Friday, March 27, 2009


Kulani surprised me with an early birthday present of a new digital camera. I love it! It's an easy-to-use camera that can also take pictures under water. It's a small camera that can easily fit in my pocket, and it takes short films. It has something like 10 megapixels, which is about 7 more than our old digital camera.

Last night he made dinner and watched the girls so I could take the night off. I went to the A.F. Rec Center to swim and cycle. At home, Kulani set up my camera and tested it. Here's a picture he took of the girls in the forts they made in the living room.

I also purchased the BYU alumni directory. "What a sucker!" you're thinking. But actually, it's pretty cool. It contains everyone who has ever graduated from BYU since 1950. Now at my fingertips, I have the street and e-mail address of Elders Dallin H. Oaks (class of '54) and Jeffrey Holland (class of '65).
A "Donald Bluth" is listed, but I'm unsure if it's THE Don Bluth.
Not listed are Steve Young and Aaron Eckhart, but I know they both graduated from the "Y." Chickens!
My sister Amy will be happy to learn that Ty Detmer is living in Austin, TX. He's still married, Amy, and so are you, so don't even think about stalking him.
A Willard Mitt Romney is listed along with an e-mail contact. It says he graduated in '71 with a BA and from Harvard MBA school. The wife listed for him is Ann Lois. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's THAT Mitt Romney.
Another surprising name in the book is a one Norvel G. Christenson. Yes, siblings, he really did graduate. Although, I think it was mom who actually has two degrees from BYU, and one of them is under the name of Norvel G. Christenson.
Another cool feature is each graduate is also listed by city. So, for example, if I'm traveling to Shelley, Idaho, and all the hotel rooms are booked, I just look up the BYU grads living in Shelley, Idaho in the book, and I start calling to see if one of my fellow alums has a spare bedroom we can stay in for the night.
"What up, fellow Cougar? Can we come stay with you?"
Enter to learn, go forth to serve. That's my alma matter's motto as well as mine. So start serving me, fellow Cougs!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Visiting with Gma in Blanding & Lissy's birthday

This weekend we headed to Blanding to visit with Grandma and Grandpa Fisher. My camera is broken so I unfortunately have no pictures.

It was also Lissy's 5th birthday. I bought a cake at the local grocery store there for her birthday, and Kulani bought her some simple presents from us. I love that a kite and coloring book and crayons is as special to a 5-year-old as a new car would be to a teenager. She told me it was her best birthday ever. Last year for her birthday we spent $100 taking the kids to Princesses on Ice. It was a good reminder that sometimes the simplest birthdays are truly the best.

Grandma Fisher isn't doing great. She mostly sat on the couch the whole time we were there. The girls amazingly played so well with all of her old toys that were collected for the older grandkids, but thankfully still linger for my kids. We played Huskerdu and Candyland. I got to take a nice nap with Nohea. Despite no TV being on, the girls behaved so well and played well with each other. Kulani said he thinks the girls must have some inner behavior modifier, and they must instinctively know when good manners are required. They seem to understand old people, as they are also very well behaved when we visit Grandma McEuen at the care center.

While we were there, I was looking through some old scrapbooks Grandma had compiled. She'd kept some letters her husband had written to his mother when he was first married and living in Salt Lake City, and his mom was in Hawaii. One letter had me cracking up. Grandpa Fisher wrote to his mom about his success on the neighborhood baseball team. He wrote about the intricacies of being the catcher and hitting the ball left handed. The majority of the letter was about his baseball glory. And then in the last paragraph, he mentions that his wife is pregnant. A woman would lead a letter with news like that.

Grandma's memory is getting pretty bad. She asked me at least a dozen times whose birthday it was. She's remembering things not as they happened but how she thought they happened. She thinks she was in some type of coma for two weeks this summer, but that never happened.

When we left, Grandpa, who usually isn't super forthcoming with praise, was effusive with his gratitude for visiting. He said Grandma usually just stays in her room all day. It was a relief for him to see his wife interacting with people and getting some type of activity.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chatting Time

Last night I finished reading The Wizard of Oz to the girls, so then I started asking them questions. What was your favorite part of the book? Did you like the play we went to on Thursday? What was your favorite part of that? (By the way, the play at the Scera right now is Frog and Toad and it is absolutely delightful! If it's still playing, take your kids.)

As it was getting late, I told the girls it was time for bed. Lilia says to me, "Mom, can't you stay longer? I enjoy talking with you."

Oh how I wish I could bottle that up for the teenage years!

I feel similarly when my parents are around. They stayed the night with us on Friday, as they were down visiting Grandma McEuen for her birthday. It's always great having my parents here for whatever time they can afford to us, and to talk and reminisce about the old days. Some of my siblings and I joke that the best part of going home when no one else is home is that you get all of mom and dad's attention to yourself.

Before Grandpa leaves, he always asks the girls when they'll be going up to Idaho to visit him. And then he always says he'll take them to the hot springs.

The hot springs are as big a part of the Christenson family as jumping off the rolling teeter-totter onto the trampoline or jumping off cliffs or fishing on Memorial Day.

One hot springs in particular was the object of many Christenson outings: Oakley Hot Springs (or Whitely Hot Springs as it was known to some). Oakley, Idaho is a quaint, pioneer town. It has a really neat "feeling" to the town. You almost get the sense that the pioneers are still trudging around the place. Those who follow LDS apostles know that David B. Haight was born and raised there.

About four to five miles outside of Oakley was the Oakley Hot Springs. They closed the place down within the last five years, sadly. The Oakley Hot Springs, like everything in Oakley, looked as though it was established sometime in the late 1800s. It consisted of one large pool that was known as "the cold pool" and four other smaller pools that were similar to oversized, concrete hot tubs.

Two of the smaller pools were "private" rooms, where you could lock a door, but maybe that's just what we thought. I don't remember any of the doors ever being locked, except I do remember my mom and dad going into one of the rooms and asking us not to disturb them. There's a reason my parents had 10 children.

Another one of the hot tubs had a huge hose of water jetting out of it that you could run over your body for massage and relaxation. And the other pool was so hot it would cause your skin to turn red.

After lounging in the hot pools, we'd run and take a dip in the cold pool, then back to the hots, then back to the cool. It was a pretty rundown joint, but we loved it. We had birthday parties and family reunions there.

One time we went on a school holiday in February, and the dirt road leading there was completely snowed over. We couldn't get through with our van, so we hiked into two-feet snowdrifts (both ways) to get there. Sure enough, they were open and let us in.

Now that it's shut down, Grandpa says there's a new hot springs in Almo we'll have to try. Almo is even smaller than Oakley. I'm not sure if it can hold the same magic for me as Oakley Hot Springs, but as long as I can sit and chat with my parents and children a little longer, I'm game.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Children's Stories: Not meant for the faint of heart

I've been reading the girls The Wizard of Oz before bed each night. I never read the books when I was young.

It's the first non-picture book I've read to the girls. The movie gave me nightmares as a kid, and the book is even more frightening. The Witch has only one eye, and she enslaves Dorothy for weeks. The Lion is also forced to be the Witch's slave. Her winged monkeys leave the Tinman in a ditch to rust to death, and they scatter the Scarecrow all over the tree tops.

Along the path to kill the Witch, the Tinman cuts off the heads of some beasts and the Scarecrow rips off the head of a crow.

When did we become such pansies when it came to children's literature? The real story of Cinderella in Grimm's Fairytales involves the step-sisters cutting off their feet. Do you know what really happens to the Little Mermaid in the Hans Christian Anderson version? She turns into sea foam, along wth all her sisters.

I don't think publishing houses allow children's writers to even mention murder in kids' books today, even if it was only due to defending a life. My sister Mary, the madame librarian, will have to weigh in on this one.

So far, the girls haven't had nightmares. I'm having a hard time sleeping just now, though. Could be due to the news more than The Wizard of Oz. Who can sleep in an economy like this? Back to work!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blog for Blog's Sake

What did we do before Facebook? A great family on our street moved to Hawaii (I know, we're all crying for them). They have two girls: one is my Lilia's age and one is junior-high age and was one of my best babysitters. I was thinking what it would be like to leave your circle of friends when in junior high school.

I imagined that if my family were to have moved half the world away while I was in junior high, I would have written notes to all the people I hated telling them to suck on rocks, and I would have written a top-secret love note for the junior high boy I always wanted to hold hands with or slow-dance with, but never had the courage to tell him to his face.

But we can't do that anymore, thank you NOT for that Facebook!

In my day, we would've lost track of everyone and everything. Maybe you'd keep one pen-pal, but probably with time, you'd lose track of him or her as well. You could leave bridges burning because the possibility of running into those people again would have been minimal.

I remember old Oprah episodes where she'd re-unite old high school loves. Neither one had gotten married and pined for the other one for years. Somehow they'd lost track of one another. Oprah would miraculously bring them together with a Journey song playing in the background as they saw each other again for the first time and embraced. Secretly maybe they were thinking, "Good gosh you've let yourself go!"

We won't be seeing episodes like that on the Tyra Banks Show. It's too easy to stay in touch with old friends now. Perhaps there should be a class given to all freshman: why you shouldn't burn bridges in today's world. And anyone who's posted an indecent picture on Facebook could give testimonials. Can I have an amen?