Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dear Kids,
         We’re officially “done” with Christmas.  I enjoyed all the parties and fun and presents, but I always like to get back to a normal schedule again. 
         Thanks to Vanessa and her family for hosting such a great sledding party!  I wished I could have gotten on a sled, but it wouldn’t have worked with my cane.  But I’m glad everybody else had so much fun.  I’m hoping to be totally well by next year, and go sledding and ice skating and do everything else, to make up for this wretched year. 
         There was a wishbone sitting on our kitchen windowsill, good and dry, left over from Donna’s Thanksgiving turkey, and I decided to break it with Dad.  He knows what my biggest wish is, and he said he wishes the same thing, so I figured whichever of us won, I’d get well.  But when we each pulled our own side, the top popped off, leaving us each with sad, broken ends.  So I probably won’t get my wish any time soon. 
         Friday night we got together with my brothers and sisters (and spouses) at Charley’s house for a party.  After we ate, we sat in a big circle and we were each supposed to share a Christmas memory of Grandma and Grandpa Allen, or say something inspiring. And we had a new rule, put out by Bonnie–we couldn’t interrupt if someone was telling a story.  So everything was much calmer than usual.  Charley talked about having the blood clots in his lungs and water on the brain, so he should have been dead.  He was a lot more subdued than usual.  Most of the rest of us told Christmas stories.  Katie talked about the year she and I got ice skates, and Grandma Allen drove us to Vivian Park on Christmas day to try them out.  I told about the year Grandpa Allen painted his metal tool box green and filled it full of clay and glue and construction paper and other craft supplies.  It was my best present ever.  All of my bothers and sisters were there, and all the spouses except for Monica.  Ben drove by himself from Albuquerque!  We took pictures with everybody’s cell phones. It’s miraculous that all eleven of us are still alive, and we don’t know how long we can stay lucky.
         By the way, among all the great Christmas presents I received, John gave me a vintage hardcover copy of The Fire Cat.  He found it on ebay.  He said it was in honor of his “fire kittens,” who I saved from the cabin fire.  They wouldn’t have been killed by the flames, but their little lungs could have been damaged by the smoke.  I was delighted by the book, and read it through right then.  It was all so familiar!  I practically had it memorized, from reading it to you kids about a gazillion times.  Anyway, the book is on our coffee table, so you and your kids can read it when you come by.
         I hope you all have a happy new year.  I’m going to color my hair bright pink for the occasion.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Dear Kids,
         What a wild and wonderful party we had last night at Nora’s house!  I think the cousins’ gift exchange is the craziest thing we do all year.  Allen was very brave to bring his girlfriend, Jen, but I was glad to finally meet her.  She certainly saw our family at its wildest.  Nothing can surprise her after this. Christmas is nearly here!
         Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be home all day.  We’ll be watching Christmas movies (especially “Christmas Eve on Sesame Street”) and eating Christmas goodies (and healthy soups, too,) so come and join us, if you like. Donna is bringing her wonderful rolls around noon, so that will be our unofficial starting time.  I have one set of aerial fireworks left over from summer, and I plan to set them off as soon as it’s  dark.  I know Christmas Eve isn’t one of the authorized holidays for fireworks, but Francis City doesn’t even have its own police department and any officers from the county will be busy with more important things.  (Hopefully home with their families.)
         On Christmas Day,  Dad and I will be out and about, visiting some of you that are close.  (Sorry we can’t make it to Maryland or Wisconsin.)  If you want us to come by your house, let me know, and we’ll be there.
         Thursday we’ll have our annual sledding party, this time in Pocatello, at Vanessa’s house.  There isn’t much snow right now, but we ought to have a storm sometime in the next couple of days.  Even without snow, we’ll have a great time.  I’m bringing sloppy jo’s and potato chips, and if some of you bring your leftover Christmas goodies, we’ll have plenty of food.  There’s a possibility for a trip to Lava that evening.  The fun goes on and on.
         Our younger kitties visited Arcadia clinic on Monday for their booster vaccinations, their declawing, and their “fixing.”  John’s kittens were there at the same time!  When Jacob took them in, he saw our kitties (with their poor bandaged paws) and recognized them right away.  We picked them up on Tuesday, and they yowled all the way home.  Since then, they’ve been licking and biting their paws, and generally going crazy.  Our Christmas tree is a mess, from their shenanigans.  Yesterday morning while I was playing the piano they had a big fight for my benefit: leaping and diving, front flips and back flips, and lots of biting and rabbit kicking.  When the fight finally ended I noticed blood on the floor and spattered on the walls. One of Scout’s toes had broken open, and he didn’t even care!  Dad and I cleaned up the mess, and then we calmed them down with good doses of their pain medication.  After that, they slept all day under the Christmas tree.
         At this time of year, I’m especially grateful for all of you, and the wonderful things you do!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Dear Kids,
         We really enjoyed the Messiah last Sunday night at Tom’s church. It was short and sweet.  Tom and Bentley were in the choir, and the rest of us sang along.  Next year I’m going to be in the choir no matter what.  Even if I’m still hobbling with my cane.
         That same night, Sharon and Seth went to the Messiah at the national cathedral in D.C.  Sharon got cheap student tickets, and they were in the balcony, looking right down into the orchestra.  Sharon said the music was fantastic, and of course the audience didn’t sing along, like we did.  I asked Sharon how they could not sing along with the Hallelujah chorus.  She said some people did.  They man behind them was belting it out.
         Christmas is getting really close now!  If anybody wants to go in on a present for Dad, call or text me.  It’s something he’ll love.
         The cousins’ exchange party is next Saturday afternoon at Nora’s.  Ice skating will be from 12:30 to 2:30, at the rink in Centerville.  Dinner is at 5:00, and if you don’t have a food assignment, call Nora.  The wild present-opening free for all will be after that.
         Christmas Eve, Dad and I will be home.  If you want to come by any time during the day, or in the evening, I’ll have soup and rolls and a few goodies.  It could be your lunch or your dinner.  Christmas day, Dad and I will probably drive around and visit some of you.  If you especially want us to come to your house, let me know.  We can admire your presents and eat your leftover goodies.  I won’t be doing the “Grinch challenge” like last year, but if anybody wants to recite it, I’ll listen.  Maybe we’ll even hand out $5.00 bills like last year.
         The sledding party will be Thursday, the 27th, at Vanessa’s house in Pocatello.  Lots of us are looking forward to the road trip!  You can call Vanessa for a food assignment when it gets closer.  I might make my traditional sloppy jo's.  Vanessa says there’s a possibility for a trip to Lava that evening. 
         Our kitties will be in for a bleak surprise tomorrow morning.  They’re going to have vaccination boosters, get “fixed,” and be declawed (front only), all in the same veterinary visit.  I’m so sorry for what’s coming up that I’ve been letting them come in the house a lot lately, and I've been playing with them.  Sonia thinks our Christmas tree has been put up for her pleasure and entertainment.  She jumps for all the ornaments that she thinks are low enough, and she’s knocked some of them off.  Scout tried to climb the tree, and he bent one of the lower branches all the way to the floor. (He’s built like a boxcar.  Sonia is dainty and delicate.)  I’ve been tolerating all their misbehavior.
         This time of the year is so fun!  I love you all.  Mom

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Dear Kids,
         We really enjoyed Isaac’s baptism yesterday, and the wonderful after-party at Nora’s.  Thanks to Nora for the pork sandwiches, and for everybody else who brought food.  Dad tells me it was all good.  I can’t tell, because except for tasting the pork, I just ate the desserts.  My odd digestive tract gives me a good excuse for just eating cookies and brownies, and other compact sweets, like chocolate chips and Dove dark bars and chocolate pudding and . . . . . 
         Oh, yes, I need to list the fun events coming up:
         (1) The Messiah is tonight at 7 pm at Tom’s church, the brown one just past Smiths and the elementary school on 500 North.  There’s a before-party dinner at Tom and Kim’s at 5 pm.  Be there or be square.
         (2) The cousins’ gift exchange party will be Saturday, Dec 22, at Nora’s house.  There’s ice skating from 12:30 to 2:30 in the afternoon, (Call Nora for the location and cost.) Dinner will be at 5 pm.  If you don’t have a food assignment yet, you can call Nora for that, too.  Each year I think I’ll do the skating, but it looks like I’ll pass this year, unless I can ice skate with my cane?  Maybe next year.
         (3) Ditto for our traditional Christmas Eve hike up Memorial Hill.  I doubt I could do it with my cane.  If I could, I’d be so slow that Santa would already be down our non-existant chimney, and gone again, before we got home.  So instead of that, Dad and I will be home on Christmas Eve, and you can come and see us.  If you want to come during the day, that would be great, too.  I’ll have soups and rolls, and maybe some goodies, too.  If you have any neighbor treats that you won’t get around to eating, you could bring those.  Usually we eat those at the after-Christmas party at the cabin, but . . . .
         (4) The cabin, of course, is still out of commission, although they’ve torn off some sheet rock inside, and taken out some carpet.  So instead of sledding at the cabin, how about sledding at Vanessa’s in Pocatello, on Thursday the 27th?  Vanessa says  a trip to Lava that night would definitely be an option. So many fun things lined up!  So many great people in our family to have fun with!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Dear Kids,
         Anna’s baptism yesterday was very nice, and the after-party at John’s was great fun.  It’s always lots of fun when our family gets together, and we always know the food will be good, and there will be plenty of it.  So, speaking of parties, oops, I mean baptisms, Isaac’s will be next Saturday at 3 pm at Nora’s church, 2050 North Main in Centerville. It’s the same building where Paige and Stuart were baptized.  I’m pretty sure the after-party will be at Nora’s, and you can contact her for a food assignment.
         The Messiah in Heber will also be next weekend, on Saturday and Sunday nights at 7pm at Tom’s church.  (It’s also John’s church now.)  I really wish I were singing in it, but it wouldn’t have worked out.  But we can go hear Tom and Bentley, and a lot of other wonderful singers.  It looks like we’ll be going Sunday night, because of the baptism Saturday.  There’s a before-party, actually a dinner, at Tom and Kim’s, and you can call Kim for a food assignment.  There have been so many wonderful events lately, when Christmas comes along it will be just be one more great event.  The Ackerson family Christmas party will be at Nora’s on Saturday, the 22nd , and I’ll have more details later.  If you’re not sure who your kids are giving to, contact Nora.
         Tina and the little cats are learning to tolerate each other.  When I open the door into the garage at 6 am, they all run in together.  Dad gives Tina her special canned cat food in the garage, and I give a little bit to Sonia and to Scout.  They also get plenty of kitten chow, but they eat Tina’s adult formula cat food when they’re in the garage.  Tina eats the kitten chow.  Out little cats had their first vaccinations last Monday, and they’ll have boosters, plus their “operations,” on the 17th.  Poor kitties, I hate for them to learn that life can be unpleasant.
         A couple of weeks ago I started a new medication, symbalta, that’s supposed to be absolutely miraculous for people with nerve-end damage like mine.  I was afraid it wouldn’t be miraculous for me, and so far, it hasn’t been.  I appreciate our kind doctor trying every possible medication on me, but I guess this is just something I’ll have to suffer through.  When they work out the guidelines for medical marijuana here in Utah I’ll certainly try it, but it probably won’t be miraculous, either.  I’m sorry for complaining, and I really appreciate all your prayers for me.
         Lots of love, Mom