Monday, July 21, 2008

Dear Kids,
      I was at the cabin all last week, working on the cement foundation for our bunk house. Tom and Kim were gone to a family reunion, so it was pretty quiet. Just Donna and Bevan to liven things up in the evening. But I got lots done! I finished digging the trenches for the footings (42" down) and then Bevan and I started mixing cement. 40 bags, just for 8 footings. The next day, Dad came with more cement, and we poured the 8 columns. (71 bags of cement, all together.) It all turned out great! But who’s going to admire my project? Once the trenches are filled in, only the tops of the columns will stick out. (And I’ve painted them with a camouflage pattern of spray paint, so they won’t be so noticeable from the road.)
      Bentley has a great plan for keeping the magpies away from the cabin–he’ll shoot them with a slingshot. He and Tom saw a couple of slingshots in Walmart, but Bentley doesn’t have any money. So his plan was to borrow $5.00 from Tom, shoot a magpie, turn in the carcass and collect the bounty, and pay back Tom. What an ingenious kid! Tom didn’t go for that idea, so instead, Bentley is going to shovel dirt back into my trenches. I’ll pay him well.
      Saturday afternoon I was driving home from the cabin with Oreo in the cat carrier, and he started to meow with that awful tone Ethyl used to use, sort of a “Maaahh” sound. I thought he was dying from thirst. So we drove in to Park City, to the Mavrick, and I carried him inside and tried to get him to drink from the sink. He wouldn’t. So I made a big, soft ice cream cone from the machine. (It was very soft, starting to collapse.) Sometime, just for fun, try holding a cat on your arm, and a soft ice cream cone, and try to get money out of your purse! I got the money, but couldn’t pick up the change, so I had to set the cone down . . . you get the picture. Then we went outside and sat under a tree and Oreo helped me eat the ice cream. He really gobbled it. Right down to the bottom. With me helping. And we had fun watching the Park City people driving by in their SUV’s. (Donna says only the Mexicans drive fuel-efficient cars.) After that, Oreo was fine for the trip home.
      We’re really looking forward to all the fun in the coming week–Sharon and Seth arriving tomorrow, the 10k on Thursday, the Spudman on Saturday in Burley, and Lava Hot Springs on Monday! It will be great.
      Here’s a message from Katie about the Allen Family Reunion on August 9th: “Just a reminder, we will have a waterslide and wading pool so bring your swimsuits and water guns! We''ll bring our own lunches as was mentioned earlier. I am getting name tags and markers. I think bringing your scrapbooks or family pictures would be fun too. The older I get, the more this get together means to me because even though I don't see you all that much, I love and care about all of you. See you in a couple of weeks! Love, Katie”
      I guess that wraps it up. Lots of Love, Mom

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Ah, life at the cabin! I just realized it’s Saturday morning, and I still haven’t written my letter for the week. Our Ward’s youth conference is going on here, but it’s early morning and the kids are still asleep. Out in the greenhouse, Oreo the cat is curled up next to one of the girls. He's had the time of his life this week, with Tom’s kids and Nora’s kids, and now the young people of our ward. He’s been carried around and pampered, and he’s had two evenings of barbecued chicken. He won’t want to go home, to the competition of the other cats.
      I’m fixing Sunday dinner tomorrow, the 13th. Let me know if you’re coming.
      Sam McGettigan has a poem in the current issue of the “Friend.” Here it is, in case you don’t take the Friend:
      You should always pay your tithing,
      One-tenth of what you've earned.
      Pay your tithing before you go buying,
      And that is what I've learned.
Jana says he can write a poem in about 10 minutes. He just whips them out.
      Paul is still going great guns in Fayetteville. He did 20 installs in a week, with 5 in one day. He worked at one house where there were about 40 cats and 10 dogs. (And they need an alarm system?) I told him that John has given us ADT stickers for our windows, and he says he’ll give us an Apex sign for our yard. All that, plus three guard cats, should keep us from ever getting broken into.
      I’m getting excited for the family reunion in Lava Hot Springs, two weeks from Monday. I’ll call each of you in the next week or so and work out food assignments. And don’t forget your 3 trivia questions and one charade. If you need ideas, look in the green book.
      Also, don’t forget the Allen family reunion on August 9th at Riverwoods park. It will be fun to see who comes.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Last night Dad and I went bike riding in the dark. It had been terribly hot during the day, but once the sun went down, it was perfect bike-riding weather. We scoped out an accident at the intersection of 40th West and 4100 South, where three cars were smashed up. Then we rode over to Bangerter and rode up over the overpass, and we stopped in the middle to look down at all the cars. (Remember the overpass on Redwood Road, and making the trucks honk at you?) Then we rode around the parking lot of Granger Medical Center. It was a great night to be out. Lots of Mexicans out and about, too. You’ve gotta love West Valley on a summer night.
      Today Dad and I are having a very quiet 4th of July here at the cabin. Tom and Kim and their kids have gone to Jacob’s Lake to visit Kim’s sister, McKenzie, who’s working there. Donna and Bevan are “house and dog” sitting at Donna’s boss’s house (where the dogs love Bevan). John and his two boys came by earlier in the day to borrow our truck to go buy a swing set in Salt Lake. I haven’t heard any magpies squawking at all. I guess the sight of Bevan running across the yard with a pellet rifle has scared them away. Whatever. I offered a $5.00 bounty for any magpie carcasses, but so far nobody has brought any in.
      Yesterday I visited Grandma and Grandpa, and since I was coming from the cabin, I had Oreo the cat with me. First Grandma pronounced him one of the ugliest cats she had ever seen. Then she and Grandpa spent the next couple of hours watching him play in their back yard. He jumped around in the ivy, crawled under the deck, climbed the tree, and chattered at birds. They were totally entertained. I think they really miss having a cat, and even an “ugly” one is a treat for them. (Personally, I don’t agree that Oreo is ugly. His back legs have gotten really long, and he has that “stringy” look of a young cat, but I think he’s delightful. Kara McGettigan still likes him, too.)
      There’s going to be an Allen Family Reunion on August 9th. Here’s some information that Bonnie sent out: It will be at the same park as last year (across from the Riverwoods Mall) We have the park from 10:00 to 3:00 so bring your lunch and maybe a dessert to share with everyone and plan on just relaxing and enjoying each other's company. We will set up the water slide again, so kids can bring swimsuits. I hope you all can come if possible, even if you can just be there for a little while it would be great to see everyone!
      I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner on July 13th. We’ll eat at 5:00 pm. Let me know if you want to come!
      Lots of Love, Mom