Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ten Things of Thankful: Live Studio Audience Edition

I started writing this post a few days ago. Yesterday morning, I woke up to the news about the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Like everyone else, I am stunned at the horrific crime, and pray for peace, comfort, and healing for the victims and their families.

Even though the mood of the nation is heavy now, I'm going to go ahead with this post. We can find things to be thankful for even in dark moments. Our homes can be havens of peace, joy, and love, even when evil rages in the world. The terror of Sunday night does not negate the good moments of the previous week. 

So, if you can put aside the major news outlets for a moment, I'll take you back through my week and share some bright moments in my life--things for which I am thankful.

Last Monday evening, John and I continued our quest to discover all the gastronomic delights in Provo. We ate dinner at Cafe on Fire, a Persian restaurant with attentive, personable service and fresh food. Though dinner was fine, dessert at Rockwell Ice Cream Co. was outstanding. We are now wondering how in the world we will be able to try other dessert places when the smooth, flavorful ice cream at Rockwell's beckons. 

1. I'm thankful for blueberry lemon thyme ice cream, and dark chocolate honeycomb ice cream. YUM!


Photo: A small styrofoam bowl with two flavors of ice cream inside:  dark brown chocolate honeycomb ice cream on the left, and lavender-colored blueberry lemon thyme ice cream on the right
After our ice cream, we continued to walk around downtown Provo, and were surprised to spot Santa Claus! He was with a musical group, and they were all being recorded. We approached from the side to get a better look and to see what was being filmed. 


Photo: On a sidewalk in downtown Provo, Utah, in front of brick commercial storefronts, a singer/guitarist, a cellist in a Santa hat, and a man with a microphone (seated on the sidewalk) gather for a recording sesion. A Salvation Army bucket sits on a stand on the right.

We saw a sign tacked up on a post that informed us that BYU Broadcasting was filming the opening credits for their upcoming holiday special, Christmas Under the Stars. What we heard though, was a familiar voice singing part of Superman!


We had stumbled upon Five for Fighting! We watched and listened for as long as we felt we could as mere spectators, then went back home, amazed at our good luck.

2. I'm thankful for an evening that was full of delightful surprises. 

Delightful surprises didn't end on Monday, though. On Tuesday, a Facebook post alerted me to an opportunity to be part of the studio audience for the taping of the Christmas Under the Stars show. Having just watched the taping of the opening credits, I was very excited to get the chance to see the complete performance! 

Wednesday night, John and I ignored the month on the calendar, dressed up in our "holiday casual" attire, and headed to the studio. We sat two rows up, to the side of the piano. Before the show started, the sound people recorded various levels of applause by the audience. Though that applause was staged, I can assure you that there was genuine excitement in the studio, and we applauded sincerely during the concert. 

The set lived up to its "under the stars" name. Lights hung from the ceiling and seemed to envelop all of us. I might have even let out a little gasp. It was truly beautiful. 


Photo: John and I in front of the sparkly lights of the set following the performance

We enjoyed the intimate setting as Five for Fighting performed traditional Christmas songs, as well as some of his own chart-topping hits. A new Christmas song he performed (with Jim Brickman on the piano) will, I think, get lots of air-time this upcoming holiday season. In fact, if you know someone in the military, you might want to share this video that Jim Brickman posted on his Facebook page, asking for photos to accompany this new release.




All the musicians gave outstanding performances. The percussionist and string section not only provided accompaniment, they also had their own time to shine during several numbers. Jim Brickman delighted the crowd with his piano skills, and the International Children's Choir sang angelically. 

3. I'm thankful for talents shared and the spirit of Christmas felt.

My "live studio audience" experience didn't end on Wednesday evening. Friday night, John and I went to Dry Bar Comedy club, which tapes shows for future online release. Because it is billed as clean comedy, performers have financial incentive to keep the comedy family-friendly. The more editing that needs to be done prior to release, the less the comedians get paid. John and I enjoyed listening to Steve Mittleman and Jessi Campbell. (Though the acts were clean, I don't think the videos are up yet, so I can't give a link to the actual performances we saw.)

4. I'm thankful for good, clean fun and laughter.

Now, lest you think I spent the entire week last week in fun and games, let me tell you about my trip to the DMV. Our cars had been sporting their old California plates, and it was time to get them registered here in Utah. A couple of weeks ago, I took one car in for its smog check, then I ventured (with a bit of trepidation, I might add) into the DMV. I suspected I would be giving up a good portion of my morning in this task. Let me just say, the DMV in Utah is nothing like the DMV in California. I walked in the door, was shocked to see there was NO line, approached the front desk, and as the woman at the desk handed me a little paper with a number on it, that number was being called! I walked a few feet to the counter, and in less than 5 minutes was on my way with my new license plates. 

5. I'm thankful for quick DMV trips.

Last week, I returned to the DMV to get plates for the other car. I actually had to sit down for less than two minutes before my number was called this time. (I must have come at a busy time.) I approached a different counter than the week before, and was helped by a different worker than previously. She apologized for the delay. Again, I was quickly handed plates and I went home. When I got out of the car, I looked at the license plate number, wondering it I would be able to memorize it. Then I glanced at our other car's license plate number, and started to laugh. I hurried in the house to get John to come and see what had happened. 

No photo for this, as I don't think it's a good idea to publish license numbers online, but I'll try to describe the plates without giving them away. Both plates have 6 characters. The first, third, fifth, and sixth characters are identical with the other plate. The second and fourth characters on one plate are just one digit apart from the characters on the other plate--one car has the lower digits, and the other has the higher digits. What are the odds?! 

6. I'm thankful for amazing coincidence. 

Saturday morning, John and I decided to hike up to the Y. It had been decades since the last time I had been up to that large letter on the mountain. I realized I'm older now. We weren't running, but we definitely got a cardiovascular workout. We made it, though, and it was worth it. One of these days, I'll get used to this altitude. (Yes, the sign behind us says the elevation is 6224 feet!) 

7. I'm thankful for mountains to climb. (Anyone else hearing Julie Andrews right now? 😊)

Photo: John and I standing in front of a sign that reads: "Top of the Y Trail. You Made it! Elevation: 6224 ft. Distance 1.11 miles"
After we descended, we made it back to our house in time to watch the LDS General Conference sessions. I'll post more about conference in a future blog post, but let me just say that:

8. I'm thankful for the inspiring, uplifting messages of conference.

As I look around me, I see evidence of changing seasons. I love the colorful displays of autumn, and the cooler weather.

Photo: On Y mountain, beside a huge rock formation, trees stand--some with red leaves, some with orange leaves, some with yellow leaves, and some still with green leaves

9. I'm thankful for the beauty of the earth.

Sunday evening, we went to John's parents' house. It was nice to spend time with them. We had dinner together, talked, and played games.

9-1/2. I'm thankful we live close enough to see John's parents more frequently.

10. As always, I am thankful for John. While we still are getting settled here, and the routine, daily tasks continue, we also are enjoying exploring a new place together--with or without a live studio audience! 

What are you thankful for this week? Remember, the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop happens every week, and we welcome new participants! Join Josie at the Ten Things of Thankful blog, and read other uplifting posts of gratitude!

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8 comments:

  1. We most definitely needed this uplifting slice of normal life today, Kristi! When things get heavy in our world it's easy to focus on the negatives, and this was a lovely reminder that there is always much to be thankful for in our lives!

    It's easy to tell that you are really enjoying the things to do, places to go, food to try, and sights to see in Provo! I loved your attendance at show tapings, both accidental and planned, and your quest to try out all the new food options. That's one that Papa Bear and I would surely embrace. :-) I applaud you for the hike up Y mountain, it looked challenging and you made it! It's great that you made it back down in time for the televised Conference too.

    Your brief visits to the DMV were indeed a pleasant departure from the long lines in California... and here. Many folks in our nearest city drive 50 miles to a small neighboring town in the county to access their DMV office which, like yours, is ever so much faster.

    I am happy to hear that John's parents live in Provo and you will be able to spend more time with them. I know that is a blessing for all of you! Having your children close by is such a good feeling.

    I agree about the beauty of the earth, not only the lovely colors of Autumn, but in every season and place. Such amazing detail to delight us and remind us of Our Creator's love!

    Thank you for deciding to go ahead with your TToT post, love will always be more powerful than hate. XO

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    1. You are always so kind and complete in your comments! Thanks for hosting this link-up and making everyone feel welcome.

      I think I will need to hike up that mountain a bunch more times if I expect to keep trying out the restaurant scene here.

      Just to clarify, John's parents don't live here in Provo, but they are close enough for us to drive for an evening visit. :-)

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  2. The joy of Christmas should always be in our hearts. What a blessing you were able to celebrate at the concert and on the street. The ice cream looks very tasty! Have a great week.

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    1. I agree with you. We should carry the joy of Christmas year-round.

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  3. Fire and ice.

    :-)

    The two of you always have such fun together. I could use a little Christmas magic already now. I didn't know Santa played the cello. I would have loved to see that taping. Love those artists.

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    1. BYUtv will broadcast the performance when it gets closer to Christmas. I look forward to hearing it all over again.

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  4. ...it is (imo) at these kinds of times when the good must be at least available. the darkness is not a simple fact, an event it is a thing that feeds on the spirit. Seeing something decent like ice cream and cello players does as much to prevent the negative from growing as does light in a dark room.

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!