Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dear Kids,
           I’m well into my second week of living at the cabin now, and my life is settling into a routine. Only a few things are important: Do I have enough firewood? Is it dry? What will I eat for breakfast? Should I shovel the snow or just let it pile up? Where is the magpie flock? What movie will I watch today? What project will I work on? I brought the little Clavinova here from Donna’s house, so I have a piano to play, when I’m in the mood. My life is like Rapunzel’s, in “Tangled:” I have plenty of fun things to do, but I keep singing to myself, “When will my life begin?” Dad comes every Friday night and stays until Sunday night, so that’s fun. Right now we’re tearing up the floor downstairs, because it kept looking worse and worse, and I had no way to refinish it again. We’re going to put in ceramic tile, same color as before, but it should look a lot better. It isn’t easy, though, tearing out the old tile. It’s like brick, and they cemented it to the particle board underneath. The first weekend we chipped away with hammers and masonry chisels, and mostly made a lot of dust. The second weekend Dad whaled away at it with a 3- pound sledge. Tiles were coming off, but the whole house was shaking, and that didn’t seem good. Sure enough, later, I found that some tiles in the upstairs bathroom came loose. So we bought a rotary hammer, like a combination drill and jackhammer, and a masonry chisel bit. The original idea was that we’d sell it on when we’re done, but Dad is very excited to use it, and I don’t think he’ll want to part with it. So, if anybody needs a rotary hammer (also called a hammer drill . . . ) we’ll have it on hand.
           I’m looking forward to the dinner at Nora’s house on February 6, and I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner at the cabin the following weekend, February 12. It will be nice to see so many of you again. Really, I’m not that isolated, and I come home every Tuesday afternoon and stay until Wednesday night, besides having Dad here on weekends, but it just seems really lonely here. I was actually looking forward to going to a Relief Society meeting last night, but then a blizzard blew in, and I decided to stay put.
           * * * * *
           It’s Saturday now. I couldn’t come to town yesterday to upload my letter because I had a couple of insect bites that completely disfigured my face. My cheek looked like I was holding a golf ball in it, and my eye on the other side was swollen. Besides that, I had some kind of intestinal flu that luckily has blown over today. Dad is here now, and we’re in the deli at Kamas Food Town. It’s a great place to eat and surf the web at the same time. I’ll try to upload this now. I love you all! Mom

Friday, January 20, 2012

Dear Kids,
           I’m surfing the net in the deli at Kamas Foodtown. They have wireless internet here, and I’m on my mini laptop. I’ve been cut off from the world for the last two days, so it’s nice to check in and see what’s happening around town. I see that Mike Winder is announcing his candidacy for county mayor. What an idiot!
           Meanwhile, here at the Food Town Deli, all the rednecks are having lunch. Lots of corn dogs goin’ down. One guy from our stake choir, actually the best bass of the whole group, is eating here. He fits right in. You sure can’t judge anybody’s singing by their looks.
           I had an appointment with a pulmonologist on Monday, and he couldn’t come up with any diagnosis of what’s wrong. My lungs have scar tissue and thickened airways and pockets of trapped air, but he says I don’t have COPD because my lung function is in the normal range. Maybe that’s because his nurse kept screaming at me while she was doing the test, making me blow harder and harder. She didn’t get the readings she wanted, so she had me take two puffs of albuterol, and then, after a few minutes, she tried again. She kept having me blow into the machine until, finally, she got a normal reading. So my lung function is normal. That’s nice to know. The pulmonologist ruled out pneumonia and asthma, so what is it? Just that I can’t breathe in the Salt Lake Valley. After my visit with him, I packed up my stuff and moved my life to the cabin. Whatever’s wrong with me, I don’t notice it much here. Back home, I was puffing albuterol 4 or 5 times a day, and here don’t need it at all. I’m planning to go back to West Valley on Tuesday afternoon for my hispanic piano class, and then stay overnight and do the Harman Center with Dad on Wednesday. After chess club is over, I’ll come back here to the clean air. I’m going to try this life for a month and see if I feel better. Heck, I feel better already!
           I’m sure there’s other news, but right now I can’t think of anything. I’m hoping not to forget any birthdays, now that I’m living my new life–if I forget yours, just remind me, OK?
           I know Nora’s planning a dinner for the Monday night that Monica and Jackson are here, and I’ll definitely come to the valley for that. And I’m still planning on Sunday dinner at the cabin the second Sunday in February, whenever that turns out to be.
           Lots of love, Mom

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dear Kids,
           I’m still have a lot of trouble breathing, but I have an appointment with a pulmonologist on Monday. I hope he’ll have some good ideas for me. My inhalers aren’t helping very much. I’m totally rearranging my life so that I can live at the cabin 5 days a week, only coming to Salt Lake on Tuesday morning, and going back to the cabin Wednesday afternoon, after chess club. Clean air seems to help a lot. When I step outside and look down our street, if I can see the airport control tower really clearly, I know the air is OK. That hasn’t happened much, lately. Monday night I was just gasping for breath, and when Dad and I went food shopping at Winco, I only bought one box of fudgesicles, instead of two. (Sort of like not buying green bananas.) When somebody called from IHC with a questionnaire about mammograms, I said I wasn’t planning to have one any time soon. I said, “We all have to die sometime; why not from cancer?” The lady said thank you and hung up.
           But the good news for all of us is that Monica and Jackson are coming to town! (Jan 31) I’m sure little Jackie Boy has changed a lot since we saw him in August. Monica wants to have a get-together for dinner on the Sunday or Monday that she’s here, so I’ll put that info in my letter next week. That’s the great thing about being part of a large family: there’s always something good happening, somewhere in the family!
           Here’s something else to put on your calendar–the Allen family reunion next summer. Here’s the message from Bonnie: I was able to reserve our favorite park (RiverView, across from the Riverwoods shopping mall) for Saturday July 14th! This will be our one day family reunion that we had planned to do last summer, but postponed to 2012. I know it is six months away, but summer plans are already in the works for a lot of us. Please make sure all of your children get this email so that as many of us as possible can make it. We will have the usual water slide on the hill, "fish pond for 10 and under, games, etc. Everyone will bring their own lunch and we have the park from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will be great to have us all gather in one place! Let me know if you have any questions or ideas.
           Thank goodness Bonnie will keep the reunions going! Grandma made her promise that, before she died. Nothing like a deathbed promise!
           Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it and breathin’ ok!
           Love, Mom

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dear Kids,
           It’s Friday night, and normally we would be at the cabin, but there was a birthday party tonight for Barry Cook, and there’s a wedding open house tomorrow afternoon for Janalee Longhurst. After that we’ll head up the canyon. My lungs are wishing we were there already. I saw my doctor this afternoon, and he said I absolutely have to see a pulmonologist as soon as possible. They are notoriously hard to get into, so if necessary, Dr. Newbold’s nurse will make the appointment for me. Meanwhile, I have one more new inhaler to try. If I could stay at the cabin full time, and hike in the hills every day, my lungs would be lots better. But there would be no chess club, piano classes, piano students, cats, trips to the library, or book clubs in my life.
           Speaking of cats, Oreo was deathly sick last week. Last Friday night, we thought he would be dead by morning, and I was already scrambling around in the shop to find a size 14 shoe box. Saturday morning, though, he staggered out from his sick bed and ate some cat food. He’s been improving steadily since then. I don’t know what he had. I think he has injuries from a fight, besides whatever sickness he had, because he keeps licking a wound on his shoulder.
           This coming Sunday is already the second Sunday of the month, but I’m going to wait till February to start doing Sunday dinners at the cabin again. I’m still worn out from Christmas and all the celebrating. But I’m planning to get back on a regular schedule again, so you can pretty well plan on the second Sunday of every month for dinner at the cabin, if you want to come. February 12 is the next second Sunday, so plan on then. We’ll probably eat around 5:00 pm.
           Our ward reorganized the Young Women’s presidency, and I’ve been called to be the Laurel adviser. Sunday is my first lesson, and I’m busy gathering up my props. Or visual aids, whatever you want to call them. Hopefully I’ll be able to recycle lots of the stuff I used in Primary. The Hill Cumorah bean bag toss, the Primary Amigo, the balloon popper–I’m sure I can find a use for all those things in the Laurel lessons. Everybody likes toys and games–there’s no age limit on that.
           I hope you’re all having a Happy New Year and doin’ great, and lovin’ it!