Sunday, August 30, 2020

Dear Kids,

        For those of you who might be coming to visit tonight, Dad and I will be gone part of the time.  Some of you kids knew Marc Hermansen in our ward; he was bishop when Dad and I moved in.  He died suddenly last Monday morning, and we’ll be going to the viewing tonight.  It’s outside of our church from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  We’ll probably be going at 5:30.  If you’re here at our house, just carry on.  If you remember Mark and you want to come, that would be nice.  He was doing chemo for esophageal cancer, which he came down with just before I was diagnosed, so we were always interested in each others’ progress.  He had a few days when he felt OK, so he flew to Seattle to work.  He sold firefighters’ breathing masks.  Anyway, he wasn’t feeling very well, so his wife, Jan, flew up there to check on him.  Monday morning he died of a massive heart attack.  It’s awful for his family, but at least he won’t have to die of cancer, or do any more chemo.  

        There are two rabbits who have taken up residence outside of our cabin, and they’re always sitting on the driveway when we pull in.  I wonder–do they sit there all the time, 24-7, until we come by?  When our car gets close to them they dash away in terror.  The looks on their faces remind us of our cats.  Their fur will turn white when winter comes. Others in the family have christened them the “weir rabbits.” But they’ve never sat on the driveway before, waiting for us.  Donna’s kids have chased them, and then the rabbits turn around and chase the kids.  “Weird rabbits” is what they really are.

        Also, there are enormous flocks of sandhill cranes now.  I remember when I saw my first ones, and I was awestruck.  That was about 15 years ago.  They’ve obviously multiplied really well.  I hope they don’t get annoying, like the magpies!

        Labor Day is a week from tomorrow.  Is anybody planning anything?  Paul and Stefanie and their kids will be at the cabin.

        As you can see, I don’t have much news this week, but I love you all.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

 Dear Kids,

        Yep, it’s that time of year again.  The days are getting shorter.  The cats are coming in with cockleburrs in their tails.  The school bus has been stopping in our neighborhood again.  Summer’s over.

        Adelaide left for Snow College yesterday, but I haven’t heard how her moving in went.  She’s in an apartment with two girls she already knows, and a couple of others she doesn’t know yet.  She doesn’t have a major yet, which is fine since she’s just getting her feet wet in the college world.  James, who’s had many years of getting his feet wet, has signed up for two classes this semester.  With luck he’ll be finished with his masters degree in the spring.

        All of Sharon’s family will all be starting school the same day–August 31.  Everybody’s classes will be online.  Sharon has been busy getting each of them their own desks with their own computers or tablets, so everyone has a “school” place.  She wants it to be more organized than last year.  Her own classes start the same day and the same time as her kids’s–9 am.  Luckily she has Seth at home to help supervise the kids while she does her own course work. Go, Thackers! 

        Jacob will be starting school a week from tomorrow, on August 28th.  He’ll be going to UVU, commuting from home.  He doesn’t have a major yet, either.  He’d be on a mission if it weren’t for the Covid scare, and his uncertain lungs.  Good thing he’s making the best of it, though.  His girlfriend Sophie left for Snow College yesterday.  

        Carson might be starting classes at Weber State–Allen isn’t sure.  Carson bounces back and forth between Allen’s place and Missy’s, and he’s pretty independent. I know we have multitudes of grandchildren who have either started school, or will be starting again in the next few days.  Too bad I don’t have room to list them all.  Dad and I pay a lot of property taxes, both on our house and on the cabin, but most of the money goes for public education, and we have a lot of grandchildren being educated. 

        Dad and I spend a lot of time at the cabin now, trying to do projects before winter sets in. The Yerf Dog is a never-ending frustration for Dad, and I’m still working on the rock wall around the moose.  I cemented in a family of yellow jackets who thought those crevices between the rocks would be a good place for their nest.  Three or four came staggering out when I started putting down the mortar, but the rest have been “in-mortarized.”  At home, we’ve been spreading lava rock on the corner.  Dad told me the lava rock would float, and I didn’t believe him, but it does.  You can try it with a piece when you come by. 

        Lots of love to all, Mom

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Dear Kids,

        It seems like summer’s completely over, because the reunion was already two weeks ago, and Sharon’s family has gone home.  It’ll be record hot weather this week, but summer is good and gone. Now  our only excitement is projects at the cabin, spreading lava rock here (out on the corner) and waiting up for our cats, when they don’t come in.  Sonia’s pretty good about showing up when it gets dark, but Scout has been very uncooperative.  Sometimes it’s early morning before he shows up, and I worry about predators getting him, besides his chances of being hit by a car. 

        Before Sharon left, she told us about gearing up for her nursing courses.  The classes will be online, but hopefully she’ll have a real-time lab to go to, with real lab work to do.  She has to buy her own stethoscope, which costs $80 and up on Amazon.  She has to wear scrubs that are pewter-colored (gray) and white Dansko clogs.  She needs to get a new computer that has specific components, and she needs to drop it off to the nursing people to have their special software put on it.  It all sounds exciting to me, and I envy her starting such a great project.  Go, Sharon!

        My brother Ben has been made patriarch of his stake in Albuquerque.  We’re sure he’ll do a wonderful job, but I feel way old, having my younger brother called as a patriarch.  You know, they’re always ancient, with white hair, and a long white beard.  Well, maybe not always–Ned Winder, driving his Porsche, didn’t fit that pattern, but still, it’s weird (and also a great honor) to think about your little brother giving patriarchal blessings.  

        My new gumball machine is lots of fun.  Last week I put in skittles, but now I’ve switched to Runts.  I’m planning to try several different candies, and see what works out, and I hope you and your kids will all enjoy them.  Last Sunday night I was sort of a hag, trying to get everybody to go home, when I was the one who needed to go to bed.  So if you’re here on Sunday night, don’t pay any attention to my crabbiness.   You’re always welcome to stay and have fun, even if I go off to bed. 

        Life is good.  I hope you’re all doin’ great and lovin’ it.  Mom   

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Dear Kids,

        It’s been fun and crazy here this week with Sharon’s family coming and going (mostly going.) This afternoon there will probably be a lot of you here, so if you haven’t had enough family time, c’mon over.  Sharon and the kids are leaving for home on Tuesday, but they’re going over to Nora’s late tonight, to finish out their vacation there.  Sharon has had every minute planned, for maximum fun.  They’ve been swimming at least three times, including once at Lagoon, and met up with her most important friends. (Mandy and Holly)  It’s been fun just watching the action.

        I spent most of my $100 Amazon birthday gift card on a gumball machine, like Paige’s.  Thanks to all of you who went in on the card!  I didn’t get around to writing thank-you notes this week, so I probably won’t, but I still really appreciate your thoughtfulness.  The gumball machine came a couple of days ago, and I’ve had fun experimenting with it.  My plan is to give nickels to kids so they can get their own skittles (or whatever) instead of putting out candy on Sunday night. We had a trial run last night with Donna’s and Sharon’s families, and it worked pretty well.  I finally had to put it in the mudroom and close the door, though, because Tommy discovered that if he shook it back and forth and then jiggled the turnkey, he could get the skittles to come out one at a time.   

        With the leftover on the gift card, I bought a dinner bell triangle. (The Redneck Triangle Call Bell, Amazon calls it.) I got the idea when we were at the Chalet, because it would have been really handy for calling people to dinner.  I’ll definitely bring it to every family reunion from now on, and I think I’ll find a lot of other uses for it, too.  The birthday present I arranged to get from Dad didn’t turn out so well, however.  I ordered a 12" chop saw from an internet site called, but I was a little skeptical  that the price was so low.  It was only $111.00, including shipping, and it weighs a ton.  The same thing from Amazon is $199.  Anyway, they sent us tracking numbers, but when the saw didn’t come, Dad went to the post office to find it.  There was a package with those numbers on it, but it was small and light, going to an address in Woodland.  Needless to say, we never got the saw.  I guess we can get our money back from our credit card, but it’s aggravating.  I was going to use the saw at the cabin, to do the siding we’re going to put on the bunkhouse.  I’ll probably order the one from Amazon now.

    Life is so much fun!  I love our great big family.  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Dear Kids,
        What a fabulous reunion we’ve had!  Thanks, Tom and Kim, for your thorough planning.  Our day at Deer Creek was lots of fun, and floating the Provo River, too–even though Dad and I didn’t participate (we were tending Tommy) it sounds like everybody had fun.  (Except for the extremely cold water.) Anyway, everything turned out so well, and everybody was safe!  Each time we finish a reunion I feel like it’s the best one we’ve ever had, so that means they’re getting better and better.  Next year it will probably be Bear Lake again, with Allen in charge.  Hopefully he’ll get Rendezvous Beach for us.  I love that place!
        We enjoyed meeting Julie’s boyfriend, Spencer Sheffield.  He’s from Layton, served his mission in Washing Vancouver, and is youngest of five kids.  He’s a student at UVU, majoring in something like video editing.  He seems like a wonderful guy, and we wish them all the best in their relationship.  We also enjoying getting to know Del’s boyfriend, Jared.  He seems really nice, too.
        I had a fabulous birthday yesterday.  I always like having my birthday during the reunion, and this was the best of all.  Thank you for the gift cards, and for the Weed n’ Feed (Donna) and just for being there.  When I look over the huge gang of people that make up our family now, I know the Lord has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.  All of you are my best present ever.
        I’ve  scheduled my hip replacement surgery, but it’s not until the end of November.  They’re scheduling way far out because they were totally shut down for six weeks, during the first part of covid.  Now people like me are having their “non-essential” surgery.  I’m slightly worried about my lungs, because I’m not supposed to have any more chemo until after the surgery, and although my tumors are growing slowly, they’ll be a lot bigger than they were when I had chemo before, by the time I recover.  So I’ve got to call and have a really good talk with Dr. Lewis and make sure that’s going to be OK.  If so, I’m really excited to get rid of my pain and be able to hike and do normal things again. 
        My life is so good, and I love you all!  Mom