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