Friday, June 29, 2012

The Trouble Twosome

Another day in the life of Jack's brothers, Leo and Piper, who live with Jack's Uncle Mark and their step-brother Nimitz in a far-away land.  Trouble is more than just their middle names!  It's their life calling.

Leo and Piper
"Well, Bro... what shall we do today?"

"Let's do the same thing we do every day!  "

"Try to take over the world?"

"Naw!  Get into trouble!"

"This time when Dad goes on his trip, we'll go with him!"


Piper, Leo and Nimitz "Helping"
The trouble twosome become a trio as Nimitz helps the boys in their sneaky plan!

"Okay, somebody's got a camera.  I think we're BUSTED."

"Hey, Leo, does this mean we're not going?"

Piper and Leo
"Yer not fittin', Bro!"

It appears that modern suitcases aren't really suited to cat packing... Even with Piper's coaching, Leo isn't fitting very well into the bag.  Hmmm.

Looks like they'll be staying home yet again!

At least we tried
"High five, Bro!"

"I got my passport and everything," Leo grumbles.  "Just wait 'til next time!"

But right now it's time for a snooze....

And so concludes another adventure of the Trouble Twosome, er, Trio...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hanging with the Saints

My beautiful sister-in-law and friend, Kirsti
-Photo: J. Evensen
Yup, that beautiful lady from the ad on the LDS Philanthropies website home page is my sister-in-law.  The ad isn't there anymore, but you may have noticed it.  She's blond and Swedish and beautiful.

I can't think of a nicer, or kinder lady.  I'm really glad she is the mother of my highly talented niece and my four terrific nephews.  She is talented in many areas herself, not to mention intelligent, hard-working, and uncomplaining.  And she makes really good apricot jam.

Really good jam.  Yum.   And fudge.  And a host of other things.  I mean, she knows how to make Princesse Torte for Pete's Sake!

Let me wipe the drool from my chin and continue...

And she just turned 50.  Yup, Five-Oh.  And YES, she doesn't look it.  Not at all.  She could easily pass for one of her daughter's friends.

There are things you have absolutely no control over here in this life.  One of these is who your only sibling decides to marry. 

Thanks goodness my brother has excellent taste in women.  I mean, seriously!  His lovely wife has been my rock during many difficult times in my life. 

- Photo: L. Farnsworth

Take heed, young men!  There are many storms to pass through in mortality.  How much better to have a valiant, good woman at your side to face them with?

The scriptures ask, "Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies."

Take some time this week to read Proverbs 31:10-31.  Compare and contrast the frequent images of women as portrayed in the media with the description of a "woman that feareth the Lord" as taken from these scripture verses. 

Billy Joel may protest that "sinners have much more fun", but I think I'd rather hang with the Saints.  They may not be perfect, but they'll laugh and cry with you, comfort you in times of distress, and bless your life in countless ways.

Sounds a lot better to me!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Emergency Chocolate

My friend Elaine visited me in the hospital when I had my surgery and brought with her something very important:  Emergency Chocolate.

I like the concept of EMERGENCY chocolate.  You just never know when you'll have an emergency situation where you'll need chocolate.

Which comes down to this truth:  Chocolate was placed on the earth by a loving God who especially loves his daughters.

Okkkaaaayyyyy.  That's my philosophy, anyway.

I love chocolate in all its forms.  It is a miracle cure for a lot of the ills in this world.

In addition to the emergency chocolate, Elaine also brought over a tote bag filled with DVDs, which turned out to be 8 seasons of the TV show "Murder She Wrote".  

Angela Lansbury

(Let's hear a hearty hooray for the inimitable Angela Lansbury!)  I spent the next month watching Jessica Fletcher make the world a safer place.

I love my friends.

I can't think of a better way to recuperate from surgery, can you?

Now I've had my first couple of days back to work, after two months medical leave.  I'm exhausted.

Hmmmm.  I feel an emergency coming on.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Göteborg, Västra Götaland

One of the Swedish Natives
Okay, this has got to stop!  All my friends (and family!) seem to be going to these fabulous and fun places instead of me.  I was particularly jealous of Mark's recent business trip to Göteborg, Sweden, as I am Scandinavian and that says "home" to me.  Göteborg is known in English as Gothenburg. How it becomes Gothenburg in English is beyond me, but that's what it is. It's in the middle of the west coast of Sweden.

It's been many years since I've been to Goteborg myself.  I'm surprised it hasn't changed much since then!

Mark claims they took a "short walk" from their hotel and passed three 7-Eleven marts, two McDonald's restaurants, and a Burger King.  Okay, that part has changed.  Maybe not exactly for the better, either.  But that's progress for you!

This is a photo of one of the more picturesque 7-Elevens.

This street scene looks remarkably like any Norwegian town to me.  It's also apparently a "walking street" with  no cars allowed.  Don't you love the cobbled streets?

This sign was on the door of the unisex bathroom at a Goteborg restaurant.
I hope the above sign doesn't offend you.  Similar signs are on many restrooms all over Scandinavia, including many home bathrooms.  Scandinavians tend to have a more relaxed view of the human body and its functions than most Americans do.  We probably have the Puritans to thank for that.  Not that it's a bad thing.

I know I'm partial, but I think food throughout Norway, Sweden and Denmark is some of the best in the world.  Even when they are preparing Western American classics such as steak and fries.

The Rib-Eye meal (see menu below)
Is that the calorie count next to the item on the menu?  Nope.  That's the cost.  'KR 370'.  And yes, 370 Swedish Krona is a lot of money for a meal.  That's about $53 U.S.
Looks yummy!

I think this is sausages, potatoes and mustard AKA polser med sennep

Fish and potatoes with mayonnaise and a "mini-Sebastian"
(Disney fans don't be hatin'.  I'm just repeating what the man said)
Prawns and potato square meal

According to Mark, the food was great.  It looks pretty great.

Hungry yet?

The boat tour runs into a low bridge
Tourists can do a tour of the city on board a tourist boat.  However, some of the bridges (see above) are so low, you have to duck or be decapitated.

Picturesque stone jetty with grafitti

What a beautiful Park area along the canal!

This bridge reminds me of Paris

The Goteborg fish market 
The fish market is jokingly referred to as the Fish Church, because of its architecture.  "In Cod We Trust", the tourist guide quipped.

Astrid and Lars waiting for the tourist boat to dock.
(Just kidding.)

The Opera House

Guess what?  They also have a Hard Rock cafe
I understand the lady at the Hard Rock asked my friend, a native Californian, whether he was happy that he could speak English without an accent.  I suppose the British would take issue with that, but I believe she was referring to the accent of Hollywood's American Movie type of English.

Or something.

These foreigners.  I'd be happy to speak Swedish without a Norwegian accent.  But that's another story entirely.
The clock tower in Scenic Downtown Goteborg

According to Mark, this must be where they manufacture all those gorgeous Swedes
I don't think all of those gorgeous Swedes are manufactured there, Mark... my beautiful sister-in-law was manufactured in Eskilstuna...
Goteri - Goodies
I should have reminded Mark to buy me some marzipan and lakris (licorice) while he was there!  Oh yum!  Maybe he picked up some "Skum Bananer" (chocolate covered marshmallow bananas), though.  What do you think?

Sunlight in the park

Bocce ball players on the strand

According to the tourist guide, this building (above) was intended to be circular, to keep away demons.  However, they ran out of money for the original plan and had to square it off to finish it.

Mark's comment was, "at least you'd know from what side the demons would attack from".

Good to know.

Goteborg Havn, or Harbor
This tall-masted ship hasn't been able to leave the harbor since a 1960s building program of low bridges trapped it right where it is.  It is now a popular restaurant.

The harbor and a statue to the man who stole fire from the gods
The Prometheus statue is one of the more modern art statues in Gothenburg.  The triangular stone hat represents his punishment from the gods for his audacity.  Okay, whatever, it's bizarre.

It's (as my friends say) an ART.

A closer view of the  Prometheus statue from the land side 
The view from the hotel
The above photo was taken from Mark's hotel room at 10:20 p.m.  It's hard to forget you are in the land of the midnight sun when you are there, even as far south as Goteborg is!

Another "Midnight Sun" photo (10:30 p.m.)

Well, that concludes our mini-vacation to Sweden's west coast.  Hope you enjoyed it.

I did.

Even if I'm pea green with envy yet again.  Sigh.

Thanks for sharing your photos, Mark!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Magical Chinese Wedding

Okay, I know this was a May wedding, but I kinda missed May this year.  So, when I saw these pictures recently, I thought it was so fun!  And I thought maybe you'd enjoy seeing a Chinese wedding, too.

As you know, if you have been following my blog, my nephew Daniel and his family are currently living in Shenyang, China.  They employ an Ayi, or Nanny, to help with their two children.  When their Ayi's daughter got married in May, they were invited to join in the celebration.

The Beautiful Bride dancing with her Groom
Of course, I know these photos are all out of order, but nevertheless, I hope you get a feel of what it was like.  It looks like it was not only beautiful, but a lot of fun!

Guests were plentiful, as were the refreshments

Everything was beautifully decorated

Here is the  ice sculpture component.  It looks pretty spectacular!

The Bride and Groom bowing in respect to their parents.  Look at that spectacular dress!

Fred had to help things along.  Looks like he's explaining things for us.

The ice sculpture exploded beautifully for the photographer

The happy couple 

The Happy Couple, changed out of their formal wear and ready for the Honeymoon

Have a happy week!