Thursday, April 26, 2012

This blog will be on hold for a while


Whenever there is a new bag or box in town... watch out!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where's that Nerdy Elder?

The LDS Missionaries of Acapulco, Mexico
Elder Nils just sent this photo of the missionaries of Acapulco, Mexico with the comment "Where's Waldo?  (Or that nerdy... kid.)".  Now, if he had been sitting next to his mission president (who is on the first row, in the first seat on the right), Elder Nils might be easy to spot.  I have to admit I blew the photo up larger... because I have the technology... and I found him right away.

Let's hear it for our Saturday's Warriors.  What a bunch of great looking young men and women.  Take this group, then multiply that by all the missions throughout the world.  What a force for goodness!

This picture makes me smile.  They all look pretty sharp to me!  And happy.  Nice to know that they are such a happy bunch.

All I can say is, they should be!  Not only are they are busy doing the Lord's work, they're having great success with the good people they have been sent to love and teach.

As Elder Nils' dad recently quipped, "So, you're planning to baptize two families this month, eh?  That sounds great.  As we used to say in Sweden, every time someone slams a door in our faces, a missionary in Mexico baptizes someone."

So, did you find him?  He's in the second row up from the back, about 5th from the right

Our Not-So-Nerdy Elder Nils

God Bless the Missionaries wherever they may be in the world!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Graduates

Rise and shout!  They graduated!
My niece and her husband graduated from BYU last week.  This blog would not be complete without posting a few photos of them in their caps and gowns.

 Their commencement and individual college convocations took place over Thursday and Friday.  Back in my day, it all  took place on the same day.  I suspect there are just too many students graduating for them to do that any more.  My sources tell me it took more than two hours just to read the names of all the graduates in Jeff's college!

All that hoopla is necessary and makes them official graduates.  Lots of hard work went into those degrees, it's only fair that they get a chance to bask in that glory for a few hours.

Beautiful Linnea
 I love this portrait of Linnea (above) by her father.

Jeff posing in front of the carillon bell tower

The carillon bell tower, and the "Big Mac" Marriott Center were built when I attended BYU.  It doesn't seem that long ago.

Jeff's sister, Jeff, Linnea, Brother and Sister Jeff's parents

It looks like they got some beautiful spring weather and the rain stayed away for a few minutes for the picture taking.  I'm so glad Mother Nature cooperated.

The kids followed up a busy two days of graduation ceremonies with a big blow-out party on Friday night.  Everyone who attended is quoted as saying it was "A lot of fun!"

Now: Onward and Upward!

-Photos Courtesy J.D.Evensen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Loving Learning

At two years old, our little Fredrik is an avid learner.  He's discovering the joys of reading and learning his letters.  This is not strange considering his father surprised the heck out of his parents, by teaching himself to read at age 3, because he didn't like waiting for his father to read him the Sports page of the newspaper.

Fred's parents noticed his avid interest in learning and have been fostering it by playing fun games with Fred, and doing learning activities that Fred really enjoys.
Daddy and Fred reading Curious George
Our whole family are book-a-holics.  It's no wonder that Fred inherited that gene.

Fred has fun tracing images in this play and learn book of his.  He has quite a good eye, considering his age.

His Dad says he loves erasing the drawing and starting again.  He loves this activity and it keeps him very busy.
Daddy putting together a table just for Fred
Fred's parents decided Fred needed a table and chairs all his own, so they stopped at the local IKEA to pick up a child's table and chairs, which Dad carefully put together.  (For being non-mechanical, Daddy is doing pretty good at assembling the IKEA furniture!)  Now Fred has a place of his own to read and draw.

Fred is also learning to write.  He isn't sure which hand is most comfortable to write with yet, so he's exploring writing with both his right and left hands. I remember having the same dilemma when I first learned to write.  In these photos, it looks like he's favoring his left hand, but he's two and I suppose that could change.

Mommy is helping him in this effort.

I don't know.  Does it make you feel like an underachiever to see a two-year old learning to read and write?     Old Goo Ma (Great Aunt) me is feeling it!   I take comfort in the fact that I have a few years head start on him in the reading department...

Just a few.

My motto:  "So Many Books, So Little Time"

You've probably seen that on a bumper sticker.  Or a tee shirt.  I'll have to get one for Fred now.  (A tee shirt, not a bumper sticker.)

Book-a-holics out there everywhere take note: add one more member to the club.  Fred.  Age 2.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Max Redux

I had such good reactions from my recent post about the indomitable, party-loving Max, that I decided he needed another post which featured him.

This is Max hanging out in a little kitty contraption.  This was taken at his house, at a party in the summer of 2011.  He was being just as cute and funny then as he was recently. And you know me... I just had to share.
I think cats have a natural affinity for small confined spaces.  However, the evening these photos were taken, Max was just showing off how cute he was!  He knew he was entertaining the crowd and was milking it for all the attention he could get.
And, as usual, after being quite the party animal, he later went into the quiet of one of the bedrooms and sacked out!

Max, you are a cutie pie.  I'm glad you are in my circle of friends.

Everyone should have a cat like Max - or my Jack - in their lives.  I just think everyone would be in a lot better mood every day if that were the case.

Remind me to take that up with the President some day...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Congratulations to our Grads!


My beautiful, intelligent and exceptionally talented niece, Linnea, and her handsome, hard-working and incredibly gifted husband, Jeff, are graduating from BYU today.  (Note: I can say those things about them because (1) they are family and (2) I love them.  That doesn't make the statements any less true, I just felt the need for a disclaimer.  Your mileage may vary.)

BYU:  That's Brigham Young University, for those of you who don't recognize the acronym.  BYU is my alma mater, too. It is located in Provo, Utah.  It's a great school with a wonderful heritage.  Go blue! 

I got a kick out of the announcement they sent in the mail to me, so I had to share it with you.  It made me laugh.  It's all true, but it still made me laugh.

I'm sure glad Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet when I was in college. Actually, we didn't have PCs yet either when I was in college, so it wouldn't have mattered anyway.  But, if there had been those things back then, I would have spent ALL my time on Facebook and might never have graduated!

Linnea and Jeff are two great kids, and I can't wait to see where they go and what they do, once they are cut loose from the University.  Whatever they do, I know it will be great.

Congratulations to Jeff and Linnea, and all you graduates out there - wherever you may be!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Arizona Vacation

Anders, Kirsti and Christian
I think everyone should have the opportunity to see the Grand Canyon of Arizona once in their lives.  It is pretty darn amazing.  And very beautiful and awe inspiring as well.

My family had a great Spring vacation to Arizona and sent me these photos to document it.

Here is Anders posing with some creosote bushes, a mighty saguaro, and some assorted ocotillo and cholla cacti.  Saguaro (sa-wa-row) cactus grows only in the Sonora desert, which encompasses parts of Southern California, and most of Arizona down into northern Mexico.

Saguaro cacti are endangered, so it's illegal to harm or destroy one.  They provide food, shelter and water for many inhabitants of the desert.

Christian, looking like a lost Blues Brother,  found the prickly Saguaro interesting.

Even in black and white, the grand canyon is spectacular!

Once they traveled down south to the Phoenix area, the kids headed off to some baseball games.

In Phoenix, the Diamondbacks baseball team provide lots of fun entertainment.

Christian, Kirsti and Anders at the game.

Traveling further south from Phoenix down to Tucson, there are a lot of fun attractions.  Old Tucson, west of the City of Tucson, was a famous movie location back in the day.  John Wayne, Gene Autry and other western film greats filmed most of their movies here.  The popular 1970s TV show High Chaparral was also filmed here.  Although a fire destroyed many of the older buildings some years ago, it's still a very fun place to visit, where stuntmen re-enact movie-style shoot-outs in the streets for entertainment.  You can even ride in a real stagecoach!

There are other tourist attractions in the area, as well.  The Arizona-Sonora Desert museum is one of my all-time favorite places in the whole world.  It is a 98-acre museum and zoo 12 miles west of Tucson, and practically across the road from the "Old Tucson" studios park.  If you are ever in the Arizona desert, I suggest you visit these fun attractions!  They are fascinating places, and educational. Also, Kitt Peak national observatory is fairly close by.  It's well worth the trip through the desert to see the huge telescopes there.  There are daily tours of the facility for visitors.  (I'm sure all these places have websites with far more information than I can provide here.)

April is the perfect time to visit Arizona.  Once the heat sets in... well, it's not so much fun when the temperatures hit 115 degrees F, or it soars up to 117 and beyond and you have to use oven mitts to hold the steering wheel of your car!  That's why I no longer live in Phoenix... but that's a story for another day!

Of course, no trip to the desert would be complete without some water sports! 

Looks inviting, doesn't it?

Cannon ball!

- photos courtesy J.D. Evensen

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Baby is Here!

Bianca Leia wondering at all the fuss
Remember my friend Barbara, whose pregnancy we have been following in this blog?  Well, she had her little baby girl on Sunday, April 15th!

In the photo above, this beautiful baby looks like she's not quite sure what to make of all the fuss over her birth.  She had lots of relatives to meet fairly quickly and seems a bit overwhelmed!

Birth is pretty traumatic, huh, little girl?
Little Bianca is adorable, and looks just like her mommy.  She weighed a healthy 7 pounds and measured 19 1/4 inches at birth.  She looks active and wiggly.  Isn't that great?

She was introduced to her brothers within a few hours of her arrival.

Aaron is going to be a wonderful baby sitter!
Bianca is stylin' in that pink hat!  What a sweet little face.
Noah looks pretty happy, too.
I have a feeling she's going to be spoiled!  What do you think?

Bianca posing with her handsome big brothers
Her big brothers are pretty excited to finally have her here!  I am pretty excited, too.

Happy Birth Day, Bianca!  Welcome to mortality.  We're happy to have you here.

I, personally, can't wait to meet you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Eating Korean in Shanghai

On a recent business trip to Shanghai, my nephew Daniel tried a popular Korean restaurant.  It was filled to overflowing with local customers.

The above is a bulletin board of "Customer Praise".  Daniel says it's a common feature of Korean Restaurants.  I'll have to check to see if that holds true to California Korean restaurants, too.

The place was tremendously crowded.  Daniel said every seat was taken.  He ended up seated at a table with strangers.

The food was terrific, however.  Cheap and delicious.  Daniel gave it a thumbs up.  Worth the crowd, he said.

I think it was an interesting choice to make, going to a Korean restaurant on a visit to Shanghai.  However, I suppose if you live in China it's a little different than if you were visiting Shanghai for the first time.

Have you had Korean kimchi?  I personally love spicy food.  YUM.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Three Stalls - No Waiting!

Leo and Piper hanging out
Kitties are funny.

But you already knew that.

I love going to the beach and feeling that sand between my toes, don't you?  And, like us, cats really like the feel of clean sand under them as well.  So, when Jack's brothers, Leo and Piper, and their older, adopted brother Nimitz, recently got new litter pans, they got excited about it.

They treated it kinda like a day at the beach.  Without the sun and the water, of course.  But plenty of sand...

I thought at first Leo was smiling at the camera.

But, after some perusal, I think he's saying, "Hey!  You with the camera!  Give us some privacy here!"

Yup.  That's what I think he's saying.

But maybe he's really just wondering where the salt water, waves, and pretty girls in bikinis are.

P.S. Happy Friday the 13th!  Here in the L.A. area, it's raining cats and dogs.  I even had to run my windshield wipers on the way to work.  I like it!  Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Breakfast Outing

I recently went out to breakfast with my friend Mary Beth.  She took me to a place called Arthur's over in La Habra.  They only serve breakfast and lunch.

It was one of those old-fashioned places that reminded us both of diners in the Midwest, more than any place around here in Southern California.  The service was good, and food was excellent, but it was the sign on the wall that cracked me up and totally made my day (see above).

I'm sure that one strikes fear in every parent's heart!

Hope it made you smile!

Have a great day.
Yours Truly at Arthur's