Sunday, October 31, 2010


"When black cats prowl & pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween." -Author Unknown

Samhain is the Celtic celebration or harvest festival that begat Halloween! Thus, Samhainophobia is defined as "a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of halloween."

I don't suffer from Samhainophobia but the ailment is certainly one I can relate to. While most Halloween festivities are harmless and fun, dressing up in a costume can strike fear in me.

I'm down with pumpkins and ghost stories. Ditto the whole trick or treating gig for little people. The Halloween things that creep me out are the horror films and all the dark imagery (the death and evil themes). Actually, skeletons, witches, and demons can be fairly tame or downright ghoulish. Afterall, a tame skeleton can look pretty cute.

However, take the Halloween symbol of the black cat. Now black cats truly scare me! While I can envision monsters as adorable; in my book there is no such thing as a cute black cat!

I'm not dissing the holiday! I'm always game for celebrating. Just don't make me don a fancy costume and keep all black cats at a distance! Otherwise, Happy Halloween!

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble." -the witches in Macbeth, William Shakespeare

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Smile and the World Smiles With You!

"Smile and the World Smiles With You! Frown and You Frown Alone!"

Just because a statement is cheesy, doesn't mean it isn't true! Smiling is a funny thing because you can force yourself to smile even if you don't feel like smiling. And suddenly it can change your day!

I once read that on long runs when your stride is slowing if you swing your arms more dramatically your legs will follow naturally! I've tried it and it works! Your pace picks up simply by forcing those arms to step it up a notch!

So I've applied the same logic to my countenance. If I'm out on errands and smile at the clerk or the next person in line, I've noticed that people will usually return kindness with kindness. And soon, I'm genuinely in a better mood.

Business guru Tom Peters said: "Smile if it kills you. The physiology of smiling diffuses a lot of anger and angst. It makes your body and soul feel better."

Another bonus to smiling; according to Bits and Pieces magazine: "A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks almost instantly." And I can certainly use help in that department!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cicero: "Man is His Own Worst Enemy"

Reinhold Niebuhr: "Man has always been his own most vexing problem."

If I am honest with myself I have to admit that Cicero and Niebuhr were both correct! Any study of history or anthrolpology probably reflects this.

In my own life, many of my challenges are often self induced! Issues I had years ago are pretty much the same things I struggle with now.

"Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers, vices the real murders. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls." - Victor Hugo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In "Case" iDrop my iPhone...

My iphone was loyal and dependable. I dropped it constantly but thanks to a hearty cover, it bounced, no worse for the wear!

But I guess my phone's 9 lives were up. It died instantly after getting squished under a car tire! Bummer!

So, I was forced to replace it and I now have the new (and theoretically improved) iphone 4. It's sleek, it's lighter, it's faster and overall it's supposed to be a true upgrade. So far I like it. However, I liked the last phone too so I'm pretty easy to please, technologically speaking!

Except there are tradeoffs to everything. It turns out, there just aren't great case options for the iphone 4. Yet, anyway. I happen to really like my old Kate Spade cover which proved to have excellent durability. Of course that cover doesn't fit my new phone.

The selection of cases available for the iphone 4 in the Apple Store is dismal. Nothing with the same bounceability (is that a word?) as my old cover. Besides, the ones that look reasonably sturdy don't have "the look" that works for me. I guess that "easy to please" jargon only applied to the technology and not to the phone covers!

So now I have this great new phone that I'm worried about breaking until I can find a case that is functional but still cute. Man, it's difficult to be picky!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ode to October...

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows about the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost -
For the grapes sake along the wall.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Primary Knows...

I know my Father lives and loves me too.
The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true,
And tells me it is true.

He sent me here to earth, by faith to live his plan.
The Spirit whispers this to me and tells me that I can,
And tells me that I can. -Primary Songbook

The annual Primary Presentation for Sacrament Meeting was on Sunday! The program always gets "Best in Show" in my book for Sunday meetings!

Our Primary children looked even cuter than this picture but we're not supposed to use cameras in the chapel so you just have to visualize them in your mind's eye. They were quite adorable. I was tempted to take a photo, but resisted the impulse!

There's really nothing like having the Sunbeam's, CTR's, and Valiant's testify through music! I can get goosebumps just as easily from the Primary Choir as the MoTab.

My earliest recollection of feeling the Spirit to the extent that I actually recognized that I was feeling the Spirit was as a member of a Primary Choir. A ton of kiddos in Salt Lake were asked to sing in General Conference. We met a couple of times to practice before the Saturday session in the Tabernacle.

I can't remember which songs we sang, except one, which I won't ever forget. Reid Nibley wrote the words and music to "I Know My Father Lives" in 1969. So, I had to be at least 10 years old. As we practiced the song over and over I felt a surge of power, of peace, of warmth, of gratitude, of love. My Primary-age-heart was touched in a way that I'll never really forget.

So, it's fun to watch the Primary Program with hopes that these kids will have similar experiences. Maybe their testimonies will also take root through singing the touching Primary songs!

Monday, October 25, 2010

4 My Tombstone...

"I am ready to meet my Maker.
Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. - Winston Churchill's epitaph

We visited Kristin and Grandma Colleen's gravesites on Saturday. And a cemetery naturally gets one thinking about death.

I know people who think quite a lot about their own death. How they might die? And when?

But I am not one of those people.

I don't perceive that I'm immortal but I have a somewhat foolhardy attitude that I'll live to be a hundred! Which puts me just past midway point! Plus, longevity does seems to run in my family.

It seems that I've got a good 50 years to go, but, I did come across a little epitaph awhile back that could work for my headstone. In the interest of planning ahead I thought I'd better "put it in writing" somewhere. So, for what it's worth:

"Gaily I lived as ease and nature taught,
And spent my little life without a thought,
And am amazed that Death, that tyrant grim,
Should think of me, who never thought of him" -Rene' Francois Regnier

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rise and Shout, Cosmo is out....

ESPN once said Cosmo (BYU's mascot) was probably the most athletic mascot in college basketball! And, being Cosmo today is much trickier than being Cosmo during my BYU years.

As the story goes, in 1997 Cosmo was hunting down Red Trail Hawk (the UofU mascot) and fell 100 feet in Rock Canyon! His serious injuries required "cosmotic surgery" which included a reduction in Cosmo's head size. These surgeries happen to allow Cosmo more visibility, better range of motion, and gymnastic ability for more daring stunts. Clever!

The Cosmo in my day rode around on a unicycle and engaged the crowd in cheers. But, the 2010 Cosmo has a "Cosmobile," he rides motorcycles, does flips, walks on stilts, etc. As Cosmo states: "The crowd always wants to see crazier things."

There's even an official Team Cosmo to assist Cosco; since he is busy with over 130 appearances every year. Cosmo's identity is always top-secret until the end of the school year.

Besides meeting Cosmo on Friday night we saw him again Saturday at the BYU/Wyoming Football game. Finally, BYU ends their losing streak! Cosmo didn't show up for the BYU Annual Alumni Run in the morning. But we did. We had to defend our victories from last year's 5K race.

We all ended up with medals but our overall Team Knudsen appearance wasn't a complete shut out like last year (recalled in my bragadocious blog on 9/29/09).

This year Paige took 1st place in her age group but 2nd place overall woman (beaten by a woman with a 3:15 St. George Marathon time, so that is serious competition). Brent and Paige entered the Father/Daughter division and took 1st place but Brent was 3rd place in his age group. Miraculously, I retained my 1st place title (2 years running - literally and figuratively - ha!) for the 50 and older division. Maybe those darn track workouts are going to pay off!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

In-N-Out (of Utah)....

Yesterday Brent flew to Utah from New York. I arrived from San Jose and we met at the Salt Lake airport.

This trip will be a short one (maybe 36 hours tops). But, it's BYU Parents Weekend! And, with our final college senior heading down the homestretch, this looks like our last parent's weekend. So, we can't miss a final chance to hover and helicopter parent!

Our kids are pretty good sports about parents who don't want to miss a moment of their adventures and endeavors. We're probably the epitome of overly enthusiastic parenting. But there is nothing we get more excited about, worry over more, or find more pride in, than our kids!

Paige is quite certain she is the only Senior with Parent Representation this weekend (she could be right). But she got to meet President Samuelson and he was super friendly so perhaps there are a few perks!

It was great yesterday to wander around BYU and soak up the culture of the campus! The 1st half of my college education was at BYU. Happy memories. Now, the 2nd half of Paige's bachelor's degree has been earned here at BYU (all set to graduate in April. Go Pooge!)

BYU is a pretty unique school set in a pretty unique state. I probably appreciate the good things about BYU more as an alumni than during my student days. But, overall, while there are positives and negatives to life in Utah, for the most part, it's a great place! And, quite stunning with all the fall colors!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ballgame!

No ticket to the World Series - yet!

When it comes to baseball, I admit to being fickle. I've been a fan of the Red Sox, the Padres, the Mariners, and the Giants.

I generally adopt allegiance for the local team. Although it was hard to give up Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox when we moved to La Jolla. Having a couple Padres players in our ward did help my team loyalty transition.

I've now lived in the Bay Area longer than anywhere else (except Utah which has no major league baseball team) so I suppose I've been cheering for the Giants longer than any other team. Unfortunately, it didn't help last night. One win against Philadelphia is all that stands in the way of the San Francisco Giants going to the World Series! The playoff is heading back to Philly with the Giants ahead (3-2).

I suppose I'm not just a fickle fan but fair-weathered too! I lose interest when my favored sports teams have a lousy season (BYU football is a case in point here) but I'm admittedly all-over-it when/if my teams are winning.

The Giants have not won a World Series since 1954 and they have never won since the team moved from New York to San Francisco in 1957. So, I'm fickle and fair-weathered but right now I'm a Big Fan! A fan who is hoping our Giants can bring a 2010 World Series Title to the Bay Area!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Fullness of the Soul...

"As if the fullness of the soul
did not sometimes overflow in the
emptiest metaphors, since no one
can ever give the exact measure
of his needs, nor of his conceptions,
nor of his sorrows; and since
human speech is like a cracked
tin kettle, on which we hammer
out tunes to make bears dance
when we long to move the stars."
-Madam Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

I have to confess that I have never actually read Madam Bovary. What kind of an English major was I? But, oh, I do love the quote above, and yes, it does make me want to read Flaubert. As well as move the stars!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Various Illuminations of a Crazy World...

"Flowers lead to books, which lead to thinking and not thinking and then more flowers and music, music. Then many more flowers and many more books." -The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman

I finally got to the special exhibit at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco on Maira Kalman: Various Illuminations (of a Crazy World) one week before it's departure.

I loved the exhibit but I'm certain you need to be a Kalman fan to appreciate it. And, I know I blogged about Maira last Thursday (10/14) but it was her newest book's debut and now with the museum exhibit; it's been like a double feature! Kalmania!

If I had to describe Kalman in a word I would probably use the term WHIMSICAL! I find her gifted, charming, creative, self deprecating, optimistic one minute yet despairing the next. She's a bit of an enigma.

Kalman describes herself as someone who makes grand statements and then does nothing! Basically Maira Kalman has made a career out of observing things and sorting out what she likes and doesn't like and then drawing and writing about it. How great is that?

Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, her family immigrated to America when she was 5 and Kalman has been a New Yorker ever since. She describes her Jewish mother as a little mad but funny while she claims her father was biologically devoid of humor. Writing about her childhood, Kalman states: "Facts were banished from our house."

Kalman loves New York City and prefers walking to get around. As Kalman notes: "
I walk everywhere in the city. Any city. You see everything you need to see for a lifetime. Every emotion. Every condition. Every fashion. Every glory."

Whether Kalman is writing about Abe Lincoln or egg beaters, rubber bands or crazy hats, it isn't simply chaos or madcap. At the heart of her work seems to be her ongoing question about the meaning of life generally. Or, as said by Maira Kalman: "We are here now, and we are not going to be here at a certain point, so what is that about?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Boston: The Holy Grail for Runners!

"The Boston Marathon becomes the Holy Grail for runners everywhere." -Boston, by Hal Higdon

There are very few marathons you need to 'qualify for' to gain entry which has definitely increased the prestige of running Boston! A sure way to validate your status as a distance runner is by qualifying for Boston.

And now, Andie, Paige, and Jennifer are signed up to run the 115th Boston Marathon! Woot! Woot!

On Monday (always on a Monday, hurray, it's never on Sunday!), April 18th, 2011, Patriot's Day, they'll head out of Hopkinton, Massachusetts and run 26.2 miles through Wellesley and the famous "Heartbreak Hill" and finally into the famed Copley Square finish.

As a toddler, Andie awaited her Dad's appearance at the finish line several years in a row and now it'll be his turn to cheer her on! And cheer we will! We are very proud of our "A" Team Boston qualifiers!

"When Joan Benoit Samuelson asked another runner about the location of Heartbreak Hill enroute to her first Boston victory in 1979, she was told, "Lady, you just passed it!" -Hal Higdon

Monday, October 18, 2010

"I Run To Be...."

"We Run To Be...Finishers!"

"I Run To Be..." was the Nike slogan for yesterday's race. Along the course there were signs finishing the statement. For example: I run to, a better mom, sexy, strong, powerful, content, committed, a survivor, inspired, etc.

This year was especially fun because almost everyone on The "A" Team had a good race. Which made for lots of happy faces at the finish line. And The "A" Team is growing! While the photo at left only shows 6 of us (7 if you include Maria's head), there were actually 18 "A" Team Runners in the Nike run this year!

For someone as crowd phobic as I am, it's amazing that I love this race so much. 20,000 runners is mass congestion no matter how well they organize the event. But, somehow despite the chaos and even when it started to rain we all powered through and loved the experience.

Yesterday was Jennifer Bryan's first full marathon and she aced it (3:42!) and qualified for Boston! Yay! I love that Jennifer is a dear friend to me but also a dear friend to my girls! They adore her and I'm grateful for them to see the busy life of a young mom, especially one who is so grounded and so good.

And, personally, as a much older mom these days, I'm just grateful I can still run along with all these youngsters. "Along" isn't really true, perhaps "behind" these youngsters is more accurate. But as I get older I feel less driven competitively and more content to just keep plugging along as long as my legs can stay at it!

"It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." -George Sheehan

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The "A" Team...

Today is the 7th Nike Women's Marathon! I think I've run the half marathon 5 times and we formed the official "A" Team Runners, honoring Ashley Barth and Aiden Bryan, 2 A.L.L. Leukemia Survivors, after Ashley's diagnosis 4 years ago!

One year Tia and I were the only ones who got into the randomly selected race. But the last 2 years we've entered as a group which means we either all get in together or not. Fortunately, The "A" Team has had good lottery karma both times.

Nike does a great job putting on the massive event. Especially as it benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So many runners participate in memory of a loved one lost to leukemia or in celebration of a loved one who survived. It's quite inspiring!

Behind every poster there is a touching story and even without knowing the whole story you feel a sense of gratitude for people who have that indomitable spirit through hardship.

The Nike race makes me proud of our humanity and our drive to make beautiful things rise out of tragedies or to pay homage to survival. I love the course (how can you beat San Franscico?), the Tiffany finisher necklace, and the comaraderie amongst our friends. But, most of all, I love to run knowing that Ashley and Aiden are healthy, happy, kids! And, that's a huge blessing!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Don't Call It Frisco!

We're off to spend a fun weekend in the city! Paige and her cute friend, Lauren Reichman, flew in yesterday. The weather is awesome and San Francisco awaits us!

I'm not quite as enamored with the Bay Area as I am with Manhattan but I'm always up for adventures in San Francisco! It's Lauren's first trip which poses a challenge: how can you possibly do justice to this place in such a short time window?

If we start by walking Golden Gate Bridge and riding the Cable Cars a newcomer gets a good feel for the gorgeous setting of this city. It's hard to believe that just over 100 years ago the whole city practically burned to the ground!

And, speaking of the past, there was a San Francisco Judge in 1918 who rebuked a citizen in court for using slang when he called the city "Frisco." Judge Mogan stated: "No one refers to San Francisco by that title except people from Los Angeles."

So, among San Francisco residents, the nickname of "Frisco"for the city is taboo! The columnist, Herb Caen, expert on all-things-San-Francisco, thought the name "Frisco" was intolerable and beneath the city's dignity. Unfortunately many tourists aren't aware the name "Frisco" is verboten!

Herb Caen even wrote a book titled "Don't Call It Frisco." And if you aren't familiar with Pulitzer Prize winning Herb Caen (who died in 1997) you've missed out on a classic.

In 1967 a magazine asked Herb Caen to write about why San Francisco attracted so many hippies and beatniks. Caen declined and his answer is quite clairvoyant (considering he stated this 40 years ago). Caen said it's a puzzlement and "I'm damned if I know why San Francisco has been Mecca for so many round pegs in a largely square world."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chilean Miner Rescue..

I find the Chilean Miner Rescue astonishing! After the mine collapsed on August 5th things looked bleak for finding anyone alive until the rescue drilling reached an area where prepared notes were taped to the drill bit by the trapped miners.

"Estamos bien en el refugio los 33" (We are well in the shelter, the 33 of us) was the first sign to confirm that miners were alive!

69 days later on October 13th, all 33 miners were brought to the surface in the Phoenix Rescue Capsule! Chilean President Pinera spoke on location of his pride of the Chilean people and the unity, faith, and hope that brought them through this ordeal.

President Pinera should be proud. Although the Copiago mine in San Jose, Chile had a terrible safety record the rescue effort itself was amazing. It was the deepest ever rescue, after the longest ever time for survivors to be found.

I'm intrigued by the general sense of well being by the miners. Their health problems during the long wait was very minimal and their attitudes remained positive. After 18 days the first voice contact with the miners was made. When the miners learned that the rescue effort could take months, they handled the news well. Psychologists described the group of miners as very disciplined and very organized.

The successful rescue is a tribute to the Chilean government and all those involved including the miners themselves. I'm certainly impressed and applaud the efforts that took place inside the mine and on the outside that led to a happy reunion! Best news of the week!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Making a Million Mistakes!

"I tell you these stories because these things happen to everyone. It's not about being starched or polished or cute or polite.

It's about having ears that stick out, about breaking yet another glass. It's about seeing something for the first time and making a million mistakes and not ever getting completely discouraged." - Maira Kalman

Of course I adore Maira Kalman; she feels like a soul mate! Making mistakes is what it's all about; at least in my book!

And, speaking of books, I'm anxiously anticipating the newest Maira Kalman book "And the Pursuit of Happiness" to arrive today (via my Amazon pre-order). I'm stoked! Kalman is this quirky women who I feel a certain kinship with because she is curious about many many things. But Kalman's artistic enough to show what I feel but can't express. Plus, we both adore New York City!

Kalman is all-over-the-place! One minute she is drawing maps and collecting postcards and string. The next minute she's naming her daughter "Lulu Bodoni" after a typeface she likes and volunteering to sweep in Central Park!

The book coming out today is her illustrations and thoughts on democracy that was online as a column/blog in The New York Times. Just try to imagine democracy expounded on by someone who is admittedly a little mad but creative, talented, and has a great sense of humor.

To confirm why I adore this woman just consider this Maira Kalman quote: "Facebook is a horrible, horrible thing! Don't you have enough to do?" See,...this zany, quintessential New Yorker, Jewish woman speaks my language!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What We Worship...

As I thought about yesterday's post on self destructive cycles of world civilizations, it reminded me of an amazing 2005 Commencement Address at Kenyon College given by David Foster Wallace. The quote below is an interesting insight into worship that comes from his speech.

Sadly, David Foster Wallace was plagued by depression for many years which culminated in his suicide in 2008. Before his death he was a professor at Ponoma college and a gifted writer.

"In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships.

The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship - be it Jesus Christ or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles - is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then you will never have enough. It's the truth.

Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already - it's been codified as myths, proverbs, cliches, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness.

Worship power - you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over the others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart - you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on." -David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Life Cycle of World Civilizations...

"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been two hundred years.
These nations have progressed through this sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage.;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependence;
from dependence back again into bondage."
-Sir Alex Fraser Tyler, (1742-1813, Scottish jurist and historian)

I find this quote interesting and also a little frightening. The idea of civilizations following this pattern is similar to the pride cycle in The Book of Mormon.

It's a cycle that isn't unique to civilizations, we certainly find a version in individuals (myself, for instance) in the form of the pride cycle. The art is learning to avoid the downward trend; how to stop mid-cycle. How to stay grateful in abundance, lest we end up in bondage!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bruised and Battered...

I ditto this cartoon! I also "bruise easily!"

If it weren't so unsightly, I'd post a photo of the humongous bruise on my left leg as proof.

All I had to do to acquire this new bruise was accidentally walk into a fire hydrant in downtown Los Gatos. Which I bumped into simply trying to dodge another person on the sidewalk. Ouch!

It hurt, but as usual, I quickly forgot all about the incident. At least until the next day when my running shorts weren't long enough to cover up a grapefruit-sized-really-grotesque-bruise.

Sometimes I'll notice a bruise and have absolutely no idea of it's origin. Not a clue. So, at least I remember the history of this doozer on my leg! Come to think of it, it seems a rare occasion when I'm not sporting a bruise somewhere on my body! Such a battered soul!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Sunday, October 10th, 2010 = 10-10-10!

10 is generally a good number for people. Those 10's times tables were the easiest to learn, so naturally, I always liked the number 10!

We talk in tens: "I won TEN thousand dollars!" or "I got 10 things done today."

And there are Top 10 Lists for everything imaginable.

I'm sure there will be lots of weddings today for women who want their husband to remember their 10/10/10 anniversary. I'm also sure that gynecologists have been asked to deliver C-section babies today (maybe even at 10:10 am or 10:10 pm). Lots of people really dig the aura of special dates and times. A couple of friends from my track workouts are running the Chicago Marathon today on 10/10/10. I hope their times equal a "perfect 10" as far as their running goals!

I guess I know exactly where I will be at 10 o'clock on 10/10/10; I'll be at church! All things considered, not a bad place to be! At 10:10 pm, well, that's still open at this point but it feels like we should have some sort of raucous celebration!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Partnership Capitol Growth Advisors! #410!

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it." -Henry David Thoreau

Partnership Capitol Growth Advisors, aka PCGA, was in the September issue of Inc. Magazine.

Actually, PCGA made the exclusive (their words, not mine) annual ranking for America's Fastest Growing Private Companies. Yes, PCGA rolls in at...drumroll please... #410!

The magazine describes PCGA's business model as "a boutique investment banking firm that advises, brokers and invests in healthy, active, and sustainable-living companies."

So, it looks like PCGA had a strong enough year in 2009 to propel them into the top 500! Hopefully the formidable team Brent has built will continue to grow, not just in revenue, but also in establishing the company as a niche leader in the investment arena. Great job PCGA!

"The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well." -John D. Rockefeller

Friday, October 8, 2010

Convocation at the Mem Chu!

Every year the Stanford Memorial Church (also nicknamed the Mem Chu) holds a Convocation for the LDS community. Several Apostles (ie., Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, President Henry B. Eyring) have been former speakers.

This year, Steven Wheelwright, President of BYU-Hawaii, gave the guest remarks. We briefly met Steve and Margaret Wheelwright when they moved into our ward in Boston over 20 years ago. Sister Wheelwright replaced me as a Seminary teacher when we left Massachusetts for California in 1987.

On Wednesday night President Wheelwright shared 5 principles of faith and scholarship:

#1: There is a power and confidence in knowing that a loving Heavenly Father and his Son know all; a peace that comes from learning this!

#2: We live in the dispensation of the fullness of times when all things will be revealed.

#3: We can learn by many means! And, all of these means can be enhanced by learning with the Holy Ghost!

#4: We learn incrementally! Like it says in the scriptures, line upon line, precept on precept.

#5: When we learn and follow promptings, our lives will be blessed beyond measure!

Holding the Convocation inside the Stanford Memorial Church makes it hard for me to resist attending! The church is a beautiful sight! Driving onto campus along Palm Drive the church is a striking centerpiece.

The church interior is really incredible! With pipe organs, gorgeous stained glass windows, and intricate interior mosaics, it's truly a crown jewel of the Stanford campus.

Jane Stanford, who had the church built for her husband, Leland, the university founder, once remarked: "While my whole heart is in the university, my soul is in that church."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Coach K!

"Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you." -John Wooden

Yesterday was the last cross country meet for the Sunnyvale Middle School Spartans.

Their fearless coach, Coach K (as the kids have nicknamed Andie), is in the center of this photo (sorry it's so dark). She looks like one of the students. But Coach K is the only one sporting sunglasses!

Andie's not a novice coach anymore after training the Fisher Middle School kids last year. So the Sunnyvale squad has been lucky to have her around. Based on my observation, the thing the students like about Andie as their coach is her optimism. And, the fact that she doesn't just send them off on runs, she joins them! Go SMS Spartans! Go Coach K!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Going to the Chapel....

Actually, Karren and Bruce are "Going to the Temple, and they're gonna get!" And Karen's buddy, Andie, gives it the thumbs up! Great couple!

Last night we showered the Bride at a party hosted by Kathy Pulley and Andie (w/a little help from me).

Once Karren was engaged, she wasted no time to Save the Date! I think their wedding this Saturday is just 8 weeks after their engagement! Like the Nora Ephron line from the movie When Harry Met Sally: "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

As an almost 30 year veteran of the institution of marriage you would think I'd have profound advice to pass along to engaged couples. But, when all is said and done, every single couple has their own unique marital adventure! So, here's to Bruce & Karren's Excellent Adventure (starring Mr. & Mrs. Christensen, beginning 10-09-10)!

"Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that." -Michael Leunig

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Too Too (TuTu) Cute!

It's my Mini Me! Because it turns out that Emily Bryan has a new uniform, not unlike my own preference for wearing the same things over and over.

But unlike my boring home uniforms, Emily selected our birthday gift to her, a colorful pink tutu, to wear 24/7. In the photo at left, Emily insisted on leaving the tutu on (right over her purple sweats) when her family walked the Golden Gate Bridge recently.

When I found the pink tutu and asked Andie what she thought, her immediate reply was "Well, Jennifer will hate it, but Emily will probably love it." And, it turns out that Emily does love it and although it isn't something Jennifer would pick out and she's getting a little tired of seeing it everyday, she's okay with it. Or, at least she's been a good sport. Now if I can just convince Emily to sport a pink Lacoste polo to go with the tutu her uniform attire will be almost complete!

Monday, October 4, 2010

...and miles to go before I sleep....

President Monson concluded the Sunday General Conference sessions noting that he has "miles to go before he sleeps." (from Robert Frost's "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening"). I like to hear our prophet acknowledge that even he has plenty to take in!

I enjoy listening to conference but there is so much good information all at once that I'll be glad when the November Ensign arrives so I can focus on one talk at a time!

A few highlights from the Sunday sessions: President Eyring's talk on trusting in the Lord was great. And, Elder Oak's spoke on the 2 lines of communication we have with our Heavenly Father: the personal line and the priesthood line.

Concluding the morning session was a wonderful talk on gratitude by President Monson. He used a quote from the Greek philosopher, Epictetus who said: "He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Well stated! President Monson also shared the truism by Aldous Huxley that "Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." So true!

Elder Bednar spoke about the Holy Ghost in the Sunday afternoon session. The ordinance for receiving the Holy Ghost into our lives is a method that is simple but profound. And Elder Ballard used a clever analogy between the deception fly fishermen use to lure the fish in, to the deception the adversary uses to convince us that good is evil and evil is good.

That's just a tiny nugget of my notes but just like President Monson stated, I also have miles to go! Both in absorbing all the new information and then in implementing it too! Overall, a really good conference weekend!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Specifics...from General Conference!

"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day." -Richard G. Scott

LDS General Conference 2010! I love the wise messages from our church leaders. I took a ton of notes on my laptop but I'll note just a few highlights (mostly from the AM session) below:

Elder Holland's expression of gratitude to all unheralded church helpers from girl's camp leaders to people forever setting up tables and taking down chairs was heartfelt and tender. As a church helper myself (versus real leader) I'm pretty grateful for these great leaders like Elder Holland!

David McConkie's premise that a teacher's attitude is more important than their teaching experience, their knowledge of the gospel, or their teaching techniques is a concept I definitely agree with! As teachers, when we are excited about the gospel we genuinely want our students to feel what we feel.

Elder Christofferson gave a wonderful talk on what constitutes a consecrated life. "Life offers us 2 precious gifts: One is time. The other is freedom of choice; the freedom to buy with your time what you will." I relate to his frustration of how much of what passes for entertainment today is "course, degrading, violent, mind numbing and time wasting."

As usual, President Uchdorf hit a home run with his analogy to flight turbulence and what to do when we are experiencing adverse conditions. I loved his advice to slow down a little, don't unnecessarily complicate our lives, and focus on the divine things that matter most! President Uchtdorf is just a classic speaker! And easy on the eyes; hands down the most handsome Apostle!

Even the General Authorities that don't have the charisma of President Uchtdorf still inspire me. What a blessing to have these wonderful men giving us good counsel!

"Your testimony, when nourished, will keep you safe." -President Thomas S. Monson