Monday, March 31, 2008
1. The first car I ever owned was a 1980 Dodge Colt.
2. I LOVED it.
3. When I was little I wanted to be a teacher or a famous author when I grew up.
4. When I took the ASVAB tests during my senior year in high school, my results showed that I would be good in accounting and air traffic control.
5. I took my first accounting class as a freshman in college, and enjoyed it so much that I made it my major.
6. I've never regretted that decision.
7. I took the CPA exam (or parts of it) three times before I passed it completely.
8. I still don't have my CPA license.
9. In order to get the actual license, one has to fulfill so many hours under the guidance and supervision of a licensed CPA. I'm the only accountant where I work, and I enjoy my job too much to quit it and get a job where I can work under a licensed CPA.
10. I still get a good feeling inside when I remember that I've passed the CPA exam, license or no license.
11. I signed up (and paid) to take the CPA exam two months after I graduated from college, but I was so sure I wouldn't pass that I didn't show up to actually sit for the exam.
12. That was dumb. It was five more years before I got up the courage to actually take the exam. Based on my scores, I think if I would have taken it fresh out of school, I probably would have passed it that first time.
13. I'm surprised that it doesn't really bother me all that much.
14. (moving on to other topics) I still have my appendix and my tonsils.
15. I've never had braces. When I was little I wished for braces, and I would wear paper clips on my teeth.
16. I'm glad that wish never came true.
17. I still wish on stars
18. And raise my feet (and make a wish) when I drive over a cattle guard.
19. I got a bicycle for Christmas when I was six years old.
20. I didn't actually successfully ride that bicycle until I was ten years old.
21. Three years later, my younger brother (who was three years old at the time) learned how to ride a bicycle.
22. Two of my younger brothers learned how to ride a bike before I did. I was always afraid that someone would find that out.
23. I don't own a bicycle at this point. (unless you count the fact that Eric's is technically "community property')
24. I'm the oldest of six children.
25. I've always taken the responsibility of being the oldest (and setting a good example) very seriously. Probably too seriously.
26. I was the last of my siblings to marry, and I will be the last of my siblings to experience parenthood.
27. I AM LOVING not being the trailblazer in these areas.
28. I've seen more of the world than I ever dreamed I would.
29. I've been lost in downtown St. Petersburg, all by myself.
30. I don't speak a word of Russian.
31. It was kind of a scary experience, but it all worked out.
32. I've been lost in downtown Bangkok, at 11 p.m., all by myself.
33. That was even more scary, but it all worked out.
34. When my mom reads #33, she's not going to be happy. We went to Bangkok together, and on our last night there I went out without her, to spend the last of my foreign money. She didn't want to come, and didn't want me to go. I was feeling stubborn and I went anyway.
35. I never told her that I got lost.
36. Being stubborn has gotten me into more trouble than I care to recount.
37. I love chocolate with a passion.
38. I do NOT like chocolate and fruit mixed, with the exception of chocolate-dipped strawberries. I especially do not like chocolate cake with raspberry or strawberry filling or topping. What a waste of a good cake.
39. I don't like fruit desserts (mostly). If it has fruit in it, it's a salad, not dessert.
40. Except for key lime pie.
41. I don't really like cheesecake. It's okay, but definitely not worth the calories in my opinion.
42. I used to hold the school records at my high school for the 1600M run, and the 3200M run.
43. They started keeping track of the girls track & field records when I was a freshman in high school.
44. All my records have been broken many many times by now.
45. I took classical ballet lessons when I was in middle school.
46. I thought it was because I was so expressive, but really it was because my mom recognized that I was a little on the clumsy side and needed a little bit of extra grace/coordination. (see #20)
47. I'm grateful that my mom didn't tell me that until a few years ago. Now it doesn't bother me at all, but back then I'm sure I would have developed a complex about it.
48. When I was younger, I figured I would be a stay-at-home-mom, and if I needed to, I could teach piano lessons to make extra money.
49. I couldn't teach a piano lesson if my life depended on it.
50. I do teach voice lessons though.
51. Anytime any of my students perform, we have to get someone else to accompany them.
52. Unless they sing "Solveig's Song"
53. Once when I was in college, I made everyone who spent more that 10 minutes in our apartment announce what they thought their "most redeeming quality" was.
54. I can't believe people continued to come visit.
55. Also when I was in college, I had a picture of George H.W. Bush jogging on my bedroom wall. My roommate made fun of it, but I thought it was cool. (I cut the picture out of a news magazine)
56. I've always been a little bit geeky like that.
57. My favorite color has been yellow for over 10 years. At other times though, I've liked blue, deep red, and deep green.
58. I've never really liked pastel colors. (I like the BRIGHT version of yellow)
59. I learned to crochet when I was 10 years old. My first project took me four years to finish.
60. It was a poncho.
61. It's the only poncho I've ever crocheted.
62. Now I can complete a full-size afghan in 3-4 months.
63. And I can crochet without looking down at what I'm doing.
64. Sometimes I read books while crocheting. But, it's a pain to have to turn the pages so often.
65. When I became an aunt for the first time, I put pictures of my niece all over my apartment.
66. I had NO IDEA that I would enjoy being an aunt as much as I do.
67. Eric and I have 24 nieces and nephews, with one more on the way (it's not on my side, so if you're a Corry or a Willis, you can stop speculating now)
68. I have no memory of the first time I met my Eric.
69. Eric has no memory of the first time he met me.
70. I vividly remember the first time I hugged Eric.
71. We were in the mountains (2nd dam for you Cache Valley-ians). He was with his family, and I was heading to a birthday party at a nearby picnic site. He called out to me as he saw me pass, and we chatted for just a bit. As he greeted me, he put out his hand to shake my hand, and I knocked it away, saying, "Eric, we are hugging friends." Then I made him hug me. (he didn't mind)
72. If I had known then that I would marry him (five or so years later), I'm pretty sure I would have freaked out.
73. He would have freaked out too.
74. Marrying him has been the best thing that's ever happened to me.
75. I served a mission in the Santa Rosa California mission. I was assigned to speak Spanish.
76. I learned Spanish in the Missionary Training Center before I arrived in Santa Rosa, but I was only the second sister missionary to have that opportunity. All the other Spanish-speaking sisters had to pick up Spanish "on the fly". Talk about TOUGH!
77. Most of the Spanish-speaking sisters that came out after me had the luxury of learning Spanish in the MTC as well.
78. I came home from my mission on Pearl Harbor Day in 1994.
79. April has turned out to be an important month for me, spiritually.
80. I was baptized on April 8, 1978.
81. I went through the temple for the first time in April of 1993.
82. Eric and I were married on April 14, 2007.
83. One of my most true friends in high school was a girl named April.
84. I think that's just a coincidence.
85. I make tamales every Christmas, and they always turn out delicious.
86. That's about the only thing that I cook that always turns out. Everything else is kind of a gamble.
87. I re-read a chapter (they're short) of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff . . . and it's all small stuff about 2-3 times per week.
88. It's a good reminder to me, because I struggle with worrying about things that don't really matter.
89. My sisters-in-law are some of my best friends. Isn't it nice when it works out that way?
90. I'm pretty fond of my brothers-in-law as well.
91. There aren't many things that I enjoy more than sitting in my parents living room, chatting and laughing (and laughing and laughing and laughing) with my brothers and sisters.
92. I can't decide if my favorite thing to do is to sing or to laugh.
93. Kissing is a close third.
94. I also love to sleep in.
95. When I was little, I had a black cat with a white spot on the end of its tail. I named her "Star Tip".
96. I'm dreading the day that Eric gets really serious in his campaign for us to get a cat.
97. I know I will cave.
98. We've agreed not to discuss it until we live in a home with a garage.
99. My life has turned out very differently from how I had planned.
100. I'm absolutely thrilled with how it is turning out.
Friday, March 28, 2008
That's what this post is for.
And, actually, to be honest, there isn't all that much going on in the present. Work has been good. Recently I've been able to just charge through my "to do" stack, which has been a real treat. I don't know if I've gotten more efficient or if my workload has decreased, but either way, I'll take it. (Is it sad that my definition of "a real treat" is an empty in-basket? I think not.)
Church has been good. It's hard for me to believe that I ever felt like I didn't fit in with my ward members. I feel totally comfortable there now. Sunday (as you know) was Easter, and I'm reasonably sure that at least half of the children in our primary had enjoyed jelly beans and Cadbury Eggs for breakfast that day, because I've never ever seen them so riled up. When that happens, I try to get them settled down by "talking turkey" to them, telling them that I understand how it feels to want to jump and play and talk loudly ('cause man, I totally understand how that feels), but explaining the practical and spiritual reasons why we need to be quiet. At the same time, I try not to pull the guilt-inducing "if you were good little children, you would be reverent just because we are in Jesus' house" speech that used to make me feel so manipulated when I was a child.
This Sunday, I was teaching the children a new song, and I started by showing them a picture. I asked them if they had ever seen this particular picture before, and immediately all reverence was lost as a room full of children all loudly started yelling about how they sure had never seen that picture before, no sir-ee. I stopped them and said something along the lines of, "Now, you all know that we can't just blurt things out or yell things out in here. If you want to answer my question, I need you to raise your hand, and I will call on you." Immediately, 20 little hands shot into the air.
Pleased with (and a little overconfident about) my success, I turn to the group and say, "Nice! Thank you! Okay. Let's try this again. Have any of you ever seen this picture before?"
Four year old Isaac lowers his hand. "No."
"Okay, thank you for raising your hand. Bethany?"
Six year old Bethany lowers her hand. "No."
"Umm, all right. Has anyone seen this picture before? Dallen?"
Five year old Dallen lowers his hand. "No."
(I am now alternating between wanting to laugh hysterically and wanting to cry out of exasperation ): "Okay. Thank you all. This time, I only want those people who have seen this picture to raise their hands. Anyone who hasn't seen this picture before can put their hands down."
Sixteen hands come down, leaving just one hand, that of nearly-eight-year-old-Erin, still waving in the air.
"Erin, have you seen this picture before?"
"Where have you seen it?"
"Here, in Primary."
(this is not quite the answer I'm looking for, but I forge ahead)
"When did you see it?"
"A few minutes ago, when you held it up for the first time and asked if any of us had ever seen it before."
That's just a sampling. Things went downhill from there. I had to laugh. Sometimes things just work like magic. And then sometimes, like when you have a room full of children who are pumped up on sugar and good times, things just barely work at all. Oh well. It was just primary singing time, when you come down to it, right? I made a valiant effort, and I sincerely doubt that anyone lost their testimony or will one day need therapy due to anything I said or did last Sunday. Sometimes that's the best I can hope for.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Oh well. Perhaps spring will be delayed just a bit. Still, it can't be long now. Geese don't lie, right?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The return of the geese has become one of my sure signs of spring.
During this very month a couple of years ago, I took a trip to New York City. It was kind of a hard time for me, a time when I was more discouraged than is (or was) my general practice. (I wrote a little bit about this trip (but not so much the discouragement) last year. You can read that account here, if you are so inclined.) Anyway, one day during that trip, I went over to Battery Park all by myself, and started roaming around, idly thinking about this and that. To be honest, I was mostly thinking about how I didn't want to go home and deal with all the worries that were waiting for me there, but there were other thoughts filling my mind as well.
Anyway, as I was meandering along, a small flock of geese flew over the Hudson. As I stopped and watched them, I felt so much peace. You know how that happens sometimes? You'll see or hear something rather innocuous, and for some reason, at that particular time, it strikes you in a certain way and you feel better. That's what happened to me. Without going into a lot of emotional details, I saw those geese, and I suddenly felt a whole lot better.
I came home a few days later, and tried to explain the experience to my friend Jeff. He listened to me describe that morning in Battery Park, the stillness of the area, and the absolute calm and reassurance that I felt as I saw those geese. He was very patient and understanding while I told him all the details, far more details that he probably would have liked to hear.
And then, with kindness and patience, and just the slightest bit of exasperation, he said to me, "You do realize Charlotte, that we have geese here too, right?"
That week, as I was going for a little run/walk in my favorite park, a mile or so from my home, a very similar flock of geese flew over me, honking and squawking. As I stopped and watched them, I felt calm and peaceful again. It wasn't the same intensity of feeling that I had felt in Battery Park or anything, but the peace was definitely there. How nice it was to remember and see that we do, in fact, have geese here too.
I wonder how long it will be before I can see/hear a flock of geese in flight and not think about that. I guess we'll see.
In the meantime, Happy Spring! Yippee!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
This is what you do:
1. Pick up the nearest book (at least 123 pages)
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the 5th sentence
4. Post the 5th sentence on your blog
5. Tag 5 people
I'm in Eric's "man room", which is where our computer is. The nearest book is The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Cats by Alan Edwards. Eric is a big fan of cats. No, we do not own a cat at this point in time. That's a story for another post.
The fifth sentence on page 123 of this particular book reads as follows (Note-You will want to be sure you haven't just eaten or aren't about to eat anytime soon):
"After a complicated journey through the cat's intestine and lymph nodes, the larvae become adult worms, which eventually enter the lungs via the bloodstream."
I tag Melissa Corry, Maegan, Ryan, Jenna, and (just because it's obscure enough to be right up her alley,) Lyn.
Update: 3/25/08--I also tag Heidi.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
At the end of February, Heidi posted the following on her blog:
"While Charlotte and I were waiting for our Princes Phillip and Eric to come along we dated many frogs. Ok, we also dated many wonderful Princes intended for others. Many times we commented about how we should write a book when "all this was over." Well, this is not a book but I thought it might be fun to do an occasional blog entry about those fabulous (and not-so-fabulous) dating days. "
Now, I've already written in this blog about Couch Mark, and the marriage proposal I received during a game of hangman, so this isn't exactly my first time writing about this topic. But, it's the first time I will have done an official "dating diary" entry. It's a little long, but there are a lot of details, and details tend to add length, you know? Anyway, here goes:
One evening, as Heidi and I were having one of our pre-bedtime chats, she informed me that she had been talking to one of our friends. This particular friend had been doing a little bit of investigating on behalf of one of his friends, whom we will call The Illustrious Mr. A. Anyway, as the friend told it, apparently The Illustrious Mr. A. had at least some interest in dating me, and he (the friend) was wanting to know if I would be amenable to going out with The Illustrious Mr. A. Heidi had informed him that she was reasonably sure that I would, which turned out to be exactly right.
It's always fun to know that you have an admirer, and in this case, I was particularly pleased. I had been in the company of The Illustrious Mr. A. several times at that point, and I thought quite highly of him. By that time I had been on the dating scene long enough to have had just a little bit of experience with "the sometimes fragile male ego", and so for the next few weeks, I tried to give The Illustrious Mr. A. a little bit of extra encouragement by being a little more friendly or smiley towards him than perhaps I normally would have been.
My efforts had very little effect. Several weeks went by, and The Illustrious Mr. A continued to treat me with relative indifference (albeit friendly indifference). I puzzled over it for a while, and then determined that Heidi must have misunderstood the conversation she had had with the friend of The Illustrious Mr. A that evening. I was a little discouraged, but I soon recovered.
Then, about two months after the original conversation, I was talking with the Illustrious Mr. A. and some other friends. We got talking about music, and I mentioned a CD that I had purchased that day. The Illustrious Mr. A. was a fan of this particular singer as well, and mentioned that he had been wanting to buy the CD. I offered to lend him my copy, and he eagerly agreed. We determined that I would bring it to him the next week.
The next week came, and I brought my CD to the class that we were both attending. We had a brief conversation as I made the hand-off, and then that was pretty much that. The Illustrious Mr. A was headed out of town for a holiday-weekend-road trip, and was looking forward to listening to the CD while on the road.
Imagine my dismay when, that evening I turned on my CD player to find that very CD NOT in his car, but in MY BEDROOM! Horrors! As I scanned my brain, looking for the reason, I remembered taking the CD out of the case the previous weekend. I had determined that if I was going to lend it out, I had better get my fill of listening to it before then. Apparently, I'd forgotten to replace it in the CD case, and at that very moment, The Illustrious Mr. A. was headed down a freeway, with an empty CD case in hand.
I quickly called the only phone number I had for him, and learned from his roommate that he was, in fact, gone for several days. I told the roommate of my blunder, and asked him to make my apologies to The Illustrious Mr. A for me. I'm reasonably certain that that message was never passed on.
A week or so went buy. At that point, The Illustrious Mr. A had been home from his trip for a few days, but I didn't hear from him. I worried that he was frustrated with me, but even more, I worried that his friend (who tended to be very prone to tease) would see my blunder as one of those tricks that conniving women will often use to ensnare innocent young men, and that he would tease me about it. As it turns out, I was wrong in my first worry, and dead right in my second.
And now we come to the exciting climax of our little story. One day, I was home alone, doing whatever it is that I was into at the time and the phone rang. I answered it and heard The Illustrious Mr. A. on the other line. Our conversation went something like this:
TIMA: Hi, Charlotte?
TIMA: This is The Illustrious Mr. A.
Me (a little self consciously): Oh, hi.
TIMA: Hi. Hey, that CD you gave me didn't actually have a CD in the case.
Me: Yeah, sorry about that. That was kind of an accident. I have the CD here, and I'll be happy to get it to you.
TIMA: Oh, that would be great. What if we met for lunch on Saturday? I could pick it up from you then.
Me (obviously completely missing the point of this whole conversation, still thinking that we are trying to exchange a CD, feeling bad about my earlier mistake, and wanting to make it up to The Illustrious Mr. A.): Yeah, that would be fine . . . or, actually, I could just get it to you at [one of our mutual friend's] birthday party Saturday night, if that would be easier.
TIMA (slowly, with confusion and crestfallen-ness): Oh . . . well, that would be fine too.
Me (realizing in a flash the GIGANTIC tactical error that I have just made): Or, actually, I think lunch might be a better idea, you know?
TIMA (relieved): Yes, that would be great. Shall we say one o'clock?
Me: Sure. I'll see you then.
TIMA: Okay, see you then.
And that's more or less the end of the story. The Illustrious Mr. A came and picked me up that Saturday, and we had a really nice lunch. It was the first time I'd been able to talk with him for more than 10 minutes at a time, and I found him to be interesting, witty, humorous, and an all-around good date. He must have enjoyed my company at least somewhat as well, because we ended up going out several more times after that, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together.
So, what did I learn from all this? Many many things. But, the most important one, the one that I will probably pass on to my nieces and daughters and granddaughters (when I am fortunate enough to have daughters and granddaughters, that is) is this:
Never never never underestimate the power of an empty CD case.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
It was fabulous!
The awesome BBQ restaurant we patronized (on the left)
The five of us, happy and full after stuffing ourselves with authentic southern barbeque. (below)
I had a fabulous birthday, with fabulous days before and fabulous days after. Thanks to you all for your cards and well wishes, and thanks especially to Heidi and Phil for a vacation that was just exactly what we were needing right about now.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, March 07, 2008
My birthday is next week. I'll be 37 years old. I've never been one who has had a hard time with birthdays or getting older which is nice, I guess. I just kind of figure that I'd rather be alive and getting older than not be alive and not getting older. Maybe that's kind of a macabre way to put it, but there you are. Besides, even though I have tough years at times, and probably will continue to have ups and downs, the fact is that over the years, my life just seems to get better and better. So, what's not to like about that?
When I was little I absolutely loved my birthday. We got to choose what we had for breakfast, we usually got to open our family presents BEFORE SCHOOL, and then once we got to school, there were cards and special treatment there to be enjoyed as well. My mother (bless her) let us have a birthday party every year, and she always made these fun cut-up cakes for us. It was awesome.
I think if you make it clear that you enjoy your birthday, people are only too happy to celebrate with you. ('cause really, who isn't looking for a reason to celebrate?) At least, that's how it's worked for me. When I was on my mission (my first birthday away from home), one of the little girls in our branch had her birthday the day after mine (she turned four). So, the family put on a big birthday-as-only-Latinos-can-do-it party for her and for me, and they held it on MY birthday. I still have the picture of that day (not digital and I don't have a scanner or I'd scan it), me in the pretty dress that I had borrowed from my companion* for the celebration, holding hands with little Miss Martinez, who was about four feet shorter than me. We're both smiling so big, you'd think our faces would crack. I love that picture. Probably because I love that memory.
I could go through a whole list of other happy birthday memories, and even recount one or two unhappy birthday memories, but I think I've probably said enough for today. So, there it is. May you all have glorious weekends, and may you find sufficient sunshine in which to play.
-Charlotte (soon to be thirty-freaking-seven years old) Cantwell
p.s.-In case you're wondering, I'm still a BIG fan of the lightbox. I don't need it so much anymore, because it is getting more sunny. But, next year, I think I'll break it out as soon as we go off Daylight Savings. I get all warm just thinking about it.
A missionary companionship, consisting of two or, occasionally, three missionaries, is the smallest organizational unit of a mission. Every missionary is assigned by the mission president to be another missionary's companion. Missionary companionships are generally maintained for months at a time and most missionaries will have served with multiple companions by the end of their mission. Only in rare instances will missionary companions have met prior to the start of their missions. A missionary's companion is always a missionary of the same gender, with the exception of married couples, who serve as each others' missionary companion for the entirety of their mission.
Missionary companions are instructed to never be apart during the day or night (with the exception of time allowed for bathing and use of the toilet). Companions share the same living quarters and the same bedroom (but not the same bed, except in the case of married missionary couples). When companions have conflicting personalities or interests, they are encouraged to try to resolve them themselves. If they are unable to do so, mission leaders may be used to help resolve the differences. Sometimes the only resolution is reassigning the missionaries to new companions.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
(Aren't they just adorable?)
Saturday, March 01, 2008
THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY:
Scene: The kitchen. Charlotte has just finished her dinner, Eric (who has arrived home from work too late for Charlotte to reasonably be expected to have waited for him) is microwaving some leftovers for himself.
Eric: So, did you hear who won the Oscars?
(You may need to be reminded that at this point, the Academy Awards have been over for about five days, and everyone else in the country, if not the world, has moved on to the next big thing. Not so in the Cantwell home, however!)
Charlotte: No, did you?
Eric: Yeah, they were talking about it at work today. It was the one about the old men.
Charlotte (trying to remember what the nominees were, and which one was about old men): Yeah? Ummmm, "The Bucket List"? The one with Jack Nicholson?
Eric: No, not that one.
Charlotte: Right--that one wasn't even in the running.
Eric: No, it was another one. One about old men.
Charlotte: So, do you know the name of the show?
Eric: I can't remember it.
Charlotte (mischievously): So, you don't know the name, do you know the actors? Do you know anything at all about this movie other than the fact that it is about old men?
Eric (a little bit defeated): Well . . . . no.
Charlotte (chuckling): Ah, I see. You come home, ask me if I know who won the Oscars, get me all curious, and then proceed to not be able to tell me anything but one vague detail about the winner. Do I have it about right?
Eric (triumphantly, with the twinkle in his eye that made Charlotte fall in love with him in the first place): Well, I know it wasn't Juno!
Yeah, we're big movie buffs at our house. I think I'll run over to Google right now, see who did in fact win the awards, and maybe Eric and I can discuss it over dinner tonight. If that conversation ends up being blog-worthy, you can read the whole thing right here. Won't that be a treat?
Okay, it's ten minutes later, and I just checked Google. Apparently (as most of you probably already know), the winner was a movie entitled "No Country for Old Men". Perhaps Eric's one detail was not so vague as I had originally supposed it to be.