Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Love In the Air

Nils and Rachel
Have you missed me?  I know, I know, I've taken a small hiatus, but I'm back now, here to wish you a very Happy Valentines' Day!

The big news around here is the recent engagement of my dear nephew Nils to a very lovely young lady named Rachel.  This was not unexpected, and all of us - the whole kit 'n caboodle of our family and friends - couldn't be happier.

Oquirrh Lake
This (above) is perhaps not the most idyllic place for an engagement setting, especially in the dead of winter, but Nils and Rachel had their first date on Oquirrh Lake.  They went kayaking there during the summer.  So, it is a place that has special meaning for them.

Recently, they visited Oquirrh Lake again, and took a romantic evening walk around its frozen confines.  To Rachel's surprise, Nils suddenly dropped to one knee.

Yeah, you know the drill.  (Insert romantic string music here, and some of these red things...)

Rachel said, "Yes!"

A small token of his LOVE
Rachel is now sporting a small token of Nils' love and commitment on her third finger, left hand. Okay, not so small.  That rock is gigantic.  Way to go, Nils!

I'm so happy for them.  They make a great couple.  Not only that, but Rachel fits in so well with our family.  She's a beautiful and intelligent addition to our clan.

That's the happiest, most welcome news I've had in a long time, so I had to share with all of you.

I hope you all have a lovely Valentine's Day-President's Day Holiday weekend.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A New Year, New Wheels

The Nissan Sentra SV
I don't buy new cars very often.  I am more concerned with safe transport than looking cool. So, when I do get a new one, it's a big deal. This past month, however, it was getting increasingly evident that my 2000 Nissan Sentra SE was on its last legs. So, I decided to take advantage of the Year End sales and bought myself a new car!

Happy New Year to ME!

The Sentra SV's hiney
My Dad was Buick man.  I'm more of a Nissan gal, I guess. The new vehicle is also a Sentra, but the new, improved, SV line.  I love it. It's got everything from a rear-view camera to Bluetooth technology.

I'm a happy camper.

The new car is a metallic grey, but looks blue in this light

I began waxing nostalgic over my past cars upon buying this one.  My very first car was a used beige '69 Volkswagen Beetle that I named Bert.  I bought Bert upon graduating from college, after I got my first real job.

Bert had an "automatic" stick shift, which regularly left me stranded in the middle of busy Phoenix intersections. That was the only thing that ever went wrong with it, but it happened on a regular basis. Luckily, he was small and lightweight enough to be easily pushed out of the way, when necessary.

A 1969 Volkswagen Beetle
Bert was totaled in an accident and then got sold to a California Dude who wanted a Dune Buggy. I think Bert had a whole, wonderful new life down at the beach after he left me.  That still makes me happy.

My next car was a Datsun 200SX.  A good friend of my Dad's had bought the car as salvage and totally rebuilt it.  It was a great car with a velvety blue interior.  It had the black louvers on the back window - the ones a friend of mine called "go-fasters".  It had a manual transmission, but I really liked the way it handled.

The Datsun 200SX, circa 1980
Several gazillion miles, a short stay in Nevada and a move to California later, the grey Datsun got traded in for a new Nissan Sentra.  [The Datsun company had become Nissan in the interim.] This was the base model of the cheapest car they made, but it was my first totally new car and I was thrilled.

The Nissan Sentra, 1987-ish
The silver, base model Sentra served me well clear up until the turn of the century.  It literally broke down on the way to the dealership to trade it in.  My friend Vicki and I pushed it into a McDonald's parking lot from where it ended up being towed into the dealership.  It went out in style.

That's when I bought my last car, a gold 2000 Nissan Sentra SE that I named Goldie.  It was the top of the Sentra line at the time and gave you a lot of bang for your buck, including cruise control. I really enjoyed that car. It had a good life in California, and also saw a lot of scenery in Arizona, Utah and Nevada.  I was sad parting with it on Monday.  

The 2000 Nissan Sentra SE
But not that sad!

I'm glad to be starting a new chapter of my life with new wheels!  Look out world!  I've got all the bells and whistles now and I'm not afraid to use them!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Jack's Christmas

Jack with his new toy
Last Christmas, I bought Jack a battery-operated motion toy that lasted all of four days before the motor seized and the thing totally broke.  Luckily, I was able to get a full refund for it.  However, he had had so much fun playing with it, that I decided to get him another one - from a different manufacturer - this Christmas.

My boy was very surprised!

He liked it!

I got it, Mom!
Jack was a very happy camper.  We've been having fun with it ever since.

My sweet guy
I hope you had a terrific Christmas, too!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

May the Force Be With You

My coworker and good friend Barbara came to work one day just to get a few things done.  She was was only supposed to be there for a few hours, so she wasn't too worried about her attire.

She had kept her jacket on, until someone noticed a bit of logo showing below the bottom hem. Then she finally did a full disclosure Big Reveal (above)!  I had to laugh.

Yup.  If you are a huge Star Wars fan, as I and many of my friends are, you will understand. Christmas vacation, for me, included a sojourn to the theatre with a good friend to see The Force Awakens.

Selfies att the Theatre to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
It was great fun!

Then we headed off for some lunch.

Lauri in her 'hand model' mode showing off the pepper
We were at the Regal theatres in La Habra, so we just crossed the street to the local Applebee's. We had a REALLY good lunch.  I ordered a Thai Shrimp salad that was yummy.  Lauri also enjoyed her salmon (above).


Doing lunch and a movie, or a movie and lunch, or dinner for that matter - with friends, is one of my favorite things! This was a great way to spend a day of Christmas holiday.

Hope your 2016 has gotten off to a terrific start.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Final Christmas Party

For years now I and my friends have held a big Christmas bash, usually on a Saturday well into January to accommodate everyone's busy schedules.  Having a Christmas celebration in January is actually a good idea.  There are no work, school, church or family celebrations competing for the time, and no one has to rush off to go shopping.  We spend an entire day in each others' company and it's a lot of fun.

This year was the earliest our celebration has been in many years.  It was held on Saturday, January 2nd.

Our host did a terrific job of decorating.  Above you see one of the two decorated tables.  The food was fantastic, and the company was stellar.

The only thing wrong with it?  It's now over!

Today it's back to work and back to the regular routine.  I fear I'm suffering majorly from the after holiday blues.

Despite that, let me wish each and every one of you a very Happy New Year!  May 2016 be the best year ever for all of us.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas in Beijing

Livia and Fredrik visit with Santa, while his Elf helper looks on
Our little China-based munchkins got to visit with Santa last week (was it only last week?).  Just to prove that Christmas isn't much different in Beijing than it is in other parts of the world, I'm posting these photos.

Baby Olaf didn't have much to say about the proceedings, but Santa seems to be getting a kick out of him!

Santa likes babies!

Olaf and Saint Nick
The children appear to be thriving over there on the other side of the world.  They are certainly growing tall.

It's nice to see that they are enjoying American cultural traditions.  Every kid should be able to talk to Santa.

Even if he scares the heck out of you.  Santa frightened me as a child.  How about you?

Livia and Fredrik talking to the Man in the Red Suit
It doesn't look like he frightened Livia, Fredrik or Olaf!  I'm so glad.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Julaften - Christmas Eve

The Salt Lake LDS Temple
My brother took these magnificent photos of the temple last night - a freezing cold and blustery lille julaften - or "little" Christmas Eve.

I am posting them today as a reminder of what's important this Christmas.  I am so thankful for family and the promise of being together for eternity with those I love.

May God's richest blessings flow down upon you and your loved ones during this season and into the New Year.

Merry Christmas and much love to all my readers!

I'll be back again next week.  Enjoy your holiday!