Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Christmas was a blast, wasn’t it? Starting with the kids’ party at Nora’s, the fun continued for a whole week, ending with our sledding party at the cabin on the 26th. On Christmas Eve, Dad and Paul and Donna and Bevan and I hiked Ensign Peak, like we planned. It was freezing cold at the top, but the lights in the city were beautiful. On the way home, we took a swing by Temple Square, so we could say we saw the lights. Then we came home, made hot chocolate, and watched “Scrooge” (except by then Dad and I were worn out and went to bed.) It was fun to talk to all of you and hear about your Christmases, too.
      My elk meat chili turned out fine. Dad’s cousins never showed up, however. Maybe they were less enthusiastic about trying it out. Or, since they had tickets to the Nutcracker that night, maybe they just ran out of time. When Dad and I got back home to our house, there was a message on our answering machine saying that they weren’t coming because they weren’t “well.” Whatever. I was so enthusiastic about my chili that I’ve moved on to version 2.0, which is cooking in the crock pot right now. By next Christmas, it will be perfect.
      We enjoyed having Paul here for a week. He’s gone back to Logan now. Is it the western dancing every Wednesday night? The cable TV in his apartment? The gym? A girl? We’ll never know. But he entertained us a lot while he was here.
      Next Sunday is my debut as Primary Chorister in the Spanish branch. I’ve memorized about 10 songs, plus a few other phrases, like “Sit down” and “Be quiet.” It’ll be a breeze. It will also be my first Sunday to do the whole block there, including Relief Society. I’ve listened to a lot of Spanish, these last several months, but I’ve only spoken a few sentences, because they always speak to me in English. It will be a whole new world. I’m excited.
      I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner on January 10th. Let me know if you want to come. It’s been a lot of months since I’ve cooked Sunday dinner, but my shoulder is doing really well now, and I’m ready to jump back into the swing of things.
      Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I just now put up the cat nativity, so Christmas can come!! I didn’t put up my Christmas village, because my right arm still isn’t great for reaching up, but otherwise I’m in good shape for the holiday fun. Dad and I are going to buy our tree tomorrow night and put it up for home evening. I know we’re late, but we’re always late with the tree. It has been snowing outside off and on, and Oreo is curled up in the basket chair acting very pleasant. Xena is curled up on the floor. Paul is on the floor, too. He came home to go skiing yesterday, and he went to church here today, but he’s going back to Logan tomorrow morning. Yes, finals are over, but he says there’s more going on there. Both Grandma and Nora speculated that it must be a girl, but I’m not thinking nothin!!
      The holiday parties are upon us! I’ve heard that Laurie is doing a cousins’ party Friday night, the 18th, but I don’t know any details. Nora is putting on the grandkids’ party Saturday night, the 19th, starting at 6:00, and her house. The food is a-la-CafĂ© Rio. I’m sure you all have your assignments.
      The following Monday night, the 21st, Dad and I are sponsoring our fourth annual Christmas Music Open House, from 7:00-9:00 pm. If any of you want to drop in and perform, or just eat cookies, that would be great. I was going to cancel it for this year, because my shoulder was still making my life miserable, but Jana McGettigan said we just had to keep it going. With that kind of encouragement, of course we’re plunging ahead.
      On Christmas Eve, Donna and Bevan and Paul and Dad and I are going to hike Ensign Peak, probably around 6:00 or 7:00 pm. I know we always plan to do it, and we always bomb out, but not this year, so if any of you are feeling adventurous, please come and join us. We’ll have hot chocolate afterward.
      Christmas night Dad and I will be visiting Grandma and Grandpa, and from there we’ll drive to the cabin. Our sledding party will be the next day, Saturday, (the 26th) all day long. I’m going to make Elk meat chili!! We’ll probably be eating around 1:00 or 2:00 pm, so let me know if you’re going to be there. I’ll call Dad’s cousins and see if they want to come, too. There should be a ton of snow. Donna just called from the cabin and she thinks they got a couple of feet. The sledding ought to be great.
      So there’s a lot of fun stuff ahead of us. I look forward to seeing all of you as much as possible.
      Lots of love Mom

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dear Kids,
      It's Thursday afternoon, and we’re just winding up Thanksgiving here at the cabin. Allen and Missy and their kids have gone home, and Tom and Kim have also left for home with their family. Sharon called a few minutes ago and reported that they had a great time in Michigan, with two new families of friends. We’re expecting Nora and James’s family any minute (they’re spending the night) and maybe John’s family. We also had Bevan’s brother’s family last night and this morning, and Bevan’s parents for dinner. Grandpa Ray (Bevan’s grandfather, Beverly’s father) was just hovering between heaven and earth these last few days, and Beverly didn’t know what to plan on for Thanksgiving, so Donna invited them to come here. It worked out really well. Grandpa Ray died this morning, and it reminded us all how Grandma Ackerson also died on Thanksgiving day, eight years ago, while we were here at the cabin. Strange.
      After we had dinner, Missy got busy and wrote up the Christmas exchange lists. She wanted me to pass on the info. The person (or couple) on the left gives to the person (or couple) on the right. First, the grownups: Tom - John; Allen - Nora; Monica - Vanessa; Donna - Tom; Sharon - Allen; Paul - Monica: John - Donna; Nora - Sharon; Vanessa - Paul.
      And now, the kids: Julie - Addie; Jacob - Ellie; Aaron - Sarah; Aubrey - Matthew; Addie - Aubrey; Ben - Julie; Paige - Ali; Stuart - Abigail; Sterling - Stuart; Sarah - Aaron; Meg - Carson; Macie - Charlie; Bentley - Macie; Emma- Meg; Ali - Ben; Abigail- Paige; Carson - Sterling; Ellie - Bentley; Charlie - Emma; Matthew - Jacob.
      I’m still really struggling with my collar bone. Or it’s struggling with me. I had decided that it would be totally fine after eight weeks, so I went off my percocet for a couple of days, to convince myself. It didn’t work. Now I’m figuring that maybe by Christmas it will stop hurting. Or sometime down the road. It can’t hurt forever!
      Most of you have heard about my new church calling. I’m going to be the Primary chorister in the Lighthouse Branch. It’s very exciting, even though I can’t sing very well, I can’t wave my arm at all right now, and I don’t speak Spanish all that well. My new scripture study is “Canciones para los Ninos,” the Primary songbook in Spanish. I figure if I’m sort of familiar with the songs, if I learn the kids’ names, and if I bring lots of cool stuff for singing time, it’ll be fine.
      I wish we could have seen all of you today, and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Lots of love, Mom

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Nora and James flew home from Hawaii Saturday morning, and I picked them up from the airport in a snowstorm. Talk about change! I told them that we’d had nice warm weather all week, and that it just got cold for them. I was glad for the snow, but wished there had been more in the mountains. I want it to absolutely pile up so that when my shoulder feels good again, I’ll be up there enjoying it.
      Meanwhile, I’m making slow progress. I can raise my arm about half of the way to halfway up, what is that, about 45 degrees? As soon as I can hold it out straight, I can start doing the exercises I’m supposed to do. I can now brush my teeth with my right hand, play the organ, sign my name, and put on earrings, although Dad is still doing my hair for me. Maybe I’ll have him keep it up permanently! I’ve had a couple of compliments on my hairdo! He says he doesn’t mind, now that he’s learned how to use a curling iron without burning his fingers.
      Wednesday night was our annual duet recital (I do it with Robyn Noel now) and we held it at Daynes Music, on State Street, where I bought my piano. I scheduled the date months ago, so we went ahead with it! All our students did really well. Sam and Jana McGettigan and I played the Carmen Trio, with Sam playing the top part. He really tore into it. I was doing the middle, for a change–lots of fun. Most of our other numbers went really well. I hadn’t known if I could pull it off, since I only had 5 days to practice after I got my sling off, and my shoulder still hurts a lot. But I took a double dose of percocet beforehand, and it seemed like I was doing all my parts brilliantly. (I’m not sure how I really sounded, but I could tell the kids sounded good.)
      We received a wedding announcement from Joe Turcsanski this week! Not long ago, some of us were debating whether or not he had ever gotten married. That answered my question. The girl, Jessica Hurst, is cute, young, and red-headed. They’re getting married in the Oquirrh Temple the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
      Speaking of Thanksgiving, I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re coming to the cabin, and you haven’t called me, please let me know. If you want to come Thanksgiving evening and have pie with us, let me know about that, too. Dad is going to help me cook. (I’ll make him cut up all the onions and celery and bread for the dressing.) Dad and I will probably be at the cabin for most of Thanksgiving weekend.
      Life is good! Love, Mom

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I had my collar bone x-rayed on Friday, and it’s now healed up enough that I can start using my arm again. Yay! I’m actually typing this letter with two hands, but it’s hard. Every message I send to my right hand somehow goes to my left hand. It works that way with playing the piano, too. My duet recital is coming up on Wednesday, and I have four parts to play, but my fingers aren’t cooperating with my brain very well. I’m sure that will improve. Meanwhile, I’ve started simple exercises to loosen up my arm again. I can almost get it to hang down straight, but it’s pretty painful. I haven’t even tried reaching left or right or up. So I’m still living a pretty restricted lifestyle, still wearing my sweats and velour leisure suits (pants you can pull up with one hand) and still reading a lot.
      I mentioned that I bought a season pass to Brighton (before my bike accident, of course) and last Saturday was the last day they were taking pictures at REI. So I showed up in my harness and sling for the picture. It sure looked like I wasn’t starting out the season very well. Of course the resorts are in no shape to open any time soon, unless we get some big storms. By then I’ll be ready. I showed Nora the picture on my season pass, and since it was a low-grade webcam they used, the picture is sort of grainy. It looks surprisingly like Nora. (Sharon, too.) Hummm. I’m sure she had the same idea I had.
      Right now Nora and James are in Hawaii, and their kids are on their way to Idaho. Donna has been tending them since Friday, but now she and Bevan are driving them north, to meet Vanessa, and they’ll stay in Pocatello until Saturday, I think. I had Donna and Bevan bring the kids here for Sunday dinner, on their way, but I just heated up some tater tot casserole I had in the freezer. They were charming. (The kids, not the tots.)
      I haven’t heard from anybody but Donna about Thanksgiving. Let me know if you’re planning to come to the cabin for dinner. We’ll probably eat about one in the afternoon.
      And Abby’s baby blessing is still on for December 6th. Tom and Kim will let us know the details.
      I have to quit typing. My shoulder is killing me. Lots of love, Mom

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dear Kids,
      My life is still on hold as I cope with my broken collar bone. I still wear my harness and take my pain pills, and I still can’t drive, cook, make the bed, play the piano, or do much else that’s fun. I’m still typing with my left hand only, and it’s still very slow, and I make a lot of mistakes. I had signed up to help out with the elections next Tuesday, but I had to bail out, because a big part of my job is setting up the voting machines, and nobody would want me doing that one-handed and maybe dropping one on the ground.
      Miraculously, I finished printing the family histories, with lots of help from Dad. The drum on the printer went bad, of course, half way through, and it took a couple of trips to Cartridge World, and a couple of orders from Amazon, to finally get it right. The night I finished printing, I was up till midnight stacking papers and packing them in boxes, and my shoulder felt like we’d been through the Civil War. The next morning Michelle Higham (my visiting teacher) drove me and the boxes to Schaffer Bindery. It was a tremendous relief. By the time the books are done, and I have to pack them up and mail them, I hope I won’t be such an invalid.
      Thanksgiving is coming up Nov. 26th, and I’m planning to cook a turkey at the cabin, along with dressing and potatoes and pie. If you want to join us for dinner, let me know, and tell me what you want to bring. It’ll be lots of fun, whoever is there. Donna has insulated the bunkhouse, so maybe some of us can sleep out there! There might be snow on the sledding hill, if today is any indication.
      Tom and Kim are planning to have Abby’s baby blessing on December 6th. That will be a great occasion, too. They’ll tell us more when it gets closer.
      I love you all!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I’ve slacked off on writing my weekly letters, but it’s so hard to type with one hand, especially if it’s your left. Other things you can’t do with one hand: sweep the floor, floss your teeth, make a bed, put on levis, curl your hair, push ctrl-alt-del on a keyboard. I’ve started teaching piano again, and yesterday I went back to chess club, but it’s all hard. Thanks to those of you who have come and helped me, Donna and Nora especially. It’s so nice to have someone mop the floor or change the sheets on our bed!
      Dad and I really enjoyed the baptisms last Saturday! That’s got to be unusual, three cousins being baptized together, by their dads. We were so proud of them all! If I looked really spacey, it’s because I was. Am. I still take percocet around the clock to deal with the pain. I hope it will improve sometime soon.
      On Sunday I had Dad drive me to the Litehouse Branch, because I didn’t feel like walking, and I persuaded him to stay for the whole meeting. I sort of felt like a missionary, really hopeful for my investigator. Alas, it didn’t take. I thought he might have fun listening through the headphones, but he didn’t. I guess he won’t be coming back any time soon.
      I’ve had a good time reading books, for a change, and not just listening to them. Also, I’m trying to finish up the family histories on Grandma’s side, before Christmas. There’s still enough to fill up the 24 hours in a day.
      I love you all! Please remember me in your prayers.
      Love, Mom

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Most of you have heard about my bike accident last Friday. Donna and I had done a nice ride on the Jordan River Parkway, and we were heading home on 41st South, riding on the shoulder, when I turned around to tell her something. We needed to ride up onto the sidewalk, before the intersection. When I looked back to where we were going, I could see I would be hitting a curb at the wrong angle, but it was too late. I crashed down on my bike and landed on my right shoulder. Donna helped me get into the shade, and then she rode home in 8 minutes (from 22nd West) and came back with the car. She drove us to Instacare, where they x-rayed me and said I had broken my clavicle (collar bone). It’s a terribly painful injury, and I’m on pain pills 24-7. Since Bevan was on the deer hunt (muzzle loaders) Donna was able to stay until Saturday afternoon, and help me (while Dad worked on her car.) There’s all kinds of things you can’t do with one hand, and since my right arm is bound up next to me in a harness, I only have my left hand. (I’m learning to type, buy it’s very slow.) Nora came Monday and helped clean. Stuart had his brown stuffed bear, and I must have fallen asleep, because when I woke up he had laid it next to my face. It was very comforting!
      Why do they put pills in such adultproof containers? Especially for people who can use only one hand! I had been careful to not screw the lid back on, but I must have forgotten in the middle of the night, because the next morning I couldn’t get the lid off. I can tell you that you get desperate when it’s time for a pill! I got a hammer and smashed the container. Luckily I didn’t crush any of the pills!
      Our plans for conference weekend have totally changed. Dad and I probably won’t be at the cabin at all. I know some of you have made different plans now, too. We’ll definitely be at the baptisms the following week. I might not be able to pay the piano, though.
      I’m sure there’s more to say, but my brain is foggy.
      I love you all! Mom

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Sharon and Seth are packing up to go home, and I’ll be driving them (and their charming little guys) to the airport in another hour. It’s been a wild and fun week, since they came here from Upalco. (And they had a pretty wild and fun week out there, too.) There have been parties and gatherings of every kind, but now it’s all coming to an end. Thanks to everyone who put on the parties! Dad and I had fun just attending them. It’s great to be parents of a large and happy crowd of people.
      Conference weekend is coming up fast! We’re figuring that Tom will get us hooked up to a TV signal, and if not, we’ll listen on the radio. What, nobody wants to listen on the radio? It’s not bad. When I was little, we just listened, and I felt really stifled the first time we went to a neighbor’s house to watch it on TV. We just sat there! At any rate, I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner at the cabin on the 4th, and we’ll eat about 12:30. So let me know if you want to eat with us. Any suggestions on the menu?
      The next Saturday after that, October 10th, the three birthday boys will be baptized in Heber. More details will be coming. What an event! Missy says they were talking about doing it back when she and Kim and Heather were all pregnant. Who could have expected that eight years would go by so fast?
      Paul is struggling to get back into academic life again. He says he doesn’t study enough. I said, “What about all that money you paid for tuition?” He said even that doesn’t motivate him. I guess when you earn a lot during the summer, paying tuition isn’t such a bite. He’s in a good ward, though. They gave him a calling: Family History Indexer. I asked him about the girls in his ward, and he said there are three Relief Societies. If he doesn’t find a nice girlfriend with all that selection, I’ll have to come and take a look.
      Speaking of callings, I was released from Relief Society last week, and now I’m just floating free, in between two wards. It’s kind of fun. I’m making new friends in the Spanish ward, and hopefully keeping up with people in the 5th Ward. Thank goodness the Gospel is the same everywhere.
      Lots of love, Mom

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Dear Kids,
      We’re all delighted with the safe arrival of Abigail Bethany Ackerson yesterday morning at 4:08 am. Dad was probably the first person outside of the hospital to know about it, because he was up getting ready for work, and checked on facebook to see if anything had happened yet. Tom had barely uploaded the news when Dad saw it. Yay for the internet. Now, if anybody’s keeping track, there are 12 granddaughters but only 9 grandsons. And Sharon’s having a girl. They’re thinking of naming her Lucy, a very respectable name, but not one of the A-E names. Has anybody noticed that we’re getting a great collection of those? For a good tongue twister, try saying all six of them: Aubrey, Addie, Abby, Ali, Ellie, and Emma. Should we put pressure on Sharon and Seth to make it seven? I’m thinking Audrey? (To put in the list after Aubrey). But any name is fine. It’s a great blessing just to have a baby born safe and well.
      Sharon and Seth and their boys arrived from Michigan late Tuesday night, and who should they see in the airport, but Allen and his family, just home from Disneyland. Justin Allen walked by, too. What a place, that airport! All four Thackers spent the night here and then Dad drove them to the cabin Wednesday afternoon. From there they drove to Upalco, I think in Bevan’s Subaru. They’ll be back here sometime next week. It’s fun to see how their boys have grown. Sharon brought me a great belated birthday present–all of Faerie Tale Theater on DVD! We had fun looking over the discs and remembering our favorites. I always liked PeeWee Herman as Pinocchio. Sharon’s favorite was the Dancing Princesses and Three Little Pigs. I’m taking the discs to the cabin, so everybody can watch them there.
      It’s old news by now, but James is now second counselor in their ward bishopric. He worked really hard as young men’s president, but he’s glad for the change. No more flags on holiday mornings!
      Paul gave me a box of the mix for Nanaimo Bars. Now I’m waiting for a great occasion to make them. But maybe I won’t wait. Maybe I need them this very afternoon! Maybe right now.
      Gotta go! Lots of love, Mom

Friday, September 4, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Good news from Al–he’s going to be a detective! Missy says on her blog that Allen calls it a lateral transfer, but we think it’s a pretty big deal. A detective in the family! Who would’ve thought?
      Dad and I had great fun putting the metal roof on the ag shed at the cabin last Friday and Saturday. Thanks to Donna and Bevan for helping out!!! The trouble with metal panels is that they interlock, and you can’t tell until you get part way across the roof whether you’ve got them lined up square with the edge of the roof or not. We didn’t, so we had to take out all the screws and push it level. When Dad and I were doing the back of the roof, we had the same problem, but nobody else was around. So we took out all the screws again, and here came the whole roof, sliding at me. Lots of fun, when you’re standing on scaffolding. We got it right, finally. Now we only have to finish the edges and the top cap when we go back. I have to say it’s the best-looking metal roof I ever saw. And we saved $1300, doing it ourselves. Now how shall I spend the $1300?
      When I was visiting Grandma and Grandpa yesterday, Grandma suddenly said she needed her oxygen, but it didn’t seem to help. She wanted her big machine, but it was in the bedroom, and on the way in there she could hardly walk. She was having chest pains, too, so I called 911. Boy, am I glad for emergency personnel! They were there in about two minutes. They bundled her off in the ambulance, and Grandpa and I followed in the car. We figured Grandma was doing all right, though, because the siren wasn’t blaring, the lights weren’t flashing, and the ambulance stopped at all the red lights. In the emergency room, they started all kinds of tests to find out what was wrong, but evidently it wasn’t a heart attack. I couldn’t stick around until it was all finished, so Nancy came and spelled me off. Whew! You don’t need scares like that.
      Dad and I are both on facebook now. What fun! I’m already friends with Mike Winder, Jennifer Strassburg, and Bret Bassett. Boy, do I feel connected! I can see why people waste hours wandering around on there. You find out stuff you never expected to know.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Paul arrived home last Thursday night with a kitten that turned out to be ORANGE!! And I tended him until Tuesday night, when Paul’s manager finally arrived in town. Mostly the kitten stayed in the basement, so he wasn’t ripping our couch and carpets and curtains, and sometimes I took my laptop downstairs to use so he wouldn’t be alone (yowling in the stairwell.) The kitten showed his appreciation by killing my mouse–the mouse I used with the laptop. He bit through the cord and it suddenly stopped functioning. So I wasn’t too sorry when the little brat was finally picked up. Although he was pretty cute. Mostly when he was asleep.
      Paul was only home for a day or so, and now he’s back in Logan, and school has started. I guess all the grandchildren are in school now, too. Where did the summer go?
      If you read Sharon’s blog, you know she had another ultrasound, and little baby Thacker is definitely a girl!! I wonder if she’ll look like Sharon? And if you read Donna’s blog, you know that she PASSED her test! (The last part of the LARE). We’re really happy for her. Now she’ll be able to stamp construction documents with her official seal. Go, Donna! I’ll have to pull out the tattered plans I used for the Ag shed and have her stamp them.
      There’s a pillow at the cabin with a pink pillowcase, or pink roses on it. Did somebody leave it there after the family reunion? If nobody claims it, we’ll just add it to the collection. Also, has anybody seen my carpet cleaner? I can’t even remember the last time I used it, so it’s probably been gone for a while. Should I buy another one? Or just get new carpet! That’s lots more fun!
      I know there’s more news, but I can’t think of anything.
Love to all of you, Mom

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Paul is on his way home, and he should arrive here tonight. He has a small traveling companion, a kitten named Simba. But Oreo and Xena don’t need to worry, because the kitten won’t be staying here; he belongs to Paul’s manager, who paid him good money to bring it to Utah. Paul and the kitten have visited in Boston and Ann Arbor along the way, not to mention other stops to get the kitten to eat and drink, and to change the litter box. I’m anxious to see this important little creature, and to see Paul, too. He should have lots of good stories to tell.
      Other news: I’ve bailed out of the Great Utah Ride. I loved the original idea, riding to Kanab in a group, averaging about 15 mph, stopping at motels along the way–at least I think that was the original idea. But it’s morphed into a stage race, with different sections in different places, including a side trip to St. George, because Andy and Charlie have connections there. Besides, I haven’t trained as hard as I’d hoped to, while Andy and Richard have upped the ante and are planning to go faster. Andy let me know that if I couldn’t keep up I had to have my own support vehicle, and of course it would have been Dad, but I just couldn’t see riding alone through various parts of Utah with Dad creeping along in the truck. So I’ve bailed out. But I still enjoy my long morning bike rides. And I still like the idea of riding to Kanab–sometime.
      I ordered the metal roofing for the ag shed, and Dad will be picking it up today, I hope. It cost less than a fourth of the estimate I got for having the whole job done. I think we can put it up just fine.
      I was ready to ditch my Palm Pilot and move into the 21st century, with some clever gadget like Tom uses, because my Palm (probably the 3rd or 4th one I’ve had) was eating batteries, and it had spider veins on the screen. But then I discovered that it could take NIMH batteries, which recharge just fine. And then I found a brand new Palm Pilot at the DI for $1.50. So I’m trucking along just fine now. And why not? I ride a battered mountain bike from the 90's. I drive a minivan with 253,000 miles on it. Why shouldn’t I keep using a Palm?
      Life is good! I love you all. Mom

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Summer is definitely winding down. The wind is blowing hot today, but it’s supposed to be cold tomorrow morning. In Halifax, Paul is packing up for his trip home. He’ll be leaving Monday morning, making stops in Boston and Ann Arbor on the way.
      The ag shed at the cabin is still in need of a metal roof. I was determined that we wouldn’t do it ourselves, and I was sure we could find some out-of-work roofer who would be eager to take it on, but it hasn’t happened. Evidently it’s too small and too out-of-the-way. So now I’m checking suppliers of metal roofing. I think I’ve envisioned a way we can do it without falling off. Besides, how would we feel if we watched somebody else do it, and we slapped our foreheads and said “Duh, we could have done that!” So this evening, when we’re at the cabin, I’m going to get the exact measurements and then order the metal. Wish us luck.
      We’re looking forward to the dedication of the Oquirrh Temple next week, not just because it will be a great spiritual experience, but because the Jordan River Temple is so crowded now. Dad and I went last night with his High Priests’ group, and the parking lot was filled. People were streaming in and out. There was a Japanese man named Kozo with us–he lives at Shari Fonoti’s house and is here for a few months learning English. He said it was like a department store. Well, President Hinckley said it was the busiest temple in the church, when he announced the Draper and the Oquirrh temples. He said, “We build them where we need them.” So we’re proud of that. But mostly, Dad and I go to the Salt Lake Temple early on Friday afternoons. You never have to wait.
      I’m still having fun attending the Spanish branch. Last week Janice Peterson didn’t show up, so I got to play the organ. I’m sure its pipes were manufactured in heaven. (Funny how I never appreciated it when we had church in that building!) After the meeting, about ten people told me “gracias” and one lady hugged me. During the four years I played the organ in our own building, only a couple of people ever thanked me, and certainly nobody ever hugged me! So I’m loving it. But I’m getting some flak from people in our own ward. You wouldn’t think it mattered, where I go to church. It’s all the same gospel.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dear Kids,
      It was so hot and windy yesterday, when I got home from visiting in Orem our power was out and it was 88 degrees in the hallway. So I cancelled my piano lessons (couldn’t turn on the piano downstairs, too hot upstairs) and hung out in the basement until the power came back on. This morning, the temperature had dropped 40 degrees, and I had a very nice bike ride. So what is it, summer or an early fall?
      The family reunion last weekend was wonderful! Thanks to all of you for all you did. It was definately the best birthday party I ever had. Thanks for all the presents and gift cards. Donna and Bevan gave us tickets to the Deer Valley concert that night, where the Utah Symphony was playing the 1812 Overture, complete with black powder cannons. We had to wait through a long series of songs and jokes by a woman with an electric harp, and we got an eyefull of the crazy wine-and-cheesers, but when the overture finally started, it was terrific. We were standing at the top of the hill and we could see the cannons firing. For Dad, that’s unbeatable classical music.
      Paul has hit his 180! For those of you who don’t know the significance, it’s the number of installs he has to do in a summer to get all his rent reimbursed. In fact, he was just doing #180 last night when we called him, with questions about his textbooks we’re selling. Paul is also psyched about the drive home in a couple of weeks. We’re anxious to see him. Oh, by the way, he is becoming famous for baking Ninomo bars. It’s a brownie mix they sell in Canada, and they sound like Monopoly Bars, but easier to make. He baked them for a linger longer, and they were gone almost immediately. He says he’s bringing home about ten boxes of the mix, if he can get them. Let’s see, what will he say at the border? “I have ten boxes of Ninomo mix.” I guess they’ve heard everything.
      I won’t be cooking Sunday dinner again until the second Sunday in September, the 13th. Life has been too hectic. Too much fun. I’m trying to finish the book of ancestor stories on Grandma Allen’s side, and get back in shape for the Great Utah Ride, and plant grass in the back yard, and finish the agriculture shed at the cabin, and get my piano students back on track. It’s all fun.
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Sharon has some interesting news from Thackerland. If you check her blog, you can see ultrasound pictures from her doctor visit. It looks very much like a girl. Sharon’s having another ultrasound in three weeks, and they’ll know for sure, then. (She gets lots of ultrasounds because she’s participating in yet another study. I guess it’s part of university life.)
      The Allen family reunion last Saturday was a blast. I hope to get a copy of the mob picture and put it on our blog. There’s one on Carly’s blog, but it doesn’t enlarge very much. Maybe someone else will put up a link to a really good copy. Anyway, it was great to see all of you who were there, and we missed the rest of you. It was also great to see a gazillion neices and nephews and cousins and kids. I think Grandma and Grandpa Allen are going on 85 great grandchildren now. What a family!
      Meanwhile, we’re gearing up for our own wonderful 2nd annual Ackerson family reunion starting this Friday evening. All the details are in my last Mom letter. I’m sure it will be just as much fun as last year. And for next year, we’re hearing rumors of The Tetons. Wahoo!
      The Windstar died in disgrace in front of the Lighthouse Church on Sunday, but thanks to a towing to Bill and Randy’s, it’s up and running again. It was the fuel pump. So I was sidelined at home for a couple of days, when I was anxious to be at the cabin, working on the bunkhouse. Most of the outside is finished, including the windows and a door, but we need to have the metal roof done. (It’s too steep to tackle ourselves. Ask Dad. Ask him about the bruises and scrapes on his legs!)(I have a picture of him smiling and waving his hammer from the top of the roof, just before his fatal slide. But luckily he was able to catch himself before he fell all the way to the ground).
      I went out bike riding again this morning, for the first time in about a month. Wow, you can get out of shape really fast! Lots of training doesn’t do you much good if you quit for a month (even for something as exciting as a bunkhouse.) The river is really low now, and the ducks are gone. Maybe the DWR rounded them up. Maybe they’ve been served at a Chinese restaurant. Who knows? I had a fun ride, but I’m looking forward to cooler weather. The Great Utah Ride is still on. Charley and Richard and Andy are training hard. Let me know if you plan to be part of it. I’m starting Friday morning, Sept. 4th. Dad will join up that night. We’ll be home the evening of the 8th. There’s talk now of doing the ride in disconnected segments, and it might include a sleepover at Charley’s house in St. George.
      So much fun! So much family! I love you all! Mom

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I’ve been at the cabin all week working on the agricultural shed, and it’s coming along great. Bevan helped me a lot on Friday, except that he kept getting distracted whenever a magpie flew into the field. He had to grab the pellet gun each time and get off a shot or two. He didn’t have any luck that morning, but overall he’s shot five of them. The main flock has moved on now, however, so I won’t be paying out as much bounty now.
      Next Saturday morning is the Allen family reunion at the Riverwoods Park in Provo, same park as always, (except for the year we accidentally got the Riverside Park) . We have the pavilion reserved from 8:30 am until 2:30 pm. There will be a big “mob” family picture at 11:30 am, so be there!! Bring your own lunch, like always, and maybe a dessert to share. There will be a waterslide for everybody, and a fish pond for the kiddies. Bonnie says there will be a record number of people there–all of Katie’s family, and Nancy’s, and Barbara’s, and lots of everybody else. Directions? It’s hard to find, I know. From the interstate you take the Orem Center Street exit, and then go all the way across Orem, nearly to the University Parkway. But if you cross the Provo River, you’ve gone too far. The GPS coordinates are 40°17'41.47" N, 110° 39' 48.75" W. Or, call me on my cell if you get lost.
      Then, the following weekend is the second annual Ackerson family reunion! Here’s the agenda, courtesy of John and Heather (I have preserved John’s original spelling):
July 31st
6:00-9:00 PM Weenie Roast with buffet fixings (food and fire will be provided)
Badmitton, horseshoes, and other lawn games will be avaliable.
8:00PM Graham Cracker S'mores. Moms famous chocolate coated graham crackers will be provided. Camping in tents around the campfire for anyone who wants to. Bring your own tent and bags.
August 1st
7:00-8:00 AM John's famous pancake breakfast at the cabin (food provided)
8:30 Leave for park City Alpine slide
9:00 Alpine Slide and other local activities
11:30 Sneak tour of the old Sweat Water Condo and pool area!
12:00 PM Lunch at Park City City Park with provided Pizza and drinks. (food provided)
1:30 Kamas Pool Swimming with mandatory waterslide participation.
4:30 Official adjournment with optional Movies/outlet shopping or just going home. Dinner is on your own for Saturday evening.
Food cost will be $25 per family for 3 meals.
Alpine slide is around $10 per person. Google it for more information.
     (This is Mom again) It all sounds like a lot of fun. If anybody can’t afford the food charge, you can apply to me for a waiver.
      Dad and I went to David Tregaskis’s homecoming this morning in Orem. It sounded like he had a great mission! Matt Allen’s homecoming is next week, and here’s a message from Richard: “Hey everybody if you are not tired of missionary home comings by now you can come to Matt’s on Sunday the 26th at 11 am at our old chapel in South Jordan 2600 West 9800 South. We will have lunch afterwards.”
      So much going on! So much fun!! Love, Mom

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I just came home from Austin James’s homecoming in Orem. You can tell Austin was a really great missionary, and he gave a wonderful talk. I had fun gossiping with my brothers and sisters at Bonnie’s house afterwards. David Tregaskis’s homecoming is next Sunday at 9:00 a.m. at Nancy’s ward, 800 E. 600 North, in Orem. There’s a brunch afterwards. Matt Allen’s homecoming is the following week at Rich and Jeanne’s old ward in South Jordan, at 11:00 am. Such fun! It doesn’t seem that long ago that those three boy cousins were blessed on the same day, in Grandma and Grandpa’s ward in Orem. Remember? They had little matching outfits.
      I had lots of fun at the cabin this week, working on the bunkhouse. Donna and Bevan helped me a lot, and Dad came Friday night. All the walls are up, and most of the rafters for the roof. This coming week I hope we’ll finish the roof and start nailing down waferboard. I’m not going back until Wednesday afternoon, though, because I need to rest up and recover from my injuries. I have sunburned ears, a split lip, lots of injuries on my hands, including one from the nail gun, and black toes on my left foot. (From spraining my ankle two weeks ago.) My neck hurts and my head, too, from bonking it on boards and scaffolding. So I need a few days to recuperate.
      It’s strange now at the cabin, not having the internet. I can’t check the weather hour by hour, and I don’t keep up on the news. It’s kind of nice. We miss Tom and Kim and their kids, however. I miss Bentley following me around asking questions about what I’m doing. I miss Kim calling me in for lunch. I miss Tom and the little girls. It’s weird. But down in Heber, they’ve been invited to three block parties, and they’ve already been visited by the bishopric and the primary presidency. There are advantages to living in town. Except that you can’t shoot magpies.
      Bevan shot another one Thursday morning. He’s a good shot, of course, but he has more to shoot at, since there’s now a whole flock of them, maybe ten or fifteen, and they all come around at once. They startle pretty easily, but the younger ones are stupid, and they just sit there, waiting to be taken out. Bevan put the dead magpie on the wood pile, and the others came back and danced around it and squawked. Bevan shot several more times, but they were moving around too much.
      What else? Nora and her family were at the cabin Friday night and Saturday, because Nora and her friend Amber were doing the Echo Triathlon. What, you never heard of the Echo? Triathlons are springing up all over the place, and great athletes like Nora and Amber are having lots of fun doing them. Nora was 21st in her age group.
      I’m still loving the Spanish branch. Today they asked me to give the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. You can bet it was short! Kathy Newton (Kenny’s sister-in-law) asked me to play the piano for her in Primary the week after next. There are no hispanics at all in that branch who play the piano or the organ–I had no idea. More fun for me!
      I love you all! Mom

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I just got home from a 3-day stay at the cabin, where we did a ton of work on the bunkhouse/aka shed. Not only did we do the floor joists, the floor, insulation, and power, but we also framed two walls! They looked very impressive, standing there, as we drove away this afternoon. I’ll be going back on Monday to work some more.
      As you all know, Tom and Kim moved to Heber last weekend. Their house is very nice! There are lots of friends for Bentley, Emma, and Ali, so everybody’s happy. The magpies at the cabin were especially happy, and Sunday night they were doing a victory dance on the east lawn. Bevan grabbed the pellet rifle and raced up to the balcony in Moose, where he took aim and shot one dead. Thursday night, he shot another one! I’ve been offering a bounty of $5.00 per magpie carcass, and this is the first time I’ve had to pay out! (Tom shot one last year, but that was before my magpie promo.) John says he might come to the cabin and shoot magpies to help pay for his gliding hobby. You’d think the magpies might clear out now that they’ve had fatalities, but all they do is squawk.
      I won’t be cooking Sunday dinner at all in July, because the three missionary cousins are all having their homecomings, one after another. Austen James is already home, and his homecoming is on the 12th, at Bonnie’s church on 900 West and 1200 North in Orem, at 1:00 pm. They will have lunch after Sacrament Meeting at their house. David Tregaskis’s is the following week, at their church in Orem, and Matt Allen’s the week after that, in their old ward in West Jordan. That will be the day after the Allen Family reunion (July 25), same park, same time as every year. The week after that is our Ackerson reunion (August 1) and I’ll put more details in my next letter. Is all that clear?
      Paul is still doing great in Nova Scotia, and he’s actually ahead on his number of installs, compared with this time last year. Of course last year he had some bang-up weeks late in July, which isn’t so likely with the more uptight Canadians. Paul says that APEX had some bad press, which has made people less likely to buy their systems–sort of like missionary areas getting flooded with anti-Mormon literature. Go, Paul!
      I’m excited to be seeing so many of you so soon! Love, Mom

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Last Friday morning I had a wonderful bike ride with Nora and Vanessa. I’d been hoping there was some way they could ride on the Jordan River Parkway with me, and it just magically worked out. Vanessa and Trent had come to town so Trent could buy a mountain bike off KSL.com, and Nora has gotten hooked on her new road bike. Vanessa said they were staying overnight at Nora’s so they could do a bike ride the next morning, and I talked them into coming with me. They were wonderfully patient with my slow pace, and we had a great ride. I was so anxious to show them the baby ducks (or maybe they’re geese,) but when we got to that part of the trail, the ducks were sitting in the path, glaring at us, and I realized they weren’t really cute any more. I said, “But you should have seen them when they were tiny!” Now they’re gangly adolescents with attitude. Oh well, the ride was fun. We went about 20 miles. It would have been farther but Nora and Vanessa had to get back home to their kids. Trent was alone with all 8 of them because James was gone on a Super Adventure with the Young Men.
      If anybody needs Paul’s address in Nova Scotia, he just e-mailed it to me. It’s Paul Ackerson, APX ALARM, #609 610 Regency Park Drive, Halifax NS, B3S 0C2. Now that I don’t send letters any more, I hardly notice if I don’t have somebody’s address.
      Dad and I are heading to the cabin this afternoon to help Tom and Kim move. I had wanted to bring the new waterslide I bought, to entertain the kids during the move, but instead, I’m returning it to Sams Club. All the reviews that have come out on Amazon.com have been negative. Everybody says the two short slides are too steep, and kids hurt their bottoms when they land in the pool. Oh, well. Maybe they’ll re-design it and market it again next year. It would have been so much fun!
      Dad and I are doing great these days without TV. Gloria Longhurst asked me how it was working out, and I was glad to tell her it was fine. Dad watches the TV at UTA every afternoon when he gets off work, instead of coming home and turning it on. Here at home, the only thing our TV gets is an analog program on the Channel 5 frequency that tells you how to switch to digital. Needless to say, Dad has watched it a lot of times.
      We’ll be at the cabin most of next week, building the bunkhouse. Or starting to build it. I’m figuring things out one step at a time. If anybody wants to do something for the 4th of July, let us know. A barbecue, maybe? It’s a Saturday, so we’ll be headed for home in the evening. We’d be glad to come to any of your houses for fireworks. Or you can bring them to the cabin. Let me know.
      Lotsa love, Mom

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Since Fathers Day is this coming Sunday, Dad and I will be driving to Orem about 5:30 pm to visit Grandpa Allen. If you want to visit Dad there, (and Grandpa, too!) you can just meet up with us. Or, we’ll be at our house earlier in the afternoon, from about 2:00 pm, when we get out of Church, until we leave for Orem, so if you want to call Dad or visit at our house, feel free.
      Dad and I finally made it to one of Carson’s baseball games (machine pitch, Pinto League) on Wednesday night, and were we ever glad! It was the very last game of the playoffs, and Carson’s team was ahead when we got there. (Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Carson hit his triple.) Carson’s team is the Cincinnati Reds, and of course they wear red shirts. They’re also pretty good! They held off the other team and won the championship! Carson got a nice little trophy, and then we just sat on the grass and hung out for a while. You’ve gotta love these long summer evenings. Especially when it isn’t raining.
      Dad had an unpleasant surprise at work today. One of the UTA dispatchers called him and said they needed information about his drivers license renewal, which should have happened on (or before) his birthday. What a shock, for a UTA bus driver to realize he’s driving with an expired license! They could’ve probably even put him in jail! What they did was have a big laugh, and Dad went right to the Drivers License office when his shift ended. He had to answer 20 questions about school bus driving, pay $56.00, and have his picture taken. Luckily it wasn’t any worse than that. Usually you get a letter in the mail several weeks ahead of time, but they must have forgotten him this time around.
      There was a strange small black and white bird walking up the side of our cherry tree this morning. Walking? I swear he was walking. I think it was a baby magpie. There’s been a magpie couple swooping in and out of the tree for a while, terrorizing our cats, but I didn’t know they had hatched any babies. Too bad for them. Baby robins are cute (ask Nora) and baby kingbirds, too, but I don’t feel any love for baby magpies. I hope they disappear quietly, so Dad won’t have to borrow back the pellet rifle from the cabin.
      “The Ackerson Kids Grow Up,” which is making all you famous, is now listed on Goodreads, since 3 people have reviewed it. (Sharon, Rachel DeBuck, and one of Sharon’s friends, Andrea). One of Rachel’s friends marked it as “to read.” Who would’ve thought? By the way, if you sign on to Goodreads, do a search for Barak Obama and see what his favorite books are. It’s pretty funny. (Nobody thinks it’s the real Barak Obama.) Here’s the link: http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/1607516?sort=rating&view=reviews
      Lotsa love, Mom

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I’m having a TV-Signals-Going-Off-The-Air party for myself this morning. Yep, it’s the day they promised us, ending the analog signals, after putting it off for so long. So today I’m watching each station go off the air. Channel 7 went off at 10 am, and I watched the picture turn from clear to fuzz. Channel 13 goes off at noon, and the rest of them at 1pm. I’m loving it. The media has used words like “unprepared,”“unready,” and “in danger” to describe people like me, but the only danger is to themselves, if too many of us enjoy life without TV.
      We’ve had a ton of rain here! Who would believe, monsoon season in June! I had been working in the back yard, trying to get it re-planted with grass, but now it’s just a morass of mud. I keep promising grandkids that they can play out there soon, but of course they prefer the dirt and mud, anyway. Which reminds me, I’m cooking Sunday dinner day-after-tomorrow, so let me know if you want to come. 5:00 pm.
      Donna was here Tuesday, taking the very last part of her landscape-licensing exam. She was showing me the passing statistics online, and it’s sometimes as high as 75%, or as low as 28%, depending on how the test was written that time around. No wonder people have to take it over and over again, if they happen to catch the harder versions! Let’s hope this test was the lucky one for Donna.
      I’m really enjoying sacrament meeting in the Spanish branch. Last week they had a baby blessing! (The baby might have been the only legal hispanic there!) The organ is great–it’s a real pipe organ! In fact, I actually got to play it, on Wednesday, for Franz Nelson’s funeral. (Yep, he died at age 80, mostly from the effects of Alzheimers.) There’s no comparison between that lovely pipe organ and the wretched thing in our own building. The only organist in the Spanish branch is Janice Peterson, from 8th Ward. She’s borrowed. Maybe they could borrow me, too, since I’ll be there every week. I can hope.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Nora and I saw a terrific water slide in Sam’s Club this morning. I might buy it for the family reunion. You know how we’re having a sleepover at the cabin Friday night (the 31st) for anyone who wants to pitch a tent? What if we set up the waterslide that afternoon, and we can have a water party, to get our family reunion off to a fun start. I’ll provide dinner, if you let me know that you’ll be there. It sounds fun. And then we’ll still have all day Saturday to swim at the fitness center in Kamas, and go to Park City and play. Hey, it’s less than 2 months off!
      Carson and Ellie are here today. Missy is in Michigan visiting Tara, so I agreed to have a turn watching them. They came last night, and we hung out in the back yard, and I felt bad that it’s still all dirt. (I haven’t replanted it yet.) Do you think Carson and Ellie minded? They were shoveling and digging and raking dirt, and having a great time. I forgot kids love dirt more than anything else. You can finish your whole yard, but if there’s one patch of dirt, that’s their favorite place.
      Last time I talked to Paul, he said it was a pretty good week–13 installs. A couple of their sales reps had gone home, and now if a few of the installers go home, too, Paul should have a ton of work.
      I’ve been complaining to some of you about the organ in our church, which they put in brand new about a year ago. It sounds to me like fingernails on a chalk board, but nobody else seems to mind it. After listening to it for a year (I quit playing it after only one week) I was desperate. So now I go to sacrament meeting in the Spanish branch at the Lighthouse Church, and it’s lots of fun. It starts late and ends early. I can understand almost everything. Their organ sounds good. Everybody’s friendly. Vanessa, remember Joey Anderson? (Of course you do.) Her mom is in the branch, because she’s married to a hispanic now. She has a daughter Ashley, who’s Monica’s age, I think, and somebody Sharon’s age. Anyway, the mom is named Pam, and she remembered some of you. She said I would really enjoy the rest of the meetings, but I had to get back to our ward for Nursery and Relief Society. I could easily be convinced to switch over totally, though.
      I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner on June 14th at 5:00. Let me know if you want to come!
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, May 29, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Tom and Kim have a house! Well, a house they’re going to rent. It’s in John and Heather’s neighborhood (but not in their ward) and they’re moving into it the end of June. Tom is pretty confident that housing prices will keep going down, and I think he’s probably right. At least they won’t be going up any time soon. So maybe after a year or so they’ll buy their dream house, or maybe it will be built. The fun goes on. At least they’ll have the room they need, with a family of six.
      Dad and I had a great time at the cabin Memorial Day weekend. We went to church in the Francis 2nd ward on Sunday. You see guys with big belt buckles and bolo ties, and ladies in levi skirts. At least their organ doesn’t ring in my head like the new one in our chapel here at home. (I’ve had it with that organ--I’m going to start attending the 9:00 am sacrament meeting at the Lighthouse Church, and then coming back to our ward for the rest of the block.)
      Monday was fun, too. Donna and Bevan took us on a bike ride in the morning. We went up Lower River Road to the Oakcrest turnoff, and then up the hill, past Mrs. Fields’ ranch, and back to the cabin. It was very refreshing. (i.e. very cold.) We loved it.
      Memorial Day afternoon was like another Eric Dowdle puzzle, but a summer version, this time. People were playing horseshoes, badminton, cowboy golf, and croquet. And, as Nora remarked, we were all OUTSIDE. That was the greatest. The weather was beautiful, not too hot, not too cold. As everybody was having fun, I realized that all our outside games have been donated to the cabin. I think John was the first one to bring a badminton set. Vanessa and Trent gave us the cowboy golf. Monica and Neil donated the croquet set, for their big wedding bash. And James and Nora gave us the horseshoes, many years ago. So thanks to all of you. I wish you could all have been there. I’m looking forward to the family reunion on August 1.
      Dad is having a great time with his new GPS, so thanks to all of you who went in on it for his birthday. He’s literally a kid with a new toy. Last night he was sitting on the front porch programming in different directions. This afternoon we’re using it to drive to the cabin. Of course we don’t need GPS to get there, but he likes having it tell him out loud when to turn. I could do without the voice, but I guess that’s part of the fun. He showed me I could set it for German or Spanish, if the English got boring.
      Life is great. I love you all! Mom

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I guess you all received the e-mail about Mike VanLeuven’s suicide on Monday. I haven’t heard anything more since then. He left instructions for no funeral or memorial service, and no obituary. He must have been pretty unhappy, to take his life. It’s all so sad.
      Paul is doing fine in Halifax. He’s not getting as many installs as he would like, but things should start moving soon. He’s one of the top two installers, so he gets more work than the rest of them. Go, Paul!
      The cat Furminator arrived in the mail today, so I’ve been furminating Oreo. I’ve pulled out gobs and gobs of fur, so much so that he’s only half the fellow he used to be! Funny that Xena hasn’t showed her face yet. She must have heard about it. She’s so obese now that she has to lie down to eat her cat food. I don’t know if the furminator can cut her size in half. Monica, what do you do with all that fur? Is there some craft you can make with it? Some weaving, maybe? It seems like a waste to throw it all away.
      Have you all heard that our governor, Jon Huntsman, is being sent off to China? It’s perfect! Great place for him! The new governor is Gary Herbert, who I knew in high school. He probably doesn’t remember me. I don’t think he’s a clone of Huntsman. He always seemed very sensible.
      I had a great bike ride this morning. The Jordan River is way over its banks in lots of places, and sometimes I was riding in a foot of water! I got pretty wet. The ducks and ducklings and geese and goslings were loving it. There’s even a flock of swans, but they always keep their cool. I stopped at a Mavrick for ice cream at the 40-mile mark. (There are 4 Mavrick’s within half a mile of my route, so I always have to stop somewhere!) Bike riding is so much fun, I always hate to come home and do housework.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dear Kids,
      The Windstar turned over on 250,000 miles Sunday night. Dad and I were driving home from Orem, when I noticed it was at 249,999, so we both watched it turn. Who knows if it will make it to 300,000? I had an exciting bike odometer event this morning, too. Well, it’s not really the odometer, but the distance meter, which I reset every time I go on a long ride. For the first time, I watched it turn over on 50 miles. (I was in the Church parking lot, nearly home.) That was a great moment for me. I wanted to knock on somebody’s door and say, “I just rode 50 miles!”
      Wednesday night Heath Parker came by to visit, and he brought his 2-year-old daughter Penny. (They have a 6-month-old daughter, too, but she was off with her mom). They live near Seattle and Heath works for Boeing. He has a B.A. in accounting, a MBA, and half of a law degree. He won’t be finishing the law degree for two more years, because he’s just taking night classes. He was telling us that things are different outside of Utah, and we said we know that, because we’ve been a lot of places. We told him that our Windstar had been to Canada and Mexico and Nauvoo and Baltimore and Albuquerque and Phoenix, and had made countless trips to Pocatello, Logan, Price, Heber, and of course, to the cabin. He said, “Well, if you want to drive your 250K up to Seattle, I can show you around Boeing.” Dad was drooling as Heath described the different planes they make. There’s a hanger 7 stories high! One of the Boeing plants is in Everett. Road trip, Donna and Bevan? It sounds tempting. Heath sends warm greetings to Monica!
      Speaking of Monica, she gave me a lead on a cat groomer called the furminator. (Sounds like a cross between and exterminator and a fumigator.) It’s supposed to take out the cat’s winter undercoat all at once, instead of having it shed for weeks. Monica used it on Ramona and pulled out a whole bagful of fur! Sounds good to me! I ordered one from Amazon. I’m tired of getting fur in my nose every time I pick up a cat.
      Memorial Day weekend is coming up fast! Dad and I are going to be at the cabin from Friday afternoon until Monday evening. Does anybody want to do a barbecue on Monday? Let me know.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I just got back from an exhilarating 41-mile bike ride. It would have been longer, but the Jordan River Parkway was flooded at 7800 south. There’s an underpass, and the water was about two feet deep in there. I would have waded through, but it was kind of cool, and I wouldn’t have dried out very soon. So I turned around. In lots of places, the river is over its banks. The duck families love it. There are several moms and pops with their ducklings on the side of the river, and out swimming. You might wonder how they keep the kids separate, since they all look alike, but there’s always one parent with its neck out, keeping any stray ducklings out of their group. There’s lots of other wildlife out and about. I saw a white bunny, which might have escaped from somebody’s yard. And a Siamese cat jumping through the weeds.
      Paul called for the first time today from Halifax. He has a new cell phone, and the number is 902 789 0618. He won’t be using his T-Mobile number in Canada, since it’s about a dollar a minute. (Monica, he says he’s sending you a check for some extra charges. The first couple of days, they had trouble getting their new cell phones, and he had to use T-Mobile.) Paul’s work is going pretty well, considering it’s the first week. He’s been doing about two installs a day. He says it’s been raining all the time. I asked him if there were any Frenchies around, and he says only a few. Most of the sales reps are from Calgary.
      Dad and I were at the cabin last Saturday, and Bentley and Tom demonstrated how to make cake in a cup. You mix half a cup of cake mix, and some milk (I can’t remember how much), then put a little oil in a mug, swirl it around, pour in the mix, and nuke it for a couple of minute. Presto! You have cake! I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ll have to check again on the exact recipe. Tom said it’s a good way to use up cake mix that otherwise might not get used, because a whole cake might sit around and get stale. Funny, I don’t remember that ever happening in our house.
      Life is good! Love, Mom

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Tom and Kim’s announcement is old news by now, but if any of you have been absent from the planet, they’re having a girl! Bentley wasn’t pleased. I think everybody else is happy about it, especially Emma. Kim is happy about the fact that the ultrasound pushed back her due date, to September 23. She says, with the start of school and all they have going, it will give them more time.
      Other baby news: Jamie and Andrea are expecting in December. They’re really thrilled. Let’s hope everything goes OK for them. They’ve been trying for a long time. Carly and Levi have also been trying, but nothing has worked so far, so they would appreciate everybody’s prayers. Other cousins and their due dates: Dan and Amanda this month, and Richard and Diedra in October. Moka annouced her pregnancy in March, but I don’t know when the baby’s due. I think Grandma and Grandpa will have more than 80 great-grandchildren by then. Any other announcements I don’t know about?
      Paul is in Ann Arbor today, hanging out with Sharon and Seth. I called to see how he was doing, and they were trying to get into the football stadium. He left early Wednesday morning and drove as far as Omaha, and then yesterday he drove all the way to Sharon’s house. Tomorrow he’s driving to Boston, and then on Sunday to Halifax. Go, Paul!
      I went to see Dr. Rhodes this morning about my aching toe. I broke it almost two years ago, just before Monica’s wedding, and it never really healed. Dr. Rhodes remembers doing surgery on all your toenails! (Except for Vanessa, I think.) He was surprised that you’re all grown up. I was surprised to see he has a few gray hairs. It’s been twenty years since we first started trooping into his office. So we had fun catching up. He x-rayed my toe, and the break healed OK, but there’s a neuroma (swollen nerve) from the injury, and it’s causing the pain. He injected it with cortisone, the magical cure-all. If that doesn’t help, he can operate on it.
      You know it’s spring when the magpies start diving into the catfood pan for cat chow. I thought the neighbor cats were bad, but this is even more aggravating. Pellet gun, anyone?
      I usually fix Sunday dinner on the second Sunday of the month, which would be the 9th, but that’s Mothers Day, and Dad and I will be driving to Orem. So I’ll be cooking dinner this Sunday, day after tomorrow, the 3rd. I know it’s short notice, but let me know if you want to come. The month of May crept up on us. It still seems like March.
      Lots of Love, Mom

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dear Kids,
      John and Heather have come up with a great plan for our Ackerson family reunion on Saturday, August 1st. It starts that morning at the Kamas Fitness Center where we’ll go swimming. Then we’ll drive over to Park City and have a picnic lunch in the park, and reminisce about the glory days of our timeshare there. Maybe we can even go on a tour of our old favorite spots. There’s a great playground at that park now, too, which will be a lot of fun for the kids. Whoever wants to can go on the Alpine Slide or play miniature golf, or spend money on anything else fun. In the evening we can probably go to a fast food place for dinner, and then anybody who is still up for it can go to a movie together. If anybody wants to stay overnight at the cabin, that will be fine. Oh, the night before, Friday night, if you want to, some of us will be camping out in the back yard of the cabin. John says his kids would love that. We can pitch our tents facing the fire pit, like the people around King Benjamin’s tower. We could make smores. There are all kinds of fun possibilities. If any of you have comments or suggestions, please contact John or Heather.
      Paul is bringing his car home this afternoon so Dad can go over everything (while Paul studies for his finals.) Then, next Wednesday, Paul will leave from Logan. He’s planning to drive two days, stay a day with Sharon and Seth, drive another day and maybe stay overnight in Boston with Jane and Joe, and then drive on to Halifax. Do you realize, if he started in Salt Lake City and headed south, the same distance, he would end up in Panama?
      Speaking of road trips, Donna and Bevan are down in Moab having fun. On Monday, when they were getting ready to leave, their car was being repaired at Nate Wade Subaru. At the end of the day, when it was supposed to be finished, they went to hopefully pick it up and saw that their engine had been taken out. Hummm. So they got a loaner car, which they’re putting lots of miles on.
      Our bad cat Oreo has moved on to big game, as in seagulls. When I walked into the shop Monday morning, the whole room was full of feathers! (But no gore–not even a beak or feet.) I filled a whole bag with them. Some of them were up to 8 inches long. If there had been lots of black, I could have hoped it was a magpie, but the feathers were mostly grey and white. Oreo and Xena were both very smug about it, but I’m pretty sure Oreo was the perpetrator.
      Yesterday I went on a 42-mile bike ride: all the way north on the Jordan River Parkway, to where it ends, and then all the way south, and back to the middle, and home again. It took me four hours. The highest gear on my bike is broken, or maybe I could have gone faster, but then again, maybe I would have been totally exhausted. As it was, I made it just fine. If anybody wants more information about the Great Utah Ride on Labor Day weekend, let me know.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I was talking to Monica on the phone Sunday, and she reminded me that we have to nail down our plans for the Ackerson family reunion this summer. We decided on August 1, didn’t we? (It’s a Saturday). John and Heather are in charge, right? The Allen family reunion is the Saturday before that, if any of you can come. Same park, same time. But of course our own 2nd annual Ackerson reunion is the most important thing. Please let us know if any of you have a serious problem with August 1.
      Paul is still getting ready for his long drive to Nova Scotia, besides finishing his school year. Go, Paul. He was looking into career plans, and he says that he either needs a masters degree or 30 more hours of classwork to get his PE (professional engineer, I think), which everybody needs now. So he’s looking at finally finishing school in 2011. Speaking of finally finishing, the Ben Allens will be in Provo next week because Charles is finishing his masters degree, also in Civil Engineering. The Jane and Joe’s will be here, too. I talked to Joe on the phone this morning, to find out if Jamie was getting a masters degree, too. Nope. Just working. But Brendan got a BA from Framingham Community College. Joe also informed me that the “Cholly” Allens will be in Boston this weekend for the Marathon. I think he said Adrien is running it. What a gang of cousins you kids have!
      We’ve had serious winter weather the last few days. Yesterday I drove to Orem to visit Grandpa and Grandma, and there were 8 inches of new snow on the ground. They had even plowed the streets! I’m sure the mountains got a couple more feet of new snow, but the ski resorts are closed, so who cares? I’m hoping for it to warm up this afternoon so I can go for a long bike ride. It’s really addictive. You just want to hop on a bike and go. Anywhere.
      I just threw out Oreo because I’m trying to eat a bowl of cereal here, next to the computer. He’s crazy about milk, and will do anything for it. Last time I was eating cereal here, he reached up a paw and pulled the bowl over. I caught it in midair, but the milk splashed onto the carpet, and Oreo got busy licking it up. Bad Kitty! Why do we put up with him? There’s a little mouse smashed flat on the floor of the shop closet–I think Dad stepped on it a few times after it was already dead. It probably didn’t get there by itself! One of these days I’ve got to go scrape it up.
      Life is great. I love you all. Mom

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I just threw out Oreo for walking on the kitchen counter with muddy paws. He left a trail of dirty prints in the sink and on both sides. He thinks he’s king of the house, and when I put him out he flips his tail at me. Xena is always trying to get in, but she’s an outside girl now. Our brownish living room carpet the color of fresh dirt is too much of a temptation for her.
      Not much else is going on here. It seems like everybody else is off having fun. Allen and Missy and their kids are in San Diego. Nora went skiing today. Tom and Kim are in Price. I just looked at our calendar to remind myself if anything had happened here that I could write about, and this whole week has been a blank.
      Oh, yeah. Bike riding. I’m having more fun all the time. Tuesday I rode south to where the Jordan River Parkway ends, on 7th west, about 8500 South. Then I rode down 7th West (an awful, dirty, trashy area) to 90th, where the trail picks up again, along the golf course. But it doesn’t go very far. Still, by the time I rode all the way back to 39th south, and home again, it was 30 miles. And no flat tires. I have Dad to thank for the anti-thorn liners.
      I just read that Dennis Nordfelt is finally almost finished being mayor of West Valley, after seven years. Has it really been that long? And guess who’s running for his seat? I bet you’ll never guess. Never in a million years. Mike Winder! There was a picture of his smiling face in the Deseret News. I’m sure we’ll all get out and vote for him!
      Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dear Kids,
      I visited Grandma and Grandpa in Orem today. Grandma reminded me to tell all of you that the summer family reunion will be July 25th, same park, same format as before. It’s a week earlier than we usually do it. (Probably the same week as the Spudman.) I hope at least some of you can make it.
      One person who mostly likely won’t make it will be Paul. You all know his APEX assignment changed from northern Alberta to Florida, but have you heard that it’s been changed again, to Halifax, Nova Scotia? That’s right, 3,000 miles away. 1,100 miles farther than Florida. I’m sort of hoping they’ll change their minds one more time. I’m sure Nova Scotia is a great place, and we all have soft places in our hearts for Canada, but it’s so dang far. Nevertheless, he’s rounding up his passport and checking on health care. Go, Paul!
      I found a shredded bird on the shop floor a couple of days ago. Both cats were staring at me, seeing how I would react. Donna and Bevan were here, and Donna cleaned it up. You know the poem, “. . . Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore–only this, and nothing more.” Well, that described the unfortunate bird. You would think two cats without claws would leave birds alone, but that makes it more of a challenge, I guess. They can both climb the back fence OK.
      Winter goes on and on, and I’ve had two more wonderful snowboarding trips since I wrote last week. On Friday I went to Brighton with Becca Davis, and on Tuesday I went with Jennifer Longhurst Halling, who won my “snowboarding lesson” at our Relief Society auction last fall. This was the first time we could get our schedules together. It was absolutely fabulous snow, and Jennifer picked it up like she’d been doing it all her life. (She’s a skiier–she met Micah while she was working at Steamboat in Colorado.) So we had a great time. Normally I would hate having snow in April, but this year it’s been great.
      Last Saturday it was still spring, (before winter came back)so I went on another long bike ride. I was just going on 25 miles, when my front tire went flat. Luckily Dad was home, and he came to pick me up. By that time my back tire was flat, too, because I had started pulling thorns out of my tires. Dad put those special anti-thorn liners in, and I’m hoping it won’t happen again. I’m planning on lots of great rides on the Jordan River Parkway. If you ride from our house over to the river, and go as far south as you can, and then as far north as you can, and home again, it’s 35 miles. That ought to get me in great shape for the Big Utah Ride.
     Like me, I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it.       Mom

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Did I say I was done with snowboarding for the year? Well, there’s 32" of new snow at Brighton, and a cloud is still hanging over the mountain. Becca Davis and I are going up the canyon tomorrow morning to give it one more go. Never mind that I’ve packed away my snowboarding stuff for the year, never mind that I’ve been eight times already, the snow is calling me. Never mind, either, that it’s Friday tomorrow, and I’m always promising myself never to go to Brighton on a Friday. Maybe the usual hordes of people will be someplace else, since it’s spring now.
      Last Friday I did my first long bike ride, 25 miles. I rode over to the Jordan River Parkway (by way of Valley Fair Mall) and then as far south as it would go. It ends in Midvale, in an ugly industrial area. Then I rode back north again to 39th South, and home. I wasn’t even tired until later in the day! The weather was beautiful, cool and nippy, and my bike ran well. I was surprised to find so many other people on the parkway, though. I used the jingly bell on my handlebars dozens of times. I’m planning to do a long ride every Friday morning, earlier as the weather gets warmer, so if any of you want to join me, let me know.
      Last Sunday morning Dad and I drove to Logan for Paul’s “Ward Parents’ Day.” It’s always fun to visit a student ward and see how they do things! Paul was scheduled to speak in sacrament meeting, but the girl before him took up all the time. She was talking about her mission, and couldn’t be stopped. (Actually, nobody tried.) So Paul will get another chance on April 12th. I was disappointed, but otherwise we had a great visit. The linger longer food was great! I wish our ward would do that on a regular basis. People could make it through the block easier if they had a dinner to look forward to.
      Today is Benjamin’s birthday, but Nora and family are at Disneyland, so I’ll give him his present another day. Can you believe Nora, the jet hopper? This is her third airline trip in just a few months. I drove to the airport with them all yesterday, to bring their car back to our house. I was amazed at their compact packing. They made quite a gang on the sidewalk. The skycaps didn’t even look our way.
      My piano class at the Harman Home is going great. My four students are very diligent, but they get scared playing their songs for each other. I keep telling them it will get easier. They are all moving along really well. It’s harder for them to learn than it is for kids, but they have great concentration skills. The chess club is going well, too. There are usually just four of us. Yesterday there were only three, so I played my first simultaneous chess (two games at once), against both of the men who were there. We trade off doing that, when there's an odd number. It turns your brains inside out.
      April Conference is coming up! Let me know your Sunday plans. Love, Mom

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Because it’s Thursday night, Dad has gone off to his C.E.R.T. training. What’s that? I don’t know what the initials stand for, but it’s emergency preparedness for ordinary people. They issued Dad a green helmet which he loves to wear. At their last training session, they set fires behind the Stake Center, and then they put them out. (Sounds like something kids would do.) I assume they also learn CPR and other lifesaving measures. It must be lots of fun, because Dad is missing pack meeting tonight. Originally I signed up, too, but it’s from 7 to 10 pm, and I would be a zombie by then. So if we have a disaster, Dad will have to take care of me.
      Now that it’s spring (disregarding the snowstorm we’re supposed to have on Sunday and Monday) I’ve been riding my bike everywhere. Tomorrow will be my first really long ride. I’m riding over to the Jordan River parkway, and going as far south as I can, and maybe back as far north, too. I’m way ahead of Richard’s training schedule, which calls for 10-mile bike rides twice a week during April. Of course it goes up sharply from there, to 170 miles a week in August. (Does anybody want the schedule? I’m sure Richard will e-mail it to you.) At least I’m ahead of schedule now!
      Today I had fun visiting Grandma and Grandpa in Orem. I always take Grandma to Walmart, but Grandpa stays home to be there when “Meals-on-wheels” gets delivered. When we get home from Walmart, they eat their meals-on-wheels while I eat a sandwich from home. Sometimes we trade. Today Grandma gave me her meat patty to take home to our cats. (So far, they haven’t touched it.) After lunch, I help Grandma do book reports on Goodreads, and now I’ve got her hooked on the trivia quiz, besides. (100%, with 73 correct answers.) She wouldn’t have stopped, but Mark and Tamri showed up with their kids. (They came to Utah for her sister’s wedding.) We had a lot of fun visiting with them.
      Tuesday night was our ward’s Relief Society Birthday party, and I’m the enrichment counselor, so I had a lot to worry about. I worried that nobody would come, that the food wouldn’t be good, and that the program might not be good. I was wrong on everything, thank goodness. We had lots of ladies, and the program was great, and the food was good. But thank goodness, we only have enrichment every three months. I won’t have any more worries for a long time.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Spring is on the way, but we’re still having fun snowboarding here. That’s because of a wonderful huge snowstorm that hit on Monday, while Donna and Bevan and Paul and I were whooping it up at Brighton. It was white-out conditions at the top of Snake Creek Lift, but who cared? There was a foot or so of powder (on top of ice, which makes it lots of fun), and we had a wonderful time. You can see pictures and a video on Donna’s blog.
      As exciting as the snowboarding was, the trip home was even more eventful. About 1:30 Donna said we needed to get out of there. It was still really dumping, and as we pulled out of the parking lot, a Mustang ahead of us started to spin. No, we didn’t hit it. Crazy guy, he kept going. When he spun out again, we got past him. We inched down the canyon at about 10 mph, because even with blizzak tires, it was very slippery. Then we passed The Spruces campground, and the place was swarming with sheriff’s vehicles. That’s because they’d found a smoldering car with a body inside. Everyone’s criticizing the skiers who didn’t report it, but they probably thought it was a joke. Wasn’t it a custom at CEU to push a burning car over a cliff after finals? Something like that. I haven’t heard anything more about the body. They’ve had trouble identifying it.
      Farther down the canyon, there was another sheriff’s car at the side of the road, and in the middle, on the stripe, a dead bobcat. How terribly sad. Bobcats aren’t ordinary roadkill. He was really pretty. I felt sorry for whoever hit him.
      Other news: Paul is home this week for spring break, and he’s been doing his taxes and working on his car. He and Dad put on a new serpentine belt and changed the oil, and tomorrow they’re going to replace a transmission gasket. Paul is getting to be a good mechanic. Just like everybody else who buys the car manual and reads it. Go, Paul. He’s off skiing today at Deer Valley.
      Sunday dinner for April will be on the 5th, Conference Sunday, at the cabin. We’ll eat around noon, just after the morning session. Let me know if you’ll be there! The following week is Easter. Should we have an Easter egg hunt at the cabin on Conference weekend, or the next weekend on Easter Saturday? Does anybody want to make a plan? It’s coming up quickly. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through March.
      Life is good. I love you all! Mom

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Paul isn’t going to northern Alberta after all–he’s going to Florida! Right after I posted my letter last week, Jeanne called me, and told me what a wild place Ft. McMurray is, not to mention the stupendous cost of living there. I called Paul to tell him what she said, and he had already gotten himself re-assigned to Florida. He was worried that there were too many installers going to Ft. McMurray, so they said he could go to Daytona Beach, Florida, with his friend John. He’s cool with that. Last year I would have thought Florida was too far away, but now I’m happy for him. It’s all relative.
      I was hoping to go snowboarding with my friend Bekah Davis this afternoon, but there’s a storm blowing in, and it’s supposed to arrive about the time we’d be driving up there (Snowbird). Hopefully we’ll get another chance. Last Friday Dad and I went snowboarding at Brighton, because there had been a storm, but it wasn’t enough snow. Plus, there were about 20 busses of schoolkids there–maybe about a thousand “ski program” kids. And it was pretty icy. It got so whenever you made a turn, you couldn’t pull out of it, and just kept sliding. So we went home early. Dad felt like he’d had his money’s worth. I guess it’s almost time to think about spring, and hiking at the cabin, and bike riding, but I’m hoping for at least one more good snow day.
      My first group piano lesson at the Harman Home was lots of fun. I only had four people, because there was a talent show going on, and some of the ones who had signed up were performing. In fact, we could hear them. The piano is up on the third floor, in the new wing, and there’s a great view of the mountains. All while I watched them re-building that place, I never dreamed I’d be teaching a piano class on the top floor. My students are very serious, and determined to learn. I gave them paper keyboards to practice on, until they were ready to play the real piano. It worked out really well! I do piano at 11 am, and then we have lunch, and then there’s chess club at 1:00. It’s a great schedule!
      Let me know if you’re going to be here for Sunday Dinner this week. It’s Donna’s birthday!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Poor Paul! They’re sending him to northern Alberta for the summer, “they” being Apex, his employer. His main city is supposed to be Fort McMurray, about 57 degrees north latitude, somewhere near the midnight sun. He’s not very happy about the assignment. They’ve told him that it’s a high-crime area, and it’s growing fast, so that should give them a lot of business. At any rate, it should be a great adventure.
      I’m going to teach a beginning piano class at the Harman Senior Rec Center, starting next Wednesday. I’m there anyway for chess club, so I’ll just come a couple of hours earlier. There are seven people signed up, six ladies and a man. (That’s just about the opposite of chess club.) I’m supposed to give them xerox sheets of their music, and then have them give it back when they learn the songs, and they’ve told me that will avoid breaking any copyright laws. So yesterday I located the copy machine and ran off some songs. It really makes you feel like part of the establishment, using the copy machine!
      Dad received a major award at the Blue and Gold Banquet. Since he’s been doing Webelos for at least six years now, his total time in cub scouting, counting his work back in the 80's, is easily more than ten years. The plaque was made by Harold Rasmussen (Janae’s dad) and it says, among other things, “You are a Webelos leader who TOWERS above the rest.” I didn’t get it at first, but it’s talking about the tower in our back yard, which the Webelos love to climb. By the way, the tower is ten years old this year! Can you believe it! I’ve got to do some renovation on it this summer, so it can go several more decades.
      I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner on March 8th. We’ll probably eat at 5:00 in the afternoon. Let me know if you want to come.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Whoa, the sun is shining and spring is coming! We haven’t done enough snowboarding yet this year, but I’m also starting to think of outside bike rides and hiking the loop at the cabin.
      Anybody who’s read Kim’s blog this week knows that they have another little Ackerson on the way. Congratulations! Ali told me last week, when Dad and I were at the cabin. She said she had a baby in her tummy. I figured she meant something else. Tom confirmed that the baby was actually in Kim’s tummy. They were thinking of keeping quiet about it for a couple more weeks, but I said I couldn’t resist putting it on my blog, so Kim put it on hers first. That’s great. I’m thinking there’s another little grandchild on the way, too. Anybody else ready to make an announcement?
      I visited Grandma and Grandpa yesterday, and had a lot of fun, as usual. There was a big heart-shaped box of Sees candy by Grandma’s chair, and I was impressed with all their self-control. Here it was five days after Valentines day, and the box was still almost full? Well, there was more to the story. A few days before Valentines, somebody got the box of candy for Grandpa to give Grandma, and he hid it. Then he couldn’t remember where it was. Katie searched the house from top to bottom, even the garage, and couldn’t find it anywhere. So they got another box. Then, when Grandma found out, she had to solve the mystery. She handed the box to Grandpa and said, “If you were going to hide this, where would you put it?” He thought about it, went out to the garage to the file cabinet, and found the other one! Go, Grandma! Miss Nancy Drew. When I visit, she and I always sit down at the computer and update her books on Goodreads. She likes to read everybody else’s reviews, too. I even got her started on the unending book quiz. Anybody still want to know how to get 100%? I’ve found even better tricks. If you look on Goodreads at the best winning streak, you’ll see that I’m at the top, (with a streak of 1,000 right answers) out of 197,000 people who have taken the quiz. Nobody seems to be impressed by that, but I think it’s cool.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear Kids,
      My big excitement this week was snowboarding with Donna and Bevan on Monday. When we got to Brighton, it was snowing hard, with about eight inches of powder already. Donna kept exclaiming about the wonderful snow, so I guess they don’t get those kinds of storms at Deer Valley. And the place was practically deserted! We did a couple of runs on the bunny hill, and then we were ready for the big time! We did three runs on Majestic, and to tell the truth, I’ve never snowboarded in powder before. It’s just like floating! Powder makes you want to shout “Wa-hoo!” When we went into the cafeteria for lunch, everybody was laughing about how much fun they were having. (As Tom would say, “You don’t see that on the golf course.) After lunch I sat out a couple of runs, while Donna and Bevan checked out the faster lifts. (Majestic didn’t quite do it for them.) Then we went up Snakecreek, and it was a whole new world for me, going up that high, that fast. And I had to really hustle to keep up with Donna and Bevan going down. We all tumbled a few times. Donna has some new low-slung ski pants, which don’t work too well when you roll head over heels. She got snow up her backside. But it was all good. Really good!
      I’m disappointed that our analog TV signal won’t be cut off, like they promised. We have to wait until June. The media says it won’t make any difference–people who are too stupid or uneducated or technologically backward will never be ready. They have no clue about people who like to read and play chess and watch Perry Mason and Twilight Zone DVD’s. We don’t need broadcast TV. Dad and I are halfway through the first season of Perry Mason, and I can truly say that if TV were that good now, I would watch it.
      Here’s an e-mail that came this morning from Ginny: Starlene Threnety ( pronouced Trinity) Stevens (Theresa’s baby) was born this morning at 2:10. She weighs 7 lbs 14 oz and is 20 inches long and has lots of long dark hair. I delivered her just a couple of minutes before the midwife got there . . . what a special moment that was!!! Love, Ginny
      I can’t think of any other news. Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dear Kids,
      Have any of you tried to buy rubber cement lately? You have to show ID! No kidding. I looked for it at Walmart, but it’s not there any more. So got it at Office Max. I asked the checker why it was so hard to find, and he didn’t know, but he said I had to show ID to buy it. I told him I was a harmless Grandma and I wasn’t going to sniff it, so he just asked for my date of birth. Crazy! I used to thin my rubber cement with naphtha, which you could get in gallon cans at Home Depot, but it’s not there any more, either. It was great for getting sticky residues off things. Now I have to use paint thinner. Talk about a high! I might as well be using naphtha. Somebody should clue in whatever government agency makes these rules!
      Nora and Vanessa went skiing at Deer Valley today. (I didn’t even know Vanessa was coming to town–she just shows up!) I hope they had a good time! I’ve had some good snowboarding adventures the last couple of weeks, and I have several more planned, with people that want to go. It’s been pretty good, and there’s a big storm system moving in, so hopefully it will be even better!
      Oreo has a new fetish–Butterfinger bars. He steals them out of my prize box in the piano room and demolishes them on the floor. He doesn’t get the doritos or anything else, just the Butterfingers. Now I have to keep the lid down. I might even have to start locking the box again. Who knows what Oreo can do!
      If any of you have been following the adventures of Mandy and Eddie, Sharon and Seth’s friends, who adopted a baby on Christmas day, you’ll be surprised to hear that they’re getting another baby! It was an adoption that fell through several months ago, but now the birth mother has decided she wants them to be parents of her baby! The new baby is three months older than Jonah, and they’ll be like twins. We’re so happy for them! (You know the old saying, it never rains but it pours.)
      Remember I’m cooking dinner this Sunday, the 8th. Let me know if you’re coming!
      Lots of love, Mom