Friday, August 29, 2008

Dear Kids,
      What a great week we’ve had! Paul came home last Friday morning, and he was excited about the fresh mountain air. It seemed sort of muggy to me, (the really great mountain air is at the cabin), but I guess that compared to North Caroline, West Valley City is downright invigorating. Now Paul is back in Logan, with the magical Sable, starting off his new school year.
      And Nora’s Triathlon on Saturday was a great event. Well, great for the athletes. Nora and her girlfriends seemed to be having a wonderful time. Those of us who were spectators walked around on the rocks and dirt and weeds and tried to find shade so the kids wouldn’t get too sunburned. We finally settled down in the shade of the ambulance, but it soon left with the first victim of triathlon fun. (Luckily it was hypothermia, and not drowning.) But hey, it was worth it to see Nora and her friends finish. Dad and I were tending Meg and Sarah, and we had a lot of fun with them. They’re troopers!
      I spent yesterday in Orem, mostly playing with grandma and grandpa’s new kitten. He’s fluffy and orange (well, sort of blonde) and wild as a spook. Grandma thinks he’s getting long and leggy, but he’s downright petite compared to Oreo, who is writing the book on long and leggy. Anyway, I had a lot of fun with the kitten. I tossed him out the back door when he bit me one too many times, and he got very interested in the birds. He even climbed the tree a couple of times. Grandma was worried that he would fall, but he jumped down just fine. Alley cats rule!
      Would you believe I would listen to a door-to-door salesman? Well, I did. A lady came around saying she was a contractor and they were replacing windows in our neighborhood, and we could get a discount because our house would be advertising . . . you know the schtick. (Heck, Paul heard it all summer. He probably said it himself a few times.) Anyway, I could see she wasn’t any contractor, but we do need new windows. So I told her to give us an estimate. A couple of nights later, Steve Lloyd came to the door. You know the Lloyds, parents of Gina Lloyd, Christy Lloyd, Levi Lloyd, Ben Lloyd–their kids are all the same ages as you kids. Anyway, he’s a partner in the business, and their prices were really good. So our fine old 1977 house is going to have new windows! (I know, we did them ourselves at the cabin, but I’m way too backed up on my projects.) I’m looking forward to having somebody else do the work for a change.
      I’ll be cooking Sunday Dinner on September 14th. Let me know if you plan to come! Love, Mom

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Kids,
      I’m holding Oreo on my lap as I write this. I just brought him home from his operation, or two operations, I guess. He was neutered and declawed. So now he’ll be a fine gentleman and a good inside-outside cat. He used to love to rip into our carpets, and he tried it just a few minutes ago, with disappointing results. (For him.)
      Here’s some news from the Allen family reunion that I forgot to put in my last letter: Andy and Renae have moved! No, they haven’t left Brigham City. They haven’t even left Beecher Street. They moved about a block east, to a bigger house on the other side of the street. If you’re wondering why an empty-nest couple needs a bigger house, it’s partly Renae’s business, which is huge. (They could probably use a warehouse.) Also, Renae said, they need more room for their married kids to stay when they come home. Makes sense. They don’t have a cabin to send them to.
      We’re looking forward to Nora’s triathlon at the Jordanelle this Saturday. She and her friends did a trial run last week, which you can read about on her blog. They came by the cabin beforehand, so Nora could borrow a bike, and they looked very professional, decked out in their athletic gear. Our Relief Society retreat was just ending, which was a great success. (We had the most participants from the old 16th Ward. Those ladies really know how to have fun!) On our way home, going up the hill out of Kamas, we were run off the road by cop cars, roaring towards us in our lane, with their lights flashing and their sirens blaring. They were followed by motorcycle cops, who stopped by each car and barked at us to stay behind the line, because a bike race was coming. It turned out to be Larry Miller’s “Tour de Utah.” 300 bikers came whooshing down the hill, like a river. They were all coasting, with their heads down, but they were doing at least 40 mph. It was worth getting pulled over, just to watch it. After the bikers there were about 50 chase cars, with bike racks on the top. Go, bikers! Kamas Valley has more than its share of bike races.
      We have a new family in our ward, and the mom, Shelley Earl, came to our retreat. She said her husband has taught math at Westlake forever. We said, “Mr. Earl!” He’s still teaching there. I know at least some of you had him. His wife is really nice. They live on Starwood St.
      I started a chess club at the Harmon Home, where all the seniors hang out. We meet Wednesdays at 1:00 pm. If any of you know of someone who wants to play, send them over! It’s lots of fun. Anyway, I can call it community service, and it’s better for my conscience than just playing on the internet all the time.
      Take care. Dad and I are doin’ great and lovin’ it. Mom

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Boy, summer is really winding down. You can feel that fall is in the air. We’ve had a couple of good rainstorms. It gets dark earlier. And it isn’t so hot! Pretty soon I’ll be griping that it’s too cold.
      The fun is winding down, too. But it’s been great while it lasted. I really enjoyed the birthday party for me last Sunday. 28 people for Sunday dinner, 16 of them children. What a blast! Thanks for all the wonderful presents and cards! You kids are all so thoughtful!
      The family reunion at Riverwoods park yesterday was a blast, too. I think there were about 100 people there, 95 of them children. (Just kidding!) I had a lot of fun on the water slide, but my levis never did dry out. I loved the water-balloon catapult that Charles and Julie Allen brought. It was fun to see all the neices and nephews and their kids, all of whom are lots older than I thought. Steven Allen was dropped off at the park by some friends, and they’d asked him, “So do you have a lot of family here in Utah?” He said, “No, not really.” When they saw the gang at the park they were amazed. Grandpa and Grandma Allen just sat there in their lawn chairs enjoying it all. I brought a picture of a cabin bird for Grandma, the yellow bird she and her sisters were watching last June, when they had their retreat. The bird and its mate raised a batch of baby birds at the top of the utility pole, so we saw a lot of them. Tom took a picture of the female with a telephoto lens, and I made a copy for grandma. She was delighted! (I never realized Grandma was such an avid bird watcher, until this year.) It wasn’t a meadowlark, like she thought. When we went to their house later, she looked it up in her bird book, and found out it was a Western Kingbird. Grandma thinks Tom should become a nature photographer. Tom says people are always giving him suggestions of what he should get into.
      Sharon had a great adventure on Thursday. She was on her way to the cabin in our Windstar, driving up Parleys Canyon, when the car died! Her cell phone was almost ready to die, also, but she called me in a panic. (Wouldn’t you panic with semis whizzing by, two small children in a stalled car, in the noonday heat?) I called a towtruck, and I called the cabin to see if Kim could go rescue them (Yay, Kim! Thanks so much!) and I called the Highway Patrol to see if someone could keep an eye on Sharon until help came. They did! (Yay, Highway Patrol! Our tax dollars at work!) It all turned out fine. Kim rescued Sharon and the boys, and they were even able to make a stop at the outlet stores on their way back to the cabin. The towtruck brought the Windstar home to us, and Dad fixed it that night. (Bad alternator.) Life can be so adventurous!
      Lots of Love, Mom

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dear Kids,
      I’m way off schedule for writing my family letter, because all the fun during July totally reformatted my brain. Also, the hot weather. When it’s over 100 outside, any sense of purpose disappears from your life. (Except for Monica and Neil, who deal with it all summer long.) Anyway, it was all fun. On the 22nd, Sharon and Seth and Charlie and Matthew arrived. (Seth has since gone home, but Sharon and the boys are still enlivening our house, when they aren’t off somewhere else.) On the 24th, Donna and Sharon and Bevan ran the Deseret News 10k, and had respectable times. Only we lost Bevan at the end of the race, even though he was there in plain sight. Later on, at the cabin, we had a great barbecue, and then I had the urge to hike the loop. It was the hottest (average) day of the year, and the hottest part of the day, and I wanted to see if we could do it. Nora and Kim joined me. We carried spray bottles and kept spraying our faces and arms, and we drank lots of water. Still, it was a crazy thing to do. The next day, Dad and I drove to Burley for the Spudman “night before” activities. What fun to see Monica and Neil and Eve as we drove into the parking lot! And to eat dinner with Vanessa’s family. We camped across the river at an RV park, and slept in Donna and Bevan’s mesh tent. The next morning, we had fun watching our favorite athletes. (Vanessa, Monica, Eve, Adrien, Bekah, and Dave.) Jarom Webb was there as a spectator, and he kinda thought he’d like to do it next year, until he watched them pull that guy out of the river. Sad. Vanessa had a great time: 2:33. Almost half an hour better than last year. Monica stayed with Eve most of the time, and came in a little after Vanessa. Eve was elated that she finished! Go, family.
      And of course the family reunion at Lava was a blast. It’s a great destination! John and Heather are in charge for next year. Our tentative date is Saturday, August 1st. (My birthday!) John and Heather will decide where. I’m sure they’ll listen to your input.
      And since we’re talking family reunions, don’t forget the Allen reunion this Saturday (August 9th) at Riverwoods park, from 10 am to 3 pm. Bring your own lunch, and make sure your kids have swimsuits. Maybe you adults will want to wear swimsuits, too. I’m going to, if it’s hot.
      So July is over now, and also the fun I had working at the cabin. I went back for three more days, after the reunion, and I got a lot of good work out of Bentley, by paying him about $1.00 an hour for helping me shovel dirt. He helped me mix cement, too. I lost track of how much money I paid out, but he always knew when he was ready for another dollar. Oreo the cat had lots of fun, too, running through the weeds and jumping out at people. He is long and thin now, a “tubular” cat. Sad that he’s not a kitten any more, but he’s still very social, because he’s had so much attention.
      Hope to see lots of you on the 9th! Lots of love, Mom