Sunday, January 31, 2021

 Dear Kids,

I’m looking forward to the potluck at our house this afternoon, and to celebrating Allen’s promotion.  I’m especially glad  Vanessa’s family is coming.  Hooray for long, boring Sunday afternoons!  That’s what’s bringing them here. They’re planning to come once a month for a family potluck, and I’m delighted.  Here’s another idea: what if we rotated among houses, at least among Nora’s and John’s and Tom’s and ours–the bigger places.  (Obviously not Allen’s condo.)  Or would that make things too complicated, and make the whole thing crash?  I don’t want that to happen at all.  You can all let me know what you think when you come.

My brother Charley called me a couple of days ago, and we had a great talk.  His health is a lot better now, in spite of all those blood clots he had a couple of years ago.  It’s miraculous that all my brothers and sisters are still alive, and I hope that continues for a long time.   I especially don’t want to be the one to bail first, and I hope the Lord spares my life for many more years.  Charley mentioned that his grandson Sam and his wife are expecting a baby, so that will make him a great grandfather.  I can hardly believe it–my little brother!  

Dad and I still don’t have any idea when we might be vaccinated for Covid, and we haven’t heard anything from the Summit County health department.  Wasatch County is vaccinating from the top down, oldest people first.  One of my piano ladies is in her 80's, and she was vaccinated last week.  After she gets her second vaccination next month, she’s going to start coming to my house for piano lessons, since who knows when the Senior Center will open again.  One of my other ladies will start coming in April.  I’ll be glad to have more students again, since it gives shape to my life.  I have lots of other interesting things to do, but nothing is more satisfying for me than teaching piano.  I don’t charge anybody anymore.  The time they spend practicing is my payment. 

Dad’s been working on my smaller Clavinova, since five of the black keys were drooping.  We thought it needed new keys, and they’re impossible to find, but luckily it was just a matter of new springs, which I have, and cleaning out the crud that’s fallen down in between.  Dad talked to one technician who said I should just buy a new Clavinova, but none of the new ones have that stereo feature that makes them sound so good.  If I could find one whose sound I liked, I’d buy it in a minute.  It’s hard to imagine both my Clavinovas are going on 33 years old.  (Like the song says, “I don’t remember growing older; when did they?)   That smaller one traveled a lot with you different kids–it even went to Ohio.   It’s in the hall closet on our top floor so I can practice in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep.  The bigger one’s in the basement, and I use it for Anna’s lessons when she comes.

Life is good.  I love you all.  Mom

Sunday, January 24, 2021

 Dear Kids,

SNOW!  We have SNOW!  True, it’s only four or five inches, but it’s the best we’ve had since October.  It came just in time for the cousins’ ski day at Deer Valley yesterday, courtesy of Donna and Bevan’s passes.  Vanessa brought all her kids Friday night, and they stayed over at our house.  It’s always fun when they come..  And I’m always impressed to see them pack up all their gear the next morning.  All the kids take care of their own stuff, fill their own water bottles, and pack their own bags.  It makes me wish that I could ski, and take off with them.  I hope everybody had a safe and a fun day.  I haven’t heard of any disasters, so it must have gone fine.  

Maybe I can’t ski, but I walked all the way to the mailboxes and back yesterday morning.  It’s about half a mile round trip.  No cane, no trekking poles–just me and my new hip.  I was very proud, although my hip hurt a lot when I got home.  Not to worry–Dr. Wooten said I can’t hurt the hip by overdoing it, even though it can hurt me.  

Dad and I were hoping to get vaccinated for covid, but although we signed up the first day we could, we both got messages that there won’t be any openings for at least two more weeks.  Well, I’m glad so many other seniors are getting vaccinated.  If the death rate goes down, maybe we can all take off the dang masks.

Allen is doing way better now, recovering from his surgery.  He went back to work on Tuesday, and surprisingly, on that very day, he felt a hundred percent better.  He doesn’t take any pain meds now, not even Tylanol.  I’m really happy for him, and I still can’t forget the disaster that happened to me 36 years ago.  It led to so many other things, including my cancer.  So I’m thrilled with Allen’s progress.  By the way, Allen is being promoted to lieutenant TODAY!  The current lieutenant won’t be retiring for another week, but Allen says they have a ton of work, so neither of them will be able to sit around. 

Dad got to do a welfare assignment at the bakery on Welfare Square.  Our lives are so slow-moving that it was a very big deal for him.  I haven’t been anywhere interesting for a really long time, but hopefully that will change.  Sharon’s family got home from Puerto Rico OK and Vanessa and Trent got home from Hawaii, but we haven’t come home from anything.  Lots of other people are in the same boat, though, so I won’t complain.

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 17, 2021


My covid test was negative.  I'm very happy about it!

 Dear Kids,

Is it possible I’ve got Covid?  I took the spit test yesterday morning at the Heber instacare, but I probably won’t know the result until tomorrow.  It doesn’t seem likely, except that I have a sore throat, snot in my sinuses, terrible fatigue, fever, sleepiness, and joint pain.  It hurts every time I move!  At least I don’t notice my sore hip as much! I wouldn’t have even taken the covid test if it weren’t for Dad.  If I’m positive, he needs to be tested, and I think quarantined, too.  I wish he would get something for a change, instead of me being the invalid all the time.  I would absolutely enjoy taking care of him.  Oh, wait, he had that back pain, but it only lasted for a couple of days.

Other medical news:  Al is recovering from his surgery, but very slowly.  When he gets well again, he deserves having nothing go wrong with him for a really long time.  Vanessa had a free Covid antibody test because she gave blood, and it showed she was positive.  We never doubted, because of her symptoms.  Ben’s shoulder is healing.  Drew passed the magnet.  I’m sure there’s lots of other medical news; it’s January, after all.

Our cats switched their Christmas presents from Nora: Scout took over Sonia’s cat cave, and Sonia took over Scout’s treat mouse.  He never could figure out how to get the treats out.  Sonia does it very scientifically–she knocks the mouse sideways, and the treats come out of the hole.  Sonia always wants to have her mouse while I’m cleaning up from breakfast, so I fill it up for her and put it carefully on the floor.  But Friday morning Scout was standing there too,  waiting for Sonia to get the treats. She was waiting for him to get lost so she could have them all for herself.  They stood there shoulder to shoulder looking at the mouse, neither of them moving, for about ten minutes.  I was done cleaning up by then, so I left.  When I came back later, the mouse was empty.

We have a heck of a deal on internet now, through the Salt Lake County Library.  When we were at the West Valley branch on Tuesday, Dad saw a sign that said they had hot spots.  Dad asked about it, and they had several available.  You check them out for 45 days at a time, and then you can renew online.  With Summit County, we had one for two weeks, and then it was a whole week before we could get it again.  I feel so smug now, that we haven’t signed up for any of the internet services around here.  They’re all over-priced, because they’re always bundled with TV.  But the deal with the SL Library is a great find!  Free internet 4 EVA!

I hope you’re still all enjoying the happy new year.  Ackersons rock 4 EVA! 

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 10, 2021

 Dear Kids,

The best news we’ve had all week is that senior citizens over 70 in Utah can be vaccinated for Covid, starting a week from Monday.  Sharon says it takes two doses; the first one gives you 65% protection, and the booster 95%.  I used to think I’d sit it out and just let everybody else get vaccinated, so the virus would go away, but now I want to get in on the excitement.  They also announced that educators would be vaccinated starting this coming Monday, so schools could get up and running again. Go, Utah!  Finally something good is happening.

Other medical news: Allen had hemorrhoid surgery on Friday, and it’s probably the most painful surgery you can have.  His doctor said there was no way around it–that’s just how it is.  That was the surgery that nearly killed me off 36 years ago.  (Oh, wait, it did!  I’m glad they sent me back.)  Allen told his doctor my sad story, and the doctor pointed out that things have improved a lot since 1985.  I’m so glad!  But I’m sure Allen can use all our prayers.

Still other medical news: Drew swallowed a little cylindrical magnet off a Christmas toy.  Donna asked him why he did it, and he said, “Because I wanted to.”  Naturally the magnet showed up really bright on the x-ray at Instacare.  Donna was supposed to retrieve it when it came through, but I haven’t heard if she really did.

On Friday I went to see my orthopedic doctor, 5 1/2 weeks after my hip surgery.  He said it’s healing normally, and things like my swollen feet and ankles will get better with time.  He really emphasized letting it take its time, and he said it takes a whole year for a hip to mend.  Whoa, I had no idea!  I told him I’d been doing my exercises and showed him how high I can kick, but I paid for it later in the day because my leg really hurt.  He said I don’t have to do the exercises any more.

Vanessa and Trent are in Hawaii and Sharon and her family are hoping to leave for Puerto Rico on Tuesday morning. Dad and I are sitting here in the cold, and there’s practically no snow on the ground.  It’s going to be like the winter of 1976-77, but I didn’t care back then.  Now I do.  But wait–if there isn’t much snow, that means the Jordanelle Perimeter Trail is clear.  Here I come, sore hip or not!

Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Dear Kids,

When I wrote my letter last week, I didn’t know that Bentley and his comp were down with COVID!!  Yep, they were quarantined over Christmas.    And here they had all the usual Christmas meals lined up.  But it’s to their credit that they still kept very busy.  By now their quarantine should be over, and I hope they’ve both recovered completely.  BTW, I don’t know how many of you checked out their “Light the World” videos that Tom featured on his facebook page; it’s very beautiful music!  While I was surfing down facebook, I saw that my cousin, Laura Milano Smith, had links to the same videos, so I assume one of her grandchildren was in it, too.  That means that Bentley has a third cousin in his mission and doesn’t know it.  (If your great grandparents are siblings, you’re third cousins.)

The highlight of my week was talking to Dr. Lewis, my oncologist, on Monday.  It was better than I even hoped for!  The main tumor in my lung only grew 2.4 mm (less than 1/10 of an inch) in 5 months.  That’s incredibly slow! I don’t have to see him again for 6 months, and I won’t be having any chemo for the time being.  Even though the main tumor is actually bigger now than it was when I first had chemo, he says he mainly looks at how fast it’s growing, and if there are cancer cells in my blood.  (There aren’t!) He said it’s important not to overuse chemo early on, because it becomes less effective the more you have.  He believes in using the bare minimum until you really need it, like when the cancer gets into my liver.  So I don’t know what my situation will be in 6 months, but I’m grateful for the time I have now.  Thanks so much for your prayers!

Speaking of the time I have now, my leg is still bothering me a lot, but it’s gradually improving.  My blood tests showed that I have “post-surgical anemia,” meaning that I lost a lot of blood in the surgery and my body hasn’t replaced it all yet.  (Dr. Lewis calls that surgery “bloody and brutal.”) No wonder I’m so tired and lethargic.  Nurse Sharon told me to eat more protein, and she gave me some good suggestions. 

Dad and I worked a 1000 piece puzzle that Sonia became obsessed with.  She kept hopping on the table and biting the pieces, so I had to put her in a kitty carrier whenever we worked on it.  When the puzzle was done I decided to frame it, so I carefully turned it over and spread white Elmers glue over the back.  That holds the pieces together.  Then I put it under our bed to keep it safe.  I should have paid more attention when Sonia went under the bed to check it out.  Dad dragged her out, along with the pieces she bit off.  I sort of patched it together, and I’m still going to frame it.  

I hope you’re all having a Happy New Year!   Love, Mom