Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Kids,
           Dad and I have a new plan for Christmas Eve: instead of hiking Ensign Peak, we’re going to hike up Memorial Hill in Midway, you know, that cone-shaped mountain near the edge of town, with the spiral road going up it. We’ve changed our plans because Donna and Bevan really wanted to do the hike with us, and it would save them a ton of driving back and forth. I think it’s a great idea! We’re probably going to start the hike about 7:00. You families in Heber, especially, if you’re free that time on Christmas Eve, we’d love to have you join us. Anybody else, too. I realize it’s a non-traditional way to spend Christmas Eve, but it’s sure a lot of fun.
           Tonight is the Kamas Valley Christmas program, where Dad and I will be singing in the choir. It’s at the Marion Stake Center. The nativity and kids’ singing starts at 6:00, and the choir program is at 7:00.
           And don’t forget the sledding party the day after Christmas, at the cabin! I’m making sloppy jo’s. If you’re coming, let us know, OK? There isn’t much snow at the cabin, but the hill is fine. It’s always snow-packed. We’ll probably eat about noon, or maybe a little after that.
           Many thanks to Nora, and everybody who helped pull off the family Christmas party last Saturday. The skating was fun and the food was great. The presents were great, too. Dad and I are still marveling over the season tickets you guys gave us to Hale Center Theater. I was totally surprised and delighted.
           Our Christmas music open house on Tuesday night was a great success. 40 people came. Nora and Addie played a really nice duet on the piano, and Nora played a solo. All my current piano students played, and the Cook family sang. At the end, we sang all the Christmas songs in the hymn book, from Joy to the World to the end, all the verses. It’s our third or fourth year for doing that. I’ll say one thing–we were very loud. Cathy Newton always accompanies us on the piano.
           Well, there are only three days now until Christmas. Oreo is parked under the Christmas tree, guarding my present to Dad, which is very large. He sits there every day, guarding the present. After Christmas, he won’t have living-room privileges any more.
           Lots of love, Mom

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I’m sitting, waiting for Randy Pons to come and tune our piano. He and his wife Altagracia live in the house behind us, where Hixsons used to live. They’ve been in the Spanish branch for years, although Randy doesn’t speak Spanish. (He always works with the young men.) I’m getting the piano tuned because Tuesday night, December 20, at 7:00 pm, is our Christmas Music open house. It would be great if you could bring your kids and yourselves and perform Christmas music for us–singing, piano songs, flute, guitar, anything. It’s our sixth consecutive year, and it’s always lots of fun. We’ll have cookies and punch, and probably other goodies, as well.
      Before that, of course, is the family party on December 17, at Nora’s house. Her e-mail says, “The rough plan is to meet at 4 to go ice skating at the Kearns Oquirrh Oval (where the Olympics were). There is also a possible opportunity of going to see a home in South Jordan where the family collects and does a 30 minute tour of a 100 nativities they've collected from around the world Also, on Saturdays, you can tour the house built in Daybreak that looks like the house on UP. That might be fun too. For the food I thought we could do the Mexican fiesta again. delish no? I'll make 7 layer dip and some honey lime chicken enchiladas. See you on the 17th!”
      I agree, it will all be fun. Here’s the cousin exchange list, if you don’t already have it: Julie - Bentley; Jacob - Emma; Aaron - Paige; Aubrey - Luke; Adelaide - Abigail; Benjamin - Macie; Paige - Julie; Stuart - Aaron; Isaac - Jacob; Sterling - Ali; Sarah - Lucy; Meg- Carson; Macie - Matthew; Luke - Aubrey; Bentley - Sterling; Emma - Charlie; Ali - Elli; Abigail - Anna; Carson - Stuart; Elli - Jackson; Jackson - Sarah; Anna - Adelaide; Charlie - Ben; Matthew - Meg; Lucy - Isaac.
      The Kamas Valley community Christmas program is Thursday night, December 22, at the stake center in Marion. They’ve always had it on a Sunday night before, and this is their first time doing in on a week night. The activities start at 6:00 pm, and I’m not sure what’s going on. Our choir program starts at 7:00. This might be your only opportunity EVER to hear me sing in a choir, so you might not want to miss it. Just kidding. The choir is really good, though–Dad says it’s the best choir he’s ever sung in, even better than his beloved high school madrigals. I haven’t told anybody that it’s my first choir ever, and I just pretend like I know what I’m doing. So far everybody’s been very polite to me.
      Christmas itself is coming up very fast! Dad and I will be at the cabin on Christmas Day, since it’s a Sunday, although we’re planning to tour Heber Valley that afternoon to see what Santa brought the grandkids there. Monday the 26th will be our usual sledding party at the cabin.
      So much fun! Love, Mom

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dear Kids,
      First off, I need to mention Aaron’s baptism, which is this coming Saturday, Dec. 3, at 11:15 am, at John and Heather’s stake center in Heber. If you’re coming from the north on Highway 40, turn left on 500 North (at Smiths) and go to the second church building on your left. If you have questions, you can call John or Heather at their house, 435 654 3140. I can hardly believe that whole batch of kids is turning eight in the next year (plus a day.) Let’s see–there’s Aaron, Benjamin, Ellie, Sarah, Emma, and Charlie. Who could believe these little kids are growing up so fast?
      We had a riotous Thanksgiving at the cabin, and we missed those of you who couldn’t be there. Thursday morning we had our first annual Ackerson Family Turkey Trot, from the cabin to the beaver pond and back. Dad had the Yerf Dog at the pond, and the runners had to touch it before they turned around to go back. There were only four of us who did the whole race, because of fatigue, recent surgery (Allen) and other distractions. Bevan came in first, with Paul, Donna, and me coming in after him. Next year we’ll have medals for first, second, and third, and the winners will get to wear the medals for Thanksgiving day. Then we’ll save them for the next year. We’ll try to have it every Thanksgiving morning, probably at 10:00 am. This year was just a trial run.
      We also had our first annual Turkey Shoot, and the turkeys were black and white. The event was held the morning after Thanksgiving, and the turkey carcass was the bait. Tom was the only contestant. He bagged two trophies, and I paid him $5.00 apiece for them. We plan to make the black and white turkey shoot an annual event, too.
      Chuck and I have become regular patrons of the Kamas fitness center. We needed to prove we were residents, to qualify for free senior passes, and the guy at the desk asked if we had utility bills or drivers licenses to prove we lived there. All I had was a ward list with our names and our Woodland address, but he said that was fine. Saturday afternoon we went swimming there with John and his kids, and we had a great time. Let us know if you want to do a swimming activity with us!
      Speaking of our ward, they just put in a new High Priests group leadership, and it includes Jack Robb, Jack Johnson, and Jack Prescott. (There’s one other guy, who isn’t named Jack.) So, why all the Jacks? Is it a country name? A Kamas Valley thing? Does anybody know?
      More of life’s deep questions! I love you all! Mom

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Kids,
      There’s a winter storm blowing in. Hopefully there will be enough snow to cover up the dreary brown ground, and the dead leaves I never did rake up. Dad and I will be leaving for the cabin when he gets home from work, but we’re stopping at the Kamas fitness center on the way, to go swimming. Ever since we found out that we could swim there for free (since we’re residents, and senior citizens to boot) we’ve had the plan to stop and swim every Friday afternoon on our way to the cabin. But it hasn’t worked out even once. So wish us luck. By the way, we’re keeping swimsuits at the cabin now, so anybody who wants to meet us and the fitness center and go swimming, just let us know.
      Sharon had an ultrasound, and she’s having a . . . . What, they didn’t tell her? She and Seth want to be surprised, so they asked not to know the sex of the baby. Sharon says that since they already have at least one of each, it doesn’t matter, and they want to be surprised. Dad and I were surprised nine times, at the birth of each of you, and I can tell you it was pretty exciting. But it's also very exciting when each new grandchild is born, whether we know what it’s going to be or not.
      For the next two months, I won’t be cooking Sunday dinner at the cabin on Sunday. For November, it will be Thanksgiving, and for December, the day after Christmas, when we have our sledding party. Not that I don’t like to cook, I still do, but Dad and I are in both the stake and the ward Christmas choirs, and they both practice on Sunday night, back to back. So we go to the Francis ward building first, for ward choir, and then we drive up to the stake center in Marion, for the stake choir. (Billy Sue McNeil is directing it, and who can say no to her?) I know I’ve never been a choir person, but it was only laziness on my part. All the time we were in Fifth ward, it was easier to take a nap or have my chance at the computer when Dad went off to choir. In fact, I usually reminded him when it was time to go. Now I’m lovin’ it, going together with him. Besides, our Sundays at the cabin are so quiet, it’s great to have someplace to go.
      We’re looking forward to Thanksgiving next week. If you haven’t told us your plans, please call me!
      Love, Mom

Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I just came home from a funeral. Dennis Creek, a member of our chess club, died suddenly on Monday of a heart attack. He was one-of-a-kind and nobody can replace him. In October, he did a puppet show at his house, where he played the Wizard of Oz. He told us we could come if we brought grandchildren, so we got Nora’s family to come. Of course Nora’s kids were sad when they heard the Wizard had died. Dad and I are finding out, since we’ve been volunteering at the Harman Center, that when your friends are mostly old people, they tend to die. Dennis was our second fatality in chess club. He was the best chess player we had, and now that he’s gone, I’m #1. Not that I ever wanted that.
      The same day we found out Dennis had died, we were on our way to the Harman Center, and there was a dead kitten in the road. I felt bad that we didn’t have time to stop and pick him up and give him a decent burial. Four hours later, after chess club, I went back to the spot with a shovel and a box, and the kitten was still there. He hadn’t been flattened, either. I guess everybody just drove around him. Anyway, I brought the body home in the box and Dad buried it deep in our garden. Benjamin asked me how many cats are buried there, and honestly, I’ve lost count.
      If the weather weren’t so dreary, maybe I wouldn’t be so obsessed with dead cats and friends. Paul pointed out that November is a very depressing month. It’s cold and dark, and all the plants are dead, but there isn’t any snow or Christmas lights or holidays yet. I’m glad Thanksgiving is coming up soon. Make sure you let me know if you plan to come to the cabin.
      Katie Brooke James will be getting married next April. They want to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple, so they had to reserve a room way in advance–otherwise it would probably still be a secret. (Sound familiar, anyone?) She’s marrying Kevin Cheesman (pronounced Chessman) from Orem. His dad was my lab partner in chemistry at Orem High. Together, we broke more test tubes and beakers than any other partnership in the class. (It was all glass back then.) Anyway, we had the biggest bill to pay at the end of the year. I’ll have to see if he still remembers that.
      Dead cats, broken glass . . . sorry this letter is so dreary. Really, I’m doin’ great and lovin’ it!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dear Kids,
      It’s snowing like crazy outside this morning. We just had the Blizzak tires put on the Sienna, so we’re ready for anything. Normally, we’re at the cabin right now, Saturday morning, but we stayed here last night because there’s a baby shower in Provo (at Andrea Hill’s house) for Carly, Gary Allen’s wife. I figured Dad could visit Grandpa Allen while I go to the shower, and then we’ll drive up Provo Canyon to our beloved Kamas Valley.
      Speaking of which, I went visiting teaching again last Sunday afternoon, tracting out the last lady on my list that I hadn’t found yet, and she was out in her garage polishing her saddles. She’s an authentic cowgirl! (I’m just a phony, as everybody knows.) She introduced me to all five of her horses. They do “Reining” competitions, which are special routines of turning and twisting and running. (I watched some videos of it on Youtube.) I asked her if she wears fancy clothing for the competitions, so she showed me all her cowgirl hats and boots and glittery shirts. They were stowed in the living quarters of a horse trailer that’s as long as a house. I was so interested that she told me I really ought to get into horses, but I told her that we’re spread too thin already. Still, I’m glad to have a new friend and role model.
      A few days ago, I heard a strange scratching sound in the laundry room, and it turned out to be a large guinea pig, outside, in the window well. He was eating our screen. He didn’t run away when I tapped the window, so I figured he was pretty tame. Probably a family pet tossed out. But WE didn’t want him. I got Oreo and showed him the guinea pig, and he turned away. So I took him outside and pointed his face at the guy, and he hissed. I tossed him down into the window well, and he bounced back up again and ran under the deck. Finally I remembered what we did with that badger, years ago, so I found a plank and set it in the window well so the guinea pig could just walk up and out. Which he must have done, because when I checked later, he was gone. He couldn’t possibly have survived the cold temperatures we’ve had, so I feel bad about it all. I have worse feelings toward whoever let him go.
      Thanksgiving is coming up on the 24th! (It’s Anna’s birthday, too.) Let me know if you’re coming to the cabin, either for dinner (about 1:00 pm) or for pie (later) or both. Dad and I will be there from Wednesday afternoon on through the weekend. We DON’T plan to go to the outlet stores late Thursday night, but if any of you want to go, we’ll watch your kids.
      Lots of love, Mom

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Tom and Kim have announced that there will be another little Ackerson born around May 18, 2012. Congratulations! I’m assuming it will be a boy. Maybe he’ll come on the 17th, Tom’s birthday. Does anybody else have any announcements to make? I’m always happy to put them in the family letter!
      I wore my cowboy boots for the first time to 5th Ward book club on Tuesday night. I discovered it’s hard to drive with them on. You can’t feel the pedals. I’m sure you get used to it, though. After all, how do all those cowboys drive their trucks? I’m going to wear the boots to the Francis 2nd ward Trunk or Treat Saturday night, along with some other cowboy gear, but I don’t expect anybody there to recognize it as a costume. It’s clothing as usual in Kamas Valley.
      Last Sunday afternoon I went visiting teaching on my new route. I don’t have a companion, because, as the RS President told me, if I’m willing to go by myself, that’s four more women that can be visited. I said OK to that. I felt like a new missionary coming cold into a new area without a companion. I had a list of names and addresses, and no idea where any of the houses were. My GPS didn’t help much, either, since down in the river bottoms, they all have street addresses on Lower River Road. No telling where the house actually is. I found Billy Sue Mcneil and we had a good chat. She knows everybody who’s ever been in the ward, so I got the low down on everything. Her nephew went to school with John at Ohio State. It’s a small world after all.
      Remember, I’m cooking Sunday dinner day after tomorrow at 5:00 pm. Please let me know if you’re coming, if you haven’t already. I’m making 3-cheese macaroni, nice warm comfort food now that winter is setting in.
      John and Heather bought a deluxe queen-size mattress topper for the cabin. It’s under the bed in the moose bedroom, and everybody is welcome to use it. Thanks, John and Heather! Personally, I can sleep fine on the floor or in the bunkhouse, but I know other people really enjoy a downy soft bed.
      Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I’m now the proud owner of a pair of Tony Lama ladies’ cowboy boots. They’re only size 10, but they have square toes, and my boot stretcher is stretching one of them right now. (I may have to buy a special toe stretcher, too, but who cares? Anything for the cowgirl look!) I’m planning to wear the boots to church as soon as I can find the right skirt. One of my new friends, Elaine Robb, wore cowboy boots to last Sunday, and she looked very classy. She said it’s all in what else you wear. Besides owning cowboy boots, Elaine also owns five horses. I don’t have horses on my list yet, but who knows where this cowgirl thing will take me?
      Our trip to Price last Saturday afternoon was lots of fun. Our car was nearly filled with Donna, Bevan, Anna, Nora, Addie, Dad, and myself. The weather was beautiful, and Spanish Fork Canyon was gorgeous, even though the leaves are starting to fade. (There’s never been such a year for autumn leaves here, because of all the rain we had!) We had fun at the dinner visiting with Brad King, the Larsens, the Bentleys, Kimball Johnson, and various other people that Donna and Nora knew. The dinner was pretty good, although they didn’t have quite enough food. The speeches were too long. Otherwise, it was great. People have wondered if changing CEU to USU Eastern would change the school. It all looked the same to me.
      On our way home from Price, we were nearly out of Spanish Fork Canyon when we passed the train accident that killed the three girls. They were standing in between the tracks taking pictures. We didn’t know at the time what had happened, but there were dozens of police cars flashing their lights, and the trains were stopped in both directions. What’s with that location? I remember when we saw a car burning in the same place. It had crashed and then been hit by a train. I’ve always been terrified of train tracks, from all the terrible stories I heard when I was little.
      I’m going to fix Sunday Dinner at the cabin a week from Sunday, on October 30. That’s four weeks from our last dinner there, and almost four weeks before Thanksgiving. Let me know if you’re coming on the 30th .
      Lots of Love, Mom

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear Kids,
      At this time last year, I was looking for high-heeled boots to wear on Sundays, so I could look more like my Hispanic amigas. Now I’m looking for tall cowboy boots. Sharon said, “It’s obvious that your peer group has changed.” How true. The boots I want aren’t made in size 11, but I have a boot stretcher that works pretty well. The nice man at Reams is ordering the boots in size 10, and hopefully I can make them fit me.
      Dad and I really enjoyed Allen’s graduation from Columbia College last Saturday. What a motley audience it was! We fit right in. There were graduates of all shapes and sizes and ages, but they were all elated to be getting their degrees. We’re proud of Allen for sticking it out, and now Dad and I can brag that all nine of you at least have a bachelor’s degree. We’re proud of all of you and of your accomplishments!
      Tomorrow afternoon some of us are driving to Price for the CEU founders day dinner. Oops, I mean USU Eastern. That’s its new name, but I think everything else is pretty much the same. I called the office in charge of the dinner yesterday, to add Addie to our table, and Brad King picked up the phone. He said Vickie was out of the office, but he saw our name come up on the phone, so he picked it up to say Hi. (By the way, Paul, Vickie asked how you’re doing!) As long as people like Brad are in charge down there, we’ll always be loyal supporters!
      A week and a half ago, while Dad was on vacation, we finally did our 50-mile bike ride. We started at our house and rode to the Mavrick Center, and then we followed the Trax Line to Redwood Road, where we got on the trail over to the Jordan River. We followed that north to the Legacy Trail (by Al and Missy’s house) and we rode north almost to Lagoon. If you turn west there, you can pick up the D&RG Trail, which goes another 20 miles to Roy. The weather was cool and we had a tailwind the whole way, so it was an absolutely perfect ride. We were hardly even tired when we got to the Roy Frontrunner station. We took the train back to Salt Lake, and then the Trax down to Meadowbrook, where Dad had left his truck a couple of days earlier. I’m glad we finally did it, and that it turned out so well.
      Life is good! I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dear Kids,
     Kara McGettigan is hanging out with me this morning because Jana has gone to Sherri Winder’s funeral. Most of you heard that she was killed in a rollover last Sunday night. (9-11, of all days). I didn’t know her that well, and I figure thousands of people will be at the funeral. On facebook, there’s a sidebar where they suggest friends for you. Yesterday Sherri showed up there, on my page. Yes, she would have been a good friend, but they don’t have facebook where she’s gone. They don’t need it.
     Here’s some great news, if you haven’t heard it: Sharon and Seth are expecting another little Thacker around April 6. Dad and I were already planning a trip east sometime in the spring, so we’ll be able to see the new baby. In the same trip, we’re going to Wisconsin to visit Monica and Neil and Jackson. We were originally going to make the trip this October, but I didn’t know how quickly (or slowly) my foot would recover from its surgery. So far, it’s not healing very fast, but it isn’t terribly painful, either. I just limp around, and wear my old clunky tire-tread sandals.
     Here’s how well Dad and I are fitting into our new ward: in just a month, we’ve (1) done community cleanup (which is handled by the wards), (2) volunteered at Frontier Days (ditto), (3) attended ward temple night, (4) done an assignment at the cannery (Dad only), (5) signed up to clean the chapel on Saturday morning, and (6) we’ve already been asked to speak in Church. That’s happening in a couple of weeks. Normally we wouldn’t plunge into everything so energetically, but since we’re new, and we don’t have another 34 years to get settled in, we’re taking advantage of every opportunity.
     Last weekend when we went to the cabin, I left my Sunday clothes at home. Luckily there are two little thrift stores on Main Street in Kamas, and I found a skirt (from the 90's) and a blouse (from the 80's) in one of the stores. Naturally, nobody commented on my outfit. You can wear anything there. After the Spanish branch, where everybody dressed pretty much alike, it’s very liberating.
     Don’t forget I’m fixing Sunday dinner on October 2nd, conference weekend. And Dad will be making pancakes for breakfast that morning. There’s always more fun just around the corner!
     Lots of love, Mom

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Dad just pointed out that if Grandma Ackerson were still alive, she’d be 99 today. Happy birthday, Grandma Ackerson, wherever you are!
      We had a wonderful time at Frontier Days last weekend. We worked in the information booth and sold rodeo tickets for two hours in the afternoon, and I think we saw everybody we know in Francis. It was the usual carnival-type crowd, lots more baseball caps than cowboy hats. At that rodeo that night, it was the opposite. Lots more cowboy hats. Next time we go, I’ll know what to wear. Tight levis. Boots. Cowboy hat, for sure. In fact, if I had an alternative life to live, I’d like to be a rodeo queen. Can’t you see me in spangled levis, a glittery shirt, and a cowboy hat? Then, if I had still another alternate life, I’d be a rodeo horse. They have the most fun of all. They get so excited! I think they have more fun than the cowboys and cowgirls put together. Anyway, it was great.
      Don’t forget that Grandpa Allen’s birthday is coming up, and e-mail your messages to Bonnie, if you haven’t. Her e-mail is:
      Conference weekend is coming up, too. We’ll definitely be at the cabin. On that Sunday morning, dad is going to make pancakes for breakfast, so we can use the boysenberry syrup he brought home from his cannery assignment yesterday. We’ll have to eat a lot of pancakes, to use half a gallon of syrup. I’ll be fixing the usual conference Sunday dinner, of course. And conference itself is always good.
      The weekend before conference is the alpaca open house at Blue Moon Ranch, just down the hill from us. The sign says September 24-25. Dad and I will be going on Saturday, probably sometime in the morning. It’s always fun! Come and join us!
      So many great things going on! I love you all! Mom

Friday, September 2, 2011

Dear Kids,
     I’m still clomping around in my surgical shoe, but Xena isn’t afraid of me any more. My foot hadn’t been hurting very much, until I went to see Dr. Rhodes on Monday. When he unwrapped it and I saw how far he cut, all of a sudden it started hurting more. I’ll be wearing the surgical shoe for at least another week, maybe two, and it will take several more weeks to heal completely. Hopefully by then I’ll be better off than before the surgery.
     Our chess retreat with the seniors was a blast. Bevan and Donna and Anna came to the cabin Friday night, and Bevan played a couple of games with us. One of our guys had organized a tournament, and we played late into the night Friday, and started up again Saturday morning. At the end there was an awards ceremony, and everybody got a medal. (Nobody’s a loser in our chess club! Everybody’s special!) Of course we had great food, too. And everybody was captivated by our beautiful cabin. They said to put it on the calendar for the same week next year. I guess that means it was a success.
     I already have a calling in Francis Second ward–I’m Relief Society chorister. That’s probably because the former chorister left to go back to college, not because I’m such a great singer, but I’m glad to have a Relief Society job. Primary would have been nice, too. Dad hasn’t been called to anything yet, but the bishop said they’d be getting together with him pretty soon. I was just talking to Paul on the phone, and he’s now Elders Quorum president of his ward! Go, Paul!
     Last Sunday Dad and I went to visit Grandpa Allen. He’s pretty cheerful, but said he really misses Grandma. He said he’s starting to forget things about her, but he said his dementia is probably a blessing in that way. I asked him if he ever forgets that she died, and he said no. After our visit, Dad and I drove up the hill to the cemetery to see if the headstone was in place yet. It wasn’t. The next day, Nancy sent out an e-mail saying they had just put it on her grave, and it looks really nice. Bonnie has a plan for Grandpa’s 88th birthday, and she sent out this message: “Since we had a big party last year, I thought a simple gift might be nice for this year instead. He loves to sit in his chair and read grandma's history, journals, anything from their past. I thought it would be nice if everyone could write a paragraph of your favorite memory with mom/dad or grandpa/grandma and send it to me. I will put them in a binder so that he can read them over and over.” Bonnie’s email is I have so many memories I don’t know where to start.
     Life is good! Love, Mom

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dear Kids,
If any of you have talked to Sharon lately, you’ll know they’ve been right in the thick of things in Maryland: first, the record hot temperatures, and then the earthquake, and now a hurricane barreling towards them. Most people don’t get that much excitement when they move to a new state. Monica? Any earthquakes or hurricane’s up there? There probably won’t be any record hot temperatures for you guys. Here in Salt Lake it’s hotter now than it’s been all summer. Weird!
Wednesday I had surgery on my left foot, and Dr. Rhodes took out a neuroma that’s been causing me lots of trouble. So now I’m clomping around the house in one of those big surgical shoes, and when I stomp towards Xena, she takes off like a bullet. (Oreo isn’t scared.) Actually, I don’t stomp very hard, because my foot is really tender. I’ll have the stitches taken out Monday, I hope.
This afternoon Dad and I are leaving town for the cabin, along with most of our chess club. We’re having an overnight chess marathon. I don’t know how late I’ll be able to stay awake, but there’s going to be some kind of a Round Robin where we all play each other. We’re all bringing plenty of food, too. One of our ladies is into star gazing, and it should be pretty good, because there’s a new moon tonight. We’ve been planning it in chess club for the last several weeks, and I hope everybody has a good time. I think Dad and I will be back here on Sunday, since I don’t know how I can do church with my big clumpy foot. Dad can visit his beloved 5th Ward and say hi to his long-lost friends there.
I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner a week from Sunday, September 4, at the cabin. 5:00 pm. Let me know if you’re coming.
Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dear Kids,
       Life was sort of a letdown after the family reunion, because it was so much fun. On Sunday, the cabin was so quiet it drove me crazy. But thanks, everyone, for making it a blast. Especially thanks to Tom and Kim for all their planning and hard work! I thought the rocket launcher was incredibly fun. And the train ride, and the Dairy Keen, and the fire engine, and the games, and the swimming. It was all fun. I’m already looking forward to next year. Speaking of which, Allen contacted some of you already about having it August 13-15, but we’ve already talked about changing it, because of Tom’s conflicts with his work. So now we’re looking at August 6-8. The plan is that we would drive to Bear Lake on Monday, and camp there Monday and Tuesday nights. Those of you who wanted to find cabins or condos to stay in, I’m sure you could arrange it, especially with this much advance notice. Allen pointed out, however, that camping is a lot less expensive, and would leave us with more money to rent jet skis or boats. Anyway, save the date, and we’ll let you know if we change it again!
       In my last letter, I bragged that Dad and I will be selling tickets to the Frontier Days Rodeo. Of course we have to attend it, too. (Neither of us has ever been to a rodeo.) The Saturday night (Sept 3) rodeo starts at 7:30 pm, if any of you are interested in coming. The cost is $7 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under. If you google Francis Utah Frontier Days, it takes you to their site, and on the far right is a link that says 2011 Francis Frontier Days. That gives you a schedule of their activities. Anyway, if any of you would like to join us at the Rodeo Saturday night, we’d be delighted. There are fireworks after it’s over.
       Now, about Sunday dinners . . . I had considered alternating each month between the cabin and our West Valley house, but the logistics just don’t work. So I guess I’ll only be doing Sunday dinners at the cabin. Since we just had the reunion, I’ll wait until Labor Day Sunday, Sept. 4, for our next family dinner. Please let me know if you can come, so I can bring enough food. I have to plan more carefully, since I can’t just sent Dad to Walmart on Saturday night.
       What a family! There’s no stopping the fun!
       Love, Mom

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dear Kids,
       I love this: "You know you’re from West Valley City if . . . You’re sure that the border between Mexico and Tonga is 35th South." Paul had a link to it on Facebook this morning. Love it! So true! I think the border has moved south, though. It’s around 47th now.
       I’m packing up for the family reunion, and I’m very excited to see everybody, especially Monica and Big Jack. I’m only sorry Sharon’s family won’t be there. Hey, Share Bear, how’s the new piano? You’re going to love having a Clavinova. Both my Clavinovas from 1988 are still going strong (with a little help from Dad now and then.)
       Dad and I are totally part of the Kamas-Francis scene now because, would you believe, we’ve been signed up to sell tickets to the Frontier Days rodeo! We’re going to sit in an information booth and sell T-shirts and rodeo tickets, the Saturday before Labor Day. Could anything be more hoaky that that? A nice lady in church, Trisha Gerlach, signed us up. You kids who’ve lived in the cabin probably know her well. She’s a one-woman welcoming committee, besides Marianne Peck. Dad is starting to like the ward now, but he’s still a little freaked out when the other High Priests talk about their horses, their hay, their alfalfa, and their cows. Some of them even wear bolo ties, but Dad won’t wear one.
       Last Saturday afternoon I got to go up in a glider with John. It wasn’t the one he partly owns, because it only holds one person, and it wasn’t the really smooth one I went up in last fall, which didn’t cause me to heave at all. We had a great ride, over Wallsburg, the back of Timp, Brighton (I looked down on Sunshine, my favorite run) and back over Heber. It was a little bumpy, though, so I barked a lot, but I didn’t throw up, because I hadn’t eaten lunch. There’s nothing as thrilling as gliding. (They call it soaring, though.) Even if your stomach is lurching. Next time I’ll take dramamin, though. It’s always good insurance.
       Lots of love to everybody! Mom

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dear Kids,
       I hope most of you have seen the cute pictures of Jackson that Monica put up on facebook. As you can see, he has a little of our family in him, and a little from the other side. I’m always biased, and the newest baby is always the cutest one ever, but I think he’s unusually good looking. The best news of all is that Monica and Jackson will be at the cabin for part of the reunion! They’re coming Friday afternoon, and they’ll be here in Utah until Monday morning, I think. I can’t wait to see the little guy, and Monica too, of course.
       And of course I’m way excited about the reunion! I think our family get-togethers are the most fun I ever have. I hope you’ll all get there safely! If you have any more questions, call Tom or Kim!
       The Spudman Triathlon last Saturday was lots of fun. Vanessa cut 10 minutes off her previous time, (She was 2:28, or thereabouts) and Nora came in faster than she thought. She had told us that her goal was to make it in three hours, but she didn’t think she could. So a couple of minutes before the 3-hour mark, I went to ask Vanessa what color shirt she had on. It turns out that was right when she came in, and none of us saw her cross the finish line! Besides that, she was running under another name, so we didn’t recognize it when they called it out. Still, it was all very exciting. Triathlon finishers don’t look half as hammered as marathon finishers, when they cross the finish line. I think they have more fun, too. I had lots of fun hanging out with the grandkids who were there, and keeping mosquitos off of Isaac’s white little head, while he was sleeping. (They were dive-bombing him in the tent.)
       Thanks to all of you for your phone calls and cards and presents on my birthday! It was my first birthday not having Grandma Allen call me, (and she used to send me $100, too!) so I’m glad the rest of you came through for me! It’s wonderful being part of such a big family.
       See you next weekend! I’m only sorry that Sharon’s family can’t be there.
       Love, Mom

Friday, July 29, 2011

Dear Kids,
       By now most of you have probably heard of the birth of Jackson Oliver Prendergast, born July 26 at about 3 pm, weighing 8 lbs. 4 oz, 21 inches long. Monica says he has some hair, and it’s blonde. Congratulations, Monica and Neil!! We’re really happy for them. They’re in the process of moving to Wisconsin, and Neil’s leaving early next week, so things will be hectic for them.
       We’re looking forward to the family reunion in two weeks! Thanks, Tom, for all the information. If any of you have any more questions, call Tom and Kim. The cabin is ready for the influx of people! I even got a screen for the bunkhouse, so people can sleep out there without bugs bothering them too much. BTW, there’s never been such a year for bugs, so be prepared. I’ve already pulled two ticks off of my skin. They look like a big blood blister, or a big dried scab, but when you pick it off, you see the little legs wiggling.
       Dad and I are rebuilding the balcony at the cabin, and we’re working on the railing now. It will be a lot safer when we’re done, but it’s not too safe now.
       Dad just left for his last (for now) Webelos Day camp. He was released last Sunday. I think he’s a little sad about giving up Webelos, but life moves on. Last Sunday, after church in Francis Second ward, he said he’d never been in a ward with so many farmers. He also says it’s probably the wealthiest ward we’ve ever been in. Interesting!
       Nora and I and Addie and Isaac are leaving for Burley later this morning, for the Spudman Triathalon. Vanessa will be there, too. I hope nobody drowns this time!
       Lots of love, Mom

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Kids,
       We’re waiting for good news from Monica and Neil about the birth of their son. It could happen any time, now. Any hour. We’re always excited about the arrival of a new grandchild! Donna and Anna flew to Tucson last night, and they’re staying three days. Hopefully little Jack will arrive while they’re there.
       Thanks, Tom, for the e-mail about the family reunion. If any of you didn’t get it, please let Tom know. It looks like a great schedule. Dad and I are willing to help with any meal, so let us know. I’m looking forward to riding the Heber Creeper, and eating at the Dairy Keen, and all the other activities. Should some of us bring tents for Friday night? Counting the bunkhouse, there are beds for 21 people, but that won’t be enough. Or are we all supposed to sleep in tents? Please let us know. We’re up for anything.
       Paul was here last Sunday night and Monday. He’s been studying for the GRE (not to be confused with the GED) which he’s taking tomorrow. He has a box of vocabulary words which he’s been memorizing. I’m really impressed! If he doesn’t pass the test, at least he’ll have a great vocabulary. Go, Paul!
       Dad and I are enjoying our Sunday meetings in Francis Second Ward. I’ve been shopping for dresses and skirts at the DI, because the ladies my age all wear clothes from the nineties. It’s quite a change from the Spanish Branch, where they all wore short skirts and heels. I’m suffering from major culture shock, too, hearing the talks and lessons in English. Everything sounds so bland!
       Wednesday, in chess club, I suddenly got a terrible cramp in my stomach. Dad and I had just eaten in the cafeteria, so of course I blamed the food. (They had a special buffet, to make up for a bad meal they had served a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to be the best food that could possibly be served up! It was barely worth the $2.50 each that Dad and I paid for it.) Anyway, this cramp was killing me, until I looked at the chess board and saw I had a winning move. All of a sudden I felt a lot better! Our chess club is having an all-night chess marathon at the cabin August 26-27. Any of you who want to play chess all night are welcome to join us!
       Life is good! Love, Mom

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dear Kids,
       I just got back from a bike ride on the Jordan River trail. The water has gone down two or three feet, but it has left behind lots of bugs and bad smells. There are lots of stagnant pools and marshy places. I had fun, though. You can pretty much get anywhere on the trail now. My new route to the river goes along the West Valley Trax line, and there were lots of trax cars going back and forth. It’s supposed to open in a week or two.
       Our first official Sunday dinner at the cabin was a great success. Nobody from Nora’s family or Allen’s family complained about the long drive. I’ll let you know from month to month whether it will be here or there. For August, the second Sunday comes at the end of our family reunion weekend, so I think I’ll put off Sunday dinner until the third week. Dad and I don’t have any commitments yet in our new ward (and we might not have any for a long time!) so we’re really free. By the way, we’re really enjoying Francis Second Ward. Everybody has a good opinion of us already because of you wonderful kids who paved the way.
        I bought Dad a Nook Color for his late Birthday-Anniversary-Fathers Day present. He was having so much fun with it that I made him buy me one for an early birthday present. My idea was that we wouldn’t have to haul our scriptures to church, plus Gospel Principles and the Ensign. Also, I thought Dad would be totally cutting-edge in the Frances Second Ward, with his up-to-date technology. Little did I know. In Sunday School, an old lady behind us was zipping around on her Kindle, and the man two seats down was doing the same. Meanwhile, Dad and I were fumbling around, trying to look up scriptures. It takes some practice. But it’s so much fun! I discovered how to download books, and it turns out that every single classic you’ve ever heard of is free. I downloaded about 30 of them onto my Nook, and you can’t even see that they’ve taken up any space.
       Summer is going by so fast! We’re waiting for good news from Monica (hoping little Jack comes early) and we’re also looking forward to the family reunion in just four weeks!
       Love you all! Mom

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dear Kids,
        We’ll be having Sunday dinner at the cabin on the 10th (this Sunday). We’ll probably eat around 4:30 or 5:00, depending on when people get there. I’m making King Ranch Chicken, rolls, and cupcakes, and Nora’s bringing a salad. It should be good. Plus, how can it NOT be fun, having Sunday dinner at the cabin? I plan to alternate every month, back and forth between the cabin and our house. Dad and I are going to become members of the Francis Second Ward, but we have to wait until the end of the month to transfer our memberships, because Dad is going to Webelos day camp on the 28tth. After that, it’s curtains for us and Fifth Ward.
        Dad and I had a great time in Idaho last weekend. Saturday we drove to Newdale, and we went to the Rexburg Temple with Harpers. Bruce Harper always has a whole pile of family names to do, and after the session, we sealed some of his people. He’s friends with all the sealers, so he just grabs somebody, and they do it right then. One of the sealers was a kid from my high school, Jerry Jex, who’s Katie’s age. It was fun to see him all white-haired and pleasant and dignified.
       Sunday morning we drove to Pocatello so we could go to church with Trent and Vanessa and their kids. Since it was July 3rd, they sang all the patriotic songs, and I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed them. (The Spanish hymn book doesn’t have any of them, since they use it all over the world.) Naturally I was a basket case trying to sing those songs. That night we went to a band concert in the park, and it was patriotic songs all over again. I think I cried during all of them. Maybe that’s just part of getting old.
        Monday morning we went to the Pocatello parade, and there weren’t any bands or floats, but they threw out candy. Later, Ruth Sutton told us the parade in Inkom was a lot better. I guess you have to know where to go. That afternoon, Vanessa and Trent had a barbecue for Trent’s birthday, and it was fun to talk to all their family and friends. The back yard looked like a Eric Dowdle puzzle: people playing badminton, basketball, cowboy golf, whiffle ball, frisbee, etc. Dad and I had to leave early, but it was great.
       Did anybody leave a very deep air mattress here? It’s about twice as deep as an ordinary air mattress, and if two people try to sleep on it, they just roll into the center. It has its own pump! Come and get it!
       Looking forward to seeing lots of you on Sunday, love, Mom

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dear Kids,
       If any of you have called me on our home phone or my cell, and I haven’t answered, it’s because I can’t talk. I’ve had laryngitis for the past three days. Last Sunday Sharon headed for home (with Lucy) and she reminded me that every time she leaves Utah, something bad happens to me (collar bone, gall bladder, worst root canal ever). This isn’t so bad. I was only sick in bed for two days, and then I was OK (but not able to talk) for piano class, book club, and chess club. We’re heading for Idaho Saturday morning, so I hope I can talk by then. We’re going to the Rexburg Temple with Harpers Saturday afternoon, staying over with them Saturday night, and then heading to Pocatello early Sunday morning so we can go to Church with Vanessa and Trent’s family. They’re having a barbecue for Trent’s birthday on Monday, and we want to be there. We especially want to see the improvements to their house! (and the "Heritage" front door, which Vanessa bought with her stimulus money.) Some of you have asked if we’re having the Fourth of July at the cabin this year, and sadly, we won’t be there. If any of you want to celebrate there, feel free to have the best party ever!
       Bonnie sent me an e-mail saying that they’ve decided to put off the Allen Family reunion until next year. A lot of people who traveled here for the funeral won’t be able to come back, and most of us were able to visit with each other. She will reserve the park for the same weekend (July 15, give or take) for 2012. She promised Grandma on her death bed that she would keep the reunions going, so we still plan to have them every other year, in the same park (Riverwoods.) Bonnie also says that she has extra copies of the funeral program, if anybody wants one. There’s an audio, CD, too, and I’ll be getting a copy. Let me know if you want one.
       Last night Dad and I drove around the valley checking out the new Trax stations, for the lines that open August 7. He wants to know what they look like before he drives his bus into them! We also walked along the Jordan River, which isn’t as high as last week, but is still flooded. I hope that by the time I get well enough to ride my bike again, the trails won’t have more than a foot or so of water, so I can get through.
       I’ll be cooking Sunday Dinner at the cabin on July 10. Be there or be square!
       Lots of love, Mom

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear Kids,

        Wasn’t that a great funeral for Grandma? I really felt her presence there, and that she was very happy. Monica, we really missed you. There were a few other cousins who couldn’t make it, but mostly, everybody was there.

        Kate Allen is keeping up the blog she started before Grandma died, only now it’s about Grandpa, of course–how he’s doing, what to do when you visit him, etc. The link is Heather Colby uploaded all her pictures from the funeral to Cosco, and there’s a link on Kate’s blog to that. (It’s She set it up so anybody can order prints, and that any of you kids can upload your pictures from the funeral to the same album. This morning I went into the album and looked at all the pictures, but just now, it won’t let me in. The room code is "allenfam" but it doesn’t seem to be working now. If any of you have figured it out, please let me know.

        We’re enjoying having Sharon and Lucy here for a few days. This morning she and Nora are out and about, and tonight she’s going to Midway, but mostly it’s been very relaxed. Lucy is a wild child, but so cute!

        This morning I rode my bike over to the Jordan River to see how flooded it is. I was able to get onto the trail, but there wasn’t anybody else, biking or walking. I didn’t try to go through the underpass where I fell in last week, (the water was obviously too deep, and too swift) but I rode through other places where the water was maybe a foot deep. For the first time ever, I saw fish swimming around my bike! I rode from the UTA pond down to 35th South, and the park there is so flooded that my homeless friends have had to choose a new table, farther from the river. They said there were news cameras there last night! There were ducks swimming in the grassy areas. The water might be even higher tomorrow, but Dad and I will be at the cabin, and I won’t be able to check it out. We’ll be able to check out the high water on the Provo River, though. I’m looking for it to wash over the bridge, but not wash it out.

       A few letters ago I said I would be cooking Sunday dinner on the 26th but all that has changed now. Our next Sunday dinner will probably be July 10th , probably at the cabin. Oh, yeah, Dad and I have found the true church, at least for us. We’re going to become members of the Francis Second ward. They have a great organ, and we’re there practically every weekend anyway. I’m looking forward to new adventures!

Lots of love, Mom

Friday, June 17, 2011

A note from Aunt Nancy:
Dear Marilyn's Granddaughters,
    For those of you who can make it, we will be getting together Monday morning at 9:00 at the Sharon Park Stake Center (where the funeral will be held) for a quick run through of the songs and to practice with the accompaniment.
Because some of these songs are a little too long we've made the following changes:
White Choral Bells
Both verses sung in a two-part round
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Refrain (first two lines of the song)
Verse 1
Verse 2
Repeat refrain
Cut out "Tell Me Why"
Beautiful Savior
Verse 1 (first ending)
Verse 2 (second ending)
Verse 3

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Here's the latest from Bonnie regarding the funeral time and place, the burial, and the luncheon:   We are finalizing all of the funeral plans, writing the program etc. The obituary will come out in Friday’s papers;  Deseret News and Provo Herald.  The funeral will be Monday June 20th at 11:00 a.m.  The location will be the Sharon Stake center on 85 east 700 north in Orem. It is just south of the Gold’s gym on 8th north. There will be a private family viewing at 10:00 a.m.  in the relief society room. The burial will be at Orem cemetary, and then a luncheon at mom and dad’s ward building 200 north 200 east (near their home)  We are so grateful for everyone who is making sacrifices to be there. It is difficult when gas prices are so high and airfare is through the roof. I keep feeling a sense of how pleased mom/grandma is with all of the plans, and that so many of you are coming. She is very happy.
       This is me, now.  I have the feeling, too, that Grandma is very happy now.  I feel closer to her now than I did before she died.  She's that beautiful young woman, who was my mother when I was little.  And she doesn't have any back pain or knee pain, and she doesn't need her oxygen!  Yay!
      Dad and I will be at the cabin from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, and we're going to Church in the Francis 2 ward from 9-12 am.  (We're still on a quest to find the right church.)  After church, we'll head directly back to Salt Lake.  Sharon is arriving about that time. 
       Sunday is Fathers Day, of course, and I hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  All of you will see Dad on Monday at the funeral, but if you want to visit him Friday night or Saturday at the cabin, we'll be there.  Or Sunday afternoon, at our house.
      Lots of love, Mom

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dear Granddaughters of Marilyn,
      Grandma has requested that any of her granddaughters that can and want to, sing some camp songs for her funeral.  You know how she loved the outdoors and camping and especially girl's camp.  Here are the songs we've chosen so you can be going over them for the funeral Monday.  If you are able to sing harmony, please practice those parts too!  The songs are in this order: White Choral Bells (to be sung in a two-part round),  I Love the Mountains (also a round), Tell Me Why, Beautiful Savior.  Mark will be accompanying on his guitar. 
       Love and kisses to you all,                                                                                                          Aunt Nancy
Later:  We've decided to make one change in the music.  Instead of singing I Love the Mountains, we've chosen All Things Bright and Beautiful.   Thank you, lovely ladies.  Love you all.    Nancy
P.S.  These songs can also be found on the church website.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I received the following message after I sent my letter on June 10.  It's from Mark's wife, Kate: 
       Hi, this is Kate. Bonnie and I thought that it would be a good idea to have an update blog for Grandma and Grandpa Allen. There are many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other relatives who live far away, and want to be kept updated about how things are going.   I made the blog semi-private, which means that people can't find it by using a search engine. They have to have the exact address. If you have something you'd like posted, like a memory, picture, story, or update, send it to me or Mark. My email is  Here's the link:  ttp://
Love,  Kate & Mark

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dear Kids,
       I’m sitting at the computer and Oreo is asleep in the basket chair, snoring. I never knew cats could snore.
       Dad and I planned a big adventure for last Wednesday, a 50-mile bike ride north on the Jordan River Trail, the Legacy Trail, and the D&RG Trail. You can ride all the way to Roy, and then take the Frontrunner back to Salt Lake, and the Trax practically home. It was a gorgeous day, cool and sunny. We started out at the UTA parking lot, so we could avoid the worst flooding on the trail, but going north, there was flooding in places where I’ve never seen water before. We rode alongside of the ducks. When we got to North Salt Lake, we stopped at Al & Missy’s house, but just after we headed north again, Dad got a flat tire. "No problem," I thought, "he can patch it." (Amazingly, neither one of us had spare tubes.) The patching didn’t work, and after an hour, he was talking about finding a bike shop. Here we were, at the start of the Legacy Trail, where I’ve been wanting to ride for the last three years. So we parted ways. I think we both had fun. Dad found a bike shop and got a new tube. I rode north to Lagoon, Layton, Clearfield, and Roy. The trails are all interconnected now. I was sorry to be riding without Dad, but I knew we wouldn’t get such a perfect day again. I found the Frontrunner station OK, and made it back to Meadowbrook about the same time as Dad. So it all turned out OK. From now on, we’re not riding anywhere without extra tubes.
       Bonnie called me last night about Grandma Allen, and she’s going downhill pretty fast now. She’s asleep most of the time. The hospice people said it could be weeks, or just days. Bonnie’s guessing days. She suggested I might want to start writing the obituary. Dad and I are going to visit her tomorrow afternoon, and if she’s awake, I’ll ask her what I should say. Sorry for the bad news on this, but we knew this was coming.
       I’ll keep in touch with you all! Love, Mom

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dear Kids,
       I guess it won’t ever be spring. But then, we had spring last year. Monday morning, Memorial Day, we had snow at the cabin. Last night Dad and I hiked Ensign Peak, and we wore coats. Yesterday I had the coldest ride ever along the Jordan River, probably because I got so wet riding through the flooded parts. (But the duck families loved it!) When I got home from my bike ride, it was 52 degrees. It would have been great in March, but this is June, for heck’s sake! Anyways, it’s keeping the mountain snow from melting, so the flooding isn’t so bad as it might be. That might happen later.
       On my bike rides, I’ve been checking out the new Trax lines that run to Valley Fair Mall, and also to West Jordan. Every now and then you see Trax trains running up and down them, even though they’re not open yet. Last week I rode around the Trax station in Chesterfield. But are they calling it the Chesterfield Station? Not on your life. It’s the River Trail Station, which is a fantastic name, considering how many times I ride past it on the bike trail.    
       After checking out the station, I took a detour through the neighborhood. Same old funky run-down houses, with lots of animals in the yards. The old Baptist Church that used to be LDS, where Tom was blessed, is still there. Same weird sights, like a guy riding his horse down the road, talking on his cell phone. There isn’t a more interesting place in the whole Salt Lake Valley.
       Normally I would be cooking Sunday dinner on the second Sunday of the month, but since Sharon’s coming for a few days, I think I’ll fix dinner on the 26th. I’m hoping Sharon and Lucy will be here that day. In July, there’s the Allen Family Reunion, probably on July 16, at the same park as always. Then, in August, we’ll be having the Ackerson family reunion the weekend of the 18th-20th. Or maybe the 19th-21st. We’ll all know for sure long before then. Tom and Kim are in charge.
      Lotsa fun stuff coming up! I love you all!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dear Kids,
       So far, we’ve had three confirmations for the Memorial Day picnic at the cabin: Nora’s family, Donna’s family, and Paul. The weather should be good that day! There’s only a 20 percent chance of rain with a high of 52 degrees. Compared with what we’ve had, that sounds great. Let me know if you’re coming, so we can plan enough food. I think we’ll have hamburgers and hot dogs, since Dad just cleaned off the grill. We had to spiff it up for the High Priests’ social, which we had at the cabin last Saturday. It didn’t rain! It was the only dry day in about two weeks. Except that the ground wasn’t very dry. The fire pit was filled to the top with water. Glenn McGettigan thought it was just rain water, and he bailed it out. When he got down to wet sand, new water was already streaming in from the sides. Meanwhile, we bailed out the horseshoe pits and dumped in new sand, which was sort of dry, but after a while the sand was totally saturated, and every horseshoe landed with a splat of wet sand and water. Mr. Earl’s grandchildren got their kicks by stomping in the water in the little ditch. So it was very wet. But it didn’t rain! By the way, we had an overflow crowd–46 people! It was sunny that morning, and I think lots of people just felt like going somewhere.
       Last Friday I went to Heber for grandparents’ day at JR Smith Elementary. I was Jacob’s guest, but I also had my picture taken with Bentley. I sat with Jacob at his desk, and they gave us a work packet to do! I wasn’t expecting that. We also got to write a poem and draw pictures, and I got to eat hot lunch in the lunchroom. (Jacob had his own sack lunch, of course.) We had a great time.
       Dad and I both had fun at Chess Club yesterday. Dad played a retired teacher named Steve, and beat him both times. Steve has a tendency towards colorful language, and we heard him muttering while Dad was wiping him off the board. We usually have nine or ten people a week, now, and it keeps getting better.
       John says he talked to a hydrologist about the danger of flooding on the upper Provo River. It’s like a hundred percent. The snow still isn’t melting, like it usually does before now. So the snowpack is up to about 400 percent of normal, which only means it’s four times as deep as it usually is the end of May. But it has to melt sometime! The hydrologist thought the bridge to our cabin would definitely go. But that won’t happen till June. So, we hope to see lots of you on Memorial Day! Come to the cabin while you still can!
       Love, Mom

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dear Kids,
      My last two letters have started out with joyous declarations that spring is finally here. Well, it isn’t. We’ve had non-stop rain and snow all week, and my only bike ride was a quick jaunt to the Harmon Home yesterday, between showers. Dad and I woke up to lightening and thunder this morning, and then hail. They had two feet of new snow at Alta yesterday. The snowpack on the Provo River drainage is now 300% of normal. Does this sound like spring?
      But it’s supposed to dry out, sort of. And warm up, sort of. Dad and I are in charge of a High Priests’ party at the cabin tomorrow afternoon, and it’s supposed to be 60 degrees, with only 20% chance of rain. That sounds really good. I have to call everybody tonight and tell them the good news. We don’t want anybody scared off.
      There’s lots more going on tomorrow. Missy’s lupus walk. Nora’s triathalon. Vanessa’s family is doing a half-marathon in Ogden. It’s Monica’s baby shower in Tucson. I think we all wish we could be everywhere at the same time.
      Are any of you guys up for a Memorial Day picnic at the cabin on Monday, the 30th? It can be Dad’s birthday party, too.  And it can be a 10-year birthday party for the cabin,  since it was on Memorial Day of 2001 that we rented the truck and moved in all the cabin furniture. Anyways, if you want to come to a picnic on the 30th, let me know, and we can plan food. I’m thinking noon for a barbecue, but we can adjust that to fit peoples’ schedules.
      In a few minutes I’m leaving for Heber, because it’s grandparents’ day for the third graders at JR Smith Elementary (Jacob, Bentley). That should be fun. Once I get past Parley’s Summit, where it’s snowing.
      Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Yay! Two days of sunshine! Yesterday I went for a long bike ride along the Jordan River, checking out the families of ducks and geese, dodging bumps on the trail, and dodging pedestrians. Mostly I can get them to dodge me if I jingle my bell, but old men never hear me! Old men with ear buds especially! Anyways, it was a beautiful ride. The river is getting high, but not as high as it’s going to be! Last time I checked on the KSL snowpack page, the Provo River drainage had 250% of normal snowpack! If we start having hot days, that water’s all going to come down!
      Last Saturday was another gorgeous day, a perfect day for Paul’s graduation. After the ceremony, I wanted to walk across campus, from the Fine Arts building to Old Main. As many times as Dad and I have been there, we’ve always been on the edges. And I figured with our last kid graduating from USU, I wanted to see what the middle of the campus looked like. So Paul and I trotted down the lane with pine trees on both sides–in fact, you nearly have to run to keep up with Paul. Nora and Donna and their strollers came along after us. We took pictures in front of Old Main, and then we walked to Paul’s apartment and had a picnic out on his lawn. It wasn’t too hot or too cold, and there’s a great view of the valley from his front yard.
      My two piano classes are still going really well, along with chess club. On Wednesday, our chess club had to meet in the lunch room of the Harman Center, because they were cleaning carpets in the game room. We had three new people, who were just wandering through, and stopped to play. I don’t know if they’ll stick, but on an average day, we sometimes have 10 or 12 people. They like it that we’re so low key, and with more people, everybody has a chance to win. Dad has been doing especially well. He’s a veteran of four or five months now.
      On Sunday, the day after tomorrow, I’m cooking Sunday dinner. We’ll eat about 4:30, or whenever people can get there. Let me know if you’re coming!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Spring is finally here! It’s been a long wait. This morning I went out to our garden to spray weeds and I found a Hoppy Taw in the dirt. Anybody know what that is? I would have died to have one back in 5th grade. Instead, I used a rubber heel from a shoe. (Waah, waah!)
      Dad and I visited Grandma and Grandpa last Saturday afternoon, and Grandma was doing a lot better than two weeks earlier. She was sitting up in her recliner knitting, but she said she was having trouble counting the stitches. Grandpa had to help her. We talked about birds. Grandma wanted to know what birds we have at the cabin now. I told her about the sandhill cranes, and we looked them up in her bird book. I wish we could take Grandma and Grandpa bird watching, like we’ve done before! So many fun things with them are behind us now!
      We’re looking forward to Paul’s graduation on Saturday. Nora and Addie and Isaac and Donna and Bevan and Anna are riding to Logan with us. Luckily our car seats eight! When we bought it, I figured that extra seat would come in handy! When we all drove to Pocatello together last summer for Sterling’s baptism, we fit into the Windstar, because Nora and Donna hadn’t had their babies yet. But back to the graduation–I’m excited. There probably won’t be many more, until the grandkids start walking. Kim’s sister McKenzie is graduating, too, so Tom and his family have two ceremonies to attend.
      Dad and I spent last Friday night at the cabin, and sure enough, it snowed. There were about four inches on the ground Saturday morning. A dejected-looking robin was wandering around in the snow, probably looking for worms. Or nesting materials. I’m sure the snow has melted for him by now. Maybe he’s the same fellow who built his nest in the play fort a couple of years ago. I’m hoping the magpies will keep their distance this year. If not, the pellet rifle is ready!
      So much going on! Gotta love it! Mom

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Paul has decided to walk! His graduation from Utah State will be a week from Saturday, on May 7th. The commencement will be at 9:30 am in the Spectrum, and the College of Engineering graduation will be at noon in the concert hall of the Fine Arts Center. Call Paul for more details! He suggested that we might only want to do the College of Engineering thing at noon. Most of us have done the Spectrum extravaganza more than once! Since the restaurants will be packed that day, I’m thinking we should get pizza and eat at Paul’s apartment afterwards, or have a picnic. Any ideas? Paul is planning to stay in Logan for the summer and study for the GRE. He’ll start his Masters in the fall, as a non-matriculated student, but all the classes he takes will count toward his graduate degree. Go, Paul! It’s hard to believe he’s not doing APEX again. The rest of his APEX team is already in Alaska, working for the summer.
      The Easter Picnic last Saturday was a blast, as all of you know who were there. (And of course we missed everybody who wasn’t there.) Dad and I had a great time riding there on our bikes. We drove to Carlisle Park on 4100 South, next to the Jordan River Parkway trail, and started our ride there. It’s 11 ½ miles to Al and Missy’s, as the crow flies, but of course we’re not crows. The real distance on the trail is about 16 miles each way. We rode slowly, and it took us about two hours each way. It was cold, but we were bundled up, so we had a great ride. The Jordan River Parkway connects up with the Legacy Parkway all right, but there’s a mile or so of unpaved trail just south of I-215. Luckily our tires held up! The dinner at Al and Missy’s was especially good, and the kids seemed to have a lot of fun hunting Easter eggs in the little park by their home. Some things never change, fortunately!
      Early last Saturday morning, before our bike ride, Dad and I went to the Jordan River Temple, and we ended up in the Tongan session! As they’re waiting in the chapel, before they go up to the ordinance room, they sing their Tongan songs in 4-part harmony, acappella! I thought we were in heaven already! They meet there every third and fourth Saturday for the 7 am session. I highly recommend it! Dad and I had to use headphones, but you can channel surf and listen in 6 other languages besides English.
      Well, I guess we’ll be seeing some of you at Paul’s graduation!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dear Kids,
       It’s still cold and rainy here. It’s supposed to warm up a little by Saturday, though, and clear off. But if it doesn’t, we can still hunt Easter eggs in the rain. When you use the plastic eggs and fill them with candy (as per Missy’s instructions,) at least you don’t have to worry about them getting wet or muddy. Whatever the weather, we’re looking forward to the party. Dad and I are going to ride our bikes to Al and Missy’s house. On Google Earth, it looks like the Jordan River Parkway connects up with the Legacy Parkway now. If we find any place where we can’t get through, we’ll just ride up Redwood Road. It’s probably about 15 miles each way, if we start at Carlisle Park on 4100 South.
       Donna and Bevan returned from their road trip to Arizona, out of the Garden of Eden, back into the cold northland. They stopped by here on Tuesday, so Donna could help with my piano class. Nora came by with her kids, and they had a baby contest. Which baby could roll over? (Isaac) Which baby could stand (with a little support)? Anna. Which baby could sit up? Neither one. They kept toppling.
       John and his family were at the cabin last weekend, so Dad and I took the big swing set we bought, and I had John and Dad unpack it and set it up. (On the east side of the cabin, by Matheny’s fence) There were three pipes that were supposed to fit together for each of the tall side poles, and John and Dad accidentally put two pipes together the wrong way. It wasn’t easy getting them back apart again! They tried pounding with a hammer and a screwdriver, and the pipes didn’t budge. I kept suggesting that they tie one end to the telephone pole, and the other end to the back of John’s car, and just pull them apart. Finally they took my suggestion. John put the car in gear, and pulled it forward until the tension of the ropes stopped it. He jumped out to see how things were going, Dad hit the pipes at the joint with a hammer, and they came apart. John’s car took off down the driveway, and he had to run to catch it. When we told John’s kids what had happened, they wanted us to re-enact it all so they could watch.
       The next Sunday dinner I’ll be cooking here will be May 15th, the Sunday after Mothers Day. On Mothers Day, Dad and I are hoping to visit Grandma Allen, if she hasn’t departed for the Spirit World by then. Last Saturday afternoon we visited her, and she looked like she was barely hanging on. She said they gave her a much better pain pill than Lortab, so I’m guessing it’s morphine. She said she’s having trouble with her kidneys. She was in bed, and seemed to drift in and out of a fog, probably caused by the medication. Every now and then, she was alert for a couple of minutes. She wondered what Grandpa was doing, and I told her Chuck was talking to him about trap shooting. Thank goodness Grandpa is easily entertained! I hope you’ll all pray for both of them, as Dad and I are dong.
       Well, I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Hope to see lots of you on Saturday!
       Love, Mom

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Will it ever stop snowing and raining? We’re very envious, here, of Donna and Bevan’s roadtrip to Arizona. They get to see the pageant at the Mesa Temple, and visit Monica, besides’s Bevan’s sister’s family. I remember the first year Dad and I were married, it was this same kind of weather, and we went to Arizona with my family at Easter time. It was like walking into the Garden of Eden.
      Maybe it will warm up by Easter. Don’t forget the family picnic that Allen and Missy are planning for the 23rd! I asked Missy about food assignments, and she said they’ll probably mail out invitations. I’m excited for the Easter egg hunt! You never get too old for that.
      Our chess club at the Harmon Center is going really well! A few weeks ago I started bringing a small crate with candy bars, fruit snacks, and granola bars, and our membership has shot upward. Last week we had four ladies there, besides six or seven guys.  Usually I've been the only lady, so it's nice not to be so out-numbered. There are lots of beginners now, and they like playing each other, so they don’t get beat every time. Two of our guys have been playing for more than fifty years, and when they play against each other, it can take three weeks. Mostly we just goof off and laugh, so nobody gets too stressed out. Yesterday, Dad played against Rodger, the scotsman, and they ended in a stalemate. It was a great victory for Dad, not to get pounded into the ground, but he was totally wound up for the rest of the day.
      My piano class for the Hispanics is going really well, too. Lots of Caucasians have filtered in, so we have a really diverse group. Donna still comes on Tuesdays to help me, and I have Elise Fulton and Kara McGettigan helping, too. Usually we have between ten and fourteen students. I started a "Best-in-the-Class" contest, and I took pictures of each person and got a picture frame to hang on the wall. Whoever is farthest along in the course books gets his picture up on the wall, and beside it, I post the number of the page he’s on. Last Tuesday, I put up the picture of Zack Fleischel, who’s farthest along, and all of a sudden everybody was very conscious of what page they were on. I hope it helps.
      Our cats aren’t doing very well on their diet. They both backslid while we were in Michigan, and now they seem fatter than ever. I’ve always been disgusted with really fat cats, and I always vowed we would never have any obese felines. Never say never.
      Lots of love, Mom

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I are settling back into our normal routine. Dad started a new run this morning, because UTA always changes the runs when the ski work ends. Yep, no more ski busses, now that we have a huge dump of snow in the mountains. It’s always that way. Springtime in the Rockies.
      We’re still trying to get back onto Utah time, after our trip to Michigan. We tried to stay up late while we were there, and sleep in late, but it didn’t work very well. (Now I wake up about 3 each morning and I’m ready for bed by 8 pm.) We had a lot of fun playing with Charlie and Matthew and Lucy, and we had a great time attending Seth’s dissertation defense, not that we understood a whole lot of it. Basically, lupus patients have more heart disease than the average person, because Type I Interferons in their blood keeps the blood vessels from repairing themselves. (Steven condensed it into three words: Interferon is BAD.) Seth was studying the effects of interferons in mice, because they’re so much more expendable than humans. (He expended hundreds of them.) Now he’s finished with his PhD, but he’ll still be working in his lab until they leave for Maryland in July.
      It was really cold in Michigan–in the teens at night, and thirties during the day. Plus, it’s damp, and the wind blows. We didn’t spend much time outside. Seth’s family came the day before the presentation, so Dad and I spent our last two nights at the Lamp Post Motel. It was very funky, probably built in the fifties, with many layers of paint on the walls and many layers of caulk on the yellow tile in the shower. Very thin towels, some with holes in them. But everything was clean. And it was cheap. Can’t beat that. Our flight home was very roundabout: From Detroit to Philadelphia, and then a long flight from Philly back over Detroit, over a corner of Utah, and down to Phoenix. And our last leg was from Phoenix back to Salt Lake. I think by then we’d seen enough of the country for one day. We were glad to get home.
      Conference weekend was great! Lotsa kids, lotsa food, lotsa fun, and we actually listened to most of the speakers. Sunday morning we woke up to a big snowstorm, which dropped 8 or 10 inches, but nobody went sledding. I think we’re about wintered out.
      What’s up next? The Easter picnic at Al and Missy’s on the Saturday, the 23rd. Thank goodness there’s always some family event to look forward to!
      Lots of love, Mom

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dear Kids,
      Dad and I are packed up, ready to leave for the airport in a few minutes. The cats are milling around, deciding on the last possible minute to hide from us. We know their routine, though, and we’re waiting for the last possible minute to throw them out. We’ll be gone to Michigan for 6 days, but Donna will be coming on Tuesday to run my piano class and refill the catfood container.
      We’re looking forward to conference weekend right after we get back. We’re hoping to have lots of you for dinner on Sunday, and possibly see some of you on Saturday, too. I presume the guys will be going to the Saturday night session in the new Francis church. (No more long "11-minute" drive to Marion!)
      I bought new towels for the cabin, and the old ones are piled on the dining room table. First come, first dibbs. They would be good for trips to the swimming pool, wiping the floor, etc.
      Vanessa says that Meg is doing great! She even went to Church the following Sunday. Thank goodness kids heal quickly!
      Dad is facebook friends with Emily Thomas Nixon, and she sent him a message that she and Marcus kept talking about those cookies I used to bake for their Sunday School classes. They wanted the recipe. Ah, yes, I remember those cookies. I looked forward to eating them as much as anybody in the class.
      Oops, our ride is here. I have to upload this quickly.
      Love, Mom

Friday, March 18, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I was just sitting here trying to think of some news for my family letter, when Vanessa called and said Meg was in the hospital and her appendix had been taken out. She woke up yesterday morning with stomach pain, and her white blood cell count was high, but the doctor wasn’t sure it was her appendix, because she wasn’t screaming in pain. (Sound familiar, anyone?) Luckily, with laporoscopy they can look all around inside you, and the appendix didn’t look terrible, but it wasn’t normal either. They found a place where her diverticulum had ruptured, though, which can be really bad. So they cleaned it all out and took out her appendix besides, and we hope she will make a fast recovery. She’ll probably be in the hospital for another day. They had planned to leave for Disneyland this morning, but naturally they’re not going now. Sterling was practicing his theatrics (mostly a very sad face) for telling his teacher that they weren’t going to Disneyland because of his sister’s appendix. Vanessa says Disneyland is the absolute last thing on her mind right now. We’re just happy that it all turned out OK for Meg.
      Paul has a job! No, it’s not engineering. It’s not full time. It doesn’t have benefits. He’s working at Frederico’s Pizza in Logan, three nights a week. He washes dishes and sometimes busses tables. Well, it’s honest work. You know what they say.
      My breathing troubles are back again. I thought I didn’t really have COPD, because I was doing so well, but something brought it back. Dr. Newbold prescribed a different inhaler, Dulera, but so far it isn’t doing much for me. He referred me to a specialist he thinks is very good, but whenever I call their number, I only get a recording that says to leave a name and number, and they’ll call back. I’ve left my name and number twice, but I haven’t heard from them yet. Pulmonary doctors are supposedly the hardest to get into. Maybe I’ll drive to their office and camp out at the front desk until they let me make an appointment. But maybe it doesn’t even matter. I’ll probably have trouble off and on for the long term now. Dr. Newbold said the last two tests have shown that my lungs are scarred, but it’s funny I’m just hearing about it now.
      Well, sorry for the downbeat news. I hope you’re all doing really well.
      Love, Mom

Monday, March 7, 2011

Dear Kids,
     Dad and I just bought tickets for a trip to Michigan March 26-31. Seth is doing his dissertation defense, and even though we won’t understand much of what’s going on, we’ll be there anyway. The Thackers are coming too, so it will be wild and crazy. I think Dad and I will be staying in a motel for a couple of nights, but we’re always up for a Motel 6 adventure. (Not a Hilton adventure, however.)
     Friday afternoon we were in Heber, checking out John’s new office. It’s actually the same old office with a totally new look, and everything’s laid out differently now. We gawked at his marble counter tops and funky new sinks and faucets. Later that night we went up to the cabin to stay overnight. There are still seven or eight lonely jackets and coats hanging on the coat rack. Anybody? Anybody? I’ll probably leave them there until Conference Sunday, and then haul them off to the DI after that.
     Saturday morning we did cabin work projects, and then drove to Midway so Dad could spend just a little more time with Donna and Bevan’s dishwasher, which he’s become so attached to. (It’s an electrical problem this time.) I worked on their bathroom tile. When I walked outside to get my chocolate chips out of the car, I noticed a kid on a skateboard coming down Center Street, right down the middle of the road. (It slopes downward for several blocks.) He sailed past me and kept on going. Cars went by him on both sides, but he just kept cruising. Is that a Midway thing, skateboarding down the middle of the road?
     When we were done with our projects, we drove down Provo Canyon to Orem, to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma looked a lot better than last time. Charlie told her about a woman in his ward who lived four years on hospice, and Grandma said that would take her to age 91, which might be a good time to go. She’s knitting again, too, which we thought she couldn’t do any more. Best of all, she looked cheerful. Grandpa, too. We had a fun visit.
     This coming Sunday, the 13th, I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner again. It won’t have been a month since the last time, but I want to get in one more dinner before Conference weekend, April 3rd, when I’ll be cooking dinner at the cabin. Be there or be square.
    Life is good! We’re grateful for all the wonderful things you kids are doing, now that you’re grownups.
     Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dear Kids,
      I’ve been putting off writing my family letter for lack of news, but nothing has come up. It was fun having so many of you for Sunday dinner last week. It’s always wild and crazy and fun. Our next family Sunday dinner will be March 13 (getting back to the 2nd Sunday, my plan,) and then the next time after that will be April 3, Conference Sunday, at the cabin. (Wow, this long winter is going by fast!) Easter Sunday is April 24th, and on Saturday the 23rd, Allen and Missy are hosting a picnic and Easter Egg hunt at their house.
      Dad was off last Monday for Presidents Day, so we drove to Midway so Dad could do his final work on hooking up Donna and Bevan’s dishwasher.  (It has been a heck of a job, due to the weird way the kitchen is laid out.) Usually Midway is pretty quiet, even on Center Street, but we were surprised to see several vehicles in front of Donna and Bevan’s house. Their living room was full of old guys in fishing gear. Winter gear, that is. They were all friends of Bevan’s dad, and they had been ice fishing at Deer Creek. When three of them fell through the ice, Lloyd sent them to Donna and Bevan’s to get warm and dry out. Donna gave them cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, and they put their stuff in the dryer. They said everything had to be completely dry, so their wives wouldn’t find out. Besides, they couldn’t go home yet, because it was still morning. When they were all dried out and put back together, they took off for Rockport, where they figured the ice would be thicker. A couple of weeks ago, when I drove past Deer Creek, there were hundreds of people on the ice, with their little huts. I thought it was the dumbest sport ever invented, but come to find out, people really do catch fish that way! Bevan’s dad offered some to us, but they didn’t look very appetizing.
      If you’ve been on Facebook, you might have seen Bonnie’s link to the video of Grandma Allen’s cat Charlie, after he was shaved. Nancy made a good point: we shave poodles, so why not cats? Ask Ramona. She gets professional shaves from Monica now.
      Paul has a new job, sort of, but it doesn’t pay anything. He helps deliver Meals on Wheels. I’m glad he’s doing it, because Grandma and Grandpa really benefitted from that program, and I’m glad someone in our family is giving back. Speaking of Grandma, things haven’t changed much for her in the last few days. Any time you can visit her and Grandpa would be a good time, the way things are going.
      Maybe it’s good when there’s no news! At least there isn’t any bad news right now, that I know of!
      Lots of love, Mom

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Kids,
     The big news of the week is Monica’s notice on Facebook, and if you didn’t see it, she posted: BOY! I presume that means a little Prendergast boy will be born in July. Great news! A girl would have been great, too, of course. We hope everything goes well.
     I had fun today at David Tregaskis’s wedding, although I was too tired to go alone to the reception tonight, and Dad’s doing the Blue and Gold Banquet. (He made a big pot of spaghetti and meatball sauce and took it.) Anyway, at the wedding, I had a lot of time to talk to my siblings, while we waited for the luncheon. Bonnie is making all the decisions for Grandma and Grandpa now, and they’ve started hospice treatment. Generally that means the person (or persons) are expected to die within six months, although Charlie said a woman in his ward just died after four years on hospice. Most of us don’t think Grandma will last six months, and Grandpa will probably follow her pretty soon after that. Grandma passed out in Bonnie’s car last week, coming home from a hair appointment, but she revived on her own. She and Grandpa have asked that no paramedics are to be called, no matter what. Their lives have shrunk down to their family room and the bathroom, and the hallway in between, and when you consider what they used to do, they don’t have much quality of life left. Earth life, that is. The good thing about hospice is that they have nurses, hairdressers, grief counselors, and even a chaplain. Bonnie said the chaplain read scriptures with them and sang a couple of songs, and Grandpa loved it. He thought the chaplain was his new home teacher. My brother Andy says if he gets laid off from Thiokol, he’ll become a chaplain. He says the training is pretty easy. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know what’s going on with Grandma and Grandpa so you’ll be prepared, if that’s possible.
     Tom and Kim will be in charge of our Ackerson family reunion this summer, and we’ve tentatively set the date for August 18-20. If you have a conflict, please let Tom know as soon as possible. There will be an Allen family reunion too, at Riverwooods Park, probably the middle week in July. I’ll let you know the exact date when I find out.
     I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner this coming Sunday, the 20th. We’ll try to eat at 4:30. Let me know if you’re coming, so we can set enough places!
     Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!
     Love, Mom

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dear Kids,
       The double baby blessing last Sunday was a great event. As Nora pointed out in her testimony, all but one of her siblings were there! Sharon and Seth, we really missed you! It was fun having Monica around for a couple of days. Thanks, everyone, for such a great day!
       Dad and I are still getting used to having a van again. I never did get used to its California tires, however. Last Saturday morning I was driving from the Cabin to Heber in an unexpected snowstorm, and it was terrible going past the Jordanelle. I didn’t know if I was going to stay on the road or go over the side. In Midway I picked up Anna, to tend her for the day, and I also traded cars with John, because I had to drive to Utah Valley for a bridal shower (for David T’s fiancee) and a baby shower (for Carly.) John’s car has Arctic Claw tires, and they got us down Provo Canyon very safely. Monday morning, early, Dad ordered Blizzak tires for the van, and I told him it didn’t matter how much they cost. It was plenty. But I feel safe now, and ready for anything. This morning Dad and I drove to Brighton for some snowboarding. It was great, except when Dad face-planted on Sunshine. After that, we were both ready to eat our lunch and go home. Next time we go, we’ll both be in better shape, and we’ll have an even better time. By the way, is anybody interested in a Saturday trip to Brighton for snowboarding? I know practically everyone skis free at Deer Valley, because of Bevan, but there’s lots of charm in snowboarding, too. Let me know if you’re interested.
       Now that nobody’s living at the cabin, I’m going through everything that’s still there. There are eight coats hanging on the hooks by the bathroom. If they belong to any of you, you’d better rescue them. I have no idea who brought any of them. Going through the games, I found the missing chess set with Revolutionary War figures. Yay! It was tucked in among the rest of the stuff. Dad took it to chess club yesterday, and both he and his opponent were equally baffled by which pieces were which. Dad finally won.
       I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner on February 20, and we’ll eat at 4:30 pm. Let me know if you’re coming!
       Lots of love, Mom