Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Today I sent in our scholarship money to CEU. Thanks to all of you who were so generous! I asked Brad King to send us a bio of the student we’re going to support. (One of you kids asked me, “What if they have a car? Will we cut them off?” Well, I never thought about that.) Anyway, it should be interesting to find out who we’re paying for. If we get an e-mail address, I can send encouraging notes to our student, telling him or her to keep up their grades or else! (Just kidding!) I’ll let you know when we find out more.
      Nora’s friend Marissa was the official photographer at Monica’s wedding, and finally we have all her pictures, reduced into jpeg’s, if any of you want a disk. (I’m already sending them to Monica and Vanessa.) It’s been fun to look back through them, and remember how great everybody looked (especially Monica and Neil) and what good food we had, and the tents, the bluegrass group, it was all a great adventure. I hope I can ever get the cabin yard looking that good again.
      I spent Tuesday at the cabin, walking around the property, seeing how much damage the deer and elk and rabbits did to our shrubs over the winter. From now on, anything I plant has to be guarded by tall cages with a layer of chicken wire inside. Most of my junipers I’ve planted in the last seven years were ripped to shreds by the elk. And most of the smaller pine trees were shredded by the rabbits. Anybody like to shoot varmints? I would gladly look the other way.
      Our bike ride tomorrow on Antelope Island is going to be freeeezing! I’m going to carry my ski bibs in my backpack, and put them on if I get too cold. Last year, this same week, it was really hot, and the bugs chewed us to death. That won’t happen tomorrow. There might even be snow in the higher elevations. But I’m still excited to go. It’s such a beautiful ride! Dad brought home a brochure about the island, and it has a month-by-month report on the wildlife. In April, we’re supposed to look for Bison calves, avocets, stilts, sanderlings, eared grebes, phalaropes, and peregrine falcons. I think I could recognize a bison calf or a peregrine falcon, but I have no idea about the rest of them.
      In May, I’m going to cook Sunday dinner on the 4th, because the week after that is Mothers Day, and Dad and I will probably be visiting Grandma Allen. So, let me know if you’re coming on the 4th. I think I’ll make lasagne again.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dear Kids,
      There’s not much happening around here these days. If you read everybody’s blogs, you can see that all the rest of you have more interesting lives than Dad and I do. Let’s see–Dad just came home from the pinewood derby, which they held in the hall of the Church, because there’s a new wood floor in the gym, and they didn’t want anybody to go in there yet. Now that’s news.
      Last Friday night we went to see the new movie “Emma Smith–My Story” and it was surprisingly good. I wasn’t expecting much. Our friends the Haneys, who live in Liberty, Missouri, were here in town, and we wanted to do something. And Dad had a gift card for Megaplex Cinemas. And Kara McGettigan plays “little Emma” in the movie, so I thought we should go see it. And we were pleasantly surprised. It was really touching. They have most of the same actors from the Joseph Smith movie. And Kara is really cute, too. Good acting by everybody. I really recommend it.
      The dirt in our front yard is still causing comments. I’m waiting for spring, to plant my special grass seed, and we’ve had the weirdest weather! One day I’m riding my bike around town, and the next day there’s snow on the ground. On my bike rides, though, I’ve seen a lot of yards where the sod has been cut away. So I’m part of a trend. Except that we’re not going to have rocks and cactus when I’m done.
      If you’re going to contribute to the CEU Ackerson Family Scholarship, there are still four more days to get your money to us. If you’re planning to send it and need another day or two, let me know. I’ll wait.
      I’m really looking forward to our Antelope Island bike ride on the 25th, a week from tomorrow. If the weather isn’t good, we’ll probably put it off for another week or two, but we definitely want to go before it gets too hot, and before the bugs are out in force.
      Donna and Bevan are in Michigan, visiting Sharon and Seth. I’m jealous. My only excitement, besides riding my bike and raking dirt in the yard, is playing chess on the internet. Dad is still working on our taxes. (He filed an extension.) Boring, boring, boring.
      But life is good. I love you all. Mom

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dear Kids,
      The neighbors are asking about our front yard. It’s total dirt–no grass at all. I killed it last fall, and now I’m waiting for warmer weather to plant my special low-water, low-growth fescue seed. Meanwhile, I go out and rake it almost every day. (Playing like I’m at the cabin.) George Coombs, Jeremy’s grandpa, who hasn’t talked to us ever, in the 25 years they’ve lived there, was so curious that he stopped his car to ask me what I was doing. He thought maybe I was going to make a desert landscape. That’s what Barry’s doing, next door. His grass is gone, too. I just tell everybody to keep an eye on our yard, and eventually it’s going to look really good.
      Conference at the cabin was really wild, and lots of fun. (Check out the pictures on Kim’s and Nora’s blogs). Besides the conference sessions themselves, the next most interesting thing was watching a fox try to break into Matheny’s chicken coop. The fox was almost as big as a coyote, with a big bushy tail, and he kept lunging at the chicken wire, trying to break through. The chickens would flap and squawk. Finally I called Matheny and told him what was going on. I didn’t want to see the carnage if the fox actually broke through. We all know how unhappy Matheny was when his favorite duck, Afflack, got eaten by Rosie, (who, herself, has been sent to the spirit world.) Always exciting stuff at the cabin. I’m looking forward to doing more work there, now that snowboarding season is officially over.
      Last year, the end of April, we had a really great bike ride on Antelope Island. So we’re tentatively planning to do it again, on April 25th, which is a Friday afternoon. Allen and I thought we ought to get started about 4:00 pm, so we can ride down to the ranch and back again before it gets dark. If we meet at the entrance to the park, we can put our bikes in Dad’s truck and all ride in together, and not have to pay so much. Let me know if you want to come. I’m really excited to do it again.
      It’s getting closer to April 21st, when we need to mail in our contributions to the Ackerson Family CEU scholarship. Yeah, I know some of you don’t think you ought to contribute, but for those of you who think it’s a great idea (and want a tax deduction, too) make sure we have your money by then. Dad and I are happy to make up the rest.
      I’ve been watching Kara McGettigan on Monday and Tuesday mornings while Jana’s been having radiation. The treatments are over now, but Kara says she wants to keep coming, especially when we get the kitten. She pointed out to me that for one hour, two days a week, I’ve been half of a mom. Hey, I take what I can get.
      Lots of love, your full-time, real, Mom

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dear Kids,
      It was fun seeing so many of you at Allen and Missy’s last weekend, and at Vanessa and Trent’s in Pocatello. Grandma and Grandpa said that when you added together both parties, they pretty much saw our whole family. (Except, of course, for the Michigan Thackers and the Tucson Prendergasts and Paul) All the food was great and the kids had fun playing together. I wondered if Grandma and Grandpa could hold out for two solid days of visiting with our family, but they did great. They were OK on the road, too. It was sort of a trial run to see if we can take them to Canada next month. Grandma says she’s still thinking it over.
      I visited them today in Orem, and they’re settling back into their house. But I saw an unwelcome sight on their kitchen counter–a brochure that said “Welcome to Comcast,” or something like that. I nearly screamed. Comcast!!?? They had Comcast before they moved to the Seville, and every month they were overcharged, and Bonnie went through h*** to get them disconnected. I thought we all hated Comcast! But Bonnie said there was no other cable company they could get. They had been connected for a week, but they weren’t getting a signal. A lady on the phone was trying to talk me through their setup, and when she told me to disconnect the box, I did it gladly. And I told her that I was bringing it back to them. And I convinced Grandma that they don’t need cable. (Grandma and Grandpa have had cable for so long, they thought they would still need to pay something to get Channels 2, 4, and 5. I reminded them that this is America, and those channels are free)
      Then I visited the Comcast office to give them back their box. Of course they gave me a song and dance about Grandma and Grandpa being responsible for the installation and a week of service. I reminded them that they had a history of ripping off elderly people. (I was shooting in the dark, but it hit.) So they cancelled all the charges and disconnected the service. Meanwhile, Grandma’s TV is still getting all the cable channels. Odd.
      I’ve been e-mailing Brad King about setting up our family scholarship, and talking to some of you about whether you want to pay twice a year, or just once. I think everybody agreed on just one payment. The total, for tuition and fees for a year, is $2233.22. That seems like a real bargain. They need to have the money by May 1st to award the scholarship, so those of you who want to contribute, why don’t you send your checks to us by April 21st. Make them payable to CEU. Then, your cancelled check (or the online image, whatever) can be your receipt for taxes. It’s a charitable donation, like tithing. You can itemize it. Dad and I will pay the balance. I wouldn’t even mind paying it all, I’m so grateful to CEU for giving so many of you such a good start in life.
      I’m looking forward to the party this weekend at the cabin, where we’re supposedly going to watch conference. Well, we all know we can watch the reruns and read the talks in the Ensign. It’s all good.
      Love, Mom