Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

The Gargoyle Fountain at Knott's Berry Farm
Last night my neighbor showed me the cave man costume he's wearing to a party tonight.  The wig alone was hysterical. 

Then, on the way to work this morning I passed Snow White waiting for a bus. 

I really did.

She looked lovely.  Pale skin, dark hair - a really beautiful girl - and she was dressed right out of Disney's beloved animated film.  Waiting for a bus.  It just seemed wrong.  I felt like Prince Charming should have galloped up the street and swooped her up.  I almost turned the car around and stopped to take pictures.  Almost.  Had I not already been late for work, I would have.

Maybe the 7 dwarves were busy and couldn't give her a lift to work.

It could happen.

The front desk at my company all decorated for the holiday
I love Halloween.  I love getting dressed up and being silly and eating candy.  (Chocolate. Yum. My favorite food group.)

A co-worker's desk decorations
 I used to love Halloween more.  It seems like over the years it's gotten too gory-scary and less and less funny and cute.  There's something wrong with that. 

Trick or treating was such a fun part of my childhood. Evil people have rather ruined that, too.  But even so, people have been able to adapt. At church, there was a child-safe Halloween party on Saturday night.  I know lots of other folks do the same.

Some have suggested that good Christians shouldn't celebrate Halloween at all.  Perhaps they are right, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the part where you dress up funny, go to parties and eat candied apples, caramel popcorn and chocolate.

Especially the chocolate.

What do you think?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Chuck Premiers Tonight!

The Fifth and Final season of Chuck premiers tonight on NBC!  I've really enjoyed this show and will hate to see it all end. 

Here's a link to a sweet video NBC posted on their website.

Chuck - Fan Favorite Chuck & Sarah Moments - Video -

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fun... or Terror?

- Photo Courtesy J. Evensen
It's fun to visit an amusement park with boys who know no fear.  I, on the other hand, have become more sedate as I've grown older.  Honestly, I've had enough brushes with death, why tempt fate?  However, it was fun to see our guys enjoying themselves so much. 

Christian couldn't seem to get enough of the roller coasters and other rides at Knott's and ran on to them over and over in wild enthusiasm.
We who are about to die... smile and wave at you!
Dad was plucky and pretty much kept up with him.  Anders did too.

I really enjoyed taking pictures of them doing it.
Snoopy waves as our intrepid men sail past in the last car

Christian and his dad (far left) return from yet another blast of insanity

Christian, soaked and happy, after the log ride
Christian jumps in with both feet and a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. I like that about him.

There is a line in the movie Parenthood about life being like a roller coaster - it has its ups and downs.  Whether you will like it or not, is quite another story!   I suppose if you learn to relax and enjoy the ride, you've won half the battle.
Or, as an Apostle recently said, the way we react to adversity can be a major factor in how happy and successful we can be in life.
Elder Wirthlin went on to conclude:
As we look for humor, seek for the eternal perspective, understand the principle of compensation, and draw near to our Heavenly Father, we can endure hardship and trial.  We can say, as did my mother, "Come what may, and love it."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fun with the little Peanuts!

I have the best family in the whole world.

Now, I don't want you to feel bad, or think I'm belittling your family experience in any way, because I'm not - but I do have a great family.  I love my brother.  My sister-in-law is the absolute greatest woman alive, and their kids are terrific.


The only problem is that they live 625 miles away.  So, when my brother announced that he and the family were coming to visit me in honor of my birthday, I was so excited!

My brother and sister-in-law
 We were able to fit quite a few fun things in to the short time we had together.

My two youngest nephews
 We went to Knott's Berry Farm and had a really terrific time.  The weather was just beautiful and there were few people in the park on a weekday during the day.  In the evening Knott's has their Scary Farm at this time of the year, so I think most adults go then.  It made the daytime really relaxed and almost quiet.  There was no wait for rides and plenty of seats for the other attractions.

We really enjoyed ourselves and had a good time just being together.

Waiting for the Peanuts Spooktacular!

Lucy, Linus and Dorothy doing the Time Warp
 Let me just say, I never thought I'd ever see the Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show done as a children's song.  Ever.  But it cleans up rather nicely.  I was worried that the Peanuts Show would be a bit childish for our 9 year-old, but we all enjoyed the Peanuts characters and the Halloween themed music and dancing. 

I'll post more of our adventures later.

I had so much fun!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Vacation!

I was on vacation this weekend, so I'm still a bit discombobulated.  I'll have another post as soon as I get back into gear...

Stay tuned!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Surprise for Jack!

Hey, Mom!  What is it?
 It's a new toy, Jack.  It's called a Tick-Tock Teaser.  I hope you like it.
 Huh.  There's a thingey under here.
 Well, that's interesting.
 That's interesting too.
 Did you see how that thing moved?  I kinda like that.
 Cool.  I like wands with tassels.  That's fun.
Jack gives the new toy a big PAWS UP!  However, he seems to like the wand on top with the tassel on it the best. 

For some reason, it mysteriously ends up on the floor every day.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Birthday Luncheon

Happy Birthday to me!
My co-workers took me out for lunch on my birthday.  I had a great time. 

I mean, seriously, if you're going to be really OLD, you might as well enjoy it and go in style, right?

 The food was good.
Carmen, Sabrina, Danika, Veronica, Barbara and Emma
The company was even better. 

We laugh alot when we get together.  I'm so blessed to work with such nice people.  I consider them all my friends.

So, thanks everyone, for the care and kindness you show every day in the things you do.  And thanks for making my big milestone birthday seem less .. difficult. 

I have to admit I'm having a hard time with this one.  I know it's just a number, but it's (gulp) a pretty big number this year.  Perhaps, as Indiana Jones once put it, "it's not the years, it's the mileage". 

If that's the case, I think I'm overdue for an oil change, lube, and a tire rotation.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Primary

Pickering Ward Primary, Leaders, Teachers and our Talented Children
On Sunday our ward had a real treat.  It was the Primary Children's Sacrament Meeting Presentation!  This is my favorite church meeting of the entire year.  The children always do such a wonderful job.  This year proved to be no exception!

We used to have twice as many children as you see here, but within the last year several families have moved out of the area, and many of our children have also grown up and out of Primary. 

Although they were small in numbers, our Primary still did a terrific job.  I was so proud of all of them.  It can be a scary thing to speak and sing in the church!  In spite of this, every one who participated spoke and sang so well.

Leah and her teacher, Sister McKeon
I love these kids.  It's fun to watch them grow up.  I love their families, too.  They are all such good people.  We have a loving, close-knit ward.  
Our handsome guys
Our little boys were remarkably reverent throughout the program.  I know it's hard to sit still and be reverent - especially when you are sitting up in the choir loft where everyone can see you!

Our future missionaries
Sharing Time and singing time were difficult as everyone was very wound up after the program!  It was hard to get all the wiggles out!
Sharing Time
We don't have a large enough group to be able to have a junior and senior primary, as they have in larger wards.

The theme of the program was, "I Know the Scriptures Are True". 

We have some outstanding singers in our Primary.  Their singing was not only lovely, but performed, in some cases, with a lot of gusto.  I think this is commendable.  And it made some of us oldsters smile.
Bright smiles and beautiful faces
The children were visited by several members of the Bishopric, telling them what a great job they had done.
Our Bishop thanks the primary for their efforts
 After Primary, they all let loose a little bit and got silly!  It was quite a day!
Letting Loose!
Thanks to our Primary President, Sister Burns, for letting me take so many pictures!  Thanks to everyone for smiling and posing and being so darn cute!  (You teachers, too!)

Special Thanks to: Sister Burns, Sister Grimm, Sister Rex, Sister Moore, Sister Prescott, Sister Anderson, Sister McKeon, Sister Ibey, and the kids: Talmage, Andrew, Meara, Timmy, Leah, Porter, Alexis, Grace, Tori, Ella, Jonas, Jackson, Miles, Wyatt, Joseph, Jared, Geoffrey, Max, and Warren.  {Please forgive me if I’ve left anyone out!}

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Since this picture was taken, a lot has happened in my life.  (Hmmmm.  Ya think?)

I've gotten an education, traveled the world, lived in lots of different places and met some really wonderful people.

I'd just like to thank all those that made it possible - mom, dad, grandparents - those that have gone before me; and all those who have made it fun: my good brother and family, beloved friends - biped and the four-legged furry kind, and loved ones all over the globe.

It's been interesting so far.  Now, heading into the final chapters, I wonder about the future, and sure hope there's a few good surprises left.

You never know, do you? 

So, have some cake and ice cream today.  Live it up.  I'm sure going to try!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Capturing the Light

My talented niece stars in this LDS Philanthropies video.  If you look real closely, you can see my sister-in-law and my brother. 


Friday, October 14, 2011

Furry Nephews

I recently got to spend a little time with my Jack's brothers, Piper and Leo.  They are truly nice guys and were happy to hear about Jack's latest adventures.  They were very attentive to their Tante on this visit!
Piper looking regal

Piper posing for the camera
Piper was in a good mood.  He came out early and joined the party!  He even posed for a few pictures.  I think he enjoyed everyone fussing over him!
Leo hanging out at the party
Leo has always been a little more shy.  To my surprise, though, he also took the time to come out of the bedroom and say "Hi" early in the evening.  He even spent a bit of time on my lap!  I was so happy that he did that.  It gave us some one-on-one time we don't normally get.
Leo looks so much like Jack that I was surprised by the fact that he weighed a TON.  His looks are deceptive.  I was expecting him to be somewhere close to Jack's weight, but I found myself going "Umphf!" as I picked him up.  What a delightful little chunk of a cat!  He has a great personality.  He liked having his chin scritched very much.
When I got home, I told Jack all about my visit with his adorable family.  Jack likes to hear that his brothers are doing so well, ... but he's mostly happy his front door window finally got fixed.

It's nice to have family.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ready for Halloween?

Just 18 more days until Halloween, and my friend Jeffrey is ready!  His family got him a really cool costume this year and he's so happy and excited he can hardly contain himself!

Hope you find something to be happy and excited about today!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Girl Named Sue

Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex
A good friend of mine just visited the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.  She took these great photos of Sue, the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil ever found.  She measures 42 feet long from snout to tail and 13 feet tall at the hip. (That's Sue I'm talking about, not my friend!  Otherwise she'd have had problems getting on that plane from Los Angeles...) Those are a set of 58 dagger-like teeth Sue's flashing there at us (yikes!).
Sue's actual skull weighs around 600 pounds, so that's a replica on the skeleton.  The skull is on display in another exhibit on the Museum's balcony (as seen below).

I don't think Sue is someone I would ever want to meet in a dark alley - or anywhere else, for that matter, except for the museum where she currently resides!

Elaine, Donna and Sue

Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos, Elaine!  Glad you are back safely.  Chicago looks like a dangerous place.  (Just kidding.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Searching the Scriptures

The Book of Mormon was written
anciently on plates of gold
Like many of you, I've read the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, straight through, once, just to say I did it, and a couple of more times in the course of my general scripture reading and study.  I love the Bible and the wonderful stories found there.  It is a dear friend.

I love the Book of Mormon, too.  I can't remember how many times I've read through it from cover to cover.  I've read it at least 3 times through since President Hinckley's challenge in 2005 and countless times before that.   (This is not bragging.  If I were really on top of things I should have read it through 6 times since 2005!)

One of our four teachers

Recently, I've felt that I had no real purpose in my scripture study, so I decided to take an Institute class to liven things up a bit and to help me be more consistent in my daily scripture study.  There is an adult class in the Book of Mormon offered on Tuesday nights in La Mirada which just started up about three weeks ago.  It was free, so the price was right!  I decided to give it a try.

There are four teachers who take turns giving the lessons, and in addition to the Book of Mormon itself, we have a nice lesson manual taken from the Church Education System's Religion 121 class.  It's a hefty manual, but full of insights into the book, its origins, structure and teachings.

The Book of Mormon is, like the Bible, a collection of writings of ancient prophets.  It was translated from ancient texts and first published 181 years ago.  To quote Michael Otterson's recent Washington Post article (see On Faith 9/13/11):
...since it was first published, the Book of Mormon has been praised and parodied, vaunted and vilified.  To some it is an enigma.  To others heresy.  To those who have embraced it, it is a powerful, life-changing force - literally new scripture - that brings people to Jesus Christ.
It's been a while since I took a class of any kind, so I was a little nervous about going to this class the first time, especially since I thought I wouldn't know anyone there. I was also worried about making it to La Mirada in the evenings as I often work late.  As it turns out, my fears were groundless.  I discovered at least three people I know attend this class, and I was easily able to make the 7:30 p.m. start time.
One half of our class
I love the Book of Mormon.  I believe it to be the word of God. It testifies of Jesus Christ throughout its length, working with the Bible to assert the divinity and teachings of our Savior.  It's fun to get together with others and discuss its precepts in a classroom environment apart from a typical Sunday School setting.  Attending gives me an extra spiritual boost at the beginning of my work week.
Two lovely ladies from my ward, Dianne and Betty
A couple of good friends from my ward are there, and a lot of others whom I don't know (yet).  It is a congenial atmosphere.
Our class in action
So far, taking this course has done what I hoped it would do: encourage me to be more diligent in my daily scripture study.  I'm not perfect, but having a class to attend once a week is a great motivator to keep on top of the reading, and the relatively slow pace suits my busy lifestyle just fine!

Come join us!
Our Course of Study