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.