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