Sunday, September 30, 2012

Dear Kids,
          I just chased off three deer who were chewing on our aspens out in front. I always thought deer were lazy and just ate what they found at eye level, or on the ground, but these deer were stretching their long necks up above the tree cages, chewing the leaves. I’m sure they sense winter is coming, and they’re trying to buff up. We’ve had mild weather so far this fall, but you can tell winter is knocking at the door. I’m hoping to finish the greenhouse deck before it snows, but we had some rain last week, and it turned my excavation into a mudhole. So much fun!
          Monday night I went to see The Piano Guys with John’s family at the new high school in Heber. The piano guys were doing a benefit for the Heber Railroad, and they had a backup video showing them performing on a flatcar, riding along the Heber Creeper route. (You can see it on Youtube). You wouldn’t guess how many funky things they can do with a piano and a cello! It made me want to go home and practice the piano, even though I’ll never play like Jon Schmidt in this lifetime.
          Yesterday, Dad and I drove down to Salt Lake for a UTA meeting Dad had, and then we changed into nice clothes and went to the temple. But it was closed! I think they all closed early in the day because of the Relief Society broadcast last night. No matter–we figured the Lord would give us credit for trying. So we drove to Orem and to visit Grandpa. Bonnie was just leaving, and she said we picked a good time, because was very clear-headed right then. We had a great talk with him. He misses grandma a lot, of course, and wants to be with her. It’s funny, when I think of Grandma now, I don’t even remember that she was an old woman. I see a young, blonde woman standing in front of a quonset hut holding two little girls by the hand. And when I look at Grandpa, I see past the old man sitting there, to a handsome young army officer with dark wavy hair. Their bodies wore out, but they’re both the same beautiful people they’ve always been.
          We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you next Saturday and Sunday, for conference weekend. The cabin’s looking forward to seeing you, too. It’s renovation isn’t finished, but it feels way better with new cabinets and countertops. Oreo and Xena are not looking forward to seeing you, and they’ll probably both be hiding under the cabin the whole time.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I are on our way to the Brigham City temple dedication. We’re really curious as to why church was cancelled for everybody in Utah today. There have been so many temple dedications, and they’re always during the week, and you can go if you want to. Is there going to be some important announcement during the service? The second coming? I’m not joking. There must be some important reason why they’re doing this for the first time.
          News of the cabin: We have counter tops! They look fabulous! And we have a kitchen sink! You might not think that’s so wonderful, but when you’ve been without a sink for three months, you realize what a luxury it is! Dad worked on it all day yesterday, and made three trips to the Ace Hardware in Kamas for parts. I wasn’t surprised about the three trips. You never know what you need for a sink until you get to that part of it. When the nice countertop guy was here working, he did the cutouts for the sink and the stove, and he said the sink installation should be pretty easy. I was very surprised. Since when has a sink been easy? I still remember that when I was a young adult, I brought my friend Willi (yes, that one!) to our home to meet my family. Grandpa was under the kitchen sink working on something. Willi said, "Your father is a professor, and he works on the plumbing?" Yes, Willi, I could have said, working on a sink is harder than being a professor. Then there’s the joke about the plumber working on a doctor’s sink, and charging him an outrageous amount of money. The doctor says, "I’m a doctor, and I don’t even earn that much!" And the plumber says, "Yes, when I was a doctor, I didn’t earn that much either."
          Well, the temple dedication is over now, and it was really nice, but there wasn’t anything unusual about it.
          Conference weekend is in two weeks! Let me know if you’re coming for dinner on Sunday.
          Love, Mom

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dear Kids,
          My biggest excitement this week was finding three magpies trapped in the greenhouse. Actually, I heard them before I found them. They were crashing themselves into the windows, making a terrible noise, knocking themselves silly. Both doors were open, and in spite of the great intelligence they’re supposed to have, they kept hitting the windows. They they’d fall to the floor, stagger up, and start it all over again. Xena was trotting back and forth, from one to the next. Finally they were all so dazed I was able to throw a dishtowel over each one and carry them out. There’s nothing like having a magpie screeching at you and cursing you while you’re carrying him to safety. I know, I’d rather have them dead, but I can’t help rescuing animals in distress. Even magpies.
          Our kitchen remodel is still moving along! A guy came to measure for the counter tops, and he’s going to install them next Thursday. On Saturday, Dad’s going to put in the sink! After that, I’m hoping the stove and dishwasher will go in OK. I don’t know how long that will take, but I’m sure we’ll be done before conference weekend, October 6-7. We’re hoping to see at least some of you then. Let me know if you want to reserve a bedroom or a bunk in the bunkhouse. They guys can go to priesthood meeting with Dad Saturday night, and I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner after the morning session on Sunday. It will be fun to have a real conference weekend again!
          Dad and I held our second annual chess retreat Friday night. We were sorry Bevan couldn’t come. His parents received a mission call to Cove Fort, and they were having a celebration party that night. (Those of you who’ve read the ancestor stories and know about our connection with Cove Fort would think twice about celebrating, but I’m sure they’ll have a great adventure there.) Anyway, Donna and Bevan couldn’t come to our retreat, but we got Mark Hoyt, from the ward here, to take his place. (He was bishop when some of you kids lived here.) We also had Addy Shuppy from the ward, and the rest of our participants were from the Harman Center Chess Club. We had a riotous time and went to bed very late. Chess always fills me with adrenalin, and I can’t sleep. Richard Gerlach, who flies jet aircraft, was wondering how chess could be that exciting. He wouldn’t understand. Incidentally, I’ve volunteered to help supervise the chess club at South Summit High. Right now all the chess players are doing cross country, so we’ll start next month. I’m sure it will be lots of fun.
          Life is good! Love to all, Mom

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Dear Kids,
          Today is Grandma Ackerson’s 100th birthday! Wow! Too bad she isn’t here so we could have a big party, but I know she’s better off where she is.
          Nora and Robyn did the LOTOJA yesterday, (Logan to Jackson bike ride) and evidently they finished in great time. I haven’t been able to contact Nora yet, but Donna said that as of 7:00 last night, they were only ten minutes from the finish line. That meant that they still had more than an hour of daylight to finish the race. There’s a short story by one of the Russian writers (Tolstoy? Cherkov?) about a man who can have all the land he is able to walk around in a day. Just as the sun is sinking, he finishes his last lap, and falls over dead. That’s the worst case scenario, of course. We’re glad Nora and Robyn made it!
         At the cabin, our kitchen cabinets have been installed, and they look beautiful. After all our weeks of frustration, we finally have a kitchen again. Well, we don’t have a counter top or a sink or a stove or a dishwasher, but we have cabinets! I’m starting to put things in them, and hopefully I’ll find all the things I’ve lost in the last few weeks. We should have a counter top in about two more weeks, and hopefully the rest of the kitchen after that. We’ve been working on this remodel so long (since January) that it’s unbelievable that we might ever finish it.
          Naturally I’ve started other cabin projects, including a deck on the west side of the greenhouse. We’ll be able to put the barbecue there, and not always haul it in and out of the garage when we need it. I’ve had to do a lot of excavating, and naturally the area is all rocks. So much fun!
          I’m having trouble uploading this letter. We’re in the stake center, and stake conference just ended. Dad and I were in the stake choir. I’m probably the worst singer in the group, but I'm coming along.
          I’m still trying to get on the internet. Now we’re sitting by the stake clerk’s office. Hey, I have a signal! Love to all! Mom

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dear Kids,
          We enjoyed seeing so many of you at Emma’s baptism yesterday! We especially enjoyed meeting Paul’s girlfriend, Stephanie. (Dad says he’s able to remember her name by thinking of the movie "Short Circuit.") We’re looking forward to getting to know her better!
          Dad and I had volunteered to work at the information booth at Frontier Days yesterday, but we didn’t volunteer for the storm that came up. I’ve always wanted to be in a hurricane, and I think it came close. (It would have been one of those dark red cells on Our canopy was staked down really well, but all our merchandise got soaked. We had put a plastic bag over our cash register, so it was OK. So when the storm got really fierce, we held onto our stuff and to each other, Most of the vendors were trying to close up their booths, but they should have just waited it out. We got at least an inch of water in about 10 minutes. When it finally blew over, we mopped up everything with a towel, and we were open again. We sold tickets to the rodeo and the barbecue, besides T shirts and candy bars and pop. We also sold Volkers bread, which is very dry, and way overrated. When our shift was over, we went home instead of staying around for the rodeo. Instead, we’re going to the Battle of the Bulls and the Ring of Fear tomorrow.
          Other news of the week: We finally have kitchen cabinets! They’re not installed yet, of course; they’re just stacked in big boxes in our living room. They were delivered on Thursday, almost on schedule. Except that the company sent a semi to bring them, and it jack knifed on the second hill. Dave Matheny’s wife was waiting to go down, and the driver panicked and pulled to the right, and skidded in the gravel. That made the back end of his trailer swung left, into the ditch. Nobody could get past for about three hours. All the neighbors stood around trying to figure out what to do, and the driver, who looked very young and very scared, stood around, too. Finally Vaughn Stanley brought his backhoe and pulled the trailer’s wheels out of the ditch. Then the driver wanted me to get a truck and take my own cabinets up the hill. I told him I’d paid for delivery to my house, and he needed to get them there. Bob Thomas, a neighbor, solved the impasse by bringing his truck and a trailer, and he hauled my cabinets up the hill. While the driver was bringing in the cabinets, I talked to Bob. I’ve known him since we first moved in there. He remembers our cabin being built, and says a high school shop class built it, along with the smaller cabin to the west of us. Bob is a stone mason, and I asked him what he thought of the stone wall I’m building in front. He said I could go for my license any time.
          Life is good. I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it. Mom