Friday, August 29, 2008

No good is ever lost (a give away--kind of)

"I know you must wonder at times if you are really doing the good you want to do. I don’t think we are supposed to know that. . . go forth joyously and do your work and just believe that you have left good behind you and you will find peace. Sometimes all it takes is one word to turn a stranger’s life completely around. It may not happen today, but it is never lost.

No good is EVER lost. "
-Lee Hubka

One of these days, I'll probably write a post about my friend Lee Hubka. We had some really nice times together, starting when I was a young freshman at SUU, and continuing through to today, and I hope beyond.
This is not that post though.

* * *

If you go here, you can read my brother's thoughts on a tragic plane accident that occurred about a week ago. It took the lives of some really great people from my hometown of Cedar City, Utah. There is a news article with all the details here. I wasn't personally acquainted with any of the victims, but I have all kinds of family connections with them. I made the mistake of reading the comments that followed the Deseret News article, and I was kind of a mess for pretty much the rest of the day. So sad.

If you go here, there's news about another plane crash. The victims of this plane crash were people I've never met. Actually, they are people I'd never even heard of until a few days ago. The good news in this case is that while the first plane crash took the lives of all ten passengers, this second one left two survivors. A woman named Stephanie and her husband Christian sustained severe burns (to say the least), and are hospitalized with a long (expensive) road to what everyone is hoping will be a complete recovery.

From what I can gather, Stephanie (who goes by NieNie in the blogosphere) was quite a prolific blogger, with a large following of readers. I'd not been one of her readers, but as I've read about her situation on some of the other blogs I check, I've felt like I want to do something to help. I'm sure part of this has to do with my feelings about the other plane crash, and while I can't do anything for those people (other than pray for their families and other loved ones), there is a little bit that I can do for the Nielsons.

Yesterday over 275 bloggers hosted silent auctions of all kinds of items and services, with all the proceeds going to a recovery fund for the Nielsons. Most of those auctions are still going on, and if you'd like to check them out, you can go here for the details.

As I thought about how I could help, I kind of dismissed the idea of a silent auction here, because, let's be realistic--it's not like there are swarms of eager readers checking in here all the time (Which shocks me as I'm sure it does you. I mean really! The quirky Eric stories alone should guarantee a multitude of regular faithful readers, don't you think?). In light of that fact, I kind of doubt that a silent auction would raise all that much money here.

So, this is what I've decided to do. As you can see, there are several pictures of hand-crocheted baby sweaters decorating this post. They're all made by yours truly. They are more or less the same size, with some variation here or there. I would estimate that if you were to buy one in the store, they'd be in the 6-12 month section.

So, would you like one? They make great shower gifts, and they are fun to look at hanging in the closet. I think they'll be fun to look at on a baby as well, but I'll let you know more about that in the coming months. Our own little unborn Aubrey/Amanda/Courtney/Sarah has three in her closet, just waiting for her to show up and model them.

Anyway, if you would like one, here's what you have to do: Click on the "Donate to NieNie" button at this website and send a dollar or two (or twenty or fifty) to the recovery fund for the Nielsons. Once you've done that (and it's an honor system deal), leave a comment below. Any old comment will do. On Wednesday evening, after I've gotten home from work, (so let's say around 6:00 p.m. mountain time), I'll print out the comments, cut them up into slips, and draw one out of a hat (or probably out of one of my stainless steel mixing bowls if you want to know the truth) for the winner. Heck, if there are a lot of comments (say we break my previous record of 17), I'll draw two out of a hat, and we'll have two lucky recipients. I'll announce the winner(s) here, and if you win, you can e-mail me (see address in next paragraph) and tell me 1)which sweater you want, and 2)where to send it. Good times, huh?

Oh-and if you are shy and want to donate and want a sweater but don't want to leave a comment, that's okay. Just send me an e-mail to charlottelaughs at gmail dot com, and I'll put you in the drawing hat (bowl) as well.

I realize that this little effort won't make a great big difference. It will probably be just a drop in the bucket of what is needed. But, it IS a little bit of good, and as Lee told me, no good is ever lost.

Happy donating and happy commenting,


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Sergei!

Warning: Big shocking news coming up

This may be the last birthday poem I do.
(that's the big news, in case you missed it)

I started doing blog birthday poems on September 21, 2007, for Dorothea's birthday. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue the tradition for another year or not, and off the top of my head, I can't think of any other birthdays coming up that would necessitate a birthday poem (note-I do have a brother, a niece, a brother-in-law, and a sister-in-law who will all have birthdays between now and September 21, but to my knowledge, none of those people check this blog, so I don't really see the point of posting a birthday poem for them.)

So, this could be it. Luckily, although I can't say too much good about the poem, the subject of the poem is a stellar great guy. In an interesting coincidence, Sergei, who may be the subject of the last poem I write, is married to Dorothea, who was the subject of the first poem I wrote. Funny how things work out at times, huh?

So, anyway, to the right and below is Sergei's picture:

And straight below is his poem:

Ode to Sergei
by charlotte c. cantwell
(who happens to be channeling e e cummings at the moment-- kind of random, huh?)

sergei and i go back several years,
he moved here from denver, and we became peers.

nearly as soon as i met him, he started dating my friend,
he's generous and charming, and always has an ear to lend.

(I could go on about this--it's absolutely true.)

he's a masterful cook, from french toast to key lime pie,
honestly, when you taste his food, you'll think you might die.

Sergei has the distinction of being the only man that we asked to make pies for our wedding reception (we asked about 20 other women as well). He made two scrumptious Key Lime Pies. They were so good that hardly anyone who attended the reception ended up getting a piece. See, what happened was, Eric's dad tried a piece, thought it was so good that he brought a piece over to Eric and I to share (while we were greeting guests), and then he (Eric's dad, not Eric) decided that it was much too good for anyone attending the reception, and he set the other pie aside, and took it home with him after the reception was over. So, for the next week, while Eric and I were enjoying our honeymoon-ette and blissfully setting up our new life together, Eric's parents were feasting on the best Key Lime Pie ever made. I get such a kick out of that.

but more than any of that, he's a friend that is true as true,
so happy birthday dear sergei, happy birthday to you!

In Eric-and-Charlotte news, all is well with us. Eric's started school again, and is enjoying his classes (although he's bitten off quite a bit this semester). As for me and the little bambina, I went in for my last ultrasound today and learned that in all likelihood, I'm carrying around a little giantess in my belly*. Seriously. Our baby is in the 90th percentile for size. She weighs nearly seven pounds and I'm only 33 1/2 weeks along. If she were to continue to grow at a normal rate and I were to have her at term (in 6 1/2 weeks) instead of the one month early (in 2 1/2 weeks) that we're planning on, she'd be a TWELVE POUND BABY when she was born.

I'm tellin' ya, that c-section is lookin' better every day.

*Perhaps, rather than calling her the bambina, in light of her size, I should start calling her the bambota. But I won't, because I have experience with the -ota suffix, and I'm not going to inflict that on my darling daughter. When I was on my mission, for a month or two, I was the tallest Spanish-Speaking Sister missionary in my mission. As luck would have it, I was paired with the shortest Spanish-Speaking Sister missionary in my mission for a few months. The people that we would visit with, as well as the members in our branch got a real kick out of that, and they started calling us the "hermanita"(her) and the "hermanota" (me). Since in my mind I used to (and still do) translate "hermanota" as the sister who is giant, overwhelming, and generally too big to be endured, I wasn't real big on this particular nickname.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The tag I was born to do

Laura, again offering some help for my bloggers block, tagged me to write 6 unspectacular (otherwise known as quirky) personal qualities about myself. Since there is really probably no end to the amount of quirky qualities I possess and exhibit, I don't expect this to be all that hard. Nay fair readers, I expect it to be easy AND fun. What could be better?

So, here we go.

1. I love to go to certain restaurants/eateries when I'm out of town. If the same restaurant should come to my area however, I will nearly immediately change my loyalties to another place. Case in point: Years ago I developed the habit of stopping in Provo (a city about midway between the home I have now and the home that I grew up in) every time I was en route to Cedar City. I would drive to Cafe Rio, order two tacos, and live the next 20 minutes in Mexican Food heaven before getting back on the road. But no more! We now have our own Cafe Rio right here in Cache Valley. And guess what? I can't remember the last time I ate there. (I'm secretly hoping that no one opens a P.F. Chang here anytime soon. It would be a shame for me to stop getting those lettuce wraps.)

2. When driving across town, I avoid Main Street like the plague. Eric and I have "raced" from different places to our house, him taking Main and me taking the back roads, and he always wins. Still, I persist in thinking my back roads routes are better.

3. Every time I take a drink of anything, I do that little "Aaahhh" (pronounced so that it rhymes with "hat" not "law") sigh. I do it unconsciously most of the time, but Eric recently informed me that I even do it when I drink my middle-of-the-night-ice-water-swallows. Since he told me that I've been paying more attention. I had no idea I was such a noisy drinker.

4. Whenever I see someone smoking pipe tobacco, I will try to park myself as closely as I can to them (without being too conspicuous) so that I can sit and breathe in the aroma. I love the smell of pipe tobacco. If the pipe smoker is moving, I will try to follow them around as much as I can for as long as I can without getting caught.

5. I only listen to my mp3 player when I am exercising or cleaning. The only exception to this is if I'm traveling and I expect to have trouble sleeping, I'll sometimes bring it along. I have one of those "ambient music for sleep" CDs loaded on the player. It usually doesn't work though, because my ears get sore if I keep the ear buds in there too long.

6. Quite frequently, my entire meal (either dinner or lunch) will consist of a banana with peanut butter, and a glass of milk. Apples with peanut butter are great as well, but they're so juicy that it gets a little messy sometimes.

And there it is, further quirky Charlotte traits. Now, for the rules of this particular tag:

1. Link the person who tagged you (done!)
2. Mention the rules on your blog. (done!)
3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours (done!)
4. Tag 6 fellow bloggers by linking them (not done yet)
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged (not done yet)

I tag Heidi, Missy, Lyn, Loren, Jeri, and Jodi.

Spread the Quirky-ness!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Suo Gan-how it's all shaking out

So, this is what I've decided to do:

I'm going to learn one verse of Suo Gan in English and one verse in Welsh, and call it good. After hunting around the Internet for a bit (thanks Jay and Kristi for getting me started on this), I found the following English verse that I like the most:

Sleep serenely, baby, slumber,
Lovely baby, gently sleep;
Tell me wherefore art thou smiling,
Smiling sweetly in they sleep?
Do the angels smile in heaven
When thy happy smile they see?
Dost thou on them smile while slum'bring
On my bosom, peacefully

(I'm not crazy about the fact that every other word in this verse is "sleep", "slumber", or "smile", but really, I like all those things, so I've decided not to let it bother me)

There are plenty of Welsh versions, but after hunting for quite a bit, I finally found one with a phonetic translation as well:

Huna, blentyn, ar fy mynwes,
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon;
Breichiau mam sy'n dynn amdanat,
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron.
Ni chaiff dim amharu'th gyntun,
Ni wna undyn รข thi gam;
Huna'n dawel, annwyl blentyn,
Huna'n fwyn ar fron dy fam.

Heenah blen-tin ar v-eye manwess
Kleed ah Xchaness ah-dew hawn;
Brai-Xch-yaim am-seen deen amdah-nacht,
Car-yahd mahm-see dahn v-eye br'on.
Nee Xch-eye-f deem ahm-har-reeth gun-tin
Nee wahn a-yeen-din ah hee gahm;
Heen-nahn dah-well, ahn-will blen-tin,
Heen-nahn voo-ien ar-vrohn da-vahm

So there we are! Let the learning begin!

In other news, the hospital changed the time for our childbirth preparation class, and between Eric going back to school full-time, and my newly advanced delivery date, the time and date they changed it to isn't going to work for us anymore. It's kind of moot anyway, because if we went ahead with it, we'd be attending class after we had the baby. So, we cancelled. In an effort to give myself my own education, two nights ago I started reading up on what happens postpartum. It was kind of eye opening, and a little concerning.

I had kind of figured that all the difficulties came in the pregnancy and delivery, and once I gave birth it would pretty much be smooth sailing. Well, except for the fact that I'll have to really quickly adjust to a whole new way of life as I care for a tiny infant who will be entirely dependent upon me and Eric for every single thing in her little life I mean. Other than that minor detail, things should be pretty much smooth sailing, right? *

It appears that I was wrong. There are all kinds of aches and pains and weird things that happen to your body as it tries to get over the trauma of childbirth and get back to normal. Like, 20 pages worth. Eeek! Last night I finally had to put the book down because I was getting pretty freaked out. I went to my faithful Readers Digest and read some interviews with Barak Obama and John McCain there. The interviews didn't help me get rid of my confusion about this November's election (but that's a post for another day--maybe), but they did help me to stop obsessing about how I'll probably be feeling in a month or so, and that was enough for me.

Happy Friday to y'all,

*Now, I'm not stupid. As soon as I found out I'd be having a C-Section, I knew that the recovery process was going to be on the slow and painful side. I read up on that as soon as the C-Section decision was made, and I think I'm as prepared for that as I'm going to get. But there are a whole slew of other inconveniences and agonies that come along with the postpartum business, inconveniences and agonies that I'd not realized. That's what was concerning to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Songs for Becca and Barbara to learn

If you look at the comments to my last post, you will see that Laura told me that if I needed to get over my bloggers block, I could play "the baby card". So, that's what today is.

I want to be one of those mothers who sings to her child. I want my child to be one of those children who likes it when her mother sings to her. One of the sweetest "aunt experiences" I've ever had was singing to one of my nephews. It was back in 2005 (I think), and I was at the wedding reception of my brother Doug. All my family was there, and at the moment in question, my sister (Becca) and her husband were deep in conversation with some old friends that they hadn't seen in several years. Just at that moment, 10-month old Evan started to get pretty fussy. I had just finished being deep in conversation with some old friends that I hadn't seen in several years, and having a little free time, I went to Becca and took Evan off her hands. I carried him out to the hallway, and proceeded to bounce him, and dance with him, and play with him, all to no avail. He kept on crying, and his cries became a little more desperate as time wore on.

Finally, I started singing to him. His reaction was amazing. I was holding him so that he could see over my shoulder, and the minute I started singing, he stopped crying, and tried to wiggle his ear up so that it was closer to my mouth (I wasn't singing all that loudly, there were people in the hall waiting to get into the reception after all). Every time I stopped singing, he started to whimper again, and every time I started singing again, he quieted right down, and moved himself closer to the sound. It was so sweet. Eventually he fell asleep.

I would like to say that this all happened because I have an angelic voice, but the fact is, I've sung to several other babies, and this is the only time this has happened. So, I have come up with another theory.

Although we have never spoken about it, I'm reasonably certain that my sister sings to her children. What you may not know (having never heard us), is that my sister and I have basically the same singing voice. It happens to be my mom's voice. Honestly, when the three of us sing in unison together, it usually sounds like one person singing (one person who has the vocal support and power of three people though). So, I think that when I sang to little Evan, he either 1)was so surprised by his mom's voice coming out of this person that was definitely not his mother that he had to quiet down and figure out what was going on, or 2)was so comforted by the familiar sound that it calmed him right down. Either way, it worked out great for me.

So, with that lengthy introduction, here, in no particular order, is a list of some of the songs I want to sing to my baby girl. I figure I'll put it out here so that Becca and my mom can start learning them-thus preparing to be better able to comfort my crying child should they find themselves in a position to do so. As for the rest of you, well, it's just for your reading enjoyment I guess.

  • Baby Mine-from the Dumbo Soundtrack, or from the Beaches Soundtrack-I'm slightly concerned about the line that says, "From your head down to your toes, you're not much, goodness knows". I don't want my child to grow up thinking that she isn't worth much, you know? But, I love the next line, "But you're so precious to me, sweet as can be, baby of mine". So, we'll see how I reconcile all of that.

  • Angel Lullaby-from My Turn on Earth- Do you remember My Turn on Earth? It was a play that made the rounds of Mormon-dom in the 70s. I loved it. We had the LP record, and I used to listen to it all the time and dance to the music. At the time I didn't particularly care for this song, because it was too slow and boring. Now, I love it!

  • Suo-Gan (a/k/a The Song that Christian Bale sings in Empire of the Sun)-The problem with this one is that it's in Welsh, and I don't know Welsch. My research tells me that it is in fact a lullaby though. Do any of you know of an English version?

  • I Feel My Savior's Love-My favorite primary song.

  • And finally . . . Feelin' Groovy (the 59th Street Bridge Song)-By Simon and Garfunkel-Obviously, this is not a soothing-please-calm-down-little-girl-lullaby. This is a sing-and-dance-around-the-room-together song. I'm hoping for more of those moments than I can count.

And there you have it, the songs that I plan on having as my base repertoire for motherhood singing. Is it weird that I've planned that out?

I leave you with two cheesy-but-small pictures that I took last night after Eric completed assembling the dresser that we purchased at Ikea. Can I just exult for one teeny little second? Being married to a man who knows how to use tools is HEAVEN!


(Oh-and that robot that's on the back of his shirt? He designed it. Handy, artistic and cheesy. Could there be a better man for me?)

Sorry this post is so long. Maybe bloggers block will strike again and I'll go back to short posts now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cheesy Pictures

This post is going to be quick, and mainly pictures--pictures that aren't all that flattering, but are kind of fun. That's how it goes sometimes.
I don't look all that big in this shot huh? But, as my brother Doug often says,

"Wait for it . . . . . . . "

Oh my heck!!!

(Cheesy--I know. I can't believe I'm posting this for all the world to see. Surely I'll return to my senses soon.)

(By the way--how do you like that painting over the piano? Eric gave it to me for Christmas last year. I just love it.)

And this shot is courtesy of Eric. We recently traveled down to Tooele to pick up a changing table that one of my sweet aunts (and sweet uncles) got for us. While we were in the area, we stopped in at Ikea, where we picked up a small dresser, some changing pad covers, some finger puppets, and naturally, since no baby can come into the world without one,


I'll give you one guess as to whose idea the alligator was.

I've been having a bit of bloggers block lately, which I attribute to the fact that I'm not getting my daily walk in like I used to. That daily walk was when I would come up with my best blogging ideas, unfortunately. Maybe it's just a phase. Let's all hope, shall we?

The End.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Charlotte Beckinsdale

Yesterday morning on my way to work, I got thinking about Annie Lennox.

I suppose the reason I got thinking about her was because I was listening to one of her songs. It's a cover of "I Don't Want to Wait in Vain for your Love", and you can listen to it by clicking here. (It's only three minutes long. You can spare 3 minutes, can't you?)(Don't mind the Spanish Dialogue--the song is in English).

This scene is one of my all time favorite movie scenes. I especially love the music background as Kate Beckinsdale is taking the ferry to her home. I love it so much that when Eric and I went to San Francisco last May, I convinced him that we absolutely had to take the ferry while we were there. I had visions of standing at the front of the boat, feeling beautiful and free with my hair tucked into a jaunty little cap, with the wind blowing all around me, while Eric gazed in unbelief and admiration at the gorgeous woman he married. Unfortunately, I forgot to pack a jaunty cap, and the day that we had chosen to do it turned out to be one of my more queasy days, and so we never made it on the ferry. Instead, I contented myself with sitting on the pier and watching Eric feed cherries to the local seagulls. It was okay. There was a time when not being able to do this silly activity would have ruined my whole trip, and by extension my whole life. But, I think I've grown up a bit since then.

However, we will definitely have to go back to San Francisco before we die.

And, I'll definitely pack a jaunty cap this time.

And, we'll definitely choose to go at a time when no one is pregnant.

There are other songs sung by Annie Lennox that have quirky memories for me--memories that are really insignificant, and so I can't really understand why they persist in staying in my brain when there are so many other (more significant) memories that fly right out. But, that is a post for another day.

As far as news goes, we had a minor pregnancy incident over the weekend, and now I am not permitted to lift anything over ten pounds. It has been a shock to me to find out how many over-10-pounds items I lift as part of my everyday life. Poor Eric has been doing more than his share of packing things around for me, and I feel silly having him do it. But, it's all good. For those of you who are concerned, the incident really was very minor (and I'm not all that excited to post the details on cyberspace), and everything still looks just fine for the planned C-Section on or around September 12.

Remember when I used to be a little (or a lot) panicked about all this? Now I'm starting to get pretty darn excited.



Thursday, August 07, 2008

just to keep you checking back here

Here are two random pictures:
This one I took on one of those times that Eric was checking out the comic book store by the Salt Lake City library. I got bored, and went out to where there was a pretty little sculpture/flower/waterfall garden. I like the feeling of peace this sculpture gives to me.

This is a picture I took for one of our singers. Several weeks ago he shipped something here so he could have it for the summer (I can't remember what it was), and this is how it arrived. When he found I had a digital camara in my office, he asked if I could take a picture so he could use it for insurance if necessary. So, I did. As it turned out, the contents of the box weren't harmed (at least, I think that's the story I heard), so he didn't end up needing the picture anyway.

And that's what I've got today. Last week saw the visit of my mother, my sister and her family, two sets of aunts and uncles, and one of my friends who also happens to be a former co-worker. It was a busy week, but how fun it was to see everyone! And the visiting continues. Last night Eric got to introduce his favorite game to Heidi and Phil, who are in town for a few days. I think they enjoyed it, and I certainly enjoyed spending the time together.

So, things are good.

And with that, I leave you.


Friday, August 01, 2008


If I had changed names
When I was a little girl,
I'd now be Molly.

And there you have it, my official entry in the Bad Haiku Friday Festival!

It's absolutely true. When I was little, I loved the name Molly. Now, not so much. Charlotte suits me fine, thanks.

Check out Catholic Teacher Musings for details on the B.H.F.F. You can even join in on the fun if you so desire.
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