Friday, August 29, 2008

Role Reversals

Today I walked to the bus stop to pick up Lilia. As I got closer to her, I could tell she was holding back tears. She ran to me as soon as she saw me. She started wiping her eyes and tried masking how bad she was feeling. After the other two girls veered off into their home, Lilia let it all come out. She started to cry. I hugged her and waited for her to gain her composure. She said she brought some gum in her backpack and was waiting until after school to share a piece with the older neighbor girl Kayla. When she brought out the gum, Kayla told her that gum wasn't allowed on the bus. That's all it took to hurt Lilia's feelings. Sometimes it's like looking in a mirror from my childhood when I watch Lilia. I called Kulani to tell him about our exchange, and that did him in. "I'm coming home," he said. Poor Kulani has been working so much lately he's barely been able to see the girls.

My college-age brother has been storing some stuff in our basement for the past couple of weeks. Like every good college student, he has a healthy stash of ramen noodles. Our family's newest favorite taste sensation is a dish Hawaiian's call Saimin. It's made with ramen noodles, spam, and green onions, and it's our favorite Sunday after-church treat. I've had to borrow from Ed's stash a couple of times. I can tell this bothers Lilia. Today she asked me if I'd paid Ed back for his ramen. I lied and said I had. She asked me again. I said, "Well, not yet, but I'm going to, I promise." Her reply: "Good. Thanks for telling the truth, Mom. You did good."

Melissa has invented this new princess she calls Cranberry Rose. From what I gather, she's part Cinderella, but in a red dress. Today I asked her if it would be all right if I took a nap and she not bother me. She told me that would be a good idea, because than I wouldn't be so cranky. So I tried lying down to sleep in my bedroom. However, Cranberry Rose interrupted me every 10 minutes or so asking me to help her with design choices. "Mom, do you think Cranberry Rose should wear these shoes or these shoes? ... Mom, can you help Cranberry Rose put on her gloves? ... Mom, I'm letting you sleep, but does Cranberry Rose look fabulous?" What did she say to me after I gave up and came out of my room? "Hey, Mom, did you have a good nap?"
The Greenwoods invited us over to their house to try out their totally awesome slip-n-slide. Here are some pictures. Even though I didn't plan on joining the kids, I could tell Nohea wanted to slide down, so I joined her in my workout clothes I had on. Days like this remind me why it's so great to be a mom.

New Design thanks to my Stylist

This has been my best blog design to date, thanks to my blog stylist, Angela. Didn't she do a great job?! Thanks, Angela! It looks really awesome!

Luau Etiquette

Just another friendly reminder about the luau next Saturday (Sept. 6). If you were thinking there would be dancing and singing, think again. Once the girls take hula lessons, we may incorporate it into the festivities, but for now, it's only about the food. Kulani's family has a saying: "There's the singing and dancing side of the island, then there's the working side of the island. We come from the working side of the island." Some of you have asked whether you should bring money. The answer is no. We do not have a 1-year-old baby nor is this about a birthday. This is just our attempt at keeping ties to the "old ways." Also, you do not need to bring anything. However, if you are insisting, bring fresh fruit, a side salad, or a drink, if it suits you. This luau is more about meat.

There is a slight learning curve to a luau if you've never been. For those who have been coming for years, I think by now you know the gist of it. But for you first timers, let me provide the following tips:
  • Come hungry. The saying at all luaus goes: you don't eat until you're full, you eat until you're tired. Then you take a nap, get up, and eat some more.
  • Try not to disparage the food so loudly. Besides the sides that people bring, this will be authentic cultural cuisine. It would be in poor taste to question any of the food choices. Anthony Bourdain would not approve. There will be some poi on hand, which you can try. (It's a purple, pastey looking dish.) But don't take a lot, and don't moan when you taste it. I'm warning you now: if you didn't grow up eating poi, you will likely not enjoy the flavor or texture. But trust me, Islanders love this stuff.
  • Dress casual, very casual. Dust off the mu-mus, dawn the flip-flops; this is your chance to wear the Hawaiian shirt in the back of your closet; anything goes--and I mean ANYTHING (growl!).
  • Children are more than welcome to come.

Kulani usually sets out name tags for each of the dishes, so you know what it's called. By now, most of you have had Hawaiian food at least once in your life. Here's another chance. We can't wait!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blanding folks: nosy in a good way

You know when you pass a diesel truck carrying three loads, tradition has it that you honk your horn three times? Well, start honkin': I'm posting three times in one day.

Got a call from Kulani's old neighbor Sister Swenson this morning. She was worried about Kulani's mom, who had a scary health episode on Monday. Sister Swenson didn't see the Fisher's car in the driveway today, so she called information to find our number to see if we knew where Kulani's mom and dad were at. She was afraid Afton, Kulani's mom, might be in the hospital. Kulani's mom is fine and they traveled up to Spanish Fork for a grandson's mission farewell.

I don't know if all small-town folks are similar to Blanding folks, but people who grew up in Blanding are particularly nosy--but in a good way. Recently, while in Blanding, I left my grocery cart for a couple of seconds, and a kindly woman reminded me to take my purse with me at all times, because even in small towns like Blanding, theives are waiting to pounce. This kind of exchange is not uncommon when I go to Blanding. People really care, and they let you know. At first, it kind of took me off guard to have so many "mothers" helping me out. But with age and maturity, I know they really do mean well, and they really don't wish to see harm, danger, bad manners, bad breath, etc. befall me. As Kulani's parents age and their health starts to deteriorate, it's nice to know neighbors like Connie Swenson are there looking out for them.

The demise of newspapers and a piece of my heart

I've watched with heavy heart as newspapers across the U.S. are changing and dying. The local newspaper I grew up reading has merged with the bigger newspaper out of Twin Falls. They're still the South Idaho Press, but it's different. The Sunday paper is the Times News, the editorial board is out of Twin Falls, not Burley, and the writers are mostly stringers. The Deseret News recently announced that they cut 30% of their staff. And I predict that within the next 20 years, there will be even less newspapers, teetering on none.

After a brief desire to be an entrepreneur, from 10th grade on I wanted to be a journalist. And not a television journalist, but a My-Man-Friday, dirty, smelly, print journalist. When I graduated from BYU in print journalism, a degree that doesn't exist anymore--it's just a non-descript journalist--there were only about 10 of us graduating with that particular degree. I've worked in about three different newspaper agencies, and in every one, you get a feel for what newspaper people are like. For the most part, they're characters: odd ducks with funny personalities and strange passions. They're also slobs and they smell funky. The hours are long, and the pay is worse than terrible, and the dress reflects that. It's not uncommon to see ties that should have been retired in the 80s still being worn by newspaper men. In the game Life, before the pay increases, a journalist made the same amount of money as a teacher: $24,000. That still holds true, but journalists don't get summer break or overtime. It's not uncommon for journalists to work 10-14 hour days. And it's a lot of fun, but it's draining.

I carry in my heart all the odd ducks I've met from my newspaper journies.
  • Doc Taylor practically lived at the Utah County Journal/Orem Daily Journal. He loved classical music and grew up in a polygamist colony, though I don't think his mom was polygamist. He could talk your ear off. He probably single-handedly interviewed every person in Utah County.
  • Lewis Wohlman was a jewish Wisconsin native, who moved to America Samoa, married a mormon woman, moved back to Provo to be near his kids while they attended BYU, and was one of the best editors I ever had. He pushed me to tears on a few occassions. But I developed a tougher skin and learned to really care about what I was writing.
  • Gale Norton was the craziest man I've ever met. I'm pretty sure everything that came out of his mouth was false. He claimed to have won a Pulitzer for editing, but I'm not sure they give away Pulitzers for editing. He was in his 70s, so we gave him a pass on a lot of stuff, including the occassional sexist comment. But he was interesting, and I did learn some valuable grammar lessons from him.

And given time, I saw myself turning into one of them. I don't know what will happen to people like my old colleagues when newspapers cease to exist. Perhaps they'll become well-paid bloggers. Until then, I'm doing my small part by keeping a subscription to my local newspaper. It's my $8/month contribution helping to keep a few old buddies from homelessness. Money well spent.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Founder's Day Dinner '08

Went to the BYU Law School's Founder's Day dinner tonight, as per our usual ritual. We have officially been a part of this dinner since 2000. Tonight's dinner was ... okay. The diner menu was salmon and chicken marsala, slightly downscaled from the days when they served us filet mignon. I blame it on the increase in food prices.

Tonight's speaker was Kim B. Clark, president of BYU-Idaho and former dean of Harvard MBA School. His talk was good, but not heartwarming and endearing necessarily. He layed out his vision for BYU-Idaho, and outlined how to be a disciple-leader. The speakers the last five years previously have been rather off-the-cuff and fun. It felt like the speakers were in an intimate room talking with a bunch of good friends giving them some "insider" stories about things that go on behind the scenes. President Clark was a touch dry. But he's a first-timer to the Founder's Day dinner scene, and I'm sure being at Harvard for the last decade hasn't helped his whimsical proclivity. But just knowing that someone like President Clark lasted as dean of the Harvard MBA school for 10 years and still has his testimony caused me to re-evaluate my choices and my direction. I have a desire to learn more and be a better disciple-leader in my own home.

The best story I brought away from his talk was a retelling of a story told to him by Henry Eyring. Eyring was president of Ricks at the time, and he was talking with his uncle, Spencer W. Kimball. He told President Kimball that he thought universities wouldn't exist in the Millenial reign of Christ. President Kimball told him that was "the stupidest thing he'd ever heard. Of course, there'll be universities. We have a lot to learn."

The man introducing President Clark had more personal and interesting stories. He was President Clark's companion when serving their missions in Germany. He alluded to a YouTube video of President Clark and Charlie Rose that is worth your viewing time. I provide a link for it here.

No pictures this year. Ben and Amy accompanied us again. Always glad to have their company. We'll be attending it again next year, and you'll have my full report.

Until then, this is Cindy Fisher saying, goodnight and I love you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Women: What the ?

To say I'm a little disappointed in my own kind when I read articles like this is perhaps an understatement. If you have time, read the entire article, then bounce back over here and read by ranting rebuttle.

What is wrong with us, ladies, if topics espoused in the above-referenced article are consuming our thoughts? I center this post around women, as a woman and a friend. Like Bill Cosby to the African-American community, I'm an insider speaking out of love for my kind. If men happen to agree with me, that's well and good, but they have their own problems to worry about (e.g., porn, overworking, disengagement). This is for my sisters, who I love and revere and hold in awe. What are we becoming? Is our personal gratification our only concern? Is divorce really an answer to our problems?

Let's pretend for a second that I've had fleeting thoughts similar to the ones she's had. What good comes from expressing them? I kept hoping the article would include statistics or data to show how good marriage is; that even when times are hard, in the end you'll be happier to stick it out. Instead, she ends with a wish for a "better" future where marriage is an outdated institution. I'd hate to be the husband of the woman who wrote this article. How do you think this made him feel?

So I offer a side of hope for those of you in marriages where things seem bleak. These statistics are taken from the Utah Marriage site. The Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative is a small funding project each state has that is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

From the site:

"Divorce did not reduce symptoms of depression for unhappily married adults, or raise their self-esteem, on average, compared to unhappy spouses who stayed married. The vast majority of divorces (74 percent) happened to adults who had been happily married five years previously. Unhappy marriages were less common than unhappy spouses. Staying married did not typically trap unhappy spouses in violent relationships. Spouses who turned their marriages around seldom reported that counseling played a key role.
  • Divorce did not reduce symptoms of depression for unhappily married adults, or raise their self-esteem, on average, compared to unhappy spouses who stayed married.
  • The vast majority of divorces (74 percent) happened to adults who had been happily married five years previously.
  • Unhappy marriages were less common than unhappy spouses.
  • Staying married did not typically trap unhappy spouses in violent relationships.
  • Spouses who turned their marriages around seldom reported that counseling played a key role."

And for one more very interesting article, read this. The summary of this talk is "5 marriage myths and 6 marriage benefits."

  • Myth 1: Divorce is usually the best answer for children when their parents' marriage becomes unhappy. Truth: It isn't.
  • Myth 2: Marriage is mostly about children-if you don't have kids it doesn't matter if you marry, stay single, or cohabit.
  • Myth 3: "Isn't marriage good for men and bad for women?"
  • Myth 4: Promoting marriage and marital obligation puts women at risk for domestic violence.
  • Myth 5: Marriage is essentially a private matter-just between the two people involved; that it's an affair of the heart between two adults and that no outsider, not even the children of the marriage, should be allowed to affect or interfere with it.

Now aren't these better articles to wrap your brain around? Don't you have hope that a better day will soon come? Sometimes life, love, and marriage are all about perspective.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Luau '08

The leaves will be changing soon. The sweet smells of fall are wafting closer. And to kick it off, we say goodbye to summer with the fourth annual Fisher Family Luau. If you are nearby, stop in for some good Hawaiian food. This will be the second year we'll be having the luau after the first BYU away game. Plan on that date for future years. Details are as follows:

Date: September 6th

Time: 5:00 PM until the food is gone, we get tired, or we roll out of there.

Where: Timpanogos Cove Park in Cedar Hills
(9508 N Timpanogos Cove, off of Canyon Heights Drive)

Who's invited: Anyone who reads this blog (all four of you), kids, grandkids, etc.

This year we're having just one time for the luau, so all neighbors, friends, and family are invited at the same time. The park is really cool with a triple-story slide. There is also basketball hoops and a big grass area for soccer, kickball, etc. Should be a great time for all. If you'd like to come, leave a comment and how many of your family will be attending.

Meet our friend Ben

  • Private-school educated
  • Degree in psychology from BYU
  • Juris Doctorate degree from University of Chicago
  • Founder of Dallin H. Oaks Law Society

And to top it all off, this (

Way to go, Ben!

First Day of Kindergarten

Lilia's first day of kindergarten at Deerfield. We walked her down to the bus stop. Jessie tagged along.

We'll miss having her around, but we'll cope, right, Lissy?
We'll take walks in the two-child jogger.

Lilia and friend Alena at the bus stop. It was so fun to see all the little kindergartners getting on the bus, and all the parents taking pictures and saying their last goodbyes.

She came home from her first day saying how much she loved it. She was really ready for kindergarten this year. Being on the older end of the class is a really good thing for Lilia. She seems more sure of herself this year than last year, and she's developed some pretty good social skills.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cindy's Hollywood Minute

Everyone is grumpy this morning. It's a level of grumpy I haven't ever seen from my 5-years-old-and-younger kids. I expect these types of mornings on a regular basis when they reach teenage years, but not now. And to make things worse, I'm grumpy too. So we should just all go back to bed, but noooooo. Instead, I'm going to rant on this blog about other people's lives. I'm pretty sure you, my readers, will disagree with some of my conclusions, so let me acknowledge that up front. I'm ready for disagreements in the comments section on this one.

Item #1: We are not Gwen Stefani fans. She hasn't done anything to us personally, we just don't understand the appeal she has with some of you. The nicest way I can put how I personally feel about her (Kulani will have to tell you for himself) is this: who invited Madonna to the alternative kids' party? And now she's had a baby and she's managed to go lower in my book. No, not that she had a baby; that's good. The bad is what she named the baby: Zuma Nesta Rock. What the __? When we were little girls, we used to think up different names we wanted to name our future children (Lilia would have been named Aurora Pierce had I stayed with my 10-year-old state of mind.) But you grow out of that, don't you? I understand wanting to name your kids something unique or meaningful, don't get me wrong. But Zuma Nesta Rock just seems showy and over-the-top (even more so than Apple or Scout). Might as well announce to the whole class that you're the son of two rockstar parents. Can't keep that one under your hat, little Zum-zum.

Item #2: What has happened to 101.9 The End? It is total crap. The morning show even sucks now without my favorite--Mister. I don't listen to radio unless I'm in the car, and driving home from Salt Lake this morning I caught some of the Chunga Morning Show. They did give me the fodder for item #1, but other than that, it was yawnsville. And now their movie review guy is Tony Toscano. He's the guy who will have a quote on the cover of one of the worst movies you've ever seen that says, "One of the best movies of the year"--Tony Toscano, Talking Pictures. Could it get any worse?

Item #3: I watched a few minutes of the Miss America pageant last year. I saw enough of it to watch one of the contestants answer a question regarding whether the Nickelodean studios should fire Jamie Lynn Spears from the Zoey program because the 16-year-old is pregnant in real life. (The contestant said they shouldn't because it's nobody's bee's wax.) But yesterday I watched half of a show, and I've got to say that I was uncomfortable watching Jamie Lynn Spears in a pre-teen kids' show, where the topics are about having a first kiss not a first you-know-what. The plot for this particular episode was that her boyfriend told her he loved her, but she couldn't say it back to him because she was so confused. Her friends kept asking her what's wrong, and she told them she didn't know, but when she found out, she'd let them know. I was thinking, "Your in the early months of pregnancy, fool. Of course you don't know what's wrong with your emotions." But then my mind had a total full-circle moment: a pregnant woman's mind is similar to a teenager's mind. I could relate to the episode more than I thought possible. By the end, we were crying together. Not really. I turned the channel before the end. It's not appropriate for children 6 and under anymore. By the way, my girls are into kissing everything. Lilia even wanted to watch the kissing parts on a television program--NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tip about digital cameras

I found out that you can't just download and erase pictures off of your memory stick over and over. You need to format your memory stick almost after every time you download. If you don't, your stick can get corrupted as I found out last night. There is software you can buy that will help you recover some of the photos, but all the photos don't necessarily come back in perfect form.

You can format disks from the setup function on your camera. When you do format a disk, all the data will be erased, so make sure you download and save the information first. But y'all probably already knew all this ...

A new Obsession I will just walk away from ... for now

Good crap! For all that is good and holy, someone pull me away from movie editing software, and I mean now. Talk about addictive: It's 1 a.m. and I'm still not even close to where I want my little video to be. But I'm a-postin' it; troubles and all. (Kulani's working late tonight.)

Do you love those little photo montages of sunsets or construction sites, where a photo is snapped every so often then sped up to make it look like it all happened within seconds? Well I wanted to do that with my house. My house was a disaster area, and the idea of seeing the finished cleaning in bits and pieces intrigued me. Notes for next time: Instead of taking a picture after every 10 things you pick up, try it after every item you pick up. I ran out of pictures before I ran out of song, so I decided to just put random pictures on the end.

The storyline of this video, should you choose to view it, shows the messy house, us getting ready to clean it, and then the after. Followed by which I wanted to have us looking very "Brady Bunchy" and perfect making cookies, and then a picture of the kitchen back to its original mess after making cookies. And finally me running away to Kulani so we could just have fun with our girls. It works in my mind, but doesn't work so much on the video, especially since I needed to reduce the size down to less than 4 MB. (Turn the sound up for one of the best songs ever written. The song is extra long--longer than the photos because I couldn't figure out how to cut, edit, and reduce the music--but seriously, don't want to be wasting any more waking hours trying to figure it out.)

And now I give you, the very tedious, but still fun video montage:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

He's Southern Idaho

Found ourselves watching TV last night. We caught a fairly amusing edited version of Just Friends on TBS. It's about an overweight high school guy (played by Ryan Reynolds) in love with the hottest girl in school (played by Amy Smart), but they're only "best friends." He gets humiliated at a graduation party and vows to "show them." Fast forward 10 years later and he's a svelte, successful man who finds himself in his home town of Trenton, New Jersey. You can probably guess at how the rest of the movie goes. (Finds said girl, tries to woo her, another guy is in the picture, etc.)

My favorite line from the movie, and the whole reason for this post, is the following line:

"He's Jersey: He skis in his jeans."

I was rolling with laughter. Anyone who experencied the junior high and high school ski bus from Southern Idaho knows all too well about people who ski in jeans. It's akin to saying someone is a "butt rocker" or --I can't really think of another, better or even equal substitute. It is just so poignant and perfect. If you've experienced it, you know what I'm typing about. One more catch phrase to add to my growing repertoire.

Toodily doodily!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blog stalking

Yes, I do it. But check out these gems I found through my stalking efforts:

The highlight of this blog was the following paragraph:

"You know how it is for some of these grocery-store bakery decorators: some days they're just not reaching their full cake-wrecking potential. On those days they give their airbrush, questionable design choices, and horrific color palettes a rest, and instead produce a simpler, quieter kind of wreck. A wreck that says, with world-weary disdain, 'Hey, I make $7 an hour. Deal with it.'"

I think Kulani will appreciate this blog:

It's about a cop shoving a cyclist. As if Kulani needed yet another reason to distrust our honorable law enforcers.

This one,, reminds me of the church by my mom's house. I can't wait to read the pithy sayings this church comes up with each time I drive home to Idaho. It almost makes it worth the four-hour trip for that alone. Warning: I haven't read all the signs on this site, so some stuff may be inappropriate, and if it is, I'm sorry I directed you there.

These sisters are pretty funny.

And you folks with the little gadget on your blogs that shows who was last on your blog and from where: that creeps me out. I'm the creepy one stalking you--and I'm creepy to the max. It reminds me of high school when I used to drive by a certain boy's house 13 times a day, and if he was actually outside when I drove by, I just about had a heart attack. No, I never stopped to talk and say hello. That would just be--normal. I would duck and drive by as if you couldn't tell I was the one driving my mom's 11-passenger brown van from the 70s. Very smooth. The only thing worse than those gadgets are private blogs. Let me read about you, people! (But don't make me actually ask your permission-gosh!)


You know you've got a wicked blogging habit when you want to read something new from your own blog. It's not like anything that goes on around here is a surprise to me. Truthfully, I have few hobbies. And now that triathlon season is over for me, I have even less hobbies. So I guess I'll just blog.

The girls have been rather strange lately. I blame it on the evil influence of the neighbor girl Kayla. Actually, Kayla is a pretty funny girl. My girls think she is the end all, be all. She's older (7), and she's crazy, but she's also pretty sweet. She has given me the following very good parenting tips:
  1. While shopping, the girls will beg for treats. Kayla was with us once while we were shopping. She told me, "What you can do is allow the girls to have one treat on Fridays, and then the rest of the week, just tell them they have to wait until Friday for the treat." Good advice, I think.

  2. Another time the girls were complaining about being hungry while shopping. She told the girls to not look at the food on the shelves, but look straight ahead and then you won't get so hungry.

  3. Sometimes I get tired at night and don't do the dinner dishes right after dinner. The next morning I have the dishes to do. Kayla says to me, "Even if you're tired, you should do the dishes the night before and then you won't have to do them in the morning." For some reason, that inspired me to be better at doing them the night before.

  4. I asked the girls to clean up their rooms. Kayla said, "Let's make a game of it. You be the wicked stepmother, and we'll be Cinderella. And you tell us we have to clean our room or we're not going to the ball." It worked.

Here are some pictures of the weirdness that is going on in our home.

This is Lilia wearing the Hannah Montana wig I made her out of leftover yarn.

Lissy still in her pajamas. If you've ever thought about coming by the house before, say, 11 a.m., be prepared to see us in our pajamas. I'm usually up by 6 a.m. working, but we tend to stay in our pajamas until I'm done, which is usually about 10 or 11 a.m.

Nohea sportin' her chocolate-pudding mustache.

Bon jour!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Retro Cool

My new blog design reminds me of Disco Skating in the days of yore. No, not the 70s--the neo-70s--AKA the 90s! Put up with it for now. I will likely change it again in the near yore.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Reunion 08-08-08

Atop the mountains of Salt Lake City, the descendents of Karen and Norvel Christenson convened for yet another activity-and-glutton-filled reunion. B.J. and Chrystel were our hosts this year for the Christenson Reunion. The theme of the reunion appropriately dubbed--Christenson Olympiad.

B.J. and Chrystel found us five 2-family condos at Solitude Resort. The condos were awesome! I'd never been to Solitude before, and I was taken aback by the beauty. B.J. assigned each condo a region of the world represented by the rings of the Olympic games. Our roommates for the reunion consisted of the Aagard family--Mary, Hans, and Minnie variety. Our team made up the countries that encapsulate modern Asia (as opposed to Gengis-Khan Asia). I think Minnie took gold in the child-who-went-down-the-water-slide-the-most-amount-of-times-head-first event. Lissie took gold in the picking-the-most-amount-of-wildflowers-one-child-fist-can-hold-while-walking-with-Grandma event. Lilia could have easily taken gold in most-competitive-of-our-team. On the nature hike, she ran to keep up with the leaders. And Nohea would have taken gold for the Imelda-Marcus-shoe-try-on-and-lose competition. That girl and shoes ...

So here is the good part: pictures! I wish I would have taken more ...

The bug, the toad, and the bear sitting on a log.

Grandma and Lissy picking flowers during the race. Grandma is never one to NOT stop and smell the flowers.

Uncle Hans teaching Minnie and Lissy how to catch a frisbee.

Mackenzie helping Nohea walk along the Silver Lake path.

All the Christenson grandkids ... 19 and counting. Click on this picture to increase the size and take a look at Carlie. She's to the right of Melissa. She's the one in front who is about 18 months, but she looks like a 3 year old. She has blonde, straggly hair. She looks like a hobbit. When Nohea and she were younger, they were on the very fat side. Doug and I used to joke that they could be roomies at BYU, but they'd have to be on a bottom floor so as not to disturb any downstairs neighbors. Ouch! Cruel!

The girl cousins playing with Minnie's Polly Pockets. As it stands, there are five boy cousins and 14 girl cousins. Polly Pocket was not without friends to help her get dressed.

The younger siblings flocked by nieces and nephews. From left: Lissy, Carlie, Hetty holding Nohea, Jeff, Lilia, Luke atop Wayne, Hannah, Grace, and Mackenzie.
Haven't you ever wanted to read a real blog post about how hard marriage can be, and how spouses don't always see eye-to-eye? Well, read some place else: me and my man are soulmates squared (but then divide it by 2, subtract 8, add it to the power of 5 and you get a division that is nearly impossible to calculate to the factor of x)! Truthfully, I had a bit of an overreaction to Kulani's "hate"-itude concerning reunions, and we ended up leaving early. I am sorry for my childishness. I wish I could have been there for the family photograph. But that's why we only have these things every two years. Like the family T-shirt said: "Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." Thanks to B.J. and Chrystel (and Grandma) for another awesome reunion. Next up: Mary in 2010.

Dinner Party Conversation Trials

Yes, I am a nerd. I sometimes think up interesting questions to have on the ready in case a lull in conversation ever occurs during a dinner party. My latest question? Wait for it ... wait for it ... wait for it ... "If you have a butler, what would his name be?" I tried it out on Kulani tonight.

Me: If you ever had a butler, what would his name be?

Kulani: (Remember, he's an engineer and writer by trade.) My butler's name would be the name of the guy who was most competent and compatible.

Me: So what would his name be?

Kulani: Whatever his name is.

I almost had to stop the car I was laughing so hard. My answer was Quentin so then I could call him "Q." Oh, yeah. Good thing my journalism skillz aren't going to waste. I really know how to get to the heart of some really deep, philosophical discussions. Who wants to come to our dinner parties now? Boo yeah!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to give Kulani a heart attack ...

Post this:

Kulani is deathly afraid of heights. His mom says he wouldn't even climb up steps to sit in bleachers at his brothers' football games when he was little. I like that he doesn't like heights, because I don't like them too much either, so he doesn't dare me to do things he wouldn't do (like jump off big bridges or rock walls). My family, on the other hand, are daredevils. There's the infamous near-death experience by Brian jumping off cliffs in Cauldron Linn near Twin Falls. He first hit the side of the canyon wall before ragdolling into the river below. Then there was the time we went to City of Rocks and B.J. casually just started free climbing the face of one of the tallest rock formations there. I couldn't watch. After he got down to solid ground he admitted that that was probably a foolish thing to do only a few weeks before leaving on his mission. Honestly, our family could probably stay up all night recounting all the death-defying stunts done by family members. And where do we get it from? Norvel the Magnificent. I am convinced it is stuff like the above picture that caused many of us to turn out the way we have. Lissy, the one who Grandpa is holding in the picture above, is very tender hearted and pretty timid. But with Grandpa holding her, she was willing to view the Shoshone Falls from atop a fence. Lilia stayed by Kulani's side the whole time we were there.

Here's another viewpoint of the falls:

Looks like Lissy needs her bangs trimmed.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Prayers unoffered, nonetheless answered

Of all the weeks to need a little me time (to finish reading Breaking Dawn), I've had two wonderful neighbors volunteer to bring dinner to us. The first dinner will be tonight provided by those oh-so-cool Hornes. And the next meal is tomorrow night, which I bid for and won at the Relief Society Service Auction, brought to us by Sue Pawlowski. All is right in the universe.

Now, can't blog ... must ... continue ... reading ...

Change ... and then I'll marry you

Warning to Kulani: This post discusses somewhat the newest book in the Twilight series. I won't be going into too many details, but it's just another one of my philosophical rants about things I like to rant about. Keep reading, Kulani, as you may like my conclusions.

I've stated before how I hate to be a bandwagon-type of person. But some things are just so good that I have to jump on the wagon despite the number of people already on board (please don't tip the cart, people, there's room for me). Case in point being the Twilight book series. I can't wait to read the next one in the series and find out once and for all who Bella will pick: Edward or Jacob.

So the big question amongst fans is who do you like better: Edward or Jake? Here is how I break it down. Of course you can't help having an overwhelming and exausting love for Edward. He is every woman's fantasy man. He is perfect looking, perfect smelling, and perfect being. Jacob, however, is more real. He doesn't want nor need Bella to change: he likes her for her. In order for Bella to be with Edward, she will have to change ... into a blood-sucking vampire. Who would go to such lengths to be with someone?

And thus begins my diatribe on why we sometimes lose touch with romance, reality, and relationships in our culture. I can't think of very many stories, especially stories little girls love, where the main character does not try to change herself in some way in order to get the "prince." Little Mermaid must become human. Mulan lies to be included in the army. Cinderella disguises herself in a gown and glass slippers and fetching hairdo. Alladin pretends he is a prince. Even Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman had to stop being a hooker in order to get her man (oh the humanity!). So what are we saying about love: it's not based on knowing and loving the person for who they are, but for the person you want them to become. My conclusions are a little over the top, but perhaps I'm making sense. And I don't think women are the only ones guilty of "romanticising" love to a point that is not recognizable in real life. But after reading the Twilight books, I find myself needing to slow down and get back in touch with the Real World--Fisher Family.

I'm serious when I say book reading isn't an elevated hobby in our family. I tend to ignore everything and everyone around me when I start reading a really good book. Whereas, watching television together as a family we can all laugh at the same jokes, share popcorn, etc. Books are good, don't get me wrong. But television isn't necessarily bad. Especially when there's so many more episodes of No Reservations to be watched.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

More Adventurous

Last night, Lani and Patrick came down for sushi. I put together the sushi and Lani brought the salad (pictured below) as well as some really nice oysters they picked up at Macey's of all places. Here's a partial shot of the spread:

Any number of times I've told one of my kids, "You don't have to eat it if you don't like it, but you do have to try it so you know whether you like it or not." That's the general rule with most things, but there's always been an exception for things that many adults would consider adventurous, like sushi or oysters. All of them have tasted and now like poi and lau lau.

Even without pushing it, the kids have started eating sushi. I suspect most of that is because we eat it and don't make any faces or question when they want some. Last night, even I was shocked about how adventurous the girls have become. Lilia decided to give the oysters a go. Uncharacteristically, Cindy and I both asked her if she was sure. Twice. Undeterred, she pressed on, forcing down a huge oyster. The contortions of her face reflected the unfamiliarity of the flavors as she worked it down. I fully expected her to spit it out. Or worse. She soldiered on and swallowed it down. When we asked her how it was, she responded, "I don't think it's my favorite. I don't think I liked it very much." I complimented her on her willingness to try it. I barely noticed when she tried another one with cocktail sauce. She liked it that way, and helped herself to another. Lissy tried to eat half of one several times, and couldn't agree with the flavor. Nono tried the other half of the one Lissy started as well, crying the first several times we wouldn't let her have one. Nono's not the biggest fan either. Well, at least now they know. It doesn't bother me that Lissy doesn't like oysters. At least she knows she doesn't like them, and doesn't theorize she doesn't like them. I'm pretty sure Anthony Bourdain would approve.

A picture of the raw oysters on a half shell:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dark Knight Blog

Had a 720-degree moment (that's a full-circle moment twice around) Friday night. I feel like I've tapped out the neighborhood girls for babysitting. So I turned to my old babysitter, Bill Routt, to see if one of his three girls would like to babysit. His 12-year-old said she'd be thrilled to babysit. I babysat Sarah, the 12-year-old, once when she was younger. She was so cute. She brought along a bag full of Barbies and some DVDs to watch. She says to me, "Have you ever heard of ramen? I can make it for the girls. It's really good." Have I ever heard of ramen? A mother's best friend. But I'd already thought ahead and bought some pizza and breadsticks and cinnamon bread. I felt comfortable leaving the girls in Sarah's capable hands while I drove to Sandy to watch ... duh, duh, dun ... Batman: The Dark Knight!

We went on a double-date with old-time friends and fellow bloggers Jeremy and Heather. After the movie, which I will briefly review in the following paragraphs, a couple asked us to take their picture in front of the Batman sign. Heather and I looked at each other and said, "They must be bloggers." Only bloggers take pictures of EVERYTHING--a trip to the movies, a trip to the park, a trip to the bathroom. A post is much better with a picture. I've kind of been in a picture-less rut lately--time to dust off the ol' camera.
Since we were going to be spending the big bucks on the movie anyway, we decided to spend the "really" big bucks and see it on IMAX. The movie ... was ... awesome! Absolutely rivoting. That's my short review. I'm not sure IMAX is much better than the regular stadium-seating theater. We arrived a little late to the movie because Ruby River was slow with the service that night. We thought we'd be fine and just miss the previews. Oh no--not IMAX. No previews for IMAX, so we missed the first 10 minutes. It's a good excuse for us to go see it again. It's definitely a movie worthy of seeing twice. Warning for parents with children who think they are old enough to see this movie: they are likely not old enough. It's a pretty scary movie. I couldn't stop thinking about it for days. And it was a little eerie for me to be seeing Heath Ledger in a crazy, insane roll (which he seriously did do an amazing job of acting) now that he's dead. Kulani did make a good point, however. His acting almost seemed like Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Carribean. If they're going to bring back the Joker in follow-up Batmans, and I really hope they do, Johnny Depp would get my vote for the next Joker.