Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Queen of Clutter...

     All my pride in organization skills over the years has been debunked.  It's turns out that I only claim to purge while in truth I have stuffed our home with gizmos that I will never need or use again.  
     Now I understand why moving is such an undertaking.  It isn't the move, which mainly consists of lugging heavy boxes to and fro.  The time-consuming part is sorting all the clutter.  
       I started with 3 categories:  things to get rid of, things to put in our rental and things to store in the pod.  Sounds like a straightforward system.  Ha!  
      It turns out that every category has multiple layers of sub-categories.  Especially those "things to get rid of."  First, are they garbage or would so-and-so love them?  How about giving to charity?  Should these papers get shredded?  Etc. and so on!
       Sorting has been the bane of my existence for the past 3 days.  And I'm only getting started.  I will never clutter up a home again!  

Friday, October 19, 2012

One Man's Junk...

"One man's junk is another man's treasure."  

       I don't know who said the quote above but I do know that it isn't always true.  Personally, my junk is pretty much junk!  I learned this over 20 years ago when we held our last garage sale before moving from La Jolla to Seattle.  
       We envisioned cashing in on used items, certainly enough to make it worth the hassle to stage the sale and price the items.  And, there was plenty of traffic but the customers offered me quarters for things priced $5 and dollars for furniture or big ticket items.  At the end of the day our financial haul was miniscule and even worse, we still had a load of "junk" to discard of.
       So that was our last (as in final never again) garage sale.  I won't set out former treasures where people can pile things together and offer me a buck for (what I consider) lovely things. 
       Well, because I've had zero garage sales since La Jolla, my house, has more clutter than I ever imagined.  When you can handily push things into cupboards you simply don't realize the scope of your accumulations.  
       This has been a little disconcerting because I don't think of myself as a pack rat but the contents of our home might signal I'm just in denial.  The "stuff" I'm uncovering is daunting.  So, garage sales might be bad but it appears that living in the same house for 17 years without a garage sale just might be worse! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Opportunity Knocks...

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."  -Thomas Edison

There is opportunity on the home front!  And it is definitely going to be work!  After living on Alpine Avenue for 17 years, we are moving out.  After 17 years of ample storage, 17 years of plentiful closet space, a large pantry and spacious cupboards.  And we are moving (albeit temporarily) to a small rental.  Yes, it's a perfect opportunity to downsize and eliminate massive amounts of clutter we've accumulated in those 17 years.  This should be interesting! :) 

"Don't own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire."  -Wendell Berry

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Claims to Fame....

"I've always been famous.  Its just no one knew it yet."  -Lady Gaga 

       I know, I know - it's another Nike Marathon picture!  See, there is a reason my blog has "ad nauseam" in the title!  These running photos are terrible of me but it's hard to look stellar surrounded by 3 young/fit/gorgeous/speedy runners.
     This is my "claims to fame" photo because I'm flanked by VIPs!  The Hungry Runner Girl (far right) is famous with blog readers who religiously follow her daily chronicles of running and eating.  Not necessarily in that order.  And when you run as fast as hungryrunnergirl you can eat whatever you want.  We think the best part of her blog is her optimistic attitude about everything.  She is no different in person, she oozes positivity.
       Paige's fame is also situational.  She's getting to be hot stuff in the Nike Womens race crowd running in the midst of our heroes like Kara Goucher,  Shannon Flanagan, and Joan Benoit Samuelson.  Paige can hobnob with the big guns and then I can hobnob with Paige (and vicariously experience the thrill :)
       Then there is Mallory (far left) who is loved by everyone who knew her when she lived in the Bay Area!  It was so fun to have her return from Virginia and we should have held her hostage for a few extra days.  When Mallory registered for the race back in April, none of us knew about Graham Walton's heart condition.  So, the timing (for both Maria to see Mallory and vice versa) felt like a tender mercy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more of 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?  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Girl's Weekend for the Nike Women!

       "From start to finish, the Nike Women's Marathon is a celebration of the spirit of women, joining together for the common cause of beating cancer, while also achieving their personal goals."  - John Walter, CEO Leukemia and Lymphoma Society

         This is one race filled with serious estrogen!  From the sports bra exchange option at mile 6 to Ghiradelli chocolates to handsome firemen handing out Tiffany's necklaces at the Finish Line, the Nike Womens Half & Full Marathon is beloved by nearly 25,000 women.  
       Our group represented well.  I think we had a total of 18 "A Team" runners:  4 full marathoners (Becca, Jen, Lisa, & Charlene) and  14 of us running the half distance (Paige, Lauren, Mallory, Tia, Ali, Amanda, Amy M., Amy T., Marissa, Amanda, Juanita, Becca's sister, Jenae, & myself). 
       After taking on the full distance last year the half felt so much easier this time.  A delightful run!  And, there is no better way to take in San Francisco than running from Union Square through the Financial District, along the Embarcadero to Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf continuing along through Fort Mason, Cow Hollow, the Presidio, Sea Cliff and eventually out to the Great Highway and Golden Gate Park.
       I think all of the A Teamers had decent races and, as always, a great time together.  2012 was Nike's 9th year of the race and outside of missing the 2004 inaugural race I think the A Team has been on the course every year!  A great tradition, a gorgeous course and a wonderful group of friends.  A win-win-win!  

Friday, October 12, 2012

"THIS" is why I'm already behind...

       I'm nearing the halfway point in my masters program but not quite the halfway point of fall quarter.  And, somehow I am already behind!  Whoops!  I've got 2 midterms coming up and virtually no prep time.  
       The home front has been a busy place.  We provided some temporary housing to Paige and Korey's friends, Matt and Courtney while they are transitioning from SoCal to NorCal.  That sentence makes them sound like a married couple which is only half true.  At this point they're a couple and since they respectively caught Korey's garter toss and Paige's bridal bouquet throw, a wedding could be pending (not that I'm announcing anything - what do I know?)
       Now we are in the throws of the annual Nike Womens Marathon weekend with local friends as well as friends flying in from DC and Utah (and Paige from down south too).  Somehow (probably because I'm the oldest or maybe the bossiest) I'm sort of the ringleader for this annual event which adds a few organization logistics (mostly arranging hotels and carpools).  
       On top of the Nike event, Brent added a PCG party on Friday night so Carly and I are scrambling to pull that off. Thank goodness for PCG executive assistants like Stacy and Carly, I wish I had assistants at my disposal 24/7 and not just for company parties.    
       Now, in the best news of all, Graham Walton arrived Wednesday at pretty much 10:10 am on 10/10!  I don't know if Jeremy and Maria have any clue how many people were fasting, praying and texting back and forth all morning, worried and anxious for any information.  Jeremy described Graham as "fiesty like his Mom" which he's going to need.  The sweet baby has a long road ahead but he's pulled through a few hurdles already!  Man, we love this darling family! 
       Well, all of this rambling is to explain why I'm getting behind on schoolwork.  I keep thinking I'll zero in on assignments "right after this."  Or "this."  So, "this" has become a swiftly moving target around here.   

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Leaders You Can Trust...

       After General Conference I'll often blog about some favorite quotes or speeches that I found particularly touching.  As the weekend concluded my overall reaction from all four conference sessions was mostly just a sense of trust.  A feeling that these speakers are good men and women, leaders in whom we can put our trust.
       I can now look back and recall LDS General Conference weekends all the way back to the 1960's. And the way I felt then and the way I feel I feel now has not changed.  Hopefully my attention span has improved since childhood but probably not much.  But, even in my youth I sensed that the counsel from our Apostles was wise and inspired and I believed that there was safety in following their guidance.  Adherence to that belief has panned out well; their counsel has never led me astray yet.  
       Sometimes people say they don't know what their life would be like if they had not embraced the gospel; that perhaps they'd be a total mess.  I used to conclude that I would still be a decent person, that I'd still have goals and purpose in my life because it feels like my nature gravitates toward light and goodness.  However, I'm realizing that my personality has been so impacted by always having the gospel in my life, that maybe I would be directionless without it.  It's really impossible to know.
       I'm grateful our church leaders are men we can be proud of.  I know emulating them has always worked to my advantage.  And it's nice to have examples of people we know we can put our trust in!  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Laid-Back Weekend...

       Laid Back (the noun) is the name of a Danish pop group (see album cover at left).  Laid-back (the adjective) is not a word anyone would use to describe my husband.  Probably not even me, although comparatively I am definitely more laid-back than Brent will ever be.
       But General Conference weekend is a treat because we both get to enjoy a more relaxed (think laid-back) weekend than usual.  Yesterday after listening to the morning and afternoon sessions almost back-to-back I wondered how I could possibly feel tired after staring at the TV for 4 hours?  I seriously considered taking a nap although that seemed a little wimpy.  I guess being a couch potato is more taxing that I thought!
       But Saturday conference was great and I'm looking forward to another laid-back day of watching the second half today.  There is something nice about getting to stay home from church twice a year.  It's 8 hours to take in all 4 sessions (I guess nearly 10 for men who attend Priesthood) so it's not exactly a week off.  But it's a break from the typical dress-up Sunday church.  
       Elder Perry, who recently turned 90 years old, gave us ideas to develop strong family cultures.  Then, Elder Ballard referred to Elder Perry as the youngest 90 year-old in the church and I think he nailed it.  L. Tom Perry is spry, energetic and looks better (or should I say more laid-back :) than a lot of folks in their 70's.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Everything Coming Out Equal...

       “Don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal.
       When you're good, bad things can still happen.  And if you're bad, you can still be lucky."  -Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible
       Kingsolver's quote reminds me of the bestseller book by Rabbi Harold Kushner “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It's just a given that in life everyone will have challenges; no one gets through unscathed.  And, trying to see if everything adds up, makes sense, or comes out evenly is just an exercise in futility. 

       Although, relative to "everything coming out equal,"  I'm reminded of childhood when my oldest sister always wanted to distribute any food treat we (the kids) might be sharing. So my Mom instituted a policy that whoever sliced the (let's say) pie into portions had the last pick.  It was amazing how even those slices came out when Lisa knew her turn after dividing came last. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Stressful Stress Management

       A professor of mine made a big fuss in class about sharing an insight of utmost importance.  He sat down (while he normally stands up to lecture), invoked a demeanor that this information could be transformative to our practice of therapy.  We waited on the edge of our seats.  What could be so helpful?  His build-up sounded like he was ready to impart the secret of life.
       The valuable insight was simply that we can only be helpful to clients with stress-filled lives if we can first eliminate stress in our own.  
       Now, that's certainly wise advice but there's an ironic twist to his counsel.  This professor creates more stress for myself and my classmates than anyone else on the faculty.  He's filling in for a professor on sabbatical and his confusing assignments have some students ready to revolt.  
       The collective class stress isn't about the workload or difficulty of the course as much as the mixed messages presented.  He'll encourage creativity in written work but then give explicit instructions that squelch any possibility of using creative license.  His requirements demand exactness.  But pin him down and he'll shrug it off, leaving us wondering whether to pay attention to his strict parameters or his happenstance attitude.  
       The confusion causes more stress than I've felt yet in grad school.  So it's comical that this same professor is now admonishing us to rid ourselves of anything creating stress in our lives.  Go figure! 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good Instincts...

       "Instinct is the nose of the mind."  -Madame de Girardin

       In a job interview last week Webb was asked to describe something he's good at and something he could improve in.  And then, in one of my classes this week we all had to share something we felt like we're good at.  
       In Webb's situation it's tricky to illuminate a negative that won't be a deal killer for the position you've applied for.  In my situation it felt tricky to illuminate a positive lest I sound braggadocios among peers (well in my case not age-peers but cohorts nonetheless).  In other words, I'd much prefer sharing flaws and weaknesses with my classmates but it felt excruciating to highlight a talent.  
       So, what did I share?  Well, there may not be a consensus from family members on my proposed quality but I shared that I have good instincts.  And, while I don't always follow them, and while it may sound prideful, I do think my instincts are pretty reliable and pretty good!  And that's probably enough conceit for the day. :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tender Mercies...

       Even though I wrote about testimony yesterday, I'm doing it again today.  Mostly because, like Breanna, I wanted to share one from another person we dearly love.  It's a little more emotional to write about.  In fact, I don't think there were many dry eyes when Maria shared her thoughts at church.
       Maria and Jeremy's baby son, Graham, is scheduled to arrive via C-section birth on October 10th.  It will be a very high risk delivery because Graham has a rare congenital heart defect where his left ventricle is severely underdeveloped.  The condition will likely require a series of difficult surgeries, possibly a full heart transplant.  
       So, instead of the usual excitement during a first pregnancy, poor Jeremy and Maria have bravely tried to process the complete unknown.  How do you possibly prepare yourself for the reality your son might not survive?  And, if Graham makes it, he's got a tough road ahead.  It's more than anyone should have to face and they've both been stellar and strong.   
       As their friends, all of our hearts go out to them but we feel hopeless to know the right way to express our hopes for the very best outcome.  There simply aren't any words.  
       Fortunately, Maria had an experience in the temple that gave her comfort that Heavenly Father is mindful of them and aware of their situation.  While performing sealings there was just one instance when parents were sealed to a son and despite rotating with others, this ordinance fell on Maria and Jeremy.  It was a small coincidence but exactly what Maria needed.  A tender mercy.
       When we need peace during troubled times there is probably no better place to find it than in the temple.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Top 10 List....

       Yesterday, after blessing their baby Spencer, Breanna Grigsby took the opportunity to share her testimony at church.  I wanted to comment/blog on her remarks because they really touched me.
       Breanna mentioned writing in her journal before her son's birth, compiling a list of the top 10 things she wanted to be sure she taught him.  
          So, on the very top of the list Breanna wrote: "That he knows he is a child of God!"  This reminded her that in order to teach her son this, she too, needed to know that she was also a daughter of God. 
       It's a great comfort to have this knowledge.  When we believe that our Heavenly Father loves and cares about us, that reassurance can make all the difference during difficult times.
          I liked Breanna's top 10 most important things to teach your child idea but initially opined that I 'd missed my opportunity since I've theoretically raised my children.  Still, there isn't any reason I can't make a top 10 things I want to teach my adult children!  It's not as tender as a new mom journaling about her baby and it might sound more like a middle-aged mom who blogs ad nauseam about things that are dear to her heart, but I'll probably make the list anyway :)  Just a heads-up kiddos...