Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"TWEAKING" my pose!

When Paige and I thanked Julie the yoga teacher subbing for Todd after last night's Bikram class she took the opportunity to give me a little Pep Talk!

Infact, she assured me that she could show me how to "tweak" a couple of my poses and then I'd be doing just fine! And while I totally appreciate her kindness and tweaking offers I'm afraid that Julie thinks I am a novice at Bikram and that I just haven't learned the RIGHT way to BEND correctly. Little does she realize that I have actually been coming to classes for an entire year but that my BODY will not BEND like she is envisioning! It is not like the BENDOS toys pictured at left! Julie is not going to simply TWEAK my stance here and there because the pretzel look just isn't going to happen with the genetic flexibility I've inherited. I do not come from a long line of cheerleaders, dancers, or gymnasts. My body did not bend well back in my high school dance class and now, after years of running (without stretching) (did I mention ZERO stretching) it has only gotten worse.

But even after my explanation of inflexiblity, Yoga Teacher Julie was not deterred! So maybe I'll let her give it a shot. It can't hurt. Right? Well, maybe it can hurt. But even if I'm not bendy I won't be a wimp about it! I'll give anything a try! (pretty much)

Monday, June 29, 2009


Bernie Madoff is a living example of EVIL and GREED run amok! Today, he received the maximum sentence (150 years) for the estimated 65 BILLION DOLLARS that he defrauded from investors over a 20 year period.

Madoff is 71 years old. I was thinking earlier today about Nan Hunter being 70 years old. Can you even begin to imagine two more POLAR OPPOSITES? First and Foremost, Nan ALWAYS cares about people: it was why she started Almaden Country School. And PEOPLE (connecting people in good and meaningful ways) is one of the things Nan does brilliantly. The last thing Nan cares about in the world is money and/or power.

In contrast, Bernie Madoff 's total lack of caring for others has FINANCIALLY RUINED lives of friends, family, coworkers. The enormous fraud perpetuated by Madoff is staggering. You have to wonder: WHAT WAS HE THINKING? Did he really think he could get away with the deceit? How can you betray people like this and live with yourself? Many of his investors/victims lost their entire life savings and will never recover.

To watch the unraveling of Madoff's empire reminds me of a quote by the Greek playwright Sophocles who said: "I would rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud." It seems so obvious but I guess if someone lacks VALUES and standards of any kind, maybe it isn't so clear. Perhaps Madoff will have opportunity to consider his avarice and actions of the last 20 years as he spends the remainder of his life incarcerated!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Super Sunday!

While Sundays are always good days; today was especially so! A busy Sunday but all good things!

It started with a visit to hear Ryan Roundy the RM, give a great talk on service in Saratoga Ward, then off to hear for our Oakland Temple President and matron, the Hunters (see photo) speak in Los Gatos Ward.

Home activities included Birthday Celebrations! Brent is 53 today and Anna King (Webb's very nice friend visiting this weekend) is 22. We had a Surf and Turf dinner, walk to the Tom Petty (like) concert, and the traditional Treasure Hunt followed by Icing on the Cake (with the addition of a Marionberry Cobbler from Ikeeda's that Paige picked up on her drive home from Sun Valley).

Two highlights for me today were having the whole family together and reconnecting with the Hunters. Nan and Richard Hunter are two WONDERFUL people! Both of them just radiate in their countenance. I've always admired Nan and she is such a warm and nurturing person. She was darling to all of the kids and wanted to hear what they were all doing. President Hunter's talk was SIMPLE BUT QUITE PROFOUND. He described a recipe for spaghetti sauce and the importance of following the directions correctly to get the best results. Then he related the idea to commandments, covenants, and stewardship from Heavenly Father to us. His talks are always thoughtful and sweet but have solid guidance. It was a great Sacrament meeting and I hope when I am 70 (like Nan is ) that I will have as much energy & enthusiasm for life and for others as the Hunters do! EXCEPTIONAL-salt-of-the-earth-people!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Kickoff Party!

Today is the Official "A Team" Kickoff Party for the Nike Women's Marathon! The "A Team" stands for Aiden Bryan (8 years old) and Ashley Barth (5 years old) who both had ALL (Leukemia). Both of their Moms (Jennifer and Tia) are on the A Team as well as a cluster of other running friends; including Andie & Paige Knudsen.

This will be Paige's 1st full marathon! She's run several half marathons (in Hawaii, Italy, etc,). Andie ran the full marathon 2 years ago. I am probably that oldest runner on the team (no, wait I guess Anita Schiller has me beat for that title - but not by much) and Paige is our youngest team member. The 2 Amy's (Meier & Touchet) both had babies (Ian & Noah) is the past year; but that won't keep them from running too!

The race isn't until October 18th but we all need to kick in the training; thus a Kickoff Party to get us officially started! Swimming, BBQ, and sharing training tips...should be a fun event!

I once read the following quote regarding Race Strategy from a wise running coach: "I tell runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart."

And with that good advice: Let the training begin!

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP: The King of Pop (1958-2009)

Michael Jackson died yesterday at the age of 50. His death has shocked the world!

I grew up watching Michael as a child prodigy in singing & dancing. Then my own children were amazed by his genius and talent! His audience spanned the generations.

Sadly in the late 1980's strange behavior seemed to plague the music icon. His lavish, out of control spending habits nearly bankrupt him. His fixation on looks & lightening his skin led to surgeries leaving his looks completely changed forever (and not for the better). And, then there were the accusations of child molestation. Although he was found not guilty there were bizarre predilections for boys and childish things (his Neverland ranch complete with a petting zoo!). And as a father of three, Michael behaved strangely; veiling his own kids, pretending to throw his baby (named Blanket) out of a London hotel window a few years back.

It is sad to see Michael Jackson die so young on so many levels. It sounded like he was trying to make a comeback and had sold out concerts in England beginning in July. And despite all his weird behavior, Jackson is undoubtably a musical genius from our time. How tragic if drug abuse (though it is still unclear what caused the cardiac arrest) led to an early death of such a gifted and talented artist. Maybe the tragedy will bring to light the problems behind over medicating and prescribing drugs so casually. Very Sad.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Turtles: "Imagine Me and You, I Do..."

Wow, it is our 28th wedding anniversary! Pretty amazing to think that at the age of 22 I was smart enough (or just dumb luck maybe) to pick a perfect companion! Okay, not "perfect" but perfect for me!
I'm probably not the easiest person to live with 24/7 and I'm glad that despite the annoying things about me that we've had lots of "happy together" years! One thing that makes me "happy together" is a husband who "gets" my sense of humor and laughs at my jokes! Especially if/when my kids don't quite appreciate my clever (they might say "corny") wit!

I love the story about a woman in college who is introduced to a man by her friend with the caution that "Things will probably never work out. He just isn't your type." Well, they eventually married and at their fiftieth wedding anniversary party, she reminded the friend of her comment from years back. "Are you still convinced that Norman's not my type?" she asked her friend. "Absolutely," the friend replied, adding cheerfully, "which only goes to show you that being somebody's type isn't everything."

Some people would say that Brent and I are similar in "type" (which we are in some things) and in many ways we are completely opposite. I don't think it really matters whether you are the same "type" nearly as much as if you share the same values and goals. Fortunately we are usually of the same mind/on the same page in this regard! And that's a great blessing in life!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Club "AARP"! Join Today!

I received a letter from the AARP announcing their delight that I was eligible to join! I'm glad SOMEONE was DELIGHTED that I am now a candidate for the American Association of Retired Persons! Yes, that would be an organization dedicated to the 50 and older crowd. Such a dubious distinction to be asked to join! I'm so honored!

Kind of reminds me of the famous Groucho Marx line: "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

Then there is the other well known line that you "are only as old as you feel." But does that refer to how old you feel in your head or how old you feel physically? Most of the time I still feel like a little kid (in my head) but I'm definitely noticing the disparity between feeling young at heart but having the aches & pains of aging set in! Kind of a bummer to be getting old(ish) but still think I'm a youngster!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

H2O Melon! Food of Angels!

Mark Twain said: "Watermelon is chief of this world's luxuries.....when one has tasted it, he knows what Angels eat."

Watermelon is my favorite fruit! I've ALWAYS been a big fan and I could eat it daily, year-round!

The strangest thing about my obsession with watermelon is that I actually dislike others members of the Melon Family (cantelope - yuck!, honeydew - no, thanks!, crenshaw - pass!) How can someone LOVE watermelon and not like other melons? I guess it is one of life's great mysteries that I have yet to figure out!

In the first century the personal physician to Marcus Aurelius believed that watermelons will remove the 'conditions' of freckles, facial moles, or epidemic leprosy. I have probably consumed ten times the average consumption of watermelon over the course of my life and I have still have freckles and moles; BUT I HAVE avoided leprosy!

Monday, June 22, 2009


The movie "UP" is a must see! The characters are classic. I'm not a huge dog fan (as pets) but animated, talking dogs.....gotta love 'em! Dug is so adorable it almost (repeat, just almost) makes you want a pet dog!

I think I have a new favorite movie line! "I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame" has been stuck in my head like a song that you hear (and like) and find yourself singing all day long!
The dogs in "UP" refer to Russell as "the small mailman" which is another description that I keep thinking of! Just thinking of Russell (aka small mailman) is making me laugh again! If the aim of movies is to entertain us; this movie did a great job!

I think "UP" should get the Oscar for Best Picture!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In Honor of Dads!

Today's post might be a little long but the best tribute I could find for Father's Day happened to be a talk in my files that Webb gave in Sacrament meeting (probably one of his first as a youth speaker). See below:
"Hi, I'm Webb Knudsen. I am a member of the Deacon's quorum and I have been asked to speak today. In Proverbs Chapter 10, verse 1 it says: "A wise son maketh a glad father." So, today, in honor of Father's Day I'll say a few of the things that a father is to me.
First, the "F" in father stands for Friend! My Dad is my very best friend. I feel really lucky to have a Dad who likes to spend time with me. My Dad always tells me that I am his best friend and that makes me feel really good.
The "A" is father could stand for Always & Advice! It seems like our fathers are always there for us but they also seem to have some advice for us. Here are a few bit of advice I often hear: "Just do your best." "If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you?" "A job worth doing is worth doing well." And, of course, the lines: "Go ask your Mom" and "Because I said so."
The "T" in father could stand for Trust. There is a story of a blind by sitting on the lap of his father in a crowded compartment in a train. A friend seated nearby said to the father, "Let me give you a rest," and he reached over and took the little boy on his lap. A few moments later the father said to his son, "Do you know who is holding you?" "No," the little boy replied, "but you do." This little boy had a perfect trust in his father. From the time we are little we always trust our fathers to take good care of us.
The "H" is father could be for Helpful. My Dad can be a big help. When we lived in Seattle, Andie and I had a paper route and my Dad would wake us up at 6 in the morning on the weekends and help us deliver the papers. My Dad also helps me with homework, biking, running, and other stuff. I try to help my Dad by working in the yard and around our house.
The "E" in father could stand for Example. Fathers definitely set an example for their children. A man named James Baldwin once said: "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. Our prophet said that the objective of every Father is to emulate the example of our Father in Heaven.
The "R" in father could stand for Responsibility. I know my Dad has to work really hard to provide for our family. Being a Dad seems like a big responsibility. One father said: "I once had 8 theories on raising kids. Now I have 8 kids and no theories."
I think that our Fathers deserve lots of appreciation today and always! I am grateful for the many fatherly examples I have from my Dad, my grandfathers, and many in this ward in Scouting and Young Mens and in our Bishopric. I'd like to wish all these good Dads a Happy Fathers Day."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Road Trips! Life is a Highway...

"Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower that you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?"

That is not my quote but was said by the comedian George Carlin although most of us probably THINK the same sentiment while cruising along the roads!

I'm driving the Provo to Los Gatos Ride in Bella the Freelander! This is a SOLO road trip which has pros and cons. No one to take your mind off the long drive (con), but no one to add extra bathroom stops (pro). No substitute driver (con), but no one to change the A/C, or ipod selections (pro). And so on...

For me a solo drive means catching up on lots of good podcasts! And the best part of this trip is that it is a one-way drive. It's feels good to know that once I arrive I won't have to turn around and drive back! At least not in the next few days or weeks. Months?.... Maybe?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Choose the Right!

The "CTR" symbol is as familiar to LDS church members as golden arches are to McDonald's customers. I'm older than the CTR ring but not by much! I think it came out in the early 60's and I definitely remember wearing CTR rings in my childhood.

Our ability to "choose," to make our own decisions in life is really what makes us individual and shows our true character. Every day we all make hundreds of little choices that we hardly think twice about. But the little day to day choices really do impact the BIG choices.

A French philosopher named Bainville made the following statement: "We must want the consequences of what we want."

Sometimes if I stop and consider the possible consequences of certain choices I have been able to save myself from making mistakes or using poor judgement. Usually most bad choices ultimately do have potential consequences attached that I'm not interested in suffering!

The last verse in the church hymn "Choose the Right" assures us that in choosing the right there is "SAFETY FOR THE SOUL." I guess that after living half a century I have really seen that both in my life and glimpses of others lives I find that statement to be absolutely true!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

" All-Day Suckers!" Where It All Began!

Or.....How I Came To Love Poetry!

My Mom was the classic school-teacher-turned-mother with her five children becoming her new pupils of sorts. Our classroom (playroom) honestly had these antique school desks and we would play "SCHOOL" for hours on end. Obviously the activity lost a little luster once we were actually enrolled in real school. As a middle child I got to be the "student" for Lisa and Marianne and then later on the "teacher" for Rod and Jenny!

But among my Mom's many teacher supplies were all sorts of quick and easy to learn poems. So the first poem I ever memorized was only a dozen words. But it's a great poem, nonetheless! Lots of the poems I learned as a kid I can still recite today! But it definitely takes me longer to learn new ones!

All-Day Sucker (author unknown)

Somebody was Mistaken,
Somebody was Wrong,
Nobody's All-Day Sucker,
Lasts That Long!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"K" is for Klutz!

I've been pretty clumsy my whole life! I'm prone to drop my cell phone multiple times a day, trip over curbs, and kind of stumble and bumble through life! (Think Mr. Magoo)

I don't use my maiden name as a middle initial since Kathryn K. Knudsen leaves you with the monogram "KKK" which is highly inappropriate! But the "K" in triplet form, must stand for "Klutz" (with a Capitol K)

If you have the Klutz Gene you simply are not blessed with grace and dexterity! Coordination skills are marginal at best!

While I used to see my clumsy nature as a real liability; lately I've sort of grown into it. A few years ago my lack of flexibility and balance would have kept me from ever even attempting a yoga class. But I'm much less mortified these days about being a spaz! Maybe klutziness just goes with the territory in aging (and lucky me, this is already familiar territory!).

Monday, June 15, 2009

"American Girl" Dolls! (or my variation thereof!)

Yes, my daughters had their share of dolls growing up. Andie was born at the end of the Cabbage Patch era and after that came the "American Girl" doll collection. I think Andie got Felicity first and Paige had Kirsten and then someone got Molly (no, Molly did not belong to Webb). They were great dolls but the history and stories that came with the American Girl Dolls were the very best part!

The dolls I fell in love with a few years back were Ugly Dolls! Brent and I walked into a funky store in SoHo in New York City and walked out with 5 new dolls (1 for each Knudsen family member!) Those 5 have have been added upon, 3 miniature models in the kitchen and 1 Extra Large Pink Ugly Doll sits at the table. The pink Ugly Doll came with the name "Peaco" and she (they are kind of gender neutral but it IS bright pink) is Emily Bryan's favorite little playmate. The minute Emily arrives it is the first thing she heads for.

The Ugly Dolls aren't really Ugly! Not at all! Personally I think they are ADORABLE! From the picture I'm posting you can probably see exactly why I need to bring so many home (and pretty much become an "Ugly Doll" Collector!) Seriously, American Girl Dolls are great, Barbie has a status of her own, but Ugly Dolls....well, they are the perfect doll for me!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hope is the Thing with Feathers!

Emily Dickinson is definitely one of my favorite poets and "Hope" is one of my favorite poems! Today we had great meetings at church and one of the things I've been pondering this afternoon is the "hope" we can always have through the blessing of the Atonement. Liz Walton spoke about the enabling power of the Atonement and shared a touching story about coming to terms with Clint's leukemia and their mission to Portugal (how could she leave Kelly during this?). I was really touched in Relief Society as well with Sue Lucas sharing her lesson on the beautiful gospel plan of "redeeming the dead." What a great service we can provide for others who did not have the same opportunities in life. I leave church every week feeling more inspired and more "hopeful" about so many things! I'll print the full poem below:

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Love!

"Book Love," Trollope called it. "It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live."

Reading has brought me great pleasure through the years! I have eclectic tastes (I guess in many things but especially books) and I'm always up for suggestions of new titles and authors to discover.

President Lincoln said: "My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read." I agree with Lincoln's sentiment and furthermore some of my best friends even happen to BE books!