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