Monday, April 30, 2012

The Journey is the Reward..

I wasn’t going to post this poem because it’s longer than I usually put up on the blog.  But, how can I not include it?  It’s a personal favorite.

C. P. Cavafy is a Greek poet and Ithaka might be his best known work.  I love the message that enjoying the journey and using every resource of our senses and intellect are the important things.  The island home is going to be a disappointment for Odysseus if reaching Ithaka is the only goal.  


As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon - don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as rare excitement
stirs your spirit and body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon - you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seem for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind -
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
-C.P. Cavafy

2 New Bosses: Julie & Jen!

They say the only constant in life is change and it’s definitely a truism respective to church callings.  I’ve been teaching Gospel Doctrine for just under a year but now I’ve been bounced into serving in the Young Women’s organization.  

And, even though I’ve worked in Young Women’s before, with a shift in leaders and a new crop of girls, it’s always different.  This round I’ll be a counselor (along with Tia Barth) to President Julie Holland.  How could I be anything but excited to work with these two! 

Still, it gets better.  As the ward 1st counselor, I will interface with the stake YW 1st counselor who happens to be Jen Smith.  Basically this means my ward level boss is Julie and my stake level boss is Jen.  Awesome on both counts; I hit the jackpot!    

Our Los Gatos Ward YW are small in number but darling girls.  Since my own YW days were pivotal times spiritually, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the YW program.

So, it looks like I never really got the chance to perfect my skills at teaching adults as the Gospel Doctrine instructor and I will actually miss that calling.   I tended to get more nervous than I should during the class but I loved the prep work.

I’m grateful that our church keeps recycling us in and out of lay positions.  It’s good to never get too comfortable and it’s good to realize that we can learn and grow in lots of various church jobs.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Apple Aficionado.....

I LOVE apples.  But, I am really persnickety about which apples I favor.  

Now, with bananas it’s nearly impossible for me to find bananas in the perfect stage of ripeness (green but not too green, reaching a yellow hue but no signs of brown).  But, with apples, if I purchase the right kinds, I am quite content.  And, unlike bananas, their lengthy shelf life works for me.  

Did you know there are 7500 varieties of apples worldwide but only 20 are grown in the  US? 

And, speaking of kinds, I’ve been unable to locate any Grapples (the grape apple) in the Bay Area but my 2 favorites models lately are Pink Lady apples and Honey Crisp apples.  Both of these are fantastic when they are cold and sliced with sea salt.  Yum!  

And, apparently, for what it’s worth, Yale University researchers have discovered a new route to relaxation: inhaling the scent of apples. Tests conducted with an apple fragrance showed a calming response in the lab, so a whiff of an apple scent may help anxiety attacks.  Good to know!  

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Turn OFF Distractions...

“If you’re trying to find out what’s coming next, turn off everything you own that has an OFF switch and listen.” -Ann Patchett, What Now

One thing I love about this quote is that it sounds like a church quote but it’s actually from one of my favorite writers.  So, it turns out that all the technology tools cause all sorts of distractions and not simply to our spirits!  

I’m the first to admit that it can be easy to get sucked into wasting enormous amounts of time online.  I’ll plan to do a quick peruse of daily newspapers and before I realize it, an hour has whizzed by.  

Still, technology can be a tremendous asset for the church, we just need to be careful of overuse, intention and abuse.  President Eyring recently noted that “while we have computers, cameras, microphones, fiber-optic networks, clouds, and satellites, we have failed if we do not rely on the Holy Ghost.  If our technology does not improve the lives of others and help bring them home to the Lord, we have missed the mark.”  

Friday, April 27, 2012

Karma for the “A” Team!

“Even chance meetings are the result of karma.  That even in the smallest events there is no such thing as coincidence.”  -Haruki Murakami 

It’s official.  We’re in.  Once again, the “A” Team has an impeccable record for entry into the Nike Women’s Marathon; in fact, our record is perfect.  We’ve never been denied admittance, yet, the lottery numbers rise every year.  

I’m not generally one who garners such good luck coming my way so our runners getting in (again!) feels particularly fortuitous.  

In an effort to be present and mindful, I’m taking notice of our good fortune and acknowledging that maybe it isn’t coincidental.  Maybe the NWM and The “A” Team are destined; meant to be.  Whatever the reason, we’ll take it!  Time for training to kick it! 

"Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it.” - Sakyong Mipham 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will Speak For Fritters....

Forget, “Will Work for Food.” Knudsens will speak in public with the promise of a greasy Apple Fritter for reward!  Yes, I believe talks in church should be duly compensated!

The tradition roots back to a time in La Jolla when Brent might have inadvertently caught a few zzz’s while sitting on the stand at church.  I had 2 strategic approaches:  I could send one of the kiddos to sit on his lap, which kept him alert, but sometimes provided other distractions. So, bribery was the next resort. If he stayed awake, the next day I’d treat him to an apple fritter.

Now, apple fritters have become a thumbs-up symbol for a job well done in church speaking assignments.  Still, the Los Gatos gospel doctrine instructor hasn’t received any fritters so I guess I’ve got to really hone my teaching skills to earn any accolades.

But, Paige spoke in her Huntington Beach Ward on Sunday and Korey was kind enough to honor the Knudsen tradition and present Paige with an apple fritter on Monday.  Brent also spoke last weekend.  Multiple times, if you include his Sunday Stake Conference talk, conducting, the Saturday Adult Session, and the Priesthood Leadership Meeting.  It was basically the 1st Saratoga Stake Conference under his charge.  And, Brent never slept on the stand either, which is lucky since Andie was the only kid at conference and she’s a little to old to wander up to wake him.  And, I’ve been remiss so I definitely owe him a couple greasy fritters!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Navigating Nature...

“Is this level of athletic competition the ultimate distraction from real life?  Or is it a form of prayer.” -Norah Vincent

Trail running is a different animal than road races. Lots of marathon runners don’t like the trail runs because they're so hard to get a fast race time. But some runners prefer the mental toughness it takes to tackle the trails.  

After a bit of a hiatus (I think the 2011 Boston Marathon was her last official race), Andie entered a 35 kilometer trail race in Woodside a week ago and made a nice comeback: 2nd woman to finish and 10th overall.  Not bad considering she rolled (and subsequently sprained) her ankle at mile 17 and still pushed plenty more miles to the finish line.  Go Andoo! 

Andie’s thoughts about trail running reminded me of the quote above because there can be something almost prayer-like in the beauty of a trail run.  Or, here are  Andie’s exact words:  “I love the trails; navigating nature, fresh clean air to breathe, trees overhead and vistas to admire as your inner thoughts are free to explore as you push up the hills and cruise down, allowing your body to let go and guide you.”  Andie’s sentiments are definitely enticing me to take on some adventures in the beauty of the trails.  Sign me up!  


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


“The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions - the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss or smile, a kind look, a heart-felt compliment, and the countless infinitesimals of pleasurable and genial feeling.”  -Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Gratitude, expressing heart-felt expressions of thanks, even for the little things, can deeply effect our happiness in life.  

Grateful people are happy people!  There’s a direct correlation and if you don’t believe me, test my theory!

“If you’re not happy in life then you need to change, calibrate, readjust...flush your negative energy and fill it with positive energy.  How do we do that, you might ask?  Well, I would start by making others happy.  Diseases aren’t the only thing that spreads easily.”  -Al Munoz

Monday, April 23, 2012

Look who’s here...

In our sincere effort to make our home an always hospitable environment, we’re trying to implement a new practice we learned about in April’s General Conference.  

When Elder Larry Wilson spoke about principles that guide us in the church and in our homes, he gave a sweet example from President Monson’s biography.  

Ann Dibb, 2nd counselor in the YW General Presidency, is also the Monson’s daughter.  Ann is probably close to my age but whenever she goes to her parents home, even as an adult, she always gets the same reaction.  

As Ann walks in the front door, her father says:  “Oh, look who’s here.  And aren’t we glad, and isn’t she beautiful?”  Ann notes that her parents always give her some compliment regardless of what she looks like or what she has been doing.  

So, we’ve been practicing with Andie, since she lives nearby and when Paige and Webb return home to visit we’ll try our new verbiage out on them.  “Oh, look who’s here.  It’s Andie.  And aren’t we glad, and isn’t she beautiful?”  Maybe we’ll edit it a touch for Webb to “isn’t he handsome?,” but overall we like the sentiment a lot.  And, no surprise here, but so does Andie!   

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wafted Back Into Childhood

Swallowtail - by Glenda Cotter

Perhaps it does not matter
whether a great yellow flap
of a swallowtail butterfly
has floated through
all the summers
of my life;
perhaps it only matters
that I think it is so,
that each time it
drifts through a blue drenched day
I am wafted on its wings
back into childhood
and all the room
I had to grow;
or carried hopefully
toward the future,
happy in the thought
of the butterflies
to come
Or simply centered
in this day, this good
and beautiful day
when a single
aimless butterfly
gave a simple direction
to gather the present.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


“If you want to make enemies, try to change something.”  -President Woodrow Wilson

I not a big fan of the blogspot blogger site and as of today, I’m not even a little fan.  When I went to blog this morning the whole website has changed.  And, anyone who knows me, knows how much I don’t like change!

I am a creature of habit, I like my routines and I disdain change!  It takes me long enough to learn to navigate technology so it’s super frustrating when, without asking my opinion, blogger mixes up everything I’ve learned how to do.

I suppose it was inevitable.  There’s a quote about the only permanent thing in life being change.  I just don’t want to spend time figuring out whether this “new and supposedly improved” set up is any good.  Although I don’t really have a choice if I want to keep blogging.  

“If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry, it’ll change.  If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’s change.”  -John A. Simone, Sr.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Yesterday was pretty much an ordinary day. Fortunately, Mary Oliver has just the right words to describe the importance of the ordinary...

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen.

to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Whose “EDGY” now?

So, in one of my psychology courses on Tuesday, Dr. Giacalone had our class take a client’s vignette and frame a therapeutic restatement. If this sounds a little abstract, don’t worry, since that isn’t the point.

The point, is that when he made every student read their draft, he paused after my turn, thought a minute and exclaimed: “Hmmm, that’s really edgy!” Since I’m the old geezer in this class of 20-something year-olds, we all thought his comment was pretty funny and I assured him my own kids would find it mind boggling that I’d been noted as “edgy.”

It turns out that he meant “edgy” as a good thing and he liked my phraseology although I wasn’t sure at first. And, since this is the first time (probably in the history of my life) that I am aware of being called “edgy” I thought the quote should be duly noted in my blog. In case you ever want to call me boring or frumpy (or worse), please remember that I have also been called “edgy!”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It’s a Small World After All....

“There is just one moon,
And one golden sun.
And a smile means,
Friendship to every one.
Though the mountains divide,
And the oceans are wide,
It’s a small world after all.” lyrics by Richard & Robert Sherman

In church settings we often use the Disney “it’s a small world” phrase since the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon proximity game is so easy to play. Someone knows someone whose sister dated someone who served their mission with your boyfriend, etc. etc. (you get the idea).

But, what are the odds that our cousin Alex Olsen (serving his mission in Armenia, an impoverished country that is home to very few church members) would run across an old photo of Webb (while serving his mission in Russia)? When Alex emailed this picture straight from a member’s home in Armenia, this connection felt pretty “wow!” to me.

It turns out that Elder Olsen was at the home of some stalwart Armenian members whose daughter (pictured in far left of the photo) was a sister missionary in St. Petersburg when Webb served there. I happen to think it’s a pretty cool coincidence that Elder Olsen was shown some random pictures that happened to include his cousin Webb. Seriously, what are the odds?

If this scenario played out it Utah (or even California) it wouldn’t be that unlikely but for Alex to come across a missionary photo of Webb in Armenia when Webb has never been to Armenia is kind of wild. At least I think so.

And, I may be biased (and the picture is a little blurry), but I think Elder Knudsen looks adorable!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jennifer & Jen...

“I’ve heard it said that friends come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led to those who help us most to grow
If we let them and we help them in return.” -Stephen Schwartz

Yesterday I drove by Jennifer’s street and realized the Bryans are off on their National Parks adventure. Then, driving past Stacia Street, I remembered the Smiths are also out of town. Alas, we are abandoned by some of our favorite Los Gatos families/neighbors for spring break vacations.

It’s great to have some young friends who feel like surrogate little sisters. I adore these two (besides, isn’t that a cute photo!) and they’ve not only blessed my life but they influence my daughters for good as well.

Both of the Jen/Jennifer duo have been great sounding boards for Andie and Paige on runs. They offer good advice and even though I also have great advice (in all humility!), I can’t keep up with Andie and Paige on the trails and these guys can!

Another reason I was thinking about Jennifer yesterday is that it was Patriot’s Day in Massachusetts, which means the coveted Boston Marathon. And, just 1 year ago Brent and I were cheering on our 3 girls (Jennifer, Andie, & Paige)! It’s hard to believe it was a whole year ago - time flies when you are having fun (and running fast, I guess).

Monday, April 16, 2012

“Follow" the Leader...

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” -Edith Wharton

Cynthia Lange closed her Relief Society lesson with a really insightful statement that I’ve been pondering.

She mentioned attending leadership seminars of all sorts over the years and the abundance of workshops teaching skills to train leaders. Then, she noted that outside of the church, no one really teaches people how to be good followers.

That really resonates with me. It seems like every organization touts grooming leaders all the while failing to acknowledge there will always be plenty of us who are called upon to sustain leaders rather than be leaders.

In many ways I’m probably more suited to be a follower; mostly since I don’t care much for the limelight. So, some of the skills that make good followers that we talked about in the RS lesson yesterday are being supportive, offering encouragement, not judging, and a willingness to pitch in and assist. Many traits of being a good follower are just as critical for life generally as the attributes of leaders. It definitely behooves us to seek some skills in both categories!

“Followers are more important to leaders than leaders are to followers. -Barbara Kellerman

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The generosity of numbers...

Numbers by Mary Cornish

I like the generosity of numbers.
The way, for example,
they are willing to count
anything or anyone:
two pickles, one door to the room,
eight dancers dressed as swans.

I like the domesticity of addition --
add two cups of milk and stir--
the sense of plenty: six plums
on the ground, three more
falling from the tree.

And multiplication’s school
of fish times fish,
whose silver bodies breed
beneath the shadow
of a boat.

Even subtraction is never loss,
just addition somewhere else:
five sparrows take away two,
the two in someone else’s
garden now.

There’s an amplitude to long division,
as it opens Chinese take-out
box by paper box,
inside every folded cookie
a new fortune.

And I never fail to be surprised
by the gift of an odd remainder,
footloose at the end:
forty-seven divided buy eleven equals four,
with three remaining.

Three boys beyond their mothers’ call,
two Italians off to the sea,
one sock that isn’t anywhere you look.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The garage hierarchy...

My Volvo has been demoted. Banished. Summarily dismissed. Exiled to the cruel elements of nature!

Think of the injustice! The Volvo is the oldest car in our fleet. Actually, I guess the Defender is the oldest, but still. It feels like our new electric vehicle is taking a seat on the bus from an old lady!

There is no longer a bay in the garage for my ever dependable and notoriously safe Volvo. After years of loyalty, how do we show our gratitude? By taking away it’s parking privileges. Now the Volvo has to jockey for position in the driveway. Every day this past week it’s been rained on and no one seems very concerned that the Volvo (which was nicely cleaned before the onslaught of rain) sits outside getting completely soaked.

Because the Volvo was never named but it now feels a little like the Toy Story discards (getting bumped from the line-up for the new electric BMW), I think I’ll call it Woody! At this point the Volvo can certainly relate to Woody’s plight!

Friday, April 13, 2012

A Full House...

“The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.” -Author Unknown

Easter weekend at the Knudsens was a full house. We didn’t quite have enough beds for all the bodies, but we managed.

The best part of the holiday weekend for me (well, besides eating bread for the conclusion of Lent) was having the house feel like grand central station once again. It reminded me of high school where when one group of kids disbanded another assembled.

This trip the kiddos had friends coming and going and there wasn’t a dull moment all weekend long. Of course, everyone departed within hours of each other and then then was a dull moment, all at once! Deafening quiet and completely dull!

Items left behind (that we have discovered so far): clothes from Andie, Webb’s belt, phone charger, and parking pass, Paige’s camisole, and Deanna’s Nike’s. In fairness to this set of house guests, it is pretty rare for company to not leave something behind. And, at least they remembered to take Ernie. Whew!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


"Accessorizing is the best, cheapest, easiest, fastest, and most fun way to amp up your look."

I read the quote above in a fashion magazine (of course). Hats, boots, jewelry, scarves, gloves...accessories run the gamut and I guess they’re pretty much anything we wear in addition to whatever clothes we’re wearing.

But, I am not great when it comes to accessories. In fact, I have more options than I actually take advantage of. Generally I wear the same watch and my heart shaped Tiffany necklace. And that’s about as much accessorizing as I do sometimes.

Awhile back, Nordstrom touted a book alongside their scarves with instructions of 52 different ways to tie a scarf. The number boggled my mind! I can barely come up with a handful of ways when it turns out there are as many options as weeks in the year. Who knew?

Since wardrobe accessories take up space and I like clean spaces, I don’t have much of a shoe, coat, purse, or jewelry collection. Or scarves. But I should probably invest in a few more scarves. Scarves seem to be kind of a therapist staple. Many female therapists almost consider scarves as part of the uniform. In fact, if Nordstrom still has that booklet around, it could be helpful to come up with creative ways to tie and wear scarves. In the meantime, I guess my daughters can show me a few of the tricks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lost in Translation...

Remember the game called "telephone" where you whisper a statement in the person's ear next to you and they quickly whisper it to the person next to them, until at the end of the line, the last person calls out what they heard. And it’s often completely different from what was originally stated.

This concept present interesting situations in a church setting. For example,

The Prophet says: Don't fall off the cliff.

The Apostle says: Don't go too near the edge of the cliff.

The Stake President says: Don't go in the mountains.

The Bishop says: Don't leave your house!

Obviously this is extreme to make the point. But the way information sometimes trickles down to the grass roots is going to be influenced by various factors.

Sometimes information has be be translated, then interpreted and finally decided how it will be reinforced within a culture.

Sometimes things get taken to an extreme or the reverse can also be a problem. As church members we need to sometimes distinguish between church doctrine and principles that don't change to the church policies and programs that can change and often do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

In Transit...

Andie had a tiny issue recently when someone at church tracked her down and grilled her on special ed minutiae.

Later, when we were discussing options for those frustrating times when we get accosted with someone’s battery of questions, Deanna (Webb’s girlfriend) gave us 2 great lines to use.

If the grand inquisitor is someone we'd prefer to end the conversation as quickly as possible, Deanna suggested we simply say we’re “in transit” to imply we can’t stop to chat or answer or engage in their long-winded conversation, thank-you-very-much.

If we’d like to talk but feel in a rush we can just announce “walk with me” basically telling the person we’d like to talk to them (or, listen might be more accurate) but we’re so busy at that moment, that they’ve got to follow us around.

I’ve never told anyone I’m “in transit” (although I will now! thanks Deanna!) but I’ve actually beckoned Andie to “walk with me” all the time. She’s faithfully followed me around the house while I put away laundry numerous times.

We like Deanna’s sage advice! The next time I’m awkwardly cornered I can just shrug my head, give a quizzical I’m-sorry-about-this look and apologetically remark that I’m in transit. I’ll keep you posted on the effectiveness of both phrases. Even if they don’t really work I definitely like the sound of them. "In transit” especially has a nice ring to it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Did I Miss Anything?

Even teachers in graduate school hate to hear that age-old question after someone was absent: “Did I miss anything?”

How do you even answer that absurd question? I happen to love that one poet/teacher came up with the perfect response in the poem below:

Did I Miss Anything? by Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
And assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value of meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose.

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter...

The linen which once held Him is empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean.
The door stands opened.
The stone is rolled away,
And I can almost hear the angels singing His praises.
Linen cannot hold Him.
Stone cannot hold Him.
The linen which once held Him is now empty.
It lies there,
Fresh and white and clean
And oh, hallelujah, it is empty.
-Emily Harris, “Empty Linen” New Era April 2011.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Job Perks...

"Dear President Knudsen:
How are you doing? I miss you. You are the best! I love you so much! I am in a show called Aladdin Jr. this year! I am a dancer in the show. Love, Faith”

One of the perks of church callings can definitely be tender cards from those you serve. And it doesn’t get much sweeter than this cute note Dad got from Faith Lucas.

Whenever I receive thoughtful cards it reminds me to do a better job of sending them. Often, someone will give a great talk at church or serve in a special way and I fully intend to handwrite a note of appreciation.

But, good intentions are futile when I don’t implement them (which is often) so I’m using Faith’s missive to encourage me to do a better job of acknowledging the accomplishments of others (especially when I directly benefit from them, like a great talk that has inspired me).

“The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” -Oscar Wilde

Friday, April 6, 2012

Belated Birthday Dog!

2 days ago, Ernie turned 2!

Unlike children, dogs at age 2 should theoretically be over the stages of infantile behavior, tantrums and nasty oral fixations that cause them to chew through slippers and furniture.

So, our granddoggy is officially two. Ernie’s birthday is actually on April 4th but I forgot (there’s a lame grandmom for you!)

Plus, I couldn’t find a baby picture of Ernie but the photo attached should show how remarkable it is that Ernie has survived and made it to the 2 year milestone. Note to Webb - please don’t ever throw any of my grandchildren into the air like this!

When I look at Ernie’s ears and tail in the photo it almost looks like he could take flight! What a good sport Ernie is!

And in the best news, Ernie has arrived and is here in Los Gatos all ready to celebrate. Which means that I’d better get my act together and figure out what sort of a celebration Ernie envisions for his 2nd birthday! Does Ernie think his birthday status might entitle him to indoor privileges? Uh-oh!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

University of Equinox...

“Equinox is proud to be the recognized leader in Personal Trainer Education.”

Yesterday Paige got a hard-working personal trainer Award at Equinox (along with a gift card to Starbucks). Way to go Poogey!

It sounds like her honor is the college equivalent of magna cum laude ranking for a trainer. And, since Equinox is like the Harvard of the fitness industry the status is pretty cool! Now our favorite personal trainer is pretty hot stuff!

“Equinox personal training courses include anatomy, kinesiology, exercise physiology, post rehab protocols and the proprietary Three Cycle System - a program design approach that emphasizes the need to create exercise progression that stimulates change over time."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Push Through...

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.” -Swedish proverb

In grad school I’ve gone through a first week panic every quarter (albeit this is only my 3rd). Class jitters arrive about the time the syllabus and sundry paraphernalia gets passed out on the first day of class.

My nervous fears are generally along the lines of “What am I thinking?” re-entering the academic world after such a long hiatus.

In the beginning, the course curriculum looks daunting. I entertain thoughts I might fail at least one class every quarter. Fortunately this isn’t happening so I do need to calm down and loosen up a bit.

It’s humbling to feel surrounded by bright young cohorts who exude confidence. Yesterday one professor (after inundating us with an intense schedule) reminded us that we’ll probably all “hit the wall” sometime during the course. He cautioned us not to panic, not to drop out, but, to push through. And, it’s true, I’ve “hit the wall” in marathons before and I’m grateful I’ve pushed through.

By the next quarter, I’ll officially be a 2nd year grad student so maybe I’ll feel cool and smug by then. Until now, the 'push through the wall' is my official strategy for spring quarter.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

They went home and broke their BREAD!

“There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable.” -Mark Twain

One difficult thing about being in Utah was my Lenten sacrifice of no bread. Because, for me, a big draw to Utah is Great Harvest Bread. I love their breads, rolls, muffins; basically it’s all good.

In fact, whenever my nephews used to visit us, Lisa would fill half their suitcase with loaves of Great Harvest bread for our family. It was a great trade, a win-win. We got to have Andrew, Eric, or Alex in town and our favorite bread to boot!

In a ridiculous act of self torture I even went to Great Harvest last week. My intention was to get some bread for the family even though I’m abstaining. But, I had such a hard time refraining from all the warm samples I knew I could never bring anything home and actually steer clear of a loaf right in my kitchen. I left empty-handed (sorry guys) and obsessed with bread-on-the-brain for the rest of the day.

Including today, just 6 more days and I can indulge. Since Great Harvest won’t be an option for my bread-fest-post-Lent I’m mulling over my other options. I’m a fan of the round appetizer bread at Willow Street Pizza (served with oil and vinegar), so maybe I’ll get some of those mini loaves to go. Can’t wait!

“It you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.” -attributed to President Harry Truman

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Am Cherry Alive...

I Am Cherry Alive by Delmore Schwartz

“I am cherry alive,” the little girl sang,
“Each morning I am something new:
I am apple, I am plum, I am just as excited
As the boys who made the Hallowe’en bang:
I am tree, I am cat, I am blossom too:
When I like, if I like, I can be someone new,
Someone very old, a witch in a zoo:
I can be someone else whenever I think who,
And I want to be everything sometimes too,
And I put it in along with everything
To make the grown-ups laugh whenever I sing:
And I sing: It is true; It is untrue;
I know, I know, the true is untrue,
The peach has a pit,
The pit has a peach:
And both may be wrong
When I sing my song,
But I don’t tell the grown-ups, because it is sad,
And I want them to laugh just like I do
Because they grew up
And forgot what they knew
And they are sure
I will forget it some day too.
They are wrong. They are wrong.
When I sang my song, I knew, I knew!
I am red, I am gold,
I am green, I am blue,
I will always be me,
I will always new!"

Sunday, April 1, 2012

General Conference 2012...

We need tickets! (April Fools!)

We didn’t need to scavenge tickets this year! Whew! Brent’s strategy to get into General Conference sessions he isn’t holding tickets for is just to mooch. And, it usually works, but I don’t like to canvas the crowd.

Luckily, this year we came with a few tickets and then well-connected Mike Dunn supplied us with tickets for any sessions we lacked. So, thankfully Mike saved us from begging for seats.

Yesterday we attended both sessions and Brent went to priesthood too. Once I’m seated I enjoy being “live” but I’m not a fan of the crowds and lines before and after.

The Saturday talks were great but like a great spread at a buffet, I wish I could spread them out. I’m never sure if some inspire me more due to the order I hear them; in other words, before my attention span starts to wane a little. However, my favorite from Saturday morning was President Eyring and he was the last speaker, so that spoils that theory. But, to confirm the theory, Elder Holland was my favorite talk on Saturday afternoon and he was the first speaker.

And, more good talks to come today. So back to the Conference Center we go.

"You can’t be right by doing wrong and you can’t be wrong by doing right.” - Elder Ulisses Soares, quoting a formula used by President Monson