Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Nora has posted all the family reunion information on a link from her blog. Thanks, Nora! It looks like great fun! There’s no place like the Tetons! All the assignments are listed. Dad and I will bring plenty of firewood, paper products, and campfire treats. I’m so glad we have an annual Ackerson reunion now!
      The Tongan funeral across the street has finally ended, after ten days. They had a luau every night, and street was always crammed with cars. Sometimes their food smelled really good and I wanted to go over and express my condolences again.
      My piano class for the Lighthouse Branch is still going great! I requested five more keyboards from the Church Music department, but I didn’t hear anything from them, so I bought three more from the Distribution center, out of my own pocket. So guess what the FedEx man brought me this morning? The five keyboards! Now we’re ready for anything! Dad is on vacation this week, so I had him help me with the class on Tuesday. I don’t think teaching piano is his thing, even though he had lessons as a kid. He had a lot more fun going to Webelos day camp yesterday and today.
      John got his most expensive birthday present ever, Tuesday evening. His new glider arrived. What, you didn’t know he bought another glider? It’s not so expensive this time around, because he’s splitting the cost with another guy. It’s a special glider for fat guys, so the tail is weighted with copper. You have to weigh at least 170 to fly it. (Of course that doesn’t sound fat to most of us. ) Go, John!
      Monica has purchased her own cat shaver to shave Ramona. No more traumatic rides to the groomer in the cat carrier! Monica says that Ramona doesn’t really mind the shaves. I ought to shave Xena and Oreo, since the heat seems to be getting to them. Every evening they stretch themselves out long on the picnic table and droop their heads over the edge.
      Remember I’m cooking dinner this Sunday evening, the 1st. We’ll be eating at five. Let me know if you’re coming! It seems like forever since we’ve seen some of you.
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I went out looking at cars Friday afternoon, and we found out that last January was the best time to buy a Toyota Sienna. December and January are when they go from the rental agencies to the auctions to the dealers, or at least the dealers we’re interested in. Incredible Motors, in North Salt Lake, has the best prices, but they don’t actually have the cars sitting in their lot. You tell them what you want, and they call you when they get one in, and you save a couple of thousand dollars over the other dealers. They said there are hardly any 2008 Siennas coming into the auctions now, and the 2009's won’t start coming until December. It’s funny, because Dad and I were looking last January, but I didn’t want to have to buy new blizzak tires in the middle of the winter. So we waited until we took the blizzaks off the Windstar, which wasn’t until the first of June. Anyway, we didn’t buy a car. Yet.
      Meanwhile, the Windstar is gone. (Cry, cry). Dad was convinced that it would blow its engine any day, and it should only be driven in an emergency. I told him that if it was sitting in the driveway, I was going to drive it anyway. We compromised by taking it to a junkyard on North Redwood Road, and they gave us $200, because it was drivable. If we’d had them come and get it, it would have been a free tow, that’s all. So now we just have the truck. I really miss that beloved Windstar. We had so many great adventures in it.
      My piano class for the Lighthouse Branch is going great guns. Tuesday was the second lesson, and 17 people showed up. (And there are 4 or 5 more people who want to start in the next week or two.) We had to double up on keyboards, which was OK, but people really do better by themselves. I’ve requested more keyboards from the Church Music department, but I don’t know if we’ll get them. And we really could use one more teacher! Does anybody out there want to come help us? It’s Tuesdays at 4:00, until 5 or 5:30, or whenever. What’s really fun is to see everybody laughing and helping each other out. I plan to have some of them playing the organ in Sacrament Meeting as soon as they start into the simplified hymn book.
      The grandpa of the Tongan family across the street died on Monday morning. He was exactly Dad’s age. The circle was filled with police cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance, and they had him on the front lawn, pounding on his chest. I don’t know how long they had been pounding, but it was obviously too long. Finally they took him away in the ambulance. It was heart trouble. I talked to the grandma the next day. (She said, “Thank goodness for the Plan of Salvation.”) All eight of their kids and spouses and 14 grandchildren have been at the house ever since, and their cars fill up the circle and stretch down the street. Every night is like a luau.
      Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Kids,
      When Dad and I got home from the cabin, Oreo was looking very ragged–pieces of fur pulled out, a wound in his leg, limping, and a soulful, dejected look on his face. We haven’t seen his magpie at all. I’m guessing it was a very violent breakup, maybe with a fatality on the other side. Or maybe she took up with a new mate, and they both attacked him. Whatever, Oreo is very lonely now, but he’s getting back to normal. You know how it is when a chapter in your life closes . . . .
      Our trip to Pocatello on Saturday was lots of fun. Nora and Addie and Paige rode with us, besides Donna and Bevan, so it was a carfull of fun. (I’m proud of the Windstar. 260+ miles, and it’s still taking us places, although we plan to look for a new car this weekend.) Sterling’s baptism was wonderful, of course, and we had a great dinner at Vanessa and Trent’s house afterwards. I can’t believe this house they’ve moved into! I had seen the outside before, but you have to be inside to see how absolutely huge it is. Vanessa noted that there’s plenty of room for the kids to run around, and the kids were definitely doing just that. Vanessa and Trent have lots of plans for painting, carpet, light fixtures, etc., since the house was built in the 70's. Dad was impressed with the solid oak doors.
      My piano class for the Spanish Branch started Tuesday, and lots of people showed up. Some of them brought their own keyboards, and some of them borrowed the ones I brought. It was bedlam. My lesson plan went to pot. Marie and Elise were lots of help, and we circulated around, making sure they could find middle C, and starting them out in the two beginning books I’m using. One thing you don’t realize, if you’ve never played the piano, is how hard it is to put your thumb on a key, along with your other fingers. Most of my new students are very enthusiastic, and I’m hoping to get things more organized and running smoothly.
      Jeanne and Melissa just stopped by, on their way to a bridal shower in their old ward. They had been in traffic all day, and they needed a place to change. It was fun to talk to them. I had forgotten how much fun Melissa is. She knows absolutely everything about everybody, just like Jeanne.
      Remember I’m cooking Sunday dinner on August 1. That seems like a long way off, but summer is absolutely flying by.
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Donna is having a girl! She had her ultrasound last Friday, and it’s most definitely and completely a girl! Donna brought home a whole string of pictures, some better than others. One of them only showed a foot.
      Sterling’s baptism is this Saturday, July 10th, at 4:00 pm in Pocatello. It’s not in the usual church building where we’ve always gone, so call Vanessa for directions if you’re planning to go. Their home phone number isn’t working right now, because of their move, but Vanessa’s cell # is 208 406 1629. Vanessa figured most of us Utahns wouldn’t be able to come, because of the distance, but Dad and I are going for sure, and Donna and Bevan will be riding with us. I’m looking forward to seeing the new 70's house the Suttons’s have moved into. I saw it once before, and it has a great yard! Lots of possibilities inside, too!
      My normal date for cooking Sunday dinner is usually the 2nd Sunday of the month, but Dad and I are way off schedule because of our travels, so I think I’ll wait till the first Sunday in August, which is August 1st. (A great day!) Our family reunion at Colter Bay will be August 12-14 (a Thursday to a Saturday), and Nora has been busy making food assignments. It should be lots of fun. Dad and I are looking forward to camping out in our tent. (Dad, especially.) We have this great tent we’ve hardly ever used!
      Dad and I have been at the cabin practically full time the last couple of weeks. Dad is doing his annual painting job, putting oil stain on the cabin, and I have my usual projects. Naturally there isn’t time to do everything. Then there’s the excitement of shooting magpies. They especially love anything with meat and rice, so we know just how to lure them into the yard. Bevan is definitely the best shot. No matter how many he picks off, they keep coming back for the bait. I think they dare each other to go take a nibble.
      I’ll be starting my piano class for the Spanish branch next Tuesday. I’ve been printing music books and organizing my materials. The Church sent me 10 Casio keyboards to use, so I’ve been unpacking them and trying them out. I sort of feel like the people in River City when the Wells Fargo Wagon arrived and they got their band instruments and uniforms. Harold Hill says, “I always think there’s a band!” Well, I’m definitely going to have a piano class. I’m not sure yet who will be there, but it should be fun. Marie Searle and Elise Fulton are going to be my assistants.
      So much going on! So much fun! Love, Mom