Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dear Kids,
           Dad and I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday–we had lunch with Paul and Stefanie and Josh at their house, and then we went to the Hill AFB Museum. Stefanie’s mom and dad went, too. I know I’ve never been a great fan of airplanes, but it was fun to walk around outside in the sunshine among all those gigantic planes, and see Josh’s amazement. Inside the museum itself, I was dumbfounded by all the old military planes on display. I know Hill AFB is a standard field trip destination, but I’ve never been.
           In the evening, we went to Ellie’s latest performance at Centerpoint, a Broadway review. She and her group were great, as always.
           What else is going on? For the next six Sundays, Dad and I will be having Messiah practices in Heber, so we’ll be gone after 5:30 pm. This will be our fifth year! (Tom’s tenth.) The performances will be December 9th and 10th, at Tom’s church. That seems far away, but it isn’t!
          And of course Abi’s baptism is next Saturday morning, Nov. 4, at 10 am at Tom’s stake center (the church just east of Tom’s church). There’s an afterparty, of course, at Tom’s house. You can call Kim for a food assignment, if you want. We’re really looking forward to it. And way down the road, Christmas is coming! Last year, at Tom and Kim’s, Bentley recited "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," while he was opening a present and fiddling with something else, besides. That inspired me to memorize it myself! It’s easy. So I’m making this offer: $10.00 to every grandchild who can recite the entire thing by Christmas! (You faraway kids can skype it.) Below this letter, in a separate post, I’m putting up the version of the "Grinch" that’s is the Seuss book. If you memorize it from the video, that’s fine too. They’re practically identical.
          So much going on! My life here is wonderful! Dad’s, too. Love, Mom

by Dr. Seuss

Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot,
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-Ville, Did NOT
The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small

But, whatever the reason, his heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the wam lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Who-ville beneath
Was busy now, hanging a mistletoe wreath.
"And they’re hanging their stockings!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!"
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Christmas from coming!"
For, tomorrow, he knew, all the Who girls and boys
Would wake bright and early. They’d rush for their toys!
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That’s one thing he hated! The Noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
Then the Whos, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they’d feast! And they’d feast! And they’d FEAST! FEAST! FEAST! FEAST!
They would feast on Who-pudding, and rare Who-roast-beast.
Which was was something the Grinch couldn’t stand in the least

And THEN they’d do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Would stand close together, with Christmas bells ringing.
They’d stand hand-in-hand. And The Whos would start singing!
They’d sing! And they’d sing! And they’d SING! SING! SING! SING!
And the more the Grinch thought of this Who-Christmas-Sing,
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!
Why, for fifty three years I’ve put up with it now!
I MUST stop this Christmas from coming! . . . But how?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea! THE GRINCH GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA

"I know just what to do!" The Grinch laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Grinchy trick!
With this coat and this hat, I look just like Saint Nick!"
"All I need is a reindeer . . . " The Grinch looked around.
But, since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch . . .? No! The Grinch simply said,
"If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!"
So he called his dog, Max. Then he took some red thread
And he tied a big horn on the top of his head.
THEN he loaded some bags and some old empty sacks
On a ramshackle sleigh. And he hitched up old Max.
Then the Grinch said,, "Giddap!" and the sleigh started down
Toward the homes where the Whos lay a-snooze in their town

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
When he came to the first little house on the square.
"This is stop number one," the old Grinchy Claus hissed
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.
Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch.
But, if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch.
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue
Where the little Who stockings all hung in a row.
"These stockings ," he grinned, "are the first things to go!

Then he slithered and slunk, with a smile most unpleasant,
Around the whole room, and he took every present!
Pop guns! And bicycles! Roller skates! Drums!
Checkerboards! Tricycles! Popcorn! And plums!
And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, very nimbly,
Stuffed all the bags, one by one, up the chimbley!
Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Whos’ feast!
He took the Who-pudding! He took the roast beast!
He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Who-hash!
Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will stuff up the tree!

And the Grinch grabbed the tree, and he started to shove
When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!
Little Cindy-Lou Who, who ws not more than two.
The Grinch had been caught by this tiny Who daughter
Who’d got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,
Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!
"Why, my sweet little tot," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There’s a light on this tree that won’t light on one side.
So I’m taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
I’ll fix it up there. Then I’ll bring it back here."
And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
And when Cindy-Lou Who went to bed with her cup,
HE went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!
Then the last thing he took was the log for their fire!
Then he went up the chimney, himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire.
And the one speck of food that he left in the house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.
Then he did the same thing to the other Whos’ houses
Leaving crumbs much too small for the other Whos’ mouses

It was quarter past dawn . . . All the Whos, still a-bed,
All the Whos, still a-snooze when he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their presents! The ribbons! The wrappings!
The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings!
Three thousand feed up! Up the side of Mt. Crumpit,
He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!
"Pooh-pooh to the Whos!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They’re finding out now that no Christmas is coming!
"They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"Then the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!
"That’s a noise," grinned the Grinch, "That I simply MUST hear!

So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow . . .
But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Who-ville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN’t stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
"It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn’t come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!"

And what happened then . . .? Well, in Who-ville they say
That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!
And the minute his heart didn’t feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And the food for the feast!
And he . . . HE HIMSELF . . The Grinch carved the roast beast!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Dear Kids,
          First off, Abi’s baptism will be a week from Saturday, on November 4, at 10:00 am. They’re having it at Tom and Kim’s Stake Center, which is the second church past JR Smith Elementary, if you’re driving east on 500 North. There will be an after-party at Tom and Kim’s house, so you can call Kim if you want to bring something. I’m really looking forward to it! It’s hard to believe Abi’s eight already! (And Bentley’s 16! He’ll be baptizing her.)
          I was so disappointed that my sisters’ retreat fell through last weekend, but we did practically everything this weekend! Nancy and Jane came Friday night, and we watched movies and worked puzzles. And we went to dinner at the Food Town deli. Our dessert was chocolate cookies that Ellie baked for us–she happened to be staying over too. They were flat, but delicious. Saturday morning we went for a long walk around our neighborhood. The air was crisp and cold, and nobody was around–maybe because of the deerhunt, or maybe because it’s always quiet here. At noon Barbara and Bonnie came, and we went to lunch at the Rhode Island Diner, which seemed to take most of the afternoon. We watched the rest of Nacho Libre, and went through bags of clothes Bonnie had brought, and talked and talked. It was wonderful. We missed Katie, but we did the best we could without her. I love my sisters so much, and I’m so grateful we’re able to have these get-togethers!
          I’m still working in the yard, here and there, now and then. It has to be at least 45 degrees, and the sun has to be out, and the wind not too strong. But I’m fighting the oncoming winter. My trees have lost most of their leaves, and the birds have all gone south, except of course for the magpies. It has already snowed at least five times. The National Weather Service is predicting lots of snow for the Rocky Mountains this winter.
          My piano classes are all doing wonderfully well. I have eight ladies in Heber that are making good progress, and the class at the Lighthouse Church has settled down with about 15 good students and six good teachers. We always have fun, which is the main thing, and lots of my people are learning to play really well. Life couldn’t be better!
          Love, Mom

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Dear Kids,
         The retreat I was going to have with my sisters fell through, and I was terribly disappointed. It seemed like almost everybody had a conflict at the last minute. We didn’t even try to reschedule it, because there’s so much going on with all my sisters. And winter’s coming up, which makes it hard for Katie to come from Boise. We’re hoping to go to lunch together next Saturday, those of us who can come. It’s the best we can do for now.
          To make up for my disappointment, I went for a walk on the Jordanelle trail yesterday afternoon. It was a gorgeous afternoon: blue sky, white clouds, and brown hills with yellow leaves. There were lots of fishermen out on the lake in their boats. After my walk I felt lots better about life. Dad and I are so fortunate to live here! We still can’t believe our good luck.
           I have a new plan for birthday presents: money for everybody!! Doesn’t that sound good? Our family is so big now, and it’s so hard to decide on presents, and so many of the grandkids are getting into their teen years, that I realized it will be easier all around if I just send everybody a birthday card with money in it. Even for the little kids. You parents can intercept the card if you want to, and buy a present with the money, or just let your kid spend it. Even little kids like money! If there’s something I really want to give somebody, though, I might still buy a present here and there. And Christmas–if you would rather have money than gifts, let me know by Thanksgiving. That would have to be on a whole-family basis. I’ve enjoyed picking out Christmas presents over the years, and I’m still willing to do it, but if you’d rather have the money, let me know.
           Sharon’s family has been dealing with the fun of head lice. Remember our adventure with lice, so many years ago? I got the shampoo from FHP, and we shampooed all your heads (besides washing all the sheets, etc.) Well now, according to Sharon, the shampoo doesn’t make your eyes sting, and it doesn’t kill the lice, either. That’s probably due to EPA regulations, which have given us weed killers that don’t kill weeds, bug killers that don’t kill bugs, and oven cleaners that don’t clean ovens. For lice, Sharon says you have to go to a special clinic where they do a heat treatment, sort of like an intense blow dryer. Interesting! Anyway, the lice are now dead.
          I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it! Mom

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Yesterday was probably the last warm day of the year (66 here in Francis) so Dad and I blew out our sprinkler system with John’s gigantic air compressor. We even blew out a new line I just finished, in the back. I’m already excited for next spring, to put in the last sprinkler line and plant grass back there. People ask me when I’m finally going to be finished with our yard, and I proudly answer "Never!" Working outside in the clean air is so much fun, I’ll always find something more to do.
           But winter is creeping in. We’ve already had three snowstorms. And Thanksgiving is coming up! I know it’s the "off" year for some of you, but it’s always "on" for somebody else. And some of us will be having distractions. Donna’s baby is due the day after Thanksgiving, but I’m predicting he’ll already be here by then. I’m having some minor surgery the week before, and I might not be up to much. So Allen has volunteered to be in charge of Thanksgiving at the cabin. You can contact him for a food assignment. We’ll let you know more when it gets closer.
           Speaking of Allen, his girlfriend Jenny’s son Brock shot a magpie from an upper window in the cabin. They were target practicing on some cans, and the magpie just settled down among them. He was dead as soon as he landed. Allen paid out the $5.00 bounty and I reimbursed him. If anybody wants to go for magpies at Thanksgiving, the bounty money is still available.
            Next weekend my sisters and I are having a retreat here at our house, and I’m very excited. We’re meeting Friday afternoon in Heber for lunch, and then we’re going to John’s office to try on designer frames and give each other advice. We might shop at the boutiques in Midway, and then we’re coming here for snacks and movies. Saturday morning will be more of the same. We have so much fun talking, it almost doesn’t matter what we do. Except for where we’re going to eat. That’s always a big deal.
           I hope you’re all having as much fun as we are! Love, Mom

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Dear Kids,
          Dad and I have really been enjoying the conference sessions this time around, but we’ve missed seeing President Monson. John was talking about that last night; he said, "Something missing! Oh, yeah, the prophet!" You would think, with so many wonderful speakers and so much wisdom, you wouldn’t miss one person so much. It’s nice to know the Lord is guiding the Church, though, and it will always be in good hands.
          Our soup dinner last night was wild and crazy. I cooked a record amount of ramen–10 packs, I think. It was fun having so many of you here. Too bad it was so cold and rainy, and we couldn’t have spent more time outside. I wanted to make a fire in the fire pit, and make s’mores, in the dark. I was even hoping to set off some more of my fireworks, left over from the Fourth of July. But we still had lots of fun inside. The howling wolf skeleton I bought at Home Depot was the biggest hit of all. It’s practially life sized, and when you clap your hands or bang dishes, it’s jaws clatter, it’s red eyes flash, and it howls. Different grownups kept shutting it off, and different kids kept turning it back on. I bought it for Halloween night, but I didn’t dream the grandkids could have such a great time with it right now, in our living room. Needless to say, Tina hates it.
           Speaking of Tina, she’s been courting death, taunting the Siberian Husky next door. It’s bad enough when she stays on our side of the fence, and rolls in the dirt in front of him, but a couple of days ago, she went right into his yard (crawling under the gate) and tried to stare him down. Naturally he jumped at her and chased her out. She barely made it back under the gate in time. Her tail was puffed into a giant plume, and her eyes were wild, but I’m not sure she learned her lesson. We can only hope she comes to her senses before it’s too late.
          In spite of our rainy and snowy weather, I’m still out digging in the yard, practically every day. I’ve pulled giant rocks out of the ground, which Dad hauls out to the street, and people pick up. I’ve been digging sprinkler trenches, and gluing pvc pipe. I’ve been spreading more rubber bark in the playground. (You can get it at Home Depot, now!) I plan to have as much fun outside as possible, before winter really hits.
           Life is good here! I love you all! Mom