Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Can you believe Allen is in the news AGAIN?! He made a traffic stop in Centerville, and it solved at least nine crimes. Here’s the info from the Deseret News (October 20): Patrol officer Allen Ackerson stopped a 1999 Jeep Cherokee after it ran a stop sign Thursday morning. The car had expired dealer plates. Ackerson discovered the vehicle had been reported stolen earlier that day from NorthStar Auto in South Salt Lake. Inside the vehicle were numerous credit applications that had also been taken from the same dealership. The driver was also suspected of being under the influence of methamphetamine and possessed methamphetamine and marijuana. Burglary tools, about 100 car keys, a forged check taken in a burglary and drug scales and other drug paraphernalia were also found in the car. The driver was also driving on a revoked license and had two outstanding warrants for his arrest.”
      So there it is. Supercop Allen solves multiple crimes in one swoop. Way to go, Al!
      We had both Donna and Paul here for the weekend, or at least part of it. Paul came home for a wedding reception, and he went to the BYU game with Donna on Saturday. Donna was a deer-hunter widow for the weekend–that’s why she had the BYU tickets. They got cold and wet at the game, but they still came home cheerful. Meanwhile, Bevan was down in Huntington canyon, camping out with his Dad, waiting for that big buck. Which finally came along on Monday. Go, Bevan! Actually, he said, there were a lot of deer, and very few hunters. Probably because it was snowing and raining. Donna uncovered one of life’s big questions before Bevan left on the hunt, while he was getting ready. She wondered why hunters wear camouflage, supposedly to hide, but they also wear orange vests and hats, to be seen. Bevan had the perfect answer: “That’s just what we do.”
      I just got an e-mail from Bonnie that she wants me to pass on: The Seville has planned a fun Halloween party with food and games this coming Saturday (the 27th) at 3:00. All residents grandchildren (and greatgrandchildren) are invited. Mom and Dad would really love to see the kids in their costumes. Also, on Halloween night mom and dad will be at Lauries house for the evening, so maybe if you can't make the party, you could come say hi to them at Jacobsons. Laurie’s address is: 883 West 1720 North, Orem. Her phone number is: 801 221 2684.
      Grandma is going to have knee surgery on November 2nd. (This is the other knee, not the one she’s had done two times before.) We’re hoping it will give her some relief from the knee pain she’s having now. It hurts so much she can’t walk, so she has to go to the dining room in a wheelchair. Grandpa pushes her. He seems to have lots of energy these days, which we’re really happy to see.
      Grandma and I are finally working in earnest on the ancestor stories. I’m totally lost in the 19th century, with people and stories swirling around in my brain. So if I don’t return your phone calls or answer your e-mail, you can blame it on the ancestors. We’ll have a couple of pretty cool books for you when we get finished, whenever that is.
      Lots of love to you all, Mom

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dear Kids,
      Wahoo! Another grandbaby on the way! Congratulations to Vanessa and Trent! They’re having a girl, and she’s due on February 18th. Yep, Vanessa is already five months along. You can barely tell, even if you look closely. So, counting back, Vanessa did her triathalon when she was 10 weeks along. What an iron woman! And what about that Ogden Marathon? It was in May. Well, if there’s anybody tougher than Vanessa, I’d like to know.
      Little Stuart’s baby blessing on Sunday was lots of fun. I don't know how the rest of the meeting went, because right after the blessing, I took Paige out into the hall, and then outside, where we walked around. During Sunday School time I went to Nora’s Gospel Essentials class, and then I got Paige again (that child of woe!) We went into the nursey, where we found Vanessa with Meg. So we had fun. (Later that night, I was talking to my sister Bonnie on the phone, and she reminded me how they always divided up our kids. She said she always got Tom and Allen. Funny, it’s all a blur to me now.) The after-party, at Nora and James’s house, was great. Good food. Lots of people. It’s always fun to see the old Teton friends, Dave Mikkelson, and Robyn and Dave Noel. I wish I had Teton friends.
      But I’m not completely friendless. Tuesday I went bike riding along the Jordan River Parkway with Kathy Montoya. We wanted to ride over the new pedestrian bridge at 39th South, but they were working on it, so we crossed in the traffic. But the trail going south from there is really nice! We had perfect weather, too. Say, if anybody wants to ride on that Parkway trail for family home evening sometime, count us in! You can even haul your bikes in our truck. After our ride, Kathy and I went shopping at Savers and tried on clothes. I got a great polyester blouse.
      My sod project at the cabin is really coming along! The sod is creeping up the hill! However, winter is creeping up on us, but hopefully there will be at least a couple more weekends when I can work on it. Getting the sod has been easy, so far. Donna pitched it to her boss as a “reclamation” project, and he’s willing to let us have everything they don’t use. Bentley and Emma help me dig up the dirt and rake it out. Tom and Bevan have helped me haul the sod where we need it. No wonder it’s going so well!
      And, more news about me: I had my first voice lesson this morning, from Angi Evans. She showed me how to breathe, and then she had me sing up and down the keyboard, doing strange things with my mouth. She says I need more volume, but up until now, I’ve always tried to sing as softly as possible, so I won’t annoy anybody. She showed me how to use my diaphragm to project my voice, but I realized I’ve done that all my life, hollering down the stairs to wake kids up in the morning. So I’m halfway there.
      Is anybody making plans for Thanksgiving yet? We get Grandpa and Grandma Allen this year, so that might help you make up your minds. It will be our usual mad brawl at the cabin.
      Lots of Love, Mom

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dear Kids,
     Congratulations to Donna! She just got her scores from the licensing test she took last month, and of course she passed! She and Bevan are gong to celebrate by having dinner at the Spring Chicken Inn tonight. There's another part of the test that Donna has to take in December, but I'm sure she'll ace that one, too.
      Now here's something surprising: I’m going to take singing lessons! You don’t believe it? Ask Angi Evans. Her display at the Relief Society service auction advertised “Ten Voice Lessons.” When I saw that, I quit thinking about the two Marie Callender pies on the next table, and decided to put all my money on the voice lessons. (I’ve always wanted to do this, but when I was younger, I wouldn’t have dared.) I’m not sure who I was bidding against, but I kept piling on the money, and I won! My first lesson will be next Wednesday night. I’m very excited.
      Dad and I are readjusting to ordinary life, after our trip to Florida. I guess ordinary life is OK. I’m glad we don’t have so many insects here in Utah. I don’t know what bit us in Florida, but the itching goes on for days. After you’ve scratched off the scabs, you’re still itching, so you scratch some more and get new scabs. Other than the insects, we really loved the Keys. I uploaded some pictures onto, from the link on our main page, under the picture of Dad and me.
      Conference weekend was great! We enjoyed having so many of you at the cabin. I wasn’t sure how Dad felt about the high level of excitement, from so many kids, but on the way home, he said he wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. By the way, I’ve had fun showing off the Mike Rogers picture of our whole big family. I took it to my mission reunion Sunday night, and passed it around. There were gasps of amazement.
      Wedding news: Michael Allen married his fiancĂ©, Moka (a nickname for Margaret, I think) in California. According to Jeanne, they eloped. Moka has two kids, so that makes Rich and Jeanne . . . . . GRANDPARENTS! Congratulations to everybody!
      More interesting wedding news: Megan Kumar, in our ward, who Paul went on a date with last spring, is getting married. No, she isn’t marrying Paul–she’s traveling to India for an arranged marriage! (Her dad is from India, so you could say it’s part of her heritage.) Isn’t that wild! Evidently her dad set it up. She went to India for the engagement, and met the man, and we hear that he’s young and good looking. Go, Megan!
      Since today is Thursday, I’m leaving in a few minutes to go visit Grandma and Grandpa at the Seville. (What a fun place! I hope Dad and I can afford to live like that when we get old!) Last time I was there, we talked about Thanksgiving. It’s our turn to have Grandma and Grandpa, and they’re planning to come to the cabin. So you all know where to come this year! (It’s OK if it’s your turn at the in-laws, however.)
      We’re also looking forward to Nora and James’s baby blessing this Sunday. I think Nora has contacted all of you, and their sacrament meeting is at 9:00. They’re planning on eating after the block.
      What a great family! I love your blogs and your pictures. I love talking to you on the phone. Nobody ever had it so good! Mom

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Dear Kids,
     Dad and I are having a great time here in the Florida Keys. We started out Friday afternoon from Miami, in a rental car (Dodge Caliber, very sporty) and drove to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Our camping spot was about 6 feet wide, in between two motor homes, but I think Dad felt safer from Alligators. (more later.) The next morning we went to K-Mart to get all the stuff we forgot, and then we went swimming in the ocean (Atlantic side.) It's weird here in the Keys--there are places where you can swim in the Gulf of Mexico, and then you run across the parking lot and jump into the Atlantic. Not that we've been doing much of that, because there's been lots of wind since Sunday. The snorkel expeditions have been shut down. They say it's the outer edges of a hurricane that's landing in Jacksonville, but we don't have access to any news, so we don't know.
     Saturday afternoon we drove south on the Overseas Highway, which has always been dad's ambition, all the way to Key West. What a weird and fun town! Monica, we can totally picture you there. Neil, too. People ride around on bikes and scooters, since there's practically no place to park in the old part of town. But the area is overrun with chickens! You might be eating in a very nice restaurant, which we were doing Saturday night, and a chicken walks in and starts pecking around your feet. There are lots of stray cats, too, which sit around and glare at the chickens. And lots of T-shirt shops and bars. There's a boardwalk where everybody watches the sunset, with jugglers, fire eaters, and other attractions. And more cats and chickens.
     We stayed Saturday night at Sunday night at the KOA campground on Sugarloaf Key. Hey, if anybody is planning a trip down here, Dad and I are becoming experts on Florida campgrounds. It's definitely the cheapest accommodations in the Keys. They all have electricity and hot showers, and you might be in a nice motel, except that you're bedding down in a tent at night. The tent we borrowed from Donna and Bevan is perfect for the tropics! It's mesh, and the breeze blows through at night, and it feels very good. This is the first camping I've ever done where I never got cold. Sometimes it's even warmer at night than in the daytime. Very weird.
     Sunday we went to church in the Key West Branch, and then we wandered around the Island some more. We took pictures of ourselves and the Buoy that says, "90 miles to Cuba," very famous. We also took pictures of ourselves and Milepost 0 on Highway 1. And we ate Key lime pie. (very gritty.) Monday we headed north from Sugarloaf Key, and we stopped on Big Pine Key, where there's a famous nature preserve. Lots of Key Deer, which are weird little animals with faces like baby calves. We went on a nature hike that took us to a pond where they key deer are supposed to come and drink. We didn't see any deer, but there was an alligator in the pond. He swam over to see if we were going to feed him. Hey, if you thought Dad was afraid of dogs, ask him about alligators! He took a few pictures of this evil-looking guy, and then we were out of there!
     Today, Tuesday, we're headed north again. We crossed a bridge 7 miles long that connects two Keys. We walked miles out onto the old bridge, and watched pelicans. And saw a plaque where a 93-year-old lady evidently jumped to her death, because it said she was "resting with the stingrays." The Keys are nothing if not weird.
     We miss you all! We're learning lots about Florida, so if anybody wants to camp down here, we'll have lots of advice. Meanwhile, we hope you're all "Doin' great and lovin' it."
     Love, Mom