Thursday, December 25, 2014

One Of My Favorite Hats...

If you know me, you know I wear hats...lots of hats. I wear hats in the winter to keep my head warm and I wear hats in the summer to keep my head from getting sunburned.

For me, hats are more than an accessory--they're a necessity. 

So, over the years I've amassed quite a collection of baseball hats. I've even worn out more than a few. But in December, we unpack the Christmas decorations and lights and Advent Calendars.

We also get out the Santa Hats.

And of all the hats I own, I think I like wearing the Santa hat most of all.

I hope you've all had a happiest of Christmases. And, as Tiny Tim said...

God bless us, everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Our Christmas Eve, 2014...In Pictures

The bus that arrives before ours pulled up this morning and opened the doors. Usually five or six riders board the big bus. Today there were none.

"Anybody on the bus?" I yelled through the door as I awaited our own bus to show up.

"Yeah," the driver said. "I've got two people!" I joked that I thought maybe his bus would be completely empty considering no one showed up at our stop. After chatting a bit, we wished each other a Merry Christmas and he drove away. When our bus finally came, there were four of us. There's usually fifteen or twenty.

That's just how it goes when one works on Christmas Eve.

The bus was nearly empty. So was our building. A few of us who either couldn't get the day off or chose not to take time off put our shoulders to the grindstone and stuck around. Several departments had treats (personally, those green and red doughnuts were very off-putting and that's a tough thing to do to a doughnut...). I even took a picture of my friend's empty chair and texted him the photo with the following message: 

“I see a vacant seat in the overly-lit cubicle, and a little keyboard without an owner. If these shadows remained unaltered by the future, the will to work will die.”

I'm sure Dickens would have written the same thing, had he lived in our day.

I did leave a few hours early so we could attend my brother's family Christmas Eve party, a tradition going back several years. We stopped off at a rock shop--not heavy metal, but gemstones--and I saw a Scooby Doo Green Machine. I just had to get a picture.

We also picked up a little pre-party food at one of the few Popeye's Chicken restaurants in Utah. If you're hungry and you happened to be near a Popeye's, I highly recommend it.

We entered the valley where my brother's family lives just as the sun was setting in the west. I wish my camera could capture just how beautiful it was.

At the gathering we ate, conversed, met new people. We even played a game or two. It was such a wonderful way to end this year's Christmas Eve. Happy Christmas everyone! I hope you all get enough sleep.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Coach Whitt...Good Job!

A friend of mine told me of the time he heard the Superbowl-winning coach Mike Ditka speak at a convention. He remembered the coach talk about how tough it is to be an NFL coach. He said, "Imagine you at your job and there's dozens of cameras directed on you the entire time you're at your job. The camera's record everything--every move, every decision, everything. Do you think you would do your job differently if you had cameras on you at your job?"

That thought stayed with my friend and since he told me, it's stayed with me, too. I think being a coach of a sports time is one of the more demanding jobs out there. I know I couldn't do it, or if I did, I'd do a poor job at it.

One person he is pretty good at his job is the coach for the University of Utah football team, Coach Kyle Whittingham. I don't know him personally, but I know people who do. As with any person, there's good and bad, but as a fan of both him and the team, I admire what he's been able to do.

On the heals of a great Las Vegas Bowl victory last weekend, news broke today that two of his assistants are leaving for other jobs. A good leader will tell you that you increase greatly your chances of success when you choose the right people to help you. Many fans are worried (and to be honest, I am a little as well...) that the program will take a step or two backward. And it might; life is so unpredictable in sports. Many a person has gone broke betting on the outcomes of games and programs. Even if Coach Whitt has a terrible year and/or gets replaced, I'll always appreciate the job he's done and the way he's honored his position, the players, the school and the fans.

Hopefully, though, I hope he has an even better year next year. Good job, Coach Whitt! Good job!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Circle Of Trust...

"Five minutes to for opening act!" Todd screams through the halls and at the door of each dressing room.

We all respond by saying, "Thank you, five." with various levels of enthusiasm. At least, that's what we've done for the past month every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings and if the show continued, that's where we'd all be at around 6:30pm tonight, on an empty stage with the show's opening song blaring on the speaker system.

We form a circle--a circle of trust--and link arms with each other, a few cast members arriving after the music starts. Together we'll sing, some with solos, others harmonizing in small groups until we sing together and finish the song.

"Opening choir--on stage now!" Most are already there, waiting. Some come late. And when the music starts, our circle of trust solidifies until we become a family of performers sharing a single stage with a single goal of bringing magic to friends and strangers.

So, to Laryn, Abby, Ella, Truman, Sam, Tyler, Addie, Chantelle, Samantha, Jackie, Marsha, Tyler, Chase, Adam, Robert, and Carson, sing a song of gladness and cheer! Thanks for accepting me into your circle. Happy Christmas to you and yours. Take care.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Annual Ward Choir Christmas Program...

In my neighborhood I am surrounded by insanely talented people. I'm sure you are, too. Most are talented in one thing or another (even if they don't know it...). But in my neighborhood, for some reason there lives many who are musically gifted.

And at this time of year, a few of us put on a Christmas program at church. Today was that day. But a good program requires good preparation, which in our case, included a delicious breakfast yesterday morning. Everyone brought something yummy and we breakfasted with good friends and good food. We then rehearsed for a couple of hours in preparation of this morning.

At 11am our meeting began and one hour and fifteen minutes later, it ended. In between we sang and heard inspirational words. I think I've participated in this particular program every year going back decades. In the past I've sung solos, in duets, quartets and sextets, and even played handbells. They've all been good, but this was one of my favorite programs.

In our church all over the world such programs were held, all in an effort to honor the birth of Christ. Hopefully those who attended our program left feeling better, and more prepared for the Christmas holiday only a few days away. I know I did.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Family Christmas Card...In The 21st Century

I never think about Christmas cards until the day I start receiving them in the mail. I know that for many sending cards is a Christmas tradition. For some reason, it's never really caught on with me. Maybe it's taking the time to get the cards, write on the cards, address the envelopes, get stamps, put the stamps on the envelopes, write and include a note explaining how the passing year affected each member of the family, insert that notes into the already-stamped envelopes, seal the envelopes then put them in the mail.

No...for some reason, it always slips my mind.

But, I do find myself with a computer on my lap much of the day and I find it so much easier to create something then mass send it to as many people as possible. I know it's impersonal, but if I don't do it, then it won't get done.

I was asked to make a little video that includes pictures of our family during various events of the past year. I admit--it was fun to put together. I then chose a great song to play with the pictures and videos and we burned several DVD'' know, for family. We sent those in the mail for family out-of-state.

Today I tried to post that video on Facebook, but they have a little something called "technology" that they have working for them and this "technology" detected the song I used on my video might not be mine (the "technology" is correct--I am not Bing Crosby or a member of the Andrew Sisters, nor I did not write, sing, nor do I own the rights to Mele Kalikimaka...). "Technology" 1, me 0.

I edited the video, put on some generic music then put it on Facebook. I wanted to include it on the blog, but it's too long, so if you'd like to see it, check out the link: HERE But even if you never see our little video, rest assured, the Taylors have experienced much in the last twelve months. It's been a great year!

Oh, and for the record, the cute red SUV isn't's my mother-in-laws, in case anyone was wondering.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Karaoke Night...2014 Edition

  1. a form of entertainment, offered typically by bars and clubs, in which people take turns singing popular songs into a microphone over prerecorded backing tracks.

There's a tradition at the theater where I've done a few shows, the tradition of Karaoke Night. Basically, we stay after a show, put music on the killer sound system the theater has and let the magic happen.

And tonight's that night.

I've gone to a couple of these Karaoke Nights--I even sang at the last one. I don't know if Karaoke is as popular anymore. I'm sure it is some places, but since I don't spend a lot of time in the places where Karaoke is popular, I wouldn't know.

But, I've got to tell you, having a Karaoke Night together with a bunch of people who long musical theater is like none other. Let's just say they get a little creative.

One thing that amazes me is--on those rare events that I actually do sing--is how LONG the songs are. It's one thing to sing a song to the radio while you're driving, but it's another thing when you're on stage and you can't remember the song ever being that long.

In fact, I wonder if kar-a-o-ke is really Japanese for "Extremely Long Song."