Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006
Dear Kids,
      This is my last letter for 2006. The year has flown by. I’ve been reading all the Christmas letters people have sent us, and I’m a little depressed by the overachievement of everybody we know. Can’t they just write about their cats and birds?
    It sure was fun at the cabin on Tuesday! I spent a lot of time out on the hill with Dad’s cousins, so I didn’t get to visit with some of you, but it looked like you were having a good time. I think the little kids were having the most fun of all, with their Christmas presents from each other. We hauled out record numbers of bags of trash!
      In contrast, our Christmas morning here at home was very quiet. Just Dad, me, Paul, and Donna (because Bevan had to go to work at 6:00 that morning.) We only filled one trash bag. But we all got great presents! Thanks to all of you for being so thoughtful! Later in the day we went to Nora’s, and had a good visit with James’s parents and Bev’s family, who were also there. And we had a great dinner! I can’t imagine Christmas without good food. Even the pathetic characters in “A Christmas Carol” end up having a good dinner.
      Monica and Neil have moved out of Neil’s parents’ house, into a place of their own. The address is: 638 North 1st Ave., Tucson, AZ, 85719. Ramona is doing fine, of course. She’s moved so many times, she doesn’t care, as long as there are plenty of birds to watch, lizards to eat, and rabbits to whack.
      Donna is settled in at the cabin now, with Bevan and his 4-wheeler. And they have an address! You can send them mail there! (Tom, too) It’s the cabin street address: 3970 S. Woodland View Drive, Woodland, Utah, 84036. After long years of just talking about it, the cabin association finally installed mailboxes at the bottom of the hill, by the trash cans. And the post office is obligingly delivering mail there.
      Last night Dad and I went to an eagle court of honor for Matt Allen and Austin James. Rich and Jeanne are here in town for a week, so it worked out really well. They had it at their old church in South Jordan. I’m not usually a big fan of scout ceremonies, but they had a live eagle there! What a nasty-looking bird. He looked like he’d sooner kill any person there, than live on rats and fish. He had a 7-foot wingspan. Who decided that the eagle was noble? People had to keep their distance from him. (Although he knew how to pose very nicely, when he had his picture taken with the scouts who were getting their eagles.) And there were Indian dancers, too. (Pagan religion, sponsored by the Church). But in all, it was lots of fun. Jeanne’s parents were there, and her Dad, Leon, gave me a copy of his book, which I worked on last year. It’s his life story, and I learned a lot from it. They also gave me a 2-lb. Box of Sees dark chocolates. It was more than fair pay for the time I spent on the project.
      Paul has a temp job at a CD packaging place, on 36th West, up around 23rd South. He got the job through SOS. I figured it wouldn’t be hard. Businesses are scared of hiring illegals now, so there are lots of opportunities for college kids. Paul spent his first shift taking CD covers off a conveyor belt, putting labels in them, and putting them back on the belt. He is now convinced of the value of a college education. He agreed to stay there till the end of the week. Maybe SOS can find him something even better for next week.
      Sharon and Seth and Charlie are here today, packing up to go home. They had a lot of fun at the Thackers. Charlie was in heaven, with a truck, tractor, and backhoe on the premises. He even rode on a big dog. (Mike and Collette’s.)
      I hope you all have a great new year! Love, Mom

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dear Kids,
      Well, the big event of the week was, of course, Donna and Bevan’s wedding. I was so glad to have nearly our whole family there. We felt bad that Kim and the kids couldn’t come, but it’s like that, when you have a tiny newborn in the middle of winter. (Ali seems to be doing well now.) Thanks so much to all of you who helped in the kitchen, and especially to those of you who stayed till the bitter end to clean up. I was so tired I could hardly move, and it was great to have you kids racing around, packing up and cleaning. I hope most of you got home before the storm hit. Dad and I (and Sharon and Seth and Charlie) left right as it was getting bad, and we went on a wild goose chase up through Alpine (hey, in a blizzard you don’t always know where you are) but we saw some very elegant houses, and eventually we found the highway and made it home. I assume Donna and Bevan are having a good time in Hawaii. No news is good news.
      Sharon and Seth and Charlie have spent most of the week with us, and it’s been entertaining. Charlie feeds the cats for me every day. I think he’s a little scared of them, because he gets part way to the sliding door, and stops. I have to nudge him along the rest of the way, and open the door so he can dump the cat food into the pan. Then he laughs and has lots to say about feeding the kitties. In fact, he has lots to say overall. That kid is a talker!
      Last night we had our first annual Christmas Music open house, for all my piano students and anybody else who wanted to come. Nora and James and Addie and Ben sang “Jingle Bells.” It was really cute. Al and Missy and their kids came, and I think I heard Allen playing the piano later on. And of course Sharon and Seth and Charlie. And the Fultons and the McGettigans and the Parkers and the Kilburns and a few others. Lots of people. Lots of food, but it went fast. In fact, we finished up most of the wedding leftovers. There were lots of good musical numbers, and some pretty ordinary ones, too. I think we’ll do it again next year. Sunday night, Dad’s cousin Marla had a “Beethoven’s Birthday Party” at her house, but we couldn’t go. She said she served smoked salmon, high-end cheeses, blanched vegetables, and eggnog that was spiked. She said it didn’t offend her Mormon friends, because they’re all OK with being in places where alcohol is served. (I asked her if any of them drank it, and she said No.) She played the first movement of Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata. We didn’t have any high-end numbers like that at our party. Or high-end cheeses, either. (Or eggnog.)
      Paul has been hanging around here this week, working sudoku puzzles and watching TV. After Christmas, he might work at Deer Valley with Donna and Bevan. He just needs a good pair of boots. Too bad he can’t borrow them, but who else wears a 14? (The only good thing about wearing a 14 is that the boxes make very good cat coffins.)
      We received a nice e-mail letter from Rich and Jeanne, telling a little about life in Calgary. If I can remember how, I’ll put it up on, under other family letters. They’re going to be here in town the week after Christmas, and there’s an eagle court of honor for Matt on Wednesday, the 27th, at their old ward house. (2550 W 9800 S., W. Jordan) Everybody’s invited. Austin James will be getting his eagle then, too.
      Last week, it seemed my hands were getting dirtier and dirtier, but I thought it was just all the chocolate from the wedding cake. The lines in my hands were actually black! No matter how often I washed my hands, it didn’t get any better. Then I took a good look at the new lotion I’ve been using, which Dad bought. It’s a “bronzing moisturizer.” Duh! I told my sisters, and they laughed at how clueless I was. Katie uses it on her arms and legs, but she said you definitely don’t use it on your hands. So, does anybody want the rest of it? Or do we all prefer to be “Ackerson white?”
      Gotta go! I love you all! Mom

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Dear Kids,
      The big event of the week, of course, was the very quick arrival of Ali Marie Ackerson on Sunday night. Tom called us about 7 pm, more or less, and said they were on their way to the hospital, and they were pretty sure it was going to happen. Or maybe Kim was just going to be “checked,” or whatever. But they weren’t in a big hurry. In fact, Tom and Paul had been planning to go to the Messiah, but Tom cancelled at the last minute. So Tom and Kim headed for the hospital, but evidently, Kim wasn’t in any huge distress. When they got there, the nurse checked Kim and saw that she was dilated to an “8,” and started yelling for people to get in there. Kim’s regular doctor was out of town, and the backup doctor, Tom was sure, was over at the Messiah playing the violin. But fortunately, he wasn’t. Just this once. I guess he got there just in time to deliver Ali, who pushed her way into the world very quickly. After the delivery, they had to suction lots of “gunk” out of her lungs, and air out of her stomach, and since then, they’ve been treating her for infection, but all’s well that ends well. You can see a complete slideshow on, on Tom’s photo gallery. There are lots of great pictures!
      The second big even of the week (it would have been #1 in any ordinary week) was Dad appearing on the front page of the Deseret News. They did the interview a couple of months ago, and he had almost forgotten about it. I never heard anything. So it was a total surprise, when the phone started ringing Sunday morning, first John, and then Tom, and then other people, congratulating him. I had been online earlier in the morning, and I always skim the headlines of the Deseret News, before I go on to other things, and I had seen the story about State Street. I figured Dad would want to read it, but I forgot to tell him. I had no idea he was the featured driver! We saw the picture of him online, (you have to agree it could have been more flattering) but I had no idea how huge it was on the front page of the paper, until Nora and James brought theirs over, later on. Now if it had been me, I would have been totally hyped up and psyched out and feeling very important, but Dad was completely nonchalant. He seemed more concerned about a song he had to learn for choir, and getting his home teaching report done. Ah, life!
      Monica says that it’s getting colder in Tucson. All the way down to 65°. She went apartment hunting on her scooter, and said it was chilly. They have to move again because Neil’s parents are coming to live in the house that they bought, which Monica and Neil have been tending. And Ramona has kept the lizards in check. Ramona is furry and fluffy again (after being shaved for the summer) so her attitude is out of control.
      Speaking of cats, I had to replace our kitty door in the shop window, which, after eight years of abuse, was all twisted and warped. Lots of cold air was coming into the shop, which the cats didn’t appreciate. So I bought a new door, but I had to take the old one out to see how it was put together. Meanwhile, I closed the shop window all the way, to keep out the cold. I left the room, and when I came back in, Rat Cat was banging his head against the window, confused. He was thinking, “This always worked before!” He reminded me of some poor Harry Potter, trying to get through the brick wall at gate #9¾.
      Things are coming together for Donna’s wedding! We’re going to need help in the kitchen, and I’ve already talked to some of you about volunteering a half hour apiece to help make sandwiches, fill nuts cups, and take foot out to the cultural hall. Vanessa is taking the first shift. There will probably be kids picking up the dirty dishes, and Donna says she thinks Beverly can find people to help wash the dishes (We’re using the glass plates and cups) so we only need help with the food. Cathy and Amber are coming (yay) and Cathy said they’d help, too. I think we’re covered for everything else!
      So much excitement! So much fun! Love to all!