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

Friday, November 4, 2011

Statue of Liberty Turns 125

Happy Birthday Miss Liberty. She looks good for her age. The first time I saw her I was 13 and we climbed inside to the top and could look out through the crown. Mother had us so excited to show us this statue that I expected something even twice her size. I still have the tiny replica as a precious keepsake of that visit.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chevrolet Celebrates Centennial

Having seen the USA in a Chevrolet, all 48 states, in 1960 with Mother driving the whole way and having my wall plastered with pictures of Corvettes as a teenager I say congratulations to Chevy on their 100th anniversary.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Celebrate Your Birthday Solo Style (see Independence Day and Camping)

I'm enjoying my birthday and had a glorious day of it. Weather was a lovely 74* high/58* low. Missing was playing Scrabble with my honey and one of his superb dinners with our children while everyone took turns saying why I am special. Here's how to do it solo: Make coconut ice cream, make power smoothie and cheese omelette, ask neighbor to get bike down from rafters, inflate tires, wear Halloween shirt, short jeans, and Giants windbreaker, bike canal trail to Ygnacio Valley Road on the lookout for autumn leaves and a goat, mallards, and other animals, hike up steep hill, pray and talk to Michael, cry, park bike at home and walk to library, swim 30 minutes, shower, walk downtown to Las Montanas Market for a super chicken burrito, return to plaza for free scoop at Baskin Robbins, eat it and read Alaska in plaza on a perfectly glorious day, see The Three Musketeers eating See's and popcorn and dance to the ending credits music, walk home enjoying more leaves and a waxing half moon at twilight, enjoy mail, messages, cards, cookies, homemade ice cream, pumpkin crumb cheesecake, talk with daughter, flowers and a visit from a friend, read messages from my children of growing up with me as their mom, watch Burn Notice. All this was done on three hours of sleep and a prayer. I'm feeling very blessed and grateful about now. Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

George Washington, the Skull, and Me

September 3, 2011, I stopped by the Wheeler ranch to celebrate Ed's life at the barbecue and jam session after the memorial services. It was a great day.

Seven Billion People Share the Planet.

Hello neighbors. There are now seven billion of us sharing Earth.

See's is 90 Years Old This Month

The first time I heard of See's and got my first bite of nuts and chews I was a mid-teen living with Don and Bev. This month See's turns 90. Happy Birthday See's.