Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Bonnie just sent out a note that the big Allen family reunion will be June 28 (2014) at the same park as always, in Provo. I was hoping it could be later, so that Sharon and Seth could time their visit for both, but Sharon says that she and the kids might come for as long as five weeks, and have the reunion at both ends of their trip. I hope that works out for them! (Seth might come for a week sometime in the middle.) So mark your calendars for June 28 for the big reunion, and also for the first weekend in August (I think it’s August 1 & 2) for our Ackerson reunion.
          What else is new here? Still no snow, but a house is being built next door to us! It seems really odd to me, since there are 61 lots in the development, and only 9 have been taken, but I guess it will be nice to have neighbors. At least the house is a rambler, so we’ll still be able to see our church steeple from our upstairs bedroom window.
          Dad and I have become good friends with a couple in our ward, the Willises, who live in Victory Ranch. The wife, Shirlene, takes piano lessons from me. They have a baby grand piano, but it’s pretty deficient, and their piano tuner recommended that they donate it and get something better. Dad and I offered to take them piano shopping, and naturally we went to Daynes Music, so they could start at the top. (Steinways and Bostons.) They’re obviously pretty wealthy, and they could probably afford anything, but they’re careful with their money, and they weren’t ready to make a decision yet. After Daynes music, we went to lunch at Applebies, and then to the Humanitarian center, and then to the Welfare Square DI. I told them that shopping at the DI was an important part of Utah culture. (We also had to explain that 1700 South is really 17th South, 4000 West is really 40th West, etc.) So, we went from looking at $90,000 Steinways to shopping at the DI. It was lots of fun.
            Two of my  Dr. Seuss books are missing, Horton Hatches the Egg and the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins. Has anybody seen them?
          Don’t forget Sunday dinner at our house next week, Feb 2, at 4:00 pm.
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I had lots of fun last week. Tuesday morning we drove to Pocatello to visit Vanessa and Trent and their kids. I also wanted to go to Vanessa’s book club, which was meeting that night. So it was a good chance for a road trip, very nice weather (still no snow) and there’s something about January that you just want to go someplace. Far away. When we arrived in Pocatello we all went to Costco for lunch, and to check out their leftover Christmas candy and leatherbound books. (Naturally I overdosed on the books, and when we got home I discovered that I now have four Jane Austen collections.) Then, that night, Vanessa and I went to her book club, and I wasn’t disappointed. They discussed Watership Down, and I think every lady there had actually finished the book! Normally they only read classics, but Vanessa had persuaded them that "Watership" was a good choice. There were eight ladies there (counting me,) and Vanessa named off several other ladies that usually come. So how is she lucky enough to live in a town where at least 14 ladies like to read classics? Donna says she might be able to get something like that going in Midway. If so, I’ll be there.
          While we were driving home from Pocatello Nora called and said that the water at the cabin had mysteriously gone off. There was a trickle now and then, but no more. We had visions of two or three thousand for a new pump, at the least. We suggested that Nora take everybody to our house and settle in for the day (and probably the night.) So when Dad and I got home, it was already a big party, with Nora fixing dinner and the kids watching "Sound of Music" and playing with toys. Dad had called the pump guy, and the next morning he met Dad at the cabin. They checked everything out, and it was only a problem with the controller box. Only $300. The best possible outcome! Still, Nora stayed for most of the day and did laundry. It was great fun.
          Friday morning Andy and Renae came to visit, and to see our new house. They admired everything, so that was lots of fun. They had suggested going to lunch, and first I thought of Gateway Grill, but then I realized that Hi Mountain Drug would be a better choice. (Best burgers in Utah, two years running.) Nora and the kids came along, and we consumed lots of fries. And burgers. And we talked about everything under the sun. Now that all my brothers and sisters are grandparents (well, nearly), we don’t get together with each other often enough.
          Now we’re back to our normal routine: feeding the cats, driving to Home Depot, and holding down our chess clubs and piano classes. Life is good! Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dear Kids,

          We were supposed to have a major snowstorm, but it wimped out, like always around here. It was the same last year. Every time they predicted a big storm, we got an inch, at most. And that was at the cabin. Here at our house, it’s more like half an inch. And nothing where the wind blows it bare. I keep promising myself I won’t look at any more weather reports, but I keep doing it.

          Here’s a message from Heather Colby that she wanted us to pass on: "I am writing to ask for your faith to help Carly and Levi with some worries that they are experiencing. Their daughter, Hadley, has some developmental issues and doesn't seem to be responding to the therapies as they thought she would. You can read the details about it on Carly's blog: Our family is going to have a special prayer, just for them, tomorrow morning before we go to church, and then fast next Sunday (the 19th). We are asking our Heavenly Father to not only comfort them and help them to have hope, but that the doctors they are working with will be able to discover what Hadley needs to continue developing properly. If you would like to join in one or both of these, it would be much appreciated! I know that with the combined faith of our family, miracles can happen."

          I hope there can be a miracle for Hadley. I’m sure our prayers will help.

          Dad and I went to the fitness center on Friday to walk the track, and Dave Matheny was there timing his boys as they were running. Dave knew that we had moved, and that Nora’s living in the cabin now. I remembered telling Dave once that we would need to move if I ever wanted to teach piano again, and he had said he wanted his boys to learn how to play. So I told him I was all set up to teach again! (I have two students.) He wondered how you know if a child is ready for piano lessons, and I said, "Just ask him. See if he’s willing to practice every day." Enzo is seven now! (He’s the same age as Ali.) Where have the years gone? Anyway, if Enzo starts piano lessons, I hope he has the latin rhythm and the caucasian ambition, not the other way around. It should be interesting.

I saw a doctor at the U. Orthopedic center about my hand, and I’m having surgery on Feb. 24. It’s supposed to be an easy recovery. It will be nice hot having my finger curl up and lock at the worst possible times.

          I love you all! Remember Sunday dinner on Feb 2nd! Love, Mom

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Dear Kids,
          It’s so barren around here! No snow! Well, there are probably three or four inches out there somewhere, but around the house, where the wind sweeps it clean, I’m still looking at the same dirt and rocks that annoyed me so much last fall. Since it’s fast Sunday, I’m sure lots of people are fasting for snow. I like it mainly for its looks, but the farmers and ranchers need it for their crops and their cattle, and the ski resorts need it for skiers and snowboarders. (By the way, that’s another reason we want snow–I want to go snowboarding at Brighton as soon as possible.)
          I have an appointment in Salt Lake tomorrow to see an orthopedic doctor about my right hand. Have any of you heard of trigger finger? Your middle finger curls up suddenly and locks in place, and nothing will open it up. You can’t pull it open, even if you could stand the pain. It lasts anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, and then, mysteriously, your finger uncurls and you’re back to normal. I try to ignore it when it happens, but it’s hard to play the piano or use power tools without that middle finger. A lady in my senior piano class had the same thing, so she referred me to the doctor who fixed it. 
          I sent out a "holiday" letter on New Years, to let our old friends know where we are. We’ve been dropped from most of their Christmas card lists, and I want to get back on. As part of my letter, I naturally told them a little bit about each of you. If you want a copy of the letter, let me know, OK?
          Our chess club in Heber is still limping along with just three people: Dad, myself, and Laura Ribinski. (Some of you met her at the sledding party. She came because she wanted to see what a big Mormon family looks like.) So, with only three people in chess club, we have lots of freedom to talk about whatever we want, which is usually the Mormon Church. Laura is very interested in everything about the Mormons, but she says she won’t convert. Still, she has a Book of Mormon, her ward mission leader knows where she lives, she has visiting teachers, and she’s met the missionaries. I hope we can soon take it to the next level.
          Mark your calendars now for Sunday dinner at our house on February 2, if you think you can come. We’ll eat at 4:00, unless we need to move it back to 5. Our house is up for it! It has shown us that it can hold up to a crowd.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom