Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the shoes have nothing to do with the post

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This is another one of those, "I don't have anything in mind, but I feel like writing, so I'm going to write" posts.

I used to do these kinds of posts all the time, but over the past year or so I've been transitioning into a new way. Now, when a blogging idea comes to me, I write it down, and then when have time to blog, I have a ready-made list of topics just waiting for my own personal elaboration.

Things are more efficient that way, and the fact is, I need efficiency now more than I ever have at any other time in my life (Except for maybe high school. Man, was I ever busy in high school!). All the same, this way is a little more spontaneous, and sometimes I like that a little more.

So, now that I've written half a post on the fact that I don't really know what I'm going to write about, I suppose it's time to get going on the actual writing, don't you think?

* * *

Tonight, I have nothing planned. I love nights like this.

I love going home,

Making a simple dinner,

(Tonight we're going to have fish taco salad. We would be having fish tacos, but we're out of tortillas, and I'm not up for another grocery store trip today.)

Playing around in the living room with Heather,

(Lately she's started this new game called "Back". Basically, she says "Back?" to me, and I lie down on the floor, and she climbs on to my back and jumps on to the floor. Chiropractors would cringe, but I'm all for it. Heather gets to get rid of her pre-bedtime energy, and I get to lie on the floor. Could it be any better?)

Putting her Little Highness to Bed, and spending an hour or two with just Eric.

Sometimes we talk, and sometimes we just hang out in the living room, him on the computer and me on the couch with a skein of yarn and a crochet hook. Currently I'm in slipper mode (Did you read that, Melissa? I'm finally working on your other pair of slippers!), and Eric is learning the intricacies of Javascript slide shows or something like that.

As if that wasn't enough to anticipate, I went to pick up the mail today and found that our Netflix has arrived. Our last movie was Coco before Chanel (a movie that I found interesting, but I can't in good conscience recommend), but today we're back to my beloved Monk. Ahh, what could be better?



Random Image (which I found by going to flickr.com and typing in "A Quiet Evening at Home" in the Search Box) found here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Literacy & Lions

So, one of my most prone-to-travel friends just realized that I was collecting stone lions.

Yippee!!

For the next week or two, I'm going to have stone lions galore for y'all.

Really, what could be better?



This one is right outside the New York City Library.

Watch for more gems from Lyn in the future!


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(Thanks, Lyn)






Monday, September 27, 2010

She's too young to remember this day, but I'll treasure it for years to come.

Sometimes,

I look at:

My stairs that haven't been vacuumed in months,

My refrigerator that hasn't been wiped down (inside) since the last time my mom came to visit,

The dead-for-at-least-a-month-daisies that haven't been removed from the front flower garden,

and

pretty much anything from this magazine,



And I wonder if I have my priorities out of whack.






But then,

I see pictures like these:


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And I decide that I'm doing just fine.



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If you're one of the lucky (i.e. interested) who have access to the private heather blog, and you haven't checked things out over there for a bit, you might want to try it again.

It used to be that posts over there were sporadic at best, and non-existent at worst. But, Heather's been extra-cute lately, and I've felt the need to do more documenting of it all, so there's been quite a bit going on over there in the past couple of weeks.

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Just sayin'


(If you don't have access to the private heather blog, and you want it, send me an e-mail (my address is on the sidebar), and I'll probably grant you access. "Probably" as in, if we are personally acquainted, you can pretty much bet on it, and if we're not, but you can prove that you're not going to harm my little girl in any way, then your chances are pretty good as well.)



Friday, September 24, 2010

Let me shoot your next event!

So, I have this friend Carol. Carol and I went on a few adventures together, along with our friend Irene, all around the time that I was getting to know Eric, actually.

Why this is important to this particular post is because from time to time, Irene and I would ask Carol to take a picture of us in front of one landmark or another. Carol tended to be a pretty good photographer, except for when she wasn't.

Back 10-15 years ago, Carol would have been fine. Unfortunately, the advent of modern digital cameras have caused a new wrinkle for Carol's photography skills. See, Carol has an uncanny ability for mixing up the "take picture" setting and the "shoot a video" setting on today's digital cameras.

Because of this, out there in the digital files of the world, there is a 30 second video of me and Irene, standing in front of the Mayan Adventure Ride at the Epcot center, smiling, smiling, talking through our teeth, saying "Haf eyoo takun eet yeht?", looking cheesy and awkward and hilarious all at the same time.

There's a similar video of Irene, standing by a colleague, smiling, and smiling. The Irene and colleague shoot had the added benefit of a real contrast, because the colleague was several feet taller than our dear Irene.

Anyway, I've spent the last 3+ years in smug satisfaction that such a fate has never and would never happen to me.


I was wrong.
(don't be afraid to click, it's only 5 seconds long)



Mmm-mmm! That humble pie tastes good!








(The cake in question was for Heather's birthday earlier this month)
(The cake in question was made by Camille of Camille's Cakes. So fun!)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

forty plus forty is eighty, two plus forty is forty-two

So, a week or so ago around 11 p.m., I was lying in bed, thinking about things that were far too serious for me to be thinking about at that time of night. Eric was sitting up next to me, reading.

I got thinking, realizing that Heather would be turning two this month, and that I'd be turning 39 and a half this month.

ASIDE: (I realize that most people don't take note of their half-birthdays, but I do. The (unintended) result is that my birthday is a really easy really fun day, in part because I don't have the baggage of turning another year older. By the time my birthday rolls around next March, I will have been thinking of myself as "almost 40" for six months. So, I don't expect the actual turning of 40 to be all that hard, just as the turning of 30, 35, and pretty much every other age since 30 hasn't been very hard. The other (unintended) result however, is that sometimes September can be just a little bit daunting--as the following story illustrates.)

Anyway, as I made that realization, I started doing some math, realizing that in 10 years, Heather would be twelve and I'd be almost fifty. In 20 years, she'd be twenty-two, and I'd be almost sixty, etc. That's when I realized that by the time Heather was my age, she'd have a mother that was nearly eighty years old! Horrors!

Images of my little baby taking care of her aging parents flooded my brain, reducing me to tears. What if we were incapacitated and she were forced to make those hard decisions that I'm hoping to avoid making with regard to my own parents? What if we weren't able to get her another sibling here to help share the load? What if Eric and I died early, leaving her an orphan in her twenties or early thirties? I'll stop there, but be assured, the runaway imagination was in overdrive, churning out circumstance after tragic circumstance. As I shared my (semi- irrational) fears with Eric, he tried every trick in his bag to calm me down, from compassion to humor to even a little bit of tough love.

Eventually, I came to the realization that there was no point in stressing about all of this, because there was absolutely nothing I could do about. It took Eric and I a long time to find each other. There's nothing I can do about that. I couldn't have Eric's baby daughter ten years before I'd met Eric, and so Heather was just going to have to deal with having older parents.

As I calmed down, I turned over and tried to go to sleep for the night. As I was lying there, I had a thought, which I shared with Eric, which then prompted him to give me what might be the Eric quote of the year. Wanna hear it?

Okay.



CHARLOTTE (reflectively): When I die, I hope I die quickly. Like, not heart-attack or car accident quickly, but maybe something like, I get really old, and my immune system is shot, and I catch a cold, and a week later I die. That sounds good to me.


ERIC (also reflectively): I hope I'm ripped apart by tigers.


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I laughed for five minutes straight at that. Tears were coming out of my eyes, and my stomach was aching.

And then, I went immediately to sleep.






Tiger Photo found here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wanderlust

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A week or so ago, one of my brothers asked me what my ten favorite vacation places in the US were. I decided to post five of them here, with (hopefully) brief explanations of why I like them so much.

(I'd be especially pleased if you'd list your five as well, but since I've already got you on the hunt for stone lions, AND brushing up on your musicals for next February, I really don't feel like I can ask much more of you right now.)

I should note that we haven't done a whole lot of (as in any) family vacationing since the arrival of little Heather. So, the spots that I list here are places that I have enjoyed without children (and often without Eric as well).

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order:

San Francisco-Eric and I went here for our honeymoon, and then again for our "we're going to have a baby and this may be the last time we can live it up-moon". We both absolutely love it! Love the food (oh, the food!), love the parks, love the art museums, love the shopping, love the wide variety of people. Love to be able to be close to the water. San Francisco is an absolute treat.

New York City-If it wasn't so expensive to find a hotel here, I'd save my money and go back every two or three years. (Although--in staff meeting the other day, one of our Costume Administrators told me about a Days Inn that's only $100 per night or so--located around the Statue of Liberty. Can this be true? I'll let you know if I find out more details.) The Broadway shows are my very favorite of course, but I love Rockefeller Center, and riding the subway, and Central Park, and shopping, and especially especially all the people watching. So fun!

Disneyland/Disneyworld-I'll tell you a secret. People think Disneyland and Disneyworld are only for kids. Nope. Disneyland without kids is every bit as fun, and probably even more fun, because you have so much more freedom. Wanna stay up late and watch the light parade and fireworks? No biggie! Wanna skip the Snow White ride because the line is halfway down the street? Go for it! Of course, you miss out on the magic of watching a little girl or boy talk to Winnie the Pooh for the first time, and that is quite magical. It's not the only thing magical there though. There's plenty of magic to be found for us grown-ups.

New England in the Fall-This is just breathtaking. The one time I experienced this, I felt like I was living in a painting. I've spent nearly my entire life living within 10 minutes of one tree filled canyon or another, and I thought that fall leaves were fall leaves. Boy was I wrong.

Portland and Oregon areas close by-Love the waterfront, love the feel of it all. I did my first (and last so far) river rafting in the Deschutes River, and it was amazingly great in a semi-dangerous sort of way. Also--the Oregon coast? Absolutely beautiful. It's rocky and generally overcast, and cold, and unlike what I think of when I think of the coast, and it's uniquely beautiful.

(Runners Up: Washington D.C. and Chicago)
(A place I want to go before I die, but haven't made it yet: Glacier National Park)

And there you have it. Who needs Frommers or Fodors when you've got charlottelaughs, huh? Not you!

(You know I'm kidding, right? Anytime I go anywhere, I've got a Fodors or Frommers guide in my suitcase. Even when we went to Salt Lake last month, I had my Fodors Guide to Utah with me at all times.)







Vacationing Legos picture found here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Interesting Read (especially for me)

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my mom, me, and my baby brother Mark, back in 1980



Remember when I mentioned that I had helped my mom set up a blog for her upcoming school board election campaign? Remember how I said that I'd share the link for it once it was live and ready to go?

Well, that day is today. I just finished reading a fascinating tale of how my mom started on this road to veteran school board member, and what's happened since. Kind of fun, looking back and realizing a little more of what was going on while I was minding my own business, growing up, thinking that the world revolved around me.

Turns out, when it came to education, my mom's world did revolve around me. Well, me and my brothers and sister anyway.

My favorite quote on the debut post?

"My philosophy was 'If a teacher knows I am interested and concerned about my child's education and that I am willing to work to help them succeed, that teacher will be more willing to listen to my concerns and help me work them out.'"
-Barbara Corry

Not a bad philosophy. Hopefully I'll be able to live a similar one for my own little girl.

(Heaven knows, I've watched a stellar example.)



Click here to see what else Barbara has to say.




Friday, September 17, 2010

Carnivores in Canada

Our latest installment in the ever-growing collection of stone lions.

This one from Beazer, Alberta Canda.

Thanks Corrie!


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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Being Cheerful and Standing Still

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A scripture that has been on my mind, and particularly helpful to me lately:



"You know, brethren, that a very large ship is benefited very much by a very small helm in the time of a storm, by being kept workways with the wind and the waves.

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

Doctrine & Covenants, Section 123; verses 16-17


Today I'm trying extra hard to be cheerful, as I do what I can do. That's tricky for me sometimes.

. . . of course, I also have trouble with doing "all things that lie in [my] power."

. . . and then, there's the whole "stand[ing] still with the utmost assurance." That's not exactly my strong suit.

Huh.


Today, I'll work on being cheerful. That's a good start.





Special note for Laura & Heather, and anyone else who might be interested in a little LDS Church information: The Doctrine and Covenants is a book of scripture recognized in the Canon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Basically, it's a book of the revelations that Joseph Smith received in the early years of the church. See, Joseph Smith was pretty young (and completely uneducated) when all that was happening, so as he would have questions as to how the church should be organized and run, he would ask God in prayer. Then God would answer him through revelation. In addition, some of the early members of the church would go to Joseph Smith, asking him to ask God what he (God) would have them do. God would answer those questions through revelation as well. All (or at least many--I really don't know if it's all of them or not) those revelations are compiled in the Doctrine & Covenants. Of course, it's a little more complicated than all of that, and I am no scriptorian or gospel scholar. But that's my oversimplified description of the book.


Ship Picture found here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

nature's mercy

How do you feel about gardening?

I don't do a whole lot of gardening, mostly because I don't have a whole lot of land (as in, I probably have five or six square feet total that's not covered up with cement.) Even if I did have a regular front or backyard though, I don't know how much gardening I would actually do. That's partially because I'm kind of lazy and I don't like being in the hot sun, and partially because I have a job that requires a lot of time and energy in the summertime.

But I do plant a container tomato garden. This year I was seized by a fit of delusion, and I planted my six tomato plants in April, thinking that I was living in Florida or St. George or California or something. They all froze (big surprise there), and so in early early June, I planted nine more plants, six in containers, and three where the tulips had just died off.

This year was probably my worst year ever as far as caring for those poor plants. I was swamped with a lot of things and I had a lot on my mind all summer long. The tomatoes suffered accordingly. Days would go by without them getting any water at all. Then, I'd look out the window, see their poor drooping leaves and rush out to give them a little refreshment. Three or four days later, the scene would repeat itself.

They managed though. I must have bought some tough tough tomato plants, or we must have had more rain this summer than usual, because last Sunday my little girl and I went out and picked our biggest ever harvest of tomato plants.

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Wanna know the best part? There's still a whole bunch more out there, ripening.

Sometimes, my best, while not perfect, turns out to be good enough. Isn't it nice when that happens?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mommy's Helper

Heather doesn't come to work with my anymore.*

That's partially because there's a shredder in my office, but mainly it's because Heather has the attention span of a typical two-year old.

Still, sometimes for a special treat (for me), Eric will bring her in on a Friday afternoon, and she helps out with some of my workload.

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(I love how the picture in the background complements the scene in front. The picture is an ad that I received with a sample of Similac Baby Formula well over a year ago. The words under the photo say something like, "How do you keep the boss happy? The one at work and the one at home." If I remember right, it seems like there are helpful tips on the back for balancing mother life and work life.)




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I don't know how I ever managed without her.







*for the first nine or so months of Heather's life, she would spend Wednesday mornings and all day Friday with me at the opera company. Luckily for all of us, Grandma Cantwell retired from her kindergarten teaching job, and now takes Heather all day on Wednesdays. Then Eric got a job that allows him to be home on Fridays, so Heather stays home with him then.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Gardener's Market--Take Two

So, after the great experience Heather and I had with our local gardner's market last summer, we decided to go for an encore again this year.

Once again, we let dad sleep to his heart's content, and set out to Pioneer Park for food and fun. As it turned out, we totally scored when it came to the band that was scheduled to play. They were called "The Hot Flashes", a group of 50+ women who really know how to sing and play some peppy peppy tunes. I wanted to take a picture of them, but as it turned out, the keyboard player is my old (as in previous, not as in elderly) piano teacher, and I was too embarrassed to have her see me taking a picture of her. Timid, timid Charlotte.

Heather was much more animated this year, and absolutely loved the music, (not to mention the food!)

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We'll definitely be back!



Sunday, September 05, 2010

Karma


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One of my dad's favorite sayings is, "What goes around comes around."

In fact, you know that part in Karate Kid (the first one) where Ralph Maccio is talking to the girl he's hoping to love about her jerk of a boyfriend and he (Ralph, not the jerk boyfriend) tells her "What goes around comes around", and then she says, "Well, I'd sure like to be around when it does", and then he goes to the school Halloween dance in a shower costume and he dumps water on the boyfriend while he (the jerk boyfriend, not Ralph) is trying to do drugs in the bathroom, and as the jerk and his goons chase Ralph out of the gym he runs by the girl (Elisabeth Shue), and as she asks him what's going on, he yells,

"It's comin' around!"

(Remember that part?)

Dad and I just crack up at that part.

In fact, there was a certain race in my high school career where a certain runner from a certain other school who had spent the whole season trying to intimidate me by telling me that Cedar High (my school) just didn't have any good runners was (finally) passed up by a certain runner (which runner just might have been me), and as I passed her after two months of agonizing intervals and pain and hard hard hard work, my dad was standing there on the sidelines, cheering me on, and you know what he yelled to me?

"It's comin' around!"

I love that memory.

When I read this, it reminds me of that experience and so so so many more.





(Ally--if you ever read this, THANK YOU.)















Ally wrote this tribute awhile back, but I was in the middle of the staycation reveiw and just couldn't possibly break it up. You understand, don't you dad?

Friday, September 03, 2010

Saving the Best for Last

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On our last full day, we hiked up to Timpanogus Caves. It's a pretty strenuous hike, only about two and a half miles, but it rises about 1,000 feet in elevation. So, we were pretty tired by the time we made it to the entrance.

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The whole experience was well worth it though.
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The scenery was absolutely beautiful,


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and it was such a treat to have several hours of walking with my Eric, holding hands, alternating between being goofy and being serious, chatting and laughing, and just enjoying being together. Eric and I went hiking for our second date, and this hike reminded me of that, only this time we were both a whole lot more comfortable with each other, and it was even more fun.

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It was all an absolute treat.

We finished the day by meeting up with our friends, the Youngs for an evening of Mexican food and fun. Eric and Trevor exchanged comic-geek opinions and experiences, and Chelsie and I had a good old mom-talk. Chelsie told me everything she knows about potty training (having just gone through it with little Daphne), and I've determined that we might be wise to invest in an "Elmo's Potty Time" DVD. Daphne was adorable, as always, and we all decided to do it again soon (like, in a week).

The next day Eric and I packed up and headed home. We were both kind of sad to leave our lives of luxury and freedom, and enter back into our lives of responsibilities and commitments, but hey, you can't live on vacation forever right?

Now that we've been home for a few days, I have to say that I heartily recommend something like this for anyone who doesn't have the energy or desire to plan a big extensive vacation. Being away with just Eric for this time helped me to rediscover traits in him that just thrill me to my toes, and many of them were traits that had kind of slipped to the back of my mind. It was great fun for us to be able to shed our "responsible parent" roles and be a couple again for a little while. It's been a definite highlight for me, and something that we're hoping to do (although perhaps on a lesser scale) several more times in the future.





Having said that though . . .

Naturally, we both missed our little Heather fiercely, which made coming home quite a bit easier than it otherwise would have been.


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Really, can you blame us?








Thursday, September 02, 2010

part of me still wonders if I should have just bought the book

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On day three, we ate at Simply Sushi. For $15 each plus tip and tax, we were able to eat all the Sushi we could manage in 60 minutes. We tried Fish Eggs (Eric liked them, I did not), raw tuna (again, Eric liked it, I did not), Eel (we both liked this one), and several delicious sushi rolls featuring crab, salmon, cream cheese, and avacados.

Mmmm, mmm, Deeee-licious!

Then we went to Sugarhouse and explored around there. We hit the Deseret Industries together (an old favorite of ours), and then went our separate ways for a bit. I checked out Whole Foods, where I drank my first ever Aloe Vera drink, and Eric got in a lengthy conversation with some guy at a some comic shop whose name slips my mind at the moment. We met up at Barnes and Noble, where Eric browsed magazines, and I read the first three chapters of Mockingjay, nearly convincing myself to buy it, and only escaping the impulse by remembering that I don't own the first two books in the series, and that Donna almost surely has already purchased a copy, and will probably lend it to me if I ask her really nicely.

Then we went to another movie, this time Toy Story 3.

We pigged out on popcorn, but that didn't stop us from eating dinner at Zupas, a soup-and-salad franchise that had been recommended to us. We absolutely loved it.

Tune in tomorrow for a recounting of the one day on our vacation that we did something besides shop and browse and watch movies and eat!


'

Sushi photo found here.
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