Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Happy Halloween!

The dragon cometh... or something
Mark insisted he was dressed as the Green Lantern, and would flash his Green Lantern ring
Saturday night was our big birthday bash - slash - Halloween costume party.

To my surprise and amazement, everyone came in some kind of costume this year!  It was fabulous, I tell you!
Lisa and Robin cracking up over someone's joke
We always have a good time and there is always tons of good food and conversation and laughter.

I put on my listening ears for the occasion!
Okay, I was dressed as an LOTR Elven woman

I had not expected Abbie to dress for the occasion, and she totally cracked me up with this delightful costume:

I loved this costume!
Abbie dressed as "the Ocean"
Yes, in case you missed Orca diving off her hat and the sea creatures on her shirt, she was dressed as the OCEAN.  You don't see that a lot in Halloween costumes.  It just made me laugh.
There was also a Greek Goddess there!
She was also one of the Birthday Girls
Our Greek Goddess had made her own costume.  Well done!

We even had a lady Darth Vader show up!
Darth Peggy also attended
Julie showed up as Queen of the Nerds.  That's a Comic-Con badge around her neck, and all kinds of fannish buttons on the tee-shirt.  Need I say more?
Julie was the self-proclaimed "Queen of the Nerds"
Laura works at the Natural History Museum.  She was fabulously dressed as a witch. This photo does not do her justice.  In person, she quite honestly looked like she'd stepped right out of the teacher's lounge at Hogwart's.

Good job, Laura!

Laura was a lovely Harry Potter world-worthy Witch
I was amazed that Lisa, who generally eschews costumes, took the time to make a great costume! Her very talented mom painted the snail.  Good going Lisa's mom!

Lisa's Snail costume was originally done for her Tryking group
and featured a water bottle and glitter contraption on the back leaving slime trails
Of course, once the cats discovered that Lisa's antennae moved, Lisa became a cat toy.

The cat loved her antennae!
This was pretty funny, actually.

The cat kept attacking those antennae balls!  It was funny.
Maybe not so much fun for Lisa!  But the cat enjoyed it immensely.

Hostess Maura's shirt reads, "I'm the Evil Twin"
Her twin Maurice must be relieved
Thanks go out to our Hostesses who graciously opened their home to all us crazies.  All the cats and dogs helped make us feel at home.  I got doggy kisses and kitty cuddles.  It was great.

Jackie was another hostess of the party
We love her deviled eggs
There is always more food than you can possibly imagine at these gatherings.  It is always good. What a fun day spent in the company of good friends!  I really enjoyed my birthday party.  

The Birthday Boy
Okay, now I see the Green Lantern Ring!
Hope you enjoy your Halloween, too. 
(There are only a few more days left to party!)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My Friend Ellen

My beautiful friend Ellen
I'm lucky enough to have a few people in my life that I admire greatly.  One of these is my friend Ellen, who is a widow, the mother of three, and a former Ward Relief Society President, who has a demanding, full-time job, and currently serves as the Whittier Stake Relief Society President.

Are you impressed yet?  Well, if not, you should be.  The women who serve in these church callings are not only outstanding people, they have an unbelievable amount of responsibilities in the everyday workings of the church.  They truly succor the needy and bless the lives of countless people on a regular basis.

I know.  I've served as a counselor in a Ward Relief Society presidency and seen up close and personal what the President does. My accomplished sister-in-law is currently serving as her Ward Relief Society President. She is always busy bringing meals to shut-ins and doing other charitable acts.  She's never home any more.  There's an amazing amount of need within any given Ward boundary.

Ellen is in charge of the women throughout the Whittier Stake of the church, which means she's over about ten Ward and Branch Relief Society Presidents.

It's a lot of work.

A quiet afternoon at Cafe Opa in Downey
I got to spend a quiet afternoon with Ellen recently.  She is a great lady and a lot of fun to spend time with.  Ellen has blessed my life in many ways throughout the past few years, and I enjoy her company very much.  She has a quiet strength that I wish I had.  She's also an accomplished seamstress, a talent I also wish I possessed.

We went out for Greek food!  We had Greek food by accident, actually, as the place we had intended to go for lunch was busy.  I mean REALLY busy!  I don't know about you, but when I see a line of 400 people, I tend to shy away.

Especially when I'm hungry.

So, we ended up at this little hole-in-the-wall I hadn't been to in years, called Cafe Opa.  They serve all kinds of Greek food, and I ordered a sandwich with chunks of pork in it.  Boy!  Was it good!


While I enjoy my own company, it only goes so far! I think that the older I get, the more I appreciate people taking the time out of their busy lives to simply spend time with me.  It's those little things that really do count in life.  

Recently, I've been lucky to have quite a few people in my life that will do that, and it's a great blessing.

Yours Truly enjoying her lunch
Thanks, Ellen!
OPA!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Road Trip!

Fred, Livia and Holly on the banks of the St. Lawrence seaway
My nephew Daniel and his family are now living in Ottawa, Canada.  They took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to take a little roadtrip to Quebec a few weeks ago.


The car was packed and all ready for adventure!
Daniel relates that their outdated GPS went crazy when he decided to find a different route to follow via Google maps.
All packed and ready for anything!
The new route gave their old GPS a fit.  It claimed they were driving in the in the middle of a field for about an hour...

On the road and ignoring the GPS...
The City of Quebec sits on the St. Lawrence river.  Here is a view across the river from the City.

The St. Lawrence River, or Fleuve Saint Laurent




The City of Quebec takes its name from an Algonquin Indian word, Kebec, meaning, "Where the river narrows".

The City of Quebec has served as a capital city of some sort for over 400 years.  Today it stands as the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec.

The city and metropolitan area surrounding it are home to three-quarters of a million people.
 
I love the fall foliage!
The above photo was take from the Ile d'Orleans, an island which was the first area settled by the French back in the 17th century.

Cruise ships on the St. Lawrence

The British scored a massive victory over the French at the Plains of Abraham in 1759.  This decisive victory changed the course of American history, too.

The Plains of Abraham
This former battlefield is now a beautiful, serene  wooded area.


The paths through the area attest to hikers in the area.


I love these shops along the narrow streets! (below)

Les Bouquinistes
They say visiting Quebec is like seeing Europe without crossing the Atlantic!

The Colisee Pepsi
One of the places Daniel wanted to see was the Colisée Pepsi, formerly known as the Colisée de Québec, where the Québec Nordiques used to play.  He tells me a minor league team plays there now.
 
Along the St. Lawrence river
The above shot is looking out from the Terrasse Dufferin out to Levis, a community across the river from the city.

The quaint and the modern juxtaposed in the Old City
Quebec still has a fortress that remains intact and part of the ramparts which surround the old city.

Statue of Samuel de Champlain,
the founder of Quebec City
The Champlain Monument is on Dufferin Terrace.  It commemorates the man who founded the city in the year 1608.

Le Chateau Frontenac
The massive Chateau Frontenac hotel is a famous landmark.  Daniel says it's quite expensive! And, No, they did not stay there!

It looks very beautiful at night, however!

What a beautiful time of year to visit this historic place
The Île d'Orléans (above), was one of the first places that French settlers colonized starting in the 17th century. 

This stone church (below) dates back to the mid-1600s:

Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Church
on the Ile d'Orleans

I've always wanted to visit Quebec.  I'm so glad Daniel and his family gave us this little tour!

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Good to Have a Friend

Jack watching LDS General Conference with me
It's good to have a friend, even a pint-sized, furry one.  Or maybe I should say especially a pint-sized furry one.

Jack is my cat, and we are buds.  We chill, hang out together and just enjoy each other's company.

I like being snuggled up.
"Me, too, Jack!"
Recently Jack watched General Conference with me.  I like to spend the weekend with my boy.

Mom, don't let anybody see me in the shawl, okay?
"Not promising anything, Jack."
 It was chilly in the morning and we snuggled up under a couple of afghans.



We're just two snuggle-bunnies.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

TBT: The Trombone Man

Jay in 1969
Phoenix, Arizona
And when those Longview Lancers fall in line
We're going to win a game another time!
We're all for Longview anyone can tell,
And for those Lancers we will yell and yell and yell!

We're going to show you what real sports are like.
We're going to fight hard, play hard, all the time.
And when the whistle blows for the game to stop
We'll be on top
For old Longview School!

That was our elementary school fight song.  The sprawling Longview School that we knew - right on the corner of 12th Street and Indian School Road in Phoenix, Arizona - is long gone, replaced by a modern, characterless, multi-story building.

The marching band, back in the day, made up of 6th, 7th and 8th graders, was quite the band!  It was so good, largely due to the efforts of our beloved band leader, Mr. Wells, it was featured in the Phoenix Rodeo Parade that marched up Central Avenue year after year.  

My brother played the trombone in that band.  And in the Jazz Band.

He's now a grandfather of two.

Here is Jay today:

Jay, the guy with the bow tie
Jay, last year, with two of his five children.

Christian, Nils, and Jay
Time marches... pardon the pun... on!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Birthday Luncheon

Ivy (Planning), Nikita (Marketing) and Barbara (Admin)
Friday was a real treat. We Marketing and Admin folks don't often go to lunch with the Planners and Engineers, but on Friday we dragged all the ladies in the office that didn't have to be somewhere else, and went for a birthday luncheon.

Oh, yes, did I mention, it was for my birthday?

I'm a lucky duck.

Carmen (Admin), Veronica (Admin) and Ana (Engineering)
I work with some really great ladies.

They're beautiful inside and out.
Sabrina (Marketing) wasn't too shy to sit at the head of the table!
She makes me laugh!  She's very funny.
Here are just some of the tasty luncheon treats we ordered (below).  Everything was really good!  I had the Meatloaf Sliders with the salad (below).

Meatloaf Sliders and a Wedge salad. Yum!
 You could get them with fries, too.  Carmen got hers like this:

Meatloaf Sliders with Fries.  Yum Again.
Sabrina opted for the pot pie.

Marie's pot pie and a small Cesar salad.  Yum. Er, again...  for a third time!

Are you hungry yet?

Happy Birthday to me!
What a nice Friday lunch.  Happy Birthday to me!  Thanks, ladies!