Monday, August 31, 2009

Paris, Schmaris

Eric and I haven't been on a vacation since May of 2008. Oh, we've been to several family reunions, and we've taken day trips to Salt Lake City, and weekend trips to Cedar City, and we've had lazy Saturdays at home, and heaven knows we wouldn't trade our Heather or the joyous life we live now for all the vacations in the world.

Still, the fact remains that we haven't been on a real vacation in over a year.

For a girl who visited to Bangkok, Paris, San Diego, Houston, Calgary, St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida), Orlando, Anaheim, The Grand Canyon, Barcelona, The Bahamas, New York City (three times), Madrid, New Orleans, The Great Smoky Mountains, Philadelphia, and Rome all within in the space of five to six years, this is a bit of a down-shift.

Some days, when I find myself missing my globe trotting days, I play a little game. I call it "pretend I don't live here".

Saturday morning, Heather and Eric and I played "pretend we're vacationing in a three-bedroom townhome in Cache Valley during the lovely fall season". Eric played by sleeping in, taking advantage of the quiet and stillness of the home, while Heather and I played by eating a quick breakfast, leaving a note asking Eric to vacuum the downstairs (so much for his vacation), and heading to the Gardener's Market for some great food, great ambiance, fun music, and superb people watching.

We strolled down here, Photobucket
where we sampled more than our share of cheese and bread and salsa and blackberries.
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After we'd made one pass through all the booths, and run into an old friend (Heidi-it was the red-haired girl who used to manage those apartments that we lived in. Wasn't her name Carey? I spent the whole time we were taking trying to remember her name. She asked about you, by the way.) , We settled down on the grass in front of "the Gypses" (no, I did not spell that wrong) a local band. They were quite good, and the music they played had a definite beat to it.

Oh, how Heather and I love a good beat.

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Heather made a new friend,
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did some much-needed maintenance on her ride,
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and was overjoyed at the local flora available.
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I alternated between dancing with Heather, trying to deter Heather from eating leaves, and people watching.

Oh, the people watching!
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(I can't for the life of me figure out what that blond lady is doing. Showing off her muscles? Hoisting her vegetables in some kind of enviro-friendly arm-lift?)


After we'd had our fill of the awesome beat, we tipped the band, (because it was the right thing to do, and since we were on vacation, we weren't as concerned about money as we sometimes are) and took our second lap around the market, this time looking to make a few purchases.





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We bought summer squash and corn from the Johnson Family Farm,
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And flowers for me, and blackberries for Eric.
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We happened to run into my cousin and his wife, as well as one of my former roommates and her newborn son. We also had a really nice conversation with a couple who just had to turn around and meet our Heather (since she was singing and babbling as loudly as her little lungs would allow).


Then it was naptime, so we came off vacation, and went home to our newly vacuumed abode.


A glorious morning.

(Under the heading of "coming attractions", I think I've got Eric convinced to take us all down to "Peach Days" in about two weeks. )

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What could be better??





Friday, August 28, 2009

Isn't it about . . . time?

As of today, my parents have been married for forty years.

quirky 8-09
I come by my love of yellow naturally, apparently.

In celebration of this auspicious event, last month my siblings and I pulled off a small miracle and completely surprised my generally-very-observant-and-difficult-to-fool parents with an unexpected fancy schmancy dinner and an even more unexpected commemorative book, full of pictures and memories from the past 40 years.

It was wonderful. Really, I'll probably keep that memory with me until I die.

(Do you do that? I keep particularly meaningful memories in a little jewel box in my mind. Then, when I need to get out of the dumps, or if I'm just in the mood for a little treat, I'll open the box, and take out one or two. Pretty helpful really.)

This past week, I was reading an Ensign article entitled, "The Best Marital Advice I Ever Received" (or something like that). One particular piece of advice caught my attention, probably because the night before I had absolutely refused to sit with Eric and watch one of the 50 Classic Horror movies that he so fortunately found on sale last year. (The movies are black and white. Have I ever written here about how I absolutely detest black and white movies?)

The advice was to put the needs and wants of ones spouse ahead of ones own. As I've thought about this as it relates to my parents' marriage, I think, in large part, they've done this. I don't mean to paint my parents as saints or anything, as that wouldn't be fair or even honest. They aren't perfect, and they don't have a perfect marriage (does anyone?). But, in all honesty, I think that when it counts, they each put the needs of the other above their own, and particularly when it comes to that commodity of all commodities . . .

Time.

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I think I'll try to take a lesson from them.

Happy Anniversary, mom and dad.



(Although I have no idea who took the first picture, the second picture was taken by my very talented and very generous Uncle Warren Huber.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gurgle? Really?

Eric and I just watched Nacho Libre together. It was the first time for both of us.

How have I gone this long without seeing this movie?

I loved it!


On a completely different note, I've opened an etsy shop, and I can imagine myself becoming semi-addicted at some point. What started out as a place to put all my crocheted-but-not-given-away-yet projects is turning out to be more of an interesting hobby, for now at least. I've sold one of my scrap yarn afghans, and traded another one for a bracelet, some note cards, and a little bit of fun that we'll be giving it to Her Little Highness for her birthday next month. Not too shabby.

Anyway, if you're reading this and you're thinking about getting involved with etsy (Jacob and Jeff, feel free to skip this paragraph if you haven't already tuned out), I recommend it. It's pretty easy, and cheap, cheap, cheap. Really. It costs nothing to open a shop, and 20 cents to list an item for six months. Then, when you make a sale, Etsy gets 3.5% (or something like that, I know it's between 3% and 4%) of your sale price. So, it's a pretty good deal, and since it's so economical, it's not as daunting as some other ventures might be.

Of course, sometimes I start reading the member forums about how I need to create a brand identity, and be sure to package my goods right, and market myself, and take professional-looking pictures, and get business cards, and ship internationally, etc., etc., etc., and I get a little stressed out. Then I have to step back and remind myself that this is a spare-time-hobby-do-it-if-I-want-to kind of thing, and I relax.

I know you're all dying to know where you can find my shop. It's at a highly original location, and I'll give you one guess as to the address . . .







And then I'll just go ahead and tell you:



The shop name is "Salutations!" I was originally going to call it "Charlotte's Web", because of the connection with my name and the web of yarn that I spin (I'm killin' me!), but then I decided that there was probably a copyright issue there. So, I got thinking about words that I like, and this was one of them. Even better, there's still a (semi-subtle) tie-in with the whole Charlotte's web theme.


Some of my other favorite words are: taffeta, chrysalis, mocha, persimmon, and gurgle.


Somehow, I think for this purpose, I ended up with the best of the bunch.


And that's what I have for tonight.







Monday, August 24, 2009

The Green Stuff that Delights

quirky 8-09



LAST NOVEMBER, A WEEK OR SO BEFORE ERIC'S BIRTHDAY
(betcha can't believe I can remember that far back, huh?)


Scene: The living room. It's evening, probably a weekend, and Charlotte and Eric are chillin'. Heather has probably already gone to bed, as we don't hear her vying for the attention of either of her parents.

Charlotte: Hey, what do you want to do for your birthday?

Eric: Umm, what do you mean?

Charlotte: Like, do you want a party? Do you want to invite a couple over for dinner? Do you want to spend it with your family? What?

Eric: Oh, I don't know.

pause

Eric: What do you want to do for my birthday?

Charlotte (with a touch of exasperation): No see, it's your birthday. It doesn't matter what I want to do. Besides, I don't really care. It's totally up to you.

Eric: Well, let me think about it, and I'll get back to you.

Charlotte: Okay.



END SCENE

* * *

A FEW DAYS LATER

It might be important to note that a few days previous to this conversation, Charlotte had made guacamole as a special treat (Don't get too excited. It was the kind of guacamole that you make by mashing up an avacado and dumping a 99 cent mix into it). Said guacamole was immediately scarfed down by Charlotte and Enrique.

Eric: Hey, I've decided what I want for my birthday.

Charlotte: Oh Yeah?

Eric: Yup! Guacamole!

Charlotte (incredulously): Guacamole? That's it? No tacos? Nothing but guacamole?

Eric: Yup. Just guacamole.

Charlotte: Okay, I'll get some tomatoes and spices and stuff.

Eric (a little crestfallen): Umm, really? Can't you just do it with that mix, and skip the tomatoes and stuff?

Charlotte (incredulously again): The 99 cent mix in the grocery store?

Eric (unsure of himself now): Uh, yeah. Is that okay?

Charlotte (inwardly rejoicing at the 20 minutes of chopping and washing that she just avoided): Sure. You got it.

* * *

A FEW NIGHTS AGO

Charlotte has again made guacamole, but there are no chips. No matter. She and Eric enjoy their fine delight on toasted white bread.

Eric: You know, I could eat this every night for dinner.

Charlotte: For how long?

Eric: At least a week. . . And then I could add cheese to it! A whole new meal!

* * *


Oh yeah, dinner in the Cantwell home just got a whole lot easier.







Thursday, August 20, 2009

repentance

Did you miss me?

It hasn't actually been a month yet, two days shy, to be precise.

However, this morning, as I went out on my morning walk (yes, I'm biting the bullet and calling a spade spade), I had idea after idea of events and thoughts and observances about which I wanted to blog. Never fear, I'm NOT going to share them all today. All the same, if that's not a sign that I've been on vacation long enough, I don't know what is.


And now, on to our story . . .

When Eric and I had been married about a month, I volunteered to take a meal to a couple in my ward. The wife had been diagnosed with a particularly virulent form cancer and was undergoing the poisonous treatment that generally accompanies those kinds of diagnoses. Wanting to help out, I carefully made the easy-on-the-queasy meal, loaded it up in my car, and at the appointed time, went to the home to make the delivery.

At this point in the story, it will be important to remember that at the time all of this was taking place, I had yet to feel comfortable in this particular ward, and I was spending a more-than-healthy amount of time thinking things like "Poor Charlotte, no one wants to be her friend." To put it another way, my view of the situations and the people at the time was surely a little bit clouded by my own inaccurate perceptions.


When I arrived at the house, I was greeted by the husband, who didn't seem to know what to do with me. As he stared at me blankly, I heard a sharp-ish female voice from the side room, demanding that he take the food, and curtly dismissing me. I handed over the meal, and made my way back to the car.

I'm embarrassed to admit that rather than dismissing it as I should have, I kept that memory with me for months, even years. Anytime I though of this particular woman, I would remember this experience, and even though I never shared it with anyone (until now, that is), I simply would not let it go.

I should have given Sister H the benefit of the doubt, knowing that she was dealing with trials and climbing mountains that I hoped never to endure. And to be honest, In my mind, I did give her the benefit of the doubt. My heart though? Well, that was an entirely different story.

And then, it all changed.

On Sunday, August second, as I was trying to keep Heather from climbing over the back of our pew, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a woman rise from her seat and make her way (gingerly) to the front of the chapel. Her hair was short, white, and thinning. She walked with a cane, and she had a look about her of one who has seen more than her share of trouble. As she made her way up to the front, I realized that I didn't recognize her. In fact, I was quite certain that I'd never seen her before.

But, as you've surely guessed, this was my Sister H. As she spoke to the congregation, sharing her story and her faith, I had a change of heart. I could go on about how I felt and what I wanted to do about it, but I think it's best if I just leave it there.

I had a change of heart.

The meeting ended, the Sabbath ended, and regular life resumed. As I went about my routine, I would sometimes stop to think of Sister H, contemplate how I could best serve her, and say a little prayer for her.

Two days ago, I received a phone call from my Relief Society President. Sister H had been admitted to the hospital, her organs were failing, and the end looked to be very near. So near in fact, that funeral arrangements were being made. She told me that Sister H had made only one definite request for her funeral, and it was that a certain song be sung as part of the meeting. Did I know the song? Could I sing it?

The song was You Raise Me Up, made popular by Josh Groban. I'd heard it of course (who hasn't?), but I'd never seen sheet music, or attempted to sing it. I called around town, located and secured a copy of the music. As is often the case with songs written for male vocalists, I found that the range was not all that comfortable for my voice. Fortunately, I found that if I made some minor modifications to the song, and warmed up really really well, I could sing it without sounding like I was screeching up to the notes.

I called the Relief Society President back, and told her I could do it. She told me that Sister H had passed on about fifteen minutes prior to my call.

And so it is that tomorrow at noon, I will be helping to fulfil the only specific desire that Sister H had for her funeral.

I don't mind telling you, that's special to me. In fact, I count it as a small miracle, and a blessing. I count it as evidence that the Lord knew of my change of heart, and arranged for me to have a new, more powerful, more joyous, and more permanent memory of Sister H. I count it as an olive branch of forgiveness that Sister H has offered me, as odd and improbable as that sounds.

quirky 8-09

I count it as a tender mercy.

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