Sunday, January 27, 2019

Dear Kids,
         There’s absolutely nothing going on here, probably because it’s January. Our only entertainment is the animals, inside and out.  A herd of deer comes across the road almost every day and looks for food in our yard.  All my mugo pines are in cages, so the deer are pruning them down to the size I want them.  There are three bucks and two does in the herd, and they’re all really big!  One of the does sometimes comes by herself. This afternoon she was standing out by our deck, just looking around.  Tina was watching her from inside our house, through the glass door.
         Yesterday we stopped by John’s house to pick up some things, but I really wanted to play with his cats.  They’re a couple of weeks younger than ours, about the same size, but ten times crazier. Poseidon will jump for a moving light on the ceiling.  They tear through the house, chasing just about anything.  I pointed out to Heather that they’re as big as regular cats, but they still behave like kittens, so they can do a lot of damage.  Heather said they’re “teenage” cats.
         I’m glad to report that Charley is out of the hospital.  He’ll be staying at Bekah’s house for a while.  Bonnie says that he’s getting mentally and physically stronger every day, but he still needs oxygen at night.  She says Charley loves having visits, and since he won’t be able to drive for several months, he would probably like to be taken for a drive now and then.  Maybe Dad and I can do that.
          I’m back to visiting my regular doctors, but just for maintenance.  In the last couple of weeks I’ve seen my colon doctor (Bossart) and my oncologist (Lewis.)  They tested my blood looking for cancer “markers,” and my score was so low that I’m in the normal range now.  That was really good news.  Next week I’ll be seeing our dermatologist, and in March I have an appointment with Dr. Engen, who takes care of any skin cancers on my face.  I wish any of those doctors could do something about my real problem, which is the pain left over from the shingles.  I wish there were a shingles doctor who could cure it for me.  The pain medications make me goofy, and mess up my thinking, but so far I haven’t done anything really crazy, at least that I know about.
         Sorry I don’t have any real news.  You know things are dull here if I write about cats and deer and doctor visits.
         Love to all, Mom

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Dear Kids,
         My brother Charley is still in the hospital from his surgery two weeks ago, and there’s no end in sight.  Dad and I went to visit him Wednesday, and I would hardly have recognized him.  His head is shaved and he had a little bit of a beard, and he looked exactly like my brother Mark.  His personality is different, too–pretty quiet, for Charley.  Whitney and Suzy came by while we were there, and Andy, too.  Whitney said that after the surgery, Charley was really crazy.  He kept trying to escape from the hospital, but he never even made it out of the bed.  She said one doctor was talking to him, and he said, “I’m an attorney.  I know when people are lying to me!”  He volunteered to tend Whitney’s kids when she and Steve go to Germany.  I’m sorry we missed all that.  Charley couldn’t believe he’d been there two weeks. He’s developed blood clots again, in his lungs and his legs, after two weeks on blood thinners.  Nobody can figure out what’s going on.  I know dozens of people are praying for him, but I know he could always use more prayers.
         You can keep praying for me, too.  I really appreciate it.  Although my condition hasn’t improved at all, I feel really peaceful about it.  I’m learning to accept the Lord’s timetable.
        We had a great snowstorm on Thursday, 8 or 10 inches, and Dad’s been out having fun with the snow blower.  Our cats acted like they wanted to go out, so Dad opened the door for them,  but when Sonia put her dainty little paw into the snow for the first time, she changed her mind and trotted back in.   They’re glad to be inside cats for now.  Tina, too.  Last night in bed I had all three of them snuggled next to my legs.  Their purring puts me to sleep. 
         My piano classes in Heber are going fabulously well.   I’ve never had so many good students.  I’ve started three new people since the first of the year, so all my slots are filled up.  One of my new people is a retired Air Force guy,  and he treats piano lessons like a military assignment. His attitude is: “Tell me what to do, and how to do it, and I’ll get it done.”  He will, too.  I love teaching them all, and my three hours there on Thursday morning goes by really fast.
         Love to all of you!  With the holidays so far in the past, we don’t see enough of you now.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Dear Kids,
         The big news this week is Dad’s truck.  If you were in on the message thread, you already know that it’s a 2016 Ford F-150 with 17,000 miles on it, still under its original warranty.  Dad and John bought it at the Garff lot in West Valley, across from the hospital.  John was going to fly to Las Vegas, buy a truck that was listed there, and drive it back, but he did a CarFax search and found out it was a “flood recovery” truck from Hurricane Harvey.  It had no warranty and a branded title.  But since John was all geared up to buy a truck, he did some more looking online and found the truck in West Valley.  It’s very impressive!  The old white truck looks very sad beside it.  John’s going to take the old one to his house and sell it on  He said we shouldn’t try to sell it to any family or friends, because there’s no telling what may go wrong with it in the next little while.  I’m sure it has issues we don’t even know about, but it has served us well for the last 17 years.  If we keep the new truck that long, we’ll both be 88 when we sell it.
         Tina, Scout, and Sonia are pretty good friends now.  There isn’t as much hissing or paw swiping as there used to be.  Last week there was a lot of racing and chasing through the house, but this week it’s mostly walking and stalking.  They creep up on each other and then jump in for the kill. So far, though, we haven’t noticed any real injuries.   Tina’s embarrassed about being friends with the other two, and if I find the three of them huddled together somewhere, she’ll stalk away.  They ought to all be outside cats, but after the money we paid to get Scout and Sonia fixed and declawed, I want to get as much entertainment out of them as possible. 
         My hair is still very pink, so I shouldn’t be surprised that so many people comment on it.  Total strangers will say, “I like your hair color!”  Maybe they’re really thinking “you must be nuts” but I don’t care.  I like talking to total strangers. 
         Later this morning Dad and I are going to Elk Meadows, the care center in our stake, to help out with sacrament meeting.  I’ll be playing the piano and Dad will lead the music and give a short talk.  We were there last week because it was the Elders Quorum’s turn to be in charge, and we’re going back today because  it’s the Sunday School’s turn.   The rest of the Church is enjoying the new, shorter, 2-hour block, but Elk Meadows is only about 25 minutes, so 2 hours will seem long when we go back to our real ward next week.  Still, I’m looking forward to it.  I haven’t been to Relief Society for over a year, but now I’ll be there every other week.
         Life is good!  Love to everybody! Mom

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dear Kids,
         In my letter last week I wrote that I was going to color my hair pink for the new year.  And I did–a very bright pink.  Way pinker than last year.   And the next morning  there was an e-mail asking if I could play the organ at a funeral in three days.  Panic!  My hair color simply wasn’t appropriate for a funeral, and it would take weeks to wash out the pink.  I was thinking maybe they could set up the flowers in front of me, but the funeral was for an old man, and there wouldn’t be very many.  Then I called Jane to see where she bought her wig.  It was a shop in Orem, so I went there Thursday afternoon.  The ladies there were very nice, but they didn’t have my color in a style I liked, that wasn’t too expensive.  (Although it dawned on me that anybody who chooses a crazy hair color ought to have a wig on hand.)  Finally I decided to stuff my hair into a knitted beanie, and I wore a sweater I had that seemed to match.  It really looked OK.  I wore dangly earrings to make myself look dressed up.  Since I still walk with a cane, people might have thought I was a cancer victim, but that would have been OK too.  It was all good.  Dad led the music, and we had a nice time together.
         My brother Charley had a surgery yesterday to take the shunt out of his brain and clear out some gummy blood.  A couple of days earlier he had driven to the hospital for a second opinion about the surgery they wanted him to have.  He had a seizure in the parking lot, but a security guard got him inside, which probably saved him.  We hope yesterday’s surgery will finally set him on the right path.  Compared with him, my problems are nothing. 
         We took down our Christmas tree right after Christmas,  because the cats were killing it.  So now they’re attacking everything else.  The blinds are a great target, and we’ll have to replace more than one set, but only after the cats grow out of this phase.  They really like my fake trees.  Monday morning I was teaching a piano lesson in the front room when the fake tree by the window came crashing down.  Scout ran out of the branches.  I told my student (Claren Palmer) that this was normal for our house.  And I left the tree down until the lesson was over. 
         We’re supposed to have a pretty good snowstorm today, and I hope we gets lots of snow. It’s been really cold, too–minus 11 on New Year’s morning.  Winter was late coming this year, but it’s making up for it now!
         Lots of love to everybody, Mom