Friday, August 31, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I just received a flyer in the mail from Utah Opera, and finally, they’re doing my favorite operas again! “The Flying Dutchman” in October, “Tosca” in January, and “Don Giovanni” in May. It’s enough to win me back! Dad and I will be going to “The Flying Dutchman” on Saturday night, October 13th. If any of you want tickets, let me know.
      Our trip to Albuquerque was a great success! Ben’s new house is beautiful, just west of the Rio Grande River, by the bosque (Spanish for “forest,” but it’s mostly cottonwood trees, mesquite, and tamarisk.) There’s lots of wildlife: roadrunners, bunnies, and Ben’s cat, Captain Jack, who’s a vicious hunter. But I mellowed him out with catnip. Ben and Monica took us on a long walk along the river, and they fed us well. We had lots of fun visiting with Rachel and Chuck DeBuck and their charming little boys, and Monica’s sons, and Steven, who was getting ready to go back to BYU. Grandma and Grandpa stayed in motel across the river, so we drove across the bridge lots of times. Saturday afternoon, we went to the Albuquerque temple. All together, it was a great trip. Coming home on Monday, we stopped in Price to eat at the Chinese Buffett. Dad remarked that we were bound to see someone we knew, and sure enough, Karl Bentley came in, with his friend, Dave Evans. Karl said to say “hi” to everybody.
      Nora got new carpet this week, and since I’d seen her samples, and I knew she’d done all the shopping around, I just called the carpet place and asked if they could put the same thing in our living room, when they finished Nora’s house. (I painted last February, but I got stalled on the carpet.) So these two Mexicans came the same afternoon and started to work. Trouble was, they were using carpet pad left over from lots of different jobs, and they were different thicknesses. I made them rip it out, and in fact, I helped them, practicing Spanish on them. They came back the next day with new pad, and did the whole job in an hour. Naturally I watched every single thing they did. It turned out great. It’s brown shag! Just like 1977, when we moved in! Nora says her house looks really good, too. Now that the carpet’s in, she can have the baby any time.
      Dad and I were riding our bikes around the neighborhood Tuesday night, and we stopped to talk to Paul Barbuto. Their property is overrun with animals, and he let us feed the horse, the burro, and the llama. I asked him about Peep and Scooter, since it’s been two years since we gave them to C.C. Paul said one of them died. He thought it was Peep. But he says the one who is still alive is very friendly, and always chirps at him when he comes into the room. So I’m betting it’s Peep that’s still alive, and Scooter who died. Peep’s 14 years old, and Scooter would have been at least 17. Those love birds live forever!
      Our house is quiet, now that Paul has gone to Logan. Actually, Paul was never that noisy, but we do miss him. And all the rest of you, who we don’t get to see as often as we like.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dear Kids,
      I’m writing this letter from our motel room at the Days Inn in Monticello. We’re on our way to Albuquerque with Grandma and Grandpa Allen, and we got here last night about ten o’clock. So far, everything has gone really well. Grandpa and Grandma are in great shape–not worn out at all from their move to the Seville. In fact, Grandpa is looking better than he has in the last couple of years. Grandma says he’s eating more now than he ever did at home (well, three meals a day in a dining room, with interesting people to talk to) and Grandma is really energized, too. Their lives are so much simpler now, not having to worry about their house and yard and utility bills and appliances breaking down. If they can ever get disconnected from Comcast, (who won’t let them go) their lives will be perfect.
      We’re driving a rental car! Who would’ve thought! Dad wasn’t sure the Windstar, with its 230,000 miles, could make it. (I had no qualms.) Dave Noel (Robyn’s husband, Nora and James’s friend,) works for Enterprise car rental, and he got us a fantastic deal on a Hyundai minivan. It’s lots of fun to drive. It was even more fun picking it up. I rode my bike across town to the Trax station, took Trax to 7200 South, and rode over to State Street to the rental office. They were surprised when I pulled up on my bike, but Dave helped me load it into the car for the trip back home. It was an adventure. And much quicker than taking the bus over there.
      So we’re on our way. We plan to be in Albuquerque by the middle of the afternoon, stay till Sunday afternoon, and then drive back over two days. Grandma and Grandpa are great traveling companions, of course. They rave about the beautiful scenery, pull out travel treats, talk about interesting things, and of course Grandpa is always pulling out his wallet. It couldn’t be better.
      Back home, Paul is packing up to go to Logan. Donna and Bevan are driving him there on Sunday night. He’s had a good summer, earned a lot of money, and is ready for the next part of his life.
      Sharon ran a 10k, and you can read all about it on her blog. She has some cute pictures up. She doesn’t even look tired! Go, Sharon
      Shaylin Parker got married last Friday, and we had a lot of fun at her reception, in our church cultural hall. We milled around and talking to people who’ve moved away, like the Feveryears. We recognized a lot of the young people, too. Scott Dansie told me to say hi to Sharon and Donna. It was a nice reception, but it made me tired to look at all the work they had done. I was glad we weren’t going to have to clean it up.
      I went to the cabin Tuesday, and stayed till Wednesday, which was Emma’s birthday. Kim decorated with balloons and streamers, and there was a pile of presents on the coffee table. Kim made a cute castle cake, but I had to go home before the official party. Too bad. You know how I wrote that all my grass seed and topsoil washed away in the big storm? Well, enough was left behind, because now there’s green grass in the spot I had given up on. Our front yard at home is also starting to look green, because the fescue seed I planted didn’t all get eaten up by the birds. Life is good!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dear Kids,
      We finished moving Grandma and Grandpa into the Seville today, and I think they’ll be really happy there. They have a great room with a view looking west into the sunset, and a balcony big enough for a couple of resin chairs and a cat. Then, there’s all the amenities: besides three meals a day, they have bus service to Walmart and the temple, movie nights, a library, a beauty shop, church right there, and a game room with a pool table and the coolest ice cream machine ever. You put in a dollar, and there’s a window where you can look inside and see the lid of the freezer chest open up, and a robotic arm picks up your ice cream and drops it down the slot. I bought two different ice cream bars, it was so much fun to watch. That was after I finished putting together their new computer desk, and set up their computer system. But Dad’s still got to tweak it, so we’ll go back Sunday night. I’m sure they’ll love to have you visit them, probably more than ever now. They’re in room 310. And if you want to send them mail, their new address is 325 West Center Street #310, Orem, Utah, 84057. They’ll have the same phone number, but a new e-mail address.
      Meanwhile, their house is up for sale. It’s listed for $359,000, and at least two older couples have already walked through it. One older man was measuring the rooms, last time I went there. So I’m guessing it'll sell pretty quickly. And Bonnie is selling their car. And I’ve sold a few of their books on–the ones nobody chose. But I made Grandpa keep all his Louis L’Amour books. I bought him one of those under-the-bed rolling totes, and packed them up for him.
      Meanwhile, here at home, I planted our front yard with new lawn seed, (a low-moisture, low-maintenance fescue,) and the next day about a thousand birds landed all at once and started pecking at the seeds. I ran outside and chased them away, but the next day, they were back again. (Donna says I need to buy a scarecrow at IFA, but I don’t know if any seed is left to sprout.) Somehow, I haven’t had the greatest luck with planting lawn seed lately.
      Other news: Amy and David Anson are moving to St. Louis, where David is going to be in charge of the temple grounds. He’s been the assistant grounds supervisor at the Timpanogos Temple, and he’s designed a lot of the plantings, so I guess they were impressed with his work. Amy and Dave are pretty excited about the move. Judd and Jackie just barely moved to St. Louis, where Judd is starting medical school. What’s with St. Louis? Remember how Nora spent some time there waiting for her visa to Brazil? Some of our ancestors caught cholera there and died. I have a jacket from the Cosco there. Lots of St. Louis connections.
      My brain is giving me the “low-battery” message, but here’s one more thing: I’ve been collecting pictures off your blogs, to use in my photo albums. But I can’t get the ones you’ve put in slideshows. (Tom says they get changed into a special flash format, so you can’t download them.) So if you have really cool pictures I could use, I would really like it if you just uploaded them on your pages, the higher resolution the better. Thanks.
      I love you all! Mom

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Before I forget, I need to get your orders for the Mike Rogers pictures. I’ll be calling you all by Friday, or maybe Saturday, if I haven’t heard from you. The prices are in my family letter of July 11th. If you’ll call me first, I won’t catch you at a bad time. Overall, I think the proofs are really great. Our family is so photogenic!
      It was fun seeing so many of you at the family reunion last Saturday! I think that slip-n-slide was a great idea! Who needs to rent a giant waterslide when you can have just as much fun on the cheap? Grandma was happy to see so many of you! She wants to keep having these one-day family reunions, every year, the first Saturday of August, same park. That way we all know what to plan on. That will make it August 2, 2008, just five days after our Ackerson reunion on July 28th. Sharon and Seth are planning to come, and hit both reunions. And maybe Monica and Neil? (Ramona, too? Can’t you just see us tossing her down the slip-n-slide?)
      Paul wants to point out that the August Ensign has a whole section on member missionary work in the Canada Vancouver mission. On page 55 is a picture of Beth Landry, who he confirmed after her baptism, and Erma, her mother. There are other pictures of people he knew, too. He did a lot of reminiscing, looking at the pictures.
      You want to see something funny? Two guys pumping up the tires of a sports car with a bicycle pump. That would be Dad and John, pumping up Johns MR3. We had it for more than a week, while John borrowed our truck. (I think Dad drove it to work every day, instead of riding his bike.) So when John came to trade the truck back, Dad noticed he’d let the tires on the sports car get a little low. So out came the bicycle pump. I should have taken a picture and posted it on our web site: “Successful eye doctor puts air in the tires of his sports car.” Well, it beats paying 50 cents at the gas station.
      Grandpa Allen had prostate surgery last Tuesday, and from what I hear, he’s doing well. According to my brother Ben, who knows everything about surgery, it should help him a lot. I hope it does, because Dad and I are still hoping to take Grandma and Grandpa to Albuquerque at the end of this month. We’ll have to see how it goes.
      Allen has a great new assignment in his job: starting in September, he’ll be the “officer friendly” at Centerville Junior High. Well, they have another name for it, but basically, he’ll be on duty there about 20 hours a week, Monday thru Friday. How cushy is that? The rest of the time, he’ll be out chasing bad guys, as usual. And, as usual, he was chosen over some other cops who have been there longer, and really wanted the job. Go, Al!
      I killed all the grass in our front yard with Roundup, so I could plant some low-moisture dwarf fescue. And now I can’t get the seed! High Country Gardens is out of it, and Granite Seed in Lehi didn’t know what I was talking about, when I called them. So our front yard looks kinda different. Well, not exactly. Half our neighborhood has dead lawn. I think it will always be hot. And my poor broken toes will always hurt. Otherwise, life is good.
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I had a great time at the cabin last week. Dad worked at re-wiring the garage, and he found lots of dead mice in the insulation (which he removed.) My only goal was to get the rest of the front yard planted, so I worked nonstop for 3½ days, chopping up the ground, hauling topsoil, and raking in the seeds. By Thursday afternoon I was finished, and it looked great. All ready to grow. It only needed water. Which came that night in the most violent thunderstorm I’ve ever seen. (Not to be confused with the sort-of-violent storm we’d had Monday night.) Lightning flashed, thunder shook the cabin, and rain came down in sheets. It washed away all my seed and most of the topsoil. So I’m done for the year. I don’t have enough dirt to do all that again, and by the time I go back to the cabin, it’ll be too late in the year to plant. I’m sort of wondering, because I’d been hoping and praying for rain, like everybody else. So, did the Lord answer my prayer? It sure didn’t turn out very well for me.
      Friday evening, as Dad and I were packing up to leave the cabin, Tom showed us the spider bites on his foot. They were swollen and itchy, and he’d covered them with Caladryl. Things went downhill from then, and you can read all about it on his blog, how he started to develop necrosis and had to have it dug out, and his daily IV’s of antibiotics. His blog address is You can also see a gruesome picture of the hole in his foot. I thought only brown recluse spiders in the south caused that kind of trouble, but Vanessa says that hobo spiders can do the same thing. So watch out.
      Nora (and kids) and I drove to Pocatello Sunday night, and had a fun time staying over at Vanessa and Trent’s house. Monday we went to Lava Hot Springs, where they have a big outside pool with water slides, diving platforms, lots of grass–it’s a total family reunion destination. So naturally we planned a family reunion there for next summer. We’ve wanted to start having an annual Ackerson family reunion anyway, and it’s the perfect place. But weekends it’s totally jammed with people, so we’re going for a Monday, July 28th. Since it’s a whole year away, we hope you can all somehow arrange for that day off. We can try.
      And speaking of family reunions, naturally, we hope to see some of you this Saturday (August 4th) at Riverwoods Park in Provo/Orem. If any of you can’t remember how to get there, call me on my cell. The park is reserved from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm, and we’re supposed to bring our own lunches. (There’s a Subway close by.) I have no idea who all will be there.
      Grandma and Grandpa Allen have decided to move to the Seville instead of to Summerfield. Remember the Seville? We used to visit Grandma Murphy there. They have three meals a day instead of two, and a higher level of care. Also, they can move in next week. No waiting around for a room. They have church there, a hair salon, bus trips to the temple . . . it’ll be good.
      Paul is enjoying his job with Mygrant glass. At least he’s not outside. He drives a Ford F250 and delivers windshields to auto shops around the valley. He’s working on getting his forklift certification, too. Now there’s an important life skill!
      I’ll be calling you soon for your Mike Rogers orders. Or you can call me. We need to get it done! Life has been so busy!
      Lots of love, Mom