Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Kids,
      It’s been one snowstorm after another. Isn’t it great? I go out and shovel every day. Barry’s out there with his snow blower, but I think a plain old shovel is faster. That is, if you’ve got cement underneath. The gang at the cabin is using the snow blower, I presume. And they’re burning lots of wood, to keep warm. They’ve gone through that gigantic wood pile in record time. They’re even talking about going to Blazzard lumber for slabs. Meanwhile, here at the house, our cats are getting friendlier. (You know, “the deeper the snow, the friendlier the cat.”) Rat Cat came running in last night and hid himself, and then later he showed up on our bed. He even purred and made starfish paws, so we wouldn’t throw him out.
      The birds are having it rough, too. There’s a big gang of blackbirds that swoops down every day and picks off any cat foot in the pan. I put out some seeds for them, but they ignored them. Now what kind of bird wants cat food? Probably some mutants. Maybe that’s why Rat Cat was so eager to get inside. He’s always been a coward.
      I did the food for Jody Barfuss’s wedding last Saturday, which they held at Arbor Manor, a reception center on 4700 South, behind Marie Callenders. Dad came along to help, and Nora, too, and also Ellen Fulton and Janae Wilken and Renae Reeves from our ward. It was lots of fun. After a while we were way ahead with the sandwiches and cheese skewers, so we sat at a table and visited with people. All the old-timers came back: the Simpsons and the Andersons and the Pistoriuses. It was great fun. Larry and Carolyn Bunkall sat at our table for a while, and of course I can’t write anything sensitive, but Larry picked up a brochure from the lady who runs the reception center. Now what could that mean? A wedding coming up in our favorite family, the Bunkalls? I’ll keep you posted.
      I signed up to be an election worker on Super Tuesday next week. They were so hard up for people, they made me a Techie. I’m supposed to be the one who trouble-shoots the voting machines. There’s phone support, so I’m not too worried. I’ve been to two training sessions already. But there’s something odd about the guys who run those sessions. They can’t stand me! I don’t know what their problem is, but when I start asking reasonable questions, they glare at me. Like they think I’ll just get up and leave, because they don’t like me. I glare back. Our tax money is paying their salaries. Like the garbage men. They don’t have to like us. Anyway, I think the election on Tuesday is going to be lots of fun. I’m sure Utah will go for Romney, even if nobody else does.
      The next time I fix Sunday dinner will be February 10th. Our last one was such a blast! Of course having Sharon and Seth there added a lot. Too bad things have quieted down now.
      I love you all! Mom

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Sunday night, Dad and I went to a party for my brothers and sisters at Bonnie’s house, and as we were walking up the front steps, I looked in the side window and saw Mark with Heather, his ex-wife. Only it wasn’t Heather, I saw, as we came in, but a girl who looked a lot like her. They were going over the family list and deciding what number she would be. I said, “You mean you’re engaged?!!” They were. They had been talking on the internet, but just met in person on Thursday. On Saturday they were engaged. She’s a graduate student at USU in psychology and family science, and her name’s Kate Sorensen. Or, I should say, her name used to be Kate Sorensen. Because now they’re married. That happened on Tuesday. I saw Mark at Grandma and Grandpa’s today, and he filled in some details. He said that in the five days before their marriage, they spent 123 hours talking to each other, which was the equivalent of 41 three-hour dates. So now she’s Kate Allen, and she’s #176 in the family. Mark said she fixed him breakfast this morning, which is the only time he’s ever had a wife fix him breakfast. Now Kate’s back in Logan, and Mark was back doing jigsaw puzzles at Grandma and Grandpa’s. They’ll have a commuter marriage until May, when she’s done with school. Can you believe all this?
      Now, on to something more serious. You’ve probably all heard rumors about Monica having M.S. She recently had a lot more tests, including a new MRI and a blood test, and it’s pretty positive. They compared her new MRI with the one she had in 2004, when she was here in Utah, and there are new lesions on her brain. Her vision test showed symptoms of M.S., too. Remember when she moved into the cabin, and she woke up one morning with double vision? John checked her eyes then, and discovered a certain kind of palsy (of course I don’t remember the name) that is usually associated with M.S. The news isn’t all bad, of course. There’s a lot they can do now to slow it down, and there’s a Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, and a good neurology clinic, too. I know we’ll all be remembering Monica in our prayers. I’m glad she finally knows what she’s dealing with. You can face almost anything, when you know what it is.
      If you look on our web site, scroll down to Paul, and click under his name, there are two new pictures, one of him standing inside his igloo, and one outside. They built it on the quad outside their apartment, and Paul has slept in it for at least three nights. He said the newspaper came and took pictures of it, I guess for an article about how much snow they’ve had, but when the article came out, there was a picture of a snowman instead. I would be outraged. Snowmen are a dime a dozen, but an igloo? Especially one that college guys are sleeping in! They could have had a great article about these new “low rent” units. Oh, well.
      Now that it’s so cold, it’s a good time to look forward to our upcoming family reunion on July 28th. I know it’s a Monday, but hopefully there’s enough time that everybody can get the day off and be there. We’re going to Lava Hot Springs, and it’s a zoo on Saturdays. At least on a Monday, we can have a spot for our canopies and blankets and the pool won’t be jammed with people. We’re hoping everybody can drive to Idaho on Sunday afternoon, the 27th, (John’s birthday!) and we’ll do something that night, probably at Vanessa’s house. We’ll keep you posted as it gets closer.
      What a family! I love you all! Mom

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Yesterday I was surfing around people’s blogs, looking for news, when I checked in on Tom’s, not expecting to find anything new. But what a surprise! Kim is now adding to the blog, and there’s all kinds of information and new posts. You’ll get a kick out of “sledding with goats.” There are even pictures of the goats looking into the windows of the cabin. By the way, I’m enjoying everybody’s blogs. Even if you don’t write that often, it’s a great way to keep us up on your family news. I didn’t even know that Nora got her new couch, until I looked on her blog. I thought it was lost forever in the Bassett warehouse.
      Friday night Sharon and I went snowboarding on Chickadee, the free bunny hill at Snowbird. Only it’s not free any more. It costs $7.00. Which was fine with us, since there weren’t so many kids. After all the freeloaders were kicked off the hill, we practically had the place to ourselves. It was snowing the whole time, and the snow was really tacky, so we never fell down! This was pretty much Sharon’s first time, and she did great! She learned to turn in both directions, and pretty soon she was carving down the hill like a pro. I’m amazed at the abilities you kids have. Tomorrow Dad and I are going to Brighton, and even Dad amazes me. If he’d been out on a snowboard as many times as I have, he’d be doing the half-pipe. But tomorrow we’ll probably be sticking to the green runs. I persuaded him to get the whole day off work, so we should have a blast.
      Seth arrived last Tuesday, and right now he and Sharon and the kids have gone to Upalco. Mike and Collette (Seth’s sister) are having their little adopted baby girl sealed to them in the Vernal temple, and Friday night they’re coming back to West Jordan for her blessing, which they’re having at their house. The baby’s birth mother is coming, which I think is really cool. In fact, the sealing and baby blessing were the main reasons for Sharon and Seth’s trip to Utah. They have to go home next Tuesday, so if you want one last visit with them, you can come to dinner here at 4:30 this Sunday. Just let me know. Also, they might be going sledding at the cabin on Saturday.
      Does anybody in our family have smelly hair? I hope it’s not common. Anyway, if you do, don’t look for help in the shampoo section of Walmat. There isn’t anything. I even asked the pharmacist, and she frowned at me and told me no, there’s nothing. But I found a cure. If you want to know, ask me. I’m not about to write it in the family letter. Why would I put such sensitive information out there, for everybody to read?
      Love you lots! Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Sharon arrived on Tuesday with Charlie and Matthew, so it’s been nonstop fun ever since. Well, her arrival wasn’t exactly fun. Matthew was bare-bellied, wrapped in an airline blanket, because he had thrown up on both his shirts. Sharon was hauling him on one arm, a 40-pound car seat with the other arm, and Charlie was trailing along behind. (Their stroller had been packed with the luggage.) We finally got all their baggage and other stuff, and hauled it to our house, and got everybody settled in. The boys were delighted with Simba, and Charlie followed her around. We got out lots of toys and lots of cheerios, and we’ve used lots of wipes. Charlie had an accident on the bathroom rug, so we threw it into the washing machine, along with Matthew’s clothes from the flight. Matthew threw up on the living room sofa and carpet, so I got the scrub brush and a bowl of soapy water, and cleaned it all up. Simba had an accident on the kitchen floor, so I cleaned that up too. But really, it’s been lots of fun. Sharon and Nora and all the kids have gone to Pocatello to visit Vanessa, but they’re supposed to be home tonight.
      Bevan’s parents have returned from their trip to Massachusetts, so I took Simba home today. Now I sort of miss her. How often do you find a cat who likes to sit on your lap and purr? She also liked to sleep on our bed. But one night I reached over and felt her next to me, and lifted her up to take her out. I was half asleep, and all I could think was, “Oh, Simba, we’ve been feeding you way too much!” Because she weighed a ton. Well, it was Xena, who was also in bed with us. I tossed them both out.
      Sunday night Dad and I drove Paul back to Logan, where we helped him haul his stuff into his apartment, and we met a couple of his roommates. They seemed really nice, and the apartment was really clean! I was very impressed. On our drive back home, we stopped by Brigham City to visit Andy and Renae. They were home alone! Just like Dad and I usually are! They told us Gary is now engaged. Her name is Carly Benham, and she grew up in Illinois and Kansas. She and Gary are getting married May 3rd in the Nauvoo Temple. Andy says she looks like Jodie Foster, and talks like her, too. We also learned that Dan and Amanda are moving to Albuquerque, and they’re buying a house in Rachel’s ward! Dan has a job with Sandia Labs. Andrea and Dan Hill are loving St. George, but they’ve had a bit of culture shock, coming from China. I told Andy it would be easier for us to keep up with his kids of they had a family web page, and he said, “I wouldn’t dream of putting my letters to my kids on the internet, for everybody to read!” Maybe I shouldn’t be so daring either, but who’s going to be that interested in what our cats are doing?
      Remember I’m fixing Sunday Dinner on January 20th. Let me know if you’re coming. We’ll eat at 4:30.
      Lots of luck and love to everybody! Mom

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dear Kids,
      I was a slacker last week and didn’t write my letter, but now I’m back on track. My new year’s resolution is that my life will be organized and purposeful, and so I’m sitting diligently at the keyboard, doing what I need to.
      It was lots of fun seeing almost everybody at Christmas, and talking to the rest of you on the phone. It was a wild and fun holiday! We received a Christmas card from Ulrich’s that said, “We hope you have a wonderful season with your fun family.” Yep, we do have a fun family! Our sledding party the day after Christmas was a total success. Marla and Carla and Cathy came, along with Nick and Nichole. They raved about my sloppy jo mix, and after we ate, Cathy said, “Time to hit the slopes!” That was the sledding hill, of course. They did great! They had to leave early because Nicole was “meeting somebody” in Sugarhouse. But they want to keep having our Christmas get-togethers at the cabin.
      Yesterday Dad and I were back there with the McGettigan kids, and Glen. (Jana was supposed to have a day of rest and recuperation at home.) There was new snow on the hill, so we tromped it down and did some great sledding. Later in the afternoon I was looking out an upstairs window, down to the backyard of the cabin, and it looked like an Eric Dowdle puzzle. Tom and Kim were working on an igloo. Bentley and Kara McGettican were sledding. A man was coming down the road on skis. Eric Dowdle would have added lots more, maybe people making a snowman, kids having a snowball fight, somebody bringing out hot chocolate for everybody, but you get the idea. Everybody was having fun. It’s the magic of the cabin.
      We’re gearing up for Sharon’s arrival on January 8th (And also Charlie and Matthew. Seth is coming the next week.) She has lots of fun adventures planned while she’s here. I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner on January 20th, instead of the 13th, because that’s the day they’ll be here. So, let me know if you want to come. We’ll have room for everybody!
      Simba is still living the good life, here at our house. But she’ll be returning to the Hawkins’ pretty soon. I would love to keep her, at least until Donna and Bevan have a house, but too many people are allergic to cats. And of course she can’t stay down in the basement–she has claimed the basket chair in the den as her own private lair. Paul almost sat down on her. Speaking of Paul, he’s living the good life at Deer Valley, working as a liftie, living at the cabin, going back and forth with Donna and Bevan. But next Monday he’ll be back in Logan going to classes again. I guess he’ll need to get a degree before he can become a permanent liftie, like Donna. (Just kidding.)
      I hope you all have a wonderful new year! Love, Mom