Friday, May 30, 2014

Charley's Aunt Premiers tonight

The Whittier Community Theatre cast of Charley's Aunt
The Whittier Community Theatre presents the British farce, Charley's Aunt, beginning tonight, Friday, May 30th at 8 p.m. at the Center Theatre in Whittier, California.

 If you've never seen this show, now's the time!  It's a truly funny play and one of my all-time favorites.
Famed comedian Jack Benny had a starring role in the 1941 movie version
Charley's Aunt was written and first performed in 1892, premiering at the Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds.  It was a tremendous success, breaking all historic records for plays of any kind.  It had an original London run of 1,466 performances.

It came to the U.S. in 1893 and was a success on Broadway, where it also had a very long run.  It has toured internationally and been adapted for films and musicals in the 100 plus years following its premier.

The original British show was produced by a former D'Oyly Carte Opera Company actor named W.S. Penley, who was a close friend of the author, playwright Brandon Thomas.

Penley Appeared in the principal role of Lord Fancourt Babberley.

W.S. Penley as Lord Fancourt Babberley in ordinary clothing

W.S. Penley as Lord Fancourt Babberley playing Charley's Aunt
The plot?

Jack Chesney and Charley Wykeham, two undergraduates at Oxford University, are in love--Jack with Kitty Verdun, ward of Stephen Spettigue the Oxford solicitor, and Charley with Amy Spettigue, the solicitor’s niece. However, neither knows quite how to express his love and his (hopeful) plans for the future to his girl—until Jack comes up with a plan: It just so happens that Charley’s aunt, a wealthy widow from Brazil (“where the nuts come from”) is visiting that very day. So, why not have a luncheon for the girls and Charley’s aunt? 

They invite their friend Lord Fancourt Babberley to entertain their aunt and everything seems to be in order.

But all plans go awry when the aunt, Donna Lucia d’ Alvadorez, telegraphs that she won’t be arriving for a few more days. Without the aunt as chaperone, Charley and Jack quickly realize the girls won’t come to lunch.  They quickly devise a hair-brained scheme to satisfy propriety by having Lord Babberley dress and pretend to be Charley's Aunt.  Things only get worse when first Jack's father arrives, then Mr. Spettigue - followed by Charley's real aunt!

This is a play where comic confusion reigns supreme.  And believe me, it is every bit as funny to us, in 2014, as it was in 1892!

Whittier Community Theatre presents 
Charley's Aunt 
Playing at the Center Theatre in Whittier 
May 30, 31, June 6, 7, 13, 14 at 8:00pm
Matinee on Sunday, June 8th at 2:30pm 

Directed by Roxanne Barker 
Produced by Gabe Puga  

Featuring the talents of:
Austin Sauer, Andrew Cerecedes, Kieran Flanagan, Jasmine West, Amanda Riisager, Nancy Tyler, Anthony Duke, Tim Heaton, Jim Gittelson, and Louisa Brazeau

Tickets are now on sale!  
Call (562) 696-0600 
for reservations 

or purchase tickets online 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ye Olde Palmyra Print Shoppe

The Grandin Print Shop 
In the early 1800's Palmyra, New York was bursting with the promise of growth and prosperity. In 1828 it added a new three story building to its bustling business district. That structure was known as Thayer and Grandin's Row.

Today, that structure has a place in history as the site of the first printing of the Book of Mormon.  In recent years The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has restored the building to the glory it had when Egbert B. Grandin, an aspiring young publisher, signed a contract to publish this unique book of scripture in 1829.  The first books rolled off the presses in 1830.

The shop is now set up much like it would have been in those days.

This is where book papers were folded and sewn
The book press appears to be the contraption on the right
I wonder if it was this neat and tidy back in the day!

Countless copies of the original Book of Mormon can be seen (yellowish brown bindings) on the middle left
My nephew brought his family recently to Palmyra in upstate New York, and took the tour of this historic print shop.  I'm glad he snapped lots of pictures to share with us!

Livia and Fred get a special tour
To their amazement and delight, the guided tour was conducted in Chinese, by a sweet sister missionary, Sister Su, from Taipei, Taiwan!  (My nephew's wife Holly also hails from Taiwan.)

Yes.  It is a small world!

Sister Su with Holly and Fred
I can't imagine what a tedious, labor intensive process book printing would be back in those days, even with movable type.

The printing press

Plane and Plough box
I can only guess what this is!
A prophet of God, Joseph Smith, translated the Book of Mormon from ancient writings on a set of golden plates, much like this:

An artist's conception of what the golden plates may have looked like
The Book of Mormon is a collection of writings from prophets of God who lived on this, the American continent, from 600 B.C. through about 200 A.D.

Similar plates have been found in places throughout the world.  The ancient golden plates below were found at an archaeological dig in Bulgaria.
Golden plates on display at a museum in Bulgaria
The original printing of the Book of Mormon had no columns or numbered verses as we have today.  

Here is an original edition of the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon goes hand in hand with the Bible.  It is another testament of Jesus Christ - that He lives and is real.  It details the visit of the resurrected Christ to the inhabitants of the Americas.  It's an amazing book that can change your life.
A modern copy of the Book of Mormon
Daniel and his family really enjoyed their tour of this historic publishing site.

On March 26, 1998, the anniversary of the first printing of the Book of Mormon in 1830, the restored part of the Grandin building was dedicated. Visitors are now invited to come to this Historic Site, see the building, the printing presses and observe the printing sequence in the room where the printing of the Book of Mormon actually took place. 

Visitors are welcome to walk through the bindery and into the store where the Book of Mormon was first sold. 

For more information, visit:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Robin Red Breast

An Adult American Robin
Did you know that the Robin is the State Bird of Connecticut?

Me neither.

I feel like I should know that.  I was born in Connecticut.  I really like robins, too.  This is the story of my friend Donna's close encounter with a family of robins who nested next to her home.

The Rhododendron Bush
 My friend Donna lives in Connecticut.  She writes:
"Last fall I cut back our overgrown rhododendron bush pretty severely.  The last few years it had played host to both robin and cardinal nests, but with the reduced foliage, I figured that could not happen this spring."
Guess what?  That didn't deter the local birds from nesting there.

The nest
 She continues:
"Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a nest had indeed been constructed in it!  The robins had found one of the few spots with just enough of a canopy of foliage over it."  
Downy feathers were in the nest
"I was even more surprised to see that there was already a little pile of downy feathers inside!  And it was moving!"

Mom feeding her babies
Donna worried about predators, especially since the nest wasn't particularly well hidden!

Close up of mom (upper right) and babies (lower left)
"From my window, I could sometimes see activity.  Momma and Daddy Robin took turns feeding and guarding the babies.  During rainstorms, one of the adults would sit on the nest, shielding the little ones.  Even during a rare hailstorm!"
All beaks and feathers, you can just make out of the robin babies in their nest
"Day by day the youngsters grew.  At first I could only see two babies, but then I realized there was a third!  One day I thought there might actually be a fourth crowded into the nest, but I can't be sure about that."
"Hey!  I'm sleeping here!  What's with the camera!"
"Their down was soon replaced by the feathers of a fledgling, and the little guys began to get restless and flap their little wings."
The fledglings were getting restless!
"Now I began to see the distinctive mark of their species, the ruddy red color on their breasts."

Close-up of our little fledglings
"A few days ago, I peered towards the nest and found it empty!  I fearfully looked on the ground around it, but did not see anything amiss.  Mom and Dad still seemed to be around, so I suspect the kids are in the bushes nearby, having entered the next phase of their lives."
Maybe they are in the basement playing video games, Donna... no, wait!  That's human fledglings. 

Never mind!

Robin Red-Breast
"I miss the little birdies already, but perhaps they will be around this summer and back again next year, to make their own nests and continue the cycle of life."
Isn't it great that the little robin family managed to build their nest in such a convenient place for photo-taking?  Despite this, Donna said it was hard to get the photos because she was mindful that she might spook the birds.  She tried really hard to not disturb them while photographing them.

I really enjoyed hearing about this little family.

Thanks, Donna!  What a great photo essay!

Photos: D.G.Littleford Ramos

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jack and Me

Jack sitting in the courtyard
I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.  I had a great rest and did a lot of fun things like going to the movies and going to a fun swim party where it turned out to be too cold to actually go swimming.

But I also spent some nice quiet time with my guy, Jack.  I often leave the door open and let Jack just hang out in the courtyard.  It's fun for him, and I can keep an eye on him.

So, now it's back to the old grind. (Sigh.)

Have a good week, my friends!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Time for a Little Vacation

This is what Jack and I will be doing for the next few days
Just a heads up that I'll be taking a few days off.  Next blog post will be next week, after Memorial Day.  Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!


Creevykeel, a Neolithic Irish court tomb

Creevykeel is listed on the Megalithic Ireland website as being among the finest examples of a full-court tomb in ancient Ireland.  This tomb dates from the Neolithic period, which ran from 4,000 to 2,500 B.C. The site was excavated in 1935.

Shortly afterwards, the tomb was restored so we could enjoy seeing it as visitors.

The archaeological excavations uncovered four cremation burials, decorated and undecorated Neolithic pottery, flint arrowheads, polished stone axes and other artifacts, including a chalk ball.

The entrance passage
I wonder if the chalk ball was for use in writing messages from the netherworld?  Or playing tic-tac-toe?  I suppose we'll never know.

The entrance passage is narrow.  It's lined with orthostats - orthostats are tall stones set upright to form a wall. (Stonehenge is an example.)   If they are standing stones by themselves, they are called Menhirs.

The Creevykeel orthostat rocks are about 5 meters in length.  The entrance passage leads to a large oval court.

The court is also lined with orthostats that rest on the surface, rather than sitting in sockets.  

The passage to the court is lined with orthostats
At one end of the court is a two-chambered gallery.  There are also three smaller chambers built into the rear of the cairn.

The Megalithic Ireland website says this:
This is an amazing site and I would strongly recommend that you take the time to visit this fine tomb the next time you are in the area.

Evidently there are lots of Megalithic sites throughout this Sligo County area of Ireland.  I had no idea!

Kathy braving the rocks
Evidently there was a kiln found inside the court area that was built at a later time period than the actual tomb.  There are evidences of iron-smelting to be found there.

The Court

The cairn is trapezoidal in shape and about 50 meters in length.  The front of the cairn is about twenty meters across.

I never knew that Ireland had these kinds of ancient sites.  I'm grateful to Lisa and her mom Kathy for letting me blog about their visit there.  It's really interesting to see!
Shotsie and Squatsie enjoyed the visit, too!
If you ever go to Ireland...

Creevykeel is situated on the N15 Sligo-Bundoran road.  It's a drive north on Donegal road from Sligo City to Cliffony.  At the second turn-off for Mullaghmore is a cross-roads, immediately after that is a carpark on the right.  The Court Tomb is located behind the wall by the carpark.

If you go, take more pictures for me, okay?  Better yet, take me along!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Luis removing the old fan
There are few things more terrible than having your ceiling fan die in the middle of a heat wave.  It's been warm here - like, in the 100s  - the kind of warm temperatures which I don't handle very well.

That's why I no longer live in Arizona, folks.  I'm a wimp.  I prefer the milder temps in California.  We at least get an ocean breeze now and then.  But Mother Nature hasn't been cooperating lately and we've had some record temperatures.  hooray.

So, I recently had to buy a new ceiling fan to replace the one that would barely move, much less generate any air.  A quick trip to Home Depot remedied that.  Then, I called the apartment handyman to have him install it.

There are few things more scary than having a 70+ year-old man install a new ceiling fan!

In Luis' defense, he is physically fit and does not get dizzy on ladders.  It still scares the heck out of me to see him on one.  Luckily for the both of us, he brought a younger, stronger, man to complete the job.  Phew! Had me worried there!

Things are A-Okay once more in the fan department.  Jack and I have been enjoying the cool breezes.

We have air!  Huzzah!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Saw Another Angel Fly

The Hill Cumorah
The Hill Cumorah figures prominently into events that led to the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It is also the most notable of many hills, or drumlins, in New York State's Finger Lakes region.

My nephew and his family recently visited the area, taking in various Church History sites, and taking lots of photos for us!

When I was a little girl, there was not a beautiful Visitor's Center here!  That's fairly new.

The Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center
In 421 A.D., Moroni, the last survivor of a once great civilization that had inhabited the Americas since around 600 B.C., buried in this hill a set of gold plates on which was recorded the history of his people.

In 1827, this same Moroni returned as an angel and delivered the plates to an American prophet, Joseph Smith.  Joseph translated them through the gift and power of God.  He then had them published as the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Mormon stands together with the Holy Bible as a witness that God lives, loves his children everywhere, and has a marvelous plan for them.

Holly takes Fred and Livia for a walk  on this sacred hill
Each summer, the Hill Cumorah is the site of a spectacular outdoor religious pageant.  The free production, titled: America's Witness for Christ, features a cast of over 600 and attracts audiences of up to 100,000 each year.

The resurrected Christ appears to the people of the American continent
as depicted during the Hill Cumorah Pageant
I remember attending the pageant as a little girl.  We lived in Upstate New York at the time, not far from Palmyra, New York, which is the closest town to Hill Cumorah.

The pageant is spectacular!  I remember my father and mother bringing some friends with us to see the pageant.  They were reluctant to come to this "religious thing".  Later, they couldn't stop thanking my parents for the experience.  It is a production worth seeing!  I'm sure, too, that it's only improved with time.

Bas Relief showing the Prophet Joseph receiving the plates from the Angel Moroni
Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
If you've seen an LDS temple, you've probably seen a depiction of the Angel Moroni.  He's the golden guy who is blowing his horn on the top of the temple.

There are only a couple of temples that do not feature an Angel Moroni statue.  Moroni is the angel spoken of by the Apostle John, who saw "another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." (See Revelation 14:6)

Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
There were many witnesses to the reality of the golden plates.  Eight honest men attested in writing to having seen and handled the plates, saying, "we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken."

Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument
There were also three special witness of the book who were also privileged to not only see the plates, but have an extraordinary experience with them:
"And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon, and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true."
Detail from the Hill Cumorah Monument

View of the monument from the far side
This area is a very beautiful and serene one.

Old Glory flies proudly close to the monument
It has been a harsh winter back East, so the foliage wasn't all back yet.  It's a glorious place in the summer, when everything is green.

My nephew says that, while there is a paved walkway up the side of the hill closest to the road and visitor's center, the far side has been left to nature.  It doesn't look much different than it did 187 years ago.

The town of Palmyra is small, and not much bigger today than it was in 1827.  The surrounding countryside is mostly rolling hills and farmland.

View from the top of the hill.
The Hill Cumorah is located four miles south of the village of Palmyra, New York, on Highway 21.  The Visitor's Center is open daily.

For more information, visit: