Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I just got home from Walmart, where we bought a 32" flat screen HDTV for watching conference at the cabin. Heck, we might install it permanently there, if I can find a way to run the wire from the antenna through the wall. (No cheap-looking cable across the floor and up the wall and out the window for us.) For now, we’ll probably just put the TV on the coffee table. At least we’ll have a signal! Last conference we couldn’t get anything very consistently. So we’re looking forward to Saturday and Sunday. I know several of you are coming for Sunday dinner, and that will be a lot of fun.
      Speaking of fun--we’ve had lots of it! Starting with Sharon and Lucy’s arrival last Friday morning, and Grandpa Allen’s birthday party Friday night, and the shower on Saturday. I might also add the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday night, which turned into a shopping trip for Nora, Sharon, Lucy, and myself, since our Stake Center was somehow cut out of the broadcast signal. We went to the nice dinner at 5:00 pm, and got to visit with a lot of the great ladies in our Stake, before the broadcast was going to start. When they announced that we were supposed to go to the other building on Volta Avenue, I think almost everybody made other plans for the rest of the evening. After all, you can always catch it later on the internet.
      One very cool thing about Grandpa’s birthday party: eight of our nine children were there, even though we were missing some of the spouses. Monica, I wish you could have been there, and Neil, too. It was very casual and very pleasant, with lots of good food. And who knows how many more birthdays Grandpa will have? Carly posted a cute picture of him on facebook, sitting in a chair, wearing a birthday hat.
      After my asthma attack last week, I somehow developed pneumonia. Walking pneumonia, they call it, because you can walk around. You just can’t breathe. I’ve had it a few times before, and you just have to outlast it, because the inhalers don’t do diddly for you. Dad set up a vaporizer in our bedroom, which helps a lot at night. He deserves the double-super-hero award for that. Also, I read on the internet, that cough drops help! They help dissolve the snot in your lungs. Who would’ve thought, but I can tell a difference. I think it’s the menthol in them.
      It still seems like summer, since it’s in the mid-eighties every day. It will always be summer, and hot.
      Lots of love, Mom

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dear Kids,
      I just got an e-mail reminder from Bonnie about Grandpa’s birthday party this coming Friday night. She reminds us that it’s from 6-8 pm at Riverwoods Park, and we’re supposed to bring fruit or a dessert and our kids. I hope Dad and I can bring nearly all of our kids! Sharon will be here with Lucy, and Vanessa will be coming with at least some of her family. Remember, too, that Saturday morning at 11 is the baby shower for Donna. What a great weekend we have coming up!
      Dad and I visited Paul’s student ward in Logan last Sunday. They had parents’ day, with a linger-longer afterward. I think it’s always fun to visit student wards, and see how the next generation is doing things. It was my first Church meetings in English in a long time, too. I was surprised to notice that I don’t understand everything in English! People mumble! People talk too softly! Now I don’t feel so bad about Spanish. After the meetings, and the linger-longer (sadly, pathetic food), Dad and I toured Paul’s apartment. Maybe some of you are familiar with this, but I didn’t know there were student apartments where each person has his own bedroom and bathroom! So, there are five bedrooms with their own bathrooms in Paul’s apartment. I didn’t know such luxury was possible! I won’t go on about the grody basements I lived in when I was at BYU, four girls in one bedroom with two ancient sets of bunkbeds, one small bathroom, shower full of mold . . . I won’t go on about that. I’m just glad Paul has it so nice. He’s studying really hard, too. We had a really good visit with him. On the way home we stopped in Brigham City to visit Andy and Renae, and that was fun, too.
      When we drove into the Salt Lake Valley, there was a pall of smoke over everything because of the fire in Herriman. I had a terrible asthma attack, and since I don’t have inhalers right now, I shut myself up in the basement, where the smoke hadn’t penetrated. Dad went out in his pickup and bought me an OTC inhaler at Smiths. What a hero he is! I was happy to be able to breathe again. Yesterday I went to see Dr. Newbold and got prescriptions for the regular, safe inhalers, that you can use over the long haul to really get rid of the asthma. I haven’t had it for about 10 years, so I’ve been lucky.
      Sunday dinner for October will be conference weekend at the cabin. We’ll have dinner just after the morning session. Let me know if you’ll be there. Let me know if you have any menu preferences. I can pretty much make anything.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear Kids,
      We’re having gorgeous fall weather, and it’s COOL! Monday morning Dad and I went for a bike ride along the Jordan River, my first time since June, and it felt fabulous. Of course there weren’t any baby ducks, and the water was way low, but it felt so good to be out on a bike. Now Dad may have felt differently. He’s been riding his bike to work every day since we junked the Windstar, so it wasn’t a novelty for him. But he got his payback when he went for his regular checkup with Dr. Johnson on Tuesday. He’s down 8 pounds since his last visit, and his blood statistics are really good. Go, Dad!
      Monday afternoon we went to the picnic at Copperton Park for Stuart’s birthday. What a great place! The town is really old, but the park was full of young families, so I’m guessing that most of them trekked in like we did. Stuart seems way grown up for just turning three, but he still has a little trouble getting that third finger up when you ask how old he is. I think the brain is always ahead of the fingers, especially in little boys.
      Dad has been on vacation all week, and we haven’t done anything spectacular. It’s hard when he has to choose his weeks more than a year in advance. If we’d known, we could have been going on a cruise with the Study Group in the middle of October. (We were told that we’re the only couple not going.) But in spite of that, it’s been a good week. Later this morning we’re heading to the cabin. We have new bricks for the fire pit, and bark to go around the ag shed. Speaking of which, I had a sleepover there last Friday night with all four of John and Heather’s kids. (John and Heather slept in the cabin, and so did Dad.) I didn’t sleep much all night, because I kept worrying that the kids would fall out of bed, but they were fine. Aaron went in about midnight, but the rest of them stayed all night.
      Dad needed to have some work done on the truck, and he’s lost his confidence in Bill & Randy’s, and Gines, too. On Sunday, in church, I pointed out a branch member who’s a mechanic, and Dad went to talk to him. They worked out that Roberto would come Monday afternoon, look at the truck, and give him an estimate. I mean, he would actually come to our house! And he did! He found some bad spark plugs that should have been good, still. He came back to our house Thursday to do the work, and first Dad paid him in cash for the parts, which he went and bought. Then he came back with the parts and put them in, and Dad paid him for his labor, also in cash. I guess that’s how they do it in Mexico. But the truck runs great now.
      I’m cooking Sunday dinner day after tomorrow. Last chance till October. Let me know if you’re coming. Love, Mom

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dear Kids,
      Paul got home (to the cabin) last Friday night, after a very long but very short (two day) trip from Alabama. He’s full of stories about his summer adventures. I hope he doesn’t get too indoctrinated by school before we hear them all. His car made it OK, but dare I say it: He got two speeding tickets in the two days he was on the road. Bummer! Still, he said, he’d rather get speeding tickets than have something go wrong with the car, if he had a choice. Paul spent less than a day visiting with the family, and then left for Logan. We hope he has a good school year. Or half year. He’ll be done in December.
      Grandpa Allen’s birthday party on September 24th is shaping up to be a great event. I already mentioned that Sharon and Lucy will be here, and Vanessa noted on facebook that she’ll be here, too. (Gotta love facebook! It keeps us all informed.) Remember, the party is Friday night the 24th, River View Park (where we always have our family reunions,) 6:30 pm, potluck desserts. (Or something healthful, if you want.) I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you, besides the Allen clan, of course.
      My work project these days is renovating the tower. It’s been 11 years since we finished it! There was some water damage in the center of the middle floor, but I fixed that, and now I just have to sand and paint and tighten up anything wobbly. I need to put the trap doors back in, too, so Dad and I can sleep out. With no trap doors, Xena climbs up and plops herself on top of us, and she’s so heavy you can hardly breathe.
      My piano class at the Lighthouse church is still going great. I always look forward to Tuesdays because it’s so much fun. People slacked off a little last week, when school started, but we had a good group this week. We’re up to about 20 people, although not everybody comes every week. Marie Searle is such a good sport about helping me! And Elise Fulton, too. I wish I could teach everybody myself, but it’s good for our students to have variety.
      Remember that I’m cooking Sunday dinner on the 12th, and we’ll eat at 5:00. Let me know if you’re coming!
      Lots of love, Mom