Thursday, May 25, 2006

Dear Kids,
      I’m still sick, or at least I still can’t breathe. Except at the cabin, where I feel fine. I went up there Tuesday morning and stayed until Wednesday afternoon, when I had to come home. But it’s so beautiful at the cabin this time of the year! Everything is green, and the air is so clean. Wednesday morning I went outside to work in the front yard, and it was 38°. I breathed in that clean mountain air while I raked rocks and shoveled dirt. I felt wonderful, because I could actually breathe. Now, back here in Salt Lake, I’m a miserable gasping creature, like I’ve been for the last two weeks. But I’m looking forward to going back to the cabin tomorrow afternoon. Dad and I are staying four days, for the whole Memorial Day weekend, plus Tuesday. We’re looking forward to seeing some of you on Saturday, Dad’s birthday, and maybe on Monday. Or for any part of the weekend. Grandma and Grandpa are coming Saturday afternoon, because it’s Grandma’s birthday, too. Of course it won’t be as exciting as last year, when we rolled out the dune buggy and Dad flipped his lid, but it will still be fun.
      Speaking of the dune buggy, Dad tried for months to get new ball joints from the Yerf Dog company, but they never answered their phone or their e-mails. Dad looked online, and saw several posts that said they were going out of business, but he also found a site where somebody showed how you could weld big washers onto the front “legs,” and then use normal ball joints. So he disassembled the dune buggy and bought the washers and had them welded on. I think he’s actually more excited than if he’d gone the standard route. He’s eager to put the dune buggy back together and get it running again. He’s also been putting new brakes on the truck, so his last few days have been pretty exciting.
      Donna bought a new “road bike,” which looks to me just like the old-fashioned ten-speed, but it costs ten times more. The tires are really skinny. It’s funny that we went from the thin 10-speed tires to the fat mountain bike tires, and now it’s the ultra skinny road bike tires. Oh, well. Whatever’s trendy. She took her bike to work on the express bus, and she’s going to ride it home this afternoon. What a career girl! At work, she’s working on the irrigation system for the North Davis County sewage treatment plant. They even did an on-site inspection! “Irrigation systems” are just high-tech sprinkler systems, with state-of-the art components. Here at home, I buy the 87¢ sprinkler heads from Home Depot, when my old ones get cut off by the lawn mower. Or there’s my portable sprinkler system at the cabin, made of a rubbermaid tote, a washing machine hose, valves, garden hoses, and ordinary sprinklers. It works.
      Our new cat Jasmine is still delightful. She’s obsessed with birds. She was stalking a robin the other day, and when she got within about ten feet, the bird took off and flew over her head. She leaped into the air to try to bring it down. I’ve never seen that before. Most cats give up when the bird takes off. She also eats worms in the garden.
      Nora says Ben is having trouble with crayons. When he draws something he doesn’t like, he asks Nora to “take it off.” Then he’s mad when she won’t do it. Good thing he isn’t using permanent markers yet.
      What a great family we have! Love, Mom

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dear Kids,
      So much is happening in the next three weeks, that I’ve made up a schedule:
      Saturday, May 27 Dad’s birthday. We’ll be at the cabin doing log siding, but if anybody wants to come for a barbecue in the afternoon, we’re game. Let us know.
      Wednesday, May 31 Sharon and Charlie are coming. Yay! Seth is coming about a week later
      Thursday night, June 1 Monica is coming, (Yay!) but she’s flying stand-by, so we’re not sure when.
      Friday, June 2, 9:14 am Paul comes home. Yay! If you can’t come to the airport in the morning, just come to our house later in the day. We’ll probably drive to Orem in the evening so Paul can visit with Grandma and Grandpa.
      Sunday, June 4, 1 pm. Meg’s baby blessing in Pocatello. Luckily Trent and Vanessa’s sacrament meeting is later, so we can drive up there in the morning. It should be lots of fun.
      Sunday, June 11, 9 am, Paul’s homecoming. Our block ends at 12:00, and we’ll have a dinner here afterwards. If you only want to come to sacrament meeting, you can hang out here afterwards until the dinner.
      I think that’s everything. It’s fun to have so much going on.
      Thanks for all the Mothers Day phone calls and cards and gifts. It was especially fun talking to Paul. Tom rigged up a conference call between himself, Nora, Paul, and our house. Later on, Dad and I talked to Paul alone for a while longer. Hey, Paul, thanks for the hilarious Mothers Day card. I love the picture. The rest of you can see the picture he sent on, on Paul’s page. It’s at the top. Oh, and there are pictures of baby Meg on Trent and Vanessa’s page. I love her red hair!
      Our new cat, Jasmine, is settling in very nicely. She’s outside most of the time, because she sheds a lot, and because she loves to get her claws into the carpet and sofas. She still loves to jump for Reggie, too. One day I was carrying him through the house, in his cage, and I stopped to talk to Donna. Next thing I knew, Jasmine was hanging from the cage. Reggie flapped and screeched.
      Grandma and Grandpa’s new cat is a little more boring. He loves to sit on Grandma’s lap and vegetate. He doesn’t get excited about catnip. Or anything else, either. Instead, he gets scared and hides under their bed. There were a lot of people visiting there on Sunday, because of Mothers Day, so he took off, and came back Tuesday morning. His ears are all nicked up, showing that he’s seen a lot of the world.
      I’m still sick. I think it’s turned into what they call “walking pneumonia.” That means you can do practically everything, but it’s hard to breathe, and you get really tired. Every day is a little bit better, though.
      So, I’m doin’ great and lovin’ it. Hope you all are, too.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Congratulations to Vanessa and Trent on the birth of their new baby daughter! She was born Wednesday afternoon at 5:17 pm, 8 lbs, 21" long, red hair, darker skin, like Sterling, (not pink, like Sarah), and no name, as yet. You can call Vanessa for more details. We’re so glad she’s here! I’m sure Vanessa will let us know when she’ll be blessed.
      And congratulations to Tom and Kim, who are expecting again, the first week in December. Tom says that Kim’s been sicker than usual. So, Kim, we hope you start feeling better soon! Tom reports that he did his first “real” wedding photography. It took up a whole Saturday, and he earned $300. Go, Tom!
      We received Paul’s travel plans: he’s coming home Friday, June 2nd (Dad’s and my 34th wedding anniversary) at 9:14 am, on Delta-Skywest. So, Paul, you’re really coming home! We’re excited! But don’t slack off on the work! You never know how much good you might do those last few days. Oh, and please save the Glen Cunningham story for me. I’m dying to read it.
      Donna is now a career woman. She takes the bus every day to her job at Bingham Engineering, and she dresses very professionally, in khakis, jacket, portfolio-bag, and career clogs. She very much looks the part! Unfortunately, she works in a little cubicle where she can’t see or hear anybody, and there are no windows to look out of. Right now she’s designing sprinkling systems, which she says is really boring. Go, Donna. Things can only get better.
      We have a new cat, which is sort of a junior Ethyl, but blonde, not orange. She’s indoors for now, where she keeps leaping at Reggie and digging her claws into the carpet. As you can guess, she’ll be transferred outside ASAP. I happened to get her because I took Grandma and Grandpa to the animal shelter in Spanish Fork to get themselves a cat. They chose a big fat siamese-type, with gorgeous blue eyes. He had already been neutered and de-clawed, and he has very good manners. Grandma says he has already taken over their house.
      I agreed to host a competitor for the Gina Bachauer Piano competition, which runs the last two weeks of June. Ordinarily, the host families provide room and board, plus transportation, which is giant commitment. So when they asked me to do it, I said anybody who needed a place to sleep and a piano to practice on could stay here, but that I was too busy to cook meals and drive him around. I told them to put me at the bottom of their list. I guess they were really desperate, because they assigned me a competitor anyway. His name is Ulugbek Palvanov, and he’s from Uzbekistan. I wanted to be sure they told him I wasn’t going to feed him and drive him around, but they said it was my responsibility to communicate with him. Oh, swell! Well, I’ll give him a 34 bus schedule and point the way over to the corner, where he can eat at Subway or Arctic Circle. Or downtown. It should be interesting.
      I’m stuck at home for a couple of days because I have bronchitis, and a sinus infection. When I cough, it sounds like my chest is breaking apart. It probably doesn’t help that the new cat (Jasmine) likes to walk on my face and flick her tail under my nose.
      Lots of love to everyone! Mom

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Dear Kids,
      John traded cars with us for the week, well, not actually cars–he took our truck and left us his MR2. You know, the little yellow sports car that makes him look like a rich young doctor, although he says it’s 20 years old and not worth anything. Well, Dad has been having a blast driving it around. We drove it to Church Sunday morning, but Dad was disappointed that nobody saw us arrive. But later I heard rumors that he was out in the parking lot with a bunch of the guys between meetings. Maybe I even heard the car roar around the block, who knows? Anyway, Dad has been in his second childhood, driving it to work and back, and anywhere else he can think of. I even went for a ride with him, but I didn’t like it much. It’s noisy and uncomfortable, and you feel like you’re sitting right down on the ground. It must be a guy thing.
      We had my spring piano recital last Saturday, in our living room! Earlier in the day, Dad and I moved out the loveseat and plant stand, and we turned around the sofa, and slid it back against the fireplace. Then we had room for three rows of resin chairs, plus a bench from the dining room. (You can see it on, on the page with pictures of Dad and me.) We crammed in 33 people! It was lots of fun. Maybe even more fun than usual. People sat around and talked afterwards, instead of going home, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Oh, and all the kids had done well on their songs! And my piano sounded wonderful, since I finally got it tuned. Everything worked out! And we had lots of punch and cookies, which they don’t let you do at the recital halls, so it was a great success.
      While you’re looking at my recital pictures on, you can check out the pictures of our Easter picnic, which Tom added to his photo gallery. He always puts the newest set on top, so they’re easy to find. The pictures of all the grandkids are all so cute, I don’t even have a favorite one. Even some of us grownups look pretty good. Thanks, Tom!
      Sharon was in charge of a spaghetti dinner and cake auction to raise money for her ward’s young women to go to camp. She says the girls have to pay $150 each (which is for 5 days, with food), so the auction was very important. Sharon didn’t want people to eat off paper plates, for such a high-class event, so she used the ward’s nice plates and cutlery, but then of course she was in the kitchen washing dishes during the auction. She said people went berserk, paying up to $60 or $70 for a cake! Hey, I thought we paid a lot, back in the days of the cub scout auction, when we paid $5 for Jimmy Simko’s cake that looked like a mountain. Besides our own, of course. But Sharon’s ward does it big time.
      Last Thursday Nora held her preschool graduation (a month early, because she’s supposed to be taking it easy), and there were at least 50 parents and little siblings and grandparents in her back yard. It was a great success. Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time there at Nora’s house, doing odd jobs, hanging up pictures, and spray painting brass light fixtures. Anything to get rid of the 80's look (you know, it was sort of country, dutch blue and pink, with lots of flowers and lace.) It’s lots of fun to help out.
      Still no news from Vanessa. She says she’s holding out for Friday, May 5th, El Cinco de Mayo (since we all have such warm feelings towards the Mexicans right now.) Then she can name the baby Maria. Or Isabella, I suggested. She’ll keep us posted.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom