Monday, December 31, 2007

Elwood


As promised, this is a post about one of my grandfathers. This particular post happens to be about my paternal grandfather, Elwood Jones Corry.

I lived in the same city as my paternal grandparents for about fifteen or so years of my life, and so I was able to see them quite frequently. Here are some general facts about my grandpa:

He was born in Cedar City, Utah
He attended college in Cedar City, Utah
He was a Mormon Missionary in England in the early 1930s
He served in World War II as a clerk-typist (more on that below)
He owned an insurance and realty business
He became a widower at relatively young age, when he had three little girls and three little boys
He later remarried and had another little boy
He and his wife served an LDS mission in San Jose, California in the early 1990s
He developed cancer, but fought it very successfully for quite a few years (like 5-10)
He eventually passed away, not from cancer, but just from his body being old and worn out

Now, for a few more details:

When my grandfather was drafted into the war, he had three children at home. When he got the notice, one of his daughters was sick, and his aging father-in-law was living with them for what would turn out to be that last few weeks of his life. He didn't feel like it was a good time for him to tell his wife, and so he carried the draft notice around in his coat pocket for three days before he finally told her.

After basic training but before he was shipped out to Hawaii (where he ended up spending most of his war experience), my grandfather was processed in Camp Beal, California. There he was put through a physical examination, and one of the examining physicians found a heart murmur that my grandfather had had ever since he had been a young boy. My grandfather tried to tell the physician that the murmur was nothing, that he had had it for years and that it had not impeded him at all, but the physician didn't listen to him, and he was eventually sent to a cardiac ward of a large army hospital. While my grandfather was there, most of his company shipped out to Europe, and many of those men ended up fighting (and dying) in the Battle of the Bulge.

I think about that sometimes. My father was born after World War II, and so if my grandfather had shipped out in that company, I might have ended up being born into a very different family than I was. For his part, my grandfather was always convinced that he was kept out of Europe because of (as he put it) "the overruling hand of divine Providence."

I have lots of memories of the time I spent with my grandfather, but I'll just share one, and then that will be it for this post.

About two years before my grandfather passed away, I had a conversation with him that I hope I never forget. I'd been home from my mission for about six months, and I was having a tough time of it. Upon coming home, I had immediately moved six hours away from my family, (where I knew almost no one), enrolled in graduate level accounting courses, (although I hadn't even thought about accounting once in a year and a half) and was trying to figure out where I fit into the world. It was a hard adjustment to say the least, and I was feeling lost, alone, unsure of my future, and scared.

Around this time, I went to Cedar City to spend my two-week summer break with my family. While there, I decided to drop in and visit my grandparents. When I arrived at the house, my grandmother was out running errands, but my grandfather was there, so we had a little visit. By then my grandfather was mostly blind, a little forgetful, and didn't get around too much. In spite of all of this, he still had a lot of wisdom, and he hadn't lost a bit of his extra kind soul. As we got talking about this and that, my grandfather started reminiscing about some of his experiences, and the twists and turns that had come through his life, some of them good, and some of them really terribly difficult. And then, he said something that I still repeat to myself when things get hard. It's not rocket science, but it's definitely comforting, and I definitely believe it.


He said, "You know, if you just keep at it, things always work out for the best."




This was not the first time I'd heard that statement. It was (and continues to be) a favorite saying of my father, and I'd even heard it from my grandpa before this time. But this time was special to me, and it's almost like I believed it more. I felt inside of me that he was right, and that I could depend upon what he was saying. So I trusted him, and I kept at it.




So far, he's been completely, totally, 100% right.




-cc



Friday, December 28, 2007

a quick note

We had a good Christmas. We traveled to Cedar City to spend the holiday with my family there, and it was a whole lot of fun, with a few good surprises and a few surprises that weren't so good. Overall though, it was a great time, and I feel more ready to take on the world again, after having a little break.

Among the not-so-good-surprises, We stopped in Salt Lake City en route to look at the lights on Temple square. It was beautiful, but freaking freezing! Also, during our time in Cedar City, there was this strain of the stomach flu that made the rounds of different family members. For the sake of discretion, I'll just say that we were not entirely untouched. Yuck. We're feeling much better now though.



Among the good surprises, for the first time in ages, we had nearly perfect weather for the multi-hour drive down, and quite decent weather for the (again multi-hour) drive back. Nice. And then, I can't forget the beautiful silver sparkly necklace that Eric gave me for Christmas (among other things). All my nieces (who were entranced with their princess dress-ups, princess tea sets, princess telephones, and princess Polly Pocket dolls) seemed just a little envious of my "real princess" jewelry. Fortunately, their envy didn't extend so far that they took me up on one of my rash (and not-well-thought out) offers to trade. (Whew!)

And that's about it. Looking over that last paragraph, I think I'd better end this, before I write a whole page entirely made up of parenthetical remarks. I seem to be getting on a roll.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mysteries

One of my sisters-in-law ( Melissa ) tagged me to write 6 mystery things about myself. I've been kind of burned out on blog tags lately (because you know, I've done like three other blog tags on this blog, and that's just a whole lot if you ask me-wink, wink), but since it was Melissa's first time, and since I did enjoy reading hers, I decided to give it a go. So, here they are, the six mysterious things about me:

1. (Warning: This one is a little bit gross. Feel free to skip it) When I was in high school, I ate a raw fish eyeball that was sticking out of the skull of one of the trout that my brothers had brought home from a fishing trip. By doing it, I won a bet, and Brother#1 gave me $10. I used it to purchase crochet magazines at the craft store. From then on I lived in fear that someone in my family would tell my friends and they would be too grossed out to hang out with me anymore.

2. Just a few years ago (when I was old enough to know better), I bet Brother#4 $20 that he couldn't fit all of an almond in a mold the size of a regular Hershey Kiss. I lost the bet. I have no idea how Brother#4 spent that money.

3. I once received a marriage proposal via a game of Hangman. I was on my second date with a guy, and he asked me to play hangman with him. I thought it was odd, but I agreed to do it. The spaces for the letters looked like this (except there were spaces in a few places. I can't get blogger to do that. I don't know HTML and so I can't fix it):

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ?


As I guessed the letters, I realized (with shock and dismay) that the words spelled out the phrase, "Will you marry me?" My answer was no. I don't think he was too heartbroken however. I learned the following summer that he had proposed to another girl mere weeks after our hangman experience.

4. I love chocolate in practically everything, with the one exception that I can barely stand English Toffee in any form.

5. Although my favorite color is yellow, when it comes to flowers, I prefer reds, lavenders, purples, and other jewel tones.

6. I rode through the Great Smoky Mountains in a Suburban with my family when I was 17 years old. We were exploring the Southern United States, and as we were driving through the Great Smoky Mountains, I was much more interested in reading my book than looking out the window. This seemed odd to my mom, and she told me that if I wasn't careful, my only memory of driving through this national landmark would be of the book I was reading.

In a way she was kind-of right. I don't remember the book I was reading, but the one thing I DO remember about drive through those mountains was that very conversation . (I did go back to the Great Smoky Mountains a few years ago, and I didn't crack a book the whole time we were there).





And there you have it: fish eyes, Hershey Kisses, marriage proposals, English Toffee, flowers, and the Great Smoky Mountains. It's a regular potpourri of random-ness, don't you think?

And with that, I leave you. All is well with us. I made Gumbo for the first time last night. It wasn't as good as my Texas Belle Tayneshia used to make, but for a first time, I was pretty pleased.

-cc

p.s. If you have a blog and would like to write six mysterious things about yourself, consider yourself tagged. Or, if you don't have a blog, and want to leave a comment with six mysterious things about yourself, that would be just fine too.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charlotte and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

So yesterday wasn't my favorite day.

  • I turned off my alarm twice without realizing I was doing it, which made it so I was an hour late getting up for the day. This meant that I didn't have time for my morning walk, which is when I get all my anxiety and angst out. Consequently, my morning was a little high in the anxiety and angst department.
  • On my lunch hour, I went to three different stores, on a Christmas errand, all for naught. While I was out searching for this (secret) item, I noticed that the rear tire in the RAV was dangerously close to being flat. Fortunately, I was near a service station, and the very nice attendant turned the air on for me for free, thus saving me 75 cents (a small amount, but it meant that I didn't have to change out my dollar bill, and I was grateful). Also fortunately, I found as I filled the tire with air that it wouldn't be needing any further maintenance.
  • After my (non-lunch-eating) lunch hour, I went back to work to find that the software program that I use for all the accounting data at the opera (i.e., the program that is the most critical to my success, sense of fulfillment, and ability to stay in this particular position of employment) was being incredibly temperamental.
  • After trying the few tricks I knew to no avail, I called technical support. That's when things got really bad. I'll not bore you with the details, but I will say that I spent over 2 hours on the phone with a woman whose native language was not English, trying to talk computers, software, and accounting. Sixty minutes into the conversation, my technical support representative realized that she was looking at the wrong version of the software than the one I was using. (I just about started crying at that point). Finally we got the situation to a point where it was temporarily (but only temporarily) livable.
  • I left work a little bit late, and broke down and went to Wal-Mart for the (secret) Christmas errand (breaking my "no Wal-Mart from December 1 through December 25 rule"). Wal-Mart was just as crazy as you would imagine it would be on December 17, but I did eventually find what I was looking for. I had fifteen minutes before the post office was to close, and I rushed over there.
  • The line at the post office was out the door. At least the postal workers and other people waiting in line were almost all in good moods. That little fact helped me out immensely.
  • I got my package mailed, and headed home. As I was unloading some groceries from the back of the RAV, I noticed a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi that I must have purchased on some previous shopping trip and never brought into the house.
  • Now, I am not a drinker of Diet Pepsi. (You may remember how my body tends to deal with caffeine) Eric, who used to be a drinker of Diet Pepsi, is currently trying to kick the habit (and being pretty successful, I might add). So, I was going to just toss the bottle, but upon reflection, I decided that a nice cold Diet Pepsi might be just the thing that would help me start to turn this day around.

IT WASN'T.

  • The soda had frozen during its time in the back of the RAV, and as I tried to open it, it started fizzing. No big deal, I just tightened the lid until the air was just gently escaping from the bottle. I let it sit for a few minutes, until I decided it was probably ready to be opened.

IT WASN'T.

  • As I opened the bottle a little more, suddenly, I was surrounded by a Diet Pepsi fountain! Diet Pepsi was everywhere! It was on the counter and all over the sink. It was all over my shirt and all over the kitchen floor. It was on the ceiling and on the cabinets. It was in places that I haven't even yet discovered.

At that point, I lost it. Thankfully, on this particular occasion, "losing it" entailed me bursting in to gales and gales of laughter. I got the Pepsi taken care of, and as I worked on that, I just laughed. I laughed until I had tears running down my cheeks. I laughed until I thought my stomach would be in a permanent state of cramp-ness. I laughed until I thought I might be going crazy. But I'll take a fit of hysterical laughter over a bout of inconsolable sobbing any day. You may think this laughing fit might have been the thing that would start to turn this day around.

IT WAS.

The rest of yesterday evening got a little bit better each hour, and today has been much better. At work I was able to come up with what I think will eventually be a livable (and even better) solution to my software issues, my Christmas errands are all but complete, and at this particular moment there's not a drop of Diet Pepsi in sight.

Whew!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm just curious . . .

Are there any lurkers reading this blog?


I check about five to seven blogs quite frequently, and all of them are written by people with whom I've had some kind of interaction. A couple of those interactions were via blog comments, but still, they were genuine, two-way interactions.


There are other blogs that I check regularly, but not exactly frequently. These are written by additional friends and family members, people who don't update their blogs as frequently as the people I've mentioned above.


And then there are probably three to five blogs that I check even less often, but fairly consistently. These are written by people I've found on the blogrolls of other people, or the "blogs of note" link on blogger.com, or via google searches when I was looking for something specific.


None of these people know I that exist. If they saw me on the street, they would walk right by, not knowing me from Adam. And yet, I know all about their lives. I know that one of them recently purchased a new tent trailer, and that another one of them has a daughter that recently performed in her first ever ballet recital. I know about their vacations, their frustrations, their joys, the weird things that happen to them in the grocery store, and the wonderful things that happen to them in their living rooms. In short, I know a fair amount about their lives, even though I've never met any of them, and really don't expect to ever meet any of them.


So, I'm just wondering . . . do any of you reading this blog right now fall into that category?


If you do, and you'll indulge me, leave a comment and say so. It's totally fine with me if you comment anonymously, or you can use a fake name, or you can use your real name and/or a few details about yourself. It's totally up to you.


As I said, I'm just curious . . .

Creamsicle as it's never been done before

Any of you who are curious to see what happened to the creamsicle orange sweater (previously mentioned here)





Should go HERE.






Here's a little teaser:






Friday, December 14, 2007

golden oldies

A couple of days ago, my friends Sylvia, Nicolena, and I provided a very short Christmas program at one of the assisted living centers here. We ended up singing six songs, and Sylvia did a little reading as well. The whole thing took less than 1/2 an hour to perform, but it was a great experience, and it got me thinking a bit.


I've sung at several different rest homes, nursing homes, assisted living centers, and retirement villages over the years, and although each experience has been unique, there are certain similarities between them all. I think by and large, the residents of these facilities tend to be more forgiving of musical errors, and more generous in praise of musical prowess than pretty much any other demographic. I'm certain there are many factors that combine to cause this, and I wonder what they are. I could probably guess some of them, but I'm fairly certain that there are others that would surprise me.


Anyway, I won't go on and on with all my thoughts here. There are too many of them, and besides not wanting to type them all, I also don't want to bore you with the inner workings of my own mind (not today at any rate). However, the experience has gotten me thinking about my grandparents, and some of the memories I have of them. I've already written about both of my grandmothers (here and here), but I haven't said too much about either of my grandfathers, or my Uncle Scott or Aunt Ruth (who were basically a third set of grandparents to me, as well as many of their other great-nieces and great-nephews). I don't think today is the day for that, and so I think this is all I'm going to post for now. But don't be surprised if there are some grandpa stories showing up here in the next couple of weeks. It's probably about time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another Round of Random Pictures

Well, it's been quite a while since I've posted a random group of pictures, and as it turns out, today is the day when I feel like doing just that. (As you might remember, I was going to do a "random picture post" a few weeks ago, but I got distracted by the picture of my tree, and went off on a description of that instead)

So, here they are. The one thing all these pictures have in common is that they were all taken at some point in the year 2004. This first picture is Heidi and I at our Simon and Garfunkel Party. In the fall of 2004, Simon and Garfunkel had a reunion tour, and they came to Salt Lake City. As I remember, I was a little hesitant about forking over the money for the high-priced tickets (which ended up selling out rather quickly anyway), and so we organized our own concert. We invited all our friends over to our apartment, and watched the DVD of Simon and Garfunkel's Concert in Central Park, and pretended. Heidi even worked it out so we could make our own iron-on t-shirts to commemorate the event. I still have my t-shirt actually. It's getting a little raggedy, but it makes a great Saturday shirt to this day.

This next one I took at an Aggie Football game, again in the fall of 2004. As I remember, I attended the game with Ilsa and Dorothea. I have no idea who those people are, but I liked how there were so many navy blue shirts, and so I snapped this shot to remember the moment.













And finally, we have the photo that is in homage to the fact that in just twelve short days,(!!!!!) Eric and I will be in Southern Utah, at this very gate, headed up to my parents' cabin for a day of Christmas Eve sledding, chili and salt water taffy eating, hot chocolate drinking, and general playing. It's one of the Corry traditions, and it might be my favorite one. Ever since I was a little girl, my dad (who is the man pictured most prominently in the picture) would take all of us kids up to the cabin on Christmas Eve Day, thus getting us out of my mom's hair so she could finish her Christmas preparations. We would spend the day sledding, eating chili dogs and salt water taffy, drinking hot chocolate, and making a whole bunch of memories. The tradition continues, although nowadays my mom comes up with us. Sometimes there's so much snow that it looks like a Winter Wonderland, and sometimes it's a bit sparse (as it is in this photo). Regardless of the snowpack though, we always have a fantastic time.




And I think that will do it for today.

-cc


Monday, December 10, 2007

Conversations

TWO WEEKS AGO:
Scene: The breakfast nook. Charlotte and Eric are feasting on their typical sumptuous evening meal.

Charlotte: So, are you planning to come to that Christmas concert that I'm singing in?

Eric (somewhat surprised at the question): Well, I have to come, don't I?

Charlotte (pleasantly surprised at the answer): Actually, yeah, you pretty much do.

Eric (seeing a brand new window of opportunity and kicking himself for not negotiating earlier) : Well . . . I mean, you probably don't really need me there, right?

Charlotte (feeling herself losing ground): Well . . . I guess not, but I'd like to have you there.

Eric (a little unsure): Well . . . if you really want me to go, I guess I could. I could bring my sketchbook or something to do.

Charlotte (remembering some of the more boring concerts she's attended over the years): Well, we'll see. Let me think about it for a bit.

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, FOUR-THIRTY-FIVE P.M.
Scene: The kitchen, by the sink. Charlotte and Eric have just returned from church, and are participating in a little bit of Sunday afternoon snogging.

Charlotte: Okay, I have got to leave in FIVE MINUTES for this concert!

Eric (a little distracted): Why so soon?

Charlotte: We have a rehearsal before the performance, and if I'm late I'll be in big big trouble.

Eric (tentatively) :Umm . . . so, what time is this concert anyway?

Charlotte: Seven o'clock. You aren't planning on coming, are you?

Eric (face twists into a "What can I say here that won't get me in trouble, but won't entail attending this concert" expression): Ummm . . .

Charlotte (magnanimously): Because you don't have to. (She thinks to herself: "Because I want to save my 'do-this-because-you-love-me' wild cards for a time when it is REALLY important to me")

Eric (obviously relieved): Oh, really? Well, okay, I mean, if you really don't care . . .

* * *
So, the concert was last night. It went really well, and I had a great time. The music was beautiful, and the Tabernacle (where the concert was held) was absolutely packed. I've never seen so many people in that building at one time before. There were people sitting on the windowsills (I've seen that before), and people who had to stand the entire time (I've never seen that before). I was amazed.

Tonight I think I'm going to make the Christmas tamales, and Eric has to finish the Young Men's budget. If we have any conversations over these activities that are blog worthy, I'll be sure to post them here.

Hasta,
-c

Friday, December 07, 2007

quiet rebellion

Well, I couldn't stay away.

Not that I really tried. As much as it may appear that I do everything recommended me by my monthly Reader's Digest, I've chosen to continue to blog in spite of next month's cover story. So there.

(Incidentally, what's up with sending out the January issue so that it arrives in my mailbox on December 5th? I mean, December 24th or 20th I could understand. But, December FIFTH?? Is that just a Christmas thing, or is it a general thing? I'll have to pay attention, and see when the February issue comes.)

All is well with us. Today I'm having lunch with Dorothea. Yippee!! Monday I'm having lunch with the Sugar Gliders. Yippee!! Tonight Eric and I will probably be dining on leftover Chicken Enchilada Casserole while we enjoy not having to go anywhere or do anything for a whole evening. Double Yippee!!

And that pretty much sums things up for us at the moment. Since this entry is a bit on the short side, I leave you with a listing of random questions I've had lately. Some of them could possibly show up in future blog posts. You just never know . . .

--What is it about sports that is so thrilling to my brothers ? They all scrutinize, analyze, often criticize, and generally obsess-size over every aspect of college and professional sports. What am I missing there? And what does BCS stand for?

--Why oh why did I buy two skeins of nice, super-soft baby yarn in creamsicle orange? Who in the world would be even the least bit pleased to receive a baby jacket in trend-setting creamsicle orange?

--What is it about comic books that makes me so drowsy? I've tried listening to relaxing music, white noise, recordings specifically generated to induce sleep, boring radio talk shows (no yellers though), and a whole bunch of other things to help me when it's too late to be awake and I'm too keyed-up to fall asleep. Nothing works as well as having Eric read to me from his comic of choice. Why would that be?

And finally,

--What should Eric and I give ourselves as a reward if (when) we make it through the holidays without gaining any weight? We're having our official weigh-in tomorrow, and we both need something to keep us from porking out too much over the next four weeks. It will have to be really good though, because we both love to eat (especially me), and Christmas is a time when there are a lot of good treats that you don't get any other time of year. So, the inner joy and satisfaction that comes from taking good care of our bodies just isn't going to cut it this time.

And that's it for today. May you all have fabulous weekends.

(And if any of you want an infant- size creamsicle sweater, let me know. I bet I finish it this weekend.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

like ra-yay-yain on your wedding day

So, you'll remember (from reading my first post, because I know that you have all read this blog from beginning to end by now)(or you could have read the "about me" portion in the sidebar, but I never know when I'm going to update that, and so by the time you discover this post, I very well may have changed it already) that the whole reason that I even started blogging was because I read an article in Reader's Digest about it, and I decided to give it a try, right?

Well, this morning, as I was finishing my morning walk, I stopped by the mailbox and what should I find waiting for me but my January edition of Reader's Digest. And what should be the cover story of this particular issue?

I quote:

Work, E-mail, News, Blogs, Voicemail
CAN'T KEEP UP?
Get Simple
Get Smart
Stay Sane
PAGE 106

Does that strike anyone else as being just a little bit ironic?

Monday, December 03, 2007

An Update

Remember our tree?
Remember our squash?
I really should take it in, I know. I'm just not a very good clean-up-after-the-garden-is-finished-being-fun-and-exciting-and-producing-new-things kind of girl.




Yesterday as I arrived at our church, one of my new friends (a woman who I hadn't even met six months ago) asked me how my lemon pies turned out. I had mentioned my lemon meringue pie quest to her about three weeks previously, and she remembered it all that time. This exchange (which was really heartwarming to me) was preceded by me spending all of the previous morning sitting at a table with three other neighbors (also people I hadn't even met six months ago), chatting and working on a couple of very crafty projects.* The fact that I was able to do this is significant for two reasons:


1)With the exception of crocheting, I am not the least bit crafty.

2)I tend to be somewhat shy at times, and certainly cannot carry on light banter for more than about fifteen minutes unless I'm pretty well in my comfort zone.

Isn't it nice when things work out like that?

(Oh no you don't! You had to look it up! Admit it!)


The concert is this Sunday night. It's a community inter-faith Christmas concert/Food Pantry benefit. This is the 10-year anniversary of the event, and to commemorate it, Craig Jessop (Conductor for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) will be coming up to conduct a few of the numbers, and bringing some of his choir with him. How fun, huh? We've been rehearsing since the first part of November, and it's been fun to learn some new challenging songs.


As fun as these rehearsals have been, they've taught me through uncomfortable experience that my breath support is not what it once was. That's a little discouraging. It's hard (actually, it's impossible) to stay on top of all the things that you'd like to do and learn and experience and maintain, you know? I'd love to spend more time singing and studying vocal technique and improving that particular skill, but honestly, at this particular time, its place on the priority scale just isn't high enough for me to make any major changes there. And that's okay with me. I've done some of that, and now it's time to do some of something else. And perhaps one day it will be time to return to doing some of what I've done before. Or perhaps not. I guess I'll just have to see.


And on that philosophical note, I'm going to go downstairs and make myself a very un-philosophical pastrami sandwich. Have a nice few days.


-cc



*I can't tell you what the projects were, because two of you faithful readers will be receiving samples for Christmas presents. It would be a shame to ruin the surprise, right?
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