Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dear Kids,
      It’s happening again: multiple events on one day. Donna will be graduating from USU on Saturday, May 4th, and of course Paul is also graduating from CEU on the same day. As if that weren’t enough, Julie is also being baptized that day. Heather says they’re locked into that day and time (12:30 pm,) and since Dad and I had already agreed to split up for the graduations, neither one of us will be able to go to Heber. Heather says they’ll wait until the next day for Julie’s confirmation, so we can be there, and they’ll plan it as a special “event.” I’ll find out more and put it in my letter next week, so any of you who are free can also come. It’s pretty great, having your first grandchild baptized.
      Donna has officially started her landscape design job, and she spent her first day looking at a site in Deer Crest--one of those multi-million dollar homes you and I will never get to see because we’d never get past the guard house. The budget for the landscaping is $35,000, which seems like a lot, until you start buying mature trees at $600 each. There’s a wholesaler who supplies them with plants, and Donna offered to get what I need to landscape around the front of the cabin, but of course I can’t afford mature trees. So I’ll stick with the tiny little mugo pines from Home Depot that you can get for $5.00. They’ll grow.
      Vanessa is still training for the Ogden marathon on May 19th. One of her running buddies dropped out because she found out she was pregnant, but the other friend is still going strong. They’re following the famous training schedule that some of you have already used. Trent’s dad, who is a physical therapist, is moaning about how Vanessa is going to ruin her joints, but then of course he always sees the bad end of these things. After the marathon, Vanessa is still planning to do a triathalon in August, which she says will be a piece of cake.
      Remember Stephen Wright, Vanessa’s old boyfriend from before her mission? We were wondering about him the other day. I guess he still lives in Alaska. We were just remembering that pasta he cooked for us, with some kind of alfredo sauce. I still remember how good it was. Does anybody remember for sure what it was? I wish I had the recipe.
      Paul got a 1/4 tuition scholarship to USU. Yay! He hasn’t nailed down a summer job yet, though. He might go to the Tetons, even though they sent him a rejection letter, or maybe he’ll work here in Salt Lake, and live at home. That will be fine with me, because then I can have him mow the lawn.
      I had my spring piano recital here in our living room last Saturday. I have the greatest lineup of kids now: 4 Fultons, 3 McGettigans, 2 Nguyens, and Stacy Menlove. Couldn’t be simpler. They all practice. They all fit in our living room. What more could I want (except maybe for a few grandkids taking lessons from me.) Just before the recital on Saturday, John and his family showed up, with their grey van, which is now parked in our driveway, with a “for-sale” sign in the window. John’s advertising it on line, but we haven’t had any callers yet. Dad drives it to work every day.
      Jana McGettigan has had three rounds of chemotherapy, so of course she’s wearing hats now. And wigs. Usually she wears both. Sunday she looked really nice, with her new long dark curly hair, and a nice hat. Kara was wearing a hat, too, and of course her hair is always long and curly. I was wondering about Jana’s curly wig, and I asked if she has to curl it, and she said no, it came that way. So I asked Stacy how they get wigs to be curly, and she said they use curly hair to make them. Duh! So what do they do with hair like mine, when I donate it? Is there any use for straight hair? I doubt it.
      Our bike ride to Antelope Island is coming up Monday afternoon. I hope some of you can come. I’m really excited. Life is good.
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Here’s a news flash: Nora and James are expecting a boy. What, you didn’t even know Nora was expecting? Well, I didn’t either. Until a few days ago. She’s due September 7th, which means she’s about half way along. They had the ultrasound yesterday, and you can see the results on Nora’s blog at From the view on the film, you can see that he’s most definitely a boy. Congrats, Nora and James. Richard and Diedre Tregaskis are also expecting, also in September, I think. They’ve wanted a baby for a long time. Plus three of Charley’s kids, and two more of Nancy’s, and who else, for all I know.
      Dad and I had great fun on our trip to Arizona with Grandma and Grandpa. We took the trip in chunks, to make it easier, and we all brought good travel food! Thursday afternoon we drove as far as Panguitch, and stayed overnight in a motel there. Then Friday we drove the rest of the way to Mesa, and our only glitch was a big traffic jam in Phoenix. I hear that’s normal. We had fun visiting with Aunt Elma Friday night, and a lot of my cousins dropped in to visit. Saturday morning we left for Tucson, taking the scenic route through the high desert. It was really green, with lots of flowering cactus and other desert foliage. Donna would have loved it. Monica and Neil and Neil’s mom, Cynthia, were waiting for us when we drove up. You’d love Monica and Neil’s house: adobe, old, lots of cactus and gravel in the yard. And Ramona was ready for us, too. Ready to hiss and snarl at me. I don’t know why she hates me so much, except maybe that I look her in the eye. When we all got settled down in the living room, talking, Ramona settled herself in the middle, with her back to me, of course. I was wondering about the restaurant we were going to, for lunch, and I said, “I wonder if they serve cat meat there?” Ramona turned her head all the way around and hissed at me. Neil’s mom said she wouldn’t have believed it, if she hadn’t seen it for herself.
      So we all had lunch at this wonderful sandwich place, where, unfortunately, there was no fricassee of cat on the menu. Then, after we all finished, Dad and I and Grandma and Grandpa drove down to Saurita, about 15 miles south, where Jeffrey and Emily live. We played with their two kids and had a good visit. They (and everyone else) were amazed that Grandma and Grandpa are doing so well, and that they would venture on such a long road trip. I think Grandma and Grandpa were anxious to prove they could do it. Grandma says as long as she has her oxygen tanks, and as long as she can find handicapped motel rooms, she can go anywhere. Now Bonnie’s planning to take them to Canada this summer, to visit Richard and Jeanne.
      Here’s an e-mail message from Nancy: Hi Family, I'm just about done with the book and it looks like the cost will be about $7.00-$8.00 per book. Could you all please let me know, very soon, how many you will want? Thanks for all your contributions!
      I you can all let me know if you want the book, and how many copies, then I’ll pass it on to Nancy.
      I got an e-mail from John Bunkall the other day, and he wanted me to tell Tom Hi for him. It reminded me how much I’ve always enjoyed the Bunkall family. They’re such great people! We’ve been really lucky to have them in our ward all these years.
      Here’s more news: Dave Michelson is buying a house on Allen and Missy’s street, three or four houses away from them. What a small world! I guess he was ready to leave the ghetto. But he still teaches wayward boys at the detention center.
      Remember our bike ride Monday afternoon, April 30th, for anyone who can go. Call me if you have any questions.
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dear Kids,
      We had a scaled-down Easter picnic here at our house Saturday night, with Allen’s family, Nora’s family, and Donna and Bevan. We barbecued hamburgers and had an Easter egg hunt in the front yard, and then people entertained themselves by throwing tennis balls over the house. It’s been a long time since we had an “event” at our house, since we usually do everything at the cabin, but it was sure fun. Bevan was talking to Allen about maybe doing a ride-along with him sometime. Allen was going to be working the next day, Sunday, and he said Bevan could come along and watch the “Mormon 500.” He said they set up their radar at five to nine, five to eleven, and five to one, and then catch the Mormons speeding to church.
      I’ve been bugging Allen about doing a long bike ride, maybe to Wendover, like the Centerville police officers do. But he convinced me we ought to start with a shorter ride. Like to Antelope Island. There aren’t any Saturdays when he’s free, so we decided on Monday, April 30th, in the afternoon. We’re going to meet at the entrance to the causeway at 4:00 p.m. Any of you who want to come, please do! It’s seven miles across the causeway, and 38 miles around the island, but I don’t think we’ll go all the way around. It will get too late. If you have any questions, call me.
      Meanwhile, Vanessa is still training for the Ogden Marathon, which will be May 19th. She says this marathon is easy to get into–no lottery or anything. They start the race in Ogden Valley, run around Pineview, down the canyon, and a little ways through Ogden. Sounds like fun. I wish I were a runner. I wish I had the joints for it. Oh, well. Dad and I will be at the finish line. Go, Vanessa!
      Seth’s Dad is going to make a big lifestyle change. He’s going to sell the cows! There are probably 300 of them, and he’s going to sell them off gradually, maybe 50 at a time. But there are some new heifers that they’ll keep and raise. So we’re all wondering, what will he do, without the cows? He’ll have freedom, that’s what. Oh, about making a living? He’s not sure yet. Seth is giving him advice. Maybe he’ll raise beef cattle.
      Tom and Bevan saw a moose at the cabin, just in back of the greenhouse. I guess he had come up the driveway and around the house. Then he just kept walking until he got to a bush, where he stood, waiting for the bush to move. They got some good pictures of him. I’m sure they’ll be up on Tom’s photo gallery pretty soon. I’m always hoping to see a moose close up, but it never happens.
      Dad and I are driving Grandma and Grandpa to Arizona tomorrow afternoon. We’ll leave as soon as dad gets off work, pick up Grandma and Grandpa, and hopefully get as far as Kanab. Friday morning we’ll drive to Mesa, and visit with Aunt Elma. Then, Saturday, we’re driving down to Tucson to see Monica, Neil, Ramona, and hopefully, we’ll meet Neil’s mom. We’ll come back to Mesa Saturday night, go to Church there Sunday morning, and then head for home. Not all the way, though–probably as far as Page. Then we’ll be home Monday afternoon. We’re really excited about the trip. I think Grandma and Grandpa are, too. They haven’t been on a real road trip in quite a while, so it will be fun for all of us.
      I’m doin’ great and lovin’ it. Hope you all are, too. Love, Mom

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Dear Kids,
      We sure had fun with everybody who came to the cabin for conference. Actually, there weren’t so many this time–Tom’s family, and Nora’s, and Donna and Bevan. But the food was good and the weather was nice and we all had a good time. The conference talks were good, too, like always.
      Has everybody heard that Donna has a job? In landscape architecture! In fact, it’s the kind of job all the landscaping students hope to get someday. But the professors tell them that no matter how much they want to do residential design work, or maybe golf courses, they’ll really be doing sprinkling systems and other commercial work. But not Donna! She’ll be working for a small company called DCM Landscaping, located in the Silver Creek area. Her boss started up the company about 15 years ago, doing mostly yard maintenance, but then he downsized and shifted to residential design and new landscaping. Then he got behind on the design work, so he called the LA Department at Utah State and asked if they had any graduating seniors who lived in the Park City area. The nice secretary told him that their TOP graduate lived in Woodland, and she sent Donna to the interview. And of course he hired her on the spot. She gets to work part time, or full time, as she can, and she’ll get to use a company car to go inspect new sites. The boss warned her that she’d be outside a lot, and she said that was great. She said, “Just give me a trencher, and I’ll go at it.” But he said that wouldn’t be necessary. Donna has to learn Spanish, too, so she can communicate with the workers. (Dad said, “Will she be learning illegal Spanish?”) Now we’re all hoping it turns out as good as it sounds. Go, Donna! Just think how many of you are using your college degrees! (Not like Dad and me; we set a pretty bad example that way.)
      Tom and Kim are forging ahead with their house hunting. I asked Mark Ulrich if he sometimes worked in the Heber area, and he said he certainly did, and he’d be delighted to help them. He said most of the houses in their hoped-for price range are gone in 24 hours, and it’s the over-300 houses that sit on the market. He said he would need to check the new listings every morning, and probably call Tom every day. I said that sounded good to me. Hopefully it will turn out well for Tom and Kim. I know Mark is obsessive about finding houses for people, especially when it’s a challenge to get exactly what they want, for the price they want to pay.
      Dad and I have our plaque from CEU displayed on the buffet counter, in between the pictures of the grandchildren. Every time I look at it, I’m reminded that our family needs to do something for CEU. I’m thinking we should have an Ackerson Family scholarship, where we sponser one student each year. (John said it should be somebody will a GPA no higher than 3.6. Whatever.) Tuition is about $2,000 a year, and if each of you who went to CEU could contribute about $100, (or more, or less, depending on your circumstances. It’s a tax deduction, too.) Dad and I would make up the rest each year. What do you all think? I think we owe a lot to CEU. You just can’t calculate the value of getting your first two years of college practically free.
      Sharon reports that Charlie put two beans up his nose, and she couldn’t get them out. (It reminded me of when Nora was 10, and she put a bean in her ear, and we had to go to the emergency room to have it taken out.) Sharon didn’t want to pay the $50 for the emergency room, and fortunately that have a great network of friends and medical students. Somebody knew somebody who was a ENT, and he met them at his office after hours, and took out the beans. No charge. I’m glad it turned out so well. You know how kids love to play in bowls of beans? Who would think they’d put them in their ears and noses!
      Here’s an interesting bit of news: Andrea and Dan Hill are coming home from China, and he’s taking a job in St. George. I know it’s expensive to live there, but probably cheap compared to China. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it.
      Spring is here! The cats are loving it. I am, too.
      Love always, Mom