Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dear Kids,
          All five of Nora and James’s kids are here at our house right now. Actually, since it’s early morning, they’re just waking up. Last night Nora brought the kids here, and then she and the girls and I went to the General Women’s Meeting at our stake center. When it was over, Nora left straight for home. None of us wanted her to be driving home late. She and James are going to the hospital sometime this morning (maybe right now!) to deliver little baby Mair. (We’ve heard the name McKay Allen Mair mentioned.) Meanwhile, Dad and I will be taking the kids to church. Later, Donna’s bringing dinner. She’ll take the two girls back to her house tonight. We have everything planned out until Tuesday afternoon, when Dad and I will drive the kids back to Centerville and have a look at the new baby. I’m sure he’ll have a familiar face.
          We’ve had a couple of spring-like days here, so Dad and I have been moving ahead with our yard work. We torched our bonfire on Monday, and everything burned except the big cottonwood trunk that was the point of it all. It just lay there and smoldered for a couple of days. A nice old codger from our ward, who came to excavate our window wells, used his backhoe to drag the stump over to the next lot. The guy who was responsible for taking it away is building a house there. (We’ve also found giant chunks of asphalt that he buried in our yard, and those are also going to end up on his property. He was the developer of this whole area, and obviously he took some shortcuts.)  

The nice man from our ward mostly excavated the window wells, but then he broke a hose and had to go repair it. Dad and I started digging out the areas right next to the house, where he couldn’t reach. We pulled out dozens of big rocks to use in our dry creek bed. No wonder everybody here landscapes with river rock!
          The highlight of our week was the trip to Wendover on Thursday. Our bus left Heber in a snowstorm, and by the time we got part way up Highway 40, cars were off the road and the bus was spinning its tires. Imagine Dad as a passenger, sitting near the back. Needless to say, he didn’t do well. Thankfully we got past that area and out of the storm. Most of you have been to Wendover, or through it. The casinos are magnificent, and full of smoke. Of course you have to walk through the smoke to get to the buffet. And then you have to walk through smoke to get to the bathrooms. And back out again. My lungs did as poorly as Dad on the bus in the snowstorm, and I wasn’t even smart enough to bring an inhaler. We walked around town in the cold windy air, and we found the airport. Wendover was an important air field during World War II, and there’s a museum there, along with some broken down barracks. We were out of time by then, and had to go back to the bus, but if we’re ever crazy enough to do the Wendover trip again, we’ll spend most of our time at the museum!
          Hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Nora and James will be having their baby a week from today, unless the baby decides to appear earlier. Their kids will be at our house from Saturday night until Tuesday, except that Adelaide and Paige will be at Donna’s for part of the time. Nora was delighted when her doctor agreed to move up the delivery date, which makes her pregnancy three days shorter. Everyone agrees that the baby is BIG, and he needs to get out and into the world. Naturally we’re praying that everything will go well.
          Conference is two weeks from today, and we’re making a few modifications because of the new baby. I don’t think we’ll be able to do the usual Saturday night Café Rio dinner, but if any of the guys want to go to the priesthood session with Dad, let me know, and we’ll have an ice cream party at our house afterwards. If anybody wants to stay over at the cabin on Saturday night, that will be fine. Dad and I will be watching both sessions of conference at the cabin on Sunday, and we’ll be having dinner there, probably around 12:30. Please let me know if you’re coming, so I’ll be sure to fix enough food. Maybe the Mair family and the new baby will be there, too!
          Our new friends at the Heber senior center have thoroughly corrupted us–they got us to sign up for their Wendover trip this coming Thursday. The bus ride is free, and so is the buffet, so it’s a heckuva’ deal. When I said we didn’t gamble, they said there are lots of other things to do in Wendover. Like what? One lady says she walks around town with her camera and takes pictures of flowers and lizards. I finally said we’d come, but I’m bringing a chess board, and I expect people to play chess with me on the bus. Dad is very excited to be going somewhere different. I guess I am, too. Especially if it’s warmer than here!
          But spring is coming. Dad and I have been working in our yard. Last weekend Allen’s scouts did a service project here, tearing down the posts of the barbed wire fence, hauling rocks, and piling up wood for our bonfire. We have a gigantic cottonwood stump to burn up, so I had the scouts pile all the extra wood around it. We bought two gallons of diesel fuel to pour on it. Maybe tomorrow we’ll torch it.
          Lots of love to all! Mom

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Can you guys picture Dad addicted to Sudoku puzzles? He was talking to our doctor about aging, Alzheimers, and other issues, and the dr. suggested that he get into Sudoku to help keep his mind active. So he bought a booklet at Walmart, and he’s always working on the puzzles. I have to tear him away if we need to go do something. I can’t complain because he’s having lots of fun. The doctor also suggested that they have a look at his kidneys, since there was some kind of a flag in his blood results. He had an ultrasound Friday at the Death Star, and they found a cyst (13mm, he said) on one kidney. But when they looked at images from five years ago, it was already there, and it hasn’t grown any since. All this, besides Grandpa’s death, has reminded me that mortality is a terminal condition. As Grandpa used to say, "Nobody gets out of it alive."
          It was so nice seeing all of you at the viewing and funeral! It was such a happy time! I think people’s prayers were sustaining us. We have two older Hispanic friends at the Harman center, both of them Catholics married to Mormon women, and they both told us they were praying for us. I could feel those prayers, and a lot more besides. I walked around in a happy cloud for several days, but now it’s back to the usual daily challenges. But Grandpa wouldn’t want us to mope. He was always fascinated by those daily challenges.
          Our prayers are still with Monica and the loss of their baby. We hope she recovers physically and mentally and spiritually. What a terrible blow that was.
          Our piano class at the Lighthouse Church is now bursting at the seams. Our Hispanics had dwindled down to practically nothing, so we asked the new stake president (Mike Higginson) if we could simply become the Stake Piano Class, and have the bishops put it in their ward bulletins. He happened to be at the stake center filming a video (which the ladies will see in the conference on March 29) and he came in to have a look at our class and our materials. We explained that the stake needs more organists and pianists, and not just in the Spanish branch. He okayed the project, and now we’re overrun with new people, which we’re very happy about. We have two new teachers, too. And we’ve requested more keyboards from the Church music department. All this is a wonderful distraction from daily life.
          And of course life is good. I love you all. Mom

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Here is the information Bonnie sent out about the funeral:
          Grandpa Allen’s funeral will be at 11:00 am on Monday, March 10th at the Orchard stake center (Nancy's stake) 600 North 800 East in Orem . There will be a viewing (and mini reunion I'm sure) at the Walker Sanderson mortuary (646 east 800 north) Sunday evening from 6 to 8. We will have a nice display of grandpa’s things, and a video of his life. We will also have a shorter viewing Monday morning from 10:00 to 10:45. For the family prayer (casket closing) we will invite ALL adults in the family to stay in the room. Unfortunately we cannot have the children under 18 due to the size of our family, and size of the room. It will be a tight squeeze as it will be all of the adult children, spouses, grandchildren and spouses. but we wanted to include the grandchildren this time. We will have a luncheon after the graveside back at the stake center and all are invited.
          Barbara is in charge of a musical number, and she wants all grandchildren and great grandchildren 8 and over to sing. Please be prepared to sing "Armies of Heleman.. Call Barbara or me if you have any questions about this. Thank you for all of your support at this time, we have such a wonderful family and I love you all!
          Love, Bonnie

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Dear Kids,
          Such a sad weekend! There’s so much to fast and pray for today. We’re feeling for Monica and Neil, and the tragic loss of their baby that would have been born in July. I’m praying constantly that they’ll make the best possible choices in this situation. And then there’s Grandpa Allen, whose life is slowly ebbing out. Dad and I visited him on Friday, and when I looked at his worn-out tired old body, I had to make myself look up at the picture of him with Grandma Allen, on their wedding day, in front of the Arizona temple. That’s who they really are! Grandpa has a blood clot in his leg, along with pneumonia, and he’s so weak he can’t get up by himself. Hospice is coming in to help take care of him. Nancy and her family are doing the rest. And Bonnie, who oversees everything. We’re so grateful to them! 
          Last month we were fasting for "moisture" (we really would have preferred snow) and thankfully, we’ve had lots lately. Vanessa says they’re getting it in Idaho, too. It’s mostly been rain and "mizzle" here at our house, but there’s been snow at the cabin. The sledding hill still looks good! I’m grateful for all the moisture we’ve received, and I hope there will be more. I’ve never seen the Jordanelle so low.
          Last Monday I had the surgery on my hand, and everything would have been fine, except that the resident who was helping out bandaged my hand too tight. My fingers started swelling as soon as we got home, but I thought that was normal. Then my hand started hurting so much I could hardly stand it, and I figured that was the surgery, too, and I just kept taking percocet. Finally, through the fog, I realized it was the side of my hand that hurt, not the middle, and I could see that the edge of the bandage was cutting into my skin. So I immediately undid the bandage, and it started feeling better. Within a couple of hours the pain was nearly gone. It will take a while to heal completely, and I haven’t been able to play the piano or use power tools this week, but there’s always plenty to do. There are still 24 hours in a day.
          The strange house being built next to us has come to a standstill. I remember now that the first day the framers came, they spent a long time looking at the plans, and then they left. Next day they were back, and they framed. But now maybe the builder himself has taken another look. I hope it gets fixed. I don’t want an empty house sitting next to us for the next 20 years.
          I enjoyed talking to all of you yesterday, even though it wasn’t good news.

          Lots of love, Mom