November 14, 2010


Last night, Tomas and I joined the Mc's and Rob's German students for the annual Laternenumzug (lantern procession). In Germany and Austria, children decorate lanterns with candles for St. Martin's Day and walk around during the evening singing the lantern song.

St. Martin lived during the 4th Century. My favorite story I learned about him was of his reluctance to become bishop so hid in a stable filled with geese. The noise made by the geese gave him away, and he was found. Therefore, the traditional food eaten on St. Martin's Day is goose.

This made me think, "Where does one get a goose if one wanted to eat it for St. Martin's Day?" I've never seen goose sold in stores or listed on a restaurant menu. Actually, I don't have any desire to even try it; I was just thinking—that's all. The more important thing to be learned from St. Martin is if you don't want to accept a church calling or assignment, hide with less noisy animals like rabbits.

Here is the lantern Tomas made. The four
panels depict a story, which I've forgotten
All I know is that everything blows up in th
end, as can be seen on the right.

Here's my lantern. I went for simple. Next
year, I hope to get a head start and make
a really elaborate one. Mary Ann said it
looked very Chihuly-esque. Yeah, I wish—
still, a nice compliment.

Tomas and best bud, Sebi, are ready to go.

Photo of the procession using the flash.
I read that sometimes a man dressed as St. Martin leads
the procession on a horse. I want this job for next year. If
BYU has a problem with me dressing up as a Catholic saint,
I could do it as Brigham Young or Karl Maeser.

And without the flash. We'll call this artistic. I need to figure 
out how to use the camera in the dark.

The whole group on the steps of the Maeser Building.

Tomas and I had a great time, and look
forward to next year. Maybe someday,
we'll even get to participate in the real 
thing in Germany or Austria.

November 09, 2010

One Exception

OK, it's actually 17 days away from when I think the Christmas season should begin. I wait until the day after Thanksgiving to break out the Christmas music. It drives me crazy how several local radio stations are already playing nonstop holiday music.

However, for this video, I'll break the rule.

It's beautiful.


Annie Lennox's Christmas album, "A Christmas Cornucopia" will be released on Nov. 15. I will be there when the stores open. I hope my family and coworkers are prepared.

Annie will be making several US television appearances. Here's the list:

Nov. 15, 2010—the album, "A Christmas Cornucopia" released

Nov. 15, 2010— appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC

Nov. 19, 2010—appearance on "Good Morning America" on ABC

Nov. 19, 2010—appearance on "The Talk" on CBS

Nov. 30, 2010—appearance on "NBC's 13th Annual Christmas in Rockefeller Center" on NBC

November 07, 2010

School Pictures 2010

I'm finally posting the kids' school pictures. We've actually had Liam's and Chloe's for quite a while now, but Tomas is the first of our kids to need retakes. It seems that just before pictures were taken the first time, Tomas decided to redo his hair (and not in a good way). And when the photographer said smile, he gave his cheesiest, eyes-half-closed grin. Before returning the first set of photos, I should have scanned one to use for bribery later. But, I forgot. For the second time around, Katie gave Tomas a lot of coaching, and it paid off.

And to give you all a good laugh, I thought I'd do as I did last year and show my school picture from the same years as the kids'. Enjoy.

Tomas, 1st Grade
Our cute little guy—and much improved
over the first photo.

Curtis, 1st Grade
Also a cute little guy, but trust me, the next
few years that follow were just plain scary.

Liam, 7th Grade
Everyone always comments on his eyes. And,
he either hasn't reached it yet or he just skipped 
 over the nerdy phase. Let's hope it's the latter.

Curtis, 7th Grade
I, on the other hand, fully embraced nerdiness.
I don't know what they were thinking with that
stupid double-image thing, but I do know I loved
that leisure suit with silky large-collared shirt. 
Work it!

Chloe, 11th Grade
Every year since kindergarten, Chloe's 
school pictures always show her confidence
and outgoing personality.

Curtis, 11th Grade
As high school pictures go, this one isn't so 
bad. I'm just glad I'm not showing you all
my 10th grade picture. Anyone remember
the Tom Sellek permed hair fad? Ay yi yi!

November 03, 2010

Happy Halloween 2010

You never know what kind of weather you're going to get for Halloween in Utah, and this year the forecast called for rain.

That reminded me of a Halloween when I was about 5 years old. My dad was on an aircraft carrier somewhere, and my mom had to stay home with my two younger sisters who were sick. It was pouring rain, but a neighbor offered to take me out trick-or-treating. There were no trick-or-treaters out that evening, and we lived in a neighborhood with a lot of older residents. The neighbors didn't want to be stuck with a bunch of candy, so they would just empty their bowls into my plastic pumpkin. After every other house, we had to go back home to unload. Needless to say, I got quite the haul that year.

Now, back to 2010. We went outside for our costume photo shoot. Almost as soon as we finished, the rain began. It turned into what I call TV rain. This is the kind of rain that looks like what you see on a TV show and you think to yourself, "That's not real. That's just someone standing off to the side of the camera with a fire hose." You could actually see it going in waves down the street. The downpour continued for about an hour and a half and quit just in time for the kids to go out. It ended up being a great Halloween.

Enjoy the costume parade!

We love it when our kids choose easy 
costumes. Shred some clothes, slap on 
some make up—Voila, you're done.
Tomas wanted to show off his zombie eyes.

Liam—the Mad Hatter

There were plenty of Johnny Depp Mad
Hatters this year, but Liam wanted to go 
for the classic.
Katie did a great job on the costume.
Chloe and her friend, Kate—Batman and Robin

Ready to fight crime—just ignore Scooter in the background
by the mailbox.

With hair to match.

Katie—the goucho
Those boots are made for walkin'.
Muy caliente!

Curtis—the wizard
This was from my old English Language
Center days. I haven't worn it in years, so
I thought I'd resurrect it.

Too bad goatees aren't allowed at BYU.
I also couldn't grow a decent one if I
Here's a look at our pumpkins. Every year, I think we need to get an earlier start on carving, but October is always one of the craziest months for us. Once again, we barely got them done before the doorbell rang with the first trick-or-treaters.

Beginning in the upper left corner and going clockwise:

  1. Katie carved a QBeez character, and I went for the good ol' standby jack-o-lantern face.
  2. Chloe created a Pacman pumpkin.
  3. Tomas came up with the idea of an alien pumpkin, and I helped out.
  4. And of course, Liam's pumpkin had to involve gore. 

This pumpkin was an inside joke. Click here if you're interested, but be prepared to waste a lot of time.