Thursday, May 31, 2012

What I Have Learned So Far

What I Have Learned So Far - by Mary Oliver

Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life,
on the hillside,
looking into the shining world?  Because properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause?  I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a 
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.  
Thought buds toward radiance.  The gospel of 
light is the crossroads of -- indolence, or action.

Be ignited, or be gone.   

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Real Work

The Real Work
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed. 
The impeded stream is the one that sings. 
by Wendell Berry 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Things Outside Our Control...

       "Our thoughts are up to us, and our impulses, desires, and aversions - in short, whatever is our doing. Of things that are outside your control, say they are nothing to you." -Epictetus, who was a slave around the time of Nero
       When Navy Pilot, James Stockdale spent 7 years as a hostage during the Vietnam war, words from a 1st Century Stoic Handbook called "Enchiridion" became his mantra.  
       Because of the words of Epictetus, Stockdale was able to draw a line between the things he could and could not control. And, he focused on the fact that what he could control was what mattered most.
       James Stockdale's resiliency became legendary. He became a living example of the doctrine of the Stoics.
       "Don't worry about what you can change because you can change it and don't worry about what you can't change because you can't change it. -Wayne Dyer

Monday, May 28, 2012

School Holiday?

       Memorial Day is a federal holiday so I’m still trying to figure out why I have class today.  It’s true.  For some odd reason my Santa Clara University graduate program does not close down for Memorial Day.  So, while people spend their afternoon at the beach or enjoying picnics, I’ll be in class taking notes at Loyola Hall.  
        Fortunately I can head straight to a fun BBQ when class concludes.  Still, it feels like someone missed something - I’m having a hard time believing school is really in session.  Whose idea was it not to cancel class today? 
     But, since we are (or should be) honoring the men & women who have died serving our country I should at least pay some Memorial Day tribute to recognize and honor them:  

Their silent wounds have speech 
More eloquent than men;
Their tones can deeper reach
Than human voice or pen.  -William Woodman  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Helium Shortage....

        When I took my helium tank in for a refill last week the clerk looked at me almost incredulously wondering if I knew there was a helium shortage.  I did not.  I had no clue.  
        I do read up on current events but the newspaper articles I scan have not filled me in on the helium shortage of 2012.  Of course I came home and learned all about it.     
        Helium is harvested from natural gas reserves and plants around the world have not produced as much as usual due to equipment failures and extended shutdowns.  Then, use has gone up with helium needed to make flat-screen TVs and as a cooler for magnets in MRI machines. 
        So, it’s basically a supply and demand problem but new plants opening in Qatar and Wyoming should help. But, right now during this season with school proms and graduations, helium is a hot commodity. 
        Now after getting told at two places there was no helium to be found I tried a different approach at my third gas supplier.  See, I’ve been taking lessons from Jen Smith’s ability to get what she wants (no one can ever say no to Jen) so I tried my luck with the helium clerk.  I (very nicely) begged and pleaded and told him how much I would appreciate any miniscule amount he could sell me.  And the next thing I knew, my tank was full!  
        So, the take home for the day (besides a tank filled with helium) is that it never hurts to ask!   

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sticker Collection...

      Brent’s HOV sticker arrived yesterday which puts him back in the carpool lane for his Los Gatos to San Francisco commute.  Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decals are a valuable commodity for California drivers like Brent with a long drive to work.  
     Before becoming a proud owner of this coveted white sticker Brent’s Toyota Prius sported a gold hybrid CAV sticker.  When we bought the Prius we knew the decal expired July 1st, 2011.  Of course 2011 seemed so far in the future we didn’t worry much about it.  
     But the years flew by and once the Prius no longer qualified for the carpool lane, Brent was stuck fighting traffic again.  We looked into the eligibility for the green sticker but didn’t find a good car fit.  Luckily he discovered the BMV fully electric Active E which qualifies for a white sticker; the best option of all.  Although, like the gold sticker, this one isn’t good indefinitely either.  The gig is up on January 1st, 2015.  At that point Brent hopes to have the Google sticker or rather the Google car being tested that automatically drives itself.  In a Google car he wouldn’t have to worry about the carpool lane since he could work all the way to the office!  At that point Brent's sticker collecting days might be over!   

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Queen of Country School!

             Happy 30th Birthday to Almaden Country School!  Andie and I are so happy we got to join the celebration yesterday!  It felt quite nostalgic!  
     Almaden Country School is a magical place; especially when Nan Hunter is on campus.  Yesterday there were droves of old-timers like us who came to hear tributes to the founders.  Steve Hayden even sent remarks from Apple University in China. 
     Right after the “formal” celebration Julia Hatch crowned Nan “The Queen of Country School” and fixed Nan up with a tiara and cape.  It was perfect because Nan is absolutely the queen on campus even if the new students don’t realize the influence and impact she has had on the school.  
     What a fun treat to see so many old friends and familiar faces from the years we spent at ACS.  I love the vision of the school and the vision Nan had when she started Almaden Country School in 1982 (which happens to be the year Andie was born too).  Such a great year and such a great school!   

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Hero

My Hero
Just as the hare is zipping across the finish line,
the tortoise has stopped once again
by the roadside,
this time to stick out his neck
and nibble a bit of sweet grass, 
unlike the previous time
when he was distracted
by a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.  
-Billy Collins, Horoscopes for the Dead

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Keep a Poem in your Pocket...

Here is one of the first poems I ever memorized.  It felt perfect to be memorizing a poem that spoke to the virtue of have a poem written in your head!  

"Keep a poem in your pocket, and a picture in your head
and you'll never feel lonely, at night when you're in bed.

The little poem will sing to you, the little picture will bring to you,
a dozen dreams to dance to you, at night when you're in bed.

Keep a picture in your pocket, and a poem in your head,
and you'll never feel lonely, at night when you're in bed.
-Beatice Schenk de Regniers

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Definition of Terms...

     We had a good laugh yesterday when something came up about Paige recruiting Andie to be her Made of Honor. We don’t know whether it was a typo or if we need to enlighten Paige on some of the wedding terminology. Andie is quite sure she is already made of honor and is considering the Maid of Honor position too.  
     I think Paige is working under the assumption that Andie will take the job because she is already handing out assignments.  And, I will say, I’m quite impressed with Paige and Korey’s organization skills.  I might get to sit back and let the bride do all the work on this wedding!  With help from her made/maid of honor of course!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Don’t think of a white shirt...

      "Don’t think of a white shirt!”  For me, that task would be virtually impossible because everywhere I turn these days I see white shirts!  Brent has become the consummate white shirt apparel guy.
     When he was bishop he definitely wore white on Sundays (guess he’s always done that) but it feels like like with his new calling he’s sporting white shirts with greater frequency all week long.  
     Fortunately I don’t launder all the white shirts (roughly 50% of them).  The dry cleaners handle the expensive ones and I wash and press the others.  And, I don’t have anything against white shirts, I just never expected to see so many come through the wash, especially coming from one person.
     There is also the possibility that Brent’s gone overboard with the white too.  For example, here he is at last year’s girls camp in the Santa Cruz mountains wearing a white shirt and tie which might be a little much!  (Actually, I’m kidding, his part in the skit called for him to look the part of a bishop - camp-style anyway).  
     Overall I have to say I’m grateful he shows respect for his callings and makes sure to dress the part for all the mid-week interviews and visits.  It’s just been a noticeable change for the laundry fairy.  I’m not quite as quick on the turnaround when I’m ironing twice as many white shirts as I used to. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

This just in...

     Wow! That Korey Nelson knows how to surprise a girl! 
     Paige and Korey are officially engaged (and we adore Korey and are excited about their big announcement)!  
     One of my favorite things about the proposal is how Korey pulled things off, keeping Paige in lots of suspense.  First, unbeknownst to Paige, Korey flew up a few weeks ago and told Brent and I of his intentions (to which we happily gave our blessing).  Then Korey returned to Huntington Beach early the next morning and Paige was none the wiser.  As far as she knew he’d worked late, studied and called it a night.  Hopefully Brent and I have now proved to Korey that we are able to keep secrets!  
     Then, Korey and Paige went to San Diego yesterday which is always a highlight destination for Paige since she was born there and spent her first four years in La Jolla.  Paige thought this trip to her roots might be a good place for a proposal but Korey had convinced her that he still needed to make arrangements to get parental approval.  So, Paige just assumed they’d spend the day hiking at Torrey Pines State Reserve and visiting old haunts in La Jolla. 
     But, after a fun day, Korey surprised Paige with a fancy dinner at the Hotel del Coronado followed by.......Korey asking Paige to marry him! Which, due to his finesse and cleverness (okay, trickery), took her completely by surprise!  
     Paige (of course) said YES!  So, now the fun begins; a wedding to plan, and better than that, a marriage of two great people in love and who are kind and good to each other.  We think they’re a wonderful couple!  Congrats Korey & Paige!  

Saturday, May 19, 2012


     From an investment perspective, cars don’t appreciate.  The minute you drive new cars off the dealer’s lot they’re notorious for major depreciation.  Then, add some mileage and a car's value over time gains downward momentum.  
     With one exception.  The Land Rover Defender 90.  It’s the only car in our fleet of auto ownership that has ever increased in value.  So, as sad as it was to sell the Defender, our sorrow was mitigated by the onslaught of buyers bidding well over the asking price (and over what we paid for it over a decade ago).  That is a unique experience to have respective to car sales.  We paid $40,000 about twelve years ago and sold it for $50,000.  
     In 2003, Webb and the Defender earned the illustrious Los Gatos High School Best Car Award amongst the graduating Seniors.  At a school like Los Gatos, that is no small feat with a parking lot filled with high end autos that belong more often to the students than the teachers (which is sick I know).  But, I think the Defender won the best car title more for personality, not to mention a cute guy behind the wheel (Go Webb!). 
     Yes, the Defender holds some great memories for all of us; it was a great putz-around-town or take-to-the-beach vehicle.  And, it feels fitting that it’s new residence will be Boston, since Webb’s roots herald from New England as well.  We hope the new Defender owners enjoy it as much as we did!  

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hot off the Press...

“The theories that enable us to envision what the future holds in store for companies, can help us see the predictable results that come from choices and priorities we might make in our personal lives.” -from How Will You Measure Your Life, Clayton Christensen

     One great thing about Amazon prime shipping is to receive a new release on the day the book comes out.  Hence, on Tuesday, May 15th, my pre-ordered copy of Clayton Christensen’s new book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, arrived on my doorstep.  
     As I expected, it’s a wonderful book.  It’s an expanded version of the classic talk Christensen gave at the Harvard Business School that went viral in 2010.  Theories of business models are explained, then shown how they can apply to evaluating choices we make in our home and family life.
     I’m predicting a bestseller in the same vein as Covey’s Seven Habits book.  The business models, both the success stories and the failures, give good insight into understanding some of the thought processes that go into our decisions, which are often well-meaning but incorrect.  The applications for being a good parent and spouse are spot-on!  

The path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.” -from How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clayton Christensen

Thursday, May 17, 2012

We Real Cool...

We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks

--The Pool Players. At The Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Short Panegyric...

A Short Panegyric by Mark Strand

Now that the vegetarian nightmare is over and we are back to
Our diet of meat and deep in the sway of our dark and beauty-
ful habits and able to speak with calm of having survived, let
the breeze of the future touch and retouch our large and hun-
gering bodies.  Let us march to market to embrace the butcher
and put the year of the carrot, the month of the onion behind
us, let us worship again the roast or the stew that takes it’s place once
again at the sacred center of the dining room table.  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sell Everything & Buy Wisdom...

“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe." -Marilyn Vos Savant
     We are a funny breed!  We learn the most (by far) from observing and listening but there still seems to be a prevailing notion that wisdom is acquired from talking.  I catch myself all the time.
     Whenever I wish I was a better listener I have to stop and remember that skills are perfected with practice.  And to  hone the art of good listening requires mastery of an every harder skill (for me at least): keeping quiet.  Sometimes it’s hard to resist throwing in my two cents worth so showing restraint, even when I might have a worthwhile comment, is good practice.

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” -Doug Larson

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jeremy & Mallory’s Last Los Gatos Group Run...

     When new ward transplants arrive for graduate school you know at best they’re probably only around for a few years.  So, with Jeremy at Santa Clara law school we knew he and Mallory might move on in three years.  But, dang, it went too fast!
    These two are personal favorites; I’d happily adopt either one (preferably both!).  In lots of ways they’re wise beyond their years.  From Mallory’s culinary quests to Jeremy’s ultra trail runs to their sustainable living ideas, I’m always inspired and learn new things from both of them.  
     The photo is from our last group run together on Saturday.  Jeremy’s a trooper, he’ll join irregardless of being the token male runner.  Then, he can keep up with the fastest or hang back with the slowest and generally does a bit of both.  Jeremy's pretty mellow so you don’t realize how fast he really is (or that he is holding back just to be nice - in my situation).  Mallory gives me insight into random things like chia seeds and is always a great resource for organic food nutrients, et al.  She’s like a young version of Alice Waters.  
     Lots of us (especially the running crew) are really going to miss the Lake-Valentiner dynamic duo.  They provide lots of entertainment on the trails!  Mostly, I’ve just always been impressed with their graciousness.  They are the first to compliment me on this or that; things like a lesson or hanging in there on a run.  I’m delighted they were Los Gatos residents for a stint and hopeful they’ll return to visit often (and maybe even move back someday). 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

“Raising my children made me better than myself..."

“It was an education, raising these children, but mainly for me, not so much for them.  There was the sense of competence that motherhood conferred, the sense that if we could handle Halloween or the first day of school, or a rainy week in midsummer, we would be able to handle anything.”  -Anna Quindlen

     I can relate well to Quindlen’s comments on being a mother.  In some ways my kids raised me or at least raised that bar so that I had to gain some parenting competency (and quickly).  I came to parenting with plenty of babysitting experience, still nothing quite prepares you to be a mom.  It’s 100% on the job training!
     Now that our brood is all out of the house (old picture for nostalgia purposes) it’s easy to look back and feel grateful to each of them for providing me with the rich experience of parenting.  I certainly couldn’t have done it without them and while I’m sure I messed up on a daily basis they all seem to give me the benefit of the doubt most of the time.  Three of my most precious blessings are without question my three kids!  Mother’s Day is probably as good a day as any to thank them for giving me the opportunity and joy of being a parent! No one has fired me (permanently) yet!   

“Having and raising my children made me better than myself, but they did something else as well: they helped me learn to grow older.”  -Anna Quindlen

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Every Conceivable Form of Life...

In a recent interview Clayton Christensen was asked about the fact that he and Mitt Romney were both Mormon and lived near each other in Belmont.  His comments were well stated (of course) & worth noting:

     “Mitt’s really a good man.  He’s very smart, but it’s true that he was raised in a wealthy home, in a prominent home, and then accrued even more wealth, and his kids have been raised in an even more prominent family.  And that’s actually about the toughest environment in the world to be raised in, and have your head screwed on straight.  It truly is.  And so people think of that, that he’s not connected with the real world.  But he has raised his family to create unbelievably good kids.  
     But more important than that, in the Mormon church, we don’t pay professional ministers to teach us and to take care of us, but we help other people and teach each other the gospel of Jesus Christ.  What that means is - because the members have to take care of one another - you meet everybody.  And so Mitt was the bishop of our church, and bishop just means that he had responsibility for about 500 members of the church.  And he had a family, he was trying to build Bain at the same time, and to be the bishop meant that he spent, on top of all that, 30 hours a week.  
     And I don’t know if you ever saw the first Star Wars movie, but Luke Skywalker came in to meet Hans Solo at some kind of cafe, and the band that was playing, there was one of every conceivable form of life in the band, that’s what a Mormon church looks like; one of every conceivable type of person.  If you’re the bishop, you’ve got to help all of those people.  Under his leadership we built three significant new congregations in the inner city, in three different languages.  So he really has seen a lot.”

     I love that Clayton compared Mormon congregants to the members of the Star Wars band (every conceivable form of life!).  I’m sure some wards aren’t quite that diverse but when you are a bishop you do get to love and serve every stereotype.  The Star Wars visual is  just a great image!  

Friday, May 11, 2012

When my professor asked for class feedback I don’t think he expected such a deluge of comments.  He’s a pretty decent teacher but several of my cohorts thinks he overcomplicates the material.  Plus, when you inquire, you're bound to get the entire gamut of suggestions and then what do you do.  It’s not a short-order course (even if some students would like it to be).  Anyway, his request reminded me of a Billy Collin’s poem titled, of course, Feedback: 

The woman who wrote from Phoenix
after my reading there

to tell me they were all still talking about it

just wrote again
to tell me that they had stopped.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Negativity Bias...

     There is a psychology analogy that sometimes people treat negative experiences like velcro (they stick) and positive experiences like teflon (that roll right off). And it turns out that research shows the brain does have a negativity bias.  It’s simply our human nature to pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences.  Bad, unfortunately, is stronger than good.
      So, unless we can teach and train ourselves to deliberately savor positive experiences in life, we’ll be pulled to noticing and remembering more of the bad things that happen.  But, if we can switch that response and let positive experiences hold or stick instead of slide away, we’ll be more resilient, have better self esteem and confidence, and generally be happier.  Cool!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We’ll Eat You Up, We Love You So!

A writer of passion and heart
Made picture books into an art,
With bold exhortations
To three generations:
“And, now, let the wild rumpus start!”  -Dr. Goose
          When Paige texted the family early yesterday that Maurice Sendak died, it felt like a close friend passed away.  I grew up adoring Sendak & Seuss.  Then, in a children’s lit class in college I was fascinated to learn about Sendak’s curmudgeonly ways, his childhood insecurities and his life-long struggle with melancholia.
          I love that Sendak is celebrated as  “the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche” (NY Times).  His honestly in prose and illustrations probably helped me feel more “normal,” if, like Max, I flew into a rage, or needed to get away (but eventually needed to return home too). I think his works are brilliant and timeless.     
          When asked about his "wild things” illustrations, Sendak always maintained (and I love this) that “he was drawing his relatives - who, in his memory at least, had hovered like a pack of middle-aged gargoyles above the childhood sickbed to which he was often confined.” (NY Times).  Classic!
          Sendak also didn’t exactly view himself as a children’s writer per se.  In fact, having no children of his own, he occasionally admitted to being a bit frightened by kids.  He once noted that he preferred children as few and far between as adults, and then admitted to being less tolerant of adults than children.  A homebody and a bit of a recluse but an incredibly gifted man.  Rest In Peace Maurice Sendak! "Merry Once, Merry Twice, Merry Chicken Soup with Rice!"

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Korey Karma

     Shaving several minutes off a half marathon PR (personal record) is no easy feat.  Paige had put in some rigorous training and had a crew of just one for cheering duties at the event.  Basically Paige's race support along the course was Korey Nelson and he deserves a shout out since he singlehandedly maneuvered around the OC with signs for both Andie and Paige.  
     Just like the racers, spectating full and half marathons is not for the faint of heart either.  I know this from experience since watching Brent run marathons thirty years ago is what converted me to running them too.  As an observer I could see I was missing out on something cool and mostly, I noticed that watching the race could be so stressful I might as well be running it!  
     Yes, I remember well the experience of being on the sidelines.  First, I had to arise incredibly early and drop off an anxious runner near the start line.  Then the logistics come in; navigating the course to maximize places to cheer.  And, locating runners can be tricky.  Even if I have a general idea of their anticipated minute per mile time, I’m never sure if they are running ahead or behind schedule.   If I miss them, at say, mile 5, I could play catch up the entire race.  
     So, for the Orange County race, Korey was the man!  He made signs, chauffeured, cheered and motivated both Andie and Paige.  And, it does appear that he had the magic touch or good karma since Paige had such an amazing time.  Kudos to Korey!  And look, in the post race photo Korey still has a smile on his face!
     Finally, Korey’s quarter-century birthday happens to be this very day.  It’s a good thing his race support duties happened before he got so old!  Happy 25th Birthday to Korey!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Running in the OC!

Equinox sponsored a great athlete for the Orange County half marathon Sunday morning.  Paige  represented the club well finishing in the top 10 women overall and 2nd in her age group!  This is out of almost 9000 people running the half! Go Pooge! 

Andie flew down Friday night planning to cheer on her sister but in a stroke of luck someone else on the Equinox team dropped out leaving Andie with a bib number too. 

One daughter in peak performance rocks the race and another daughter, in a last minute decision, pulls off a formidable performance (just winging it).  In my humble opinion, I’m doubly impressed! Bay Area women show the OC how it’s done!  

Racing on Sunday is something we are trying hard to avoid (living in Utah would make this effort so much easier) but it turns out that if you run fast enough you still have plenty of time to go home, shower and still make it to church on time!  Way to go Knudsen girls!  Awesome running!     

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Open for Business...

“Try to get out and read in the sunshine at the very least.”
     The quote above was from a fellow grad student as we exchanged emails about our midterm on Tuesday.  It’s a comprehensive exam covering the first half of 3 textbooks so most of us (myself included) are struggling to catch up with the material.  
     However, I haven’t quite had the luxury to read in the sunshine, per Marne’s suggestion, although I was out in the sunshine all day on Saturday (just no study time).  
     Every spring we have one full Saturday of getting incredibly dirty to clean up the yard to the point that we can really enjoy the pool, etc. Instead of the calm before the storm, it’s the storm before the calm; make a big ole’ mess to ultimately clean things up.  
     So, yesterday was the annual pressure washing and deck cleaning Saturday. Unfortunately not a Knudsen kid was around to assist in the laborious process.  Maybe Andie skipped town just to avoid getting put to work.  But, Brent and I are hard workers and it felt nice to be out in the sun, even if I did feel guilty not to be studying for my midterm.   

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Citation Dismissed!

I would generally advise people with parking tickets to avoid the paperwork hassle and just pay up.  Otherwise you’ll probably spend a bunch of time and still owe the fine.  Unless you are Webb Knudsen.  And your vehicle is parked in Santa Cruz.

Webb sent such a disarming (and frankly charming) missive to the city of Santa Cruz about a parking ticket that he was actually issued an apology!  What city does that?  As well as a complete dismissal.  

Webb is the first person I know to garner an apology about a citation.  But he sent me a copy of his letter and let’s just say that flattering never hurts.  He gushed about wanting to show his girlfriend the lovely city of Santa Cruz on Easter weekend.  He gave scrupulous details explaining why the ticket was a system error.  And, technically he was correct since they've modified the meters with a pay by phone using an App option (which he’s used but still got a ticket?).  It’s just so unusual for the little guy to be right (David & Goliath) that it seems historical enough to note.  Congrats Webb!  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Making Peace with Earworms...

I got to substitute teach Seminary on Wednesday and while seeing the youth was a treat, somehow the opening song got stuck in my head and I spent the day singing “Israel, Israel God is Calling” over & over, ad nauseam. 

Relative to this annoying problem, which can vex me on a frequent basis, I ran across a remedy in my psychology homework.  Initially it sounds a little counter-intuitive but actually makes sense.  So, for what it’s worth, I’ll pass along the advice that helped rid me of the (love it, but in moderation) repeat-cycle church hymn. 

“There’s actually a scientific term for jingles that get lodged in your head: earworms.  And, a study found that the worst way to get rid of earworms is to try to get rid of earworms.  The more you think about trying to forget them, the deeper they burrow.  This is pretty much true about consciously trying to forget anything.  There’s even a name for the phenomenon: ironic processing.  The best advice I’ve heard for making earworms go away, is to just stop being irritated by them, and come to peace with the fact that you’re humming Britney Spears.”  -Joshua Foer

Thursday, May 3, 2012

1 Stop Shampoo & Laundry...

“No washing hair or clothes in the toilet please.” 


This needs to be stated? It’s hard for me to imagine gettting so desperate that I would wash my hair or my clothes in the toilet.

Or do you think they might mean "in the restroom?" As in, using the sink.  Let’s hope that was what they intended.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

James Whistler

James Whistler is one of America’s most famous painters but it turns out that his road to success in the art world was a circuitous one.  As a child he was described by his parents as moody and they noticed that drawing helped settle him down and focus his attention.  Then his mother, in hopes he might make a good minister, sent him to a church school.  He preferred drawing caricatures to study and it was soon clear that he wasn’t suited for a career in religion.

Next, Whistler was sent to West Point, the US Military Academy.  In a class he was assigned to draw a study of a bridge and submitted an exquisite rendering of a picturesque stone arch with two children on it fishing from the river.  The lieutenant teaching the course on bridge building was not happy.  “This is a military exercise,”  he said.  “Get those children off the bridge.”  Whistler returned to his desk and submitted a revised drawing with the children now fishing from the riverbank.  The lieutenant rejected it: “I said, get rid of those children.”  Whistler’s third and final drawing depicted the bridge, the river, and two small tombstones on the bank.

I love this story because it just confirms the notion that some of us are meant to be bridge builders and some of us are meant to be painters, and all of us have unique gifts!