Tuesday, August 31, 2010

a bit of euphoria wrapped up in cornbread and then deep-fried


Charlotte and Eric are heading back to the hotel after day one of what is sure to be a thrilling vacation.

ERIC: Hey, are we going to be going to the Gateway while we're here?

CHARLOTTE (a bit confused because it is Charlotte, not Eric who is most entranced with the Gateway): Well, we can, but it's okay with me if we don't.

ERIC: Actually, I really want to go there.

CHARLOTTE (hopeful that Eric has finally discovered a love of the great Gateway Olympic Fountain ): Okay. Why?

ERIC: Well, I really want to have lunch at the Hot Dog on a Stick.

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So, we did.

We also moseyed around downtown, hung out in the Salt Lake Library, rode Trax, talked to several homeless people, spent $100 in Ikea (buying a coffee table, a table for our breakfast nook, (since our current table is too small to seat the three of us), several storage boxes for my rapidly growing yarn and etsy inventory, a placemat for Heather, an eco-friendly shopping bag, and seven cinnamon rolls), and played hand and foot well into the night with one of my favorite couples, the Burnetts.

It was a glorious day, but I think the Hot Dog on a Stick might have been the highlight for Eric.

(Which says much more about Eric's love of a good corn dog than it does about anything else.)

(Really. Eric mentioned several times over the following days how much he enjoyed the time that we spent with the Burnetts. It's just that there isn't much that compares with Hot Dog on a Stick for him.)

(Who knew?)

Monday, August 30, 2010

an auspicious beginning

So, in looking over my pictures of our little romantic adventure, I've discovered that I really only took pictures on days one and four, leaving most of days two, three, and five to my memory.

I guess that's the way it goes sometimes.

We started our journey by doing what we ended up doing for most of the trip; browsing and shopping. We stopped en route in Layton so we could go to the Deseret Industries Thrift Store there. I purchased five sweaters (all for the yarn), and Eric purchased a first U.S. edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for five dollars. (Yesterday he did a little research online and found out that the book is currently worth exactly five dollars on the black market. So, we didn't exactly come out ahead on that one, but there's still time, right?)

We also stopped in Centerville to explore that retail outlet of all retail outlets, the great Target. Oh how I love a good Target.

And then it was off to Salt Lake, where (as I mentioned earlier) we had reservations at the Metropolitan Inn.

What a stellar room!

We decided to visit Trolley Square, primarily because we wanted to splurge (money-wise and calorie-wise) by eating at Rodizio Grill.

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On the way there, Eric and I traded childhood memories (and more recent memories) of going to Trolley Square over the years. Eric in particular rhapsodized over a certain candy shop and the amazing salt sater taffy that they made there. We commiserated over the fact that the shop was long gone now.

But wait! What should we find upon exploration of Trolley Square . . .

The very shop, and the very candy!

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The taffy is absolutely delicious. You know how sometimes you remember something from your childhood, and then when you grow up you experience it again, and it's just not anywhere near as good as you remember it being? That was absolutely not the case this time.

After dinner, we roamed around the shops at Trolley Square, where Eric met the man who designed all the eyewear for Bladerunner, and I tried to decide if I could create a knock-off of a $69 wall-hanging I found at Pottery Barn Kids.

Then we went to Iron Man 2, in what may be the last dollar theatre in Utah.

All in all, an absolutely lovely day.

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

So, last May, when I was looking at a looming summer of opera craziness, and discouraged/anxious about a few things that were going on (all of which turned out okay, thanks for your concern), I convinced Eric that once opera season was over, we were going on vacation. He wasn't all that hard to convince.

We tossed around several ideas over the following weeks, everything from San Diego or San Francisco to upstate New York, Cleveland, or Washington D.C.

And then, as we were driving through Salt Lake City, after spending time at my cousin's wedding, we decided that this time around, we wanted to save airfare money and splurge on restaurants and experiences and explore Salt Lake City (and some surrounding areas), a place that is a mere 90 minutes away from where we live. Some thought we were crazy, and I actually wondered myself if I'd be disappointed when it was all said and done.

Well, we dropped Heather off with grandma and grandpa last last Tuesday and returned yesterday afternoon.

It was absolutely wonderful.

So wonderful that we both want to do it again someday. Staycations are where it's at, if you ask me.

So, for the next couple of days, I'm going to be posting some of the highlights of our five-day four-night extravaganza. Be warned. I'll try to keep it brief-ish and perhaps even interesting, but if you're not into travelogues, this may not be the week for you.

But then again, it might . . .

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We stayed here. For $65 per night, it provided some really exceptional digs!

You just never know.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

windsor blue, linen, and frosty green

afghans made in the past two years

I've started a new afghan.


It's for one of my dear friends. She got married in June, and at the time that I heard about her upcoming wedding, I was up to my ears in orders for the etsy shop, and didn't have time to finish an afghan for the big day. So, I e-mailed her, asked her to tell me her favorite afghan colors, and promised to make her one soon. On Monday I bought the yarn (sage, denim blue and tan), and on Tuesday I started the afghan. I'd like to post pictures here, because although I'm sure it's not all that interesting to you, it's absolutely fascinating to me, and it is my blog after all.

However, the friend in question bops over here from time to time, and while I don't care about letting her know that I've actually started the afghan that I promised so long ago, I would just as soon wait for her to actually see it until it's done in all its beautiful yarn-ey glory.

I used to make afghans all the time. I would finish one, and almost immediately start another. I generally had at least one afghan made and in the closet, waiting for one of my close friends or relatives to get married, and if that took long enough that I got two or three there, I'd donate one or more to LDS Humanitarian aid, or some charity auction or something. I rarely made the same pattern twice, just because I like variety, and I love watching something new come out of my fingers. If I did the same pattern over and over again, I think I would get bored silly.

Then I started into this etsy phase (Is it a phase though? Or is is a new component of life? I guess only time will tell). I perfected my beanie-making skills, and learned how to make fingerless gloves, and cowls, and newsboy caps, and headbands, and slippers, and I'm hoping to start on bags/purses soon. It's been great fun and a great adventure (if you can call crocheting an adventure, which really, I don't think you can). From time to time though, I miss my days of afghan-ing. Afghans don't sell all that well on etsy (at least, not for me), and they are waaaaay more expensive to ship than hats and gloves. So, I don't make them as much anymore.

But they're still my absolute favorite.

Luckily, I still have lots and lots of yet-to-be married friends.

Monday, August 23, 2010

To the Rescue!

So, earlier today, I got to thinking about this blog, and what I might write here in the next little while. I came up empty, and briefly toyed with the idea of going on vacation from blogging for a bit.

But then, what should I receive in my in-box this morning but five glorious pictures from Harmony, a fellow member of the United Seekers of Stone Lions!

Vacation, Schmacation!

Harmony had the good grace to take these for us while on a recent vacation to Washington D.C. What a gem, huh?

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One of two lions (and Harmony) in front of Union Station.
Check out the facial expression on that lion! What pride! What snobbery!
(He could be right out of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, don't you think?)

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We think this is on the entrance to one of the Senate office buildings.

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Random Stone Lion, somewhere in Washington D.C.

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Statue of Brigham Young in the Capitol.
What? You don't see a lion here?
Wait for it . . .

(keep waiting . . . )

Ta Daa!!!!!
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As Harmony pointed out to me when she sent these, this only seems appropriate, since Brigham Young was known as "the Lion of the Lord".

Thanks Harmony!

Now, to the rest of you, keep snapping those lions! (but only digitally, and only stone lions. We could have a few tragedies if we did any other kind of snapping with real lions, and I'm not at all interested in that kind of blogging.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

passport not necessary

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So, remember back about 3 months ago, when I wrote that I was reading and enjoying The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and Carol left this comment?

Blogger Carol said...

If you get a chance, I highly recommend listening to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society book on CD. It is a lovely listen and easily transports away from current day. It is a bit like a vacation from our time!

11:24 AM

Well, as soon as she made that recommendation, I immediately put myself on the queue for the sound recording at my local library. My number came up this week, and I've been listening to it in the car for two days now.

Carol is absolutely right! Not only is it a vacation from our time, I feel like I'm gallivanting through the English countryside every time I turn on the car. What a treat!

Thanks Carol!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

the last one reminds me of Ursula

Eric and I share a camera.

This has not always been the case.

When Eric and I got married, I had a palm-size Pentax, and Eric had a big professional-size Minolta. As it turned out, Eric didn't like my Pentax and I couldn't figure out how to use his Minolta, so we went along our way, with nary a shared lens between us.

However, last Christmas, Eric gave me a sweet new Canon Power Shot a1100 is. I love it, and, it's actually better than Eric's big old Minolta (emphasis on old).

So, now we share. Of course, it is my camera, and I tend to take the majority of the pictures in this family, so the sharing goes quite a bit more my way than it does Eric's way.

Still, sometimes I'll open the photo card to download some Etsy pictures or some Heather pictures or some pictures of the gaping hole in our front sidewalk that I'm e-mailing to our HOA repair comittee, and find a surprise or two there.

Such as . . .

Just another day in blissful Cantwellopia.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

the most contagious smiles I've seen all year

This is my dad and his brother Steve.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that Uncle Steve is my dad's best friend.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

in which I simultaneously offend both motorcyle enthusiasts and cadillac owners

Most of the time, when I sit down to write on this blog, I have a definite agenda, topic, event, memory, etc. to write about. But sometimes, like today, I just sit down and write, and whatever comes out of my fingers is what ends up here. Hmmm.

I stayed up until midnight last night, finishing a book that was written by Eric's Uncle Lee. It's called Mother George- the Midwife that shocked Grays Lake, and it's a historical fiction novel about a black midwife who delivered babies in Idaho around the turn of the century. (In fact, she delivered Heather's great great grandmother, Effie Allsop Greene). Only there's a twist. After Mother George died, the people in the community found out that she was actually a man. Geesh! if that wasn't a surprise! Due to a vast lack of evidence about her/his life, most of the Mother-George related information in the novel is fictional, but the fact that there was a Mother George, that she did deliver babies, and that she fooled an entire community is completely documented.


In other news, tonight I went to the temple. As I was circling the parking lot, looking for a space, I saw not one, but two motorcycles parked in different parking stalls. One of them was hidden behind a big van, and I almost ran into it, thinking that it was an empty space all for me and the RAVioli. I don't often equate "temple-going-Mormon" with "motorcycle guy" (or "motorcycle girl"), which I admit is kind of dumb of me. The fact is, awhile back I dated a guy who was a staunch Mormon and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. So, I have no excuse.

It did make me chuckle though, especially because one of the bikes was sandwiched right between a Silver Lincoln Continental and a Beige Cadillac, two grandma cars if I've ever seen any. Fun.

I found the whole thing a little ironic, because earlier in the day, I'd chanced to see this on YouTube :

And that's what I've got for today.

Monday, August 09, 2010

brag, brag, brag

(Hey, at least I'm honest!)

Etsy has changed things up a bit recently.

Ever since I joined (and long before that), there was the Etsy Treasury--an area where members could curate their own collections of items that are available on Etsy. The treasury was kind of a big deal, because there were only so many slots available, and the actual collections expired within three days of the time that they were curated. So, anytime any one of my items was featured, I was absolutely thrilled.

Now, Etsy still has the treasury, (actually they have three, but that's nothing we really need to go into right now) but it's unending and unlimited. So, anyone can make a treasury anytime they want to, and the collections don't expire. That makes it not as big of a deal to be featured in a treasury of course, (since there are about a million of them), but the upside is that I've found that I'm featured in more of them, and more often. So, that's kind of fun.

Anyway, just for fun, I thought I'd post links to three of my favorite treasuries that include my work. One is themed around rainy days, another around romantic evenings, and the most recent deals with the changing of the leaves.

Someday, when I have money coming out of my ears, I'll just spend the days looking at collections like these, and buying, buying, buying. For now though, window(monitor) shopping works pretty well for me.

Here are screenshots, with the links underneath:

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A Romantic Evening Outside

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Rainy Day

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Why do the leaves turn orange and maroon in the fall?

Friday, August 06, 2010

I've been wondering if I could make these since December of 1993


Scene: the living room

ERIC: So, what kinds of goodies did we get this week? (referring to the Bountiful Basket haul)

CHARLOTTE: Umm, the usual stuff, and then some mangoes, and some plantains, and a bunch of corn, and a whole bunch of peppers. Really, I don't know what we're going to do with all those peppers.

ERIC (brightly): You know what you should do? You should make chile rellenos. They are sooo good! Have you ever had them?

CHARLOTTE (thinking to herself, "Duh! I served a Spanish-speaking mission in California. Of course I've had chile rellenos!): Yup, I've had them. It seems like they're deep fried though, and they're a lot of work. I'm afraid that they're just not going to be worth the calories and effort.

ERIC (a little crestfallen): Well, what else are you going to do with them all?

CHARLOTTE: I don't know--roast them and put them in enchiladas or taco soup or chili or something I guess.

ERIC (with disappointment): Huh.


The weekend ends, the week begins. Tuesday comes around and due to a change in plans, Charlotte finds herself with about two more hours than she was expecting to have. Seized by a fit of spousal love, she does a little research on the internet, and finds a lower-fat recipe for Chile Rellenos. She then spends the next two and a half hours roasting peppers, peeling peppers, removing the seeds from peppers, stuffing peppers with mozzarella cheese (we didn't have any Monterey Jack), whipping egg whites, dipping peppers in flour and egg whites, frying peppers, and baking peppers. When it's all finished, Charlotte, Eric and Heather sit at the table to enjoy the fruits of all that labor.

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CHARLOTTE: Okay, before we start eating, I just want you to know that these are a lot of work. They are so much work that I'm pretty sure I won't ever be making them again. This is the kind of meal that we're just going to have to get at a restaurant from now on.

ERIC: Really? Okay.

Charlotte and Eric dish the food up for themselves and for Heather, and begin eating.

pause for eating

CHARLOTTE (slowly): Huh. These are pretty good.

ERIC: You think so? I mean, I really like them.

CHARLOTTE (thoughtfully): Yeah, these are better than I remember them.

ERIC (with a glimmer of hope): Really? Well, they are pretty good.

CHARLOTTE (reluctantly): You know, these are good enough that I just might have to make them again.

ERIC (tentatively): Yeah?

CHARLOTTE: Yeah, I think so.

Charlotte thinks to herself, "But next time, you are going to help me do the work!"

Eric thinks to himself, "I knew if I could just get her to try these, she'd come around to seeing things my way!"

Heather thinks to herself, "They sure are quiet over there, and no one is giving me any attention at all! Maybe it's time for me to stand up in my high chair, and do a few big jumps. Yeah, that should do it!"


So, you want the recipe?


Click here, and scroll down until you get to the recipe for
Chiles Rellenos al Horno.

(I used Anaheim Peppers, Dried Oregano, White flour, and Mozzarella Cheese instead of Poblano Peppers, Fresh Oregano, Whole Wheat Flour, and Monterey Jack Cheese).

(But otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.)

Peeling chile image found here.
No, that's not my hand or my sink.
My sink is white.
Just fyi.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

helping out never smelled so good

Back in May, I wrote a little bit about a family that's close to ours, and mentioned that their 3-year old daughter had just been diagnosed with leukemia. Remember?

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Well, Daphne has gone through much of the treatment, and although she still has a long long road to travel, things are going well. The situation is encouraging, as far as I can tell from what I read and hear.

However, chemotherapy isn't cheap.

In light of that, a couple of Daphne's friends have organized a fundraiser. Wanna hear about it? I know you do.

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Do you like Scentsy products? Have you heard of Scentsy products?

I like them. They're basically wickless flameless candles that last for ages and ages and smell so so so good. I'm actually not all that big on scents in the home, but my Scentsy warmer made all the difference a couple of Christmases ago when we had the artificial tree up. I'm a real tree kind of girl (as you know), and the fake one just wasn't doing it for me, mainly because I missed the smell of pine in my house. In that case, it was Scentsy to the rescue! My Christmas Spirit was saved, and it was all due to a little plug-in warmer, and a couple of bars of fragrant wax. Heaven!

So anyway, Heather Wade is raffling a full-size Scentsy warmer and three Scentsy bars of your choice, all to raise funds for Daphne's treatment. The cost is $5 per ticket, and 100% of the proceeds go to little Daphne. In addition, through September 30, all profits from purchases made at this link will go to Daphne as well.

For more information, and to get addresses to participate in the raffle, just click here, which is where Daphne's mom has posted all the important details.

So, what are you waiting for? Click away!

Daphne photo lifted from here.
Scentsy image found here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Gospel Doctrine, here I come?

Charlotte Quote of the Week:

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"So, that's what happens if you're in a crappy boat in the middle of a great big crazy storm."

-Said by me to the primary children after a brilliant object lesson in which I made an origami paper boat, floated it in a casserole dish full of water, rained on it with spray bottle rain, and used my hands to make two-story size waves (scaled down to the size of the boat of course), all to efficiently sink the boat. We then went on to discuss Luke 8:22-25, and the story of how Jesus calmed the tempest on the Sea of Galilee.

-Yes, I said the word "crappy" in the middle of church. I should be released any day now . . .

(For those not as initiated in the LDS Church: "Gospel Doctrine" is the name of the Sunday School class that is taught to the adults during the time that I am teaching the children in Primary. The class is sometimes interesting, enlightening, educational, and spiritual, and sometimes it's a trial in boredom. This usually depends on the teacher and (let's be honest) the amount of personal preparation and study on the part of the student. If they were to kick me out of the primary for saying words like "crappy", I would have to leave my intriguing, delightful experiences with the children, and take my chances with the grown-ups. Gulp!)

(They won't really kick me out of Primary though. At least, not just for saying "crappy".)

Image of Origami Boat found here
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