Monday, August 23, 2010

Flashback: August 1984

Receiving my Bachelor of Arts Degree from then BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland.
( I was 5 months pregnant with Courtney.)

26 years later: Coryn and Courtney. Time certainly flies.

Friday, August 20, 2010

"By seeing LONDON, I have seen as much of life as the world can show." ~Samuel Johnson

Coryn says we only saw about 1/20th of the city during our stay. That amazes me! I felt like we ran several marathons during our 8 days and covered a lot of territory. To think that there is that much more to see blows my mind. I guess I'll have to start planning several more trips:) Enjoy these photos from my camera.


Flower Shoppe on Portobello Road

St. Paul's Cathedral. "Feed the Birds." Not any more or you will be fined.
(This looks a lot like our State Capitol Building.)

A Garden in Regents Park

Royal Albert Hall

The Prince Albert Memorial

Coryn in a familiar pose in Regents Park

One of several statues surrounding the Prince Albert Memorial.

Beautiful Hydrangeas in the courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).

A cute little World War II candy shoppe in Covent Garden.

The Globe Theatre

Exterior of one of many Pubs we saw.

The Gates at Buckingham Palace

A cafe in Covent Garden

A Mass of Humanity on the streets. I took this from the top of a double-decker:)

Coryn modeling at the gates of Kensington Gardens.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Go Forth to Serve...

(Our family with BYU President and Sister Samuelson)
The Long-Awaited Day has come and gone. Court and Coryn have both received their degrees. We are proud of all their hard work and the great human beings they have become!

Court earned a BFA in Animation and Coryn a BA in English

Friday, August 13, 2010

Audra and I

Here is the promised backstage photo of Audra McDonald. She is a lovely person and an amazing talent.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

And She Sings Her Own Songs Too...

(Photos by Becca Smith)

Caitlyn sang a set at the Singer/Songwriter Series at MUSE Music Cafe last month. They liked her and she was invited back to do another set this Thursday evening. She will do her originals and a couple of covers. Joining her on drums will be her friend Mark Leavy (leaving in October for the Belgium Brussels/Netherlands Mission). Should be fun!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I Interrupt This Blog for a Commercial...

If I do say so myself, my daughter Coryn is getting to be an excellent photographer. She will be leaving the country in a few short months for an extended leave of absence so I just thought I'd say that if you've been wanting a family photo or some candid solo portraits or perhaps a special event photographed, consider contacting her ASAP. See some of her recent shoots and her terms here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

"This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." ~Shakespeare

(Yes, I took this photo, thank you very much.)
We took a train to the London Temple. We got lost. We got found. We were blessed.
We had a lovely experience.


Friday, August 6, 2010

The Red Telephone Booth

One of the first things I was eager to see in London was the Red Telephone Booths, followed by, of course, the Red Double-Decker Buses. The minute we got off the tube and came up the stairs and onto the street these were indeed the first things I saw and I knew I had arrived.

A few years ago there was a discussion going on with the London Mayor and Council about removing those phone booths. They were no longer serving a purpose and were becoming more or less rubbish receptacles. There was an uproar. "These are iconic." "They are symbols of our City." "It must not be done."

And so they remain.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's a Small World After All...

On one of our evenings at the theatre (The Prince of Homburg at the Donmar Warehouse), I happened to look over during the interval and there was Christopher Clark. I immediately had to rush over to talk to him. I mean, how often are you in London and you run into a fellow Provoan? Chris is a Professor of Theatre at UVU and takes his students each summer to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. They spend several weeks absorbing the culture, theatre, and sights of London, Paris and various other areas. Lucky students to have Chris as their teacher and guide. (I officially met Chris when Caitlyn was cast in his Kiss Me Kate three summers ago, though I had met him and his brothers and sisters when they were little and visited their Grandma Marion, our neighbor.)

Chris is one of those people that everyone should know. He is witty, smart, kind and so very talented. He is one of my theatre-directing idols. (He also starred in the very funny film: Stalking Santa.)If you want to get a taste of his humor he writes a blog each summer about his adventures in the UK: Mind the Gap. He even blogged about our encounter:) (July25th post).

Because I tend to drop names on occasion here is a frame of reference for my readers: Chris is the brother of bloggers extraordinaire: NieNie and cjane. He is the son of former legislator and former councilwoman Steve and Cindy Clark. And he is the husband of lovely Lisa of The Thrillionaires. He has a beautiful and amazing family.

*Colored highlights are links.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Please Mind the Gap

One of the big adventures of London is learning how to navigate the underground transit system. Coryn was a pro and Court and I followed her around like puppy dogs. By the end of our eight days I sort of felt I could perhaps find my way back to our hotel if I got lost. But just sort of...

The Underground is hot and stuffy. Filled with a mass of humanity. Men in business suits, mums with children, tattooed teenagers, beautiful French, British and Indian women. It is not good to go during rush hours (kind of like I-15) which we learned a few times. The closest I've come to experiencing this type of transportation was the NYC Subway and this is by far more intricate. It is actually quite amazing to think this was all designed under the ground.

(This is only a small section of the entire system.)

Constant announcements come over the PA : "Mind the gap between the train and the platform." "Mind the closing doors." "Please allow passengers off before boarding."

One particular announcement at Piccadilly Line caught me off guard: "Ladies and Gentleman, please keep your belongings close. Pickpockets operate at this station." (The Artful Dodger, alive and well.)

To sum it up: One day we heard a darling little British boy about age 5 say (pointing to the entrance of The Underground): "Mummy, we need to go down there. That's where London is!"

Monday, August 2, 2010

That will be 20 Pence please...

We took the train to Lingfield, Surrey to get to the London LDS Temple. While at the Victoria Station we went to find a restroom (or toilet as they call them). At the entrance sat a man in a uniform with a sign that read: 20 Pence for Use of Toilet. "Urinetown" anyone?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Home Away from Home

While in London we stayed at the Edward Lear Hotel. I would call it more of a Bed & Breakfast. It is at least 200 years old, if not more. (Edward Lear wrote silly limericks. He was an artist and traveler.)

We stayed on the 2nd floor, which really felt like the 4th floor after walking up 4 staircases. The home has a charming ambiance. There were cracks in the ceilings and walls. But it was so clean and the sheets were at least a 600 thread count:) We were lucky to have our own bathroom. Many of the tenants shared. There was no A/C, but at night we would open the window and get a fairly comfortable breeze.

Every morning we went to a Breakfast Room and were served an English Breakfast which consisted of eggs (poached, scrambled, boiled or fried), bacon (which was really ham), sausage, beans, toast, and a canned tomato. It was supplemented by cereals and juices. Some days we just ate cereal and toast as we weren't used to such a big breakfast. We sat at little tables with linen napkins. Our place mats were tiles with illustrated drawings and limericks by Mr. Lear. A waitress would take our order and then send it down below on a dumbwaiter (a tiny elevator for food) and the food would magically appear a few minutes later.

In the alley behind our place late at night we would watch waiters/waitresses hanging out smoking and laughing so we figured it was a restaurant or pub. Every night about 2:00 am we would hear a loud crash of broken glass as it was thrown into a dumpster. We figured it was liquor bottles. One day we walked around the block to check it out. It was a fancy 5-star style hotel with a doorman. So we figured that was the back kitchen door of the restaurant.

The great thing was we were only two short blocks away from Marble Arch and The Underground Tube Station. (More on that later.)

All in all we were treated very well and it felt like we were really in England. And if we were to return to London in the future we would probably stay there again.