Friday, April 29, 2016

Up Above the World So High

The view from the City Club
The City Club Los Angeles is located in the City National Building at 555 S. Flower Street, in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.  It's on the 51st floor, so there is a brief, stomach-dropping ride in an elevator up to the lobby, and a spectacular view once you arrive.

The Club is sleek and modern, but welcoming in its design
The Club, according to the website I looked at, is "the place where diverse community and business leaders come to connect, network, and do business".

My co-workers, Barbara and Carmen
In my case, it was the place where the administrative staff of our company was taken for breakfast on Administrative Professionals Day, April 27th.

My boss, Joel, and Juan, the Company CFO
My company has historically done fun and generous things on Administrative Professionals Day, and this year was no exception.  We had a lovely time up on the 51st floor!

The view, even on a smoggy day, was sensational!
I'm lucky to work with nice, kind people I truly enjoy spending time with.  When we go places together, the conversation is lively.  I consider myself blessed in that regard.

The menu was varied.

The City Club Breakfast menu
Nikita ordered the omelet with veggies in it.  That looked very good.

3-egg Omelet with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms

I went more basic, and ordered scrambled eggs with applewood smoked bacon, hashbrowns and toast.

Scrambled eggs and hash browns
Others went for the blueberry pancakes.  The pancakes were very popular.

The blueberry pancakes are a specialty
It was a pleasant meal in very nice circumstances.

Veronica from Accounting, and Suria, our Corporate Marketing Director
I kept snapping photos on the sly.  Some turned out better than others.

Jimmy, our company President, and Nikita, from Corporate Marketing
The club is actually the penthouse of the City National building and there are windows in all directions.  We had to wander around and tour the Club after breakfast.

Looking straight down was scary
I'm not sure how a cigarette ended up lodged on the outdoor ledge.  You can see the plaza below reflected in the building next door.  My former boss once took us to another restaurant in nearby Pershing Square. I'm not all that familiar with downtown Los Angeles, actually, even after 30 years of living in this area.  I tend to avoid it because of the crazy traffic and one-way streets.

Many helicopter pads were visible across the skyline below us
The air looked dirty that day.  Only a few days earlier, high winds had made the sky a clear, pristine blue.

There always comes a moment, for me, when up in a tall building like this here in California, where I start thinking, 'Man, I sure hope there isn't a strong earthquake while I'm up here!'

That would not be fun.

Coincidentally, I watched all of this being destroyed fairly recently, watching an old John Cusack disaster movie called "2012".  These buildings crashed and fell apart very dramatically in that film. Nice CGI, but not fun in real life.  I'll pass.

A bird's eye view of downtown
The place had a photo booth in it!  Suria and Nikita got silly and took some photos.

Nikita's shoes are visible as she and Suria take silly photos

Photo booths seem to bring out peoples' inner child.  There was a lot of giggling involved.

We spent a great deal of time just marveling at the view.

Joel, Jimmy, Juan and Barbara enjoying the view
Across the way, we could see orange-vested workers installing windows on the Korean Air skyscraper currently being built.  They are tiny specks of orange just above the window line straight across and a couple of floors up from where we were standing.

This is also the building (below) where a worker recently jumped off and committed suicide.  That was a grim thought as we stood there watching the building progress.  I don't think there is enough money in the world to get me to work on a building like that!  We could see the workmen were tethered with safety harnesses - even so, it looked very scary.  I guess I'm a bit afraid of heights!

If you squint you can see workers in orange vests next door 
As we toured, we saw the grand ballroom, and the Tom Bradley room (below) where ladies were decorating with cheerful pink flowers, as well as some small cacti, for a luncheon later that morning. They and their flower trolley are just out of camera range to the left.

The Tom Bradley Room
What a fun time we had up there on the 51st floor!  It was a lot of fun to see.  And all things considered, I'm sure happy to work in a building much closer to the ground, thank you very much.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 1, 2016

It's that time again!

The Conference Center in Salt Lake

It's spring!  It's April!  It's time for LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City!  It's that special weekend that comes every six months where I can wear my jammies to church... so to speak!

Yes, all General Conference sessions are broadcast via BYU-TV, or on the internet at, so they can be watched in the privacy of your own home.

Spring has brought us such a nice surprise...
Sessions are broadcast live - in California they will be from 9a-11a and 1p-3p PST on both Saturday and Sunday.

This is a great time to check out a Mormon church service without actually having to attend church in person.

Or, consider it a treat to hear a prophet speak and give direction to us for the next 6 months.

The Salt Lake Temple grounds are in full bloom for April Conference
 Very often it snows for Conference.  This year, however, I hear they are expecting delightful temperatures.
The iconic Salt Lake Temple
I look forward to Conference every six months.  It's a break from my usual church going, sure, but it's also a time to hear from some very wonderful people who are inspired in the messages they provide us for our time.

My friend Don on the Temple Grounds
My friend Don sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  They are a pretty awesome choir.  They will be performing throughout the services this weekend.  It's really a treat to tune in just to hear them sing.

You can also play "Where's Don?" with me.  (Hint: He's usually on the right in the front row of the choir.)

Among other speakers, some, or most, of these wonderful men will also be speaking (below). Behold the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  They are regarded as prophets, seers and revelators by the church membership.  I have a great love for these selfless guys.  Particular favorites of mine are Jeffrey R. Holland and Russell M. Nelson.

But oh-my-heck (to use an old Utah expression), I love them all.

Here is the General Relief Society Presidency (below).  Some of these terrific ladies will also be addressing us.

And, of course, there will be words of encouragement and comfort from our Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.  He is now 88 years old.  I don't think he's been doing very well physically since his beloved wife passed away.

He is by no means the oldest of the general authorities, though!  President Nelson is 92!

Tune in and hear for yourself.  I promise you, you will feel uplifted and edified.

Whatever you do,

Friday, March 25, 2016

Happy Easter!

He Lives!  And because He lives - all of us will, too.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Great Paper Airplane Contest

Barbara, Veronica, Carlos, Vincent, Anthony and Carmen gear up for the competition
Last week our office had a contest.  A special kind of race.  A PAPER AIRPLANE smackdown!

Brian, Doug, Mengzhao and Frank have their airplanes at the ready
It was a simple concept, really.  Make a paper airplane out of one sheet of plain paper.  No cutting or tearing of the paper was allowed.  Fly it from the marker in the corridor and see who can stay in the air and fly the farthest.

We had a long hallway as our race field.

Frank G's plane makes a disappointing crash landing
Everyone who participated had to make their plane in full view of other participants, in the conference room.  Then, they got two tries to fly the plane down the long "airstrip".

Frank B's plane fared little better
Employees were strategically placed along the corridor to judge on range and height of each throw.

Carmen, our receptionist, tosses a winner!
Amazingly, it didn't take an engineer to make the best plane, or to throw it the farthest.

Barbara gave it a good try
This was a lot of fun, whether you flew a plane or not.

I caught Vincent's plane in mid-flight!
I'm glad so many of our employees got into the action and participated.

Nikita photoing the attempts
Amazingly, some of the best engineered planes went awry.  If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see one plane stuck into the ceiling tiles along the wall!  That was pretty funny, actually.

The aftermath: The floor was littered with the remains of the paper planes
A good time was had by all.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Morgan's Kitchen Shower

Morgan and Ronei
My young friend Morgan got married recently in the St. George, Utah, LDS Temple.  In an odd turn of events, because she's currently attending school out-of-state, her shower was held about a week later in her home town of Whittier.  I hear her official reception won't be held for a couple of months when the groom's parents will be coming for a U.S. visit from their home in Brazil.

...And so it was that a bunch of us ladies gathered last Saturday to celebrate Morgan's nuptials and have some fun with a kitchen-themed shower.

Andrea reads off the list of spices to (L-R) Morgan, Evangeline and Mary Beth
We started off with a game to guess some commonly used herbs and spices.  I only got five right, out of a whole tray full, and still won the prize!  They were the herbs and spices I use most often, though, so that made sense to me:  Paprika, Parsley, Cinnamon, Sage and Fennel, if I remember correctly.

There were many you'd go, Hmmmm... smells like spaghetti sauce... and others you knew but couldn't quite place.  I felt terrible that I missed some like Basil that I've actually grown!

Heidi, Janice, Ellen and Jeanne
The shower was held at Jeanne's fabulous home in Friendly Hills.

The Bride's sister, Heather
I went through all my photos and realized I hadn't taken a single photo of Morgan's mom during the whole afternoon. Isn't that the way it goes sometimes?  Oops, sorry Meredith!

Morgan taking notes
We haven't seen much of Morgan in the past few years.  After graduating from High School, she left on a LDS proselyting mission to Ecuador for 18 months, then went away to school in Cedar City.  She is a busy, and accomplished, young lady.

Our Beautiful Morgan
She and her new husband were leaving the next day to return to school and their new home in Cedar City.  They still have a bit of schooling left to finish.

I kinda love this photo (below) of Sara and her squirmy worm baby daughter.  That's just how kids are, right?
Sara and her baby in motion
Sara's husband offered a cooking demo for us, geared to help the Bride make some healthy and easy breakfast/brunch choices.  We later ate the yummy egg dishes for our lunch.

Brother Soto did a fun cooking demonstration despite his daughter's "help"!
I had never thought of adding shredded yams to a dish in place of cheese, but it was not only low in calories, it was very melty and tasty!

Sara, Heather and Morgan
 We all gathered around the kitchen island to enjoy the demonstration.

We were a rapt audience
I got some good tips from Brother Soto's demonstration.  We were a rapt - and very hungry audience!
Jeanne had recently remodeled this kitchen
Jeanne has a spacious, and rather fabulous kitchen.  She recently remodeled her home and doubled (or possibly tripled) the kitchen in size.  It has a shelf-lined walk-in pantry as well.  It's just lovely.

I loved this peacock china pattern!
I love this house.  I've been in it many times before, but not since the latest remodel when it went from merely fab to spectacular.

The entryway
If you'd like to see it in person, Jeanne's home will be a part of a Whittier Home Tour benefiting the Whittier Museum and the Bailey House at the end of April.  I'll be posting more details about this in a future blog post.

In the meantime, here's a glimpse of the formal dining room:

The formal dining room
 Now, where was I?

The luncheon also featured lots of yummy fruit.

Lots of fruit  And chocolate!
There were tables set up outside and indoors.  It was a lovely spring day, but (surprisingly) the wind was a bit chilly.  I love that gazebo! (below)

The home sits on a hill and has a terrific view overlooking the Friendly Hills golf course.  I've spent a terrific 4th of July up there watching the fireworks display!

Dining al fresco
 After lunch, we returned to the lounge for the gift opening.

Morgan opening her gifts
This was a kitchen shower to help the young couple get their kitchen set up.  They got a varied selection of useful kitchen items.
Morgan, looking very much like her mom in this photo!
Morgan complained she didn't really know how to cook.  I can only assume this next year or two will be interesting for her in the kitchen!  (I'm sure she will do fine.  Hunger and a limited student budget often work together to produce good, solid, and highly inventive cooks.)

My neighbor Sheree (below with her baby daughter and her mom) was in the Young Women's Program at church with Morgan.  It's nice to see these beautiful young ladies moving on - serving missions, getting their education, and marrying in the temple. I taught them for a while back in their high school years. It's strange to think of them as young wives and mothers now!

Sheree, baby Zairah and Ellen
I spent a very pleasant afternoon at this gathering.  (I know some of the nicest people.)  It's nice to get together every now and then - and this was a fun celebration.

I swear this is a longest sofa I have ever seen. This photo shows half of it.
They're long gone back up to school, but I wish Morgan and Ronei all the best.  (And good luck learning to cook, Morgan!)