Friday, November 21, 2014


Who is that?
We live in a one hundred year-old apartment where it can be rather drafty as the weather gets colder at night, particularly when the wind blows.

I wondered if Jack would like a snuggly place, so I made him one on the end of the couch.  It took a towel, some pillows and a blanket on top.

It's me!
It was a big hit! 

May you have a snuggly place of your own this winter.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT: Yahtzee Anyone?

Playing Yahtzee at my Aunt's home
Here I am visiting my Oslo, Norway-based Aunt, Tante Lillemor, in the 1990s.  Is it cold there? You betcha. I'm wearing like 3 sweaters!

Yahtzee was a passion one summer I visited long ago, and it was a tradition that continued through the years.
I have Norwegian Yahtzee score cards somewhere,
but I couldn't find them for this!
 My Aunt became a foster mom in many ways after my own mother, her sister, passed away.  I was always grateful for her!  She was great to talk to - and to play Yahtzee with!
Aunt Lillemor
Do you play Yahtzee?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Life in Shanghai

Sculptures by Chinese Sculptor and Artist Xie Agie
If you are ever in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai, you will see these three gentlemen greeting you. My friend Jeff is still in Shanghai working, and has posted some fun photos of his life there!

Jeff with the three gracious gentlemen
The view from the Park Hyatt in Shanghai is spectacular.

The lounge

I love this photo Jeff took of the city at sunset
Down by the South Bund waterfront there is a newly developed restaurant and shop area called the Cool Docks.  There you can find all sorts of different restaurants, including Bubba's, serving down home Texas barbeque!

The Cool Docks
The Jing'an Temple is on West Nanjing Road in the downtown area of Shanghai.  It has a 780 year history.  The temple was located on the bank of the Wusong River in the 12th century, but burned to the ground in 1972.

Reconstruction began in 1984, and the Temple was again opened to the public in 1990.
Jing'an Temple at night
There is an exhibition hall of Buddhist Relics at the temple site, and a fair is held yearly here during April which draws worshippers from far and wide.

Maglev Train
The Maglev train in Shanghai is a high-speed magnetic levitation train which connects the airport to the outskirts of town where people can easily switch over to the Metro.  The train usually runs between 80-100 kilometers per hour, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-65 mph, but it can run up to 90 to 125 mph!

Shanghai Peace Cinemas
There are quite a few movie theatres in Shanghai that show English language films, but only about 30 films are allowed to be imported every year, so the choice is limited to the big summer blockbusters and popular Hollywood films.

Foreign films are shown in the original language with Mandarin subtitles.  The exception is children's films, which are dubbed into Chinese.  They also provide Chinese language films with English subtitles.

Don't expect the usual popcorn movie fare like we have in American movie theatres, though!  Jeff was surprised to see the snack menu:

Movie Snacks

Dried Duck's Gizzards?

I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather have popcorn!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Phoenix Temple

The Newly Dedicated Phoenix Temple
Sunday marked a very special occasion for the people of Phoenix, Arizona.  A new Latter-day Saint temple was dedicated to God.  The temple is located on West Pinnacle Peak Road in Phoenix.

This is the 144th operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the 5th operating temple in Arizona.

Groundbreaking ceremonies
Ground was formally broken for the temple in a small ceremony on Saturday, June 4, 2011.  The ceremony was presided over by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy.

On May 15, 2013, the traditional gold-leafed figure of the Angel Moroni was installed on top of the spire.  A small group of enthusiastic workers and members gathered to witness that milestone event.
Placing the Angel Moroni statue on the tops of temples is a joyful occasion
The angel Moroni is the angel spoken of by the Apostle John, who wrote:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
New Testament/Revelations 14:6-7

The Angel Moroni
 The Angel Moroni statue sits atop the spires of most LDS temples (one of the exceptions is the Mesa, Arizona temple).

Bopping at the Cultural Celebration
The dedication of a new temple is always the cause of great rejoicing.  To commemorate the event, the youth of the Phoenix area came together for a Cultural Celebration spectacular with singing and dancing in front of a backdrop of a lighted temple display.
The youth of the Phoenix area put on a spectacular show
The temple and surrounding grounds include extensive gardens, parking, and a meetinghouse where regular Sunday services are held.

The temple was dedicated in three sessions on Sunday, November 16th by President Thomas S. Monson. Several of my friends who attended spoke of the incredible outpouring of the spirit throughout the day.  What a glorious experience.  I attended the Mesa temple re-dedication in the 1970s and remember what a special experience that was. 

When he announced that a fifth temple would be built in Arizona, President Monson stated, "The blessings of the temple are eternal.  Those who come to this holy house will feel of God's love for His children and come to a greater understanding of their own divine origin and potential as his sons and daughters."

Other Arizona Temples now include:

The Gila Valley Temple
Dedicated on May 23, 2010 by President Thomas S. Monson

The Gilbert Temple
Dedicated on March 2, 2014 by President Thomas S. Monson

The Snowflake Temple
Dedicated on March 3, 2002, by President Gordon B. Hinckley

The Mesa Temple
Dedicated on October 23-26, 1927 by President Heber J. Grant
Rededicated (after remodeling) on April 15-16, 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball
In addition to these five temples, a sixth Arizona temple has been announced.  It will be constructed in the Tucson area.

"Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."
-Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Evening With My Sisters

Listening to Sister Pendleton
Thursday night we had an informal Relief Society gathering down at the church house.  It's always fun to gather with my sisters, so I dashed over after work, barely making it in time for the opening prayer!

We each got a little craft Christmas card to complete
The evening began with a simple and quite easy craft project.   We all got to make little Christmas cards with colored paper and stamps.  There were little envelopes to slip them into.  I think mine looked pretty good.

I'm not much at crafts, but this 5-minute craft was fun!

Waiting out turns for sharing

Enjoying the evening
Sister Delgado's mom was visiting.  It was fun that she was able to join us.  The Sister Missionaries had brought along several women with them, as well.  We had a good group.

We were encouraged to bring donations for Deseret Industries, and many did
We were asked to bring gently used shoes for donating to Deseret Industries.  Many brought various donations.  We got a pretty good pile of donations!

After a short program, we had dessert - yummy pumpkin and apple holiday pies

Yummy desserts!
 It was all just as good as it looks.
Just the way I like it!
I really enjoy our Relief Society get-togethers.  We don't get to visit nearly enough at church on Sundays.

Relief Society is the oldest, and largest women's organization in the world!  I love my Relief Society sisters.  You go, Girls!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Cuddle Bunny

Hi, Mom! 
Jack enjoys it when the weather is cooler.  It means we can snuggle up under quilts and afghans.  It's very snuggly-wuggly on the couch these days.

I'm trying to watch the show, Mom.

Are you STILL taking pictures?
Yes, Jack.  Thanks for posing!  You are my snuggle bunny.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TBT: My Father's Family

The Evensen Clan
Top Row: Wendell, Celdon, Norma, Kenneth
Middle Row:  My Dad Glenn, Agda, Maurice, Clifford
Front Row: Zada and Grandpa Axel Hermand
As far as I can determine, this photo was taken on August 13, 1950 after my grandmother Pearl's funeral in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Grandmother Pearl Stivers as a young girl
At the time of this photo, my father was 24 and had just returned from serving his LDS mission to Norway.  His two younger brothers, Wendell and Kenneth, were still in High School.  The rest were older.  The only person missing from the photo is Uncle Norman, my father's brother, whom I believe may have been living in Wisconsin by this time.

As one of my cousins recently pointed out, the boys were always in competition over who was the handsomest, who was the most athletic, who had the nicest car, etc.  They were bright and highly competitive.

Out of the ten siblings were one medical doctor, one psychiatrist, a lawyer, and two civil engineers. I figure my grandparents did pretty well for poor folk trying to raise children during the great Depression. They were all great people.

When my father passed six years ago, he had outlived every one of his nine siblings, which was a great sorrow to him.  I figure they had a pretty terrific reunion in heaven that day!

I'm grateful for the values that Axel and Pearl passed down through their posterity.  They encouraged education, love of family, love of God and service to their fellow beings.

Not bad ideals to live by.