Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dear Kids,
         I thought I’d had my quota of pain and suffering for the year, but now I have shingles! It started with weird red blotches on my leg–that was Tuesday morning.  I thought they were strange, and they’d be gone in a day.  The next morning the blotches had little blisters on them.  By Thursday morning they were spreading, and they hurt.  On a hunch I googled “shingles rash,” and there it was, horrible pictures of rashes like mine.  I couldn’t believe it! John has been bugging us to get the new shingles shot, and Dad was a good boy and did it.  (Actually, it’s two shots.  And they’re expensive.)  I was just waiting, because I didn’t want to have anything more to do with the medical world for a while.  Besides, we’d  both had the old shingles shot, and IT was expensive, and IT was supposed to work.  Excuses.  I called John to see if I should get the shots anyway, and he said no; I should see my doctor immediately.  That day!  There’s an antiviral drug that controls the rash, and I needed to start it asap.  So we saw my doctor that afternoon.  (Naturally Dad came along. He’s always fascinated by my medical troubles.)  I got the drug–it’s called valtrex, and this is my third day of it.  The rash has slowed down, but it still hurts plenty.  Besides that, I have aches in my back and my legs.  I limp around like an old farmer.  I should probably google “shingles” and find out how long it’s supposed to last, but I don’t want to know.  I just figure it’ll be a little better every day.
         And of course I’m still planning on enjoying conference next weekend.  We’ll still have the soup dinner here Saturday night, at 5 pm.  I’ll call around and see who’s coming, and what you want to bring.  And I’ll find out if you want to do a Sunday dinner between sessions.  I’m looking forward to the talks, and to find out if all the rumors about drastic changes are true.  There’s a meme floating around, a picture of the first presidency laughing it up.  They’re saying, “Then we’ll spread a rumor of a 2 hour block . . . they’ll all watch conference.”  Well, we can hope.  At least we’ll enjoy conference!
         Here’s some good news, for me at least: the Ghirardelli chocolate bars I love are called “Evening Dream” (60%), “Twilight Delight” (72%), and my favorite, “Midnight Reverie” (86%).  But now there’s a brand new one, “Moonlight Mystique” (92%). It’s the best of all!  One bite of it, and you mostly forget your troubles.  Two bites, and you can face anything.
         Life is good, in spite of all the challenges.  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Dear Kids,
         It’s not as smoky as last week, but the fires are still burning.  You can see one up by Bald Mountain, glowing at night, and a pillar of smoke by day.  (Sounds biblical!)  Planes and helicopters have been dropping fire retardant.  Yesterday afternoon I was raking rocks in the back yard, and I stopped to watch a helicopter go over.  It was the kind that has blades at both ends, and it was trailing a long cable with a bucket.  Then it occurred to me that I could actually SEE the details of the helicopter!  When I had my cataract surgery three weeks ago, they put a distance lens in my left eye, but I didn’t think much about it.  But now that my eye has healed, it amazes me what I can see at a distance.  And I have a close up lens in my right eye, from the surgery I had twelve years ago.  So I’m good to go, right?  Well, not exactly.  In between is a problem.  When I play the piano, I can barely see my music, and I have to really squint.  So I’ll have to get new piano glasses from John.  And organ glasses, for Sunday.
         Yesterday morning Dad and I drove to Centerville to help Nora’s family haul rocks.  There’s a strip at the back of their property, just before it drops down to the new house behind them, where it’s been built up to keep it from washing away.  It needed to be covered with cobble.   Donna had ordered the cobble from Staker Parsons (because she could get a discount) and it was sitting in a pile on Nora’s driveway.   We used four wheelbarrows, and Nora’s entire family helped.  Ben shoveled the cobble into the wheelbarrows, and blew his trumpet in between to entertain us.  Everybody else pushed wheelbarrows and helped put down the rock.  Some of the rocks got away from us and flew down below, so we had to station a kid down there to carry them back up.  It all turned out really well!  We were done in no time, and we sat in the shade and admired our work.  Then James went off to do his on-line class at the library.
         Dad and I talked to Kristen Danielson while she was working with her crew at the Heber Library on Thursday morning.   She says she’s OK to talk to people now.  Her sentence is up in a couple of months, I think she said, but she looked very happy where she was.  Nancy said she’s made a lot of progress, and I’m sure she’ll make a good life for herself when she gets out.
         Conference is in two weeks!  I’ll be contacting everybody personally about the soup party Saturday night.  Ladies rule!  We’ll all be going off to the session while the men babysit. Tom said that sounded good to him!  We’ll see if we want to have a dinner on Sunday, too.  I’ll be asking about that, too.
         Hope you’re all doing great! Love, Mom

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dear Kids,
         If you step out our door, your lungs fill with smoke.  Sometimes the wind blows it away, but then it comes back.  There are fires burning all around.  The worst one is down near Spanish Fork Canyon.  My sisters and I had our annual retreat here at our house Friday night, and Jane thought she’d be getting up out of the smoke. (She lives in Springville.)  Katie was coming from Laurie’s house in Mapleton, and she had the same hope.  But there was a fire burning north of Kamas when they got here, and ash was collecting on all our cars. 
         But the smoke didn’t stop our fun. We drove to Heber to eat at the Dairy Keen, and we went to John’s office to try on frames. Then we came back to Kamas to shop at the New West store, where I bought a new cowboy hat and Jane bought a Don Weller cowboy print.  We bought our dinner at the Food Town deli and brought it back to our house to eat, and then we watched “Coco.”  None of them had seen it!  I have to thank Donna for introducing me to that wonderful movie.  And Anna, for all the times we’ve watched it.
         Saturday morning we shopped at the outlet stores, where the sky was mercifully clear of smoke,  and we ate at the Red Rock café.  And talked and talked and talked. Yes, I heard a lot of gossip, but nothing specific I can pass on.  It seems like nobody’s expecting babies right now, and everybody’s pretty settled in what they’re doing.  Still, nobody tells good stories like my sisters.  I enjoyed every minute of it, and I was sad when they all had to go home.
         Three weeks till conference!  We’ll be having the Saturday night soup and bread party here at our house at 5 pm, and then all of us ladies (and girls over 8) will go off to the women’s session, while the guys babysit.  Of course we’ll have brownies and ice cream afterward.  Sunday, does anybody want to watch conference here, or at the cabin?  Do we want to have a Café Rio lunch at the cabin, between sessions?  I’m willing to help, if somebody else will plan it.  Let me know.  Now, about conference itself, there have been lots of rumors swirling around.  Everybody’s saying that the last conference was only the tip of the iceberg.   My favorite rumors are  (1) The 2- hour block, (2) Members don’t clean the chapel any more, and (3) Stake conferences will be cut down to an hour and a half.  Others I’ve heard are that the boys’ mission age will be raised to 19, all missions will be cut down to 18 months, and everybody getting married will have a civil marriage first, and then go to the temple.  It’s all interesting stuff.  Maybe none of it will be announced.  Maybe it’s all just rumors. 
         Anyway, there’s always excitement ahead.  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Dear Kids,
         We had a blast with the McGettigans at the Frontier Days rodeo.  Jana noticed on the schedule that there was a children’s rodeo in the morning, so we walked over and watched the sheep riding (some of the kids rode backwards) and the steer riding (they actually rode calves that were barely big enough to have horns) and some foot races.  Lots of the kids in our ward were there and it was really fun watching them.  Jana said it brought back lots of good memories from her childhood.  She grew up in Clawson, down in Emery County, and rodeo was really big.  She did it all.
         In the afternoon we went back for the bull riding, bareback riding, and saddle broncs.  Most of those cowboys are professionals, not local boys at all.  Every time they got thrown (and sometimes trampled) I cringed.  Their poor necks and backs!  But they only called in the ambulance once.  We totally got our money’s worth!
         On Wednesday I had cataract surgery on my left eye.  It’s been ten or twelve years since I had my right eye done, and things have changed a lot since then.  For one thing, it was a total surgical setting.  I had to put on a hospital gown, which was really hard–not the gown itself, but the whole atmosphere of surgery. I’ve done that at least six times in the last few months.  I had an IV.  They gave me a “sedative,” which was some kind of general anesthetic, because I was unconscious most of the time.  (General anesthetics destroy brain cells–I’m sure of it.)  In spite of all that, the surgery was a total success, and just two days later I had 20-20 vision in that eye.  Hurray for modern medicine, even with its hospital gowns!
         It’s only four weeks until October Conference.  They’re doing the Saturday night session differently now: In October, it’s the women’s session, instead of the priesthood session!  That means if we have our traditional soup dinner here, all of us women will go off to the conference session and the men can stay home and watch the kids!  Of course we’ll still have ice cream and brownies afterwards.  It will be an interesting change.
         I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it!  Love, Mom

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Dear Kids,
         Most of you have seen Vanessa’s post about next year’s Ackerson reunion: Rendezvous Beach at Bear Lake. (Yay! I love that place!) It’ll be July 25-28.  We’ll be celebrating John’s and Jackie’s birthdays there, but missing Seth’s by a day.  I’m already excited about going back to Bear Lake, even though all of our reunions, everywhere, have been fabulous. 
         Dad’s colonoscopy on Wednesday went really well.  Dr. Bossart didn’t find anything wrong at all.  Not even a polyp. Thank goodness.  I can’t stand for anything more to go wrong with either of us. 
         McGettigans are coming this afternoon and staying overnight, and then we’re going to the Frontier Days rodeo tomorrow afternoon.  Usually we’ve done the Saturday night rodeo together, but Monday afternoons they do bareback riding, broncs,  and the battle of the bulls, so we wanted to watch that for a change.  We always have a great time with the McGettigans, so we’re looking forward to having them here again.  And if any of you are planning to come visit us this evening, they’ll be delighted to see you.  They know you all! 
         The mountains have been calling to me.  Last week Dad and I hiked part of the Shingle Creek trail, and this week we went all the way to Mt. Baldy.  The main trail is really steep and rocky, of course, and there’s no shade, but we took the side trail that goes to Meadow Lake and Clyde Lake.  Not that we hiked  that far–we probably only went a couple of miles, but it satisfied my need to hike in the mountains.  Until the next time they call.  Now that I’m feeling really good, I can’t sit home while there’s such beautiful scenery all around us.  It’s really great to get out in the open air again.
         Love to all, Mom