Sunday, September 29, 2019

Dear Kids,
         My sister Katie is here from Boise, so we had to have a sisters’ retreat.  Friday night we watched a movie at Bonnie’s house, “Tall Girl,” (which I highly recommend), and Saturday morning we drove to downtown Salt Lake to the City Creek area. We wandered around Deseret Book, Al Rounds’s studio (closed, sadly) and the Church History museum.  Mostly we talked, and mostly about our families.  There’s no juicy gossip, but a lot of interesting stuff about all your cousins.  I can’t write it all, but if you ask me about anybody, I can give you a report.
         Last Monday I had my MRI and CT scans, and two days later my oncologist called me. He said I should have a PET scan next (positron emission tomography) which looks for concentrations of sugar in your body.   Evidently, cancer likes sugar  and pulls it in.  I’ll be having that a week from tomorrow.  He also said he’ll probably do a biopsy of the “spot” in my lung, because it’s still growing.  And he psyched me up for radiation on my hip, which, he said, will help with the pain.  He’s so nice, I’ll agree with any treatment he suggests. Mainly, I’ll be glad to know everything that’s wrong with me, however bad it is.  It’s better than not knowing.
         Conference is next weekend!  Saturday night we’ll have the bread and soup dinner here at our house, at 5 pm.  I’ll be calling everybody about food assignments.  At 6, all of us ladies and girls will go the women’s broadcast at our stake center, and when we get home, we’ll have ice cream with brownies and toppings.  About a Sunday dinner:  I haven’t made a plan.  When our family was smaller and we could have it at the cabin, it worked fine.  Now, there are too many people to watch conference in one place.  But I’m happy that there are so many of us now!   The Lord has blessed us gloriously.
         I’ve just been finishing up my sprinkler project outside, tottering around with my cane, using the wheelbarrow for a walker and the rake and shovel for extra support.  It’s still great fun, though.  Friday morning I had my sprinkler parts spread out on the lawn, T’s, unions, elbows, the lot.  All arranged nicely so I could grab what I needed.  Scout brought a dead mouse from the field and dropped it in the middle of my stuff, and smiled at me.  I petted him on the head and told him he was a good cat. 
         Thanks to all you kids for being such good cats.  I love you all. Mom

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Two weeks until conference!  We’ll have our usual Saturday night bread and soup dinner here at 5 pm.  Then the ladies and girls will go to the women’s session of conference while the guys and little kids hang out.  We’ll have ice cream with brownies afterwards.  I can’t eat any of that stuff, but I don’t mind fixing it because it’s so much fun to have people come here.  I don’t know if any of you want to have a dinner between the sessions on Sunday, so I’ll call around and find out.  I fondly remember the times we watched conference at the cabin, and had CafĂ© Rio there, but the cabin isn’t up for it yet.  But at least it’s being worked on!  The outside is nearly finished, with all the siding on, and the contractor was building the deck the last time Dad went to inspect.  The inside hasn’t been started yet.  There has to be new sheetrock, and then painting, and then carpeting. I hope our contractor will keep working on it, and not go off on other jobs. 
         I’ve been using every spare minute I can get outside to work on my sprinkler project.  I’m hoping to finish it before it gets too cold, but old man winter seems to be coming fast. It freezes almost every night, and the storm we had Thursday night left snow in the Uintahs and on Timpanogos.  So I’m digging trenches and gluing pipe and putting on sprinkler heads as fast as I can.  Kitties help, of course.  They inspect my trenches by running through them.  Mouse killing doesn’t excite Scout so much now, since the cold weather has driven the mice underground.  Sonia can’t jump for grasshoppers, because they’ve all died.
         Tomorrow I’m having my CT scan and MRI.  I have to drink dye before each test, and I’m hoping it doesn’t make me sick. Otherwise, I’m not scared of the tests–just a little fearful about the results.  I’ll know about my hip when I see my orthopedic doctor on October 1st, and I’ll know about my lung when I see my oncologist on the 10th.  Hopefully there won’t be cancer in either place, but I’d like to know why my hip hurts so much when I walk.  If I’m lucky it will be something simple and easy to cure.
         I’m getting together with my sisters next weekend, but I probably won’t have any gossip to pass on, because all our children are settled in their lives now.  There just isn’t much drama any more!  Maybe Bonnie will bring bags of her cast-off clothes and then you girls can have fun going through them.
         Lots of love, Mom 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Dear Kids,
         John has two new kittens to make up for Poseidon’s untimely death.  There’s Zelda, a female, who’s mostly white with pale hints of calico, and Spartacus, a male, who’s totally white.  John said the big cats hate them (predictable) but the kittens have lots of fun playing together.  They’ve already unrolled two rolls of toilet paper.  Let’s see, if John gets two new kittens for every cat that dies, won’t he soon have dozens of cats?
         Our kitties, meanwhile, are still obsessed with hunting.  The other day Scout brought  a mouse from the field to our back yard, and he let Tina and Sonia join in for the kill.  They took turns whacking it.  Three noses were pointed at it, and six ears. The mouse didn’t last very long.  They just left it on the grass when it quit moving. Nobody wanted to eat it.
         Our kitties are also helping me dig sprinkler trenches in the yard.  They run through them to make sure they’re deep enough.  All three of them chase each other, leaping out at the end of the line.  My project is moving along really well.  You’d think I’d have trouble digging, since I can barely walk, but if I’m digging I can stand in one place, which hardly hurts at all.  Besides, I’m so excited to be outside, I don’t think much about my pain. 
         I had an appointment with an orthopedic doctor on Tuesday, and he took a good look at the x-rays that were taken a couple of weeks ago.  He said we need to rule out the bad stuff first, and then consider other possibilities.  With my history, he wondered about cancer first. He showed me a couple of dark places on the x-ray that could be suspicious.  He also said I might have a stress fracture.  I’m having a MRI on the 23rd so he can take a better look.  Since I’m seeing my oncologist again in three weeks, I’m having a CT scan at the same time, so he can look at my lung and see if the “spot” has grown at all.  Fun and games.  Digging trenches in the yard and gluing sprinkler pipe is much more to my liking.
         Love to all of you!  I think of you all, and pray for all of you every day.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Dear Kids,
         Last weekend was jam-packed, and now things are dull here again.  But it was fun while it lasted.  It was great to see so many of you at Tyler’s baby blessing, and Tom and Kim were great hosts for the lunch at their house.  I didn’t get to talk to everybody, because the time went by so fast.  It was amazing to hear that Karl Bentley has gone hunting with Ty Detmer on his ranch three times!  He said Ty is a lot of fun.
         As we were coming home from Heber, the McGettigans were right behind us.  They come here about once a year, usually on Labor Day weekend, for the rodeo.  That wasn’t until Monday afternoon, so we had lots of time to hang out.  Jana was looking for old cars with broken glass and rust, so she could photograph them and use an enhancement program that makes them look really cool.  I was sure we could find some, and we did.  The rodeo  was pretty cool, but I decided I don’t enjoy the bull riding that much.  Everybody falls off in the first second or two.  But the music is great, and it’s fun to watch the locals.  (Dad and I aren’t locals yet.  Dad’s belt buckles aren’t big enough.)
         Some of you might have heard that Aaron’s wonderful cat Poseidon was run over  on 1200 South, behind their house.  Poseidon was coming back from hunting, and he even had a mouse! (Heather found it near the body.)(Dad hoped they buried the mouse with him.) Poseidon lived to hunt, so it wasn’t if, but when he would get hit.  I always put our kitties out the back door, so they’ll run to the pasture to hunt, and not cross the street.  Scout, that mouse-killing machine, brings live mice to the back lawn so he can show off while he tortures them. Sonia brings grasshoppers.  They’re little bitty things–just a mouthful. 
         Julie has been taking a piano tuning course, and she came to our house to work on ours Thursday night, just ahead of the piano tuner who was coming the next morning.  She was really tired, though, after teaching 11 piano students in a row, so she only did a little bit and went home again.  She came back the next morning to watch our tuner, Ron Jensen.  They chatted about the ins and outs of piano tuning while Ron worked.  Julie was told she has to tune 100 pianos before she can start charging, and I’m sure she’d like to work on any of yours! Just call or text her. 
         Conference is coming up in four weeks!  That’s the only event on our calendar, except for my doctor visits.
         Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Dear Kids,
         If you’re coming to Tyler’s baby blessing at noon today, the address and details are in my letter from last week.  Be there or be square!  I just love these big family events.  I asked Ali and Emma what Tyler was going to wear, and then we started reminiscing about Blake’s blessing, and his famous blowout just minutes before he was blessed.  He ended up getting blessed in a onesie. Whatever happens today, it will be a wonderful event.
         In my letter last week I was bellyaching about all my medical troubles. Then, Monday morning, I woke up with a rip roaring toothache, or rather, the toothache woke me up, at 3 am.   At 8 I called Dr. Condie’s office and got a same-day appointment, and naturally I had to have a root canal.  I’ve had them before, and I always got through them with percoset.  But that’s something I can’t take any more, since my colon surgery–no hard drugs at all! Period. So I doubled up on my Tramadol, the same drug I overdosed on a few weeks back, and I would have overdosed again but it can lead to having a seizure.  So I just suffered through it.  Now it’s been almost a week, and it only hurts a little bit.  I sure feel sorry for the pioneers! Their old people were often toothless, and every single lost tooth probably cost them horrible pain.  My sister Katie said somebody really messed up when humans were designed with teeth. 
         In spite of my sore jaw and my two sore legs, I’m working in the yard yet again.  I get out to my work place with my cane, and then I use the wheelbarrow like a walker.  A rake can be a makeshift cane, if you hold it upside down.  Ditto with a shovel.  The kitties supervise me, and when I jump at them and say “rah!” they run out to the pasture.   I was trying to decide how to adjust our sprinklers, because they don’t cover the yard evenly.  I started to replace our Rainbird rotors with Orbit, but they don’t put out as much water, making it even worse.  Then I took a good look at where my sprinkler heads are, and decided I need to totally re-do everything.  Besides that, I’d already decided to re-plant our lawn with different seed, because I don’t like the stuff I’ve got.  So I sprayed the entire lawn with Roundup (except for the part I just planted,) and now anything I do will be an improvement.  Anyway, it gets my mind off my medical troubles.
         Hoping to see most of you later today–with love, Mom