Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Kids,
      I was hoping to write my letter yesterday, but two of my fingers were superglued together, and I couldn’t type. I couldn’t practice the organ, either, or the piano, or put on latex gloves to do grout in the basement. I taught my piano lessons, using my left hand when I needed to play something. And it hurt! I kept trying to pull my fingers apart, but they were too well glued. It was old superglue, kind of thick, and I guess I got a big blob between my fingers, while I was at the cabin working on the sprinkler bubblers. I’ve had superglue episodes before, but this one was lots worse. I didn’t want to soak my hand in acetone, because it would eat my skin. But this morning, when I first woke up, I had the idea of dribbling acetone on the joint, drop by drop, with a mascara brush. It worked! Maybe 15 minutes of dribbling, and my fingers came apart! So now I’m back to my normal routine again.
      Last Sunday night we drove Donna to Logan, but on the way we stopped at Allen and Missy’s for dinner. Nora and Paige were there, too (her other kids were sick), and we had a great time, and great food. Allen’s grilled chicken is about the best I’ve ever had! There was a belated birthday cake for me, too. It was lots of fun. Then Dad and Donna and I left for Logan, and when we got there, we helped her move her stuff into the same decrepit house she lived in last year. It ought to be condemned! But the rent is cheap. And she’ll only be there one semester, until the wedding. I guess she’ll be OK.
      Meanwhile, Paul is doing OK down in Price. He hung out at Tom’s house last Saturday, where he did his laundry. Tom tried to tell him you don’t cram everything into the washing machine at the same time, but Paul said it would be OK. He forgot about his new dark red sheets. So of course all his white things came out pink. They spent the rest of the day trying to bleach them white again. Tom says it’s ironic that he and Kim moved to Price the same week that Paul left on his mission, and Tom started his new job in Heber the same week Paul came back. But Tom’s there on weekends, so they can talk about BYU football.
      I think I forgot to mention, a few weeks ago, that Monica and Neil moved into a house his parents have bought, there in Tucson. They get to house sit until the parents come there permanently, probably in December. Meanwhile, Ramona is enjoying the fenced backyard. She hunts caterpillars, and jumps up on the adobe wall. (Where in Utah would you ever find a real adobe wall?) If anybody needs Monica’s new address, I can get it to you.
      Tuesday I was up at the cabin, working on the railing on the new deck. It really looks good! When Tom came home from work, he helped me put up scaffolding on the east side, because if I can get some log siding on Friday morning, I’m going to try to put it up by myself on Friday and Saturday. And maybe finish on Monday, Labor Day. Dad will be there by then. (Right now he’s completely preoccupied with a high priests dinner he’s planning, for Saturday night. So he can’t come to the cabin on Friday.) Anyway, Tuesday night, after we put up the scaffolding, I still had to finish my work on the railing and skirting of the deck, and by then it was dark and late. So I decided to stay over. Tom built a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and green chilis from his garden. He wondered how many network supervisors could come home and roast hot dogs for dinner, over an open fire. I roasted marshmallows. And I burned up pieces of the thorny Russian Olive tree I cut down in front. (Those trees were so cute when they were little, but I’m taking them out now.)
      Speaking of Labor Day, Marla says she wants to come and see our cabin. I mailed her a map, so hopefully she can find it. If any of you want to come for Sunday night and Monday, we’ll be glad to have you there. But it sounds like almost everybody has other plans. Oh, well, Labor Day isn’t much of a holiday. Mostly, people work on their yards and houses.
      I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Love, Mom

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Who would’ve thought, even though it’s the year for all the spinsters to get married (not Donna, not Monica–I mean real spinsters, like Annice and Shanna), who would’ve thought that LizBunkall would also find her perfect guy? (Remember, he had to be at least as perfect as her brother David.) But it happened. She’s getting married in two weeks. I was absolutely flabbergasted when I opened the announcement. Her mother said it was a whirlwind courtship. He looks like one of her brothers. Maybe that’s why he has the magic spark. I can’t wait to see him in person.
      Last Friday, Allen rode his bike all the way to Wendover, along with several of the other cops from Centerville. Only one of them dropped out. It’s 126 miles. Go, Allen! . It was organized by one of the other bike cops, and they do it every year. If I were in better shape, I’d ask to do a “ride along.” Right now, a trip to the library or the mall is plenty for me.
      Sunday night Dad and I drove Paul to Price, and helped him move his stuff into Sessions. I got a little nostalgic–how many times have we moved kids into Sessions, and this is the last year for us. Of course I embarrassed Paul by telling the RA that he was our 8th kid to live there. I’m sure Paul will have a great year, but he said it’s a little hard now. He’s taking an engineering class at night: Statics. He says he’s going to study all the time, and not watch any TV, unless a BYU game is on.
      Donna and I are having lots of fun trying out pastries from Sams Club, deciding what she should have for her wedding reception. We’re just finishing a box of mini cheesecakes, and starting a carton of eclairs. Dad is helping, too. It’s coming together. Oh, and Donna bought her wedding dress! She was downtown looking around, and it was a sample, from LDS Bridal, or someplace like that, so she got it for half price. And she brought it home on the bus. Of course the bus driver had to make a smart comment. It’s a really pretty dress, of course, but she needs to get it cleaned and do a few repairs. It was probably tried on by about 100 prospective brides.
      Nora says that Addie is now enrolled in a dance class. She has two recitals and gets to ride on a float in a Thanksgiving parade. That is about the ultimate thrill. I always wanted to ride on a float. I’m sure she’ll have a pretty little outfit, too. Go, Addie!
      Hey, Vanessa, Christy Montoya is going to be on America’s Funniest Home Videos, on October 1st, at 7pm. It’s something with their dog. Jeff is in it, too. I’ll have to tape it, because that will be the night of my missionary reunion. They might even win prize money! I visit teach Cathy Montoya, and she was pretty excited about it.
      Gotta go. I love you all! Mom

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dear Kids,
      I’m sitting at the computer, typing this letter, and everything is very quiet. Dad is out doing night rides with his UTA students. Donna has gone to the Tetons with Bevan for a couple of days. Reggie is sitting in his cage, making noise. (In fact, last time Addie and Ben were here, Ben asked, “Why is Reggie always in time out?”) The cats are sprawled on the deck, trying to get cool, and look cool. It won’t always be hot, but right now it seems like summer will go on forever.
      Saturday night Dad and I went out to dinner with Donna, Bevan, and Bevan’s parents–you know, the traditional meet-the-parents outing. Mostly we ate (we were at Chuck-a-rama, after all) but Bevan’s mom, Beverly, finally directed our conversation towards wedding plans. She’s remarkably practical! She got us to make decisions about clothes, colors, food, scheduling–all that mundane stuff. You always need somebody practical on board! Meanwhile, Monica is making her plans, too. She wants to rent a big house in Park City so all their out-of-town guests can stay there, and have a barbecue. Sounds fun to me. This will be in August of ‘07. She’s not sure on the date, yet.
      Paul is coming home late tonight! Yay! For only one day. Boo! He’s just making a pit stop here for doctor and dentist appointments, and to renew his drivers license. Then Dad will drive him to Price on Saturday.
      Tom has settled in at the cabin, at least for weeknights. Friday afternoons he’ll head home to Price, and come back Monday mornings. After three days on the job, he says it’s all going very well. He wears a name tag around his neck–whatever they call those things. He bought a bunch of corn dogs and other easy-type foods to keep at the cabin, but he was shocked how much he paid for groceries at Smiths. From now on he’ll mostly buy food on weekends at Walmart, and he says he’s very grateful to Kim for doing all their grocery shopping these last 2 years. Monica says Tom will get lonely at the cabin, and he needs a cabin cat, but Tom claims he’s now allergic to cats. Humm. Bevan was going to bring Simba, the cat from Africa, when he moves in. Maybe it will still work out.
      Friday afternoon, Al is riding his bike to Wendover with the other Centerville police officers. Only he says there will be a car to pick them up if they don’t make it on their bikes. He expects to ride about half the way. Missy is driving there to spend the night, so we’ll be watching the kids. That will be fun. We haven’t seen them in a while.
      Grandma has finally left Orchard, and she’s at home! She decided she was ready to make it on her own. She has an oxygen unit and long tubing, so she can walk around the house. She says the carpet is a lot easier to walk on, with her cane, than the hard tile floors of Orchard. Dad and I visited her Sunday night, and it was nice to see her sitting in her recliner, just like old times. The Tregaskises showed up to fix Sunday dinner. I hope to start my regular Wednesday visits again, pretty soon. When my life settles down.
      Last Friday night we had a Relief Society retreat at our cabin. About 30 ladies came, and quite a few stayed overnight. The next morning I rolled out the Yerf Dog and invited some of them to take a spin. Imagine Amy Rasmussen (who’s 80) driving it down the road! And Sandra Rickett! Everybody had a turn, either driving or riding along. They said it was great fun.
      Life is good. I love you all. Mom

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Dear Kids,
      The big news of the week, of course, is that Donna and Bevan are now officially engaged. Friday night Dad and I were having dinner with my brothers and sisters in the Joseph Smith building, when Donna and Bevan burst in, Donna with a rose in her hand and a ring on her finger. They had just had dinner at “The Roof,” and were on their way to the Faith Hill-Tim McGraw concert at the Delta center, and somewhere in there Bevan had officially proposed. Of course we suspected that they had planned the “proposal” weeks in advance, because Bevan bought the tickets a long time ago, and Donna did research on the internet to know what kind of sapphire to get (the stone in her ring.) But they looked very radiant, still. They’ve set the date for December 15.
      Other highlights of the weekend were the family reunion Saturday and Paige’s baby blessing on Sunday. First, the reunion–lotsa people, lotsa fun, lotsa sunshine and heat. There was supposed to be a bike parade, but Addie’s pink Barbie jeep (with a new battery, courtesy of ebay) was the only entry. Nevertheless, all the little kids had fun riding it up and down the sidewalk, with James running alongside, perspiring like crazy, since it was so hot. He was a good sport. The young adults played football, and Bevan joined in, like a good prospective son-in-law. I noticed he runs really fast. Maybe Trent will have some competition now. The rest of us huddled in the shade, eating each others’ food, and peering at each others’ name tags, to see what number we all were. Charles was there with a girlfriend, Julie, who’s tall and skinny like he is. Somebody asked her what her number was, and she said she didn’t have one yet, but hoped to get in under the 160 mark. (Projected for the end of the year.) Jamie was there with a girlfriend, too, named Andrea, from Vernal. She mixed right in, didn’t cling to him at all, so we like her. Jane and Joe were there from Boston. Jane says she’s a curse to all Jamie’s relationships–they always go south after Jane meets the girl. We hope it doesn’t happen this time.
      Paige’s blessing on Sunday was very nice. After the meeting we met at Nora’s house for a wonderful dinner of fake CafĂ© Rio, which actually tasted better than the real thing. And then we sat around for a long time visiting. Vanessa and Trent were there from Pocatello, so it was especially fun to talk to them. Little Meg is growing up! She would have seemed tiny if Paige hadn’t been new on the scene. And James’s Brother and Sister-in-law were there with their newborn son, a day younger than Paige, so there were plenty of babies to pass around.
      Monica bought a new car! (I didn’t talk to her, but Donna did.) Evidently it’s a 2002 Honda Civic, silver colored (that makes at least 5 of you that own silver cars) with a sun roof. She got a good deal, from some Mexicans. Hopefully it will run well and get good gas mileage! Monica also reports that she is shopping for her wedding dress, and is having more luck looking at bridesmaid dresses, since she wants something tea-length, and they’re cheaper than the regular wedding dresses. Donna is looking in the bridesmaid price-range, too. She says everything comes in white, besides all the other colors.
      Here’s some even more stunning wedding news: Dean Knighton is getting married!  Their wedding will be August 19th.
      Our house has started smelling musty; it’s really noticeable when you first walk in. I think it’s because of all the old coats, old sleeping bags, old blankets, and smelly pillows we have. So I’m going to go through every closet and get rid of everything smelly. If you have a favorite old woobie or sleeping bag or coat that’s here, please come and rescue it!
      Hey, Tom, they’re building Victory Ranch! They’re starting farther down the river, closer to the Jordanelle, than I thought, but today I drove by there, and they’re clearing a large area of land. We’ll have to keep a close eye out for Tiger Woods.
      That’s all the news! Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Dear Kids,
      The biggest news of the week is Tom’s new job! I’m sure everybody has heard by now. He’s going to be the network supervisor for Wasatch School District, working in Heber. Friday morning, while we were building the deck at the cabin, they called him on his cell phone to see if he could come in the next Monday for an interview. He said he was in the area, and could they do it that day? They could. He put on his preppy clothes and drove to Heber for the interview. Before he made it back to the cabin, they had called him on his cell and offered him the job. It’s a big jump for him in salary and responsibility, so we’re pretty happy that things worked out so smoothly. He starts on August 14, so he’ll be moving into the cabin. Kim will be in Price for a while longer, because of her job, and because they’re house sitting for a missionary couple. So they’ll be like Kim’s parents, who are shuffling between Price and Vernal. Or like Donna and Bevan, with their weekend romance. It’s been done before. Dad and I were separated for the first 2½ months of our marriage. Grandma and Grandpa Allen did it, too, when he was in the army.
      Speaking of Grandma Allen, her leg is finally starting to heal, because she’s seeing a “wound specialist.” In fact, once he started treating her, he was astounded at how fast her leg began healing. She didn’t mention that more than 150 people are praying for her to get better. I’m sure that helps.
      Before I forget, the family reunion is this Saturday, at the park by the Provo River. Not Provo Canyon, but in the river bottoms area. If you’re driving east in Orem on Center Street, (2 blocks south of Grandma and Grandpa’s house,) you go down the hill, and before you cross the river, you turn right into a subdivision, pass a few houses, and you’re at the park. I can’t find the address right now, because our internet is down. And nobody in my family is in charge of it, because Grandma is laid up. So it’s really informal. We have the park reserved from 11 am to 4 pm. Everybody’s bringing their own food. Laurie and Whitney are organizing games for the kids. That’s all I know. We haven’t even received an e-mail about it. That’s what happens when nobody’s in charge, but I’m sure it will be fun. When I find the address, I’ll e-mail or call you all.
      Nora and James and their kids had fun camping in the Tetons last week, and they hung out with Paul. They went hiking, picknicking, and adventuring. They said Paul seems to be doing great. The girls he works with in the T-shirt shop like to tease him, but he keeps his cool.
      Other family news: John is the new executive secretary of their ward. Lotsa meetings. Allen got a raise. Vanessa passed up a backpacking trip and went to a quilting store with her mother in law, instead. She said that’s what comes of having three kids. Donna is tired of working in a cubicle and wishes she were out in the open. Like in the Tetons. Sharon says it’s really hot in Michigan now. Unbearable. Good thing it was fairly nice when we were there.
      Little Paige’s baby blessing is this Sunday, at Nora and James’ church, at 11:00 am. I’m sure Nora has already contacted each of you that can come. I wish everybody could be there.
      Lots of love, Mom