A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy Week & Tennis

Hi everybody! Holy week is upon us. For those of you who haven't spent much time in Latin America, Catholics consider the week before Easter as holy. Actually the entire month before is somewhat sacred. You may have heard of Lent... it is the 40 days before Easter, and Catholics are supposed to give up a vice or bad habit, etc. during this period of time. I've always thought it was really nice that they have so much build up to Easter and really work on being better people during this period of time. I appreciate that about their religion. (As in all places with religious holidays, some people consider Holy Week "vacation", but I still think the the original intent is a beautiful thing.)

Anyhow...on a completely unrelated topic, Alex and I went to the Sony Ericsson Open this week. We have a friend who volunteered and got free tickets. The below pic is a photo of Venus Williams playing Daniela Something. (Can't remember her name. ;-) They were nose bleed seats, but it was still fun. We saw another match between a Belarussian and Belgian woman that was close up...and even more fun.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone (Leslie)

Leslie Romriell

You all knew Leslie Romreill.  She was a sweet, guileless person who quietly accomplished much in her life.  On Sunday morning, she left this world, graduating to the next level of eternal progression.
Spend a few minutes to revisit the potential of a mortal life well lived.
You may also want to read this article.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

In Preparation for EASTER

Please listen to this for FHE or another evening this week. It is THE BEST Easter talk I can imagine. It makes me want to be a better person. It is about 15 minutes long and in 3 parts.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

News from Pocatello

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to pass along this news.  Patty Lee, Trisha and Mike Lee's mom died on Tuesday night.  When I mentioned it to Dana, she asked me if she was the one who made the bread for the sacrament in the 6th ward.   I had forgotten that.  Here is the link to her obituary.  It is really sad.  We plan to go to the funeral on Saturday.
I love all of you.  xoxoxo


Monday, March 22, 2010

Leggo my art

Fun art for your purusing pleasure...

Julian Beever is really great at sidewalk chalking 3-D scenes.

I discovered his work as a graduate student at the annual Developmental Biology International meeting in 2001.

These... are by Nathan Sawaya. My friend in geekness showed them to me. If only I could name them all... (they are Lego sculptures)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fun to Watch

Stream videos at Ustream

I am betting others will enjoy this. It is a live webcam showing a barn owl (and sometimes her mate). They have eggs that will be hatching any day now...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicken Stock: A Tutorial

I told mom about how I have been making my own chicken stock for about the last year and she thought it would be a good idea to post it on the family blog so everyone can get in on the $$ savings!

Start with a whole chicken. I never pay more than .85 a pound. I can usually find them at Winco in packs of 2 for pretty cheap. I freeze them until I am ready to use them. You can either bake/roast the chicken for dinner, or cook it in the crock pot all day (with about 1/2 cup of water) on low, shred the chicken and use it later in recipes. On Monday I made this recipe for roast chicken, it was really good. When we were done with dinner I put all of the bones/leftover chicken remnants in the fridge. I even use the leftover skin, but if you wanted to just throw the skin away it would reduce the fat content of your stock. I knew I was going to make my stock the next day, but you could also freeze this and make the stock any time.

When you are ready to make your stock put all of the chicken bones, etc. in a big stock pot.

I usually quarter 2 onions, 4 celery stalks, and a bunch of carrots.

Put them in the pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce heat to low. Let the stock cook on low all day. Your house will smell so good!

The water will start to reduce down, so about halfway through the day fill the pot back up to the top. It won't water it down, it will just reconstitute the reducing stock.

After it has cooked 8-9 hours remove from heat and get all the big pieces out. Then use a smaller mesh strainer to strain out the small bits and pieces. I usually pour it into a big bowl and back into the pot, straining both times.

Let the stock cool for a little while. The fat will all rise to the top and you can spoon a good bit off.

You can store the stock in re-useable plastic containers. You can find these for relatively cheap at the grocery store. I have even frozen it in plastic freezer bags. They work great. I put 2 cups of stock in each container. This is how much stock/broth is in a store bought can and most recipes call for stock in 2 cup multiples.

Freeze and enjoy!

I usually get 16-17 cups of stock from a pot this size. That is the equivalent of more than 8 cans of broth (and the stock is so much better than salty broth). A savings of about $6-8 depending on where you shop, made from stuff that would normally just be thrown away!
I made this soup for dinner last night with my new chicken stock. I have lots of other soup/stew recipes that I use the stock in if anyone is interested! It makes me feel so good to be able to stretch my dollars in this way and not waste any part of the chicken.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Curiosity About The Cast of 24

So Crystal and I watch 24 on hulu.com since we are unable to get any network channels (just one of the many menacing downsides of switching to Dish Network from DirecTV for a cheaper price).

Anyway there is one of the main characters named Chloe has a look on her face like her parents just told her she was grounded for the entire weekend in every episode.

In addition, one of the terrorists is really good at playing a terrorist because he has a perma-menace look on his face.

Here he is smiling for his headshot.

So Crystal was wondering what would happen if these two ever got together and had kids. If so what would their children look like?

Stay tuned for Crystal's photoshopping skills...

Dance of the Cucumber

I thought this might be funny for the Spanish inclined:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tik Tok Star Wars

I guess I'm just in a music video posting mood lately. This one is pretty awesome. It's a widescreen vid, so I suggest double-clicking into youtube to get the full visual effect.

Hope you all enjoy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stacking Boxes 2010

I am sure you all remember the paper stacking boxes Abby used to make.  This is an updated version.  Maybe when we are all together we could make some of these--for old times sake.  You could try them on your own:)

Check this out.  http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=842

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

She's Back

Don't know where she's been, but she's back, acting like nothing
ever happened.  I think she's got another family somewhere - been two-timing us. Little tramp!  Whatever, I suppose now the shop can start up again.  Maybe I'll start crib numbers 5 and 6 - just in case.  And, yes, I'll be careful.    Dad

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lessons From Old Friends - Second Installment

I know everyone is too busy to read long posts, but these are what they are.  I have to tell the story as it comes.  To preface this post, you should read at least the first paragraph of the last one.

Friend # 2
As suggested before, the influence of old friends is integral to the fabric of our lives.  Yet, as we focus on our separate concerns, we tend to lose track of them, even though they may live but minutes away.  Sometime in November, I was reminded of such an old friendship.  I had an office visit with an elderly patient, referred by his daughter Annette, who I knew to be the second, but covenant wife of my old high school friend, Curt Selders.  As I recognized that connection, a flurry of memories went through my mind, memories of many good times with my old friend. 

I don't remember the origins of my friendship with Curt, but I suspect it was related to high school football.  Circled in this 1967 photo of the senior Highland Rams is myself at center, and Curt at left tackle.  As a humerus side note, enlarge the picture to see Curt and the tight end holding hands.  They were anything but gay, but they thought this would be a funny gag for the permanent annual photo.  That may give you a feel for the type of sense of humor we shared.

Outside football, Curt and I were not absolute best friends, but Friday and Saturday nights would commonly have us together, pursuing some kind of antics.  Sometimes we would go rabbit hunting together on a Saturday morning.  Curt was not LDS at the time, but he knew I was, and he respected that.  We never really talked about the Church much, but hopefully, some positive examples were conveyed.  I don't think he was part of the sizable drinking clique, and maybe that is why he gravitated to activities with me.  We had fun that we could remember the next day.

About the only discussion we had about the Church was in relation to Liz Morrell, an LDS girl in our class who happened to be in my ward.  Curt had a major crush on Liz, although it was from afar.  I had dropped her hints, but you see, she was the steady girlfriend of Jack Davis of rival Poky High, and there was no budging her.  Strangely coincidental, Curt and Jack also shared a common interest in cars.  They both drove red '65 GTOs, a highly sought sports car of the day.  Curt had added some hot after-market features to his car:  a souped up 327 engine, with a Hurst shifter, a rear spoiler,  and broad profile slicks on the rear axle.  It was built for speed and quickness of the line.

Curt never did get much direct satisfaction in his dreams of Liz, but on one fateful Friday night he did get some indirect satisfaction that would carry him for a long time.  He and I were cruising back and forth in his GTO on the Pocatello drag (between the Arctic Circle on the south and Hawkin's Red Steer on the north of the Yellowstone-Alameda Rd. strip.)  As we came to the north end and entered the Hawkin's parking lot (the gathering place,) who should we find there, but Jack Davis in his GTO.  Well, this was just too much for Curt to resist, so he drove up next to Jack and rolled down his window.  "You want to run it?" Curt challenged.  Jack hesitated, knowing that he would loose face if he turned down such a challenge.  "You're on." he returned.

As was the custom, both cars maneuvered out of the parking lot and a half mile up Alameda Rd. to I-15.  In those days, the interstate was a virtual ghost town at night with both lanes generally free of traffic.  Once up the north on-ramp, we came to a stop in the right lane, and Jack followed into the left lane, inching up parallel to us.  I don't remember who flagged the start, but I was sitting shotgun (no seat belts of course,) and when the arm came down and Curt popped the clutch, the tires screamed and we flew off the line, fishtailing down the road for at least 200 yards before regaining straight trajectory.  I think Curt must have had experience with drag racing and was in control, but never having been with him on any of those occasions, I didn't know what to expect.  For several seconds, I thought we might die right there.  Out of fear, I could only focus on the road ahead, but even peripherally, I never saw Jack from the second we left the line.  By the time we were half-way to Fort Hall, I knew we would be OK, having left him in our dust.  Curt had established his superiority, and that's what mattered that night.  Eat your heart out, Liz.

After high school, I went to college and then mission, and Curt pursued the plumbing trade.  I completely lost track of him until one day after moving back to Pocatello, I heard he had married Betty (last name?) a hot but loose chick from high school days. That marriage failed as she walked out a few years later.  Some time thereafter, he married Annette who as a member of the Church, took a chance on Curt.  I suppose she and her family worked on him gradually, but it was the LDS funeral of a close friend's baby that ultimately opened the door for the Spirit to convince him of the truth, and he joined the Church.  The Plan of Salvation was the magnet.  Thereafter, I would see Curt on occasion around town, and each time we would review the old good times, as well as the good present ones.  I detected that he was happy with Annette, and they were happy in the Gospel.

As I sat there in my office with Curt's father-in-law, the drag race and other memories flew through my mind. Our brains are interesting and amazing organs in the way they archive memories.  At the call of whatever stimulus, regardless of how long it's been packed in there, the brain brings out either a synopsis or the detailed memory, depending on wish, but it all happens within split seconds.  Among the memories, I also thought of my last contact with Curt.  A few years back I had occasion to see him and he told me that he had started to suffer symptoms of asbestosis, necessitating occasional oxygen use.  He had contracted the disease as a pipe-fitter at the nuclear facility on the Arco desert, where he had worked most of his adult life.  Before asbestos was determined to be harmful, it was used abundantly in all sorts of insulation products, including that on large plumbing pipe.  If asbestos fibers get into your lungs they embed in the lining and stimulate prolific inflammation and scar formation,  which  gradually diminishes the lungs' capacity to exchange air.  For Curt, original exposure may have occurred up to 30 years before.  The eventual onset of symptoms ushers a slow, but chronic process of incurable, progressive lung disease, ultimately resulting in death.  As it progresses, increasing concentrations of oxygen become necessary for comfort.   Diminishing blood oxygen levels cause general tissue damage and accelerate aging.  If one of the affected internal organs does not fail and cause death first, the lungs will ultimately become incapable of absorbing even the highest oxygen concentrations, and suffocation becomes inevitable.  It is a slow, miserable demise.

As Curt told me about his health issue, I knew in the back of my mind, that he would head down that road some day, but at the time, he was still working and seemed to be doing well.  So, I think I tried to avoid considering the inevitable.  After that contact, I lost track of him and though I now regret it, I essentially forgot about him until I saw his father-in-law in the office last November. Painting a grim picture of Curt's present status and mortal future, he advised me that the disease had advanced substantially, necessitating Curt's resignation from work. A covenant person himself, he expressed his love for Curt and his appreciation for the plan of salvation.

A little downtrodden by this news, I went home that night and told Debby about it.  I didn't know what to do. It was her charitable heart and spiritual sense that encouraged me to pay my old friend a visit, which I thought might be the last time I would see him.  As Christmas approached, I determined to I extend myself a little more than usual.  I contacted Annette and told her I would like to see Curt again.  She encouraged that and suggested convenient timing for it.  On a cold, brisk night, about a week before Christmas, Debby and I drove to their home, bearing gifts of treats and a book of the Christmas story.

Based on his father-in-law's description, I expected that we might find Curt bedridden, experiencing extreme discomfort an difficulty talking.  To my pleasant surprise, he came down from his bedroom, wearing oxygen, but otherwise fully dressed, and sat with us in the living room.  His face and body had changed, likely due to steroid side effects.  We reminisced again, the old stories of our younger, healthier days, and Curt was as cheerful as I had always known him, still cutting some of the same old jokes.  With my hand still in a splint, it  and my other recent health issues became a unavoidable topics of discussion.  Though my problems pale in comparison to his, I thought it might help him to know that he is not alone in that department.  We talked briefly about his illness and his perspective of that circumstance within his mortal and eternal existence.  He told us that he is still able to attend High Priest meetings where fulfills his present calling as instructor.  Overall, he extended a tremendous example of enduring cheerfully to the end.  I hope I can do that when the time comes.  As we parted, I was so pleased to know that he yet has more time with us.  I must commit to keep him in my thoughts and prayers, and to be there for him until the end.

A few days later, we received a card from Curt in the mail, thanking us for our thoughtful visit and gifts.  He ended his message with this reflection:  "We're just a couple of beat up old Rams."  Amen to that brother!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Lessons From Old Friends

I've procrastinated writing this post for a couple of months now, and you would think I would forget about it in the interim, but it just keeps coming back to me. so I will write.  In early December I had a couple of poignant experiences with old friends (high school,) that took me down memory lane and stimulated recollections of lessons learned from them.  I've discovered that the longer we live, the more such experiences/memories/lessons we acquire.  They become part of us, and we eventually realize that even our oldest friends and acquaintances have most certainly contributed to who we are.  Coincidentally, both of these experiences related to life threatening illnesses contracted by these friends.  It is unfortunate that it often takes someone's demise to help us recognize the impact they have had on us.  Learn from this. 

Friend # 1
The morning December 9, '09, had me impatiently awaiting a pre-operative blood-test at the hospital lab.  The tech was taking his sweet time.  I was scheduled for surgery on my injured finger that afternoon, and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.  I was fasting for the surgery and I was not in a good mood.  While sitting in that small waiting room, in hobbled an apparent old man - scruffy, long hair, unkempt clothing, fragile, gaunt limbs.  Depending heavily on a cane, he could barely shuffle through the door and across the room to the chair next to me.  As he approached, I realized he was a very decrepit Dave Balls, an old high school acquaintance.  I was shocked at his present appearance.  I had seen him around town, and even chatted with him just a few years earlier, when, as most of us do, he had aged a little, but was otherwise intact.  At that time, our chat covered present concerns, but since things were status quo, no deep recollections of the past were awakened.

There in the waiting room, Dave explained to me that  some time ago, he developed progressive weakness and pain all over his body but mostly in his extremities.  The problem went undiagnosed and the condition got worse for several months, until finally, x-rays showed major depletion of bone calcium throughout his body.  Further testing verified an extreme level of  blood calcium and parathyroid hormone.  The later moderates bone density.  It was then determined that he had golf ball sized tumors in two of his four parathyroid glands, which should otherwise be the size of a kernel of rice.  The increased levels of hormone had leached the calcium from his bones, resulting in some internal organ damage and numerous microfractures of the weight-bearing bones.  Unchecked, it would have ultimately crippled or killed him.  Fortunately, surgical removal of the tumors combined with medication to reverse the process, and he was improving as we spoke, but he would likely never be normal again.  As he related this story, I not only lost any concern for my puny little hand and my schedule, but my mind was shocked into deep reflection of who Dave Balls had been to me.

This is a photo of the Highland High School track team of Spring, 1966- the end of my sophomore year.  Back row, far left, you will see a younger version of me, and to my left is senior, Dave Balls (horn-rim glasses.)

Throughout that school year, I remember developing a reputation as the class clown.  I had teamed up with another joker in the class and we performed popular comedy routines at assemblies.  As such, I remember being generally well liked by my class, which in turn gave me substantial self confidence.  Yet, looking at this photo, reminds me that I was actually somewhat of a nerd as a sophomore, and I had my share of insecurities.  I can also now see that my focus on entertaining the class for popularity sake and for the self image it was creating  were shallow, ill-sought goals. 

During that Spring track season, still being focused on status, I learned that Dave Balls, a senior at the time, was considered by the cool guys to be a bit of a reclusive oddball, though a better runner than many of them, and certainly better than me.  As a sophomore, I felt awkward with track.  I was slow off the line, so I gravitated to the distance events which is where Dave excelled.  I had joined the track team at the insistence of my football coaches (spring conditioning for fall football, which was my game.)  Dave however, was a serious runner.  He had a graceful long stride and was built for distance.   He enjoyed it and competed well.

Although I was generally accepted, I had no tight friends on the track team that year.  I knew Dave was somewhat of a loner, and likewise had no close friends.  I had been around him for years at church (same ward) and he had always been respectable.  So even though I recognized him as a loner, I tended to look up to him as older and wiser.  I think he also  recognized his responsibility to be a good example to me.  He was certainly less self-centered than I was, and I soon realized that he never judged me harshly for my poor performances on the track.  As a result of all this, even though we were two years apart and never associated much outside track,  we somehow met one another's needs for a friend in that setting, and we would hang out together at that season's meets.

Through that 2-3 month association with Dave, I may have learned many lessons, but the one that surged back to my memory that day in the hospital waiting room was vital.  I remember the circumstances as though they were yesterday.  We were at a regional track meet at Twin Falls HS.  There was a lull in the events, so Dave and I took the opportunity to warm up on the track, and then we sat in the bleachers a chatted for  a few minutes.  It seems there were no other people immediately around us.  I don't remember what person or thing was the brunt of a comment I made, and I don't even remember what the comment was, but having developed a tendency to be flippant, sarcastic, and course, I'm sure it was crass and rude, possibly even profane.  Dave's response to me was not what I expected.  I had made the comment to be clever and get a laugh, but the few simple words of his response were obviously based on serious disappointment.  He simply, but sternly said,  "We should not talk that way."

I knew he was right, and I knew I was guilty.  Even after 40 years, memory of those feelings and recollection of that exchange have stayed with me.  It took time, but I believe his advice turned me away from a damaging misdirection in my life. Dave took the opportunity to teach his younger priesthood brother, a lesson  that has stuck with me through all these years.  I am so glad my lab work that day in the hospital was delayed, keeping me there until Dave hobbled in.  I don't know if I will ever see him again, but I will remain grateful for his good example.

This post is long enough.  I will continue with Friend # 2 another day.  Thank you all for reading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Here Kitty, Kitty

Please pray for Yolanda to come home.  She has been gone since Saturday.  We think a mean interloper cat has scared her off.  I know our prayers can bring her home.



This too shall pass

OK Go here.

For anyone else who might also need the reminder. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Madness

We hope you all will join us in the "March Madness" of reading the entire Book of Mormon during the month of March. We have done this for the last 3 years and it is intense, but it will add an increase to the spiritual nature of your life. Our institute teacher had us write down something we needed help with or an answer to then promised at the end of March, if we kept up, we would have an answer. For me, it was writing my thesis for graduate school... it took a while, but 280 pages + appendicies takes a while to write and I did it with God's help!

I know time is an issue, but I did it in 2007 while finishing up my graduate lab work, working as a single mom, writing a thesis, teaching 6 classes an hour away at Mary Baldwin, 2 classes locally at UVa AND planning a wedding ... so you can dooooo it.

Tonight is a perfect night to start with FHE.

PS- it equals about 18 pages a day.