Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmastime Hodge Podge

Some photos of our activities the past few weeks.
Always love the lights at beautiful Temple Square.

 The Visitor's Center at Temple Square has added some gorgeous large stills from the LDS Bible film series.
I was particularly drawn to this beautiful portrayal of 
Mary and toddler Jesus.
 We were blessed to obtain tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert.
This year featuring Broadway singer Santino Fontana and the Sesame Street Muppets.
I smiled and wept through the entire concert.
It was that good.
And probably one of my very favorites.

 Before the concert we enjoyed walking through City Creek.
 We ate dinner at The Cheesecake Factory.
 (Thank you Coryn and Scott)
Notice we are outside in December.
While we were there who should happen to sit behind us?
Apparently the jolly old man himself.
I mean, how often do you get a photo bomb by Santa Claus?

What are you looking at?? 
We also checked in on his reindeer who were staying at Thanksgiving Point.

 I spent some time making the traditional Christmas Date Balls
for my book group, friends and my husband's office.
 Visited Downtown Provo to see this year's 
clever Christmas windows.
This one was at Pioneer Book on Center Street.
As a book lover, this was a favorite.
 Also made a trip to the Beehive Bazaar which is a tradition.
So many wonderful items made by local creatives.
 This is Noelle Olpin who created the Bazaar. 
It has been around for many years and is a local favorite.
We have known Noelle and her husband Steve (a film maker) since they were newlyweds over 20 years ago.
and lived across the street from us. 
Such talented and innovative individuals.

 I had to share this photo of my Cammy with
 sweet two-year-old Bram.
My girls babysat our good friend's three boys while 
we all attended ward choir practice for our Christmas program.
(We call them our pretend grandchildren.)
It is always an adventure to have 'little boys' in our home.

 (Coryn's BYU office party last year)
BYU's Cosmo finally donned a BLUE Santa suit after years of wearing a red one.
I think there must have been complaints about the red and someone finally made the call:)
Missing these two this Christmas!

 Hard to believe it was just a year ago this past week
 that these sweethearts
were getting married.
Such a lovely winter wedding.
 And speaking of winter.
Where is our snow?
It has certainly been a mild and unusual winter thus far.

Oh, and California Cait, 
The Red Tornado has blown in to join us for Christmas.
Let the festivities begin!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Babes and Brett Book Tour

 Our  Book Group for December was especially festive this year!
We were lucky enough to get tickets to meet and listen to renowned
children's book illustrator/writer Jan Brett.
Courtney found out about it through her sources and we sent
some of our ladies down to the library
 to try to get tickets the minute
they became available.
(Thanks Brenda and Ashley.)
Apparently all 500 hundred tickets were snatched up quickly.

 Ms. Brett arrived in style!
A luxury tour bus that she travels in across the country. 
She was accompanied by her husband Joseph Hearne who has
been a bassist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra for 53 years!

 This is awesome Gene Nielsen who is the director of
The Provo Library at Academy Square.
His enthusiasm for books and authors is contagious.

Jan Brett was darling.
I loved how she dressed in line with the style 
of her art and characters.
Inside the gift box was a real white bunny.
She told us a few things about bunnies as she held him.
She geared her remarks to the children present,
encouraging their creativity and telling them to find
a quiet spot to practice each day.

Here is another Jan.
My sweet friend of over 20 years who adores Jan Brett's work.
Our book group was so excited to make this happen for our Jan.
(The drawing of this bunny was done on stage
 by Ms. Brett while she talked.)

 After her presentation we were taken in groups to meet her
and to have a book signed if we wanted.

 She was so personable and darling and took time with each person.
Along with her books, Jan had brought a Christmas card 
designed by Jan Brett
which had been sent to our Jan by a friend in 1979.
Ms. Brett couldn't believe she still had it and she signed it for her.
Our delightful Jan was encouraging Jan Brett to create 
a greeting card line
and she told her she would consider it:)

 Jan Brett even took time to talk to my daughter Courtney
about her own writing and gave her some encouragement.

 Afterwards we all gathered at Brenda's lovely home to have our
traditional cookie exchange.
I promise we didn't eat all of these, rather we all went home with 
a variety of cookies on our plates to share with others.

 Before we partook of the goodies
Brenda made sure to take some fancy photos.

Cheryl's daughter Miranda whom we all adore
had just arrived in her mission field that week
(Russia Vladivostok)
and we were all eager to hear about her.

(One last blurry photo.)
It was a wonderful way to wrap up our 2014
year of reading and sharing.
Looking forward to more in 2015.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

She Did It!

(CD Photo Cover by Jeremy Harris)

Our daughter Caitlyn moved to the sun and the sand of Los Angeles
a little of over 2 years ago to pursue her dream of being
a singer-songwriter.
She has been working very hard to achieve this goal.
Long hours at her jobs to make ends meet,
and with whatever extra-time she has had 
she has been working on the music.

Today her EP was released on iTunes.
We are so proud of her and happy this has come to fruition.
After her CD release concert this weekend in LA
we hope she will make some time for a nap:)

You can check out the music HERE

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Raise the Song of Harvest Home

Thanksgiving Dinner 1935 by Doris Lee
(I loved seeing this painting at the Art Institute of Chicago.)

Grace Before Sleep
How can our minds and bodies be
Grateful enough that we have spent
Here in this generous room,
This evening of content?
Each of us has walked through storm
And fled the wolves along the road;
But here the hearth is wide and warm,
And for this shelter and this light
Accept, O Lord, our thanks tonight.
~Sara Teasdale

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Cammy serves in the Special Needs Seminary this semester.

Since our youngest daughter came into the world
I have had a special nickname for her:
And she has lived up to it in every way.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Sophomore, A Senior, A School Play, and A Serial Killer

 He was standing by the wall next to the drinking fountain, his arm in a cast supported by a sling. Our eyes met, and he gave me a smile. He was handsome in a dark way. He didn't speak, just looked at me. I took a quick sip from the fountain and hurried into the girl's restroom, which was serving as a make-shift dressing room. Quickly I changed into another costume. After putting on my red wig and applying more make-up, I was ready to return to the stage. As I walked back into the empty hallway I glanced over by the fountain and he was still standing there. Once again he flashed that smile. For a moment I felt uneasy. Strange.

 Why was he standing in the hallway behind the auditorium and not watching the play with the rest of the audience? The chorus of the cast was on stage performing a big dance number. It was time for my next entrance. I smiled back at him and opened the stage door and headed for the side wings.

It was Friday, November 8th, 1974. It was the fourth performance of our high school musical, 'Redhead.'
As a sophomore, I had been cast a few months earlier in the title role.
I remember clearly the day the cast list was posted. As I approached the doors of the choir room there was a crowd gathered around. People were pointing at the list excitedly. I heard people saying things like,
"But she's just a sophomore." And "Mr. C. has never done that before."
As I made my way through the crowd I felt the stares of several seniors and wondered what all the commotion was about. Suddenly one of my friends saw me and called out, "You got the lead!"
My face felt hot and I felt like all eyes were on me.
I made my way to the list and sure enough, there was my name listed next to the character Essie Whimple.
A wave of elation and nervousness came over me.
Some of my new friends from Drama Club were congratulating me and giving me hugs.
It was unexpected and surreal.

 Rehearsals soon began in earnest. Everyday after school for several hours as well as Saturday mornings.
One-on-one dance rehearsals with our choreographer Mrs. S. for my solo numbers.
Singing rehearsals with Mr. L. for the many musical solos, duets and ensemble pieces.
It was exhausting and exhilarating.
I was thrilled to be working with so many talented new friends, especially the seniors that I looked up to.

 The original production of 'Redhead' opened on Broadway in 1959, the year of my birth. It starred the legendary 'triple-threat' Gwen Verdon and was the directing debut of master choreographer Bob Fosse (Gwen's husband). The show ran for over 400 performances and won 6 Tony Awards, among them Best Musical, Lead Actress, and Lead Actor (Richard Kiley).

The premise of the show: When a young actress is murdered in 1900's London, the enterprising Simpson Sisters' Wax Museum installs a tableau of the grisly deed. Tom Baxter, the murdered woman's friend comes to the museum to complain, and there he meets the niece of the Simpson sisters, Essie Whimple, a plain girl with a hyperactive imagination. Smitten with Tom, Essie pretends to have been attacked by the murderer, as well, and crazy things begin to ensue, complete with cunning disguises, spine-tingling escapades and chases, and a show-gone-wrong at the Odeon Musical Hall. 

The evening of November 8th, the play was sold out and the auditorium was packed. Our drama director never watched his plays once they opened. After the final dress rehearsal Mr C. would say to us, "We have all worked hard. I have given you my best direction. The play is now yours and I turn it over to you with all my trust." After cast call Mr C. would stay in the chorus room, listen to the audio over the monitors and chew on his neck tie. Mr. L. was of course directing the orchestra and Mrs. S. stood in the back of the auditorium to take notes for cast meeting. That evening during the performance a man approached Mrs S. in the back of the auditorium and after some small talk told her he needed help jump-starting his Volkswagon which he was unable to do by himself because of his broken arm. She declined saying she was taking performance notes. A few minutes later a student told her parents that since she had seen the play twice and knew how it ended she would be happy to drive over to pick up her younger brother at the roller skating rink and would meet them afterwards. When the play was over she had not returned. Her parents found their car in the parking lot with their daughter's purse and keys on the front seat.

The following Monday the story would unfold at school.
Some of us were called down to the school office to answer questions about 
any unusual activity or persons we had seen that night.
I told of seeing the mysterious stranger, as did a few other students.
A police sketch artist was called in to take descriptions.
Police officers were on sight at the school all week.
Mrs. S. had police guarding her apartment across the street from the school.
I would later learned the name of the man who had smiled at me.
Ted Bundy.

His victim that evening; Debra Kent.
Debi was one of the seniors who had congratulated me on the morning the cast list was posted.
We had met in Drama Club. Several of her friends were dancers in the show.
She would often come to rehearsals.
Debi was always smiling, sweet, unassuming, helpful, a bit shy.
Such a lovely person. She was always kind to me.
I liked her.
I have not shared this story much over the past 40 years.
It affected many people deeply and in many different ways. 
Today I think of Debi's family and of another anniversary passing without her coming home.

*NOTE: I have chosen not to sully this post with a photo of Mr. Bundy. If you are interested in reading more about this notorious evil killer of 100's of women there is a fairly concise write-up on Wikipedia (with a few minor inaccuracies regarding the November 8th event) and plenty of other sources online.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Halloween Past

35 years ago.
My college roommate Laura and I won first prize
 in a costume contest.
Groucho and Harpo Marx.
Fun times!
I wasn't always a 'party-poop.'

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Work is what you do for others...Art is what you do for yourself." ~Stephen Sondheim

 On our recent trip to Chicago
this is where I lived for two entire days.
The Art Institute of Chicago.
And I still didn't see everything within it's walls.

 The museum is just a block from the edge of Millennium Park.

 There was an interesting fountain with images of faces projected
 on large columns facing each other.
Each face would morph into another face.
After each face would smile it would purse it's lips
and a strong stream of water would shoot out.
Little children were having such fun playing underneath it.

This famous painting, 
'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte'
by French painter, George Seurat
has always been a favorite.
One of my most loved musicals is Stephen Sondheim's
Sunday in the Park with George
based on Seurat's life and this painting.
The painting was done in the style of Pointillism,
  painted with thousands of dots.

 I have always adored this painting as well.
'Paris Street, Rainy Day'
by Gustave Caillebotte.

 There were several paintings by Monet.
His famous Water Lilies series and this one called 'Irises.'
It really was a thrill to realize I was seeing the originals
of so many paintings I had studied in my 
arts and humanities classes.

Exciting to see several Degas' ballerinas.
I loved these paintings as a child;
ballet being my first love.

 I got carried away taking so many photos and trying to take it all in
 that I had to take a mid-day break to recharge my battery
 (and my phone battery.)

There was a special exhibit of the work of Belgian Surrealist 
Rene Magritte.
I am not a huge fan of Surrealism
but wanted to see it while I was there.
It was strange and fascinating.

 I recognized many of the images from art books I have read.

 This image is featured prominently in John Green's book,
The Fault in Our Stars.
'This is not a pipe.'

 There was a gallery that displayed all of the beautiful works of
  Tiffany Decor and Glass Company
Especially adored this exquisite window called 'Lilies.' (1892-95)

And, of course, the famous Tiffany Lamp.

 There was an entire wall titled 'American Windows'
by famed French stained glass artist
Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

 This was really exquisite.
A wax on plaster head created by
American artist, Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966)
of the renowned ballerina Pavlova.
She had seen her perform in London
and they became close friends.

'The Old Guitarist'
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

 'Abraham Lincoln'
Daniel Chester French (1850-1931)
This is the bronzed, smaller version
of the life-sized Lincoln Memorial
in Washington D.C.

 There was an entire gallery devoted to glass paper-weights as art.
A gentleman had donated his lifetime collection.
Several walls had mountings of the weights
 done in  patterns like kaleidoscopes.
They were just beautiful.
If you look closely you will see bees
 surrounding a hive with flowers.

 No museum is complete without a portrait gallery.
I was particularly drawn to this emotional painting,
'The Captive Slave'
by John Philip Simpson (1827)

This beautiful memorial fountain is at the edge of Millennium Park.
The park was finished in 2004.

The day before we were to fly home from Chicago
a distraught O'Hara Airport employee tried to kill himself 
by burning a major traffic control center.
2000 flights were cancelled and
 the entire Midwest was at a stand-still.
It affected the entire airline industry.
Some of my husband's colleagues were at the airport
 ready to board a flight.
They opted to rent a car and drive to Indiana to fly out.
When we arrived at the airport Saturday morning, 
it was like a ghost-town.
Still many cancelled flights.
Our morning flight was delayed 4 times until the evening
but fortunately we were able to fly home.
Quite the adventure.
I will close this post with a photo I took outside my plane window.
Doesn't it look like ice on an ocean?