Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Swiss Disco

You can just make out the musician behind the bar
in this photo of the Swiss Restaurant interior
I have a dear friend who, every now and then, drags me along on culinary adventures.  So, I shouldn't have been surprised on Friday night to be whisked  off to Valley Glen to the Swiss Chef Restaurant.

Valley Glen is an area close to Van Nuys, and, believe me, an unlikely place for a good restaurant.

Okay, I have been to this place before, and their Swiss/German/Italian cuisine is excellent.  Last time we were serenaded by accordion music and a violinist.

This time was something even more fun!

These statues greet visitors in the foyer
We got there late, and as we were about half-way into our delicious meals (think Sauerbraten, and Rahmschnitzel with spaetzli and red cabbage - yum!) when the chef came out of the kitchen, doffed his tall white chef's hat, picked up a microphone and began singing along with the musician who had been playing soft mood music through our dinner!

Chef Ueli Huegli with the mike
We began to laugh, but then were quickly caught up in the show.  It was a LOT of fun.

The Swiss cap for for a song about a tired soldier whose feet hurt
We listened to all kinds of old favorites, many of which were familiar to me, sung in German, French and Italian. The audience often sang along.

Entertaining the birthday group of ladies
There were lots of corny jokes.  At one point the chef flicked a switch on a round lamp and quipped, "Look!  Swiss Disco!"

The restaurant was only partially filled, but everyone there had a lot of fun, even getting up to dance in the small space available.

At one point, they even played the Chicken Dance to the delight of the dancers!

This harvest setting greeting us as we came into the restaurant
What a fun evening!  I noticed one table of German people who knew all the German songs that were performed and happily sang along.  We participated as best we could in singing the French songs and English songs and others that we knew.

I laughed and really enjoyed myself.

Perhaps the best part of all was that the whole evening was so unexpected.

Christmas Village
On the way out of the restaurant, we stopped to admire the beautiful Christmas Village display.  There were some charming ceramic houses there.  It was an extensive collection.

A Woody is parked at the Village Gas Station
I love this stuff.  The hostess told us that it took about 13 hours to set this up properly.  It was so painstakingly, and lovingly, done.

The Ski Run
I think my favorite was the ski run!  The tiny skiers swooshed down the mountain and then would reappear at the top to swoosh down again!

The peaceful village
"You need to come back next week," the hostess continued.  "We'll be getting in our big Christmas trees then!"  Yes.  She said TREES.  Plural.

If you want a bit of Old World charm for the holidays, visit the Swiss Chef Restaurant.  You can check out the menu and get more information on their website at

I intend to enjoy some time off, so this is my last post until Monday, December 1st.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

BYU Football

The Brigham Young University Stadium
Part of my family attended the BYU-Savannah State game on Saturday.

I do not know what possesses folks to sit in the rain to watch football.  A love of the game?  A love of their team (my Alma Mater, by the way), ... a streak of masochism?  A mix of all three?

Just kidding.

BYU was leading at halftime.  That is, if you can call a score of 51 to nothing a lead.  Sounds more like a rout or thrashing or total football annihilation.

The report was that by the third quarter it started raining in earnest.  Up until that time it was just a mild, gentle, soaking rain.

Yes, they are football nuts, why do you ask?

Jay, Christian and Nils
I love my handsome guys.  In the above shot, don't you think Christian looks ready for his Vogue photo shoot?  His sessions with his camera-toting sister have created a high fashion model mentality, I fear! (Sorry, Christian, you're just such a good photo model.)

By the time they got home, the rain had turned to snow, and it was snowing hard.

This is one of the many reasons I live in Southern California.

This is also one of the many reasons I miss my family.  I love these lunatics!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gobble, Gobble!

My Turkey Pin
Years ago - and I'm guessing nearly 20 years ago - someone (I truly have forgotten who) made this Turkey pin and handed them out at Thanksgiving Dinner.  

I've been wearing it at every Thanksgiving celebration since then.  I'm wearing it on my shirt right now, as a matter of fact, in honor of Thanksgiving coming up this week.  I intend to keep wearing it until Thursday.

So there.

I'm girding my loins for a great feast day on Thursday, and a nice long weekend.  I hope you are, too!

We all have so very much to be thankful for.  I know I do.

I'm thankful for great friends who made, and continue to make, the holidays special.

Friday, November 21, 2014


Who is that?
We live in a one hundred year-old apartment where it can be rather drafty as the weather gets colder at night, particularly when the wind blows.

I wondered if Jack would like a snuggly place, so I made him one on the end of the couch.  It took a towel, some pillows and a blanket on top.

It's me!
It was a big hit! 

May you have a snuggly place of your own this winter.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

TBT: Yahtzee Anyone?

Playing Yahtzee at my Aunt's home
Here I am visiting my Oslo, Norway-based Aunt, Tante Lillemor, in the 1990s.  Is it cold there? You betcha. I'm wearing like 3 sweaters!

Yahtzee was a passion one summer I visited long ago, and it was a tradition that continued through the years.
I have Norwegian Yahtzee score cards somewhere,
but I couldn't find them for this!
 My Aunt became a foster mom in many ways after my own mother, her sister, passed away.  I was always grateful for her!  She was great to talk to - and to play Yahtzee with!
Aunt Lillemor
Do you play Yahtzee?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Life in Shanghai

Sculptures by Chinese Sculptor and Artist Xie Agie
If you are ever in the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai, you will see these three gentlemen greeting you. My friend Jeff is still in Shanghai working, and has posted some fun photos of his life there!

Jeff with the three gracious gentlemen
The view from the Park Hyatt in Shanghai is spectacular.

The lounge

I love this photo Jeff took of the city at sunset
Down by the South Bund waterfront there is a newly developed restaurant and shop area called the Cool Docks.  There you can find all sorts of different restaurants, including Bubba's, serving down home Texas barbeque!

The Cool Docks
The Jing'an Temple is on West Nanjing Road in the downtown area of Shanghai.  It has a 780 year history.  The temple was located on the bank of the Wusong River in the 12th century, but burned to the ground in 1972.

Reconstruction began in 1984, and the Temple was again opened to the public in 1990.
Jing'an Temple at night
There is an exhibition hall of Buddhist Relics at the temple site, and a fair is held yearly here during April which draws worshippers from far and wide.

Maglev Train
The Maglev train in Shanghai is a high-speed magnetic levitation train which connects the airport to the outskirts of town where people can easily switch over to the Metro.  The train usually runs between 80-100 kilometers per hour, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-65 mph, but it can run up to 90 to 125 mph!

Shanghai Peace Cinemas
There are quite a few movie theatres in Shanghai that show English language films, but only about 30 films are allowed to be imported every year, so the choice is limited to the big summer blockbusters and popular Hollywood films.

Foreign films are shown in the original language with Mandarin subtitles.  The exception is children's films, which are dubbed into Chinese.  They also provide Chinese language films with English subtitles.

Don't expect the usual popcorn movie fare like we have in American movie theatres, though!  Jeff was surprised to see the snack menu:

Movie Snacks

Dried Duck's Gizzards?

I don't know about you, but I think I'd rather have popcorn!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Phoenix Temple

The Newly Dedicated Phoenix Temple
Sunday marked a very special occasion for the people of Phoenix, Arizona.  A new Latter-day Saint temple was dedicated to God.  The temple is located on West Pinnacle Peak Road in Phoenix.

This is the 144th operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the 5th operating temple in Arizona.

Groundbreaking ceremonies
Ground was formally broken for the temple in a small ceremony on Saturday, June 4, 2011.  The ceremony was presided over by Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Presidency of the Seventy.

On May 15, 2013, the traditional gold-leafed figure of the Angel Moroni was installed on top of the spire.  A small group of enthusiastic workers and members gathered to witness that milestone event.
Placing the Angel Moroni statue on the tops of temples is a joyful occasion
The angel Moroni is the angel spoken of by the Apostle John, who wrote:
And I 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, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
New Testament/Revelations 14:6-7

The Angel Moroni
 The Angel Moroni statue sits atop the spires of most LDS temples (one of the exceptions is the Mesa, Arizona temple).

Bopping at the Cultural Celebration
The dedication of a new temple is always the cause of great rejoicing.  To commemorate the event, the youth of the Phoenix area came together for a Cultural Celebration spectacular with singing and dancing in front of a backdrop of a lighted temple display.
The youth of the Phoenix area put on a spectacular show
The temple and surrounding grounds include extensive gardens, parking, and a meetinghouse where regular Sunday services are held.

The temple was dedicated in three sessions on Sunday, November 16th by President Thomas S. Monson. Several of my friends who attended spoke of the incredible outpouring of the spirit throughout the day.  What a glorious experience.  I attended the Mesa temple re-dedication in the 1970s and remember what a special experience that was. 

When he announced that a fifth temple would be built in Arizona, President Monson stated, "The blessings of the temple are eternal.  Those who come to this holy house will feel of God's love for His children and come to a greater understanding of their own divine origin and potential as his sons and daughters."

Other Arizona Temples now include:

The Gila Valley Temple
Dedicated on May 23, 2010 by President Thomas S. Monson

The Gilbert Temple
Dedicated on March 2, 2014 by President Thomas S. Monson

The Snowflake Temple
Dedicated on March 3, 2002, by President Gordon B. Hinckley

The Mesa Temple
Dedicated on October 23-26, 1927 by President Heber J. Grant
Rededicated (after remodeling) on April 15-16, 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball
In addition to these five temples, a sixth Arizona temple has been announced.  It will be constructed in the Tucson area.

"Each holy temple stands as a symbol of our membership in the Church, as a sign of our faith in life after death, and as a sacred step toward eternal glory for us and our families."
-Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Evening With My Sisters

Listening to Sister Pendleton
Thursday night we had an informal Relief Society gathering down at the church house.  It's always fun to gather with my sisters, so I dashed over after work, barely making it in time for the opening prayer!

We each got a little craft Christmas card to complete
The evening began with a simple and quite easy craft project.   We all got to make little Christmas cards with colored paper and stamps.  There were little envelopes to slip them into.  I think mine looked pretty good.

I'm not much at crafts, but this 5-minute craft was fun!

Waiting out turns for sharing

Enjoying the evening
Sister Delgado's mom was visiting.  It was fun that she was able to join us.  The Sister Missionaries had brought along several women with them, as well.  We had a good group.

We were encouraged to bring donations for Deseret Industries, and many did
We were asked to bring gently used shoes for donating to Deseret Industries.  Many brought various donations.  We got a pretty good pile of donations!

After a short program, we had dessert - yummy pumpkin and apple holiday pies

Yummy desserts!
 It was all just as good as it looks.
Just the way I like it!
I really enjoy our Relief Society get-togethers.  We don't get to visit nearly enough at church on Sundays.

Relief Society is the oldest, and largest women's organization in the world!  I love my Relief Society sisters.  You go, Girls!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My Cuddle Bunny

Hi, Mom! 
Jack enjoys it when the weather is cooler.  It means we can snuggle up under quilts and afghans.  It's very snuggly-wuggly on the couch these days.

I'm trying to watch the show, Mom.

Are you STILL taking pictures?
Yes, Jack.  Thanks for posing!  You are my snuggle bunny.

Have a good weekend, everyone!