Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dear Kids,
      It’s been crazy here! On Monday our new windows were installed, and that ran into Tuesday, but it was worth it. Our house practically looks new. And the windows aren’t foggy! We can open and shut them just fine! The weird thing is, they all open by pulling to the left. Our old windows were sort of random, so now some of them are backwards from before. Especially the upstairs bathroom window. Since it’s textured, you only see out of one side, and now I have a totally different view than I’ve had for the past 31 years. But that’s minor. The really weird thing is that they’re all so clean. (I quit washing the old ones several months ago.) Now I can see everything outside that needs to be done.
      I talked to Monica on the phone last week, and things are going pretty well there. Ramona’s fur is growing back for the winter, and she’s running amok, as usual. Monica’s taking a Spanish class in the evening, after work. We should all be so ambitious! My Spanish study involves getting the local newspaper “El Estandar” at the library every week and looking up the words I don’t know. I’m shocked at the stuff the Spanish-speaking political activists write. They definitely have an agenda for us.
      Dad and I were originally going to be in Albuquerque this weekend, with Grandma and Grandpa, but our plans changed when Charles and Julie had their baby a month early. Monica (Ben’s Monica, that is) needed to go help Julie, so we postponed our trip. We’ll be leaving October 9th, if all goes well, and coming back on the 13th. So instead of Albuquerque, we took Grandma and Grandpa to the cabin for some birdwatching. Of course lots of the birds have flown south for the winter, but we were still able to watch some mountain bluebirds and lesser goldfinches (are there greater goldfinches?) and some sparrows and a dove-colored bird we couldn’t identify. On Saturday they were having open-barn day at the alpaca farm, so we all went there, including Tom and Kim and their kids. And then we did the nature center at Rockcliff State Park. It was all fun.
      Nora spent four days in San Francisco with James, and I’m sure she’ll write about it on her blog. But she might not mention that it took at least eight people to take care of her kids while she was gone. (I know, I was one of them.) I guess that’s how you find out how important you are–how many people does it take to cover for you? Anyway, I had fun with Nora and James’s kids. I always feel like I’m playing house, when I tend grandkids.
      My new visiting teaching partner is Sally Rasmussen, Janae’s mom. Their son Jeff is Vanessa’s age, and he told me to say Hi to her. He wanted to know where she lived and what she was doing and how many kids she had. He has a cute wife and 2 cute kids, including a daughter named Adelaide. While we were talking to him, Janae came by, and she said to say Hi to Sharon. The Rasmussens are lots of fun. I’m glad we’re finally getting to know them.
      We hope to see at least some of you this weekend at the cabin, for conference. Let me know if you’re having Sunday dinner with us! Love, Mom

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Saturday afternoon, I was raking rocks in front of the cabin, when Tom came out and pointed to a bald eagle circling overhead. I’ve never seen one in real life before! (Well, maybe at Eagle court-of-honors, where they come across as ornery vicious things, glaring at everybody around them.) Anyway, here’s this bald eagle circling our cabin, but why? Well, maybe because Oreo was on the front lawn chasing grasshoppers, completely clueless to predators. The eagle circled and circled, and we kept an eye on both of them. Bentley and Emma were on the lawn, too, so I didn’t think the eagle would dive. Finally Oreo ran under the deck, and the eagle flew away. Paul says that in the northwest, they’re known to carry off cats and small dogs. Jana McGettigan says they basically eat the same diet as a cougar, and that an eagle can crush your arm. Dad says the bald eagle is no longer an endangered species. Well, good. We still have the air rifle handy, and there’s plenty of ammo.
      Speaking of predators, I just cleaned out the shop downstairs, and I found a small dead bird, a dead dragonfly, a dead katydid, and lots of shriveled cherries from our cherry tree. So our own local predators have been bringing in their kills.
      We had a lot of fun at Sunday dinner last week! Thanks, all of you that came. It’s always fun to see you and your kids. Our next official Sunday dinner will be on conference weekend, October 5th, at the cabin. Like always, we’ll have dinner after the morning session. Let me know if you plan to eat with us!
      I have a ton of things going on right now. I’m sort of in charge of my mission reunion in 2 weeks, and I just mailed out 160 flyers. I’m sort of in charge of our Relief Society auction, too, until we get a new enrichment leader. I have to make flyers for that, too, and get them out. I’m handing out music for my fall duet recital (November 15th, ) and I’m working on the family history stories, trying to get out Volume I before Christmas. Then there’s chess club and book club and our yard and the cabin yard, and the cats and the bird and Dad . . . sometimes I just hop on my bike and take off. Thanks goodness we’re having beautiful weather right now.
      Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Kids,
      I had fun playing with Grandma and Grandpa’s cat yesterday, when I visited them. He entertains them all day long, but he’s so wild and vicious, they both have cat scratches all over their hands. So at Walmart, Grandma and I bought the “kitten mitten.” It has fingers about a foot long, with metal splines in them, and a pompon at each end, so you can tease the cat and torment him without getting scratched. What a great invention!
      Another great invention is kitchen faucets with two handles on them, one for hot and one for cold. What, it isn’t new? You wouldn’t know it, to look at the faucets in Home Depot. Out of about 50 faucets, there were only two, the cheap one, and the one I bought. Our old faucet was broken, and we also needed a new sink and a new garbage disposal, so Dad and I bought everything at once, and Dad spent all last Saturday putting it together. But when he was done, I was delighted. Now, when I want hot water, or cold, I just turn on one handle, and I get what I want the first time. I’m so tired of those levers on most sinks, and jiggling them all around to try and get it right. Hooray for the 21st Century!
      My chess club at the Harman Senior Rec Center is going great! I put up flyers in the libraries, and had it added to the senior schedule in the newspaper, and the word is getting around! When we met last Wednesday, there were six of us, which doesn’t sound like much, but it was better than just two of us, like the week before. People could switch around more, and play more games, have more fun. And when everybody finished their games, they just sat around and talked, until they kicked us out. (The center closes at 3:00 pm). One new guy who came said he tried to get it going there years ago, but gave up. He was in the Chess Club at BYU, and I’m looking forward to playing him. This is lots better than frittering away my time playing online. (Except when I’m playing Bevan or Paul.) And I can pat myself on the back for doing “community service.”
      Remember I’m cooking dinner this Sunday, the 14th. Let me know if you’re coming!
      Love, Mom

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Dear Kids,
      Life is good! The weather is cool! How come the start of school always makes me feel like my life is moving forward, even though I don’t go to school? Or send any kids? (Paul doesn’t count. He sends himself.) It’s fun seeing halloween candy on the promo aisle in Walmart, instead of beach gear.
      Last Saturday I went gliding (or soaring, they call it) with John. What a thrill! A tow plane pulls you up a few hundred feet until you catch a thermal, and then you circle up from there, just like a hawk. I guess we were in a really massive thermal, because John was so excited about it. Me, in the back seat–I was looking for a barf bag. I’ve never been carsick or airsick or seasick before, but then, I’ve never bounced around in a glider at 12,500 feet. But the view was fabulous. And it’s very safe. You don’t have to worry about engine failure, because there isn’t one. You could land practically anywhere, if you had to. But I wasn’t worried about that. We circled over Midway, where Swiss Days were going on, and then we circled over Heber. We circled over the airport, where Dad was pacing alongside the runway. All this time we were going down, naturally. John asked if I wanted to catch the thermal and go up again, but I’d had enough fun. I want to do it again sometime. But I’ll definitely take drami-mine first.
      Dad and I were spending the weekend at the cabin, and we went to church in Francis 2nd ward on Sunday. What a cool ward. Bevan and I went into primary, because Donna and some of the other primary staff were introducing themselves, and we found out that everybody in the ward lives on their grandparents property. Everybody graduated from South Summit high school, or North Summit (in Coalville.) The women have names like Billie Sue and Bobbie Jo. They own horses and dogs. I didn’t know that rodeo was a verb. (“. . . in high school, I rodeod.”) It was all very interesting. If I ever thought I was a hick, I can see now that I don't even come close.
      But the best part of Sunday was that Donna cooked goose for dinner! (Complete with buckshot in some of the pieces. That’s part of the goose experience.) (She got it from her boss.) She marinated the goose, and cut it in pieces, and wrapped them in bacon. Then she grilled them with onions and green peppers. Heck, you would have thought it was beef, with that disguise! It was very good.
      I just came home from Nora’s book club, which was also at the cabin. We talked about Louis L’Amour, and my favorite book of his, Mojave Crossing. There’s nothing like talking about western books, sitting around a campfire, with stars overhead. Loved the atmosphere!
      Remember I’m cooking Sunday dinner next week, the 14th. Dinner’s at 5:00. Let me know if you want to come. Love, Mom