Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ensign magazine established January 1971 celebrates 40 years.

January 1971 the Ensign, official magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was established. September 5, 1971, the first singles branch in San Francisco held its first meeting in Bay Ward chapel. I was in attendance that historic day. I'd been attending Sunset Ward and was invited to the singles branch. Early on I began reading the Ensign cover to cover so that even if an article didn't interest me I'd read it anyway and was glad I did. This habit continues to this day. I read 20 pages each Sabbath. Sunday I took my copy on my walk to the pond and enjoyed reading as I was blessed by the company of ducks and geese on a fine afternoon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Brown butter caramel apple cake

Just looking at this cake sends me. This looks absolutely mouth-wateringly delicious.

Submitted by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The cake:
2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) brown butter, chilled until solid then brought to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup lightly packed golden brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup apple cider or juice
2 cups peeled, cored and thinly sliced apples, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1/2 cup apple butter (see Note)
The frosting:
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons brown butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
-- Chopped pecans, for garnish (optional)
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together, and set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the brown butter with the two sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, sour cream and cider or juice, mixing well after each addition. After you add the apple juice, the mixture may look curdled, and that's OK. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the apple slices.
Divide batter evenly between the two cake pans, and bake until the top springs back and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool. After cakes have cooled slightly, run a knife around the edges of the pans and invert cakes out of the pans and onto the racks to cool completely.
When cakes are cool, place one on a cake plate with the flat side up (you may have to cut off a portion of the top to make it level) and cover the top with the apple butter. Place the second cake on top of the first.
For the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, brown butter, vanilla, salt and condensed milk in a medium size, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown, smooth and thickened.
Spread the frosting, working quickly, over the top and around the sides of the layer cake. Sprinkle with pecans, if using, and let the icing cool.
Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Bible

BYU is opening an exhibit today celebrating 400 years of mankind having the Bible. I've read the entire Bible beginning when I was home sick once, in my 20s living alone in a studio on Sacramento Street, and started in Genesis. When I was a little girl and staying with my Aunty Joyce in Yelm, Washington, while Mother was in Alaska perhaps, I was promised a piece of candy if I memorized the books of the Bible. I got the candy. If the Bible were rated like movies it'd be rated R. Still, there are many wonderful events and passages and the Joseph Smith Translation clarifies errors. Basically, if a passage doesn't make sense it's probably incorrectly translated as written by the scribes. I grew up on Bible stories and we recited The Lord's Prayer before every trip. My favorite scripture is Doctrine and Covenants but I revere the Bible as the word of God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Casual Carpool

I don't know the exact date I first tried Casual Carpool but I remember feeling odd about opening a stranger's door. She said, "You must be brand new. Hop in." It was some seven years ago. I commuted with Michael part-way depending on his destination when we moved to the East Bay and soon I found out about Casual Carpool and he began dropping me there regularly saving me BART fare into the city. Paul and I commuted together when he had a job in the city and Adam and I for a short period. When Michael stopped working after his 56th birthday I parked at BART and took the train to Lafayette, across from the hill of crosses. I've been commuting with Al and Sue when I see them in line and several others on a first-name basis and conversations can be lively and interesting. Drivers have been Ed the elevator guy, Jovino, loquacious Paul, Donald, Alaska Joe, etc., etc. Al's job transferred to Vacaville and today is the last day of them commuting together and because of an unexpected ride to Lafayette I was able to ride with them. It felt historic and we all agreed: it's been a great ride together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I have no high school alma mater.

I went to Dr. James J. Hogan Junior High School then to Vallejo Senior High School for 10th grade, returning to Dr. James J. Hogan Senior High School for 11th and 12th grades. The school district needed another high school and made the junior high into one. Still, we had pride and beat Vallejo at football. After almost 50 years this school year it is once again a junior high. It's pretty sad to think of not having a high school around anymore. A year ago when my friend Kaarlyn visited from Toronto I took a copy of One Magical Summer to the principal to donate to the school. I signed it and made sure I put Class of 1964, Hogan Senior High School, for posterity. Go Spartans! Blue and white all the way!

Scrabble March 2011 Texas Style

Rick, not pictured, Eve and I played Scrabble in Copperas Cove. That and taking a walk together were among the fun things I wanted to do while visiting them. Yay for playing Scrabble with loved ones.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Days, Four Events

I invited Marilyn to go to concerts with me starting with Foreverland Thursday which she couldn't make. The plaza was packed with fans for this professional, energetic, dancing, singing tribute to MJ. She came for the Greek Fest Friday and we had a great time line dancing and belly dancing. We returned to her Petaluma home for breakfast out, yard sale, shopping, farmers market and a return to Clayton and Concord catching an hour of The Hot Rods Band concert at 5 o'clock before the California Symphony Pops annual concert at 6:30. What a blast and we rocked out dancing at both venues. Sometimes it just feels great to be alive and this was one of those times. We've been friends for almost 26 years and love to have fun and enjoy life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I asked the mayor to dance.

There I was getting my vegetables and some fruit at the weekly farmers market at Civic Center and was dancing to the wonderful boogie of a young piano player and drummer that are there sometimes. It's the 30th anniversary celebration with music all day long and at 1 o'clock the mayor appears with at least three well dressed agents looking out for him. I went over to the small circle of people and said, "Hi Mayor Lee. Would you like to dance?" He responded, "Was that a cha cha?" before someone else took his attention. The music was so good I let loose and had some fun dancing. There were a few of us mature adults having a good time and taking advantage of good dancing music. I've been going to that market for about a third of its existence there and more lately because I enjoy my vege dish so much. Today I bought chard, bok choy, spinach, beet tops (gratis), and some Asian apples. It's a lovely weekly event. Mayor Lee missed his chance to dance with one of the best.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Mom! There's a For Rent sign!"

When I lived in the city I had a calling spanning 20 years. I was the housing specialist in two wards spilling over into Concord a bit but not near as needed there. My children grew up looking out for signs as we biked or drove so I could record the information and be ready for the next person who needed help. I found people rooms and apartments, sometimes temporary while here for a needed course or job. It was particularly gratifying when I'd get a call telling me how much it helped. One time I introduced myself to someone new in Sunset Ward and asked if he needed assistance with housing. He ended up renting a room from a ward family. That's all he needed at the time. I later learned he was a bishop in his home ward and he was grateful for my welcoming invitation to help with housing. I helped a family looking for a house to rent for a year. The couple had five children. They ended up finding the Parkside house themselves but when they moved and our own family had to move, guess who moved into the rental? We did, and lived there about nine years. That was our last dwelling in the city and once again, our rental was being sold and we had to move. June 3, 2000, we moved to our first bought home in Concord.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Two days before hosting the third family reunion my windshield was smashed in along with the hood at BART. I left work early the day before the reunion to have it repaired in front of my house. A week or so before my vacation there was an attempted theft of my car at BART. I had to have a locksmith come to the house and repair the ignition. On Labor Day I was accused of casing a house while looking for a new family to invite them to the neighborhood HOA BBQ and the irate man was insulting. On top of that the female officer was rude and insulting to me as well. Then the day before 9/11 my car was stolen from in front of my house. I've been attending temple sessions on Saturday for 22 months, attend church on Sunday, and live my life. Life happens.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Tenth Anniversary

Ten years ago today America was attacked by cowards and defended by heroes in planes and buildings. My flag is flying. God bless America. My day began by listening to Tom Brokaw narrate for The Spoken Word and Mormon Tabernacle Choir 9/11 tribute on KOIT at 7:30 and ended with a tribute to 9/11 heroes at the Temple Hill Choir and San Francisco State University Handbell Choir concert at the LDS chapel on Decoto Road in Fremont with Sheila driving us there. They were both so beautiful.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"I love people like you."

That's what I was told today at the San Francisco Symphony Birthday Bash at Civic Center when a woman asked me if my hat was for sale or if I'd done it myself. My hot pink pointy birthday hat with fringe was decorated with 100 YEARS to celebrate the symphony's centennial. People were taking pictures of me. What a grand celebration on a fine summer's day in the city with free Ghirardelli sundaes, chocolate, 100-Year bottles, drawings, and great music! Thank you beautiful San Francisco. Mayor Ed Lee declared it San Francisco Symphony Day in the city.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Three of Us Went Camping--Me, Myself and I

For a full week from August 27 to September 2 I enjoyed a glorious solo camping experience at Mt. Shasta. These pictures were taken by some nice Oregonians I met at Castle Lake where I spent a full day hiking the right side of the lake, eating lunch in my boat, swimming, journaling and reading until 7 p.m. I rented a kayak three times and covered Lake Siskiyou, swam, hiked the left side of the lake, hiked the Burr Trail and picnicked twice near Sisson Museum, walked the main street after shopping Trading Places dollar trunk, picked blackberries, was told a shortcut to the library over a meadow covered with fields of wild sweet peas using a wooden foot bridge, took walks in the campgrounds, read scriptures in my hammock, read the Ensign, Alaska, VIA magazine, played Scrabble by myself for the first time ever using Gypsy and Olie and found "OLIE" on my Olie rack, already spelled out! I prepared large campfires in the morning so all I had to do was light it after the movies at Bijou. I cooked and prepared my own food the night before I left on the 300-mile trip one way. Mt. Shasta Ward members were very happy to see me and I was happy to be there once again. I sang hymns every night around the huge, hot campfire and prayed, talked to Michael and even myself to keep me company. If there's a prettier place to be outdoors for a week I have yet to find it. On my last night I saw a UFO. I was staring at a star and suddenly it got big and very bright, then completely disappeared! Or can stars explode? I took the 3:30 tour of Shasta Dam in Redding wishing we had thought to stop there as a family. I stopped overnight at Con's in Citrus Heights arriving at 8 p.m. and left Saturday morning for a childhood friend's memorial service in Vacaville, barbeque and jam session as a celebration of life at the 7-1/2-acre ranch. Unpacking and swimming in Concord and relaxing at home was the culmination of a fabulous trip. I'm thankful and feel very blessed.