Friday, September 28, 2012

Random Photo Friday - Favorites Edition

Caprese Salad.  Hands down, my favorite meal of the summer.

No contest whatsoever.

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Dear friend, come October, how I will miss you.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Public Service Announcement

A little back story:
Growing up, we Corry's were not inside-the-house pet people.  We were sometimes outside-the-house cat people, but we never ever ever had indoor cats or dogs.  Eric on the other hand, came from a family that was definitely inside-the-house-pet-friendly.  From the stories he tells of the cat that would sleep in the middle of the dogs (because she thought she was a dog) to the cat who would curl up on Eric's head in the middle of the night, to the stories of Chicken John (who didn't live in the house, but was a family pet all the same), it became fairly apparent to me early on that animals were a big part of Eric's life, and if I was going to join my life to his, they would be a part of mine as well.

So, being proactive and all, when we were engaged, one day I came right out and said, "Don't think that I don't know that we are going to end up being pet people at some point."  This was rather thrilling to Eric, to know that he wouldn't be needing to negotiate this point in the future.  We did agree however, that we would not get a pet until we had a house with a garage.

(To me, that meant that we wouldn't be having any inside-the-house-pets.  I'm not sure what that meant to Eric, because it has become abundantly clear lately that we had a little miscommunication on that front, but whatever.  That's the way it goes sometimes.)

So, years went by, and we didn't get a pet, or discuss getting a pet, or have anything to do with pets.

And then, we had a daughter.  And then the daughter showed an overwhelming love for cats and especially dogs.  And then it became more and more apparent that barring some kind of miracle (which--I'm a big believer in miracles, but I'm also a big believer in accepting the Lord's will and making peace with it), the daughter would in all likelihood be an only child.  And then, although we still didn't have a garage, one night after Heather was in bed, Eric and I had a discussion as to whether or not we should get a dog.

I was anti-dog, primarily because it was the end of the summer and I was tired and I was in my "why am I the only one who ever does any of the cleaning around here" mode (a/k/a my "I absolutely refuse to notice anything that anyone else is contributing to the maintenance and well-being of this family" mode).  Because of all that, the conversation almost ended before it had begun, but Eric was patient and I softened up, and we started talking a few details.

After awhile, we came up with a compromise.  We would start saving for a smallish, apartment-friendly dog (probably a Japanese Chin), and while we did so, we would enact a new era of cleanliness on our family--i.e. Saturday Jobs.  Every week, Eric would be responsible for vacuuming and picking up the carpeted areas of our home, and I would be responsible for the bathrooms and the kitchen.  Heather would help as requested.  We would see how it went, and when we had enough money for the Chin (which would probably take about four months), we would see if we felt like we were ready as a family for that kind of responsibility.

It went well.  Our house has been cleaner than has been the case in years, and since I'm actually a witness to the work getting done, I'm not able to delude myself into the thought that I'm the only one doing any work around here, which makes me happier.  That in turn makes both Eric and Heather happier, which makes our home a pretty pleasant place to be nowadays.

We had about one-third of our dog fund saved up when out of nowhere, this really friendly, patient, calm, good-natured, short-haird black cat who doesn't appear to have a home started hanging out around our front door.

So, we did what any normal family would do, and spent thirty minutes one afternoon petting her and bonding with her, and showing Heather how to hold her, and falling in love with her.


quirky 9-12





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And we decided to buy some cat food and put it out on our doorstep for her, and any other cats who might need a little extra sustenance.  

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And we asked around the neighborhood as to the owner of the cat and came up empty.  And sometimes we would let her in our house to hang out for a bit.  And we got tired of calling her "kitty" or "the cat" and so we asked Heather what we should name her, and Heather said "Marilee".  

And one thing led to another, and Eric and Heather took Marilee to the vet to make sure she doesn't have worms or any weird diseases (she doesn't) and went to PetSmart and bought a scratching post and a cat bed, and we're going to do one last thorough canvassing of the neighborhood this week and see if we can find Marilee's original owner, and if we can't, then we are going to get her spayed and we are going to consider her ours until someone comes along and claims her (which at this point, we kind of hope won't happen, but we will of course accept if it does).  

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Because the fact is, Marilee has spent the last two nights curled up on either Heather's bed or our bed, and I never in a million years thought that would happen and I'm more than a little bit embarrassed to admit that she has me as well as the other two members of our family completely wrapped around her (figurative) pinky finger, and I'm pretty happy with this development.

So, if you own this cat or if you know someone who has lost this cat and wants her back, will you please let me know as soon as humanly possible?  We're getting awfully attached over here.

(Dog???  What dog??)


Sunday, September 23, 2012

on temples an childhood dreams

*If you are familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and specifically the details that surround temples and temple work, you may want to skim some of the next bit.  

quirky 9-12


Today is the day that the Brigham City Temple will be dedicated for temple work.  In honor of the occasion, our stake (and I believe all the stakes throughout Utah and possibly further flung as well) will not be having regular Sunday services, and instead, every baptized member of the church is invited to attend a broadcast of one of the dedication sessions, which will be shown in Stake Centers throughout the state.

We're traveling across the valley to North Logan, not because we don't have a stake center closer, but because that way Grandma and Grandpa Cantwell can watch Heather while we go to the twelve o'clock session (they will have attended an earlier session in the morning).

Anyway, in honor of the event, I thought I'd post some pictures of a little trip we took to Brigham City to tour the temple.  Every time a new temple is built, an open house is held for about a month once the temple is completed, but before it is dedicated.  At that time, pretty much anyone can go inside the temple and see what it looks like there.  Then, once the dedication occurs, only church members with valid recommends are invited inside.

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When I was growing up, I used to dream about being able to attend a temple open house.  I wanted to go inside the temple, see what it was all about, see if I felt anything special there, get a taste for myself of what my parents got to experience every month when they drove down to St. George.  That was in the eighties though, and temples hadn't yet begun to "dot the earth" to the extent that they do now.  So, it wasn't until I was eighteen years old and the Las Vegas temple was built that I was able to go through a temple during the  open house period.  It was the most beautiful building I had ever entered, and I remember feeling a very calm peaceful feeling while I was there.

Anyway, one of the reasons I even say all that is to point out that while I had to wait until I was eighteen years old for a temple to be built in my vicinity, Heather has had two temples built within one hundred miles of her home during her short four years of life.

That lucky girl.



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Friday, September 21, 2012

Random Photo Friday-Mona Veronica Edition

In case you didn't know, Eric is a comic book connoisseur.  In homage to that, we have these two hanging in our upstairs hallway.  I love that one on the right.   

PhotobucketSince I know you want one, here's a closer shot.  Photobucket

Good times, good times.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Parenting in 2012

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Heather--apparently prepping for her reign.

A FEW MONTHS AGO

SCENE:  The car.  Heather and I are heading home from somewhere.  We turn into the parking lot of our town home community, and Heather calls out in delight,

"Mom!  Here are all our houses!"

That's right folks, apparently we live in Cantwell Manor.  All those sixty-four other homeowners are not in fact homeowners, but merely serfs on our estate.  It's hard being the lady of the land, but I think I do a pretty good job.  Now if I could just get Squire Eric to take his ruling responsibilities a little more seriously, my life would be complete.

* * *

THIS PAST SUNDAY MORNING

SCENE:  Heather and her friend "Cameron" are on our front porch.  Heather is in her Sunday dress and Cameron is trying to convince her to come out so he can take her for a bike ride to see a secret place in our "estate".  I am trying to gently steer Cameron away from this idea, as we have kind of a busy morning, and Cameron is that delightfully mischievous kind of kid who may or may not have snuck  (sneaked?) out of the house without his parents actually realizing that he has gone.  So, I inform Cameron that Heather probably won't be able to accompany him right now, but could possibly do so the next afternoon.

CAMERON (thoughfully) :  Well actually, I'm not available then.  I'm only available now.  I have lots of stuff going on on those days, it's just Saturdays and Sundays when I'm available.

HEATHER (adamantly):  Well, I'm only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays.*

????  

What the heck??  "Available?"  Since when do four-year-olds manage their own "availability"?  Since when do four-year-olds even know the word "available"???

Something tells me I am out of my league here.

quirky 9-12

Mark my words, teenager-hood is not going to be pretty.





*This totally flies in the face of my "Come back tomorrow (Monday) to play" tack, but whatever.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sweet Domesticity-take two

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I just sat down, ready to write a whole post about how much joy and fulfillment I find in preserving the bounty of the fall harvest, and what a surprise that is to me.  However, as I got started writing it, the words seemed a little bit familiar, so I did a quick search through this blog and what do you know?  I've already written a post that distills exactly how I feel.  I wrote it a year ago, and now here I am, feeling exactly the same way again.  (I was even going to share the same "my mom folding laundry" analogy.  It makes me wonder how many times I repeat myself almost word for word here, and don't realize it.  Sorry about that, guys.)

Turns out, last year's domesticity post didn't include my own pictures, only words and a beautiful evening canning shot that I found on flickr.  So, this years post will include few(ish) words and lots more pictures.  Kinda makes you wonder what next year will bring, huh?  Only time will tell.

* * *

We made crock pot applesauce for the first time ever this year.  I like it.  Pretty easy, and it makes the house smell delicious!  We didn't can it (none of us are big applesauce eaters), but I froze it in small portions.  My plan is to use it in place of oil/butter in some of the baked goods.  I've tried that before, with favorable results.  We also dried some of it into apple leather, which was delicious, but a bit sticky (too much sugar probably).
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This was the recipe we used.  If you don't like squinting at my picture here, you can get it direct here.  
(Still in love with the iPad--obviously.)
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Heather prefers to do her kitchen work in character.  Cinderella was a kitchen maid, after all.  

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I get distracted sometimes and forget when I need to take things out of the oven.  This is a note to me that the applesauce should be done around 7:30 or 8:30, while the tomatoes should be roasted an hour or so earlier.Photobucket






Speaking of tomatoes, here are some that will soon be roasted.  Probably my favorite fall food.
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Tomato paste made of roasted tomatoes.  Words can't express how delicious this stuff is.
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We'll be eating it all year.
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Tomato Sauce. (For freezing)
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Roasted Anaheim Peppers (for Chile Relleno Casserole)
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And finally, a sink full of plums.  These were later dried into prunes and leather (although we call both of these "plum treats", which I think is a big part of the reason why Heather goes so nuts for them.)

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I didn't make any jam this year.  That's because we still have a whole bunch of jam leftover from my adventures last year.  Turns out, we're not big jam eaters in these parts.  Who knew?


*A special thanks goes out to my mom and Eric's mom whose gardens provided us with the vast majority of this food.  I know full well that I wouldn't be getting nearly as much enjoyment out of this as I am if I actually had to purchase these fruits and vegetables.  Getting delicious healthiness on the cheap makes it at least twenty times as fun.  


Friday, September 14, 2012

Random Photo Friday-truly random edition

Wanna see one of the major areas of decor in our master bedroom?

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I like to think of it as a melding of my interests with Eric's interests.



My interests:
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No, I couldn't make something like this.  But isn't it beautiful?  I love it.


Eric's interests:
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Although--there are opera glasses there in the bottom left.  I guess my interests are represented in this shot as well, somewhat.


Both our interests:
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We picked these prints up from a street vendor on our last trip to San Francisco.




Wednesday, September 12, 2012

China--a/k/a Lion Central (and a story that turned out to be kind of long)

So, I have a good friend named Cherie who has been living in China (not too far from Shanghai) for a year now, and will probably be living there for two more years.  She's great, and I definitely miss seeing her around town.  Luckily, she writes us all an every-so-often letter, detailing her escapades, and some of her views and experiences as an American in China.  These letters are so interesting, and so irreverently funny that when I see one in my inbox, it's all I can do to wait for an appropriate moment to dive in and read, read, read.  Everyone should have a friend like that, you know?

Anyway, about a month ago Cherie sent me these stone lions that she's been collecting around China.  As she explains, Lion Statues in China are either male or female, and the way you can tell is that the males have their paw on the ball, supposedly to signify the world.  The females have a cub under their paw, to signify that they are in charge of nurturing and raising the young.  (Did the rest of you know this?  I had no idea.)

So anyway, here are some lions of both genders, presented to us by the great Cherie and Lane Sparks, currently of some city whose name I can't remember but it's close to Shanghai, China.


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Here's a female at the Forbidden City--Beijing, China

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Here's another female at the Forbidden City, this one guarding the Emperor's Quarters.

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Here's a male at the original wall entrance to old Beijing

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Here's a male at Yu Yuan Gardens in Shanghai, China.

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Here's a male in Suzhou, China

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And here's a (huge) stone lion in Dalian, China


I think we can all agree that these are all pretty awesome.

* * *

Now, as long as we're talking about lions, I have a story to tell you.  A few weeks ago, I went out for a "girls night" dinner with several of my neighbors.  I had a ball, loved it, came home energized and refreshed, you get the idea.  However, I also came home with a little bit of a swelled head, until reality came calling anyway.  Intrigued?  I'll go on.

One of the women that joined us had just (as in less than a week previously) moved to Cache Valley from somewhere in Maryland (this seems like it's an unimportant detail now, but will become important later on).  As we were all chatting along, somehow the topic of my blog came up.  Oh, I remember how now.  We were talking about Eric and how funny he is, and I was bemoaning the fact that he is funnier than I am and more memorable than I am, and I am not used to being overshadowed so easily and now I've hooked myself eternally to this guy who without meaning to overshadows me and my extreme wittiness, charm, and comedic genius.  (I may not have used those exact words, but that was the general idea.)  At which point, my dear Aubrey came to my defense and said that I was very funny on my blog.

So, the topic turned to my blog, and I told those who were interested the address, and Aubrey mentioned that she now has her family on stone lion lookout, which then necessitated an explanation of what the stone lions are all about, at which point Ms. Maryland (whose real name is actually Celeste) gasped and said something along the lines of "I know all about your blog!  We just had a stake women's conference, and your blog was basically the topic of the whole conference!"

As you can imagine, I stared at her, shocked.  She continued, explaining that the theme of the conference had been "Lionesses at the Gate", (taken, I assume from Sister Julie Beck's talk during the 2010 BYU Women's Conference) and that they had talked about this woman who had a blog where she posted lion pictures.  How cool is that?  No longer did I feel that I had been overshadowed by Eric, no siree Bob!  They were talking about me all the way across the country in Maryland, in a stake women's meeting no less!  This wasn't some random Relief Society lesson or Sacrament Meeting talk, this was a meeting of the female minds, a place for encouragement, instruction, and everything that is good about being a Mormon woman today.  We all laughed about the "what are the chances" aspect of it all that night, but I definitely got a lift from it all, no question about it.

Until I got home and was lying in bed, rethinking the whole thing.  The fact is, I'm not entirely convinced that this blog is the one they were talking about.  I mean, me collecting stone lions here is much more of a random  quirk of the moment (or moments--lots and lots of moments) thing than it is a spiritual kind of thing, you know?  It would be one thing if every time I posted a stone lion I had something profound and inspirational to say.  Heck, it would be one thing if even once I posted something thoughtful or inspirational or spiritual here along with the lions.  But, I don't.  I do post thoughts here from time to time that some might consider thought-provoking, or maybe even a tiny bit inspirational, but I don't think those posts have ever been associated with the stone lions.

So, maybe it was me, and maybe it wasn't.  Regardless, it sure was fun.  Sometimes when I'm having an ugly duckling day, I go ahead and pretend that there was never any doubt and that it most certainly was me, and that I'm famous all over Maryland among the LDS women there.  Hey, we all have dreams, right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sheep. And robots and godzilla. Bet you can't guess who this post is about, can you?

One thing that fascinates me about Eric is how he is always working on some kind of of artistic project or another.  He's been in the process of putting together his own action figure/robot guy for awhile now, a detailed proposition that includes designing the figure on the computer, sending the design to a company who then manufactures the parts, sanding down and trimming the parts once they arrive, using the parts to make silicone molds for mass (or semi-mass) production, using the molds to make more parts, fitting the parts together and evaluating the aesthetics and functionality of the figure, tweaking, refining, etc. etc. etc.  

The problem with this particular project is that having ten to fifteen parts manufactured can get a little on the expensive side.  Having those parts manufactured more than once (as is often the case in the whole refining process) is even more expensive.  So, during the times when he is saving up the funds to make another manufacturing order, Eric works on other projects.  Right now he's doing some kind of illustrated story of an event that happened when he was in High School.

I don't know all the specifics, but as nearly as I can tell, there were these sheep in a field by a road that pretty much everyone drove by to get to the High School, and there was some kind of surprise storm or something that caused them to freeze all of a sudden.  Then they fell over and get this: got frozen to the ground with their legs sticking up in the air.  The owner of the sheep tried to chip them out, but the ground and ice were too frozen, and stayed too frozen all winter long.  So, Eric and his classmates spent the winter driving by these macabre frozen sheep snow statues for several months.  Weird, huh?  Kind of creepy, pretty sad, a whole lot of other stuff as well, but also pretty darn weird.  It's the kind of thing I could imagine being written into the script of Napoleon Dynamite 2, should a second Napoleon Dynamite movie ever come out.  

Anyway, just for fun, I took a few pictures of some of Eric's past projects.  

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This is kind of a blurry shot, but I really like this one.  It has kind of a Lowenbrau beer commercial feel to it.  Remember those?  They were the "Here's to good times, tonight is kind of special" guys.  I mean, here's old pals Gozilla and King Kong, just taking a minute after destroying their respective parts of the city, just to chill and catch up a bit.  Classic.

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This one isn't as funny to me, but I still like it.  Nothing like riding your Starship Enterprise, using your beverage of choice as a light saber through space, you know?  

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That's pretty much all I have to say about any of this, but if you are hankering for more Eric, he has more of his work (some of it funny, some of it a little more commercial) over on his website, which can be found at (wait for it . . .) ericcantwell.com  




Saturday, September 08, 2012

Awesome?

Overheard this morning as Heather was playing Barbies with a boy in our neighborhood:

(Note to Jacob and Robert:  The boy's parents were there as well and fully aware that he was playing Barbies.  Just so you don't think I'm trying to indoctrinate anyone round these parts.)


* * *
Heather (as Barbie):  Hello there.   Do you want to come to a meeting with me?

Zarin (as a different Barbie):  A meeting??  AWESOME!!!



* * *



Obviously, these kids are Mormons.







image courtesy of ldstalk.com

Friday, September 07, 2012

Random Photo Friday--breakfast couture edition

What I didn't tell you a few months ago was that in addition to a fabulously sparkly pink Minnie Mouse watch, Heather also saw fit to give me this fine shirt.  

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As usual, I must ask you to contain your overwhelming jealousy.  
We can't all wear fried egg faces now, can we?  



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