Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dear Kids,
      What beautiful fall weather we’re having! Yesterday I rode my bike to Valley Fair Mall to return some stuff to Penneys, and there couldn’t have been a better day! We ought to have glorious weather for conference weekend! John is talking about bringing his chocolate fountain for Sunday afternoon. I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you.
      Dad and I have been trying to finish the log siding on the cabin, but the mill in Heber hasn’t had any logs for us. I just called them this morning, though, and the guy said he’s making some today. So with a little luck, we can pick them up tomorrow afternoon. That doesn’t mean that we’ll be working during conference, though. We’ll save most of it for the following Tuesday. Dad’s on vacation all next week, so I have plans for him. Originally, we were going to take Grandma and Grandpa Allen on a trip to southern Utah, but that won’t work out now. They both aren’t doing very well physically. Grandpa has had a couple of strokes, and according to Katie, he’s even stopped driving. (That’ll be the day.) Grandma is still on oxygen, which will probably be permanent. Sunday night, we had Grandpa’s birthday party at their house, instead of the cabin. But it was still fun.
      Missy has a blog! She just sent us an e-mail about it, and I checked it out! You can read all about their trip to a circus parade, and Carson’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” birthday party. There’s a slideshow, too. The address is: Amber has a blog there, too, but she hasn’t added anything recently. I wish all of you had blogs! It would be so easy to keep up with each others’ news!
      There’s a tiny lizard that’s moved into the cabin greenhouse. He runs around among the tomato plants. He’s only a couple of inches long, or maybe less. I don’t know where he came from. Other wildlife news: There were a couple of very stupid mice who built their nest right in the mouse bait box. I guess they thought it was a great place–lots of food, and lots of protection. Well, they both died. One of them was a couple of feet away from the box, and the other was inside, next to the bait, on his back, with his feet sticking up in the air. At least they didn’t have time to produce any babies!
      Tom said he was driving down the main street of Heber, by Day’s Market, and he saw a glider overhead, banking perfectly, leveling out perfectly, in a straight line. Later he called John, and sure enough–that was him up there! He has to do everything just right. He said he had to give up wearing his Doc Marten shoes in the glider, because they were so heavy, he didn’t have any control on the pedals. So now he wears lighter shoes. And speaking of weight, if John can get down to 210, there’s a new glider he can fly. Go, John. I’ve just been reading the book Seabiscuit (recommended by Paul) that tells how the jockeys used to loose weight. Some of them swallowed tapeworms! When they got too sick to ride the horses, they went to the hospital and got themselves cured. Just an idea, John!
      Sharon reports that Seth is the new financial clerk of their ward. Hopefully tithing settlement won’t be a problem, since they’re flying here December 14th. Maybe he can get it all wrapped up before that.
      Gotta go! I love you all! Mom

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Well, I was wrong about the clean sweep of girls, because Sharon and Seth are having A BOY! That will be nice for Charlie–a little brother to wrestle with. Two boys together in a family can always have the fun of beating up on each other. There’s lots of other advantages, too, like sharing a room. Congratulations, Sharon and Seth! We’re really happy for you. A thorn among the roses. We need it.
      Here’s something discouraging: they give you the senior citizen discount, and you didn’t even ask for it. That happened to me at the Salvation Army thrift store. I was buying a skirt for $3.00, and she rang it up as $2.25. I wondered why, until I saw the sign that said “Mondays: Senior citizen’s discount--25%.” I did the math and came up discouraged. Maybe they count senior citizens as 25 and older. I would have gladly paid another 75¢ not to have my ego deflated.
      I went to the cabin last Friday morning, ready for two days of hard work in the yard. I’m trying to get as much done as I can before winter hits. That evening it started raining, and as I went to sleep, I was happy to hear the rain on the roof, because I knew the dirt would be soft the next morning, and I could dig out rocks all the better. But when I woke up Saturday morning and looked out the window, it was white, as far as the eye could see. So much for digging out rocks. It snowed all morning, and there were about 6" on the ground when I finally left at noon. Luckily I undid the sprinklers from the taps, and turned everything off. I saw on that it got down to 22° in Kamas that night. Tom said it was really cold when he got there after work on Monday, and a fire didn’t do much to warm it up. I told him it takes a couple of days. It’s supposed to snow again this weekend, but it should be a lot warmer for conference. So don’t worry! We’ll have lots of fun, all of you who are coming. I heard rumors of CafĂ© Rio salad for Saturday afternoon.
      Paul is plugging away at his studies at CEU, and he’s also serving as Sunday School President. But he’s having trouble getting teachers. Does that sound familiar, anybody? He says he puts in names, but they don’t call anybody. He wants at least two Gospel Doctrine teachers, so they can trade off. And he wants to have Gospel Principles, but the ward mission leader said he won’t teach it. All this is good preparation for Paul to go out into the real world, as if a mission weren’t enough.
      Kara McGettigan says it’s about time we were getting a new kitten. I explained to her that most of the kittens are born in the spring, and besides, I need to be home more, to take care of it. She wasn’t convinced. I’m still grieving for Jasmine, who disappeared in July. And Jasmine came from the South Utah Valley animal shelter. Grandma says all the cats from there end up dying. Maybe the shots they give them are bogus, to save money. I don’t know. They have a bad reputation for putting dogs to sleep before the allotted time. Maybe I’ll go looking for kittens here in Salt Lake. Or maybe I’ll be sensible and just enjoy the two cats we have. Our e-mail address ought to say it all: just2cats.
      Dad has entered a “alternative transportation” competition at UTA. They get points for riding a bike to work, or taking the bus. So Dad rides his bike to Valley Fair Mall, and catches the bus there, so he can get double points. He does the same thing coming home. But of course this week we’ve had lots of rain, so he comes home soaked. The prize is only a $30 Visa gift card, and those are impossible to redeem, but he says it’s not about the money. He wants to win. Go, Dad!
      I’m off for downtown, to attend Emily Allen’s wedding in the Salt Lake Temple. This evening is the special dinner for invited guests. Nora and Paige are coming with me, because Dad has pack meeting. The Dinner is at “The Point,” a nice restaurant up at the Huntsman Cancer center. I’m sure the food will be good, and there will be lots of fun people to talk to.
      I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Here’s another news flash: Heather is having a girl! Haven’t I been predicting a clean sweep of girls? Now the pressure is on Sharon, who’s having her ultrasound on Monday. So maybe by the time you get this letter she’ll already know. Or I could be wrong–she could have another boy–a thorn among the roses. We’ll see.
      Sharon goes out running every morning, with Charlie in the jogger, and now Seth’s going with them. Sharon said she wasn’t feeling too safe out there, so she persuaded him to come along, and now he really likes it! (You gotta love those endorphins.) Go, Thackers! Charlie really likes all the things he sees, like squirrels and school busses.
      Nora’s preschool is in full swing now, and Addie is part of the group this year. Ben was, too, for a short time. Nora thought he might do OK, and save her the hassle of a babysitter for him. That is, until she heard little girls running and screaming, and went to see what the trouble was. Ben was chasing them with a lion puppet on his hand, making growling noises. So he’s been kicked out. Well, he’s only 2. He can buckle down when he’s a little older.
      Nora’s book club had a great time at the cabin Friday night. Of course I had to be there for the fun! (I go to her book club every couple of months, if it’s a book I like.) They were discussing “The Devil in the White City,” which is sort of ghoulish and depressing. But other topics always come up, like their kids. And toilet training–that’s always a hot topic. We sat around the campfire, and the moon was out, and there were three babies bundled up, including Paige. One carload of girls was going to stay over, and the other carload was supposed to leave for home when the discussion was over, but they were just hitting their stride when I went to bed at midnight. I think the “carload for home” finally left about 3 am. They should have all stayed over! In the morning, we ate breakfast and drove the Yerf Dog. Nobody was very eager to head for home, and get back to their husbands and kids, but Nora reminded everybody that they were stopping at the outlet stores, so that got them motivated to pack up. With Nora’s book club, there’s no stopping the fun.
      LizBunkall’s wedding reception last Thursday night was a lot of fun. It was at the Carmelle, a ritzy place on Highland Drive, and Liz and her new hubby looked really happy and excited. We’re really happy for Liz.
      I visited Tom at his new work site last week. It’s in an old historic remodeled school building, about 100 East and 200 North, in Heber, which I’ve been interested in for a long time, now. I liked to drive by it, while they were working on it. (Supposedly, they spent a fortune on it, and the whole school board was voted out, after that.) But who would’ve ever guessed that Tom would work there someday? His work area is down in a dungeon, full of cables, wires, plugs, boxes, inverters, diverters, converters, routers, reversers, who knows what? Tom says it’s a treasure trove of stuff. There’s another whole room full of computers, humming away. Tom says his job is so much fun, he totally forgets about the time. In fact, he can’t believe he’s been there more than a month already. John has taken him out looking at houses, but so far, everything’s way too expensive. Hopefully, when winter hits, all those people who are tired of the cold will put their houses on the market at the same time. It could be a buyers’ market!
      Conference week is coming up! Dad and I will be at the cabin from Friday afternoon, Sept. 29, to Sunday night, Oct. 1. Let me know if you want to reserve a room.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Here’s some good news: Jamie Quinn is engaged to Andrea Fleming, from Vernal, and the tentative date for the wedding is November 17. They’re getting married in the Vernal Temple. Jane sent out an e-mail with the announcement. You can guess she’s pretty excited. Charles, the other cousin-in-love, was flying up to the northwest (Portland? Seattle? I can’t remember which) to drive back to BYU with his girlfriend, Julie. We hope we’ll also hear an announcement from them pretty soon, but according to Ben, Charles is sort of gun shy after being dumped by other girls. I’ll keep you posted.
      Meanwhile, Monica has a unique idea about her wedding–why don’t they get married at the cabin? They were thinking first of Park City, and then a ranch-type place, maybe near Oakley, and finally Monica figured that the cabin might work pretty well. And with the money they save by not renting a place, they can serve better food! I’m totally in favor of that. I said Ramona has to come to the wedding, and Monica said, sure, she can be the flower cat, and Carson can drag her down the aisle on a leash. It’s going to be an outside wedding, so now I have to get going again on my unfinished outside projects (rock wall, siding, deck railing) before winter comes. I suggest to Monica that if they were married near the end of June, the cabin would look its best: green grass, flowers, etc., versus dormant grass and dead flowers in August. She said she’s open to any suggestions.
      I called Pocatello last Saturday morning to see how Vanessa and Trent were doing, and Ruth Sutton answered the phone. She was babysitting while Vanessa and Trent ran the Pocatello Marathon! I said, “A Marathon??!!” but Ruth said that they were just doing the 5k. Vanessa called me back later and explained that whether you run the 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or marathon, you still get the T-shirt, and you cross the finish line with everybody else. She had a great time and didn’t even break a sweat. She said it was a little harder for Trent. They saw Scott Harmon and his wife Jane, who’s from Inkom, running the race. They do it every year. There’s a carnival at the finish line, and everybody has fun. Now that’s my kind of marathon.
      Dad and I got a lot of work done at the cabin on Labor Day, and in the early afternoon, Marla and Tony showed up! (Tony was driving.) I had been watching out for Marla’s Jaguar, but they came in a Subaru Outback. (Their Alaskan Malamut dog, Sasha, came along–too bad the neighborhood Malamut, Coda, wasn’t there.) They oohed and aahed over the cabin. Marla said it was an estate. Then we sat around and ate crackers and drank crystal lite, and Marla told me about climbing the Middle Teton. She’s always having new adventures! She also talked about their family. Nichole has started law school in Seattle, after finishing her BA in three years. Her boyfriend Jason is going to truck-driving school. (Don’t you love it!) Carla is thinking of retiring from her dance studio, but doesn’t know where to go. Shawn has a website, Check it out. He sells his own designer bags. We had fun talking for a couple of hours, and then Marla and Tony said they had to go, so we could get back to work. We talked about getting together there at Christmas. That could be fun! Maybe we could have it be our after-Christmas sledding party. We’ll see.
      So much going on! So much fun! Love to all, Mom