Sunday, March 31, 2013

Dear Kids,
          I hope you’re all having a happy Easter this morning. There’s a big chocolate rabbit sitting in front of me on our dining room table, and his ears have already been eaten off. Some things never change. I hope you had fun at the Easter picnic. I wish we could have been there, but yesterday Dad and I were driving home from Arizona.
          Our trip went pretty well. Nancy came with us, so we had a lot of fun talking about people and books and music and everything else. Driving down, we discovered that the road south of Page was closed for construction, and they sent us out on a long detour on the Navajo reservation. We had to stop for gas, and a couple of Indians told us about a shortcut to get us back onto the main road, below the construction. It was supposed to be five miles of dirt road and then a really good highway. Trouble was, we took the wrong dirt road, and it was twenty five miles of bumpy washboard with piles of sand on the edges. Dad was afraid of getting stuck in the sand, so we bounced down the middle at 15 miles an hour for almost two hours. We were so grateful to finally reach a paved road that we had no complaints after that, and the rest of our trip south went fine.
          My Aunt Elma’s funeral was a blast. Sure, we looked into her coffin and said, "Yep, there she is," but otherwise, it was a continual party, from the viewing to the funeral to the cemetery to the luncheon to the afterparty at my cousin Jennifer’s house. Charley and Andy and Bonnie flew down on Southwest, and Rich and Jeanne drove from Las Vegas, so they added to the fun. Our Milano cousins are loud and crazy like us, and they still make jokes about farting and bodily functions. Uncle George’s kids are just the same. So we laughed a lot and ate a lot. Some of my cousins are really wealthy, and the house we stayed at looked like an Italian villa. But they had a son on a mission, and LDS stuff all over the house, so we felt right at home. We drank real orange juice, squeezed from oranges off their trees. We walked around their neighborhood (more villas) and saw flowers blooming and fruit trees blossoming. I’ve always loved Mesa in the springtime.
          Now we’re back home where it’s winter still. No leaves or flowers or blossoms. But the air is clean! We drove past our lot this morning, and a big backhoe is sitting there. Another basement has already been dug. So life is moving forward! Last week in West Valley, a Mexican couple came to see our house there. We’re not even putting it on the market for another month, because we’re painting and repairing things, but I think the house will be really easy to sell.
          So life is really good! Love, Mom

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Aunt Elma died on Friday. She’s Grandpa Allen’s older sister, which leaves Grandpa the only member of his family who’s still alive. I’m sure all his family will welcome him, too, when his time comes, but it’s evidently not yet. Dad and I visited him yesterday at his house, and he was really cheerful. He was reading Louis L’Amour stories and listening to music. We talked to him about lots of things, because he’s such a good listener. It doesn’t matter whether he remembers anything we say. I hope I’m that cheerful when I get old.
          Anyway, about Aunt Elma . . . . Dad and I won’t be at the Easter Picnic on Saturday because we’re going to Mesa for the funeral. We’ll be leaving Thursday morning and coming back Saturday afternoon. Aunt Elma died at exactly the right time, because I was yearning for a road trip. This time of the year, I always want to go south. When we got the phone call yesterday morning, it was 18 degrees outside and snowing. I said, "Mesa? We’re there!" We might be taking Nancy and Barbara with us. Charlie and Andy are flying down together, and Rich and Jeanne are driving from Las Vegas, where they’re staying now. It’ll be a fun get-together with my brothers and sisters, as well as my cousins.
          Stefanie’s grandma had a stroke last week and she’s in the hospital in Logan. We hope she recovers! She was so excited about the wedding! I had fun getting to know her at the bridal shower in Logan, and she also came to the shower at Missy’s a couple of weeks ago. We’re praying for her recovery.
          Dad and I have been working really hard on our West Valley house. We bought a new stove top, the old-fashioned electric-coil kind, because it was so cheap, and Dad put it in. We’ve been painting and repairing, too. We got a new attic ladder to replace the old broken one in the carport, and that will be one of our projects next week. (By the way, if any of you have stuff in our attic, please come and get it out as soon as possible.) We’re planning to put the house up for sale around the first of May.
          So much to do! So much fun! Love, Mom

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dear Kids,
          We had three days of spring, but this morning there’s snow on the ground again. Well, spring was nice while it lasted. We took advantage of the warm weather to start painting our moose. I thought he was mostly fine when we bought him, but looking closer, I saw there were little bubbles of rust all over him. He was made in California, and they just let the bare sheet metal rust, and then they sprayed him with floor varnish. Maybe that would be OK for California, but not for here. We’ve been sanding everything down and painting him with metal primer. Then I’m going to paint him glossy brown with metallic copper highlights. Oreo thinks we’re wasting our time and need to pay more attention to him.
          Speaking of Oreo, he brought a dead rat into the greenhouse and was tossing it around. Dad finally threw it out into the field. When I passed it on my walk, I saw a few bites had been taken out of its side.
          While it was warm, most of the snow melted, and left us with lots of mud. We have the pickup here at the cabin because we needed to go get more firewood, so Thursday we made our trip to Blazzard Lumber and loaded down the truck. When we got back to the cabin, in the parking area, Dad was backing it back and forth to get it closer to the wood pile. The truck ended up sinking to its axels in the mud. Dad could have called a tow truck to get it out, but feeling adventurous, he spent several hours jacking it up and filling the hole with gravel and slabs of wood. Meanwhile, I had to go visiting teaching to my one lady who lives at the top of the little loop, down a lane. I walked up there with a plate of cupcakes in my tote, feeling very virtuous. But she stood me up! I had a nice talk with her husband, however, and gave him the cupcakes. When I got home, Dad was still working on getting the truck out of the mud. He finished the next morning.
          Remember I’m cooking Sunday dinner next week, the 24th. We’ll eat at 5:00. The next week is Easter, and I guess our plans for the Saturday egg hunt are still uncertain. I hope we can have it someplace! The week after that is conference. Anybody who wants to come is welcome Saturday and/or Sunday, including the priesthood session Saturday night. I’ll fix dinner Sunday at noon.
          Life is good! Love, Mom

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Kids,
          This is the first Sunday I can ever remember when I didn’t know we were gong onto daylight saving time. That’s how isolated Dad and I are here at the cabin. If Dad hadn’t turned his phone off last night, and turned it on again this morning, we wouldn’t have known. Luckily, when he turned it on, he saw the time jump from 6:10 am to 7:10. Just think, the primary kids would have had to sing acappella. (We have primary first.) But I’m sure we wouldn’t have been the only people coming an hour late for church.
          Dad had turned off his cell phone because we were watching Ellie perform in "Sussical" at her school last night. You wouldn’t think an elementary school production of any musical would be very professional, but we were blown away. These kids were terrific! Ellie was very cute as a "Who." (You know, all the Whos down in Whoville . . . .)
          We also totally enjoyed the shower for Stefanie at Al and Missy’s house. Dad and Paul and Al went out shooting while the girls partied. Stefanie’s Mom and Grandma came, and I had already met them last week at the shower in Logan, but I was glad the rest of you girls could meet them. And thanks to Missy for the great food!
          Of course we’re all looking forward to the wedding April 13th, but here are some other things coming up:
          March 24: I’ll be cooking Sunday dinner at the cabin.
          March 30: Easter Saturday. Does anybody want to plan an Easter egg hunt at their house? It’s still too wet and soggy at the cabin to do anything there.
          April 6-7: Conference weekend. If you want to come to the cabin and watch Conference with us, I’ll be fixing Sunday dinner again. That will be my Sunday dinner for April.
         When we went back to our West Valley house last week, we discovered that Xena has acquired a roommate. There’s a big fluffy part-siamese cat with stripes on her face that now lives with Xena in the kitty room. I remember seeing her when she was a kitten. We called her "Striped Face." She has two siblings that are also mostly siamese: "Dark Face" and "Skunk Face." We see them running through our yard now and then, but they haven’t taken up residence. Now here’s a good question: when we sell the house, does Xena go with it? What about the extra cat?
          Life is good! I love you all! Mom

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dear Kids,
          Today would have been Charlotte’s 12th birthday. It’s strange to think she would be starting Young Women! She would probably be even taller than Addie! Of course Addie probably wouldn’t be exactly who she is if Charlotte had lived, because she would have been born at a later time. I know everything works out for the best. Normally Dad and I would be going to the cemetery with Nora’s family today, but we live so far away now, and we’ve been on the road all weekend. Still, I’m thinking about Charlotte right now. She’s probably hanging out with Grandma Allen and Grandma Mair and all the other family she has on the other side.
           There was a shower for Stefanie in Logan yesterday, so Dad and I used that as an excuse for a road trip. We left Friday afternoon and drove to Brigham City, where we hung out with Andy and Renae at their house. They’re always inviting people to come and stay over and go to the temple with them, so we took them up on it. Their house is gigantic! All the bedrooms are like suites! So we had a suite with its own bathroom, and three windows looking out onto the street. It was odd to see so many other houses around. I used to think Brigham City was a small town, but compared to Kamas Valley, it’s a metropolis.
          You have to have an appointment for the Brigham City temple, and it was especially busy yesterday morning because they’re closing for two weeks for maintenance. I asked Renae if they overbooked, like the airlines, but she said no; if there are extra seats, they allow walk-ins. It’s very small inside, and the locker rooms are really crowded. But we had a wonderful session. Dad and I can’t wait to go back.
           The shower for Stefanie was lots of fun, and I got to meet all her aunts and some of her cousins and friends and her grandma. We played lots of shower games and laughed a lot. Paul and Dad hung out while we partied–I think they went to lunch. Next Saturday is the shower we’re having for Stefanie at Missy’s house. It’s at 2:00, I think. That one will be lots of fun, too.
          I love you all! Mom