Saturday, May 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Doug!

Today is the birthday of my baby brother, Douglas Corry. Some of these pictures have significance, and some of them I just liked a whole lot and so I posted them here.

These two (below) have reference to a post I made here. It was the birthday of one of my other brothers, and to honor (and flatter) him, I posted a picture of all the men in my family. The picture made it appear as if Jacob (the birthday boy of that post) was the tallest man in the photo. If you'll read the comments to that post, you will find that Doug took good-natured offense to that, since it is Douglas who actually holds the distinction of being the tallest descendant of my parents.

, in recognition of that fact, here are two pictures, taken around the same time as the picture posted back in February, both of which show that Doug is clearly the tallest. The second also shows Doug to be the most sleepy, which tends to be quite accurate as well.

These next two I put in because they are pictures of (as far as I know) THE VERY FIRST EVER ever Corry Family Eggstravaganza. The third or fourth annual Corry Family Eggstravaganza is something to which I previously alluded to here. Since Doug has won this contest more than anyone else in the family, I thought it was appropriate.

And now for the birthday poem:

Ode to Doug
by Charlotte C. Cantwell

He was born when I was twelve, at the end of May,
When I heard he'd arrived, it was a fabulous day.

I loved him so dearly, though teasing him gave me glee,
It's come back to bite me, since now he's bigger than me.

(I used to pin his arms and legs down, and then let my long (luxurious, chestnut-colored) hair dangle in his face. He couldn't do a thing about it, and I would just laugh and laugh. I never did it long enough to get him crying or anything like that, but still, judging from payback I get now, it must have been at least a little bit frustrating for our old Dougle.)

When he was around ten, I left home for good,
But I saw him quite often, as often as I could.

As we all got older, he became "Smiley Doug",
No one makes us laugh more, the silly old lug.

That last rhyme was awful, and so it must be quite clear,
The end of my poetry ability is drawing ever near.

So, with just a few more words, I'll end this poem too.
Happy Birthday Dear Douglas, How dearly I love you!
(Some of you may have noticed that Doug got a whole photo-essay as well as a poem for his birthday, while the birthdays of my other family members have been met with fanfare that has been somewhat less extravagant. I have no explanation for this--except that I was in a photo uploading mood. Rest assured that it certainly does not mean that I'm exceptionally partial to Douglas. Heavens! We couldn't have that now, could we?)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Birthday dear Heidi!

This is actually the second bit of poetry I've written in honor of dear Heidi.

The first was written a few years ago. I was going to be in Arizona on Heidi's birthday, and so I wrote her a poem, and coerced several of our friends to do the same. Getting and reading all those poems great fun for me, possibly even more fun for me than it was for Heidi.

Heidi is a BIG celebrator of birthdays, which always turned out to be such a blessing for me. In the many years that we were roommates, Heidi arranged parties for me pretty much every year. Once year, she coerced many of our friends to create pictures, photos, drawings, paintings, sculptures (well, one sculpture), and other fun things, and she had a "Charlotte Museum", all of which she did without me suspecting a thing. Another year she and Amanda put together a travel party for me, where we went to different homes and had different foods throughout the night. We had a pinata and everything. Even this past birthday, she secretly got the e-mail addresses of many of my friends and family, and invited them to send me birthday cards and letters to her home in Alabama, since that's where Eric and I were on March 13 this year.

I'm less creative AND less confident when it comes to birthdays, unfortunately for Heidi. At times in past years I would get I get a wild hare about some great fun thing I could plan for Heidi's birthday, but I would always talk myself out of it, telling myself that it was a little too crazy, and that probably no one would enjoy it, least of all Heidi. Silly Charlotte. Anyway, because of that, the celebrations that we had for Heidi in those roommate years were significantly less extravagant, and more predictable. We would nearly always have a party of some sort with all our friends and acquaintances invited around May 30, and then often we would do something involving fewer people (local-ish roadtrip, dinner, movie, picnic, etc.) on the actual birthday. One year we went to Park City for some shopping and girl time, another year we took our men (the ones we were dating anyway, neither of us were married yet) to Antelope Island (by the Great Salt Lake) for a little adventure with the brine shrimp.

So, anyway, that's a longer-than-I-was-expecting-to-write description of birthdays past. And now we get on to the poem:

Ode to Heidi Jo
by Charlotte C. Cantwell

"Excellent notion!"* I say as I hear
Another brilliant Heidi-idea that makes its way to my ear.

As we snack on brownies (topped with coconut of course)
And discuss the doings of our day, until we're nearly hoarse.

It was from 10:30 to 11:00 or so every night,
We called it "Heidi/Charlotte time", and it fit just right.

We'd talk about our day, and the thoughts that we'd had
We'd talk about the troubles, the joys, the good and the bad.

For years it went on like this, we thought it might never end,
But little did we know what was waiting around the bend.

Big changes for Heidi were looming quite near,
She became a wife, an Alabamian (is that a word?), and a mother all in less than a year.

But thanks to our friendship and our in-calling plan (thanks, Verizon!),
We still talk over our lives, as often as we can.

She's given me counsel about dating and being wed,
about pregnancy, and adjustments, and keeping babies fed.

(You have no idea how I picked Heidi's brain about pregnancy, infant care and mommy survival last March when we were out there! I can hardly express what a blessing it has been for me to have her just a couple of steps ahead of me in engagement, marriage, pregnancy, and (soon) motherhood. What a relief!)

But mostly we laugh, and that's best of all
We laugh over everything, both big and small.

And as I look over the years, I can say with absolute glee,
I was blessed with a friend who is the best she could be!

(Sappy, but true. And hey, if you've been reading here for very long at all, you know that there's going to be sap from time to time)

So to my dear Heidi, I leave a wish on your day,
May your birthday be happy, one great big HOORAY!

"Excellent Notion!" is a phrase that Robert Ferrars uses in the movie (and possibly the book, it's been awhile since I read it) Sense and Sensibility when his sister informs him that she has invited (the devious) Miss Lucy Steele to their home for a visit. Robert later marries Miss Lucy Steele, once he has secured himself as the one to inherit the Ferrars fortune. Anyway, I just think that particular line in the movie is pretty funny, and Heidi and I both get a kick out of using the phrase "Excellent Notion!" whenever we can get away with it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thanks, Mom

This post has been a couple of weeks coming.

A few weeks ago (on Mother's Day, to be exact), I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting, listening to the sweet couple in our ward who had been called on to speak. As I was listening, my mind started to wander. As it wandered, I got thinking about what kinds of things I might include in my mother's day talk, should I ever be so unfortunate as to be asked to give one.

Of course, I would probably share some scriptures, and perhaps some quotes from church leaders or others on the divine calling of motherhood. In addition to that though, I think I would share the following story.

When I was probably eight or nine years old, my mother was called to serve in the Young Women's organization of our church. Specifically, she was asked to teach and mentor the girls in our ward between the ages of 14 and 16 years old. Those girls would come over to our house nearly every Tuesday night (or it could have been every Wednesday night--I'm not positive on that), and I thought they were the neatest thing since sliced bread. Those girls seemed completely grown up, absolutely darling, and everything that I wanted to be. Our home was a split-level, and I can remember many times, sitting (out of sight) on our landing or on the stairs, listening to (okay--eavesdropping on) the girls and my mom as they chatted and played and studied in our living room at the top of the stairs.

Good times.

After a while, I noticed that one particular girl started coming to our house by herself on days other than the regular meeting night. My mother is fantastic at sewing (a talent/interest that I did not pick up, unfortunately), and she and this girl (we'll call her Andie), were sewing something. As time continued, I learned that they were sewing a few skirts. They worked on these skirts for a few weeks, and I think I remember seeing them finished. I even vaguely remember seeing Andie in one of the skirts at one time, I think.

At some point (later), I asked my mom why Andie had come over to make skirts with her. My mother, in her very matter-of-fact way, explained, "Well, she wasn't coming to church. When I asked her why she didn't come, she told me she didn't have any dresses to wear. So, we worked together to make her something that she could wear to church."

Fast forward to the present. I'm all grown up (maybe), and I have almost no idea of what happened to ANY of those girls in the years that followed. Most of them moved away. I certainly have no idea what happened to Andie. What I do know very very well, is what happened to Charlotte as a result of my mom's work with those girls. As I watched my mom love those girls, and especially as I watched her with Andie, I learned (far better than I ever would have learned in a Family Home Evening lesson or a Sunday School lesson, or any kind of lecture or chat that I might have heard) how to serve in the church and how to serve in life. I learned the power and the importance of giving individual attention when it is needed, and I learned that it really wasn't all that hard of a thing to do.

That lesson has blessed me more than I can say. I don't need (or want) to go into the details of the experiences that I have had as I've grown up and tried to give individual attention and care to other people, particularly those who might be struggling in one way or another. (And really, don't we all struggle from time to time, in one way or another?) I have had many great experiences over the years, and in every single case, doing so has been nothing but a blessing for me. That's probably all I need too say about that, except for one more thing.

I learned it all by watching my mom.

Thanks, mom.

*this post was entered in the Service Soapbox Writing Contest

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Preview of Coming Attractions

Have you been missing the birthday poetry posts?

Well, your wait is nearly over!

We (We? We who? What, you got a mouse in your pocket, Charlotte?) are pleased to announce that next week the illustrious author of just a little bit of quirky-ness will favor her readers with not one but

Birthday Poems!

It's going to be great! It's going to be amazing! You won't want to miss it!

I find this picture hilarious. I may have to take it down though. Technically, I do not have permission to use it, but I'm willing to risk it for now.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled weekend.

In case you're wondering, it should be a fun one for us. We're getting together tonight with Dorothea and Sergei, and tomorrow we're going to see the new Indiana Jones movie, courtesy of our investment advisers (Not ours personally of course. Eric and I don't have enough money invested at this point in our lives to warrant that kind of special care from investment firms. Nay, this is a perk that comes through our employment connections. Someday, if I can stop Eric from buying robots and Eric can stop me from buying plane tickets, and we use that savings to get years of compound interest, we may be there. Or maybe we won't. But, either way, I think we'll end up being happy. Kind of like we are right now.)


Monday, May 19, 2008

Celebrity Girlfriends (three conversations)


Scene: I don't know what the scene is. It's been long enough that I don't remember all the specifics of this particular conversation. But I remember enough. Eric and Charlotte had been married for six months or so, and they are just hanging out, chatting about this and that.

CHARLOTTE(casually): So, who's your celebrity girlfriend?

ERIC (confused): My what?

CHARLOTTE: You know, your celebrity girlfriend.

ERIC (still confused): I have no idea what you're talking about.

CHARLOTTE (incredulously): No way! Really? Well, your celebrity girlfriend is the famous person that makes you think hmmm-mmm-mmm. The one that you go to movies to see, even if the movie is supposed to be lame. You know, the one that if things were different, you wouldn't mind ummm. . . well, investigating the possibilities a bit.

ERIC: Huh. I've never thought about that. I don't know. Why? Who's your celebrity boyfriend?

CHARLOTTE (A little embarrassed): Oh, well, it varies. Usually it's either Ben Affleck or Matt Damon. Of course I think they're both married. Actually, I'm sure Matt is. Not that it matters, 'cause you know, I'm married too.

ERIC (amiably, because Eric is quite comfortable with himself and never gets intimidated if his wife has secret crushes on young hunky movie stars): Oh, right.


* * *


Scene: The basement of Eric's parents house. Charlotte and Eric are down there alone, watching television.

ERIC (suddenly): Hey! There she is! That's my celebrity girlfriend!

CHARLOTTE (trying to identify the woman on the screen): Which one? Who?

ERIC: The one in the center. Beyonce.

CHARLOTTE (feeling somewhat intimidated by the slender, scantily-clad, well-proportioned body on the television set at that particular moment): Beyonce? Your celebrity girlfriend is Beyonce?

ERIC (backtracking a bit): Yeah. But, you know, she's just a celebrity girlfriend. I'm married anyway, you know.

CHARLOTTE (mollified): Oh, yeah, of course.


* * *


Scene: The computer/robot/man room. Eric has been working on the computer and checking out some new 3-D animation/modeling software (interested parties can read about it on his blog if desired). Charlotte comes upstairs to chat with him a bit.

CHARLOTTE: So? How's it going?

ERIC (thrilled to see her, as usual. Does not mind being interrupted in the least): Hey! Pretty good.

Charlotte sits down, and the two of them chat about this and that, the conversation drifting all over the place.

CHARLOTTE: So, I told the world today about your baby name preferences. On my blog I mean.

ERIC: Oh yeah? And what do they think?

CHARLOTTE: I don't know. No one's responded yet. But, my readers are mostly pro-Charlotte, so I imagine if they take sides, they'll side with me.

ERIC (mildly disappointed): Hmm. Hey, what are you thinking about girls names these days? Are you still stuck on Abriana?

(blog readers will not know about this, as I haven't written yet about my newest favorite girl name. It's Abriana. Enough said on this for now)

CHARLOTTE (a bit defensively): Wait a minute! I thought you liked that name.

ERIC (calmly): I do, it's just that it seems a little formal, you know?

CHARLOTTE: Yeah, but you know people will just call her Aubrey anyway.

ERIC (not giving up): I know, but still . . . Abriana? It's just so princess-ey.

CHARLOTTE (seeing her opportunity): Okay! Hold the Phone! Abriana is too princess-ey, but you want to name our child after an elfin queen??? Are you kidding me?

ERIC (smiling good natured-ly, but still not surrendering the battle): Hey man, Arwen is awesome! Really, what little girl wouldn't want to be named after her?

CHARLOTTE (giggling, but more playfully than maliciously): After who? Liv Tyler? Now you know that there is no way that we will name our little girl after Liv Tyler!

ERIC (a faraway look in his eye): Liv Tyler . . . Now that would be cool.

CHARLOTTE (a little nervously): Liv Tyler? What? I thought it was Beyonce or nothing for you.

ERIC (lost in thought): What? Oh, right. Yeah.


* * *

And that my friends, is the latest in the Cantwell name game. I think it's probably safe to say that there are some names which are absolutely not in the realm of possibility for little Baby Cantwell. Among them: Matt, Ben, Damon, Liv, Tyler, and (of course) Beyonce.

Tune in in 4-5 months to see what name we do actually choose for the little tyke/tyke-ette.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"The duck that was named Ike and couldn't stop coughing"

How's that for a random title?

This morning, as I was driving to work, I saw what appeared to be roadkill on the side of one of the streets I always drive. As I got closer, I realized that it actually wasn't roadkill, but instead was a living mother duck with about eight of the smallest living ducklings I've ever seen in real life. (Come to think of it, I don't know when I last saw any ducklings in real life).

They were far enough toward the center of the road that I figured they would be roadkill soon enough if something didn't change. So, I got out of the car and shoo'ed them over to some dirt on the side of the road. Hopefully everything turned out well for them.

I have a cold, again. On the one hand, I feel it was a miraculous blessing that if I was going to be completely healthy for only eleven days, that those days happened to coincide with the five days that Eric and I were in San Francisco. On the other hand, this being sick business is wearing me down. It's hard not to get discouraged. Today I've done pretty well at keeping positive, but there have been other days . . .

And that's life in the land of Charlotte these days. Eric and I are still negotiating over possible names for the little one. We will hopefully find out whether it will be a boy or girl within the next few weeks. It will be a relief to be able to eliminate half of the naming possibilities. For a girl, Eric has taken to campaigning hard for "Arwen" (like from The Lord of the Rings), but it will avail him nothing, because I am completely against that name. As for a boy, he likes Carson, McNeil, Alex, and Ike. I'm okay with Carson and Alex, and I'd be okay with Ike if we gave him the actual name of Isaac and just called him Ike*. I used to be anti-McNeil, because it seemed too "last namey" to me. However, recently it's grown on me. We'll see though. We've gone though a lot of names in the past four months. It's entirely possible that come October, we'll be on to something completely different. And really, what's wrong with that?

*My problem with "Ike", as some of you know, is that when you put it with our last name, you have a little boy going around town with a name that is pronounced "I Can't Well". I just can't see sending a kid out into the world with that name. Eric says it would make him strong and resilient, and that he would enjoy being so unique. I think that could be the case, but we don't know this kid yet. What if he's more on the sensitive side? What if he is one who will get his feelings hurt more easily? No, better to give him the choice I say. We name him Isaac, call him Ike (or at least Eric will), and then when he gets old enough, he'll fall into the version of the name that suits him best. Or maybe we'll avoid the dilemma altogether and have a Carson, an Alex, a McNeil, or (my personal favorite but Eric absolutely doesn't go for it) a Daniel.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The best moment of my day so far

Today Eric and I went to the temple. As is generally the case on Saturday mornings in May (or June, or December, or pretty much any other month), the grounds were packed with brides and grooms and wedding guests. As we threaded our way through the different groups of people milling around, we walked past a young girl (probably four years old or so) who had picked herself a small bouquet of dandelions. As Eric & I passed her, she said (kind of loudly), "Hey!" We stopped, and she marched over to us, removing one of the dandelions from her bouquet and giving it to me. I thanked her, and she nodded to us. Then we went on our way.

How cute is that?

Pretty darn cute, if you ask me.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Reliving Good Times & Good Memories

Well we're back after a glorious trip. What a great time we had! It was a lovely few days, and I'm so grateful that we were able to go. We took it pretty easy, and it all turned out to be just fabulous. Here are some of the photos that we took on our trip.

This first one is me in front of what was our favorite San Francisco restaurant when we came here on our honeymoon last year. We liked it this year as well, however, it was unseated as our favorite when we found the best sandwich place the world has ever known over by the LDS Church in San Francisco. (It's some kind of Cheese Shop, on the corner of Pacific and Polk, in case you're interested. I didn't get a picture of it).

Eric at Fisherman's Wharf

I couldn't resist taking a picture of this.


And now we come to four pictures of Eric feeding the birds. We went to the Ferry Building on our second-to-last day in town, and were pleased to find a Farmer's Market in full swing. We looked at everything, and eventually purchased some cherries, for $6/pound. Having never purchased cherries (since I've always had friends or family with cherry trees), that seemed a little steep to me. We were on vacation though, so we splurged. We took our cherries out to a bench on the pier, and while I ate as many as I could, Eric proceeded to feed our precious cherries to the seagulls. Good times.

Just a picture of the fun Ferry Terminal sign

The shop below is right across the street from the best sandwich place the world has ever known. I took the picture in homage to the fact that some of our friends (guys of course) have recommended that we name our little sproutlet "Jug" when he makes his appearance this fall (if he happens to be a boy).

(Eric is amenable to the idea, I am not.)

(I'm 100% positive that I will get my way on this matter.)

And finally, here we are, still cheesy in front of one of the hearts on Union Square.

The End.

Friday, May 02, 2008

My Freecycle Testimonial

I'm a fan of freecycle. (Perhaps I should say that I'm a Freecycle Fan. That has a catchier ring to it, don't you think?) I first heard about freecycle a couple of years ago, when one of my friends was planning her wedding. As she was making her preparations, one of her co-workers mentioned that someone had offered a wedding dress on our local freecycle site. To skip to the end, my friend ended up with a beautiful wedding dress, with her only cost being some minor alterations.

I remember thinking at the time what a great service this was, and I checked out my local freecycle group and got myself admitted onto the mail list. For about a year or so after that, I would get messages listing different things people had to offer. I never really had a need for any of the offers, so I didn't get more involved than that, but it was quite interesting to see the kinds of things that were available.

Then last summer, I got looking at our back patio area. We had a porch swing there that I used to love to sit in while I read or wrote in my journal, or whatever suited me. However, it was getting kind of old and run down, and I found myself using it less and less. The canopy had sustained a rip from sun damage, and earlier in the summer I had found that a colony of wasps had started building a nest under the seat. As soon as I found it, I quickly doused it in wasp spray, but ever since that experience, I never felt quite as comfortable sitting there. As our use of it decreased, it seemed to take up more and more of our space back there.

At the end of the summer, I decided to post it on freecycle, and see if anyone was interested in making it their own. I was completely honest about the age of the swing and the rip in the canopy, and I required that anyone who wanted the swing be willing and able to come pick it up and haul it away on their own. I was AMAZED at the response. Within two hours of my post, I received five different responses. Within a day I had received upwards of twenty. It was great! I chose a "winner", and within a week the swing was out of our backyard and had found a home where it would be loved and appreciated.

Since that first happy venture, I've had several other great experiences with freecycle, both with giving AND with getting. Now that we're on the hunt for baby trappings, I've been more diligent about checking the site, and I've been able to get a bassinet and infant bouncy chair, both in really good condition. In an added bonus, when I went to pick up the bassinet, the owner (who turned out to be a girl that I had known and lost touch with years previously) also gave me a whole bunch of maternity clothes and infant clothes in the bargain. So, that was an especially nice treat.

I've never met a person on freecycle who wasn't gracious, kind, and just happy to help out. It's been a great experience for me, and has strengthened my faith in the goodness of people in general.

And there you have it. My testimonial to freecycle.

In other news, all is well. Eric and I are probably going to see Iron Man tonight (Eric's been anticipating it's arrival for nearly a year), and then we're off to beautiful San Francisco for a few days. My cold has improved significantly, and I've gone from waking up 6-7 times per night with coughing fits to just once or so. Miraculous!

And that's it for today.


p.s.-Readers Digest did an article a couple of months ago that talked about freecycle. Imagine my pride when I read it and realized that for once, I was ahead of the times. Joyous joy!

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