Friday, December 30, 2011

Year-End Musings

I remember going to great lengths to get snatches of time to myself away from my children to be reinvigorated. Now that they're grown and out of the state the tables are turned. Now I find myself going to great lengths to get snatches of time with my children to be reinvigorated. Funny how life plays tricks on you, isn't it? The empty nest I was looking forward to became devoid of my mate so it's a particularly empty nest. Thankfully I have a cat, good neighbors and a good ward now within walking distance. I've only missed the first meeting by foot (October 30, 2011). Happy New Year to one and all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

30th Annual Caroling Party December 22, 2011

On the first full day of winter solstice we caroled our neighborhood. We've been at it for 30 years. Present were Paul, Adam, Stephanie, Marilyn, Merin, Jadyn, Gretchen, Joe T, Dom, Amariah, Jerry, and me. I extended our solid oak table all the way and taped down LP albums to seat more guests. The first one got rained out so we caroled in our Parnassus Avenue apartment. It's evolved from a sweet and savory buffet to a huge pot luck dinner party including turkeys and all the sides. Dessert and hot cocoa is served by candlelight after caroling. We've had a white elephant gift exchange for eleven years. We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Annual Walk Downtown to Union Square

I like to find where One Warm Coat is taking donations and take in the Christmas scene each year. Westfield Centre has a dome light show, Macy's Holiday Lane, a peak at Santa and looking out over Union Square, a giant gingerbread castle in Westin St. Francis, Neiman Marcus tree, and of course Union Square and holiday ice rink. Top it off with a visit to the Palace Hotel and Garden Court (debuted 1909). It's a dazzling display and always a delight. And I never spend a dime window shopping.

Monday, December 19, 2011

No More Santa, written for Harry's Monday Update

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, December 11. I say "my" because there's no more "our." Here's my Christmas message to you all as we celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior: Some years ago I used to spend a day and a half wrapping presents but Santa didn't wrap anything. He shopped at Target at the last minute and made sure the stockings were filled with candy, nuts, flashlights and goodies late Christmas Eve. He left presents Christmas morning by the tree, all unwrapped. So I complained that he never wrapped any presents after I spent so much time doing just that. I even complained that Santa brought me DVDs of movies I could easily see on TV. Do you know how ashamed I feel now? Because I have not only no unwrapped presents from Santa, I have no Santa. I hope you can find a message for your Christmas this season in my experience and find joy with your loved ones surrounding you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


"Thank you, Olie, that was a very touching and wonderful reminder to all of us to appreciate and cherish what we have."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Savior of the World

I saw this on a license plate last night:

No Jesus, No Peace

Know Jesus, Know Peace

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse

I woke up at 5 a.m. and saw it begin and it was total in about an hour. Beautiful. I had to block out the streetlight with my hand and still see the moon with both eyes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

December 9, 1965, Lights Come to Temple Square

Below is a bit of history. I don't think I was there for the first lighting but I moved from Provo to Salt Lake City about that time and have loved the lights ever since. Few Christmas displays compare, and the nativity was so real I couldn't tell if it was people or not the last time I visited.

The history of Christmas celebrations and lights on Temple Square
Published: Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 11:30 a.m. MST
By Michael De Groote, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Christmas lights first were put up around Temple Square, according to a 1997 article by Jerry Johnston, at the direction of LDS Church President David O. McKay. President McKay asked Irvin T. Nelsen, the Temple Square gardener, to put lights up everywhere. "President McKay," Nelsen said, "if we put lights in the trees, it will kill them."

"That's how I knew you were the man to do it," President McKay said. "You'll make sure the lights don't kill the trees."
From the archive
Season of sparkle: How Christmas lights came to Temple Square – Nov. 23, 2011
Decades of downtown S.L. music and lights – Dec. 12, 2010
Temple Square welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors – Dec. 1, 2010
New David McCullough book based on Mormon Tabernacle Christmas performance – Oct. 26, 2010
Mormon president David O. McKay had global reach – Aug. 15, 2010
Photo historian Ron Fox gathered some festive photos of Christmas past (see the full collection of photographs online at DeseretNews.com). The photographs show the celebration of the Christmas season in lights and also in music — from the Cathedral of the Madeleine to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concerts.
Nearly 15,000 people gathered on Thursday, Dec. 9, 1965 at 7:45 p.m. to see 40,000 Christmas lights turned on for the first "Lighting of Temple Square." President McKay did the honors: "Our minds tonight should be on the Babe of Bethlehem whose coming into the world Christmas morning reminds us all that we each should have in our hearts the love of Christ."
The Deseret News reported how "a mighty 'aah' of appreciation went up from the crowd as all the lights went on, followed by a burst of applause."
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Then the crowd joined them in singing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." The ceremony ended with the choir singing "Silent Night."
It was a night like many other nights during Christmas seasons to follow. Forty-five years later, crowds still flock to see lights downtown and to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing of a silent night.
e-mail: mdegroote@desnews.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

San Francisco Symphony is 100 Years Old TODAY

It's the 100th anniversary of the San Francisco Symphony's first concert ever on December 8! Did you know the SF Symphony's second concert, in 1911, was a children's concert? Here's a little "Then and Now" fun: a shot of kids enjoying an early SF Symphony concert at the Opera House, side by side with a picture of little ones experiencing a recent concert at Davies Symphony Hall. The SF Symphony has always been a leader in educating children in music, AND having the leading Youth Orchestra in the nation. BRAVO! (San Francisco Symphony Facebook post)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pearl Harbor Attack 70 Years Ago


Seventy years ago, Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor base on a morning that changed the world in myriad ways.
Within a day, the United States had declared war on Japan. Thus began the American effort that rapidly escalated into a global fight against tyranny. By the time World War II was finished, the United States had emerged as a dominant military and economic power for generations.
This is a day to honor the memory of those who lost their lives Dec. 7, 1941, and the millions of Americans who then responded in service and sacrifice to this nation's greatest challenge of the 20th century.
This article appeared on page A - 13 of the San Francisco ChronicleRead more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/06/ED4K1M8VIG.DTL#ixzz1fsAPIsp2

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Stories

The Gift of Love: A Christmas Story (1983)

I've watched these TV-taped shows so much that the video is wearing out on some. These are all absolutely adorable movies. I've read A Christmas Memory and enjoyed it. A Child's Christmas in Wales is more enjoyable to watch and better understood. It's impossible to get through them without crying. Naturally I watch a version of Scrooge each and every season and have a collection of them on videos. I'm very fond of It's a Wonderful Life too. Remakes of it have failed miserably.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

My early memories of Thanksgiving are with Mother, Rosella and me being invited to her good friends, Alberta and Hunter Phillips, in Vallejo. They had a big, old house with a dining room with a trap door just above the table and big cats that wandered in and out from the patio. I do remember one year Mother made a dinner for us at home. I seem to remember her older children being invited but I don't remember them being there. When she died we lived with her oldest son and his family, our brother. Tables were set up in the rumpus room and close to 30 people were there, always including the missionaries. After my marriage we took turns going to dinner at his family and mine until Don and Bev moved to Bainbridge Island in 1992. We've also celebrated at my sister's home in Fremont at least once. For a few years we made our own Thanksgiving dinner at home. It was important to me to have it be exactly like I remember at Don and Bev's: Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, fruit salad with mayo and cherry juice dressing, corn, peas, and yeast rolls. It was a simple menu and absolutely delicious. The pies were endless varieties with a giant bowl of whipped cream after dishes were washed and we were ready for dessert. Bev even had a cake when Adam's birthday fell on Thanksgiving even though I told her we could celebrate with a pie. After Michael's passing I've celebrated with Chad and Becca's family in Monterey when Eve stayed with me and Duane and Judy's family in Fairfield, grateful to be invited and included. I've added Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to my morning the last few years once I was told what fine entertainment they have in it. I love a family walk, the aroma of the foods. It's especially nice when family members are kind to one another and make it a special day of thanksgiving. I'm missing my family members who have passed on.

When: November 24

Where: New York City - Herald Square; National Telecast on NBC
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade® continues to be the official kick-off of the holiday season. Every year, the Parade is seen by more than 3 million people who line the streets of New York and another 50 million people who tune into NBC to watch the giant balloons, one-of-a-kind floats, the nation's best marching bands, hundreds of cheering clowns and a host of celebrities!

I'll be watching the great entertainment.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kennedy Assasination Anniversary

I can recall the day clearly when my boyfriend told me between classes that the president had been killed. I said, "What president?" I didn't want it to be President Kennedy. The next thing I remember clearly was the deathly quiet school cafeteria. I was a senior in a public school and this was the one and only time no one spoke to anyone at lunch. He was the 35th president of the United States of America. I sent a note of condolence to his wife, Jackie, and received a note in return with her signature where a stamp would have been. I'm afraid I didn't realize the significance of it and didn't keep it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Embarcadero Lighting 25th Anniversary Tonight

This is a lovely tradition of entertainment on the ice rink and lighting. Then inside the Hyatt Regency their tree lighting follows!

Hyatt Regency Introduces Tree and Interior Lobby Lighting
Today, Friday, Nov 18 7:00p to 8:00p
at Hyatt Regency San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Kicking off the San Francisco holiday season, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s Tree and Interior Lobby Lighting Ceremony will be held in the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest hotel lobby on Friday, November 18. Starting at 7pm, immediately following the Embarcadero Center’s 6pm–7pm exterior lighting ceremony and skating show, the hotel will celebrate the season kickoff with live entertainment and the debut of snow in the lobby. read more
Price: Free
Phone: (415) 788-1234
Age Suitability: None Specified
Tags: hyatt regency holidays, hyatt holidays san francisco
Kicking off the San Francisco holiday season, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s Tree and Interior Lobby Lighting Ceremony will be held in the Guinness Book of World Records’ largest hotel lobby on Friday, November 18. Starting at 7pm, immediately following the Embarcadero Center’s 6pm–7pm exterior lighting ceremony and skating show, the hotel will celebrate the season kickoff with live entertainment and the debut of snow in the lobby. Additionally, the hotel will be illuminated with 300k lights.

Monday, November 14, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle November 10, 2011

This is about my 30th published editorial:

See tourists in need? Give 'em a hand

Something I read in the '80s stuck with me - if you see someone looking at a map in our beautiful city, smile and offer assistance. I have done this ever since. It's a small thing that offers big rewards.
Just the other day I was on Market Street around Fourth Street, and I saw a young guy with baggage and a map out. I smiled and asked if I could help him find his way. I took him by surprise. Then he smiled, told me his name, that he's from South Africa, and shook my hand. He told me he had asked for help, but no one had time for him. He asked me to take his picture, and he was off to Union Square.
I love to do this, and in fact our family became friends with someone and offered him a job all because of this simple gesture. It will leave a lasting impression on our visitors to San Francisco.

Olivetta Chavez, Concord

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/09/ED5E1LS25Q.DTL#ixzz1di1dSNvz

Here is the link to my other published articles: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/qws/ff/qr?term=olivetta+chavez&period=all&Submit=S

Friday, November 11, 2011


On this auspicious occasion I was off for Veterans Day and hung my flag. I made a giant apple crisp from my own Granny Smiths for the combined wards luau. I called Kathy in the afternoon and offered to take her to dinner for her birthday since she'd be busy on the 13th. After attending the temple I met her at her office in Oakland, the first and last time. We had a lovely dinner together at Banana Blossom and then I followed her to her house to watch Monk and Blue Bloods. I'd say that's a great way to spend 11-11-11, with my friend of 40 years this coming summer. By the way, this date is 40 weeks from Valentine's Day. Paul's is the 10th, mine is the second, Kaarlyn's is the 12th. Yay for Valentine's Day too!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday Oakland-Bay Bridge November 12, 2011

We've commuted over it since moving to the East Bay June 3, 2000, with a majestic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and San Francisco.

Historic Route 66 Turns 85 November 11, 2011

November 11th marks the 85th Anniversary of one of the most famous highways in America, U.S. Route 66. Route 66 opened in 1926 stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles and became a western migration route for people looking for work during the great depression of the 1930′s or to escape the Dust Bowl disaster. Later, it offered vacation getaways and driving adventures until 1985 when it was decommissioned as a federal highway. Facing neglect after its decommissioning, many Route 66 enthusiasts lobbied for the highway to be placed on National Historic Registers and Preservation Lists. Today, portions of the road have been designated National Scenic Byways and some have been renamed Historic Route 66 in an attempt to boost its revival. http://www.denverpost.com/

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Y Mountain

We climbed Y Mountain the day after Adam graduated. The last time I climbed it I was 18, barefoot, and saw a tarantula.


There I was in Oakland in line to board my flight to Salt Lake City. My full name is on my boarding pass and I hear my nickname whispered by a soft-spokened woman. I turn and look into the face of a lovely woman and also whisper, "Ellen?" We hug, I look at her, and hug her again. Some three plus decades had passed since we last saw each other and this is too good to be true. I had been to her wedding, she had been to mine in 1976. In fact I sold her a beautiful new ivory gown she wore as her wedding dress when she last visited me on Sacramento Street. Also, I had just had 10 inches cut from my hair and of course was not the brunette she once knew. But she recognized me telling me I look like a pinup girl and asked me to save her a seat. We catch up and have the best time all the way to Utah and I walk with her to get her luggage. She's there to see a new grandchild; I'm there for my oldest son's graduation from Brigham Young University. We had finally been in touch by phone and e-mail but had not met and there we were finally together again.

Christmas 2010