Friday, July 31, 2015

Our Anniversary

My Guy Jack
Today is a special anniversary!  It's the anniversary of the day Jack came to live with me.

My sweetheart
It was 5 years ago today that I brought him home from the ladies that had rescued him and his siblings from certain death on the mean streets.
Always up for a game
After five years, we've finally hit a comfortable stride.  We get along well, know each other's quirks (at least he knows mine TOO WELL!), and rub along happily.
Sometimes Jack is a bit of a brat
Like all cats, Jack has his ideas about how our lives should be.  That's okay.  He's also very kind and patient with me.
He's my snuggle bunny, too... sometimes
 He is getting better at being a lap cat.  We're working on that!
My Cutie-pie
He's fun to play with and has a very cute, floofy tummy.  I tease him about that, but I love tickling his floooooooffffffyy tummy.
My little furry hero
In other words, Jack is a great companion.  I'm glad he's in my life.  I think everyone deserves a little furry companion.  Rescue cats rock.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

TBT: Flashback to 1971

Jay in New York, 1971
My little brother posted this on Facebook, and I had to share it with you.  This is a throwback to a different time - the summer of 1971 in New York City.  Jay was 12 years old.

You can see the Twin Towers on the left.  They were under construction at the time.

Below is Jay with his youngest boy, Christian, posing in the Sacred Grove, near Palmyra New York, on vacation last summer.

Christian and his dad
Christian is now 12.

It makes you wonder what the world will be like in 44 more years, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Family Home Evening

Livia and Fred reading together
I'm glad to read that my nephew Daniel holds Family Home Evening.  This is the one night a week - usually Monday night - where the family gets together to read scriptures, have activities and interact positively as a family.

Running races in the kitchen
Family Home Evening was held in my home growing up.  Sometimes on a hit and miss basis, but we did it!  Moving forward, my brother has been faithful in holding Home Evening with his family, and I see the blessings that come from this being passed along to the next generation.

Who will get the chair?
In the Old Testament we read:
13 And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.
Isaiah 54:13

Fred and Livia with their new brother, Olaf
If you want to have a happy, peaceful home, take the time to do positive activities together as a family.  It helps to designate one night a week for that purpose with no other interruptions.

Read the scriptures, play games, discuss family problems, pray and laugh together. It's simple, really.

That's what it's all about.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sheree's Baby Shower

The house was beautifully decorated for the shower!
I've known Sheree since she was an adorable little blonde two-year-old running around the church house of the Pickering Ward in Whittier, where I live.  She grew up into a beautiful young woman, seemingly overnight - and married a really great guy.

They are currently in the process of living happily ever after.

A couple of Saturdays ago I was invited to a baby shower for Sheree.  She's having a girl, so everything was appropriately decorated in PINK.

The patio was beautifully decorated and filled with food - and gifts for the new baby
It was one of those rare days in Southern California where it threatens to rain.  The remnants of Hurricane Dolores was sliding up from the south and we weren't sure if we were going to get any moisture or not out of it, but the day started out gloomy and filled with ominous clouds.  Those kind of days don't come often (in fact we have barely had any in the past 3-4 years), so instead of being sad about the rain interfering with the shower (which sounds funny now that I write it), everyone there was overjoyed and very happy about it.

We sat under two huge tarp tents and were very comfy, even when we heard occasional rainy drippy drops thumping against the tent roofs.

It was lovely to hear some rain - and it didn't dampen our spirits at all.

The Loot!
The setting could not have been more pleasant.  We were treated to an excellent lunch.  There was chicken Alfredo pasta and a pasta dish with an Arrabiata sauce, plenty of fruit and salad and rolls. Every thing I tried... and I tried it all!... was delicious.

One of Sheree's little nieces helped with the food set-up
There were so many women there!  I knew maybe half of them, if that.  It was nice to see the support this young couple got for this new adventure in their lives.

At first we were shy about getting something to eat... that didn't last

Sheree's dad (center) enjoying the festivities along with other family members
I think they make the cutest couple.

Sheree and Nathan
Sheree always looks glamorous.  I dare anyone to be nearly 9 months pregnant and look this good! (The baby is due at the end of August)

Nathan finally pulled up a chair to watch Sheree open gifts.  That's her brother sitting on the ground next to him. (Her brother is a skilled photographer - you should probably be seeing his photos of this event rather than mine!)

Sheree's sister (in green on the left) records the gifts while her Mom, (in orange on the far right) watches
I don't think I captured half of the attendees with my lens.

But I tried.

This little girl is going to have some adorable things to wear!
My friend Kimmy
Nathan tries a hand at opening one of the bigger gifts

Not bad!
The sky had been threatening - and sprinkling on us - all through the morning.  By the time the shower began to break up, around 3 pm, it finally started raining in earnest.

The dark rain clouds above us
We still were able to manage a couple of the silly, obligatory games... I won a candy bar for my efforts!

Playing a silly baby-oriented Candy Game
Some ladies from my ward made it.  I should have gotten a better photo of them!  Oops.

I believe this is one of Sheree's Aunts in the foreground
Every table had a cute centerpiece
What a fun afternoon.  I returned home that day in a very good mood.  Once the shower was over, the rain began in earnest.  It rained gently for the remainder of the day.  It was truly lovely.

I can't wait to meet this little girl when she comes into the world.  It won't be long now!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Pioneer Day

Mormon Handcart Pioneers statue, Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah
If I only lived in Utah, I'd have the day off today.  Sadly, I'm still in California, and I'll be at the office today, as usual, slaving away.

But in Utah, it's Pioneer Day - a day honoring our LDS pioneer ancestors who came across this great country of ours and settled the Salt Lake basin starting back in 1847.

Being in California I'll miss the parades honoring them.  There will be parades throughout Utah today.  There will be lots of backyard grilling, too, I imagine.

On July 24th of 1847, Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley with an advance company of engineers and scientists, and uttered those now famous words, "This is the right place, drive on!"

More than 70,000 Latter-day Saints made this trek in the following years via either oxen-pulled wagons or handcarts.  I can't comprehend what that must have been like!

Later, of course, the railroad came through, and changed everything.

"For some must push and some must pull.."
Those early pioneers not only helped settle Utah, but also began settlements in Idaho, Arizona, Nevada and California.  We owe them a great debt for their faith and courage in carving out a new life from a wilderness.

I think about them every time I make a road trip in my comfortable car through long stretches of desert through those states.  I am in awe of those women, especially, who left comfortable homes in well-established Eastern United States cities, and European capitals, to forge a life in the unknown.

Truly they were (as the song says) "Blessed, Honored, Pioneers"!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Our Marketing Luncheon

Suria and Yours Truly
All the Marketing Coordinators got together recently with the Corporate Marketing Director in our company.  We usually meet on a Quarterly basis for training and pep talks.  We have a bunch of great women in our firm, and I love getting together with these ladies!

This was our first Marketing Meeting with our new Marketing Director, Suria (above left).  She actually held my position once upon a time, but had moved on before I came on board.  She's been in all kinds of places in the Corporate world since then.  She's a great lady.  We're lucky to have her.

Nikita and Sabrina and Danika
I feel lucky to have such great co-workers.  These women are kind, intelligent, thoughtful, and always ready to help.
Denise and Suria perusing the menu

We have a lot of fun together at these meetings.  We laugh a lot.  A LOT.  I love that they're not shy about posing for the camera, either.  You go, girls!

Sabrina and Danika
It's nice to be able to spend time with people who do the exact same thing you do.  They really understand some of the challenges inherent in the type of job we have, so their input and camaraderie are really beneficial.

I'm glad to be part of this unique group!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Elephant Bar

My patriotic friend Lauri
My friend Lauri and I decided to go out to lunch on the 4th of July.  We were shooting for steaks at the North Woods Inn, but when we got there, we discovered it was closed!

Why, the nerve of those guys!  What did they think it was - a holiday or something?

North Woods Inn is a fun place to eat
Then we realized that, although the North Woods Inn was closed, there was an open Elephant Bar restaurant next door.  We'd already driven over to La Mirada, so we decided to try it.

The Elephant Bar is a chain restaurant, so you might have already eaten there.  It takes me a while to catch up.

The place was busy - but mostly because there was a short staff on board that day, being a holiday. We got a charming - i.e. young, tall, and handsome! - waiter who was a delight and very friendly. He really helped make the afternoon a pleasant one.  

First up, was the Parmesan encrusted green beans appetizer.

Parmesan encrusted green beans - Before
We made short work of that dish!
Parmesan encrusted green beans - After
There were lots of yummy dishes on the menu, but we had gotten our tastebuds up for steak, and that's what we both ordered.

Mine was nicely cooked with a side veggies
Lauri got the same with a side salad.

It was all really lovely!

Servers in motion!
We spent such a pleasant afternoon here.  We told the waiter we were in no hurry and to take his time.   Then we just sat and ate and talked and ate and talked and enjoyed our time there.
The bar itself
Next time I'm going back for one of the shrimp dishes!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Veronica's Baby Shower

Our beautiful Co-Worker Veronica
My co-workers got together recently for a company luncheon and baby shower for Veronica and her baby Mia who is arriving in a few weeks.

It was a lot of fun!

The cake featured Veronica's sister Barbara's artwork.  I thought it was really cute!
One half of the cake was filled with Guava jam, the other side with Raspberry filling!

This was my first co-ed baby shower.  I discovered that guys, especially engineers, can get pretty funny under these circumstances!

Guessing the chocolate flavors!
One of the games we played was guessing the chocolate flavor - the catch was that each candy bar to be identified was mashed and presented in a small baby diaper.

The silliest game was the funniest!
These guys, of course, had no qualms about tasting it - much to the delight of onlookers (like Ivy and Giuseppe, below!)

Albert taste-testing the diaper contents
 Hilarity ensued.
Caucus in the corner on chocolate flavors!
It's funny how off-putting chocolate can be when presented in a baby diaper!  We couldn't stop laughing.  It was a very funny game.
Here Veronica is cracking up over Anthony's approach to the quiz
I think Anthony (above) won.  Winning was irrelevant in this case.  It was just darn funny.

That Friday was a Manager's Meeting, so we were joined by our President and CEO (Jimmy, above and below, in the blue shirt), and various company-wide upper management who don't work at our facility.

Digging in!  The food was very good!
The company brought in lunch from a local Mexican Delicatessen.  It was really good - enchiladas and red chili, tortillas, rice and beans.  Everyone seemed to really enjoy it.
Barbara stands with her camera at the ready!
The Los Angeles conference room has never been pressed into Baby Shower duty before!

Say Cheese everyone!  Everyone?  They ignored me - the food was too good.

Carmen, Ana and Barbara enjoying lunch

Giuseppe, Nikita, Carlos, and Mengzhao
As you can tell by our names, we are an international bunch.

Shirley, Juan, Dodds Kenneth and Stephen
I didn't realize I'd caught Veronica's baby bump in the picture (above) until just now!  It won't be long now!
Stephen won the door prize.  His own little son was born just before Christmas
Finally, Veronica began opening gifts.  The company had taken up a cash collection to help her and her husband get needed big ticket items.  However, there were also a few fun presents to open.
Veronica is under there somewhere!
That big pink basket came from Carmen, our receptionist.  Beautiful, huh?

The classic Baby Shower Show and Tell
It's great the way people light up around pregnant women and new babies.  There is just a special feeling in the air - that anticipation of new life, a perpetuation of the species, call it what you will. It's delightful and energizing and lovely.

How fun to share this time with friendly co-workers.

I can't wait for Mia to be born!