Giving up

I probably could have/should have/ would have posted this a while ago, but I'm a stubborn girl who hates to admit defeat. 

Let's just say losing isn't always a bad thing.


Hot Springs

Not looking forward to this

I really do loathe the cold.

I feel like that has to be a disclaimer to really appreciate how lovely it was to trek up to the Goldmyer Hot Springs yesterday.  I pretty much live in constant fear of potential cold and do my darnedest to prevent any from affecting my little body, so getting me out the door in the first place was a bit of a sell.

Once we got going, though, I realized that 1)  the trail riding form of mountain biking is WAY more fun and way LESS terrifying than downhill, slick-rock, and big jump mountain biking 2) there's a great sound I never knew of a bike tire slicing through the frozen layer on top of mud puddles, and 3) it is possible to continue on even as frostbite seems to be setting in to fingers and toes.

I've Arrived!

Four miles up a not too steep incline, the snow had gone from patchy to present and a little crispy on top.  We parked our bikes, checked in with the couple WHOSE JOB IT IS to man the electricity and real world access-free cabin at the Springs.  Lucky me, there was only one nakie in the hot springs (oh what, didn't I tell you it was clothing optional?) and I'm rill good at averting my eyes when man parts are sloshing about.

Goldmyer has three levels of hot pouring from the springs.  Super duper hot in the cave; hot tub hot just outside, bathtub hot just below.  I dabbled in hot tub, luxuriated in the cave.  Bathtub in the wilderness in the middle of November is a bad idea I would never consider.

On our way out, toasty on the inside and full on roast pork and PB&J Luna Bars (Porter knows how to pack a lunch), we passed a group of 12 backpackers headed up to the springs.  I'm just hoping they weren't thinking clothing optional. 

"12 naked backpackers in an enclosed bath tub!"

You win this time, Bratten.


First World Problems

Sometimes I go about hating on life and the little inconveniences that feel like they are destroying peace and ripping to shreds any semblance of joy and happiness.  Then one of the lyrics to this high school kid's homework assignment rap song pop into my head and I kick myself for my lack of perspective.  It doesn't matter that I missed my exit; it's not the end of the world that my socks are a bit rough even though I used fabric softener; that person eating with their mouth open or blowing their nose super loud doesn't actually affect me at all.

I've got some first world problems!


Going curly

Is it so much to ask for curls?  You know, the scrunch and dry style, footloose and fancy free, automatic body and charm waves.  Like Rachel McAdams has.  And Charlize Theron. And Keri Russell.  The list goes on.  People who know how to do their hair.

Call it a grass is greener syndrome, but my stick straight, won't hold a curl for more than 10 minutes without a bottle of Aquanet hair just doesn't fulfill my need for volume and personality.  I can only tease so much, you know!  I want to be able to get out of the shower, load up on whatever product is necessary and not worry about rain or sweat or humidity bringing me back to flat.

So last week I tried pin curls, which I haven't tried since Elementary school and, despite a very L'Oreal moment right when the pins came out, I think I could make this work. 

Pin-up girl
"Because I'm worth it!"
Getting wavy
If not there's always a perm. Not a corkscrew 'fro, a wavy perm. (Though if I'm totally honest, I still frequently look at my mom's kick-awesome perm from the early 90's and know that someday I will go there. Andlove it.)

Classy Knudsons

Isn't my mom a BABE?!


"And be not faithless, but believing."

I wonder how Thomas felt after he confirmed for himself that Christ had, in fact, returned.  Ashamed at his lack of faith?  Exultant at the presence of the Lord?

Several months back, I had a crisis of faith where I felt that I knew that God wanted me to be a temple worker and I just plain and simple didn't want to.  Call it lazy, selfish, or poor in spirit, I just plain didn't want to commit to six hours a week.  Every week.

But I did!  And I'm so glad I did. I'm the youngest on my shift by probably 30 years, so I'm like a pet to most of the little old ladies who have been doing this for years. My Tuesdays are now really long and sometimes require me to shimmy into a skirt or end a conference call in the temple parking lot, but it is amazing to feel the very real shift from working in the world and working in the house of the Lord.  I haven't seen or felt any miracles yet.  I don't feel like I've evaded guilt.  I just feel... good. 


Bumbershooting Ray

Beard bands are apparently all the rage in today's hip music scene.  Not always my jam, personally, but I stumbled onto Ray LaMontagne in something like February and haven't been able to live without his smoothly raspy voice since.  I love almost every song (which is unusual due to my music ADD). The guy used to work at a shoe factory and one day heard some song that gave him the crazy idea to become a musician. Not long later, he was at the Key Arena mainstage at Bumbershoot crooning to my heart in person.  Seriously, who is this guy?

I just love him. I love his lyrics.  I love his presence.  I love his way with guitar.  I even love his beard.

Here's a few of my favorites:

Seriously, how great is that beard.


King County Budget Madness

Just finished a ravishing 2.5 minute appeal to the King County Budget committee asking them to streamline budget requests for human service organizations. This is where our communities' movers and shakers can be found. If you're mad at Wall Street, President Obama, or the local parks because now they charge for parking, this is where you can have an impact. You gotta, you oughta, you betta show your face where decisions are being made.


Fall Felicity

Fall is here. Last year, I was surprised/confused/angry/devastated/immobilized at the cold, wet, dark.  This year, I'm prepared.  I am actively going out and doing, even when it looks like midnight at 6 pm.  And, for the times that I just can't, I've reactivated my Netflix account for some quality inside time [I'd deactivated it months ago because it was sunny outside and I couldn't justify screen time].  My inaugural watch was Episode 2 of the seriously awesome and at least for the first few episodes, very uncomfortable college drama, Felicity [I still remember that part where the whole dorm hears her tape about her feelings for Ben and it was like preparing for a scary scene in a horror movie waiting for the moment of pure awkwardness in episode 3].  I was prompted to find the Pilot the night before Netflix could get their act together and my account recharged, so I had to watch it on one of those Asian pirated video sites, see below (loving this anime cartoons and Chinese character translations. It's a great frame to Keri Russell's oh so out of control and amazing hair).

Episodes 2 and 3 reminded me of two things: One, how quickly new Freshmen make best friends. Brooke and I decided, two weeks into being blindly matched as freshman roommates that we were best friends, and have remained close since.  Many of my best friends from college I met my freshman year.  There's something about everyone starting brand new that the slots for good friends aren't filled yet.  Felicity also met all the stars of the show in the first few episodes (except the coffee shop guy, who I'm excited to meet later this fall).

Secondly, how about these turtlenecks, eh?  What says fall better than heavy cable knits?

In honor if Fall, Felicity and her many, many sweaters, I pulled my one cable knit mock turtleneck sweater out and finished episode 4. People (and by people, I mean I) just don't wear these enough.


Good hair and good company

Great news: I'm not hating my hair today.  I don't most days, really, but there are enough times I just have no control over greasiness, part, or ends curling in or out or curling at all that I can't claim to love love love it all the time.  But today is a good hair day.

Also to report: I successfully drove to Utah straight through the night, gallivanted with some seriously spectacular friends and newborns, attended General Conference, and drove on back last night without dying, all with this guy:

I love me some sunshine, Fall leaves, healthy nostalgia, and a dreamboat to take it all in with.

Happy October!


Let's go Sounders [2010 Season...I think]

My dark, camera phone shot
2010-2011 Season was one of Major League Soccer.  And by that, I mean I went to two games.  Quite a leap up from the zero I had going before now.  [I went to one Re├íl Salt Lake game a few years ago on a date, but I was honestly too distracted/unnerved by the pounding, screaming, clapping Go Big or Go Home cheer zone at the far end of the stadium that I only vaguely remember the game.  I had a big crush on my date too, I remember that.  Not so helpful now.]

The first game, marking my return to soccer was on the dime of the law firm representing the Sounders.  The one semester I worked for BYU catering (and two football games I wasn't assigned to the dishroom), I worked in the white tents outside the stadium set up for the bigwig donors and sports fanatics. I thought that was fancy. At CenturyLink Field, Sounders Club fans get a full spread before the game, peach cobbler and hot dogs at half time, and more ginger ale than one could ever know what to do with.

Someone else's class shot of confetti!
Besides the pita sandwiches and shepherd's pie, and the action-packed 100 minutes (including more injury time than I think was really necessary) of play, my favorite part about the game was confetti. Every time the Sounders score (3 times this time), huge confetti machines shoot blue and silver through the air. It rained on the 36,070 people in the stadium 9no idea where I got that number) and what made it to the field left the tattered-looking turf sparkling in the afternoon sun. Who cares if you don't like sports, is there a person on earth who does not get excited by confetti?

I don't have to settle for just confetti, even though I would, because I do enjoy watching soccer. While I understand many Americans' complaints that soccer is like watching a really long, very expensive game of playground keep-away (especially when the ball gets stuck in no-mans land mid-field with wussy players who can't seem to kick long without turning the ball over), this is ultimately what makes it so accessible. Most pro soccer players do wear cleats, and have above average in sex appeal, but in the end, stinky, barefoot 10-year-olds in the streets of Brazil and Benin are playing the same game David Beckham gets paid millions to play, and that we (or someone else, rather) pay to watch. There are few complicated rules, you can almost always tell where the ball is, anyone with decent lung capacity can play (so I guess I'm ruled out). Worldwide fun. Just not enough time for commercials.

"You suck asshole!"
My second game of the season came at the tail end of a Food Lifeline fundraiser where we passed out Sounders bags to fans while soliciting donations and Kicking Down Hunger, or something like that.  One of my favorite things about professional sports are sports junkies, and how they seem to believe that their lives rely on the outcome of this game, or this kick, or goal, or whatever the case may be.  Suffice it to say, the pre-game bag hand-out was full of my favorite kind of super fans. 

I don't know if it's common among all sports or even all pro soccer teams to have elevated crowd participation from just cheering for the good to cheering for the good and booing for the unpleasant, then taking it up a notch and going from booing at bad calls and poor sportsmanship to chanting, all 30,000+ people in the stadium feedback like: YOU SUCK ASSHOLE!

Seriously?  You suck asshole?  Did the accountant, and college student, and nerdy mom behind me just shout that?  I'm all for speaking your mind but, let's keep it together here, people.  I was particularly aware of the bizarre poor sportsmanship echoing throughout the stadium my second game because I was there with my 12-year-old cousin who I'm sure is no stranger to profanity, but who I feel some desire to protect from potty-mouths. 

All the same, I'm sold on soccer :)


Golden Girls

I don't suppose anyone else ever has the thought that perhaps old friends who you haven't seen for a while and you don't rarely talk to (because really, Facebook and blog stalking, as informative as they are, aren't actually talking) aren't really friends anymore.  What is a friend, if not someone who you talk to on a regular basis?  I had a thought like this last week, in preparation for old friends from college coming into town to visit.  I was a bit worried for a moment, in all honesty, that I'd signed up for three days with some very nice people who were really just a notch above acquaintances but who held more expectation of connection and thus, a more awkward forcing of fun, contentment, and intimate conversation. 

Boy, was I wrong, and thank heavens too, because a weekend with non-friends just isn't blog-worthy, and heaven knows I've been needing to kickstart myself back into blogland.  And more important that that even, heaven knows that I need me some really great friends. 

We hadn't looped out of the airport before giggles, 'Remember When's, high voices, and 'What if's filled the car.  I'm still recovering from Friday night's sleepover-style 3am bedtime and a full weekend of Seattle fun, Diet Coke runs, and catching up.  These are friends who I can laugh with, and cry with (thanks a lot The Help), and who it's worth filling in the blanks of events and goings-on between the last time we all got together and now, even though it means lots of talking. 

Rest assured, I have some really wonderful friends.  Planning on keeping them at least til we look like these classy ladies:


I hope they call me on a mission (and give me a mullet)

I'm not sure if I ever posted this video I made for my dad's birthday while I was on my mission, but I just stumbled across it and man, that mullet is out of control (esp. @ 1:55). Missions are great. 

Flying and falling: Hang gliding and skydiving [August-September 2004]

Soundtrack: Fallin and Flyin by Colin Farell and Jeff Bridges

My year for air travel was 2004. I was home for the summer and was dating this dream-boat of a guy who still to this day I think of whenever I see Michael Vartan. Katie Teddy came with us, which cracks me up because I think people forget sometimes that she's adventurous because she so delicate. We suited up in proper skydive gear, not because it made us safe but rather because it made us look ridiculous.

Skydiving isn't scary, not that I remember at least. The scariest part was when we reached 8000 feet and the one stranger on board the little plane we were riding up to the 13000 ft drop height FELL OUT THE DOOR. My tandem instructor and I sat closest to the pilot (furthest from the door) and I just about peed my pants when this kid literally dropped out the side of the plane, not realizing that he was actually training to be certified and part of that training required a jump at 8000 feet where the plane pulls the cord for you. Thanks for the heads up SkyDive Kapowsin.

By the time we made it to our altitude, the rest of us waddled to the door as if there was nothing to it and jumped out the door without time to think about it. 90 seconds of free fall goes pretty fast and doesn't leave much of a memory, surprisingly enough, so most of what I remember is sitting in the lap of my tandem for the five minute glide to the earth, him pointing out Mt. Rainier and his brother's house, me trying to not pass out as my equilibrium tried to catch up with my body. I had a pounding headache for a good couple hours after our hour plus ride home from Sumner making leftover lasagna at home all the more delicious.

Much more random (and exciting) was my turn hang gliding. Two days into the fall after I went skydiving, I had just moved into my first apartment outside the dorms and was playing solitaire on my computer in the middle of the empty living room when my sister called and casually asked if I wanted to go hang gliding. Easy answer. "Well alright. I'll be there in 30 minutes."

An hour later we were at the point of the mountain in Draper, UT with one of her Itex clients. Kelsie went up first and I sat a chatted with a homeless looking man who briefed me on the beauty of flying, that hang gliding marathons can last up to five ours, and how awesome it feels to go through a cloud. I mentally added "fly through a cloud" to my bucket list and watched Kelsie and her tandem make an easy landing.

Training was simple and repetitive. "Step, step step, jump. Got it? One Two Three jump. Let's practice, step step step jump." And don't flail about. Inching up to the edge, I drilled myself on my instructions, distracted by the fact that the entire glider was flapping furiously in the wind and that didn't seem like a very safe way for fabric to move on the edge of a cliff. My partner prompted me to get into Go Mode and we counted One Two There.... and my brain went blank, my body went limp (extra points for no flailing!), and wait, what? We're FALLING. DOWN. DOWN!!!!! GOING TO CRASH INTO THE HOUSES BELOOOO Ooohhh, wait, nevermind, he did mention something about how it took a minute for the glider to catch the wind and now we're safe up high (oxymoron?) and FLYING!

On a glider, you can simply glide along in the wind, steering loosely with the triangle frame you're strapped into, or spice things up. Pulling the bar towards the body, the bird immediately points down and plummets to the ground. With extended arms, we head back up, high into the sky. Out and in, up and down. Homemade roller coaster. Homemade FLYING roller coaster. You can also manipulate the bar to spin around in circles (not fun for brain or body). After thirty minutes of life as a bird, we inched back to earth and touched ground. I would go hang gliding again in a heartbeat, maybe even certify to do it on my own someday if time and money allowed.



And now without the hyper-sensitive privacy disclaimer

I just enabled blogger on my phone so I'm just figgerin it out. Looks like SMS Blogging breaks up the message into 150 character bytes. Sent from my word email scares the bejesus out of any reader, so no one will want to comment or reblog (not that anyone does without the over-protective statement). Sent from my personal email? Let's see...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Let's try this again

I woke up this morning to daybreak. Not the pretty kind where streams of light are streaking through mountaintops, spreading some mix of moonbeams and sunshine across the waters. The daybreak I woke up to is a sad and terrifying omen of mornings to come; mornings where stars are still out and the big dipper shining as I throw my phone (alarm) off the bed and beg to sleep til morning, which by this time of year (the omen time of year, not today) means something like 9 am or worse. I had to turn on my headlights today, the first time in months, and I'm not emotionally ready to do it every day. I am grateful every day when cloudy skies turn blue just in time for me to leave work. I don't have to turn my lights on for the drive home yet. Not yet.
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Drop everything now!

Every day this week I've woken up with this song in my head and every day I listen (on repeat) and love the fireworks (3:18, 3:34, 4:07), acrobatics (0:50, 1:59), and "hairography" (1:18,1:59, 2:08, 2:11, 2:20, 2:27, 2:54...etc) [and dress/sparklography for that matter (0:26..1:38)] of the video with the same dopey expression as this fully grown woman [Jennifer Garner?] at the concert (1:07). 
According to VEVO/YouTube, this video is most popular with three Gender Age groups: Female 13-17, Female 18-24, and.... Male 45-54. I've not quite reached this girl's desperation (2:33).  But I'm getting there.

Seriously, can't she (Taylor Swift, not the creepster on the left) just be my best friend? 


Knudson Kampout

(I usually adamantly refuse to spell C-words [as in, any words that start with C] with a K to match or for emphasis [I also usually avoid any establishments or services that to, i.e., Kuttin' Korner, KoolPak, etc.] but when my brother Brian sent out the first round of invites for our summer family weekend, he used the dreaded double-K, so my hands are tied.)

Not much to say about the family campout, except the obvious:

At Krescent Bar near Kwincy, the Knudsons kame to kamp
(for fear that on the West Kaskades, it might just be too damp)
Klear water and kool mountains were kwick to satisfy
With korn, kobbler, and non-K-foods, krackling on a fire nearby.
I krested a hill on my bicycle, and krossed the Kolumbia river,
and though temps were high as Kelvins, the water made me shiver.
Kroquet and sno-kones kept us busy, along with lots of rest
And I was reminded, again, that the kooky Knudson Klan is the best!


Deseret Painting [June 2011]

I just bought myself a real house and home painting! I went in for a Father's Day gift and came out with this mama jama, 50% off! This isn't a knick-knack, or a cheap poster, or from the home decor section at Bed Bath and Beyond. It's a real expensive-frame, takes-up-a-whole-wall painting and I LOVE IT. Love the colors, love the old-school halos, love the intensity with which everyone is watching Christ.

The inspiration encapsulates what I believe is the core of Christianity ( as well as most world religions) and purpose of life: to serve others:

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
John 13:14-16


My Katie('s) Baby (Shower)

You know those pregnant women who are itty bitty from the back, but from the front look like they have a basketball stuffed under their shirt? That's my Katie. Itty bitty beautiful with a basketball under her shirt. She was in town for just a weekend and I got to try my hand at the world of baby showers.

I've thrown my fair share of bridal showers in my day and I like to think I know how to pull one off by now but I'll tell you what, baby showers are a whole different ballgame! You can't count on inappropriate gifts or games to keep people interested in the event (that's just tacky anyway... right...) but when it comes down to it everyone hates baby shower games. Tasting baby food or guessing poop-looking chocolate bars melted into diapers is not my idea of fun. I just wanted everyone to be able to enjoy one another's company and ultimately, for the party to be lovely, just like Katie.

I'm happy to report that if I were to pick one word to describe the shower, lovely would be it. I couldn't have done it by myself. Financially, creatively, and culinarily (that's the adverb for culinary, thank you), I'm a bit of a deadbeat, but several attendees offered services at salads; Beth should be paid for her ability to make itty bitty pink cupcakes, meringues, and strawberry fudge; and I owe my mom and sister-in-law gold for pulling together decorations, including a delicate diaper cake and diaper wreathes on the front door.

As for activities, after a healthy amount of time lunching, I passed out these Wishes for Baby cards, which, I must say, turned out just wonderfully. I had to pester a few people to fill them out but some people were playful, some were serious, all were meaningful.

There were somewhere near 25 guests at the shower, and any time you have that many presents, people get bored. Nothing against gift givers, there's just so many times you can ooh and ah over baby gear. So, to keep people busy, I pre-cut several yards worth of baby-colored tulle that would end up as a tutu (about 200 6-8 inch strips per skirt). Katie was a ballerina, so of course her little girl should be too! I sewed about a half yard of elastic as a waistband and, with the help of a baby-sized stuffed animal, got the skirts started prior to the shower, alternating different shades of pink on one and different shades of purple on another (I had already completed an example teal tutu that was worn around the waist of a teddy bear sitting on the piano). I gave instructions just before gift opening started and let people tie to their hearts content, passing the stuffed animal when they were ready to pay attention to gifts again. Both tutus were finished just as Katie was opening the last present. Perfect timing!

I wish I had taken better pictures, but I did get somehow manage to get a crystal-clear one with tutus on mine and the guest of honor's heads, Carnival-style. Of course!
Bring on the babies!


Prayer sent around the world [December 2006]

After trudging down a long, road filled with mangy dogs and up to the fifth floor of a sherbet orange apartment building, new converts Tik and her husband (whose name I don't recall) aren't home. Tik is one of at least four contacts on our list who lives on the top floor of elevator-less buildings and I am SO over it. My fanny pack waist pack feels like it's a hundred pounds even though all I have is a Thai Book of Mormon, mini English Book of Mormon and a few pens. It must be a hundred degrees outside and the air feels stale and heavy. What sounds nice is getting into Tik's apartment, a cool glass of water from a refilled Coke bottle. Tik and her husband have a huge Linkin Park poster on their wall, and a couch, accoutrements rare for the people we visited. Sometimes people have a bed, usually a small coffee table, but rarely a couch. A couch sounded great right about now, and cool tile on my hot feet. But no one's home and after we decide to wait for a minute for her to appear the long street we just walked up to get here. I lean my whole body against the balcony, sure that the bright orange building means it's clean enough, and internally complain about people who are late, flaky, or who, for whatever reason, make me have to wait outside for them when all I want to do is sit on their floor and drink their cold water so my brain will start to work again.

A few minutes into our grace period (slash my internal rant), my demeanor changes entirely and I'm ready to bound onward, ever onward, glorying in His name. It's a strange change and it comes quickly, like a well that was dried and cracking is now more than full, splashing over the edges that were brittle seconds prior, not filled drop by drop, or even by flash flood, but just in an instant.

The amazing part of this story, and why I still remember it more than the other thousands of times I was weary and over the heat is that I knew, and I mean it, I knew that my resurgence of energy and vigor came from a prayer my mom said. It was just obvious to me, no question about it. As Sister Sopa and I made our way back down the stairs to whatever backup plan we were going to follow, I counted backwards the hours from here to there, there to here. It was about 5 pm in Thailand, something like 7 am Seattle time, right when my mom would be up and about, getting ready for her day.

I'm sure my mom prayed hundreds of prayers on my behalf while I was on my mission, and at other times in my life, and I'm sure many of them bouyed me up and kept me safe. But this one prayer I know, again I emphasize that I know, certainly and honestly, that it made a difference that day, in that moment.


Reaching back

While my blog bounces around from rant and rave to travelogue, it mainly acts as a diary; 'a living memoir, so my posterity doesn't mess it up' as the tagline states. In the spirit of recording my personal history and capturing memories that stick with me, I'm going to start including belated posts from the near and distant past, the ones I've forgotten to write about.

Fair warning, time might get a little bendy