Monday, December 31, 2007

a memory of music on new year's eve

Alex on Lake Baikal

Alexander Schreiner, the longtime Tabernacle Organist who retired 30 years ago, proudly displayed a tapestry of an organ on the wall of his South Temple apartment. He told me that organ produced the best sound. Now as 2007 draws to a close, I'm also hearing strains of music that exist tonight in memory and imagination.

Among the melodies are It's a Boy Mrs. Walker, It's a Boy from the Rock Opera Tommy, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, and Ring Out Wild Bells. Back in 2004 I posted this entry and tonight I'm listening with deeper appreciation of music, text, bold ideals and a creator to make it all possible:

"Ring Out Wild Bells by Alfred Tennyson includes eight stanzas, not just the three I've sung for years in the hymn with music by Crawford Gates. Here's the complete poem.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night,
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Seven Communication Secrets

This study largely affirms the culture I work and live in. We're not perfect at these by any means, but I'd award some points in all six areas if I were judging this as a contest, which in a way it is. Watson Wyatt Study Reveals Six Communication 'Secrets' of Top-Performing Employers The study identified these six practices of high-performing companies:
  1. Focusing managers and other employees on customer needs
  2. Engaging employees in running the business
  3. Helping managers communicate effectively
  4. Leveraging the talents of internal communicators to manage change effectively
  5. Measuring the impact of employee communication
  6. Branding the employee experience
I'm adding a #7 because I think it's relevant and because I prefer odd numbered lists. And the seventh secret is:
  • Encourage the development of projects and processes that organically engage the first six. The stuff that goes on behind the scenes to pull of following annual event is an example of what I'm talking about: Winter Chairty Drive

Sunday, October 21, 2007

growing at the senior games

I've now participated in three years of the Senior Games, the Huntsman World Senior Games held each year in St. George. Such an event. 10,000 athletes from 50 countries. Men and women who are thriving and striving and inspiring. More about this later.

Monday, September 24, 2007

flowers for a veteran

I liked the first night of The War: A Ken Burns Film. It sure made me think a lot about my step-dad who died back in August. He was a Navy officer who fought in the South Pacific. He's written extensively about his life, including his years at war. I'm glad he got his take down on paper, but I wish I'd captured his voice and image on video. Mom's left his voice on their answering machine. I've heard it a couple of times lately. It's good to hear him again, even if it is recorded. I keep thinking how much he would enjoy this new series from Burns, but perhaps he's looking in on it even now from a considerably different vantage point. I hope so.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

warming up

Emma Lou Thayne gave me this great tip for writing. Before you start to write something, just warm up. You don't just launch into a tennis match, you hit a few balls first. At swim meets there's always a warm up time. Swimming for 15 minutes and then sitting around for a few hours before you compete didn't seem all that useful. But I did it anyway. And today as I swam both at lunch and after work, I realized that the earlier event did help the later one. So now I'm using the blog to warm up. I'm going to be doing some other writing tonight, but for now I've at least got my fingers moving on the keyboard. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Yes, Truman, that's typing not writing. But even typing helps. The fingers do feel a little warmer. The words do flow a bit easier. Oh the magic of just transcribing the words you hear. It doesn't happen to me very often, but then again, how often do I take the time to warm up?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wasatch Crest 2007

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  Every year Dave and I try to hit the Wasatch Crest at least once. Last year we didn't make it, but on July 24, 2007 -- Utah Pioneer Day -- we again rode the crest. It was a beautiful, cloudy day. Hot in the valley, but just perfect on the mountaintop. While the big crowds watched the floats at the annual Days of '47 parade, we saw clouds floating by as we joined a parade of mountainbikers headed across the crest.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

can't beat carmel and monterey

Got to help my daughter and son-in-law move from Monterey back to Salt Lake this past week. Fortunately there was some time for some sight-seeing. It's easy to see why Point Lobos draws more than 300,000 visitors a year. Such an incredible place. I'm glad we had a few hours to check it out.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

months vs. years

I knew this good neighbor only a few months, but I've visited his grave for 16 years now. He died same year my daughter was born. As she's grown strong and beautiful, I wonder what's happened to my friend. His ashes are buried here, but what adventures of the spirit has he found beyond the grave? Has he continued as a master teacher? Has he found use for his skills in language and production? And what would he say to those he left behind? To him I say, "Thanks, Richard, for what's turned out to be a brief and lasting friendship--brief in our actual time together and lasting as those memories span the years. I'm glad you moved into the 'hood, just wish you coulda stayed longer."

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

French Toast

  A couple of weeks ago nothing sounded good for breakfast but french toast. The dog also liked the idea.
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

visionary thinking - three views

At my son's commencement at the University of Utah we were advised, "We don't have to keep up with change—we have to keep ahead of it," by Thomas S. Monson.

At my daughter's BYU commencement we were advised, "America is still the country of a second chance. Most of us end up needing one," by Dick Cheney.

At my daughter's alternative commencement were asked, "Are our schools and our churches and our families places where we learn how to transform ourselves, where we are free to apply the lessons of history in the present, and where we are rewarded for thinking and not merely obeying, where we can be creative and thoughtful and human?" by organizer Ashley Sanders.

All three of these thoughts are about visionary thinking, looking foward even when "Plan A" doesn't go as expected, and asking ourselves tough questions as we seek our ideals. I'm glad that I heard the speakers at all three events, and that I'm still pondering how this all fits together.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

dry creek canyon

The creek in Dry Creek Canyon is indeed dry, but the canyon is beautifully green. Got this shot on Friday's lunch hour ride.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

proud papa x 2

It's not everyday you have child graduate from college, but in the last couple of weeks I've enjoyed a double dose of proud parenthood with a daughter graduating from BYU and a son graduating from the the U of U.

The Provo celebrations on April 26 included an honor's graduate luncheon, watching and listening to the Dick Cheney speech on radio and TV and then attending the alternate commencement and hearing from Pete Ashdown, Jack Healey and Ralph Nader. Oh, and Nader applauding "the BYU 25"--which included a certain young woman who shares my last name.

Then on May 4 we were back in Salt Lake for the University of Utah commencement with Thomas S. Monson (glance backward, reach outward, press forward), a brief break to walk around the Huntsman Center and then back inside for the Engineering convocation. Yes, it was great to hear from all these famous folks, but for parents (and probably most of the graduates) it's more about the walk than the talk. Great, earned, hard fought, well celebrated, long suffered, patient, enduring, passionate, purposeful, peaceful walking of the walk of the new college graduate.

So we're three down with two more to go with the college grad program. Their school choices are as different as their personalities--a pediatric nurse, a software engineer, a writer of memoir and feminist studies. We'll have to wait a few years for the other two which may involve business, language, art, medicine--or perhaps none of the above.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

happy 95th birthday

Wow, Dad, you're 95th birthday is this very day. Can you believe it? 95 years since the sinking of the Titanic. 95 years since you made your appearance in Oak City, Utah. We know so much about your first 51 years. The death of your mom. Your love of livestock and agriculture. Your going to the circus and coming home to try to tricks on grandpa's horses. Your mission to Germany. Your finishing college at the U having started it as an Aggie in Logan. Your work for the census bureau that led to another bureau, the FBI. Way to put that German to good use. Your meeting our mom. Your marriage. Your career. Your daughter and then me, your son. Your stockbroker years. Your curiousity. Your gentle ways. Your love of color, creativity and mom. Your impatience with the unimportant. Your patience with me and all that mattered so much. The vacations, the Christmasses, the family reunions. The tapercorders and movie cameras and 16 millimeter projectors borrowed from a friend. The diagnosis you didn't want to believe. Your will to "beat this thing." That last summer and such a fall, such fire in the leaves and in your heart. That last Halloween. The last time we shoveled snow and drank hot chocolate. JFK in Dallas. Our president dead and you in the hospital the next day. Thanks for asking me to pray. I'm still praying, daddy. I wonder what you've been up to all these years. Have my teens, twenties, girl friends, hobbies, hopes, marriage, children, college, careers, anxiety, depression, scholarships, photos and music---have all these passed in just minutes for you? Have you seen it all or just read my blog? Happy birthday, dear Dad. I hope you'll visit soon in another dream like the one on Aunt Susan's back porch on Kayland Way, and let me know if my hunch is right, or just wishful thinking.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

post 5K greetings

Ran the Salt Lake Marathon's 5K yesterday. A great experience, and a particularly refreshing race when compared to the beautiful but much more difficult Canyonland Half Marathon. Today I'm a little stiff and sore, small price to pay for the opportunity to run freely, joyfully the short distance from Liberty Park to the Gateway.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

oh happy day!

Such great news. My son phoned to say my blog is up again. That wouldn't be such great news if perhaps there'd only been a slight interruption in service. But in this case, I haven't been able to publish since October. Six long months. I've missed writing here and I'm glad to be back.