Saturday, June 30, 2012

Girls are much too clever...

From Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie:

Wendy: But where do you live mostly now?
Peter:  With the lost boys.
Wendy:  Who are they?
Peter:  They are the children who fall out of their perambulators when the nurse is looking the other way. If they are not claimed in 7 days they are sent far away to Neverland to defray expenses. I'm captain.
Wendy: What fun it must be!
Peter:  Yes, but we are rather lonely. You see we have no female companionship.
Wendy: Are none of the others girls?
Peter:  Oh, no: girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their prams.

I was reminded of these lines yesterday when our class was talking about gender differences.  It’s one of several great quotes from Peter Pan.  

Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday Boy Hangs Loose!

       The birthday boy didn’t quite get a leisurely day of surfing yesterday.  It IS a fairly recent photo (since it’s on my computer) but Brent didn’t have the luxury to chill on the beach.  No, his birthday started early at Zion’s camp working with young men from Los Altos, Menlo Park and Saratoga stakes.  Then he drove straight to Camp Lehi and helped the Saratoga Stake Young Women with a ropes course all afternoon.  So, technically he had the day-off from work, but for a birthday boy he was working pretty hard. 

       The church is celebrating 100 years of girls camp this year so we did make sure to sing Happy Birthday to Girls Camp and to Brent last night too.  In fact, one full size sheet cake (65 pounds worth apparently)was quickly devoured by hungry campers and leaders.

       Brent isn’t exactly one to do nothing to celebrate, so having both youth camps fall on his birthday gave him a nice diversion from a typical day at the office.  So, he didn’t surf this birthday but I think he was doing exactly what he preferred; hanging loose with some wonderful youth in the church!  



Thursday, June 28, 2012

The most important thing about a person...

“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don’t know.” -Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna

       My multicultural counseling course started yesterday and the professor played a little game on us by pretending to be one of the students in the class.  He came in, took a seat and we all read an assignment left on the board and started to work.  Once the gig was up, it was interesting to see all the stereotypes we noted - why he didn’t look like the teacher.  He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt and one girl said when she came to class she looked around and assumed I was the instructor.  Ha!
       It’s going to be a helpful class, there are so many variables that go into our identity.  Between our ethnicity, our education, our marital status, values, age, gender, religion, family, behavior, experience, temperament, personality,and biology, we are definitely shaped by each characteristic.  Our cultural map consists of a bit of all of these.  
       Still, no matter what things we might know about someone else, I do like Barbara Kingsolver’s sentiment that what we don’t know might be more important than what we do know. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writer Nora Ephron (1941-2012)

“Suddenly, one day, there was this thing called parenting. Parenting was serious. Parenting was fierce. Parenting was solemn. Parenting was a participle, like going and doing and crusading and worrying; it was active, it was energetic, it was unrelenting. Parenting meant playing Mozart CDs while you were pregnant, doing without the epidural, and breast-feeding your child until it was old enough to unbutton your blouse.”  -Nora Ephron

It was sad to drive home from girls camp last night and learn about the death of Nora Ephron.  I’ve been an Ephron fan since I discovered Crazy Salad (a book of her essays) in the late ’70’s.  Her 2 recent books on aging (I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing) were also great reads. The world has lost a very funny woman and a wonderful writer to boot!   

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You never marry the right person?

       “Destructive to marriage is the self-fulfillment ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment, necessary for us to become whole and happy.  The assumption is that there is someone just right for us to marry and that if we look closely enough we will find the right person.  This moral assumption overlooks a crucial aspect to marriage.  It fails to appreciate the fact that we always marry the wrong person.
       We never know whom we marry; we just think we do.  Or even if we first marry the right person, just give it a while and he or she will change.  For marriage, being means we are not the same person after we have entered it.  The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.”  -Duke University ethics professor Stanley Hauerwas

       The quote above is intriguing.  I’m not sure I agree with all of the logic but I do believe that it’s more important to focus on being the right person than finding the right person (to marry that is).  Sometimes during our 31 years of marriage I’m sure Brent has wondered who the heck he ended up with.  Right or wrong, I can probably be a handful.
       I do particularly like the last line of the quote:  “The primary challenge of marriage is learning how to love and care for the stranger to whom you find yourself married.”  And, so after celebrating 31 years, I would say amen to that!  

Monday, June 25, 2012

Acting slightly more elegantly on Sundays...

       Anne Lamott isn’t Mormon but she’d be a great one, albeit it a very unique one :)  I love Lamott's eclectic outlook on pretty much all aspects of life.  Below is a quote from one of her books.  I like the quote because every Sunday we (we, I guess meaning myself) pitch up at church services and spend three hours.  And sometimes the block of meetings isn’t off-the-charts, but showing up is always a good habit to be in. 

       Yesterday Brent and I were asked to speak in Sacrament meeting so church might not have been as stellar as some Sundays with truly inspirational talks.  Still, I’m grateful for a pattern in my life where worship on Sunday is an integral part of my week and looking back I think the payoff for the three hour commitment has been rich and rewarding, even though week-to-week some meetings are better than others. 

“I realized I was going to get through this disappointing service, and anyway, you have to be somewhere: better here, where I have heard truth spoken so often, than, say, at the DMV, or home alone orbiting my own mind.

And it’s good to be out where others can see you, so you can’t be your ghastly spoiled self. It forces you to act slightly more elegantly, and this improves your thoughts, and thereby the world.” -Anne Lamott, Grace Eventually, Thoughts on Faith.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Radical Amazement

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement ... get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.  Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually.  To be spiritual is to be amazed.”  -Abraham Joshua Heschel

       To be spiritual is to be amazed.  What a great concept!  I love Heschel’s idea to find the incredible and phenomenal moments in life and never take anything for granted.  This quote makes me want to be mindful of every moment and acknowledge the majesty in the little things.  Radical amazement: it’s a great way to live!  

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wedding Plans...

       Paige and Korey’s engagement is only 3 months and that’s fine by me.  I think planning a wedding falls into the same construct as cleaning your house: if you have 4 hours to clean it, it takes you 4 hours; if you only have an hour, somehow you get the job done.
       There is no question that a 4 hour cleaning job is probably more thorough and a 2 year engagement probably breeds more elaborate wedding festivities.  But, truthfully, neither Paige or I are all that focused on pulling off the wedding-of-the-year anyway. 
       The Catholics have a good saying that “A wedding is for a day, a marriage for a lifetime.”  And, since we believe the marriage lasts even longer than this life, it makes more sense to focus on preparing to be a good companion, more than worry and fret over details of the wedding anyway.  In my humble opinion! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Purple Cows!

"I Never Saw a Purple Cow,
I Never Hope to See One,
But I Can Tell You Anyhow,
I'd Rather See Than Be One!"
by Gelett Burgess

"Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow" -
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it:
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll kill you if you quote it.”
-also by Gelett Burgess

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

BDO, For the Win!

BDO!  Team 81 is Number 1!
       According to Paige, the BDO Team won the Orange County Mud Run on Saturday.  But, really, how could you possibly lose with Korey sporting that striking headband? What a guy!
       Clearly this picture must have been taken before the race since they all look so clean (for mud runners that is).  And, I’m wondering about the teammate next to Korey wearing white shorts.  White shorts on a mud run?  I don’t think this is a guy who does his own laundry! 
       Actually Paige was in a Dirty Dash race in Provo just over a year ago and she wore a white Lululemon hoodie, so I should probably go easy on the BDO guy.  Paige made the same mistake and now she owns a tan Lululemon hoodie (since the mud never came completely out).
       And when Andie ran in a Wild Warrior race last year she accidentally left the muddy clothes in a plastic bag in my garage which we discovered a few weeks post race and I think we tossed the contents at that point!  Well, congratulations to the BDO Mud Runners on their victorious win!  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Honing the Grandparent Skills....

       James McNally Olsen is one adorable guy!  I hope all of my grandkids will be as good-natured as James.  When Brent and I babysat last Friday night we both decided this is the good life.  James parents, Andrew and Caitlin, have been in town for Liam's graduation at Stanford and we are delighted they came since it’s our first chance to meet Sweet Baby James! 
       James has Andrew’s easy-going temperament.  He makes practicing my grandparent skills quite easy.  I didn’t see him fuss once during the Olsen’s stay so I’m getting conditioned to well-behaved little people on the home front.  Plus, James has several tricks.  His motorboat babble is very cute and he gets almost giddy with excitement when you put him in front of any mirror!
       Of course his happy nature isn’t that surprising.  What on earth could he fuss about?  There isn’t much you can complain about when you are the main attraction.  Since James is the first grandchild on both sides so there is no shortage of attention coming his way.  
       Technically I guess I’m a great aunt to James but “Los Gatos Grandma” is my self-proclaimed title.  And, it’s nice that Caitlin has several siblings in the Bay Area so we get to see the Olsen crew fairly often.  Yay!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Day for the Dads.....

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”  - Jim Valvano

       Our kids are blessed to have a Dad who believes in them!  From a business standpoint Brent thinks there is no better investment than your kids and he’s always generous in providing opportunities for travel, education and great life experiences.  
       I don’t expect our kids will really understand their good fortune in landing a father who will champion their causes until they become parents themselves.  They do appreciate him but it will be at another level when their own children arrive.  At least this was the case for me; my respect for my own parents (heck, any parents) rose quickly the minute I was raising my own. 
       Besides Brent’s belief in the potential of each of our kids I think his example speaks to who he is and what he stands for.  His character is in line with his beliefs, they can trust him and a dad like that deserves lots of recognition on Father’s Day!     

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.  We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”  -Umberto Eco

Saturday, June 16, 2012

1 Year Down...

“The brain is wider than the sky.”  - Emily Dickinson

       I love that poet Emily Dickinson noted the brain’s potential long before brain science discovered that our nervous system can make trillions of synaptic connections.  The power of human imagination is limitless.  It’s just one of the things that makes the study of psychology so complex as well as fascinating.  Sometimes I feel like I am in medical school (for the mind).
       As of this week it’s 1 year down and 2 more to go!  My first year of graduate school sped by. It’s been a positive experience all around.  My classes were great; the professors are impressive and my class cohorts are bright.  I've learned a ton and gained greater respect for the therapy profession.
       Since I feel anxious to keep plodding along, I’m actually signed up for a couple of summer courses.  The more I learn about psychology and therapy, the more I understand how little I know.  But I do know I love the field and in some ways I feel like psychology chose me as much as I chose psychology.

Friday, June 15, 2012

It’s a boy, it’s a girl’s a car!

       When Brent and I drive past car dealerships we’re amazed that anyone buys anything these days that isn’t a hybrid (or electric).  Andie’s Tiguan (which is a great car for her) was the last Knudsen car that relies strictly on gas.  
       Even though it was sad to lose Bella (Paige’s Land Rover Freelander) it looks like Paige made a wise choice with her new (to her, not new as in brand new) Toyota Prius.  Now Webb and Paige are our 2 southern California green drivers.
       Paige’s Prius is in need of a worthy name and I mentioned an option that is actually under consideration.  I feel so honored that my suggestion could possibly win them over.  The name I threw out requires some history to fully appreciate the clever significance.  See, when Bella joined the family Webb was on his mission in St. Petersburg, so because Bella was white we used a variation of the Russian translation of white which morphed into Bella.  
       This go round, in honor of Korey’s mission to Peru, I suggested white in Spanish or Blanco which could morph into Blanche.  If Paige and Korey go with anything along those lines, I should get a reward.  And I know just the prize for my creative naming.  As an award, I would get to name all of their children! 
       And with that comment I may have dashed any hope that Paige and Korey will actually name the Prius Blanco or Banche.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012


       When we taught our kids that “honesty is the best policy,” we sincerely hoped they would take this concept to heart. From an email Paige sent to a car salesman, we decided she has.  Paige is a full disclosure seller.  Maybe even a little more full than we anticipated! 
       It turns out that Bella, Paige’s cute white Freelander, has been slowly giving out and repair costs are more than the car’s value, which is a good time to move on.  So, Paige was looking into other options, especially cars that get better gas mileage than an SUV.  
       Actually, we were proud of her email, but it also cracked us up because we didn’t expect Paige to give such a detailed account of the Freelander’s issues to the salesman. 
       Whenever we’ve sold a car to a private party we’ll give them the service history, encourage them to take it to a mechanic and try not to sugarcoat the car’s condition.  Fair is fair.  
       But, if we’re trading in at a dealership we probably aren’t quite as transparent.  Since dealers are notorious for ripping people off on trade-in value, we generally let them look things over and make us an offer (without offering excruciating details).  It feels like it’s their responsibility to determine the car’s value since they offer, and we can’t set, the price.  And dealers typically come up with pathetic trade-in prices, but to avoid the hassle of selling the car, many of us still go this route. 
       So, Brent and I had both coached Paige on how a vehicle trade-in works and Paige had zeroed in on a pretty good replacement.  Then, in her email exchange (that she copied both of us on), Paige offered up all the problems behind Bella’s troubles.  Which mostly made us laugh because I doubt very many car salesmen get people who actually tell them that their trade-in car is in terrible condition.  
       But, when all was said and done, Paige showed integrity so she doesn’t have any guilt about not being completely up front.  Stay tuned and I’ll show you her Bella replacement tomorrow.     

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Melted Ice Cream..

       We have a minor debacle here on the home front.  I’m not sure of the life expectancy on a Sub-Zero refrigerator but in our situation I hope it’s just a little bit longer.  Or, at least long enough to last until our remodel project begins.  
       Sadly, our freezer has not been up-to-par and keeps getting worse.  There are lots of problems with frozen food thawing but for us the major issue is the ice cream.  Soft ice cream is not very inviting.  The rest of my freezer inventory wasn’t very appealing anyway so I’m not too disturbed by that loss.
       So, yesterday I turned off the circuit breaker, emptied the entire unit and did some trouble shooting with an appliance guy.  After hours of attempted repair I'm hoping my limited knowledge of fixing appliances will extend the failing fridge for another month or two.  
       Because I can hardly expect Brent to live without ice cream to snack on! Ice cream is pretty much a staple here at the Knudsens!  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Find Me On Facebook...

       Find me on Facebook?
       I didn’t consider a Facebook account for a long time.  It sounded like another distraction that I did not need.  Which it, admittedly, kind of is.  And, suddenly last Wednesday, I created an account in a bit of an impulsive moment.  
       Quite honestly, Kaye Holland was my impetus to relent and join.  After his funeral on Tuesday I was talking to his daughter about Kaye being on Facebook.  I guess I surmised that if an 85 year old man can maneuver the site, then so can I.  So, with Kaye as my inspiration I signed right up.
       After less than a week, I’m like a kid with a new toy. Or maybe a new pet is a better analogy because new pets require maintenance and I’m afraid Facebook will as well.  So, even though it’s sort of fun to understand the Facebook craze, I’ll probably tire of it quickly.  
       Having to respond to commentary is going to make me feel like it’s one more thing to check and keep track of.  And I’m already sometimes bad with returning emails and text messages.  Especially when my early interest wanes and Facebook starts to feel like another chore.  
       Since I have finally come around (the laggard that I am) it probably means that Facebook is officially passé.  But, just to be clear, the Facebook stock price has been dropping since the 2nd day it went public.  Please don’t blame it on me if this continues.  If I have made Facebook instantly uncool, my apologies to Mark Zuckerberg!   

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fly the Friendly Skies...

       One perk of being married to someone who travels is my new frequent flier status.  As a companion, United Airlines has endowed me with a gratuitous Global Services membership.  No membership fees, no initiation and there is nothing I did to earn this distinction but supposedly it entitles me to all the best upgrades and special services that United has to offer.
       I’m happy to accept the freebie and look forward to all the benefits and privileges of ownership.  For mega-travelers these perks are critical for sanity, but for my scattered trips here and there, I’m not that accustomed to upgrades, priority boarding and the first class life anyway.  
       I feel like this Global Service Membership is sort of wasted on me since my travel is pretty haphazard and I’m not that persnickety anyway.  I already threw away a dozen vouchers for free alcoholic beverages that arrived in the mail.  
     Global Services for the homebody; this should prove interesting!        

Friday, June 8, 2012

Early Adopters!

       I am not an early adopter!  And, apparently the correct terminology for me is a laggard.  For example, it took me, oh, about 8 years to join Facebook.  And I still haven’t adopted the current dress fashions (just ask my daughters and they will confirm my lack of appropriate apparel awareness).
       I think I just need my own good time to warm up to things.  I suppose I have never had a sprinter mentality in any way, shape or form.  
       Fortunately I am a laggard who is married to an early adopter so we tend to balance each other out a bit; the yin and the yang!  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

National Running Day!

       Apparently yesterday June 6th was National Running Day!  So I’m a day late but  I only learned about this momentous day because I’m now a Facebookie and saw comments about it on other runner’s Facebook walls. 
       Here I am smiling after one of our Nike Women’s races with 2 of my favorite runners: Andie and Paige.  I’m sporting Evan Barth’s Harker sweatshirt because it was a rainy day and he took pity on me after the run when my lips turned purple.
       Running has been a fun activity for our family.  Webb might not admit to being a runner but we all know he can sprint past me in any race, anytime.  He’s got the talent if he ever wants to pursue it.  In the meantime the girls have left me in the dust long ago and it’s all good.  I’m getting used to being the old slow runner and it isn’t so bad.  The only thing worse would be to let my speed (or lack thereof) cause me to bow-out.  And I’m not planning to do that anytime soon.     
       So, in honor of running and women too, I’ll post a quote from a New Zealand Running Coach, Arthur Lydiard, speaking of women who run:  
“They’re very tenacious.  They’re dedicated.  Once a woman decides she’s going to do something she’ll probably stick to it.  The only problem with women is if there’s anything wrong with them, they won’t tell you.  They’ll get out there and run on one leg.  They don’t moan and groan like a lot of men do."

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

3 Kids? Pending!

       I thought I had 1 son & 2 daughters but according to my new Facebook account they are all “pending.”  So it appears that on Facebook they’ll have to actually “accept” me as their mother before my parenting status will appear as such.
       Not only that, but my spouse has not even accepted my friend request yet.  Although he gets on Facebook even less than he reads my blog - which is probably like monthly.  
       All 3 of my kiddos did accept my “friend request” so even if they don’t acknowledge me as their mom at least we can still be friends, so that’s something.  
         So any day now I could have a husband and children according to Facebook.  In the meantime I’m still sporting my wedding ring.  And wrinkles too.  Although I can’t really blame aging on my children; now that they are still pending.   

Friday, June 1, 2012

A little blog break...

       I’m not really needing existential maintenance.  But I am overloaded with end-of the school quarter assignments.  And even though a quick blog entry per day doesn’t take much time, I just need to focus of coursework right now.  Next Monday I’ve got a big paper due and on Tuesday a project and a presentation on Wednesday.  Papers, projects, presentations!  And all are barely in the works - yikes!  
       Paige and I flew up to Utah for Emi’s wedding today but I fly out tomorrow - so much for enjoying a vacation.  We were hoping to get in some shopping for a dress for the bride but it will definitely be rushed.  
       Never a dull moment it seems!