Sunday, November 26, 2023

 Dear Kids,

The next family happening will be Drew’s baptism this coming Saturday, December 2, at 10:30 am. The address of Donna’s church is 250 East 200 South in Midway.  I’m sure there will be an afterparty at Donna’s house, although I don’t know any of the details.  Call Donna if you want to offer your help.

Our family dinner was going great for me last Sunday, until I faceplanted on John’s sidewalk, carrying out the turkey carcass.  Luckily the Heber Hospital ER is just a few minutes from John’s house, and Dad drove me there.  Sharon, the nurse, came along.  They did a CT scan of my head, to make sure I didn’t have a fracture or any brain bleeding, and they x-rayed my knee and wrists, because they hurt.  I hurt my shoulder and arm, too, but I didn’t realize it then.  Luckily all those places took the brunt of my fall, or it could have been much worse.  They took five stitches to close up a cut over my left eye, and bandaged up my hand, where it was bleeding.  (Oh, yeah, thanks to Kim for cleaning up the blood on John’s sidewalk.)  By the time we got back to John’s house I had one heck of a black eye, and I looked terrible.  Thanks to all of you for being so tactful about my appearance, and treating me so kindly.  Now, after almost a week, my black eye is nearly gone and my stitches are out.  All’s well that ends well.  Sadly, I never got the chance to deliver the turkey carcass to the magpies.  Donna threw it away.  Next year I’ll be more careful.

The Messiah will be two weeks from today, on December 10.  We’ll meet at Tom’s house for a before-party, probably about 5:30, since Tom will need to be there at 6 pm.  For the rest of us, the Messiah itself starts at 7.  

Our next family book club is December 17, and we’re reading The Family Under the Bridge.  I got it from the library and I’m already on my second time through it.  It takes place in Paris, and even if you know nothing about the city, you’ll still enjoy it.

Anna and Ali are both working on the Heber Creeper Polar Express.  Anna is an elf, and Ali is a “Santa Baby.”  I’m sure they’re both really cute.

Even though it’s been cold, our contractor and his cohorts have been busy on our cabin.  They’ve pretty well finished the soffit and fascia, and they’re starting on the bunkhouse.  They’re wrapping it in Tyvek before they put on the half logs.  They said, “It won’t be so breezy in there now.”  We expect the work to be finished this coming week, and then we’ll be handing over more cash at the bank.  I’m glad they’re finishing before winter sets in for good.

So much fun!  So much going on!  Lots of love, Mom

Sunday, November 19, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Most of you have heard that Julie’s husband Spencer has been waiting for a liver transplant.  They only needed to find a donor.  All of his family was tested and none of them were a match.  Allen heard about it and had himself tested, and he’s a perfect match.  He has a big healthy liver (maybe from all those miles of hiking?) and the blood vessels are all in the right places.  So they’re going to take part of Allen’s liver and transplant it into Spencer.  Allen’s liver will regenerate itself, so it will be its regular size again.  The surgery will be done in January.  We’re just really proud of Allen for making this sacrifice, and we’ll all be praying that things go well. 

Our family Thanksgiving dinner is this afternoon at 4:00 at John’s house.  You all have your food assignments.  It’s going to be a great event.  On Thanksgiving day, those people with nowhere else to go will meet us at the cabin at 1pm.  Tom is doing brisket.  I’m doing macaroni.  Nuff said.  

Speaking of the cabin, our contractor finally came through.  He and a couple of other guys have been doing the soffit (under the eaves, outside) and the fascia (right next to the roof.) They have the half-logs for the bunkhouse all laid out and they’re being painted.  The most exciting part of the project is a giant cherry-picker they rented, for working around the roof.  Dad and I were offered trips going up in it, but we both declined.  We’re not as adventurous as we used to be.

Our next family book club will be December 17, and we’re reading The Family Under the Bridge.  I have it on hold at the library in West Valley, but I haven’t been down there to pick it up  yet, so I have no idea what it’s even about.  Normally we have book club on the second Sunday of the month, but the Messiah in Heber will be that night.  (December 10)  I wish I were singing in it, but my lungs aren’t clear enough yet.  I’ll be singing in the audience, sitting next to Nora.  All of you who are coming–let’s sit together, OK?  I love the Messiah.  Tom is in the choir, but he was really discouraged after the first practice, because he was the only tenor.  Hopefully that will improve for him. 

I’m looking forward to seeing nearly all of you this afternoon.

Love, MomS

Sunday, November 12, 2023

 Dear Kids,

Book club is at 5:00 this afternoon, here at our house, like always.  We’re reading My Side of the Mountain.  If you haven’t totally finished it, that’s OK.  Lots of you have been really busy this past month.  I’m planning that we’ll still have book club in December, even though things are likely to get busier still.  Have you all noticed how dark it gets, and how early?  What better reason than those long dark evenings for your families to read together!

A week from today will be our family Thanksgiving dinner at John’s house, at 4 pm.  Sharon says you all have your food assignments.  Last year I swore it was my last year for making pies, but I’m feeling a lot better this year, and I’m up for it.  I’m sure anybody could bake my pumpkin pies if they used my recipe, but I still feel like it’s my responsibility.  Anyway, back to our family dinner–I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you.  What a family we have! I was just overwhelmed by the sight of such a gang when we had our big picture taken at the family reunion.  It’s such an impressive picture that I will be sending out Christmas cards for the first time in at least ten years.  I have to show you off to my brothers and sisters. I’ll also be sending them to each of you kids, so you can put up my card with all your others and let your friends and visitors see.

As I’ve written before, on Thanksgiving day we’ll be having a barbecue-type meal at the cabin for everyone who wants to be there.  I’m going to pay Tom to make brisket for everybody.  Donna is in charge, so if you want a food assignment, contact her.  I figure we’ll be eating about 1 pm.

The contractor we hired to work on our bunkhouse and cabin still hasn’t started the project, and now there’s snow on the ground.  When it was snowing on Tuesday, Dad got a text from him that said they would give the snow one day to melt, and then start on Thursday.  Needless to say, they didn’t show up.  And of course the snow didn’t melt in one day.  We had made a $10,000 down payment, and since the contractor was willing to give us a 10% discount for cash (real cash, not a check or venmo) we met him at the bank.   It was fun to see their machine count out one hundred hundred-dollar bills.  You can probably figure why he wanted his money under-the-table like that.  I don’t care.  I just want to see the work done.  People are still building all over the valley, so there’s a chance it will happen.

So much going on!  I love you all!  Mom

Sunday, November 5, 2023


Dear Kids,

I hope you all set your clocks behind for today, so you didn’t have to get up any earlier than you needed to.  It’s nice to not have it so dark in the morning, but from now on evening is terrible.  It gets dark so early that 6pm seems like bedtime.  

My radiation went just fine.  I’ve been coughing a lot (I can just feel that tumor rattling around in my chest) and I’ve been really sleepy, but those are the worst side effects I’ve had.  Thank you for all your prayers.  I know they’ve made a difference.  I won’t know how effective the radiation was for at least a month, when I have my next scan.  I’ll let you know how that goes. 

Book club is a week from today at 5 pm.  I hope you’re enjoying My Side of the Mountain.  I’ve read it three or four times, and it always makes me want to go live by myself in the wilderness.  I don’t think I could have a peregrine falcon for a pet, though.  They’re terrible birds!  In the book, Sam paints a very complimentary picture of them.  They’re killers, though. 

Our family Thanksgiving dinner will be two weeks from today, at John’s house.  Will 4:00 work out?  I haven’t talked to Sharon about a time yet.  She and her family are coming on the 16th or the 17th, I forget which day.  Her plans are so complicated that I couldn’t very well follow them, but like always, she’ll pack as much fun into their vacation as possible.  They’re having dinner at the Thackers in Upalco on Thanksgiving day, when we’ll be having our second dinner, this time at the cabin.  It will be a very relaxed affair, and Donna is in charge.

I guess you all know that Tom and Kim hiked the Grand Canyon on Friday.  That hike must be really addictive!  I called Tom Friday night, after they had finished, and he said he’d had a much easier time than two years ago.  He was really in good shape.  Of course Kim is always in good shape, and she finished 10 minutes before he did.  Now I’m wondering, are these Grand Canyon hikes going to be an annual thing?  I sure wish Dad and I could participate, but I can’t even hike around the block these days.  Yesterday afternoon I felt so shut in that we drove up the Mirror Lake highway.  It’s pretty brown and bleak now, except for the spruces and pines, but still really beautiful.  I forget that we live so close to nature up here.  

Winter is closing in!  Sonia’s spending a lot more time inside, sleeping on the white bench in our bedroom.  I’m always glad to have her safely inside, away from the hawks and coyotes and foxes.  She’s five years old already, and we’re hoping she lives many more years.  Like me.  I’m not worried about foxes and coyotes, but I do appreciate all your prayers for me.

With love, Mom