Sunday, June 30, 2019

Dear Kids,
         The Fourth of July is coming up this Thursday!  I can’t believe we’re really into summer. Last Sunday morning it was 35 degrees at our house and I was on the phone with Sharon, whining about the cold.  I said, “We’re NEVER going to have spring!”  She said, “Uh, Mom, it’s summer.”  And it is.  We went from 35 to 85 in three days.  And we never had spring.
         So, about the 4th of July: John is planning a barbecue, and everybody is invited.  You can call Heather, or better yet text, for a food assignment. We’ll be eating at six, and since it doesn’t get really dark until 9:30 or so, we’re all invited to haul rocks.  I’m planning to pitch in!  I don’t have any rocks left in our yard to haul, just dirt.  Who would’ve thought?  I figured I would be hauling rocks forever, but I’ve totally finished leveling the back yard, and I’m just now finishing the sprinkling line on the north side, the last one!  I can still find plenty more to do, though.  I won’t ever be done.  I don’t want to be. So, back to the Fourth of July--I hope we’ll see lots of you there!  And this afternoon, you’ve probably heard, we’ll be having a dinner at our house at 5.  Be there or be square!
         John’s cats have always outdone ours in hunting, but when we went there on Friday, Aaron informed me that I had to pay Poseidon $5.00.  He killed a magpie!  Or maybe he found it dead, but probably not.  He’s pretty aggressive, and he has claws, too.  Go, Poseidon!  Our cats show their guts now by going right into Harley’s yard.  If I call them, they just ignore me.  Sonia creeps right up to Harley and touches noses with him.  He points his ears at her and wags his tail.  Scout manages to make him bark, and then he races back into our yard.  They’re both very brave, but I worry about them a lot.  Matthew, I hope they’re both still  alive when you get here.  If anything happens, we can borrow John’s cats, and you can play with them.
         There was a little work done at our cabin, and then the contractor left to do another job.  He said not to worry--he’d be back in a week or two.  But Dad and I have started working on the yard.  I’m pruning bushes that haven’t been touched for six years, and Dad will be mowing the lawn tomorrow.  On the first calm morning, I’ll be spraying roundup on the driveway to get rid of the weeds.  There’s no end of outside projects, and someday our cabin will be its old self again.
         Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Thanks for the wonderful Fathers Day presents you gave Dad.  Thanks especially to all of you who went in on the self-propelled lawn mower.  It’s really fast!  Dad has to run along behind it, and he finishes the lawn in record time.  It’s probably good exercise for him, too.  What he’s lost in pushing (the old one) he more than makes up in running after the new one.  Thanks again!  And thanks to everybody who went in on the tablet, too.  Dad really likes the bigger screen, and he uses more apps now.  Gospel Library didn’t even run on his old one, or at least it didn’t use all its capabilities.  Hooray for technology for studying the Gospel!
         Most of you know that Chad Van Leuven is getting married next month.  Donna and Anna and I got to meet his fiancee at a shower at Bonnie’s yesterday afternoon.  We’re all delighted with her! Her name is Sarah Schwartz, and I think there are pictures of her on facebook.  She’s really nice looking without being glamorous.  She and Chad are getting married in the Medford Oregon temple. Barbara admitted she had totally given up on Chad ever getting married, so this is wonderful for her.
         After the shower, Donna and Anna and I went food shopping at the Orem Winco.  Donna’s not quite the shopping tornado that John is, but she filled two carts!  I planned to help her,  but I had to go to the ladies room first.  One of the stalls was locked with nobody inside it, and there was a lineup of ladies, so I crawled under the door to unlock it.  I came up fine on the inside, but I had cut open my wrist on something, and it bled and bled.  So instead of helping Donna, I was clutching a piece of toilet tissue over my wrist to stop the bleeding.  When Donna found out, she gave me a bandaid.  She always carries them in her purse.  With children like hers, she says, you just naturally carry bandaids.
         I’ve been working really hard in our yard, digging and hauling rocks and doing sprinklers.  My leg still hurts a lot, but I have plenty of energy, which I’m really grateful for. There’s a spot of something in my lung, and I have another appointment with my oncologist on July 11.  If he decides it needs treatment, I might have to have chemo or radiation, which could lay me up for a while.  So I’m doing all the outside work I can right now (and lovin’ it).  Hopefully the spot will turn out to be nothing at all. 
         I’m having trouble typing this because Scout keeps walking on the computer keys.  He’s head-butting me, too.  Last Monday while I was giving Anna her piano lesson, Scout jumped up on the piano keys and walked back and forth on them.  Anna said, “He just wants attention!”  Don’t we all!
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Happy Fathers Day to all of you wonderful sons and sons-in-law of ours!  We appreciate all you do to support and help your families, and to make life better for Dad and me.  I hope you know how much we love all of you!Our Fathers Day dinner will be at 5 pm tonight, here at our house.  Be there or be square!  There’s only a 5 percent chance of rain!  We’ll be able to go outside, or at least send the kids out. 
         I texted you guys my picture of the Jordanelle filled to the brim.  I went hiking down there Friday afternoon, and it was absolutely gorgeous.  Sharon, I hope it’s still that green when you get here next month! 
         Yesterday afternoon Dad and I drove up the Mirror Lake Highway to see how far we could get.  At milepost 14 the sign said the road was closed, but the gate was open, so we kept going.  By milepost 20 there were snowbanks next to the road.  At the Provo River Falls, milepost 24, there was a barrier across the road, but people were going around it.  It was far enough for us, though.  We got out and watched the falls.  They were absolutely roaring.  Little streams were running in from everywhere.  Where’s all that water going?  It sure won’t be staying in the reservoirs.  Deer Creek is full, too. 
         Good news about our cabin: the roof joists are up.  The contractor has been working there between rainstorms.  Bad cabin news: there are leaks in the water lines everywhere, at practically every joint.  Dad thought the pump people had blown out all the water lines last fall, but I don’t think they did it.  We’re now on our second plumber,  and he said every joint was originally soldered poorly.  But that was 40 years ago, so why did they hold out this long?   And why did they all fail at once, this winter?   Maybe because all the lines froze solid with water in them, for the first time ever.   Or maybe we’re being suckered.  Dad already paid the plumber $800 for one afternoon of work, (with Dad helping) and there’s a lot more to do.  Well, it’s only money!  I keep reminding myself how lucky we were that the cabin didn’t burn to the ground.  (But it sure would have been less hassle!)
         Our kitties send their greetings. Their biggest entertainment these days is harassing Harley.  They stroll along next to the fence, and when he barks at them they jump away in terror.  But then they go back.  Scout chases birds, too, with Tina’s help.  They’re a tag team.  But they can’t seem to catch anything. 
         Love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Next Sunday is Fathers Day, and we’ll be having dinner here at our house at 5pm.  This won’t be an elegant sit-down dinner, but it won’t be our usual haphazard Sunday night mealtime, either.  We’ll just have a nice buffet-type meal.  Donna suggested lasagna, and I think that’s a great idea.  Stefanie’s bringing a fluffy salad, and Donna’s doing one pan of lasagna, and everything else is wide open.  I’ll be making BT cake for dessert.  If you want to go in on the present for Dad (a new tablet), let me know.  It will be lots of fun. says that it will be in the 70's, with only a 30% chance of rain.  That sounds good to me.  Hopefully we can go outside and play on the playground. Or go for a walk.  Or just enjoy being outside.
         Friday night Dad and I went to Adelaide’s “Family and Friends Night” at Oakcrest.  I think we had the shortest drive of anybody there!  It was fun to see Addie in her Oakcrest gear (hat, sweats, and T-shirt,) and hear what she’d done so far.  It was staff week only, no campers till tomorrow, and Addie had spent the week learning to cook for 300 people, and earning her food-handlers permit.  We had fun hanging out with Nora and James and their kids too, and watching their  younger boys do the zipline.  There was an assembly at the amphitheater, and then refreshments at the lodge.  Addie had helped make 300 brownies, and they were fabulous.  I’d like to have the recipe, but it’s probably something like 200 eggs, 100 pounds of sugar, etc. etc. 
         I’m  having lots of fun digging in the yard, although my leg hurts every night.  (While I’m digging and raking, I’m too excited to feel anything!)  I feel greatly blessed to be as well as I am.   I love being outside, and I’ve missed that for all my months of cancer recovery and shingles pain.  The kitties have stuck by me, but they like being outside now, too.  While I’m getting ready to go out, putting on my work boots and visor and headphones,  Scout sits on the little table by the front door and reaches over to put his paw on the doorknob.  If we had levers instead of doorknobs, he would let himself out, instead of waiting for me.
         Life is good.  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Dear Kids,
         It’s our 47th anniversary today!  I haven’t planned anything special, partly because it’s Sunday, and partly because I couldn’t think of anything special to do.  We have so much freedom, we can do whatever we want to do, whenever we want.  Besides, our big 50th is coming up in just three years.  We’ll probably host a party of some sort.  I used to think anybody celebrating a 50th anniversary was really really old, but as Grandma Allen always said,  “everything looks different when you get there.”
         Yesterday I was digging in the backyard (Yes, I can do that now!) and the cats were milling around me.  Harley, the Siberian Husky, was romping around in his yard next door.  Scout and Sonia think that’s their territory, so they started giving him the evil eye.   He came up to the fence and looked them over very carefully.  Then Sonia walked right up to him and they touched noses through the fence.  Go, Sonia!  I had no idea she was so brave.  Then, when Harley jumped back and barked, Sonia freaked out and ran for the house.  I’m not so worried about Harley now.   I don’t think he wants to eat them.  I think he just wants friends.
         It’s been raining every day this week, with hail and thunder sometimes, but it’s supposed to dry out starting tomorrow.  The lawns here are so green you’d think we were in the east.  The hills are so green, it looks like Europe.  I want to fling out my arms like Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” and whirl around and sing “The hills are alive . . . . “   In a perfect world, the hills would be green all the time, with no rain.
         Fathers Day is only two weeks away, and I have an idea for a present for Dad, if you want to go in on something.  He needs a new tablet, bigger than what he has now.  Mine is 8" diagonally, which isn’t gigantic, but bigger than his.  I showed him how big you can make the fonts, and still have a lot to read on each page.   He definitely wants to upgrade!  So let me know if you want to go in on the tablet.  I’m sure he’ll love it.  By the way, thanks to all of you who came to his (and Dallin’s) party last Monday.  He said it was the best party he’s ever had!   Thanks for the wonderful gifts you gave him!  I’m helping him eat all his candy.
         I love you all!  Mom