled into the cabin driveway, the garage door opened and Tom came out driving the go-cart. Dad was speechless. He didn’t say, “Oh, wow.” He didn’t even reach for the camera. He got in the cart and gave everybody rides. So it was lots of fun. The next day, he changed the oil and did a front-end alignment. It will keep him occupied for hours, when we go to the cabin. John also gave him DVD’s of the first season of Star Trek. That kept us all occupied the next day, when it rained. Except I went nuts from hearing that Star Trek theme song so many times.
      Some of you have said that your former roommates missed reading the Mom letter. So I’m going to turn it into a blog, on Tom’s going to set up a link, so I can upload my family letter every week. Maybe I’ll get famous.
      I love you all! Mom