Sunday, November 23, 2014


This video has been cruising around social media and its adorable. What sets it apart is the silky voices of Idina Menzel and Michael Buble lip synced by British child actors Emily Carey and Harry Collett.

Set in the lobby of a glamorous vintage hotel, Emily, dressed in a flapper gown, dances with Harry the bellhop, who has shed his uniform for a dapper tuxedo in an effort to persuade her to "stay"


Friday, November 21, 2014

98 years old... she's still got it!

Saturday, November 15, 2014


My mother's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Every year she cooked an enormous turkey with amazing gravy, stuffing and homemade rolls. The side dishes were always the same... candied yams with marshmallows stuffed into hollowed out orange halves, parsnips with bacon, mountains of mashed potatoes and pumpkin chiffon pie. 

I didn't know for twenty years that regular pumpkin pie is dense and not very high. 

After we all left home it was almost a command performance that we gather for Thanksgiving. There was lots of traveling, lots of excitement and when the grandchildren came along Grandma had to turn her living room into an extension of the dining area.

 image from pinterest
Since our homes were far flung it was really not practical to return for Christmas so... one year, a long, long time ago, we decided to celebrate Christmas as a family the day after Thanksgiving. 

In those days no one, not even the retailers would dare to put anything Christmas on their shelves until after "turkey day" Even if they had, there was no such thing as a fake Christmas tree and it was next to impossible to find a real one. 

We finally located a tree farm that would allow us to come early. They thought we were crazy!

After the dishes were done and the mess was cleared away, we set about to decorate the tree and arrange all the gifts.  It was the strangest experience... it felt exactly like Christmas Eve.  It turned out to be so magical that we continued that tradition for about five years, celebrating together on that day and then returning to our homes for our own private family Christmases. 

Finally it all got to be too much and we had to give it up, but not before my brother coined a wonderful new term.  He called our celebration... "THANKS-MAS" and it stuck.

Christmas stockings from Pottery Barn Kids

I would never dream of skipping Thanksgiving, but for me it is inseparable from Christmas. Its just one long holiday. And when I begin to decorate even before the guest list has been finalized and the turkey purchased I know there will be comments.  Its OK, it  brings back such happy memories and I just smile and say...


Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Fall is winding down. The trees in the valley are dropping their leaves and the mountains have lost their color, our first storm is on the horizon. Here are just a few reason why I'm sad to see it all go...

Williams Sonoma's Pumpkin Seed Brittle! Its only available in the fall and it is delicious! 

Pumpkins up the staircase... they make me wonder what's at the top???

The Widow's Broom 
by Chris Van Allsburg, author of The Polar Express and JumanjiThis is the best ghost story I know of.

The smell of wet leaves!

Chunky socks and PLAID! boots

Apples purchased right from the local orchards.

 Perfect weather!

 And of course... Halloween!

I hope you enjoy the last few days!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Someone sent this to me on facebook and I laughed my head off.  This is how I feel every morning when I stand in front of my mirror trying to look presentable. I would describe my once  predictable and easy to manage hair as a bonafide crap-shoot.  No two days are ever the same. You see, the grey hairs are coarse and wiry and have a mind of their own. I thought at my age I wouldn't be so vain but.... I am. 
photo taken from pinterest
I'm conflicted about whether I should continue to color my hair.  I've seen all the gorgeous pictures of older women with beautiful white hair. But I'm not "white" yet... just grey. Its that in between stage... I've been there a few times. 

So many things have changed.  I've given up high heels, anything with a waist, and wearing bold prints. I'm lactose free, gluten intolerant and on a good day I'm a vegan. I've always been a "morning person" but now I'm a "night owl" as well.  I take little power naps. Ok, I will say it... I remind myself of my mother.

We are all headed in the same direction and there's no way to stop it. So, looking forward, I intend to buy prettier clothes (that requires a trip to Nordstrom) smile bigger and be kinder to my fellow man and woman and the 600 hundred children that come through my library every week. Life is good!

photo taken from pinterest

This is the young skinny person trapped inside my body... 

Oh to have my 25 year old figure and my 65 year old brain!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

a remarkable woman, mother and musician

Shortly before I graduated from college, Brigham Young University welcomed a new president. His name was Dallin Oaks. He was only 39 at the time but from my 21 year old perspective that was ancient. 

Four years later, when his youngest child was thirteen it was announced that his wife June was expecting a baby. Although a little surprised, the whole community was thrilled when a beautiful baby girl was born. 

I remember hearing that their their daughter was taking violin lessons at the tender age of four. Deep into my own family I lost track of any other news.  

Years later a violinist with Grammy nominations and Julliard Music school behind her, performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I knew instantly who it was... Jenny Oaks Baker... our former presidents surprise and gift in mid-life.  She is beautiful and plays the violin with her whole soul.

Listen to Jenny play ...

This is a nice story but the remarkable part is Jenny's family. Supported by her husband she has managed to instill in her children not only the love of music but the discipline it takes to become musicians. Listen to their performance of "Its a Small World"  They are precious!

How has she managed it all. Listen as Jenny talks of her love of music, her family and the gift she believes came from God.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


On a beautiful October morning eleven years ago I sat by an open window smelling the rain and waiting for my mother's shallow breathing to stop. I had been her care-giver for the last fourteen months of her life and she and I were alone when she left. 

It was sad, but there was sweetness in the last few hours we spent together. I discovered that helping someone into the next world was as amazing as bringing my children into this one.

Those last few months were hard, sometimes poignant and often absolutely hilarious. My children will concur that Grandma was quite the character.  She named her walker "Jack"  short for jack-ass and insisted on having Mrs. Cavanaughs chocolates on her bed table. She was convinced a little piece of candy in the middle of the night would put her right back to sleep.  Who could fight with that!

For her last birthday, her 89th, I telephoned everyone in her directory and asked them to stop by and say hello. " No presents please, just come on over and have a piece of cake."  

We heard the first knock about 8:30 and a steady stream of people were in and out all day long. That night she turned to me and said... "I didn't know so many people knew it was my birthday." She never suspected I had anything to do with it.

As I was planning her funeral I found this poem by Henry Van Dyke (1852 - 1933) a respected Presbyterian clergyman from Pennsylvania. I love his perspective on dying.  Its just the next step...

Gone From My Sight

by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."

Gone where?

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me -- not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone,"
there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"


Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Heber Valley Girls Camp is amazing!

When Gordon B Hinckley was the prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1995 - 2008 (the Mormons) he had a vision for the young women of the church. He wanted a place for them to go where they could be out in nature and feel the spirit. Heber Valley Camp is the realization of his desire for these young girls.

OUR YURT... it sleeps 16
His vision was a camp that would have all the amenities, showers, plumbing, electricity, cabins, beds and activities, so the girls would be comfortable. He wanted them to be able to have a spiritual experience without worrying about learning to cook over a fire, building latrines and staying clean.

His "people" scouted out the mountain above Heber Valley and concluded that a nice camp could be built there. President Hinckley, however, had a larger vision. He said, "Buy the whole mountain." It is a huge area, about 8,000 acres, which is roughly 10 square miles. The church and various donors built a state of the art highway for almost 8 million dollars which leads to cabins, yurts, pavilions, cooking facilities, volleyball, obstacle courses, the lake with canoes and more.

The Young Women use the facilities on Monday through Thursday all summer long and families rent the cabins and yurts on the weekends. It is truly a beautiful place, an homage to how President Hinckley felt about the women in the church.

When we arrived it was delightfully cool and by bedtime there was a torrential downpour. What fun to sleep in a "yurt" and listen to the rain.  The smell was heavenly.

Canoeing on the lake...

Our Little Campers...

Have a beautiful Sunday

Thursday, September 25, 2014

a quick overnight camping trip!

Everyone talks about the beautiful Heber Valley.  This will be my first time camping there. So excited. 

My gear is packed, including my new air matress. My camera is charged and I'm excited to take in the fall colors and hopefully see a moose.  

FALL is my favorite season! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Downton Abbey season 5 airs Sunday
September 21st. 

For us, here in the United States, it will be a bit later. But... there's good news. I have found this amazing website  "Simply June" I'm not sure how she manages it but she posts the episodes the day after they are shown abroad. I'm including the link to her website.

Meanwhile enjoy this delightful interview with a few cast members as they talk about season 4

Monday, September 1, 2014

Spending the day at... 
outside Torrey, Utah

Capital Reef is known as the best kept secret in Utah. It is a three hour drive from my home south of Salt Lake City and has breathtakingly beautiful rock formations. These pictures can't even begin to capture the power of the landscape.

The back of Chimney Rock. Because this national park is so pristine and remote the air quality comes very close to perfect.

Don't want to be there when this giant rock breaks and rolls.

When we came around the corner on the trail we all squealed... it looks like a crocodile!

Early settlers carved their names on the rock wall

It was a magical day!


Sunday, August 31, 2014


We may not have the voice of Celine Dion or Josh Groban but we all have something to give, a quick wit, a kind word, a patient nature, an artistic flair. The trick is not only to recognize our talents but to share them. Listen as these two make beautiful music... truly a gift from God.


Thursday, August 28, 2014


I have always been a "good girl" an obedient child, who got good grades, practiced my piano and was clueless about Woodstock and Haight Ashbury even in the middle of the 60's

I graduated from college, taught second grade, got married had six babies, and devoted myself to my family. I am a self proclaimed "homebody" who passed up many adventures because I wouldn't leave my children. I have no regrets about that, but TIMES HAVE CHANGED!

The other night my youngest daughter took me to Costco.  What a fun place. She talked me into buying a little bottle of pesto, something I had never tasted. When I got home I opened the jar and took a whiff. It was so robust and dense. I wasn't exactly sure what I would do with it but the delicious aroma gave me this overwhelming feeling that I wanted something new... not the road less traveled but a road I've never set foot on.

I laid in bed that night thinking of all the things I wished I could do with my life...

I want to take a cruise to Alaska and then travel the scenic route by train across Canada. 

* I want to bicycle through Vermont in the Fall and return to watch the tapping of the Maple Trees in the Spring.

*I want to live in an orange house.

* I want to visit Nantucket and buy a hat from Peter Beatons.

* I no longer want to eat... I want to "dine" on the freshest and most delicious food I can find.  No more meatloaf and mashed potatoes, I want something new, maybe sushi. 

* I want to visit Lake Placid, the Appalachian Trail, and tour the Southern homes in Savannah.

* I want to get my masters degree in English Literature.

* I want to sit in Central Park and watch "Pale Male" swoop through the trees.

* I want to work from home in my pajamas.

*I want to LAUGH every day.

* I want to fall in LOVE.

And... I want to dance in the moonlight like Isadora Duncan, with only a long silk scarf to cover my nakedness. 


Wow, that was quite a bottle of pesto!