Saturday, May 29, 2010


Well, Gary Coleman died yesterday. Apparently, he's lived in Utah for the past few years. I had no idea. There I was, passing his home of Santaquin on my voyages to and from Cedar City, and all the while, a part of my television childhood was right there, in the same town as Elder Larsen (I think was that even his name) from my MTC group. And I had no idea whatsoever.

Now whenever I pass the Santaquin exit, I just know that I'm going to think, "There's where Elder Larsen grew up. Oh, and there's where Gary Coleman used to live. Oh yeah, and that's also the sign that my cousin Julie used to always get her 'Q' from when we would play the alphabet game on the road." And by the time I've thought through all of that, I will have left the exit in the dust and I'll continue my drive.

Diff'rent Strokes used to be my very favorite television show when I was growing up. I remember watching the opening credits with my brothers. As the theme music and different scenes from the show would play, we would yell out, "Seen that!" every time we had seen that particular scene in an episode.


(I'm in a Monk phase now with our Netflix subscription. I'm about halfway through season two, and when they show a familiar scene with the opening credits, I think to myself, "Seen that!" I did the same thing with Psych until I had seen all that was available on DVD. Some habits never die I guess.)

Gary Coleman was three years older than me. I remember I always thought that was weird growing up--that this short little kid that I watched every Friday night (it was on Fridays, right?) before Facts of Life was actually older than me.

It's hard to read now about his life, how sad he was, all the health problems and financial problems and family problems and everything other kind of problem that life threw at him. I mean, we all have problems I know, and we all have choices to make, and a fair amount of the time, our problems are directly or indirectly related to those choices that we've made. All the same, given the choice between my life and Gary's life, I'll choose mine every single time.

Anyway, I hope he finds a little more peace now.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

an olive branch

quirky 5-10

Dear Beautiful, Cheery, Entertaining Birds,

I'm heart rendingly sorry that I called you spoiled and ungrateful.

I love that you've been visiting us so much lately, and in such great numbers. I love watching you flit in and out of our tree and our yard. I love looking at your different colors, and discussing with Eric how many different varieties of you there are. I love how Heather will point to you and then say, "BIR!!!" with such excitement. I love how some of you will wait on branches for your turn at the bird feeder, and when it takes longer than you were hoping, you stop waiting and start moving in on those who have had more than their fair share.

I love you so much that I've gone to the trouble of washing my front window (only the bottom half--my love of you does not extend to ladder-climbing) so that I can see you better. If you knew me at all, you would know that there is no higher compliment (except for maybe ladder-climbing).

So far, you are my favorite part of spring.

Please keep coming. I'll do my best to keep (your version of) M&Ms and peanuts stocked.

With love,
The woman formerly known as skin-flint Mrs. Cantwell

Note: I did not take the picture and this is not our bird feeder. I tried several times to get a picture of "our" birds, but they would fly off anytime I got anywhere near them. So, this one will have to do. It's quite pretty, don't you think? Anyway, you can find more by the photographer here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Playing in the Garden with Eden

Yesterday, Eden came to visit for a few hours.

She shared her stuffed kitty with our little highness.

Our little highness shared her toy phone with Eden.

Eric shared his favorite Tom and Jerry Cartoon DVD with both girls.
(All three of them were all in heaven.)

We re-filled the (seed) bird feeder, and put up the hummingbird feeder.
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(The girls would take the birdseed from the bag and put it in the green cup. Then I would pour the contents of the cup into the feeder up in the tree.)

We pulled a few weeds in the container garden.

Eden successfully moved about one bucket of dirt from one pot to another, which was helpful.

Heather successfully learned how to turn on the water supply to the garden hose, which was not.

We went for a short walk, which contained the added bonus of a very low-flying plane ride.

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(I know it looks like Heather is helping here, but really she's much more of an hindrance to the goal Eden is trying to achieve. Lucky for us all, Eden is a good-natured little girl, and she doesn't get too bent out of shape when her plans are slightly derailed.)

We had cheese triangles for lunch (a/k/a quesadillas).

I was going to give Heather her usual PBJ, but Eden insisted that what Heather really wanted was a cheese triangle.

Turns out, Eden was right. Heather scarfed her quesadilla down in nothing flat.

It was a glorious way to spend a Saturday morning.

quriky 5-10
(I love this picture--mainly because it absolutely cracks me up. What a pair!)

In semi-related news, today we've had birds galore swooping in to take advantage of the goodies in our bird-feeder. It's almost as if they know that they only have a limited time to get the good stuff, because once they've picked out all the M&M's and peanuts, they're going to be stuck with cheerios and raisins until skin-flint Mrs. Cantwell finds it in her heart to replenish again.

Spoiled, Ungrateful Birds.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


In what is probably the first time in the history of our marriage, Eric's robot/geek blog has been updated more recently than this blog.

I was able to stand the shame of it for nearly a whole day, but I've had all I can take, and I have to reclaim my rightful place as the consistent semi-prolific blogger in our household.

Take that, Enrique!

I took about half an hour recently and updated our family slide show on the sidebar. Personally I like to look at it while I'm listening to John Mayer's "Say" (also on the sidebar). It feels more like a bona fide well-thought-out collection of pictures and music that way. Kind of fun, but probably more fun if you're me than if you're not me. All the same, if you want to check it out--I'll give you a little helpful hint. All the new pictures are at the very beginning of the slide show. Enjoy.

Tonight as I was singing Heather to bed, I (foolishly) let my mind go down forbidden paths. Sometimes I accidentally let myself think about what I would do if something terrible happened to my Heather. Nearly my entire world is wrapped up in that little 25 pound body, which, I've gotta tell you, is kind of an insecure place to be sometimes. It's an especially insecure place to be when I let my runaway imagination go down paths where it really has no business going.

I think at least part of the reason for the wild romp through forbidden territory is because we've had traumatic things happen to close friends recently. Almost two weeks ago, one of our best friends survived what could have been a fatal motorcycle accident. He's fine overall, no spinal cord or brain injuries (thank heaven!), but he did have to have some pretty specialized surgery, and will be somewhat out of commission for awhile. Then, shortly before that, another family that we are close to got the news that their three-year-old daughter has leukemia. Apparently there are a few kinds of leukemia, and the kind she has is very treatable and curable, which obviously is a relief. All the same, not the kind of news you want to get, and not the kind of experience you want to endure.

Anyway, there's been a lot rattling around in my brain lately, and it hasn't all been peace and joy and hopeful thoughts of rainbows and lollipops.

But, there's always good to be found, and when I remind myself to hang on to the memories of the good stuff, then I'm able to be a little more rational about the bad stuff. About the same time all this bad news was coming in, I got word that a dear friend of mine has found her own handsome prince and she's marrying him. She's happy. Actually, as nearly as I can tell (she lives in another state these days), she's happier than she's ever been in all the time that I've known her. That's good stuff.

Of course there's always good stuff to be found with Heather. Every new word she learns, every new trick she masters, every time I see her looking at me with pride at her most recent accomplishment--it's the very epitome of the good stuff that my life contains. Tonight, (about fifteen minutes before I put Heather to bed and went on the wild mental romp) Eric and I were discussing, in pretty extensive detail, something that wasn't all that meaningful.

Heather, not wanting to go to bed yet, (and bright enough to realize that she'd be better served to draw as little attention to herself as possible) quietly marched over to her book basket, picked out three of her favorite books, and proceeded to sit next to me on the couch and entertain herself by looking at pictures of chickens and pineapples and families having picnics in the park.

Watching her was pure joy for me. What a treat.


So, I don't really know where I'm going with this post. Bad things happen but good things do too? Living each day as it comes is a better plan that trying to cross bridges that you aren't at yet? Writing blog posts right before bed so that your blog is more updated than your husband's can lead to unexpected and perhaps undesirable results?

Probably all of the above. And I suppose that's okay--once in a while.

Like today for example.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Before you get annoyed at the content (or lack thereof) of this post, take a gander at the title of the blog. Okay, continue.

Charlotte quote of the week (said to Eric):

"Are you funnier lately, or am I just in a better mood? 'Cause you have been cracking me up this week!"

(This as Eric was teasing Heather about learning words. Originally, we were trying to get her to say "please", instead of just making the "more" sign to get a few extra Craisins. When that failed, Eric started trying to get her to say "sha-ka-lak-ka-boom-boom-cha" instead. It struck me as hilarious. I know, I'm an easy crowd.)

(An easy crowd of one, that is.)

(Heather still refuses to say "please", or "sha-ka-lak-ka-boom-boom-cha".)

(Stubborn, that's what she is.)

On a completely different note, all the flowering trees around the neighborhood and village have been in full fragrant bloom. I might as well have died and gone to heaven.

quirky 5-10

And that's what I have today.

(Isn't it fun to use words that you don't end up using that often? Like "village" for example. When was the last time you used that word, outside of a fairy tale or a reference to Hilary Clinton. Hmmmm?)

Okay--really, that's what I have for today.

(flowering tree image found here.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Turns out, the primary kids ARE clutch players

(I hope I'm using that phrase correctly. If I'm not, one of my sports minded brothers is sure to correct me soon--so we'll all be watching the comments for that.)

So, a quick recap--

Mothers Day Eve was glorious.

Mothers Day was fun as well. "My" Primary kids came through gloriously, even singing loudly enough that the people sitting in the folding chairs in the back told me they could hear. It's always nice (and often rare) when that happens. We dined on leftover Indian food for lunch, and spent some quality family time with Eric's parents and brother (and his family) for dinner. All in all a lovely day.

We'll skip Monday and Tuesday, because they were days of rain and gloom.

Tuesday night we got a special treat. My mom had meetings in Salt Lake yesterday afternoon, and has them again on Friday. So, rather than spending the extra 7-8 hours on I-15 (round trip) to make the drive back to Cedar, she chose to spend 3 hours on I-15 and US 89 (round trip) and play for a few days with us instead. We have a nice-ish air mattress, but it is still an air mattress, when all is said and done. So, I'm grateful that's she's willing to rough it here.

quirky 5-10
(Admit it, this picture has you dreaming about your next romantic getaway at Hotel E.C. Cantwell.)

We've had lovely chats, and good laughs, and Heather is loving the extra attention she's getting. (Not that Her Little Highness needs any extra attention. She only has a mother, father, and local grandparents who dote on her every whim already. What a life!)

In other news, I finished The Undaunted Monday night and started The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society on Tuesday. So far (about 50 pages into the Guernsey book) I can wholeheartedly recommend both.

And there you have it.

(To find out more about The Undaunted go here.)
(To find out more about
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, go here.)
(To find out more about our awesome air mattress go here.)

(None of these are paid advertisements, in case you're wondering.)

(If you're a representative of either of these books, or the Intex Mattress company and you want to pay me, I won't turn you down.)

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A Little Tandoori Oven Makes Everything Extra Special

Eric quote of the day:

(shouted, in a loving, teasing shout)

(to Heather)

You can either have tooth-brushes or kisses!
Which is is going to be?

(Heather's not a big fan of having her teeth brushed, and when the kissing is done by her goatee-d father, she's not all that keen on those either)

quirky 5-10

Mothers Day Eve may be my new favorite holiday--this year anyway. It started last night, when Donna and Steve came over for games and laughs. We stayed up waay too late, but it was so worth it.

Then this morning, I got up at the crack of dawn (actually 7:15) so I could pick up my Bountiful Baskets of fruit and vegetable goodness. (watermelon and mangoes this week, hooray!) A lazy morning followed by a glorious afternoon nap only added to the joy. Eric went out and bought me two Mother's Day presents* , and brought home take-out Indian Food for our evening enjoyment. I don't know if there's a meal on earth that I love more than Spinach Saag and Chicken Coconut Kurma coupled with Basati Rice and Garlic Naan. Mmm, mmm!

Tomorrow I lead the Primary kids as they sing their obligatory two Mothers Day songs in Sacrament meeting. I've been pumping them up for it for two weeks now, telling them that this is the highlight of the year for many mothers. (Sisters and sisters-in-law, back me up on this, please!)

Let's hope they come through in the clutch.

*He got me two books. I love it when Eric buys me books because he does his research, and he's yet to get me something that I don't absolutely enjoy. Oh, and yes, I "opened" (i.e.-pulled them out of the Borders sack) early. Surprised?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Sorry Harmony

On and off for the past year or so, I've been listening to books on tape as I run around town in the trusty RAV, rather than listening to the radio or music CDs. A few weeks ago it was The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (of the Traveling Pants), which was followed by The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, (yes, I know I listened to those in the wrong order. What'cha gonna do about it?) which was interrupted when I finally rose to the top of the library queue for Hunger Games. After finishing that, I picked up with the Sisterhood where I left off, and just finished that up a few days ago. Tuesday I was able to make a quick stop and the library, and I picked up The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. If I remember right, that book was one of my favorite of the Little House series when I read them all in my schoolgirl days.

I've been listening to it for two days now, and right now, as I look out my beautiful bay window, It's snowing.

quirky 5-10


I think not!!

The title is a total semi-lame inside joke, but I'll let you in on it, since I hate the feeling of left-outedness that I get when people make inside jokes in my presence. So, go here, read the post that my friend Harmony wrote on May 4 (it's short, so don't be afraid), and this title will all make sense. Aren't you glad to be in the loop?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

UTAH: the good, the bad, and the ugly (well, more of the beautiful than the ugly)

quirky 5-10

In answer to this request, today I'm doing my first (and let's be honest, probably last) stint as a guest blogger.

You can check out my oh-so-erudite post over at "Living in Utah", here.

[Utah-from-space image found at wikimedia commons]

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy May Day

quirky 5-10

There was a time when May Day was my favorite holiday.

(Now I think it's Thanksgiving.)

If I had more energy, I'd take the time to scan a bunch of pictures of May Days past in honor of this auspicious day. Pictures of me and Janet, putting dandelions in paper cups and delivering them anonymously to our fellow High School Choir members. Pictures of the old Geo Metro, covered in construction paper daisies, courtesy of Heidi.

Good times.

But, I've got a monster cold and a complete lack of pep and creative ideas and as a result, so we're celebrating May Day by surfing the internet (me), helping our neighbors move (Eric), and raiding the pantry to make stacks of peanut jars, canned chicken, and kidney beans throughout the living room (Heather).

Does it get any better?

Well, actually, it might. There's the potential for Eric and I to go on a bona fide date this afternoon--grandma's watching Heather and everything. So, I'd better get off the computer and rest up for that, don't you think?

(Maypole image found here)
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