Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Reception In Bend, Oregon

Nils and Rachel cut the cake
My nephew Nils wed his beautiful bride Rachel a few short weeks ago.  There was a reception in their honor in the Salt Lake area following the ceremony at the LDS Salt Lake temple.

Last weekend, they took off to Rachel's hometown of Bend, Oregon, for another reception.  This time, it was a more casual open house.  It still looks like it was fun.

The cake looks yummy!
Relatives and friends from the Pacific Northwest came flocking to wish the young couple well!  Some drove from very far away.

As there had been a theft of some personal items during the reception in Salt Lake, a high tech security company was enlisted to make sure that didn't happen again!

Christian looking like a Fed
Just kidding!

My youngest nephew Christian stood guard, taking his job VERY seriously.  I love that photo!

The funniest photo, though, is the next one!  Late Saturday, after the open house, everyone decided they needed a Walmart run before the return trip to Utah.  They didn't want to be breaking the Sabbath unnecessarily.

Rachel thought it would be funny to wear her wedding dress to Walmart.

Rachel, Nils, Christian and mom Kirsti at the Bend Walmart
Sadly, there are so many strange characters at Walmart that (a) Rachel didn't look particularly odd wearing her wedding dress there and (b) few people gave them a second glance!

That kinda made my day.

I hope it made you smile as well.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Jack is Six

Happy Birthday, Jack!
My cat Jack turned six years-old yesterday.  The years we have spent together have flown by.  I enjoy the companionship of my little furry buddy.  We do everything together.  I think Jack is very nice to have around.
What to get the cat who has everything?
I puzzled over what to get Jack for his birthday this year.  His favorite toys are his plastic coated springs and he plays almost exclusively with them.  He got a catnip banana last year.  The turbo track he loved so much and played with for 6 months solid is not so fun anymore.  His super spinning battery operated toy that he got for Christmas turned out to be more fun to watch than to actually play with.

Then I saw it.  A video for cats.

A video?  Mom?  Are you nuts?
I tried to carefully explain the concept to Jack before we began.  "This video is specially designed for kitties, Jack.  It has everything a cat could want to see.  Give it a chance, Jack.  Now you can have your stories, just like Mom watches her stories on TV."

Jack wasn't buying it at first.
If you say so, Mom.
Then I turned on the video...

 Jack's reaction was instant.  He immediately climbed up next to the TV screen to check out this wonder.  He ardently watched the gerbils, the birds, the squirrels and the rats and the hamsters... he was mesmerized.

"Do you like your 'stories', Jack?"

"Be quiet Mom!  I'm concentrating!"

Later, I explained that we were going to turn everything off for the night, but if he wanted to watch his stories, he could watch them any time, he just needed to tell me.

I began tidying up the living room, and made my way to the bedroom, when I noticed my little guy just sitting on the floor of the living room - gazing up at the blank screen of the TV.

"You want to watch some more?" I asked.  He just kept staring at the switched off TV.  I figured he was letting me know in a pretty obvious way what he wanted! "Okay, you can watch until I go to bed."

I turned the TV back on, slipped in the DVD once more, and Jack settled onto the cushion of a near-by chair, staring up at the screen like a veteran couch potato.

The thought occurred to me I may not get to watch "my" shows ever again!  Ha!

Happy Birthday, Jack!  I'm so glad you are in my life.

Monday, May 23, 2016

17th of May in Norway

This lovely cake approximates the red, white and blue crusaders' cross of the Norwegian flag
We're a week late, but Happy Norwegian Independence day!  May 17th is a special day in the country of Norway.

My second cousin Marit and her husband Jan
 The 17th of May is the day all the schoolchildren march in parades all over the country.  They are dressed in their Sunday best and all carry the red, white and blue Norwegian flag.  Those who have the national costumes, or bunad, wear them on this day.  In the photo above, my second cousin Marit shows off her beautiful Lier bunad, which is embroidered by hand with the apple blossoms of the Lier valley where my mother was born.  Her jewelry is also authentic Norwegian - with brooches of ancient design.

The Lier bunad was designed by another relative, Ruth Strand (My mother's cousin Willy's wife), and was accepted as the official bunad of the Lier valley in the 1970s.

Marit and her husband were just recently released from their service in the LDS temple in Sweden, where Jan served as Temple President, and Marit served as Temple Matron.  They are truly wonderful people.  They have a bunch of beautiful kids and grandkids.

Jan, Marit and a couple of the grandchildren
It looks like this year's celebration was sunny and pleasant.  I've attended May 17th celebrations in the past that were COLD and rainy!

Here (below) Marit stands with other women in their National dress - note the beautiful embroidery on the back of the bunad on the right.  Every one of these dresses follow established patterns from the valleys of Norway; every one of them is a work of art.

Other countries parade their armies, their tanks, and weapons of war on their national holidays, someone once said.  Norway parades and celebrates its children.

Cousin Marit and her family live in Drammen.  This is a lovely city about 40 minutes west of Oslo by train.
Cousins Matts and Jonas (Both my 2nd cousins once removed)
My Oslo-based first cousin Gro always has a full table for her 17th of May dinner.  I think of our 4th of July paper plates, paper napkins and hot dogs and cringe a little when I see how she's set her table for this fun holiday.

Cousin Gro Lene's table is set for company
My mother used to go to this kind of trouble for parties, too.  I think the gene for elegant parties missed me.

Gro took this photo (below) of the celebration in her Nordstrand neighborhood of Oslo:

The entire country shows up for these parades and mostly celebrate with hot dogs and ice cream.  It's a colorful, and peaceful holiday.

May 17th has passed, however, I do hope you have an opportunity for some terrific family gatherings this summer!
Cousin Gro Lene with my brother Jay

Monday, May 16, 2016

Introducing Mr & Mrs Evensen!

Nils and Rachel exit the Salt Lake Temple as husband and wife
My nephew Nils is a new husband!  He and his lovely Rachel were sealed for time and all eternity in the LDS Salt Lake Temple on Saturday.

The iconic Temple of Salt Lake City in the spring
The Salt Lake Temple figures large in our family history.  Nils' grandparents and great-grands were married there.  (His parents were married in the Seattle Temple as Nils' mom's grandfather was a Sealer there at the time, if I remember correctly.  That's a lovely temple, too.)

The weather complied beautifully.  It had been raining buckets off and on for weeks before the wedding, but luckily, the sun came out on Saturday to aid in the picture taking.

On the temple grounds as newly-weds
I heard 70 couples tied the knot there that day!  It gets rather crazy in May.

The reception that evening was a lot of fun.  All sorts of friends and relatives came to congratulate the pair.  There was a huge crowd there.
Stepmom Merlene (standing) and Nils' second cousin Caitlin
My cousin Maribeth was there with her husband and daughter from Logan.  Caitlyn and her dad were taking off for Peru the following day.  They are visiting Machu Picchu and other historic sites in the lands of the Inca, celebrating Caitlin's recent graduation from college.  (Sounds like the trip of a lifetime!)
Cousin Maribeth, Merlene and Maribeth's husband Alvan
Also on hand was a dear old friend of Nils' dad's.  Jay and Paul grew up together in Phoenix.  Paul came by with his wife Ann.  I have fond memories of Paul's mother, who is a fabulous musician and gave me my only lessons on how to play the organ many years ago.

Merlene with an old friend from Phoenix: Paul and his lovely wife Ann
I'm grateful that Merlene sent me the random photos of the reception!  I'm sure more photos will surface in time.

Rachel and Nils are boarding a Disney cruise ship in Florida as I type this.  They are off on a Disney cruise of the (real) Caribbean!

Sounds like a fabulous honeymoon for two really great young kids.

I wish them all the best.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jack's Fort

I realized one day that Jack has essentially made himself a fort at the end of the living room sofa.  He has carefully set up the pillows all around him.  It's a little cat-size comfy place.

He will retire to his comfy place in the early evening, waiting patiently for me to go to bed.

If I stay up too late, he will begin to poke and prod me into retiring.  He is very strict, this petit chat gris.

I may begin calling him 'His Eminence'.

Have a lovely weekend, my friends.

Friday, May 6, 2016

My Little Jack

My little boy sleeps soundly on my lap
It's been a while since I've posted about my kitty.  My little Jack is such a terrific companion. I sure love him.  He's taken to our new apartment very well.

He sometimes hangs his head over the side of my legs.
I think he's watching for bugs.  Because you never know.
He sleeps with me at night, enjoys hanging out with me in the evenings, and plops into my lap in the early mornings when I'm having breakfast and getting ready for work.

He enjoys tummy tickles, and also gives excellent hugs.

I love my little boy.

May you be blessed with such a loved one in your life.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tiffany (background), Brian, Carlos and Ivy at one of the three stations set up with food

Today our company had a Cinco de Mayo potluck.  Our pot luck luncheons are always top notch. There are so many different people in our engineering firm, from so many different cultures, that the food is always a surprise and a delight.

Today was no exception!
One table had everything from Mexican casseroles and crispy tortillas to ceviche
It all began with a couple of email blasts to the employees at 9 a.m.  We were alerted to the fact that there were TexMex scrambled egg casserole and warm churros in the kitchen for breakfast.  They were really good!

From there, we segued to lunch around 11:45 a.m.  There was so much good food!  We had to lay everything out at three different stations in the kitchen.  (I suddenly realized I forgot to take a photo of all the goodies in the Conference Room!  There was a large platter of huge cocktail shrimp in there, as well as all kinds of Mexican beverages in huge containers - horchata, tamarino and other delights.)

Desserts included a beautiful bundt cake,
 but there were also taco fixings and salads to be found on this table
Our engineers like to eat! (Okay, I do too!)  It's fun trying all the different goodies.  We have a large percentage of Asian employees, too, so they bring fun things from their culture as well.  You never know what you might end up with on your plate!  I saw everything from tamales to Chinese noodle dishes.

It's hard to see, but here we have Carlos, Suria, Tiffany,
Ivy and Brian filling up their plates
Our luncheons are always enjoyable.  People often go to lots of trouble and expense with their dishes. It's certainly more fun than the usual sandwich I pack along for lunch!

Someone even brought an elaborate chafing dish.
Carmen's spicy chili rojo was in the crock pot on the right
Carmen is known for her delicious salsa.  Today, she not only made salsa, but a mean chili rojo. That's a meat dish with chunks of beef in a red chili sauce.  It was very spicy and quite delicious!

We gathered in the Corporate conference room to eat.  For a while, intent on our food, no one said a whole lot.

Enjoying lunch around the conference table
They take out the big, executive chairs and bring in smaller, office chairs so we can scoot more people around the table for these events.  They even brought in a smaller table today, to accommodate the crowd.

Joe smiles as everyone else tries to ignore the lady with the camera
There was so much delicious food, and plenty of everything. I really enjoyed everything I put on my plate.  I believe we were all happy campers!

Edward, Juan and our company President, Jimmy, enjoying lunch
Several of our younger engineers complained that the plates were too small, so they were forced to go back for seconds.


I'm on to you.

For dessert, there were more churros, bundt cake, chocolate-walnut brownies and these adorable little cowboy hat wearing cupcakes.

Cute little Cowboy hat wearing Chilis decorated the cupcakes!
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!