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