Friday, September 28, 2012

Dorky but Safe!

Carlton showing off his new (used) iPod and his head lamp
 There are times in my life, where I hesitate to ever show a picture such as this to my older sister Nancy.  She is very artistically oriented and well, let's just say she has put me in very interesting scenes and scenarios.  I'm not entirely sure I plan to show her this one, and with her aging years, I'm optimistic she'll just pass right over it!

I've come to a point in my life, where I've pretty much blown off dignity and most of my vanity for the sake of safety.  Especially after crashing twice on my bike this month, the last while trying to start an app on my phone while riding with one hand.  The pain that was inflicted, simply hasn't made whatever I had hoped to gain from using that app, worth it.  It's with that spirit, that I wanted to show off my headlamp flashlight that I've started using while I walk in the early mornings.  At first I contemplated the visual experience for others, but the lure of seeing where I was walking (the bumps in the sidewalks), having my hands free to adjust my iPod, or take an oximeter reading of my finger or just being seen by cars as I cross our neighborhood streets.  This $4 headlight has been well worth it and I know that secretly, every neighbor out walking, wishes they had their own.  Watch me trip next week and smash it on my forehead leaving me at a diminished state for the rest of my life, but in the interim, you know I'm safer!

I'm also demonstrating my "new" used iPod.  Sarah helped me pick it out on Amazon and while I've had an iPad, it just didn't fit in my pocket very well when I exercised.  I had an iTunes account, and Sarah, taking advantage of it, has added some to it.  However I'm always open to some suggestions.  I need good exercise songs, so if you want to share with me your playlist, publicly or privately, I'll see if I like your stuff and if I do, will probably buy the songs. If I don't, I'll probably write a blog about your playlist and why it isn't any good....

Next time you see that beacon of light coming down your street, know that it's either an alien, me, or both!

Postscript:  I now add a second one on the back of my head, with a red light on, tail light!  Now there is a sight!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Odie and the Pig

Odie, our new calf comes in the pen
for dinner
While one might think that it was an old Elton John song, Odie and the Pig, are the newest acquisitions in the Christensen Family is much more than music.  You see, aside from the advantage of the quality in raising your own meat, we are hedging against price increases for next year, when the effects of this year's hot weather and drought in parts of the U.S. catches up with the market place.  Plus, it's just kind of fun to see how our food, really does get to our tables.

Those of you who are neighbors to us in Rose Park, may be wondering where these new additions are hiding in our backyard, but you're not going to be able to turn me in on this one!  Thanks to Cathy's brother Bill and his wife Shari, our new additions are being raised at their place, west of Ogden in Taylor, UT.  Bill and Shari, who have raised animals themselves for a number of years, took pity on us and agreed to help us acquire both a calf and a pig.  The calf came named by the family who sold it to Bill, and we liked the name Odie.  It seemed to fit and besides you don't want anything too sentimental, knowing that this year it's in the pasture and next year in your freezer!
The Pig (one of the three) is male and enjoying some
rotten tomatoes we brought with us to share with them.
They love tomatoes!
The Pig has a shorter outlook on the horizon, probably in February, but is a cute little thing and enjoys non-meat table scraps and leftover produce along with grain.  It's interesting to realize they do better with a little competition in gaining weight, when there is more than one.  Reminded me a little of myself and older brothers...maybe that's how I got so tall!

Cathy's brother Bill, convinces Odie
that it's time for dinner!
We were reminded the hard way, that raising animals has it's risk.  Bill and Shari, who also got a calf at the same time to raise along with Odie, lost it suddenly without any advance notice, and subsequently the investment that went along with it.  I'm reminded again, the risk farmers go through every day, in bringing stuff to our tables and we definitely take it for granted.  Our thanks to Bill, Shari and family for their willingness to help us out (and hold our hands through the process).  We look forward to the "circle of life"!

Monday, September 17, 2012

George Tsalaky - A great teacher, a true gentleman

Meeting George Tsalaky at Costco on
Saturday, September 15, 2012
There are people we come across in our lives that have a significant effect on us and while you hope they know that influence, it probably can't really be repaid.  One such person for me, is George Tsalaky, my fifth grade teacher at Backman Elementary.  For those of you who had him or interacted with him as a teacher, know his unassuming nature, and probably one of the kindest most gentle people I will have ever met.  For me, the year following my own father's death, he helped me understand and appreciate myself.  I lacked confidence, self-esteem and even a feeling of security.  Those first couple of years after my father's death were quite hard on me and Mr. Tsalaky was one of those persons who was always there.

Mr. Tsalaky started as a young teacher, early in Backman
Elementary's history.
In a time period where there were not a lot of male teachers, Mr. Tsalaky was a great role model in showing us how to be patient yet firm in treating each other with respect.  I was not the first to have him as a teacher in our family, but I like to think I was his favorite student.  However, I think he made us all feel like we were his favorite student. 

Picture of Backman Elementary faculty from 1966-67
Years after his retirement, George Tsalaky returns to Backman three days a week to volunteer his time in trying to continue to help kids read better.  While many might look to other opportunities, his heart is with the kids.   The measurement of his effect over the decades of association with the children of the West Side can never be calculated, but for him, it was all about the one.

Mr. Tsalaky as a young teacher

My heart gets light again, each time I run into Mr. Tsalaky. While I know that one day, he will return to God, I've asked him to put in a good word for me because his chances of getting there are probably much better than mine!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ben McAdams - Statesman and the best person to be Salt Lake County's next Mayor

Cathy and I joined a press conference of Mayors from around
Salt Lake County expressing our Support for
Ben McAdams as the next Salt Lake County Mayor
While we've supported many candidates in Carlton's 15 years of public service and even more in a lifetime of political activity, few rise to the standard of statesman-like leadership as our good friend, Senator Ben McAdams.  While many would scratch their head, knowing of our Republican background, as to why we would be supporting the Democratic candidate, our firm reply is that we need the best person to help lead our community.  Ben represents the qualities we would look for in someone who can reach across divides and show leadership in difficult situations. Also, he can help set a course for county government that would deliver the best services at a reasonable cost and efficient use of the taxpayer's dollars.  We've become good friends with Ben and Julie over the last five years and know that we can trust Ben. He is someone who can help our community come together and move forward.

Both of us don't ever mark straight party ballots, even though we defer heavily to a Republican ticket.  Neither of us believe poor candidates, on either side, deserve a pass based upon a party.  We still laugh however about an experience that happened on the day when Carlton asked Cathy to marry her in March of 1990.  We had only dated for a period of six weeks, and while we knew we were right for each other, we probably didn't know the details like we do 22 years later.  Carlton had just proposed to Cathy on the top of Ensign Peak and went driving away in his 1966 Chevy Pickup (a real piece of work) to tell family and friends. In a panic, Carlton looked at Cathy and in a serious tone asked, "Are you Republican or Democrat?"  In an astonished look, Cathy replied, "Republican, I guess."  OK so maybe not the script Carlton should have used, but his political family has strong allegiance to the Republican Party.  Mitt Romney is a good family friend and we believe he should be the next President of the United States.  In that same breath Ben McAdams should be the next Mayor of Salt Lake County.

We've always told friends who didn't have the courage to publicly support Carlton in his failed 2008 State Senate Race, who were Democrats, that no one knows what you do in the voting booth.  In the end, that is really where it matters.  Obviously we hope you'll be more public about your support for Ben and join us in saying it is good government that really matters, not the party.  That goes for both sides.  This will be a great year of change for many elected offices and we think it will be so for Salt Lake County and would ask you to vote for Ben McAdams for Salt Lake County Mayor!

Carlton & Cathy Christensen

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Midway, UT - halfway between here and Heaven

Sarah Cathy and Jessica after our bike ride in Midway
to and from Swiss Days
 Saturday we went and celebrated our Swiss heritage and took advantage of beautiful scenery and fun surroundings.  My brother and his wife are building a beautiful home in Midway and we had the chance of stopping by and then riding over to the festivities on Main Street.  In order to properly celebrate, I took my Swiss flag with me and left it in his yard while we went riding.  Recently, through family history research, we learned we have some Swiss Ancestry, which reminds me even more why I like Midway. 

There are a lot of beautiful communities in the "Wasatch Back" but I really love Midway.  Their Main Street is a welcome home to all walks of life and you don't need a Hummer to feel at home.  In addition there are many place to bike, and some great places to eat.  I just love "The Store" which gives you access to the essentials and reminds you of what makes small towns fun places to live.  We enjoyed the many vendors, food and interactions with people.  On the bike ride over to Swiss Days, Sarah said, "Hello" to everyone we passed and in addition to quickly riding past them them and not having to do the park and shuttle stuff, felt pretty liberated to come and go as we chose.  They do need a bike corral and there is room for a few bike lanes, but I can see it coming and with lot of potential.

Cathy and I have really enjoyed our bike riding in Midway!

I did have my first bike accident in a long time, pretty stupid one at that.  I missed a turn on a bike path, went off the path to find a steep incline and slid about four feet barely missing some cow dung!  Sprained my thumb, scraped my knee and have a few bruises but my bike is usable and I lived to ride another day.

Of course, I'm hoping no one reads this blog, because I don't want the rest of you finding how nice Midway is so it doesn't become like some of the other places that have lost their small town feel.  I love my city, but Midway is a great place to visit!