Friday, April 30, 2010

"See" No Evil!

Apparently I can't see "evil" as well these days. Or "see" anything else very well for that matter! I've had 2 eye exams this year; which is 2 more than I've ever needed before!

The 1st exam was just an impulse walking out of Costco, deciding to take advantage of their cheap vision screening.

The impetus for this was a reality check when the DMV required an Eye Test for my last driver's license renewal. I thought my vision impairment was solely a need for reading glasses.

But the DMV eye chart revealed my long distance vision was not as sharp as I thought. I did pass the test, so I'm not a hazard on the highway, but the difficulty of seeing the small letters at a distance left me unsettled.

I felt like a straight A student who suddenly gets her first C! I always prided myself in 20/20 vision. Suddenly my eyesight was compromised not just close up but also at a distance! Big Bummer!

At Costco I hoped a prescription for contact lenses would solve both (far & near) vision problems. And if my eyes weren't so darn sensitive this could have been a good option. Alas, after multiple problems with the contact lens getting lost behind my retina, the opthamologist was baffled and declared I probably wasn't a good candidate for contacts! Another Big Bummer!

Exam 2 was my hope that Lasik eye surgery could be the ticket to eliminate reading glasses and enhance my vision all around! This time, after a whole slew of tests, I've been put on hold for another month due to "dry eyes." Apparently you are a better candidate for Lasik if your retina is swimming around in fluid. Who knew?

So, I'm faithfully applying eye drops twice a day so my 3rd visit will work like a charm and Dr. Bindi will pronounce me a good candidate for eye surgery! If not, I will feel like a total failure in Eyesight 101!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Top of Spaghetti...

"On top of spaghetti; all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball when somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table, and onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball rolled out of the door.

It rolled down the garden, and under a bush,
And then my poor meatball was nothing but mush!

The mush was as tasty, as tasty could be,
And then the next summer it grew into a tree.

The tree was all covered, all covered with moss,
And on it grew meatballs, all covered with sauce.

So if you have spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
Hold onto your meatball, 'cause someone might sneeze."
- ballad sung to the tune of "On Top of Old Smokey"

Last night was the annual Scout Spaghetti Dinner and Cake Auction for the Saratoga Stake! It's a lively & raucous affair! By the time I leave my ears feel like they've been to a loud concert!

Mike Thompson is the King of Feeding the Masses! There is always ample sauce and noodles, green salad and garlic bread galore! The gym is filled with families and it's fun to see friends from the stake.

The Cake Auction is serious business. Half the cakes are sold in a silent auction and half from live (and lively) bidding. I like to sit with Aiden Bryan who loves to bid up the cakes and I can be a ghost buyer! It's a nice arrangement! This year we bought a Red Velvet Cake and shared it with the missionaries, etc.

Woody Allen once said that "80% of success in life is just showing up." This can apply to lots of things, maybe even Scout Auctions! The evening is an event we could probably skip. We don't have anyone in scouting these days. But we go since we know we should support the youth. And, even though it's chaotic at moments, it's also fun!

I always leave feeling more uplifted than if I'd stayed home! And, as a self confessed home body it's good for me to remember that "showing up" at outings, auctions, etc. is generally a good trade off to staying home!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm Nobody!

I'm nobody! Who Are You?
Are you -- Nobody --Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!
How public -- like a Frog --
To tell one's name -- the livelong June --
To an admiring Bog!
-Emily Dickinson

Here are just a few of the perks of being a nobody:

First of all, you can wear whatever you want without worries that your photo will show up in magazines or on the worst dressed list! The paparazzi leaves you alone!

Next, you can say whatever you want and not stress about being misquoted or taken out of context!

No one wants your autograph which is especially nice if you have lousy penmanship!

Finally, no one sends you fan mail so you don't have the burden to reply back (with the lousy penmanship) or the guilt if you don't respond!

Emily Dickinson was wise beyond her years! Being somebody would be public & dreary & a really big pain!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"I just can't wait to be King!" - Simba

This is Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, the King of Uganda! Turning 18 this year he is now able to take full control of ruling his kingdom!

King Oyo ascended to the throne at the young age of 3 when his father died. When he was 4 he would yank the iron-skin crown off his head because it was too heavy. Quite apropos! Like King Henry in the Shakespeare tragedy when he laments: "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

Can you imagine explaining to a toddler that he is literally a King? Or trying to absorb that information if you were the royal heir? Apparently, kingdoms in Uganda date to the Egyptian civilization.

If you are wondering why I'd write about King Oyo, then you may have forgotten Tweedledee and Tweedledum's famous rhyme:
"The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings." -Lewis Carroll

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Spirit of Contention....

"A man lives by believing something: not by debating and arguing about many things." -Thomas Carlyle

I love President Hinckley's book "Standing For Something." I have so much admiration for positive people who believe in things. Conversely, I get frustrated with people who live in a spirit of contention and spend their efforts knocking down others.

There is so much vitriol that gets tossed around with politics and religion lately. You just wish people could be more respectful generally and not denigrate one another for difference of opinion on so many issues. I think extremists on either end of a spectrum who are belligerent and contentious can be terribly annoying!

This all ties in nicely with one of our scripture mastery verses this year. Found in 3rd Nephi 11:29, Christ admonishes the Nephites: "For verily, verily, I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another."

And, of course, the great illustration comes from none other than my favorite Doctor....Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Bride Married to Amazement!

When Death Comes
by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes
and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the should blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

6 Tips For Lazy Workers To Get Ahead?

"Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction." -Anne Frank

The Title: "Six Tips for the Lazy Worker to Get Ahead" was an actual headline for an article I read. The tips aren't worth repeating. I actually thought they'd tell slackers to get off their duffs and leave the lazy mentality at home.

But there does seem to be a recurring theme these days of doing less yet expecting more. Funny, I thought laziness was a trait we'd want to eliminate in our behavior not tolerate or embrace!

My parents ingrained a healthy dose of admiration for Hard Work in my psyche! And, forgive the pun, but it has always worked for me! I don't think there is a good replacement or substitute for working hard!

While I certainly feel lazy at times; I generally don't feel any better when I choose to do nothing! When I succumb to a lazy impulse it's usually the start of a cycle of sloth and complacency!

As Benjamin Franklin's noted: "There are lazy minds as well as lazy bodies." And I've learned that I need to beware of both! Furthermore, one may follow the lead of the other!

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Countdown Begins....

"Chains Required." -posted at Donner Pass during snowstorms

It's tradition in my Seminary class to make a colorful chain after Spring Break to countdown class days left!

I'm a big believer in traditions and in countdown chains! Some days the Seminary kids might wonder if they've stepped foot in preschool but truthfully I don't think they mind fun diversions. They're always good sports; humor my jokes, lame art projects, and silly games! That, or they are just too tired too protest!

I see the waves of high school students around campus and can't help but notice how wholesome the youth I teach look relative to the student body at large. None of my Seminary crew is perfect but they are sincere and they are good kids! They arrive each morning looking exhausted. In fact, I'll bet every one of them would claim that they "are not a morning person." Still, they come and participate and genuinely seem happy when they leave!

I'm not certain whether I'll be returning to teach next year or not. I've completed the 4 year standard works cycle, or in other words, my graduating Seniors have been stuck with me since Freshman year (poor darlings)!

So, while the youth daydream over the school year end, I'm actually a little wistful watching the chain shrink, realizing that my most excellent experience of teaching these cute kids could be coming to a close!

Teaching Seminary is time consuming (my own fault for over preparation) and a little frustrating at moments (chronic tardiness issues) but it's been a great blessing in my life as well! I've learned a ton and I've come to admire these teenagers who stay strong and valiant even while they are figuring out who they are!

This world could use more Countdown Chains and less Chain Letters! (at least that's my opinion)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's a Sin To Kill A Mockingbird!

Atticus Finch! A favorite (albeit fictional) Hero! The first time I read To Kill A Mockingbird in junior high, it made me proud that just like Scout's father, my father was also a lawyer!

Our Bookgroup discussed the novel Tuesday night. While it wasn't exactly a rousing or spirited discussion, Harper Lee's book is a wonderful classic! And, as Lee's only novel, (albeit a Pulitzer Prize winning one) the book is definitely a one hit wonder!

Several passages this reading gave me insight to the "old book, new perspective" concept!

Imagine my surprise at the opening line in Chapter 10 when Scout states: "Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty." Excuse me? Feeble? (as in, lacking vigor, weak, inadequate) And only nearly fifty? Yikes, it makes me wonder how Scout would describe me; 51st birthday looming ahead!

Early in the novel Scout remarks on her frustrations with Atticus. Some of Scout's laments were that Atticus didn't "do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone." and "Besides that, he wore glasses." (the shame!) "He did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read." Perhaps, worst of all, on top of those flaws, Atticus "would not remain as inconspicuous as we wished him to."

But Scout came to see her father differently following some dramatic events. Near the end of the book, Scout remarked, "At the same time I marveled at Atticus. This was the first time he had let us know he knew a lot more about something than we thought he knew."

Scout's character reminds me of the famous Mark Twain quote: "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years." (change the ages and years; dead ringer for Scout)

Just like Scout, I'm still learning along the way (yes, even in my feeble 50's!). One great concept I learn over and over (sometimes on a daily basis) is voiced by Atticus at the very end of the book. Scout is half asleep rambling to Atticus about someone everyone thought was bad but then Scout discovers, that actually, ..."he was real nice." To which Atticus wisely replies: "Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prayer Epiphanies...

"When sore trials came upon you,
Did you think to pray?" -3rd verse, Hymn: "Did You Think To Pray?"

I shared a story in Seminary I found on a cool blog Andie told me about. The story touched me and I wanted to impress the youth that their parents pray for them. Unceasingly!

The writer told about one of those no good very bad high school days when she felt so frustrated with life that she called her Mom, announced she was done, and could her mom please come and pick her up!

She anticipated the Mother/Cheerleader "You Can Do It" "Hang In There" Speech and was surprised by her Mom's request that she call back in 10 minutes. In the return phone call her Mom put her to the task of finding out the average shoe size for the guys and the girls at school.

That remedy/distraction worked like a charm, the writer survived that dreary day and plenty of others (lived to tell the tale as they say!) but greater understanding came years later. Relating the account in the presence of her mother she attributed her mom's great insight to, basically, being a good mom!

But, actually, the daughter learned from her mom that the"call me back in 10 minutes" request was not simply to finish a cooking or cleaning project. Nope, the Mom needed inspiration! She was praying for her daughter!

I shared the story because I'm certain that every one of my Seminary kids has a mom who prays for them! But, I got a little emotional (yep, even the stoic have those moments!) in my story delivery as I realized an important lesson for me personally (forging into my soul right as I'm attempting to teach - yeah, it happens).

I was dumbstruck by the reality that my own "mom reflex" is so conditioned to the "pep talk" that I wouldn't have requested the call back, I would have instinctively given rally platitudes. It's what moms do!

And, so, I was reminded of how much we can learn from each other! How wise this woman was to seek a higher source of inspiration rather then just reach for her own arsenal of soothing words to placate her daughter.

Simply because the daughter remembers the creative advice today (versus all the times mothers give the "expected" lectures) tells me that following a prompting to stop and pray for guidance gave this mom personal revelation unique for her daughter's plight! Free advice, available anytime, from the best source possible! Hmm...the "pray always" (er, as needed) scriptural plea does make a little more sense than just a solely morning/evening model!

Thank goodness the Seminary class is patient with me when I get a little emotional in the early morning hours! Yesterday was one of those days! The unabridged story (and plenty of other great insights to life) can be found at

"Be thankful that God's answers are wiser than your answers." -William Culbertson

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chalk It Up To Experience!

Good Clean(?) Fun at BYU!
It's a little hard to tell doused in colored chalk but that's Paige on the far right leaving the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Springville, Utah.

The Indian Holi Festival (aka The Festival of Colors) is a Hindu tradition announcing the arrival of spring by throwing caution to the wind...& throwing bright colored chalk everywhere!

Tomorrow night Paige is heading our way for a quick break between Winter Semester and Spring Term. I'm not sure NorCal can top all the excitement Paige seems to find in Utah!

In typical Paige style, she'll arrive with a packed & pre-planned schedule...complete with items to be bought, treats to be eaten, new things to be tried, miscellaneous things to get done, places to be visited, and people to see! Forever the (wo)man with a plan! That's Paige! And, of course, we can hardly wait!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Key to Remembering...

I forget all sort of things and with aging it will probably get worse! Lots of it is inconsequential (who needs information overload anyway) or harmless (so what if we rent a movie that we forgot we'd already watched).

But one thing I hope I never lose is spiritual memory. It's frightening to know we can have great spiritual insight but then get distracted by the world and slowly the light does leave. It's one of the tragic, recurring themes of The Book of Mormon.

I love the way Christ gave us the solution when his disciples worried about the future when the Savior wouldn't be with them. Christ introduced the Sacrament, an opportunity to remember him!

I'm grateful to have an ordinance performed weekly that gives me a chance to mentally focus on the Savior. Besides feeling thankful for his atoning sacrifice I can use the time during the sacrament to think about his teachings, his example, and his how I can better come to know the Savior personally.

I love that both Sacrament prayers (over the body and the blood) confirm the words that the Savior promises the Nephites that: "....if ye do always remember me ye shall have my Spirit to be with you." (3rd Nephi 18: 11). I love that promise and I love the opportunity hear it every Sunday!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Beware the Eavesdropper!

"Thisbe" -painting by John William Waterhouse, 1909, also known as "The Listener"

Andie and I were picking up fajitas for dinner at Unamas Mexican Grill since Brent (who loves Andales but hates Unamas) was on the East Coast.

My cell phone rang so I stepped outside. While Andie waited I proceeded to catch up with Brent and make plans for the weekend. I noticed two men eating at an outside table so I paced back and forth in the other direction so I wouldn't disturb them.

Following the call I joined Andie inside, we picked up our order and headed out the door. One of the men from the outside table looked right at me and asked: "Do you know how many nights the play is running?"

It was the strangest feeling! Initially I thought he must be asking his fellow dining partner. But I realized his question was directed to me! And waiting for my response!

And then it dawned on me: my phone conversation minutes earlier covered our Saturday night plans to attend a play at a neighboring high school.

Thus, the startling revelation that this man had been listening to my end of my phone call to my husband. Yet he didn't seem the least bit uncomfortable about his shameless eavesdropping! He had the audacity to solicit additional information!

The whole scenario kind of blew me away. Not because I've never eavedropped. Who can resist that impulse to listen in on random strangers in random places like airports?

No, I was flabbergasted that he would so casually inquire about something that completely illuminated the fact that he'd been listening in on a conversation that he was not meant to be a party to!

After I stammered a bit about my best guess as to the play's duration we jumped in the car and laughed about his brazen attitude the whole way home! But, it did get me thinking. Beware of what you say in those wander-about-while-talking-on-your-cell-phone-calls! You never know who might be listening in!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Here She Comes......Miss America!

The 1952 Miss America, Colleen Kay Hutchins Vandeweghe, died last month at 83 years old. And what a class act she was!

In an article about her death I read a great story that is worth repeating. Apparently she didn't even tell her children that she was a former Miss America! Her two daughters "stumbled on that tidbit when they found a scrapbook and the trophy hidden in a closet."

"We were flabbergasted," her daughter said.

Her family said they watched the Miss America pageant every year, but until the girls discovery they never knew why!

"But even watching it, her mother didn't really talk about winning," the daughter said. "She didn't want us to think that defined who she was or that that was important in life."

What a cool lady! Can you imagine that kind of humility! What an inspiring person; many winners would parade their crown & memorabilia as a shrine for all to take note!

Because Vandeweghe was Mormon many people dubbed her the first Latter-day Saint media superstar! But after winning the pageant, she married, and was completely devoted to raising her four children, who all happened to excel in sports. Before their games their mother liked to remind them that "they weren't competing alone - Heavenly Father was right there beside them."

Like I said, what a classy lady!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Word Clouds!

I've finally watched all the 2010 April General Conference talks! An amazing session!

Seminary teachers get sent a lot of fun emails with General Conference Jeopardy games, the Apostle song, GC trivia, etc. We also got this Word Cloud (see picture).

Word Clouds (sometimes they are called Wordles) take words from any text and show them using the size to reflect the frequency of the word used (except words like it, the, and and).

So, from the 2010 General Conference you can see how often our church leaders spoke about "children" and "Christ" and "Love"! It's a cool way to see trends and important themes!

There is a website ( that you can create your own free word clouds. You can tweak the word clouds with different fonts, colors and layouts. I'm too lazy to type in all the conference talks but I'd probably do a more funky word cloud than this one I was sent.

I could do some fun things in Seminary with Word Clouds like type in the Scripture Mastery verses and make a Word Cloud! Or, all the words the Savior said.

I saw some Wordles on the website of the book of Isaiah where "Lord" is the prominent feature. Someone else made a Wordle of the TV series Lost.

It looks like creating a few Word Clouds could keep me out of trouble for a day or two! Imagine the possibilities!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Reluctant Presenter...

I prefer to sit in a class rather than lead one, but I was asked to give a little presentation on the Holy Land at the Saratoga Ward Relief Society Enrichment on Tuesday night.

The preparation was the fun part for me; if only I could enlist an extrovert for the delivery! I did enjoy reminiscing on our trip to Israel; especially reflecting whether the adventure has changed me in any way.

If only thoughts, feelings, and awakenings on vacations could linger more permanently in our psyche! How quickly we return to our daily routines!

But, like my original trip to Israel 30 plus years ago, I'm much more excited about the scriptures. The places have added context; the scenes are easy to visualize!

And, I'm more appreciative of the blessing of having temples. I've thought a lot about the reverence the Jewish people have for the Western Wall of the Temple Mount since that is the closest they can get to where their temple once was!

I take for granted how fortunate we are to have sacred things in our lives! Without the sacred and holy, life wouldn't have nearly as much meaning and purpose!

I probably fumbled through my presentation but I was glad to have an opportunity to take me back to the Holy Land again, even if this time it was just via a slideshow!

"I wish there could have been an invention that bottled up a memory, like perfume,
and it never faded, never got stale. Then whenever I wanted to I could uncork the bottle and live the memory all over again." -Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poland's epic tragedy...

The terrible plane crash on Saturday that killed Poland's President, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of other officials and politicians was a horrific tragedy!

I'm not well versed in the Polish government but from everything I had read about President Kaczynski, he was a man I admired. He seemed to have great personal integrity (always a quality worthy of respect in my book)!

Following the plane crash I saw an article in The Economist that completely endeared me to this man. The journalist described President Lech Kaczynski as a man who "was modest and charming in private, although visibly ill-at-ease on big public occasions and prone to gaffes and unnecessary controversies."

How can you not adore a person who is "ill-at-ease on big public occasions and prone to gaffes"? It makes Kaczynski,....well, human! I think I'll always feel more akin to people who are ill-at-ease in public and prone to gaffes! Maybe it's because I just can't relate to people who are completely comfortable in a crowd and never stick their foot in their mouth!

Lech Kaczynski, Rest in Peace! Prayers to the country of Poland!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ready, (C)SET, Go!

"The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires."
-William Arthur Ward

A big shout out to Andie! She aced the CSET, passing all 7 subject tests in just 2 sittings! Didn't have to repeat a single test. Yay, Andie!

CSET stands for California Subject Examinations for Teachers. Andie had to pass subject tests in math, history, science, english, arts, human development, and physical education, to show teacher competency!

Her Special Education position at Sheppard Middle School in the Alum Rock School District has turned out to be quite a difficult job! But once Andie gets through this school year (just 8 more weeks) she can find a school that's a better fit! Especially now that she has officially proven to be a bonafide competent teacher in the state of California!

"There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly." -Lola Mays

Monday, April 12, 2010

Religious Holidays!

When the LDS Church News arrives in our mail it comes with a publication called Mormon Times published by the Deseret News.

The March 20th edition focused on "What Latter-Day Saints can learn from sacred days marked by other religions." I was thrilled to see this issue!

It contained articles on Lent, Palm Sunday, Passover, Good Friday, Shavuot, Pentecost, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Advent, and Hanukkah.

As a member who loves learning about world religions generally I was ecstatic to see the church reach out to educate members about religious holidays that "we don't necessarily celebrate but could benefit from knowing more about." Hallelujah!

Our trip to the Holy Land was a great reminder to me of the dedication and devotion of many different faiths to their beliefs! And, how much we can all learn from each other!

Neal Maxwell was a wonderful apostle who left many amazing quotes as a legacy. Below is one I like by Elder Maxwell speaking of religious traditions.

"It is clear that the dispersion, diffusion, and distortion of gospel truths has left many fragments of the faith in various religions and cultures throughout the world. Many see in this an attempt by man to make his own god and religion in the absence of real ones. Rather than such similarities being evidence against the existence of God, however, these refracted truths bear witness of the initial wholeness which existed in the beginning with Adam." -Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And this, too, shall pass away!

"It is said an eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations.

They presented him with the words, 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of afflication!" -Abraham Lincoln

A great declaration! I like the juxtaposition of the sentence applying to proud moments as well as adversity.

"This too shall pass" is a common refrain when adversity befalls us. But I like the contrast of also realizing that our egos should not get too carried away in moments of glory because those pass too!

The highs (sadly) and the lows (thankfully) eventually both pass and the bulk of life (happily) is lived in the plateaus!

A fun variation on this theme: There happens to be a very cool song by the band OK Go called "This Too Shall Pass." The music video I saw is pretty awesome; they use the University of Notre Dame Marching Band. Check it out!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Old Geezer Shuffling in Felt Slippers!

Andie loves to give me a hard time about shuffling (& scooting) around the house in slippers! She will be so glad to know I'm in good company! Wallace Stegner, one of my favorite writers, mentions shuffling slippers in one of his novels! Ha!

I totally relate to the memory recall technique described by the book's character, Joe Allston. See if the following scenario ever happens to you? Even if it doesn't, the quote might entice you to read Stegner (yes, another one of K2's favorites!)

"Some people, I am told, have memories like computers, nothing to do but punch the button and wait for the print-out. Mine is more like a Japanese library of the old style, without a card file or an indexing system or any systematic shelf plan.

Nobody knows where anything is except the old geezer in felt slippers who has been shuffling up and down those stacks for sixty-nine years.

When you hand him a problem he doesn't come back with a cartful and dump it before you, a jackpot of instant retrieval. He finds one thing. which reminds him of another, which leads him off to the annex, which directs him the the east wing, which sends him back two tiers from where he started. Bit by bit he finds you what you want, but like his boss who seems to be under pressure to examine his life, he takes his time." -Wallace Stegner, The Spectator Bird

Friday, April 9, 2010

Eccentricity at it's best...

Terry Tempest Williams is a fierce environmentalist, a beautiful writer, a free spirited Mormon, and somewhat an enigma. I don't know Terry personally but I feel like I know her from various connections.

She graduated from Highland High School just two years before I attended but I knew her brother, Steve Tempest, who was the Student Body President my Junior year. Terry is also friend's with Bruce Olsen as well as the Dunns and the McCulloughs.

A commencement speech she gave in 1999 at the College of the Atlantic is typical of her renegade style.
Below is the "speech" - although her audience may have been surprised that it's just a string of words. Well, only surprised if you aren't familiar with Terry. "Words" are her weapons!

"See, feel, question, explore, experience, walk, dance, run, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, cry, kneel, pray, pray often, bow, rise, stand, look, sing, embrace the questions, be wary of answers, create, cajole, confront, confound, walk backward, walk forward, circle, hide, seek, say no, say yes, embrace, follow your heart, trust your heart, engage love again and again on this beautiful, broken world."

Pretty awesome!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gandhi's 7 Blunders of the World!

Not long before Gandhi was assassinated, he gave his grandson a list of what he thought constituted the 7 Blunders of the World.

They are:
1. Wealth without Work
2. Pleasure without Conscience
3. Knowledge without Character
4. Commerce without Morality
5. Science without Humanity
6. Worship without Sacrifice
7. Politics without Principle

It's a great list! I can think of examples in almost every category where Gandhi was spot on!

I do believe we'd come a lot closer to achieving world peace if all of mankind could avoid these 7 Blunders!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some "Bunny" Loves You!

Whew! The Easter Bunny did make an appearance after all!

Of course the important thing about Easter is the resurrection but we do like to make sure fun pagan celebrations are still upheld!

So, Paige was kind of bummed that we didn't have the Annual Easter Egg (filled-with-$$) Hunt this year! The switch from candy to cash Easter Egg Hunts happened a few years back when our teenagers lost interest in jellybeans.

I didn't like breaking tradition this year but transporting all those plastic eggs from Los Gatos to Park City wasn't appealing to my sense of "packing light."

Yet Paige was a little miffed (what? no Easter dress either?) but once we saw The Easter Bunny himself, Paige was placated!

Parenting Lesson #1: Make and Keep Holiday Traditions! Next year, I will have the Eggs filled and hidden (wherever we are)!

"Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can't even describe, aren't even aware of." -Ellen Goodman

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

General Conference "Best Soundbite" Award!

Hands down my vote for the best soundbite from the April 2010 General Conference came from Russell M. Ballard informing youth about their Mothers:

"She may not be a whiz at texting: she may not even have a Facebook page! But when it comes to matters of the heart and things of the Lord, she has a wealth of knowledge!"

Okay, I added the exclamation points, otherwise it's verbatim.

Amen! Go Elder Ballard!

Actually, when I mentioned this awesome quote to my Seminary kids they all groaned that their Moms actually DO have Facebook! But, I didn't get the impression they thought that was a good thing!

But since I can't text and chew gum at the same time (ie. not a multitasker) and I am too lazy to do the whole Facebook frenzy, Elder Ballard's first line fits me perfectly. As to whether the second line works in my case, I suppose it might depend on who you ask!

I certainly try to pass off my opinions as tried and true! (Hey, they've worked for me!) Alas, my wealth of knowledge seems to go untapped most of the time. Imagine that - it even comes free of charge. And usually unsolicited too!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Gnarly Shred Heads!

Yep, you could almost mistake them for Torah Bright boarding down the mountain! Paige and Andie are both getting to be pretty darn good snowboarders!

Since Paige spent the winter season in Utah residence her boarding skills are hot! She looks pretty graceful speeding down the slopes.

And it seems like Andie got her groove back! Andie's felt a little wary of injury after she broke her wrist snowboarding during college years. Like Paige, she got pretty good as a student living in Utah and then lost a little confidence after her break. But she was definitely back in the game this ski trip. Boarding through powder so thick it came to my knees in places!

I'm the sole skier left in the family! But the snowboarder brigade still lets me cruise along with them as best I can! I'd be the skier schussing along in the Little Bo Peep Hat (according to the Gnarly girls at left). Guess we can't all sport fancy helmets like them!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday will come..

I love the the Easter Season: Easter eggs, Easter baskets, Easter hunts, bunnies, spring time, lilies, new dresses and Easter bonnets (well, bonnets for the little girls, not me personally!).

But when all is said and done, Easter is truly an amazing miracle! The most miraculous miracle of them all! Christ's atonement and resurrection makes all the difference! Otherwise, Jesus would just be another great leader, like Buddha or Gandhi, etc.

I love a talk Elder Wirthlin gave back in 2006 on the resurrection called "Sunday Will Come." The quote below is from his comments.

"Each of us will have our own Fridays - those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shard of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or the next, Sunday will come.

I testify to you that the Resurrection is not a fable. We have the personal testimonies of those who saw Him. Thousands in the Old and New Worlds witnessed the risen Savior. They felt the wounds in His hands, feet, and side. They shed tears of unrestrained joy as they embraced him.

After the Resurrection, the disciples became renewed. They traveled throughout the world proclaiming the glorious news of the gospel." -Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Ski Park City! Tour Temple Square!

When you ski in April you can't complain if the snow is slushy and the rocks start poking through! But this April we totally lucked out with amazing ski conditions!

We skied all day yesterday in fresh powder! I caught my tip (like Lindsay Vonn) and took a fall. Although when Lindsay Vonn fell in the Olympics she was probably going 5 times faster than I ski!

My lame ski efforts give me great respect for those Vancouver Winter Olympians! It all looks so easy when you watch it on TV!

And, in breaking (and exciting) news, Amy Harmer's mission call arrived! She'll be serving in the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission! How cool is that! Amy is the best, she'll be an awesome Sister Missionary and Temple Square will never be the same! I mean that in a good way; Amy will have that place as organized as it has ever been!

Amy's like the Hostess with the Mostest and throw in her Oprah People Skills, Leadership Talents, her Charms and Beauty, well out Salt Lake! They might have Game Nights on Temple Square - who knows?

So, next year when we visit Park City we'll have to leave time to Tour Temple Square too!