Friday, February 26, 2010

a confession and an announcement

First, for the confession:

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THIS is what our bathroom looks like right now.

This week I discovered the joy of buying cheap wool sweaters at the thrift store, taking them apart, washing the skeins and re-claiming nice expensive yarn at bargain basement prices.


It's actually a pretty time-intensive process, but at the moment, it's a process I enjoy. So, we'll see how long it lasts.

We only have one full bathroom, so the fact that Eric is completely fine with having skeins of sopping wet yarn dripping into our only bathtub is something worthy of report.

(What it really means is that the next time I see a man-sock, or a robot, or a computer book, or a glass of diet Pepsi sitting around in a place where it doesn't belong, I'm going to bite my tongue. In fact, I'd probably better bite my tongue for at least a month.)

( I might have to stock up on soothing lozenges.)

And now for the announcement:

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By popular demand (of one),

Midwinter Musical Madness is Back!!!

We start next week.

I haven't decided what day next week yet, so you'll just have to tune in.

The prize package for the winner will be even better than last year's package, if you can believe it. Not only will the winner receive bragging rights, a place of honor on the sidebar, a non-birthday poetry post, AND an autographed copy of Be Still My Soul just like last year, BUT this year, the lucky winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Salutations! Crochet Treasures as well!

What could be better?

You'll want to head on over here (skip to the paragraph that starts with "Have you noticed that the titles . . . ") and refresh yourself on the rules.

See you next week!

[image of dreamy-eyed talented musical singers can be found here]

Monday, February 22, 2010

answered prayers

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Saturday I attended and sang in a septet at the funeral for Phillip Kesler.

It turned out to be one of those experiences that I'm going to keep in my jewel box of memories.

We sang an arrangement of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It's a beautiful arrangement (and you can listen to some other people singing it here), one that I learned as a solo back when my younger brother (who is now married and has nearly four children) was just returning from his LDS mission to Austria. Later I sang it as the encore for a recital I did. Still later, I sang it with three other women as a special musical number in the ward we attended together. Even later than that, I sang it with my brother (the same one I learned it for in the first place) as one of our cousins was preparing to serve an LDS mission in Spain.

I wouldn't write all this, but I want to point out that I've had a few experiences, all of them good, in singing this song. However, I've never felt the need to write about any of those experiences before. That all changed on Saturday.

I don't always do well when I sing at funerals. That's because I'm a crier. I don't cry at movies or television commercials, or books so much (unless I'm pregnant), but I definitely cry over events and thoughts and memories that are particularly meaningful or poignant to me. Singing often intensifies those feelings, and so as much as I love it, and wouldn't change it, there are times when all those factors come together in a recipe for singing disaster (my grandmother's funeral, as well as my own wedding reception come to mind, but those are stories for another day).

Because of all this, by the time I was standing with those women to sing our song, I'd been praying for nearly a week for strength and peace of mind, and just the right amount of comfort that would help me to feel calm and controlled, but not so much that would push me over the edge into feeling emotional.

Not all my prayers are answered in exactly the way that I want them to be answered, but this one absolutely was, and more.

The song went well. The seven of us blended really well, and as we were singing, I felt a great sense of comfort and peace. That was enough for me, and I was so grateful for it. But then, a couple of little miracles happened.

There's a part of the song, near the end, where the altos take the melody, and the sopranos (me) sing several "Alleluias", in a near musical echo of the melody that the altos have just sung. It's always been one of my favorite parts of the song, and one that I kind of look forward to. This time, as we got to that "Alleluia" section, I felt an upsurge of peace and calm in my heart, and something that I wasn't expecting to feel--


I felt absolute joy, and lightness, and happiness, and a real sense that all was well, that God was watching over us all, and especially and intently watching over those who were the most affected by Phil's passing.

And, in an ultra-rare occurrence in the body and mind of Charlotte (Julien) Corry Cantwell, that feeling of joy did not manifest itself in tears.

That's no small thing.

In fact, if you knew me from my side of my eyes, you'd count all of that as a miracle.

You'd better believe that I do.

[image (of our beloved Wellsville Mountains) can be found here.]

Friday, February 19, 2010

in which I (unsucessfully) try not to say "I told you so"

"That Delores Umbridge! I can't stand her!

Is she ever going to get what's coming to her?"
--said by my Eric, over dinner dishes, a week ago

I've been a Harry Potter fan/fanatic since the days when the book recordings came out on tapes and not CDs. I've especially been a fan of the recordings of the books, read by the ultra-talented Jim Dale.

So, when Eric mentioned (years ago) that he was tired of listening to NPR on his morning commute, I suggested that he listen to one of those books on CD. He didn't take my suggestion, and I let it drop.

Then, a year or so ago, Eric again mentioned that he was looking for commute-listening material, and I again suggested the Harry Potter CDs. Again he didn't take my suggestion, and again I let it drop.

Then, at Christmastime, we were headed down to Cedar City for our annual winter visit. Eric went to the library and picked up two books on CD for the trip. We tried one (a John Grisham novel), but turned it off after about 15 minutes. It started out with the description of a rape of a young girl, and provided more details than either of us felt good about. Then we started another one (a non-scary Stephen King novel), but it too was turned off rather quickly, as we encountered some really objectionable language early on.

Luckily, I had packed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on CD, in case of just such an occurrence! I informed Eric of this good news, and he reluctantly agreed that we could listen to it.

Twenty minutes later he was entranced.

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The Harry Potter books are long, as most of you know. So, Eric's had this one in his car for nearly two months, and he listens to it as he makes the long (by rural Utah standards) drive from our end of the valley to the other. He's almost to the end, and it's been so fun to hear him tell me of his favorite characters (Luna Lovegood and Hagrid), his least favorite characters (the aforementioned Delores Umbridge), and just how he has enjoyed the richness of the book, as compared to the glossy treatment that the movies have (by necessity) provided.

All the while, I secretly smile to myself.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I am totally, completely, absolutely, and without question, right.

And boy, does it ever feel good.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

in which I show you all my glass house

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Tonight Eric and I watched Helvetica on our computer, via our Netflix subscription. Eric (who had already seen the film) had been wanting me to see it for a few weeks now, and tonight I relented. I thought it was a fitting activity for the evening, because:

#1: Helvetica is an independent film that tracks the history and future of one of the most ubiquitous fonts that there has ever been.

#2: Our friend Phil Kesler was a graphic designer and professor of graphic design, not to mention an incurable connoisseur of fonts for most, if not all, of his grown-up life.

In light of recent events, it seemed a timely tribute.

It would have been a better tribute and a more meaningful story if I were to write here that I found the film riveting, entrancing, and spectacular, but I'm afraid I did not. Mostly, I tried to keep my mind from wandering during those ninety minutes.

I guess I'm just not all that intrigued by typography.

Let's be clear on one thing though. I fully recognize that I have no room to talk. I am an accountant, after all. Does anyone (and I do mean anyone) think for one moment that I can possibly criticize another vocation for not being interesting enough, and have a leg to stand on?

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Not a chance.

[helvetica image can be found here]
[general ledger accounting image can be found here]

Saturday, February 13, 2010

it stays with us

Not all that long after I started counting Phil Kelser as a friend, we made a deal. I would crochet him an afghan, and he would paint me a picture.

It was a pretty sweet deal, especially for me.

I let Phil choose his yarn, (which he did with the assistance of his future-wife, Heidi), and Phil let me choose the primary subject of the painting, which I did by myself (my future husband wouldn't be bursting on the scene of my life for another eight or nine years, which is probably a good thing, since he almost surely would have persuaded me to choose a robot as my primary subject, and what kind of a picture would that have made?). Phil (& Heidi) chose burgandy, blue, and gray, and I chose my favorite of all everyday objects, the bright, cheery, yellow umbrella.

Sometime later, I completed the afghan, and some time after that, Phil presented me with his (which then became my) original artwork.

(yeah, we were both a lot younger back then)
(and we both liked plaid flannel shirts, apparently)

I loved the painting immediately, and still do. It's a scene of a dark and rainy street corner, brightened by the happiness and brightness of that cheery yellow umbrella.

As Phil was explaining to me and my roommates some of the details that he'd included in the artwork, he pointed out in particular one man traveling along the street. The man was at the forefront of the picture, facing us, and his position was such that he looked like he had passed the umbrella within the previous 30 seconds or so. His face was dark, as was the night, as was the corner, but Phil had colored a light in his eyes, a light that was essentially the same bright, hopeful hue as the umbrella.

Phil explained his decision there, saying,

"I wanted to show that the light and warmth stayed with him, even after he had moved on."

Those eyes have always been my favorite aspect of the picture.


Over the past few days I've looked at that painting and thought about those eyes more times than I can really count.

I like to think (and firmly believe) that the light and warmth (and truth and love) that Phil experienced while he was here has stayed with him, even now that he's moved on.

I know that some of his light and warmth has stayed with me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Some Days are Like That

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It's been a rough few days.

Eric and I have lost our dear friend, my almost-sister Heidi has lost the love of her life, and Heather's friend Eden has lost her daddy.

I know that death is temporary, that families can continue forever, that God watches over all His children, that there is purpose in suffering.

(Heaven knows, I've written a fair amount about all of that here, and I believe it,--no--- I know it, with all of my heart.)

Still, this is rough.

Rough enough that I don't trust myself to write more about it just yet.

Heidi managed to write about it though--with beauty and simplicity and love. You can read that here.

And probably in a little while, I'll have more to say.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

it's the little things

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My man cheeses it up with a random assortment of nieces and nephews


The kitchen. Charlotte, Eric, & Heather are finishing up dinner. Charlotte is putting things away in the fridge, Eric is leaning against the counter, eating guacamole (of course). Heather, who has been in her high chair about 10 minutes too long is whining and wanting to get out.

CHARLOTTE (to Eric): Hey, will you . . .

(stops, thinks a minute)

CHARLOTTE: Umm, so would you rather clean Heather up and get her out of the chair or load the dishwasher?

ERIC (warily): Which would you rather I do?

CHARLOTTE (unconcerned): It really doesn't matter either way to me.

ERIC: It doesn't matter to me either.

CHARLOTTE: Okay, well, go ahead and do whichever you'd rather do. Really, I'm good either way.

ERIC: Okay. I'll empty the dishwasher.

CHARLOTTE (surprised): You will?

ERIC: Yup.

CHARLOTTE: You know that's the harder job, right? The one that's going to take longer, right?

ERIC (with a smile that is both cheesy and proud): Uh-huh.

Charlotte gives Eric a great big grateful smile and proceeds to clean Heather up, all the while telling her of her hopes that when Heather is older she will find a husband as great as her mommy found, but that hopefully she won't have to wait until she is 36 years old to do it.

(Charlotte also resolves that the next time she's lying in bed feeling unsettled and disturbed, rather than waking Eric up to ask him whether or not he still loves her, she'll remember this moment and let Eric sleep.)


Valentines Day came early for me this year.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thank You, Football Fanatics

I just got back from our weekly grocery store trip.

Avacados were on sale for THIRTY-SEVEN CENTS EACH!!!

So, I bought twelve.
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Hello Guacamole!

Monday, February 08, 2010

My own little Jillian

There will be no pictures of yours truly accompanying this entry. That's because I have no desire to show the world what I look like when I first roll out of bed.

Just in case you were wonderin'

*** *** ***

So, as you might remember, I've been trying to lose weight/get healthy/take better care of my body lately (I'm currently sitting pretty at four pounds down, thanks for asking). I have a feeling this will be a quest I'm on for most of the rest of my life, but at the moment, I'm okay with that.

What you may not remember (because I've actually never told you, so really, you can't remember what you never knew, so that whole first phrase is useless, but I like the "ring" that it has, so I'm leaving it there, inaccuracies notwithstanding) is that for the last three or four months, I've been feeding a borderline obsession with The Biggest Loser. I discovered it (the show, not the obsession) during the middle of last season, and immediately started fighting with Eric for computer time so I could watch all the episodes on-line.

I like to watch the journey of the contestants, and I'm absolutely intrigued by some of the stories and experiences that these people have. And then, of course, there are those helpful hints about Ziploc bags, Brita water filters, and Extra gum that I absolutely could not live without.

*** *** ***

On a related note, you may remember that at times when I need to exersize, instead of going outside, when it's terribly cold, or the air quality is terribly poor, I'll go up and down my stairs and get my blood pumping that way.

What you don't know is that sometimes Heather wakes up earlier than normal.

. . . And, sometimes she wants to get out of her crib before I'm finished with my stairs.

. . . And, sometimes when I get her out of her crib, she's not content to sit on the couch with her bottle while her mother jams out on the staircase.

And so, sometimes, just sometimes (which is more and more turning into most of the time), Heather gets to ride on my back as I go up and down, up and down on our stairs.

She loves it.

Me, not so much. BUT, I figure that working out with a twenty-three pound human backpack can only help me and my new-found spare tire, right?

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Here's hopin'.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


We haven't been feeling all that great around here lately.

. . . be back soon.

[image: which is not the least bit indicative of the amount or
composition of the medicines being consumed by
yours truly, but I thought it was pretty.]

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

shoes for the shoe-maker's wife

everywhere-don't move

Have you noticed this new addition to my sidebar?

Yeah, my graphic designing husband made it for me.

I'd asked him to make me a button so that I could use it for advertising (should I ever decide to branch out into that). He said he would, and then, less than a week later, he did.

It used to say "Charlotte's Etsy Shop", but I wanted it to have the name of the store in the title, rather than my name.

I also originally wanted to have the star be a ball of yarn with a crochet hook sticking out of it, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that would probably look stupid, and the more I liked the star there.

Eric thought up the idea for the retro-ish feel as he was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep.

He got thinking about crocheting, and how it reminded him of the 70s.

I hate hate hate 70s decor. Avacado Green and Sunset Orange? No thank you.

So, I'm not exactly thrilled that Eric thinks of my hobby and the primary provider of Heather's college fund in that light.

All the same, I do like the button.

In fact, I think it's pretty groovy.

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(If you want a button for your blog or whatever, just paste this mysterious code into your HTML/java script. Just don't ask me what it means. Enrique tried to explain it to me, but it was a little too complicated, and I was a little too sleepy.)">"/>
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