Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Friends

Cammy has a friend named Victoria. She lives in Michigan. For the past few years they have been penpals. Yes, they still send snail mail to each other. They met through Victoria's grandparents who are friends from our neighborhood. Each Christmastime when she flies out to visit they are able to spend some time together. They had loads of fun in their various activities this year. Victoria is an only child and sometimes Cammy feels like an only child, so they hit it off splendidly.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Gingerbread Tradition

For the past several years, Cammy and her friend Hannah have spent the Friday afternoon before Christmas at our home decorating Gingerbread Houses. Each year they get more fancy. I think the girls really look forward to this tradition because Hannah asked at Halloween if we were doing it again this year. That makes me smile.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Dickens of a Tale

Every year our family watches "A Christmas Carol" starring George C. Scott. It is my favorite version. When I was hired for my first teaching job, I was replacing a teacher who had decided to get married and had given two weeks notice. So I stepped into the classroom a week later in November. Not much time to prepare or plan curriculum. One saving grace for me since it was close to Christmas was I knew we could read "A Christmas Carol" for my 8th grade English classes. And to make it even better, I learned that CBS would be showing a brand new version of the movie that very Christmas. The Deseret News had decided to print a study guide to accompany the movie. Perfect. So, for the next four weeks we studied this powerful tale of change, forgiveness, hope and love. And for bonus points, my students watched the film. 25 years later it still moves me deeply.

Running a close second, though, would have to be "A Muppet Christmas Carol". This film is absolutely brilliant. Michael Caine is a marvelous Scrooge. His emotions are raw and real. Certain scenes cause me to tear up every time. (Jim Henson was a genius, by the way. So glad his son, Brian chose to honor his memory by staying true to his vision.)

If you haven't seen either film, I highly recommend you add them to your Christmas tradition. They are readily available at local stores.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Only the Piano Player

The Spring Creek Concert Choir (grades 4-6) sang at the BYU President's Breakfast. They sounded beautiful. Their director, Miss Barker is fabulous.

When it was the choir's turn to perform we came down to the ballroom and the children all filed onto the risers. I looked around AND SAW THERE WAS NO PIANO! Hello! This is a CHOIR! They do use a piano for most of their numbers. So we had a brief delay while man on walkie-talkie arranged to get a grand rolled out on stage. Not the set-up I imagined. The choir was below the stage risers. I was center stage at the piano. Awkward. But it all turned out fine. My eyes were killing me afterwards, though as I had to play in a bright green stage- light shining on the music. My friend, Brenda, told me that I looked very Christmasy with my hair glowing in the green light accented by my red scarf. Lovely.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our Morning with Big Budah

Yesterday selected students from my daughter's school had to arrive at 5:30 a.m. to be spotlighted on Fox 13's Good Day Utah Newscast. The school was chosen as Cool School of the Week. I came along as the accompanist for the Spring Creek Concert Choir of which my daughter is a member. Every 15 minutes students were spotlighted throughout the morning showing different activities: ballroom dancing, robotics, African drumming, technology, RAD kids, Student Council, service projects and Gold Medal Mile.

Big Budah is sort of a local celebrity. (If you don't know him from Fox 13 News, you may have seen him in the movies: The R.M. or Forever Strong.) It was a fun event for the great students and faculty of the school.

*Cammy got face time...too much face time, I'm afraid, and she enjoyed it a lot:) She certainly knew when the camera was on her! Smile and wave (even if you are singing in the choir)...

If you want to see highlights go here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I am grateful for many things. Among them, my family. (photo by Coryn)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My birdies are singing...

My vocal students are sharing their lovely voices at our Autumn Recital.
Join us if you'd like:
The Piano Gallery
650 South State, Orem
November 23rd
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book Group

Loved this book. Love the ladies in my book group. Loved the English Toffee Sticky Pudding that was served. Love to read a good book.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


My girls really love Halloween. I think they really like the chance to be someone/something else for a day. Always fun to see what they come up with. (Court was Max from "Where the Wild Things Are", Cammy-a snow leopard, Coryn-a French mime, and Caitlyn- the redhead "Scooby-Do0" girl...can't recall her name.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Is It November Already?

Some days I feel like this. Especially when I look at my calendar and realize too many things are coming up quickly. I feel this way when I get unorganized and when the clutter piles up and the things-to-do list gets way too long. All I really want to do is curl up in a blanket and read a good book. Perhaps I will...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Haunting

When witches go riding
And black cats are seen
The moon laughs and whispers,
'Tis near Halloween.
(19th Century Poem)

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Homecoming!

I love living in a University Town. "Cougar Town" to be correct. The energy of the students is contagious. As an alumna it is always fun to visit campus. I graduated 25 years ago yet I still feel like a freshman whenever Homecoming rolls around.

This year is exciting for our family because Court did an internship this summer storyboarding the Homecoming Spectacular ( a performance honoring a "FOUNDER" of the University and showcasing all the feature performing groups.) This year's founder is Eugene Roberts (1916) who, among his many achievements founded the athletic department, labeled the athletes "Cougars", promoted the building of the women's gymnasium, started the recreational leadership program and nurtured some world-class athletes. He brought social dance and the intermural program to BYU.

This year's theme: "Reach the Summit" is a reflection of Robert's great love of the mountains, particularly Mount Timpanogoes. He established the Timp Hike and named the trailhead Aspen Grove.

Court was able to hike to the summit of Timp along with the cast and crew for the film segments. Read her account and see her photos here.

Eugene Lusk Roberts, shown here with his wife, on one of his many hikes to the summit of Timp.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One More Time

Caitlyn is getting a lot of practice singing our National Anthem. A few weeks ago she got a call from Maucario,"the voice" of REAL Salt Lake Soccer asking if she could sing it at the REAL SL vs. BYU Game. She was only given a few hours notice, but sang it like a pro. (Maucario heard Caitlyn sing last year at a benefit concert and remembered her.) Perhaps Caitlyn could go on a tour of stadiums and make a career out of this...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Coryn's Camera

Coryn is taking a photo-journalism class this semester at the university. Most of the students are photography majors (not Coryn) and many dropped out the first day when they learned the demands of the class. The instructor is an award-winning professional photo-journalist. Though the class has been very stressful for Coryn, I am proud of her as she has stuck with it. And the instructor has liked and spotlighted some of Coryn's work. Pretty neat, huh? I think she keeps getting better and better with her photography talent. Way to go! These are some photos she's taken lately.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Anniversary

26 years ago today I married an amazing guy. I am a lucky girl.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Grand General Conference

All of our family enjoyed LDS General Conference this weekend. It is a favorite time of year! Every talk was so timely and important. I must say though, for me, Elder Jeffery R. Holland has always been a favorite. His talk and his testimony of the Book of Mormon was magnificent!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How do I Rate?

My friend, Mason Branning, future Disney-Pixar Animator Extraordinaire, took my suggestion for his Red, White, and Black Series and created this fabulous picture for me! As you can see Mason is an amazing talent. Actually a man of many talents and a great sense-of-humor. Check out his fun blog: www.pickles-therightplace.blogspot.com!

State of the Nation

My daughter, Courtney, took this photo while on her mission in OHIO. I think it is timely....

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Harvey, great game! So glad you are feeling better. Victor, congrats on your mission call to Honolulu, HAWAII. (Mission or vacation, dude?)

We are so proud of you both. That is so cool Harvey how you helped Victor train daily since January to reach his goal weight to be eligible to serve his mission. Wow! A 60 pound loss is no small feat. Way to go!

We will always remember the day your family "adopted" us (at your sister Lulama's 18th birthday celebration.) We were presented with the most beautiful leis handmade by your sweet mother, Telisia. We sat at a 'table of honor.' We felt like Tongan royalty. Your father made us feel so special. It was a night to remember.

It has been a joy to watch you grow into fine young men.

And Harvey, you always make this 'old sister' feel great whenever you see me and flash me that million dollar smile and give me a big bear hug. For a moment I am the envy of every girl on campus:).

Stay healthy and happy my brothers!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Autumn!

My favorite season of the year! Time for a drive up the canyon...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm a Rockstar!

I'm in the grocery store and I notice this little girl about 5 years old sitting in a cart. Every time we go down the same aisle she is pointing at me and whispering something to her mother. I start wondering if I have a hole in my pants or some food on my face. After a few passes, the mother stops me and says, "My daughter wants me to ask you if you are the lady who played the beautiful piano music for the Primary Choir at Stake Conference in the Tabernacle. She insists it is you."

I assured the little gal that indeed it was me. For a brief moment I considered getting a pen out of my purse to give her an autograph. (Just kidding.) However, it was pretty funny considering that the little girl was not in the choir and just sitting in the congregation. Very observant. Hey, I'm just the piano player! Made my day...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Don't Miss "Broken Hill"

If you are in the Provo or Salt Lake City area, put this on your movie-viewing list. It will be in theaters September 11th. (The premiere was in Australia a few weeks ago.) It is an excellent 'coming-of-age' movie about realizing your dreams and it revolves around music. It is also family friendly.

It stars Alexa Vega (Spy Kids), Luke Arnold (a handsome Aussie) and Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton.

The reason I am extra excited is that I am a member of the Audience Alliance Founder's Circle headed by Academy Award winning director Kieth Merrill. As original members we spend time reviewing scripts, giving feedback and even making suggestions for casting choices. It is a fun process to be part of. "Broken Hill" is the first script to come out of the process and be completed. I loved the script and I like the casting for this film. The cinematography is breathtaking, especially the shots of the Australian landscape. Kieth's son Dagen is the director. He has an excellent future in this field.

For all of us wanting more quality, non-offensive films, (and this is not a' fluffy' piece) we need to support them or they won't be made. (This particular film will probably appeal to ages 11 and older.) Don't miss it. (Alexa will be at some of the screenings in Provo, though we haven't been told when or where. It will be shown at the SCERA and Wynnsong Theaters.) Check listings.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tell Me a Story

For our last "Hurrah" of summer our family attended the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival all day Saturday. Fun was had by all! Puppet Shows, singer/songwriters, potters, food, art and of course some of the best professional storytellers in the world. I even had a lovely conversation with one of my favorite artists, James Christensen (see above art) and decided to splurge on his trio of art piece commemorating the 1st, 10th and 20th anniversaries of the Festival.

If you've never been to the Festival put it on your "to do" list for next September. You won't regret it! Read more at: http://www.timpfest.org

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Love To See The Temple

This morning as I was leaving the peaceful Provo Temple I commented to a sister, "Isn't this a beautiful way to start the day?" She smiled and said, "It's all downhill from here." True.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Color Purple

A few weeks ago as I was sitting in an Education Week class, I noticed a strange thing. At some point during the lecture my mind began to wander and I began to slowly look around the room. There were probably about 200 or so students and I observed the most amazing pattern. About every 4th person was wearing some shade of purple. I kid you not! Even the carpet and the chair cushions were purple. This was indeed a a serendipity moment. I do love purple.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Love this Blog...Love this Family

Most of you are familiar with "Nie Nie" by now. (If not, please go to the button on my blog list and read Stephanie and Christian Nielsen's story. She has posted her archives as well.) Her sister, Courtney Jane, who took care of three of their children after the plane crash writes cjane enjoy it. cjane is a gifted writer. I never fail to be moved or enlightened when I read her entries. She gives such a wonderful and unique perspective on life, love and family. (see my blog list)

My favorite blog, The Jolly Porter, (written by cjane and nie's brother Christopher Clark) went into moratorium several months ago and I've been in mourning ever since. (This summer, though, I've gotten my fix from his Mind the Gap blog where he journals of his London experiences with his study abroad students.)

My small connection to this family is that we lived across the street from their Grandma Clark for 10 years. She lived in a charming yellow house with a well-groomed yard full of cheerful flowers. She was an amazing lady. She raised 8 children all alone after being widowed at a young age when her husband was killed in a plane crash. Her youngest was 6 months at the time. One of her children, Steve, (the father of these bloggers) is a fine man and is running for Mayor of our City. (Christopher also directed my daughter, Caitlyn, in "Kiss My Kate" a few summers ago. He is funny, multi-talented and a good human being.)

Anyway, I just wanted to say that this family really KNOWS what family is all about and I admire them.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh, Say Can You Sing?

Caitlyn was selected as one of 20 finalists who auditioned to sing the National Anthem at The LA Dodgers game on August 6th sponsored by LDS Open Auditions. The field of singers was narrowed down from over 700 who submitted CD's. From that number 500 were selected, the number then halfed to 250, and then 80 semi-finalists were chosen for live auditions in LA and SLC. These finalists were picked by producers, studios vocalists and professional musicians in the business. Singers came from all over the US.

In the letter announcing her as a semi-finalist it said "All singers should be aware that the Los Angeles Dodgers prefer the anthem to be sung in a fairly straight-forward manner..." As a vocal coach and singer I have always agreed with this. Our National Anthem should be sung with respect, dignity and with very little embellishment. That said, I was very proud of Caitlyn who chose to honor that request at her audition. I found it very interesting, however, to listen to the numerous contestants who took the opportunity to over-embellish and add many vocal gymnastics to the anthem. The simple beauty of the song is often lost when this occurs.

Anyway, the experience was a good one for Caitlyn. Best wishes to the six who won the opportunity to appear at Dodger Stadium.

You can watch other performances at deseretbook.com/dodgers

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blessed, Honored Pioneer

This beautiful painting is courtesy of my friend, Robert McFarland (his wife Robbie is one of my dear long-time friends, and she is his promotions manager.) We are lucky enough to own one of his early paintings. Check out his work at: http://artistwife.wordpress.com/

Being the product of Pioneers who walked and walked and walked and walked....to get to the west, I felt it only fitting to post in honor of Utah Pioneer Days which we celebrate each year on July 24th. Utah We Love Thee! This is the Right Place...for sure. Don't pick the Sego Lilies. We love Seagulls. For some must push and some must pull. You get the drift. Pioneers rock. All is well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Secondary Characters

A few years ago the girls and I drove up to Salt Lake City for a "Meet and Greet" with some of the actors from the Harry Potter movie series. After waiting for what seemed like forever, the actors emerged from their hiding places. We were not allowed to take our photos with the actors, as later on there was an opportunity to PAY to have your photo with them. I think it was for a charity. We passed. So in honor of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which book I finally finished, thank you very much) I give you these very odd photos.

Coryn attempting to get a photo with said actors:

Monday, July 6, 2009

Oh England!

This week I wish I was there...

Monday, June 29, 2009

The First Decade

Our ten and a half pound bundle:

On June 29, 1999 Camryn (who prefers Cammy) entered our lives. Our caboose. Joy, fun, imagination, cleverness, talent, affection and love came with this package. I love you" a bushel and a peck," Cammy! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!

Monday, June 22, 2009

No Longer Wise

Coryn and Cait had their wisdom teeth removed this past weekend. Of course, I would not be alive to write this post had I put an actual "after-surgery" photo up. (Coryn actually had her teeth out at age 14, but apparently a fifth one grew in...weird, I know.) Believe me, the after-surgery moments were priceless and embarrassing; they were just like two drunks I'd picked up off the road. Coryn has healed faster, of course. Poor Caitlyn has had a rough go of it and is expected back to work Tuesday, chipmunk cheeks and all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Check Out Truman

I'm liking this new CD by brothers Ben and Chad Truman. Caitlyn went to their CD release concert last Friday and brought me a copy. Their parents, Dan and Wendee are college friends of mine. (I can even brag that I performed with them once upon a time.) Wendee is a beautiful vocalist and Dan is an amazing pianist/songwriter (and member of the multi-award winning country group Diamond Rio). They are also truly nice people. How neat to hear the "musical genes" carrying on with their talented and cute sons! To find out more about Truman, listen to their music, buy the CD and find out where they are performing visit: www.myspace.com/trumanboys

Monday, June 8, 2009

What's Your Favorite Flavor?

"Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos."
(Don Kardong)
True...so true.