Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dear Kids,
      We finally have a computer up and running, but of course I don’t want to go through the whole story. It works. I can write normal letters again. On schedule.
      Paul has been transferred to Victoria! His new address is: #102 3819 Shelbourne St., Victoria BC V8P 5N3. On the map, you can see that Victoria is on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, even farther south than most of Donna’s mission. It’s probably going to be a great place to spend the winter. No dog sleds. Go, Paul!
      It must be the season for romance. In fact, it must be a monsoon season for love. Can you believe that both Annice Turcsanski and Shanna Spencer are getting married? Annice is marrying Dan Osmond, a son of one of the older Osmond brothers, one of the deaf ones who didn’t sing. He’s been married before and has a 5-year-old daughter. Shanna is marrying a guy named Zach from Washington. Her aunt set them up. She doesn’t have a ring yet, but she sold her condo and moved back in with her parents to save money. We also have a wedding announcement from Matt Bunkall, who’s marrying Jenny Anderson, who’s Tom’s age, and there’s also an announcement from April Ulrich. What a batch of marriages coming up! Dave Michelson made a trip to Idaho to meet Connie Harper, and I hoped a romance would flare up immediately, but he seems to be checking out a lot of different girls, and Connie is just one of them. Well, if there was ever a year for Connie to find her man, this has got to be it.
      Last Friday and Saturday was the annual sisters’ retreat for Grandma Allen and all my sisters and me. We’ve nearly always gone to St. George, but (1) gas is too expensive and (2) we haven’t been invited to Charley’s new house there and (3) Barbara doesn’t live there any more, so we went to the Cabin instead. I had worked like crazy to finish up the inside moldings around the new windows, and put the blinds and shutters and curtain rods back up, because I knew they would look into every room and exclaim over every little thing I had done. And they did. It was lots of fun. Actually, it doesn’t matter where we have the retreat if we can eat out, shop, watch movies, and gossip. And we did it all. We ate at the Gateway Grille in Kamas, and everybody was impressed! Go, Kamas. We watched “The Terminal,” plus Hurricane Rita coverage. (Big flop. It hardly damaged anything!) My sisters shopped at the outlet stores, but I stayed at the Cabin with Grandma, and raked rocks in the yard. And we gossiped. Jane was here visiting, and she had hoped to meet Jamie’s new girlfriend. But every time she visits, things go south with the current girlfriend. Just before Jane got here, Jamie went to pick up the girl for a date, and she’d had her hair cut into a mohawk, and it was spiked. She told him she thinks it’s OK to drink coffee, and the Church is not all that important to her. Oh, and she also told him about how she’d tried to kill herself. Needless to say, he’s starting out all over again. I heard lots of other gossip, which I’ll probably let slip here and there, when I’m not careful.
      Sharon has a new church calling–ward camp director! She’ll have a great adventure, I’m sure. Their camp is going to be in July, but she doesn’t know if it’s ward camp, or stake camp. She’s hoping for Stake, so they’ll pick the theme and make most of the arrangements. You know, they have to have the matching pajama pants, and the workshops for learning camp skills, and the booklet of camp songs, and the crafts . . . But of course it’s all good.
      We’re looking forward to conference this weekend, and it will be fun to see everybody who is able to come to the cabin. Those of you who can’t . . . we’ll miss you.
      Love, Mom

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Dear Kids,
      Here I sit, again typing my weekly letter on the laptop, again late, completely aggravated about our new computer. Dad’s friend had it ready for him on Saturday, but he configured it wrong (striped instead of mirrored,) so Dad spent several hours re-doing it, rather than taking it back. It has no game port to plug my music keyboard into, so I can’t work on my recital music, and the screen flickers, probably having something to do with the video card. The flicker is so bad that after just a few minutes I’m so dizzy I can’t do anything. About the game port–Dad’s friend told him there were adapters that would convert my MIDI cable to USB, but Dad couldn’t find one. So enough about that. If I even talk about it, I get too mad to think about anything else.
      Is there any good news? Your cousins Adrien and Michelle both had their babies. Michelle had a boy, Liam, and Adrien a girl-–I think her name is Miriam. I have no idea when either baby was born, oh wait, Michelle’s must have been about a week ago, because Nancy had the twins, when I was visiting Grandma yesterday. And Amy was there with Caleb, so we sat and watched the babies play and fight together. It was fun. Outside, in the street, there was yellow “caution” tape strung everywhere, because two days earlier, one side of the street had been slurry-sealed. I know, it doesn’t take two days for that stuff to harden. It doesn’t take even one day. But the two old geezers who oversee everything in the neighborhood were keeping good watch over it, and the rest of us had to crawl under the tape, even old people in wheelchairs, going to doctor appointments. So I took the opportunity, when they weren’t looking, to cut it with scissors. They tied it back together when they saw it was all sagging, and then they took to watching it even more closely. I found another chance to cut it, down at the end of the street, when they were gone inside, but by the time I made it back to Grandma’s house, going in the back way, they had tied it up again. Well, I gave them something exciting to do. The trouble is, Grandma and Grandpa and everyone in the neighborhood is too nice to them. They wouldn’t last five minutes on our street.
      Donna has had some kind of identity theft with her cell phone, because our last bill had 53 text messages that she had supposedly sent or received, and of course they cost extra. She called customer service, and the guy she talked to asked, was she sure she hadn’t received the messages, and it was weird, and he didn’t know what do to about it. We all advised her to keep trying, till she gets somebody who can fix it. It’s not expensive, but aggravating.
      Sharon reports that Charlie is now in a play group that meets outside in the sand box. The mothers sit and visit while the kids play. Sounds like fun to me! (Both the sand and the visiting.) Sharon says the weather has been beautiful in Michigan, but they don’t go out exploring much now, since gas has become so expensive.
      Heather has a fabulous garden this year. It’s all neatly arranged in raised beds, and she has everything from beets and carrots to beans and tomatoes and zucchini. Next year I definitely want to have a garden again! Those fall vegetables taste so good!
      Tom and Kim have moved into the house of a nice older couple who are serving an 18-month mission. Heck of a deal! Tom says there will be a lot of yard work, but we all know how much he loves that sort of thing.
      Conference weekend is coming up! Dad and I will be at the cabin, of course. I’ll fix Sunday dinner. If anybody wants to come for all or part of the weekend, and eat with us, let me know, so I can plan.
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Dear Kids,
     Dad and I had our last-of-the summer cabin siding work party over the weekend. Translated, that means we nailed up our last batch of logs, until next year. We’re about 75% done. You can see it all at ackerson.org. I know I’ve been consumed with the project for several weeks now, so it will be nice to go on to other things.
      Did you all hear that Ned Winder died? The obituary said it was heart failure. He hasn’t looked good for the last several months, but I sort of figured he would live forever, anyway. Dad and I didn’t go to the viewing or the funeral, because we knew that thousands of people would be coming from great distances, and we have our own good memories of him. The funeral was in the stake center, and there were TV’s in every classroom, and still, that wasn’t enough. I knew it would be mobbed.
      Remember how I said I killed 283 hornets? Well, their relatives got revenge. It was out in the field by the cabin, where I accidentally stepped in one of their nests. They went after me, and chased me back to the cabin, and inside. I grabbed some bug repellant, and sprayed down my face and arms, and they finally backed off. But they got me good in quite a few places. My upper lip swelled up until I looked like Homer Simpson, and it took a week to completely go away.
      Dad has a surprising new assignment at UTA–they’ve pulled him into management, temporarily, to rewrite a training manual. They gave him a desk and a computer and a palm pilot and a cell phone. He goes to meetings and sits in on training sessions. When he told me all this, I was flabbergasted. He said he’s the best they’ve got. I guess they know he has a college degree. I said, “Who’s going to be your editor and proof reader?” He said he’s it. I’m pretty sure he’ll bring things home for me to look over. He said nobody else would know the difference. So now he’s working 8 to 5 in an office. I don’t know how long he can do it without going berserk.
      Last Monday morning, while Dad and I were working at the cabin, Donna called us on her cell phone. She and Bevan were at the top of Timp! They had started out at 5 am, and they were at the top before 8. They must have really hoofed it! She said there were hundreds of people on the mountain. I guess everybody realized it was the last good weekend. Probably the only good one. There was still a lot of snow, and Donna told me later, they had to be careful coming down. But guess who they ran into? John Patterson and Cindy! He, of course, wanted to know who Bevan was, a boyfriend, husband, what? Donna said he wasn’t her husband. Later, Donna had to tell Bevan the whole story of John Patterson’s misdemeanors, and that, of course, led to the story of Jacob, and Donna’s patriarchal blessing, and that whole strange affair. By the way, John Patterson has been hired as city manager of Ogden. The media called it second-in-command to the mayor, but John, in an interview, called it city manager. Good for him. Go, John. (As in, “go to Ogden, OK?”)
      They’re digging up all the ground around our Church, but I don’t know why. (Maybe they announced it in Church last Sunday, when we were out of town.) All the grass is gone, and most of the shrubs, and they’re hauling away dirt, for a couple of feet down. Maybe it’s contaminated. I’ll keep you posted.
      Hey Paul, I’ll send the stuff you need. I’ll get to it right away, promise. I’m glad you’re so busy. Keep up the good work. Go for the gold. (Oh, sorry.)
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom