A Wedding Story (Becca & Austin)

Last week ago Dawn and I flew to Salt Lake City to attend the wedding of my niece, Rebecca Ostler to Austin Copeland-Rynders. For the record, the wedding date was October 7, 2012. It was a fabulous event at a beautiful location. Picture taking was fun—all the Ostlers clean up quite nicely! Here are some photos I took at the wedding.

The wedding and reception were held at La Caille,
a picture-perfect venue for a such an affair (though with a tragic history).

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Visit From the Seldens

We had a nice visit with the Seldens on Labor Day—or at least a small percentage of the Seldens. My sister and brother-in-law, Carolyn and Craig were here, along with their son and daughter-in law, Leland and Tammy, and L&T’s children, Brandon, Vincent and Megan. In addition, Matt and Amy, and their children, Quade, Brooke and Noah, were with us. Dawn fixed a wonderful meal and I barbecued the hamburgers. A fun time was had by all.

(L-R) Vincent Selden, Quade Thurston, Noah Thurston, Brandon Selden, Megan Selden, Brooke Thurston

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Basel, Switzerland

We just returned from a cruise along the Rhine River, from Basel to Amsterdam. It was our “big vacation” for the year and the following posts will be my photographic essay, which I’ll break down by ports of call. First stop: Basel, Switzerland.

Basel’s central square was a colorful place – a hub for the many tram routes throughout the city. The beautiful red building is the Rathaus (Town Hall).

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Our Balmy Baltic Cruise

It isn’t often you read “balmy” and “Baltic” in the same headline, but here you are. We have just returned from a cruise that began in Dover and ended in Stockholm, with stops along the way at Oslo, Copenhagen, Visby, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki. And the weather everywhere was FABULOUS!

Left: The gilded spires of the Catherine Palace outside St. Petersburg, Russia, glistened in the brilliant sunlight.

We’re talking about places where they get only 20 sunny days the entire year, yet we were awash with sunshine almost the entire time. This winter was one of the severest in the region in many years, so the warm weather was welcome and unexpected. In Gotland, an island that is Sweden’s Hawaii, there had been so much snow this winter they had to truck it out of the capital city of Visby in order for cars circulate and park. It gets so cold in the Sea of Finland that it freezes over in the winter, which, before icebreaker vessels, closed the harbors in Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The summer months are normally the rainiest in these countries. But we saw nary a drop.

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Saturday Night at the Dance Recital

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post called “Saturday at the Little League Ballpark.” It focused on my grandsons, Quade and Noah, and their baseball games. Today I get a chance to write about my granddaughter, Brooke, and her dance recital.

Brooke is seven years old. To say she is FABULOUS would be an understatement. It would also be the name of one of the dances her group performed. To say she is a budding SUPERSTAR would be true, and it would also be the name of one of the dances her group performed. To say she is a DANCING LEOPARD might not be literally true, but it is one of the dances her group performed.

Perhaps pictures say it better than words.

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Chicago, Chicago: That Toddlin’ Town


The title of this post is from the song “Chicago,” which has been sung by various people from Judy Garland to Tony Bennett. It was going through my head for a good portion of the time I was in Chicago. The lyrics are pretty clever. Here is how it begins:

I got the surprise,
the surprise of my life
I had to stop and stare
I saw a man dancing
with his own wife
And you will never guess where

Chicago, Chicago
That toddlin’ town, the toddlin’ town
Chicago, Chicago
I’ll show you around, I love it
Bet your bottom dollar
you lose the blues
In Chicago, Chicago
The town that Billy Sunday
could not shut down

I particularly love the line about the surprise in seeing a man dancing with his own wife. Among the three largest cities in America (Los Angeles, New York and Chicago), it has always seemed to me that Chicago is the one where “small town values,” such as lack of pretention, friendliness and family ties, are the strongest. Still, Chicago has its wild side (Al Capone and the mafia, corruption in city government) and apparently even Billy Sunday couldn’t shut it down. (Billy Sunday, by the way, was a popular major league baseball player during the 1880s, who later became the most influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the twentieth century. He was a big proponent of prohibition and some say his preaching played the key role in the adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment in 1919.) Continue reading

An Angelic Visitation


OK, I may have gotten carried away with this blog title.

On my birthday (May 25) Dawn and I attended a baseball game at Anaheim Stadium between the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Toronto Blue Jays. We don’t attend live sporting events very often so when my Fidelity Investments representative called a few weeks ago and offered two free tickets in their luxury suite I accepted.

Anaheim Stadium is located just a few miles from our house and getting to the game is quite simple. By leaving at 6:00 p.m. we were at the gates of the parking lot by 6:20, giving us plenty of time to park and find our suite before the 7:00 start time.

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“Is Marriage a Right?”

A Panel at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government

I mentioned in my last blog entry that my plan was to spend the second week of my Utah stay attending the NGS annual conference in Salt Lake City. I had even paid my registration fee for the event. However, shortly before I left for Utah, I was asked if I could participate on a panel at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government that would address the topic, “Is Marriage a Right?” It would require me to miss most of the NGS conference.

[Right: Harvard Kennedy School's Littauer Building]

Nevertheless, this seemed to be a great opportunity to return to Cambridge and speak on a subject I feel passionately about and Kennedy School students are likely to be heavily represented among future leaders of governments. I agreed to go.

The panel was co-sponsored by four of the Kennedy School “caucuses” (affinity groups) – Mormon, LGBT, California and Massachusetts. It would bring together students from a church that supports laws prohibiting same-sex marriage (Mormon), a group that is directly affected such laws (gays and lesbians), a state where same-sex marriage is legal (Massachusetts) and a state where it is not (California).

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