Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dear Kids,
          We’ve had a ton of rain here, just like everywhere around. My dry creek bed is full of water, and the spot we excavated for our playground looks like a swimming pool. Yesterday morning Dad’s friend Ken Christiansen went out to walk his dog while it was just sprinkling, but by the time he came past our house it was pouring. Dad drove both Ken and the dog home in his truck. Nora’s family did the same thing–they went out for a hike during the "lull" in the storm, but they were drenched before they got back to their car. We’re grateful for all the rain, but I know there’s been a lot of damage from flooding. I’m glad it’s not us.
          Last weekend, however, it was absolutely beautiful for our trip to Idaho. We drove to Rexburg Saturday and met the Harpers at the temple there. After we did a session, we drove out to their house in Newdale. It was a gorgeous evening, so we walked around town - - twice. (Three streets in each direction, so you can’t go far.) Chris showed us the new baseball diamond in the park, and the house where her mother grew up, and the house where her father grew up, and where all her aunts and uncles had lived. We walked by her mom’s house, and Chris watered the carrots in her garden. I’ve always wished I had grown up in a really small town, but our little part of Kamas Valley is the closest I’ll get now.
          Sunday morning Dad and I drove from Newdale to Pocatello, and we met Vanessa’s family at their church. After the block we had a great lunch at their house, even though the power was out. The barbecued pork in the crock pot was still warm! Later we walked up the hill on a dirt road, but the police had followed a drunk lady up there (she had hit two cars in town) and we couldn’t get past all the cop cars. It was plenty exciting for the kids, though! On our way home Sunday night we stopped at Nora’s house so she could give Dad a haircut. It was fun visiting there, too.
          Next weekend is conference! On Saturday, Dad and I will be watching conference here at our house, and any of you guys who want to go to the Priesthood session with Dad can meet here beforehand. I’ll definitely have ice cream for afterwards. Anybody else is welcome to come, too. I don’t know if there’s a plan for a Café Rio dinner beforehand. Nora’s family will have a couple of Vanessa’s kids with them, (Vanessa’s doing the St. George marathon on Saturday) so Nora wasn’t clear about their plans. Sunday Dad and I will be at the cabin for both conference sessions, and we’ll have dinner there about 1:00. Let me know if you’re coming!
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dear Kids,
          We’ve been using a low-quality toaster ever since we moved into our house last year. Why didn’t we get a good one? I thought they were all pretty much alike, so the $7 cheapo at Walmart ought to do us just fine. But it would toast one side dark brown, while the other side stayed white, and it burned the edges, besides. Most mornings, our whole house smelled like burned toast. A few mornings ago I was really fed up, so I went on Amazon to see which toaster people liked best. Strangely, there are no 5-star toasters. But I ordered the one at the top of the list, the best-seller. It came two days later, and we’re delighted with it. What a difference a good toaster makes! I love Amazon! I also love Walmart. This is America. There’s a place for everybody.
          Dad and I are making the most of our last good days before winter hits. Dad is working at the cabin, stacking wood and painting on a new coat of stain. I’m still digging in the yard, here at our house. I’m ready to lay down the rocks in the next section of our dry creek bed, after two weeks of digging. People who walk by are really nice, and they always compliment me for working so hard, and they say our yard is looking good. Well, it’s looking better. BTW, there’s a copycat of our dry creek bed at the new house two doors down, but they used a bobcat, and the rocks are covered with dirt. Besides, you can tell they didn’t have the benefit of a professional landscape designer, like we have.
          Next weekend Dad and I are driving to Idaho for a very quick vacation. On Saturday we’re going to the Rexburg Temple with Harpers, and then we’ll stay overnight at their house. Sunday morning we’re driving to Pocatello to go to church with Vanessa’s family, and then we’ll probably drive home late in the afternoon. It’s a great time of year to go somewhere!
          Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dear Kids,
          I’ve had it with people dying! We walked into the Heber senior center Thursday morning, and there was a big picture of Steve Mahoney, the director, on a poster. Under his picture were his birth and death dates. I thought, "What the . . . ??" I was just going to look for him in his office and talk to him about a couple of things. Naturally his office was empty. He died last Sunday, after falling down. He was 81. That makes three people we knew really well who died within a few days of each other. Part of it comes from hanging out at senior centers, but that doesn’t explain Dennis Nordfelt’s death. Nora and her family are coming for Sunday dinner today, and Nora said she’d find out why he died. I’d heard a couple of months ago that he wasn’t doing very well. We didn’t go to the funeral, because I knew there would be thousands of people there, besides my lungs not liking extra trips to Salt Lake.
          Sharon is in charge of the family reunion next year, and she has already booked the same campground, Huber Grove. I couldn’t be more delighted. We’ll only be camping two nights, July 31 and August 1, (Friday and Saturday) but there will probably be a Timp Hike on Thursday and a grownups’ get-together Thursday night. Then the real fun will start Friday morning at Deer Creek, and we’ll check into the camp ground that afternoon. It sounds like a great plan to me. Anybody who needs a place to stay Thursday night can go to the cabin, or to anybody’s house who lives around here, which is most of us.
          I’m cooking Sunday dinner this afternoon, and again next month on Conference Sunday, October 4th. We’ll have that dinner at the cabin.
          It hardly seems like fall could be here already, but the oak brush is turning red on the hillsides. We’ve had so much rain that the fall colors should be beautiful this year. We’re lovin’ life, and hope you are, too.
          Love, Mom

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dear Kids,
          McGettigans just left for home, but we had a great time while they were here. We had lunch yesterday afternoon at Hi Mountain Drug (best burgers in Utah) and then we stopped in to Food Town for a few groceries. Then we packed up our stuff for the rodeo and drove over to the park. There was country music blaring really loudly, and the usual t-shirt vendors, and the usual rodeo-type people in the stands, except that we know more of them now. I sat next to Jana because I wanted to hear her comments. She took lots of pictures and videos with her phone. There isn’t a crazier rodeo anywhere, including wild cow milking and saddled cow riding, along with the usual buckin’ broncos. We enjoyed it immensely, except that the wind kicked up and the metal seats were cold. Kara and I finally walked home about 9:00, because we were freezing, although it wasn’t so cold once we got out of the stands. Dad and Jana and Glenn came home later. Next year we’ll definitely bring blankets to put on the benches and wrap up in. McGettigans want to make the Frontier Days Rodeo an annual tradition, and we’re up for that! This morning they came to church with us, and later we had dinner and sat around talking, while Jana played our piano. We didn’t want them to leave, but they had to get back to the real world. Luckily Dad and I live outside of reality.
          At church, we thought we might run into Paul and the Riebens, because they’re over at the cabin having a family reunion. They were misled by, though, and came to an earlier ward. Paul says they’ve had fun hiking (the beaver pond and rocky point), going to the Polar King for ice cream, and hanging out in general.

I wrote about our chess club retreat last weekend. One of the men who couldn’t come (Ross Oseguera) died last Friday morning. Luckily we didn’t find out until we came back. What a downer! He died peacefully in his sleep. That’s three fatalities for our chess club! What can I say to people? "Join our chess club and die!" Maybe it just comes with getting old, but I don’t like it.
          BTW: we just heard that Dennis Nordfelt passed away. So sad!
          Otherwise, everything here is great. Don’t forget: Sunday dinner here next Sunday afternoon at 4:30, or thereabouts.
          Lots of love, Mom