Sunday, November 29, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Friday morning I took a covid test at Orem Community hospital.  It was the version where you have to spit into a tube until you collect 2ml of saliva.  It doesn’t sound like much, but it seemed to take forever.  Tom said I should have taken a lime to smell.  Next time I’ll try that. Anyway, the test was negative, so I’m on track for my surgery tomorrow morning.  I’m already quarantined, which is supposed to last until 3 weeks after the surgery, but I’m planning to end it on the day of the cousins’ party

Thanksgiving was wild and wonderful.  We only had Nora’s and Vanessa’s families, but it seemed like enough people.  Unfortunately I had a migraine that morning, only the 5th one I’ve ever had, so  I was wobbly and dizzy all day.  I stayed upstairs in the basket chair, but people came up and visited me.   They said the food was fabulous.  When they were cleaning up, they took the turkey carcass out to the magpies.  Later on I looked out and counted twenty of them, flapping and squawking and fighting and biting. Their Thanksgiving dinner lasted until the next morning, when the carcass finally disappeared. 

Now we’re looking forward to Christmas.  Dad will be sending out your checks in a day or so.  I wish we could do presents, but everybody seems to like the money, and I always like hearing what you did with it.  

Looks like my letter is kind of short this week.  I love you all, and pray for you constantly.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 22, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Our snow has melted, and a herd of deer has taken up grazing on my new meadow grass.  They come around late every afternoon, and they’re very bold.  If I knock on the window, they just look up at me, and then keep eating.  They’re avoiding our regular lawn, even though it’s half sheep fescue.  I can’t remember what all I mixed up for the meadow grass, but they like it.  

Dad got the Yerf Dog running!  He tried one thing and then another, and he finally hit the jackpot.  If you want to know what it was, just ask him.  I’m thinking he can give Yerf Dog rides at the cabin on Thanksgiving morning, and maybe he’ll let the older kids drive it themselves.  It’ll be cold that day–a high of 36, but it shouldn’t be snowing.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, we’ll be here for whoever wants to come.  Right now it’s Nora and Vanessa’s families for sure.  I’ll call around, if I don’t talk to you today.  I’ll be doing the turkey and dressing and my usual pumpkin and chocolate pies.  Whoever comes, and whatever we eat, it’ll be fun.  Dinner will be at 1:00, and pie probably around 5:00.  Social distancing if you want, or whatever. I’m not worried about Covid.  One of my best friends, who was doing absolutely everything right: mask, social distancing, no ministering in person (she’s my partner), having their groceries delivered, having church at home–well, you can guess.  She has covid, and her husband, too.  That shows me it’s pretty well going to make the rounds, whatever.  I have to have the test this Friday, before my surgery.  If I’m positive, I won’t have the hip replacement.  Either way, I’m OK with it.

Heather’s still recovering from her surgery.  She says her neck doesn’t hurt at all, but they had to push her windpipe aside to operate, and that hurts her still.  John’s hernia surgery is December 17, but that won’t solve all his problems.  He’s been having odd pains in his joints.  He saw a rheumatologist who thinks she can get to the bottom of it.  He might have rheumatoid arthritis, or reactive arthritis, or something else even stranger.  The treatment she’s looking at right now is an old chemotherapy drug (John can tell you the name of it), which he’ll have to take for a year.  He can’t have it before his hernia surgery, and he might put it off longer.  I wish all our medical problems could be magically solved. 

Here’s an easy one:  Scout was suffering from a sagging belly last Sunday, but it turned out he ate too much of Nora’s leftover spam, when she was here.  Too bad the rest of our problems aren’t that easy.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 15, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday, and anybody who wants to eat and celebrate is welcome to come here.  Yeah, I know about the governor’s mandate.  We’ve tried masks and social distancing–Utah has been very good about that.  But the virus is still spreading. So what’s the solution?  More of the same!  Meanwhile, the virus is doing what viruses do.  I just finished reading a book about the flu of 1918, and they tried everything.  Masks.  Distancing.  Closing bars and theaters and stores.  Nothing worked.  The flu spread itself through the population, killing 100 million people worldwide, and then it was done.  I’m convinced that’s what’s going to happen this time, with far less destruction.  Back in 1918, whole families were wiped out, and everybody knew lots of people who died.  This isn’t so bad.  Ask Vanessa or Allen.  I’m sorry they’ve been sick (Allen is gradually getting better), but this is earth life, and people get sick.  Anyway, back to Thanksgiving, we’ll eat dinner at 1pm, and pie will probably be around 5.  If you’re coming, let me know, and we’ll work out a food assignment. 

I’m enjoying Bentley’s missionary letters. If you want to get on his list, contact Kim.  He sends them out by email every week.  It sounds like he’s working hard and having some fabulous experiences.  We pray for him every day, and I know you all do, too.

Heather’s surgery went really well.  As soon as she woke up from the anesthetic, that awful pain in her neck was gone.  Thank goodness for modern medicine!  John’s surgery has been moved back till the middle of December, because of scheduling conflicts.  Mine is still on for the 30th, if nothing gets in the way.

A flock of magpies checks out our back yard every Sunday afternoon, because I often put out chicken bones from the dinners Donna brings.  Last Sunday it was snowing, so they didn’t come until Monday morning.  Butlers’ dog came, too.  He’s a big German shepherd that roams the neighborhood.  (People have called animal control, but he’s still uncontrolled.)  The magpies didn’t like sharing the bones with Butlers’ dog, so they buzzed him and attacked him.  He left.  I knew they’d win. 

I hope you’re all doing great.  Love, Mom 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

 Dear Kids,

Both John and Heather have had mysterious and painful medical symptoms, and now they both have their answers.  John texted us with this info: “Both of us are surgical. Heather on Monday and me a week after.  Heather had a disk in her neck slip out and crush a nerve.  My hernia exploded and my guts are spilling out.  I guess we are old now.”

Not old, but extremely unlucky.  Our prayers are with you, John and Heather.  I’m glad for medical science and all it can do.  BTW, Monday must be the preferred date for surgeries, because my hip replacement will be two Mondays after John gets worked on.  Does anybody else have any medical news to report?  I haven’t talked to Al this week, so I don’t know how he’s doing, but no news is good news.

Last Sunday night Tommy locked himself in our little bathroom, and everybody was yelling in to him, “Turn the knob!  Turn the knob!”  Whatever he was doing didn’t work, but eventually we found a flat screwdriver-like key that opened the door, and we let him out.  The next morning I went into that bathroom to get something out of the vanity cabinet, and one knob fell off in my hand.  The other knob was so loose it nearly fell off.  Evidently, when Tommy heard “Turn the knob,” he wondered, “What knob?  What knob?”  Then he saw two knobs and tried them both.  We sometimes underestimate the intelligence of these little kids.  Sometimes they’re smarter than we are.

  Dad and I enjoyed every single day of the gorgeous fall weather this past week.  We worked furiously on the bunkhouse.  The sun was very low in the sky, and the wind blew off and on, but we got a lot done.  Now the bunkhouse is completely ready for siding, and it looks a lot better than it did.  During the winter I’m hoping to do the floor and finish off around the bottom bunks.    

Isn’t it weird to be off daylight saving time?  It gets dark so early!  You just want to get into pajamas and curl up under a nice blanket and watch movies.  But there’s lots of fun coming up: Thanksgiving and Christmas and sledding and snowshoeing.  Life is great! 

Love, Mom

Sunday, November 1, 2020


Dear Kids,

Finally, there’s some real news, but most of you already know this:  Allen has Covid!  He probably contracted it when he went to a leadership conference in West Yellowstone last week.  He was together with about 60 other law enforcement people for 8 hours a day.  He said they wore masks when they walked around their hotel, but in the conference room they just social distanced.  This past Monday he started feeling sick–muscle aches, etc., so he got tested, and he was positive.  So now he’s into about day 6 of a 10-day quarantine.  Del is quarantined, too, but she’s tested negative so far.  And her boyfriend is also quarantined.  None of the other 60 people from the conference seem to have it, but Allen’s pretty sure it will run through the Centerville police department.  I’m sorry he’s sick, but he’ll be immune when he comes out of it.  That should be about Thursday or so.  He’s going crazy being shut up at home, and he’d like to be able to do his regular work, but he’s in bed, and he says you just can’t use a computer when you’re down like that.  It’s too bad he has the virus, but he’s helping spread Covid, and getting us closer to herd immunity.  I think that’s the only way we’ll get through this.  Even when the vaccine is ready, people are too suspicious to get it.  I’ve only talked to one person who’s willing to do it, and everybody else says “never!”  Especially if  President Trump is behind it.

Well, other news?  There’s not much.  We had that cold snap last weekend, and I was concerned that it was going to get down to 6̊ Sunday night.  It actually went down to -3.  All the autumn leaves are shriveled now, and we’re ready for winter.  But it’s been surprisingly warm.  Dad and I have been over at the cabin working on the bunkhouse practically every day.  We finished the skirting, and it looks really good.  Dad is still painting (to protect it from the woodpeckers next spring, until we can get the siding on.)  I’m working on the 2x4 edgings around the windows and door. 

Dad and John went on a jaunt to Rexburg from Friday night through Saturday, to look around Dad’s old stomping grounds, including the airport and the college.  They seemed to have a lot of fun.  I stayed home to entertain the cats.  

My hip surgery is just four weeks away.  My doctor said I have to quarantine myself for three weeks afterwards, because my immune system will be compromised. I’m not sure why–maybe I can get him to explain that when I go in for my pre-op visit on Tuesday.  Anyway, that probably means no Sunday night parties here, for most of December.  Also, I’ll have to miss the Messiah totally.  So sad.

But life is good.  I love you all!  Mom