Thursday, December 31, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Here are my nephews Anders, Nils and Christan, holding their nephew, Fred, It was great to see them being good uncles! I love the hats.
How lucky I am to have been able to visit with my family this Christmas! Everything was perfect - requisite cold and snow on the ground, plenty of cheer, a baby, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and tons of presents! I arrived late on the Wednesday, the 23rd, a day the Norwegians call "little Christmas eve". I was met at the airport by my brother and my handsome 15 yr-old nephew, Anders. Once home, Anders and his brother Nils (19) kept me up until after 2 a.m. talking. (Yes, it was all their fault, not mine! ha.) The next day went quickly as more people, family and friends, arrived to celebrate. My sister-in-law took it all in stride, passing out clean sheets and towels, pickled herring and Swedish meatballs with equal aplomb. It was such fun! I had five days of family, lots of talking and good food. A great combination! One highlight was finally meeting Fredrik Gustav, my first great nephew (4 months). Another highlight was hearing my nephews Nils and Daniel play a violin duet in our Sunday church service, with their mom accompanying them on the piano.
Santa popped by for a quick photo op! He just barged right into the living room to our surprise and delight.
My brother read the Christmas story out of the scriptures, and put the rock from Bethlehem on the Christmas dinner table.. maybe it was there when the shepherds heard the angels? Who knows? We observed our traditions, Norwegian, Swedish and American.
I got a chance to renew friendshps and see aunts and cousins.
It was the best vacation I've had in a very long time. I love my family. Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 22, 2009 around 3:30 p.m.

My brother just wrote to me saying, "It's snowing like crazy here right now. The roads are getting bad. I've attached a photo (left) I just took out the window [of my office] with my phone. This is what you have to look forward to. :)"
After a moment of comparing the balmy green scene outside my California office window with the Utah one on the left, I say, Bring It On! Bring on the white Christmas!
Despite the fact that I'm stressing over what kind of a feat of applied physics it will take to actually get everything I want to bring with me into my largest suitcase, I'm looking forward to being with my loving family, seeing friends, reconnecting with the Evensen cousins and the cat cousins, and eating a lot.
Yup, I'm shallow. I'm in it for the hugs, the julebord and the chocolate.
So, I'll try not to think of the stresses of traveling and try to focus on the end result.
Have a great holiday and a safe travel to wherever you are going. And if you are staying home, may you find joy and happiness there, too.
God bless us every one.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Last year at this time...

You know those movies where they show the funeral in the lonely west, with the icy wind whipping the few mourners - weathered cowboys and a few women bundled up against the cold and there isn't anything in sight for hundreds of miles in every direction? Well, a-yup-that was Dad's burial in Woodruff, Arizona.

Woodruff is a tiny blip in the highway going to the thriving metropolis of Holbrook, Arizona and not far from Snowflake.

The ride up from Mesa took us through the beautiful Mogollon (say Muggy-on) Rim country that Zane Grey wrote about, after early December winter storms.

The road up to Woodruff, Arizona is a beautiful, but lonely one once you get past the forest country. Then it's open wilderness - high desert.

I'm glad this year will be a happier Christmas celebration.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trip Down Memory Lane

Here I am with my brother Jay, Kirsti, his wife, and little baby Daniel. This shot was taken 25 years ago. Daniel is now married and has a three-month old child of his own. Time sure flies.

Monday, November 23, 2009

WCT "Wonderful Life" Closing Weekend

We had a lovely closing weekend with "It's A Wonderful Life" at the Whittier Community Theatre. It was a fun show to do and great people to perform with. Here are the lovely ladies of the show. (Above) Here I am with Lauri Boehlert and Lara Ostapiej.
Below are Melyssa Avola, Karen Jacobs, Nancy Tyler, Pat Williams, Lois McKinney, Angela Moore, Edina Martinez, and Kathy Hernandez (in no particular order). If I've left someone's name off, and I probably have, I apologize! I left my cast list at home and will edit this later.
Thanks to everyone who came to support us.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Joy has gone out of my life...

For my sweet baby Emily
March 14, 1990 – November 10, 2009

How do I,Get through the night without you?If I had to live without you,What kind of life would that be?Oh, II need you in my arms, need you to hold,You're my world, my heart, my soul,If you ever leave,Baby you would take away everything good in my life,And tell me nowHow do I live without you?I want to know,How do I breathe without you?If you ever go,How do I ever, ever survive?How do I, how do I, oh how do I live?Without you,There'd be no sun in my sky,There would be no love in my life,There'd be no world left for me.And I,Baby I don't know what I would do,I'd be lost if I lost you,If you ever leave,Baby you would take away everything real in my life,And tell me now,How do I live without you?I want to know,

How do I breathe without you?If you ever go,How do I ever, ever survive?How do I, how do I, oh how do I live?Please tell me baby,How do I go on?If you ever leave,Baby you would take away everything,I need you with me,Baby don't you know that you're everything,Real in my life?And tell me now,How do I live without you,I want to know,How do I breathe without you?If you ever go,How do I ever, ever survive?How do I, how do I, oh how do I live?How do I live without you?How do I live without you baby?
Leann Rimes

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Community Theatre

We open tomorrow night!

Here are pictures of our latest Whittier Community Theatre production, "It's a Wonderful Life"! Above you see Veronique Warner and Peter Miller who play our Mary Hatch and George Bailey. To the right of this box is... yup, you guessed it - me - dressed as Mrs. Bailey, George's mom.

Tickets are now on sale through website or get them at the boxoffice.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fred, Harry, Red and the Woof!

This was Fred's first Halloween. He looks pretty cute to me!

Here is Christian as Harry Potter. Looks like he's making some magical flowers grow... and scaring the crud out of the pumpkin behind him in the process! Watch where you're pointing that thing!

And then there's the lovely Red Riding Hood and her grandma... or IS IT?
Looks like a good time was had by all. Wish I could have been there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You know you want some!

I received this picture from my brother today with the heading, "You know you want some!"
I felt this was cruel and unusual behavior on the part of my normally kind brother.
I mean, now I will have Mazariner on the brain all day today. In case you don't know what you are looking at, may I formally introduce you to Mazariner tarts.
Mazariner are delicious Swedish mini tarts with almond paste filling. My sister-in-law, Kirsti, makes these. I remember taking an entire cake tin of these home from Linnea's wedding. I ate every one of them myself. They were goooooooooood.
I just thought the taunting should continue. Why should I be the only one suffering from Mazariner deprivation today?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fred is official!

Fred waves to all his fans, friends and family on his special day: October 11, 2009. He was given a name and a blessing by his father, Daniel Evensen, on this day, at LDS Church services in South Jordan, Utah.
At three months old, he's already wearing clothing big enough for a 9-month old child! He's also got some fierce hair-do going on. You go, Fred!
Here is Fred being fawned over by part of his fan club, step-Grandmother Merlene, and far-flung Arizona cousins Kendall and Taylor.
He was really quiet and happy during his big moment in church, his father proudly proclaimed. He smiled happily while he got his Norwegian/Swedish/American name and his Chinese name. He didn't start howling until later, when he was hungry. I totally understand, Fred. I often feel like that, too.
Later, there were more than 30 people who came by the house to celebrate. Sounds like a good time was had by all. And now little Fred is officially a child of record in the Lord's kingdom here on earth. It's a start, Fred. We'll all be there to help you through the rest of the stuff along the way. I just wish I could have been there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's A Wonderful Life

There's nothing that says the holidays like seeing the classic film, "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore.
This year, my local community theatre is doing "It's a Wonderful Life, the Radio Show" and yes, it's the entire film done as a 1940s-style radio program, complete with station breaks and advertisments. I was lucky enough to land the role as Mrs. Bailey, George's mother, and another small part. We've just started rehearsals and so far it is proving a delightful experience.
I can't think of a more fun way to usher in the holidays than with this lovely story about the worth of one good man (and woman) and the power of prayer.
In this world of increasing vulgarity, it's refreshing to be reminded of simpler times. The show also provides small glimpses into the beginnings of the Great Depression in America - an era that resonates all too well in this troubled time we live in.
Our present day woes make the film's (and the play's) message even more vital today, and one of the reasons for its enduring popularity: one person can make a difference, prayers are answered, there is hope for the world - and God still has the final say in the affairs of mankind. I find that message comforting.
Was that a bell I just heard?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mamma's Girlfriends, Circa 1939

Okay, I tried, but I couldn't up the quality of this photocopy of a 70 year-old picture much more than this! This is either my mother's girl scout troop or her class in the Young Women's organization in LDS church in Oslo, Norway.

My mom is second from the right on the top row. Her younger sister, my Tante Lillemor, is the fourth from the right on the top row. Third from the left on the top row is their friend Astrid who now lives in Washington State and who kindly passed along the copy of this photo to my brother this summer.

I'm guessing this was taken somewhere around 1939, which would make her about 14 years old. It was the same year Nazi Germany invaded her country. Thursday, September 17th, is Mom's birthday. She would have been 84 this year. Still miss you, Mom!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Here is my favorite pin-up - little Fred Evensen, my great-nephew. His grandfather explains that he's not really smiling - he's not old enough to do that yet - but it looks like a pretty good imitation to me! You go, Fred!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Vacation Time!

I was able to spend a few days with three of my nephews and my niece last week. We visited Disneyland and had a great time.

My Niece Linnea gives Christian a piggy back ride through the Magic Kingdom while Nils (left) and Anders (center) look on.

In Aunt Marianne's pink living room. Nils (left), Anders (right) and Christian (seated on Auntie M's lap).

My brother Jay and I blast aliens. Okay, I wasn't very good, but it was my first time...

Nils, Jay, Anders, Christian and Nephew-in-Law Jeff feel the excitement! Maybe too much sugar?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fredrik Gustaf Evensen

We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest member of our family! He arrived Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 6:30 a.m., weighing in at a whopping 9 pounds 14 1/2 ounces and 21 inches long. This little cutie's name is

Fredrik Gustaf
Ai Jia-Hong

I'm a Great-Aunt!

Fred has his Scandinavian name and his Chinese name, so he's good to go in our crazy, international family.

Here I am with my grandmother, Kirsti, and my mom, Holly, fussing over me.

Here is the proud Papa Daniel with his little Freddy. Fred had some breathing problems when he first came into the world, but seems to be doing fine, now. We're all looking forward to getting to know him. Can't wait until he comes to visit his Auntie M and I can take him to Disneyland! Okay, I guess I have a few years to wait...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I love my little black cat

Okay, I know, I'm obsessed. Ever since a little black furball came into my life more than 19 years ago, things have not been the same in my life. but that's a good thing.
Early this past Saturday morning, I heard a rustling in the bed next to me. Emily was getting up. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her, standing on the other side of the bed staring at the alarm clock. Suddenly she smacked it on the top with one paw - really hard - I could hear the plastic pop! Then she looked over at me with a meaningful glare.
Yup. It was the time I normally get up on weekdays! Although I hadn't set the alarm the night before, I'd forgotten about the furry alarm system. What a hoot. I couldn't help chuckling, even though I was tired and had looked forward to sleeping in. And, from her perspective, well, she was doing what she sees me doing every morning - smacking the heck out of the snooze alarm.
"Ah uh" she says. When I don't respond she repeats more loudly, "ah up" and then adds, "aroo uh?"
"No. I'm not up. I'm sleeping," I moan. "Go back to sleep, it's Saturday."
But there is no snooze button for the furball alarm, and no reasoning with a kitty who needs some breakfast. I stumble out of bed, go fix some smelly fish dish and check the water and snack bowls. Pretty soon Emily has had her breakfast and happily returns to the bedroom... to nap on my side of the bed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Oquirrh Temple Lighting Strikes and Open Houses

My brother and his wife (shown here in a lighter moment from their daughter Linnea's wedding) are playing hosts at the L.D.S. Oquirrh Temple in South Jordan, Utah today (Friday, June 19th). They live in South Jordan and are only a few minutes away from the new temple. They can see the Jordan River Temple from their master bedroom window... or they could, before the trees grew taller and the new housing division got in the way.

I had to laugh when my cousin Val Evensen sent me a letter about visiting the Oquirrh Temple last weekend and it arrived today. Synchronicity! Here's what he had to say about attending the Temple Open House:

Saturday, June 13th: My next-door neighbor, Kirk Brewer and his 9-year-old daughter Madelyn took me up on my offer to take them to Utah to attend the open house of the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple in South Jordan. I was happy they went with me. They go to the River church next-door to my apartment complex and Madelyn attends the church school.

Our open-house tickets were for 4:50 p.m. We left Durango, Colorado at 7:15 a.m., excited to just get out of town. The trip was uneventful and we stopped at the natural arch on the highway this side of Moab.

I drove up. The trip was uneventful until we got up on Soldier’s Summit. They have been doing quite a bit of highway reconstruction going down. There are more four-lanes here and there and I imagine it will all connect one day. The mountains all around were snowcapped, the weather cloudy and starting to rain so everything was beautifully vibrant.

We drove into Provo and up around BYU, the MTC, Temple and up on the hill above the temple so they could see the view of Utah Lake. I had to drive them by that huge house with the immense front grounds and driveway off University Dr. at 3400 N. Then on to Sandy, UT.

I didn’t know where to get a hotel so I googled the area and decided on the Courtyard by Marriott. It was a good choice. Courtyard was four stories high and we were on the top floor. The rooms had just been remodeled so looked completely brand new. The hotel is actually 14 years old. The desk clerk said they are starting the lobby remodel in a couple of months.

Kirk and Madelyn’s room was on the west side looking across the freeway (which was about a block away) towards the Copper Mine and also the South Jordan Temple. I was on the east side and looked out at the snow-capped mountains and southward I could see the new Draper Temple. Beautiful views for all.

With it still raining we had a large portico to park under while we checked in. From Pleasant Grove to the Sandy we had a cloudburst and were barely able to see the road. The cars all slowed down to 40 miles per hour. We had arrived at 3:00 which was check-in time. We checked out our rooms and changed clothes.

Kirk drove to the Temple. Still raining. I said I was going to say a prayer that the rain would stop as I couldn’t see us walkinjg into the Temple wet. So I said a prayer for the three of us. We passed the South Jordan Temple within a few blocks. And before we knew it we saw the Oquirrh Temple off about four blocks to the south. We turned on a street that sort of wound around turning into two other streets and there the Temple sat. It is beautiful. The tract around it is also completely new homes that we decided several of the many designs we could live in.

As we drove into the parking lot the rain stopped! Heavenly Father granted our prayers.

The temple is four stories high and a beautiful sort of soft caramel color – granite imported from China. First we attended an informational video about temples.

A woman with three young children came in and sat right in front of us – all three kids loud and screaming especially 3-year-old boy. He was really misbehaving. I thought just our luck and besides that noise the wind was blowing so the tent would hit the steel infrastructure making all sorts of strange sounds. I was thinking all kinds of bad thoughts, but when the video started the kids were all angels.

We entered the Temple into a long, high-ceilinged hall with a huge crystal chandelier. It went from east to west the entire length of building. So there are really two entrances. And from the center of the hall a staircase went up to the second-floor balcony to the east and one to the west. The staircases were very long and straight. Beautiful.

All different types of woods were used throughout the Temple. Kirk being contracted by Commercial Floors here in Durango as their salesman knew all the woods and the names of the stains that were used. He also is an expert on flooring of any material and carpets. He really checked it all out. Said the work was flawless and that people didn’t realize the time and talent it took to do all the mouldings, many of them five and six layers, and then the floor piece by doors where the floor mouldings (all one piece of wood) would have to be cut to accommodate the wall mouldings making up to five and six or more cuts that had to be straight cut, round cut, angled cut, etc., and fit perfectly to the wall mouldings and the floors. Kirk said they were perfect.

It was a little hectic going through the building. A lot of children, so there was a certain noise level. And yet Kirk said he wanted to stay and just sit when we were in one of the two sealing rooms and as he felt so peaceful. He wondered if there was a room where he could come and just pray and meditate. I said after you are baptized you can come and stay as long as you want.

The Baptistry was beautiful. The ordinance rooms were beautiful. The first rooms (2 rooms of ordinance rooms, sealing rooms) had the beautiful wall murals around the entire room. Kirk noticed the sloping floor as a person assended during the sessions. I explained why.

Outside the Celestial Room there hangs a picture of the Savior on one wall. Across the hall from the Savior is a frosted glass that you really can’t see through. It is fluted as well if I remember correctly. On each end of the glass are clear glass bubbles that go up the height of the glass. They are spaced several inches apart. Standing back you don’t see anything unusual but as you get closer to them you see the Savior perfectly reflected in each little bubble. I think the bubbles are about 3 inches high. A wonderful surprise. A little miracle.

Elsewhere in the building, on some of the outside windows, there is again the frosted glass and clear 4-pointed stars here and there. Certainly different. Beautiful brides’ dressing rooms. Hallways going everywhere. I would get lost I’m sure.

Then out to the south of the temple into the white reception tent for refreshments. Cookies and bottled water. [Jay and Kirsti will have been serving this stuff all day long today!] It was almost like out of an Arabian nights movie. All carpeted.

A shiny black baby grand player piano stood in the corner playing beautiful hymns. (I would like the arrangements!)

The very large tent was carpeted and furnished with beautiful expensive-looking new Early American furniture, sofas, chairs, end tables, and lots of beautiful potted plants everywhere.

One of the servers told us that 800,000 cookies were being baked and they were really delicious for the open house which continues through July. Kirk wanted to just sit and watch people so we did. A lot of nice-looking people.

Our hotel was wonderful. The rooms had just been remodeled and everything was beautiful and brand new. Spacious rooms. Big pool. They didn’t serve a continental breakfast so we went up to JB’s right west of Temple Square for their breakfast buffet which was really good.

For Saturday dinner we took a vote and decided on Chinese food for dinner. We asked about a Chinese restaurant and they directed us to the Joy Luck restaurant about three blocks to the east. DELICIOUS! We would definitely return.

I had a view of the gorgeous snow-capped mountains and the Draper Temple out my window. Kirk and Madelyn were on the other side of the building and looked out across the freeway to the copper mine and also could see the South Jordan Temple.

The lightning strike on the statue of Moroni Sunday must have been something else. [The apparent lightening strike blackened in one whole side of the statue last week. They ran an article in the Deseret News about it with a picture. Some local residents have suggested it remain as a tribute to our new president, which is kinda sweet in a very odd way.]

Sunday, June 14th: Sunday morning we got up and drove to Salt Lake City to attend the Mormon Tabernacle Choir weekly broadcast. There were 4000 in attendance. The Choir’s guest was the Texas Children’s Choir of Texas who were excellent. We sat on the front row of the balcony on the north side up by the choir. Perfect seats as we could watch the fingers of the piano accompanists for the Children’s Choir.

It was fun watching the camera and his cable helper as the program was being filmed. Kind of amusing as the cable helper (both were dressed in black, looking like Ninjas) would slither on his stomach along the floor behind the organ, and the orchestra to remain from view of the camera.

This was the first time I heard the Choir perform with the full orchestra. Something else! I noticed people around me and myself as well were in tears a lot of the time because of the power and soul-stirring of the music.

Among the songs sung were “Homeward Bound” from their “Love Is Spoken Here” CD. Just beautiful. “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from “Oklahoma”, “When Faith Endures”. And as everyone was leaving the Tabernacle they sang “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again”. The entire performance was amazing. Of course no applauding until the cameras were turned off. There was an organ solo that really shook the roof. I have never heard it played that powerfully. Again beautiful!

Then after the program the Narrator of the Spoken Word, said, “It’s wonderful to see and hear the Choir on TV and play their CDs but you have to admit there is nothing comparable to hearing them perform live.”

So true! He said that the Choir was leaving on a two-week tour of the Midwest the next day. [Meldee and her 'Mo Tab' choir member husband, Don, report they took off to Cincinnati as their first stop Wednesday of last week.] They like to tour as much as possible to get out to the people in their own areas.

And, to cap the entire event off, because they were leaving, LDS church President and Prophet Thomas S. Monson was in the audience to wish them farewell. So we got to see Pres. Monson which was worth the entire trip. Right after the last song he went up into the Choir to say personal goodbye. It seems that is a ritual with him.

Val writes that he got back safely. Sounds like a great trip. I wish I could also go see the new temple while the open house is going on. But I guess it will have to wait until later!

Beware the box...

I love my little black cat and THIS made me laugh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009



Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lost in Translation?

My nephew Daniel and his wife Holly have been posting silly messages on Facebook about the baby coming. [They just found out they're having a little boy on August 13th]

Well, I wondered what Holly had written in Chinese, so I copy the Chinese characters, paste them into a Word document and print it out.

I give the paper to Mike Miao, one of our engineers from mainland China. He starts slowly translating into English… “I can’t believe that you are going to be…” here he starts stumbling and looks up at me with an odd expression, “my ... baby’s father?”

I suddenly realize how insane that probably sounds to him coming from a woman he works with!

I hurriedly explain that it’s not personal! It's from my niece in law to my nephew and they are expecting their first child.

Then I go into my office and laugh myself silly.

Congratulations, Nils!

My nephew Nils Evensen is graduating this coming Thursday, June 4, 2009, from Itineris High School with a high school diploma and an Associates degree from Salt Lake Community College. Bravo, Nils! Nils will be attending BYU.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Great Grandmother's Heritage

My great grandmother, Margrethe Hansen was about 17 when she was forced to leave her home of Bornholm, Denmark.

A convert to Mormonism, she faced ostracism by her family and persecution from her Lutheran neighbors.

Becoming an indentured servant, she got the money needed to immigrate to America. It was in the 1870s and a long way to go for a young woman traveling alone.

In Utah she met Nils Evensen, a handsome young convert to the church from Ringsaker, Norway. They evenutally married and moved to Colorado.

It is a long way from the green island in the Baltic ocean to the Red Mesa of Kline, Colorado. I've often admired my great grandmother for her courage. My father said Margrethe loved visits from her grand-children and would encourage them to stay, plying them with cookies and saying, in her broken, heavily accented, English, "Plenty time! Plenty time!"

Bornholm, Denmark