Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I actually generally wear my earrings in my ears--not my hair

I know this is late, and that Mother's Day is a distant memory for all of us, but I just found this again and I loved it so much that I wanted to post it.

So, here it is, the Mother's Day card Heather made for me in Preschool.

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I love everything about this card. I love the illustration on the front, I love how the flowers are colored yellow (my favorite), and I love love love the words filled in on the second page. I especially love that through Heather's eyes, Charlotte Cantwell, a pretty average person when you come down to it, is best at being fabulous. I love that she sees me that way.

So, would you like to hear some random-but-stellar advice/thoughts from someone who is best at being fabulous?

Well, okay.

-If you use your cell phone for your alarm clock, try to find a ring that is kind of basic. Waking up out of a deep sleep to the Jumpin' Jive can be a little jarring.

-The push-button sunroof is one of man's greatest inventions.

-If you take ice-cold Crystal Light Lemonade (even Western Family or Kroger knock-offs) and add a few frozen peach slices or strawberries to the bottom of the pitcher, in about an hour you'll have delicious peach or strawberry lemonade. This also works with one drop of peppermint essential oil, if you have the kind that are safe to ingest.

-There is a type of beauty that has nothing to do with facial skin tone or firmness, nothing to do with waist size or body fat percentages, nothing to do with hair color or thickness of eyelashes. It has everything to do with kindness and goodness radiating out a person's eyes. It can't be faked or bought, but when it's there, and when I take the time to notice it, it can be the most calmingly beautiful thing I've ever seen.

-If you have something important or potentially delicate to discuss with your husband, dropping it on him within thirty seconds of him rolling out of bed in the morning is not necessarily advisable.
(Not that I would know anything about that personally of course.)

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Walk #12--Soccer Park Walkway

Awhile back, I stumbled across this list of urban hiking trails in Logan, and I decided that Heather and I should try to walk them all before it gets too cold for us to want be outside. So far we've done three. We've been a little limited because many of the trails surround one playground or another, and we tend to take these walks on Sunday afternoons, times when playing on playground equipment is against our family rules. (And we don't want to tempt ourselves beyond endurance if at all possible.)

Anyway, here are some shots we took back around the middle of April when we went on Walk #12, a/k/a "Soccer Park Walkway".

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We explored cattails, and looked for different birds. We saw some seagulls and so I told Heather the story of the early Utah settlers and the seagulls who saved them by eating (and then barfing) big hungry crickets. When I was finished she asked to hear it again--two more times. That's the way Heather is. She likes to hear the same story a couple of times in a row if it's a new one. I can be the same way, but even so, I think it's a little odd. More odd in my case then hers though--let's be honest about that.

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We tipped our fingers in the icy river and dreamed of warmer and greener days soon to come.
(Those dreams came true within a few weeks, thankfully.)

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We made friends of a young Latino boy and his grandfather, and watched their relatives play part of a rousing game of futbol.

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We found the dessicated remains of a small barricade.

We roamed and wandered, and stopped and started, and a walk that takes me about ten minutes when I'm doing my morning exercise took us nearly an hour together. One hour very well spent, in my opinion.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

. . . and then there was the time when we were at a truck stop on a family vacation and a biker dude bought my seven-year-old brother a brand new ball cap, telling him, "Don't let anyone tell you that Hell's Angels are all bad, okay kid?"

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This is not a sponsored post. This is a "isn't it nice when you run into someone who builds up your faith in humankind" post. Also, the title of this post (and the picture above) is (are) only tangentially related to the post, just in case you end up wondering. 

A bit ago, the windshield wipers on our beloved Hyundai started acting a little bit funny. As in, one of them would work just fine, but the other one seemed to want to dance, trying to cuddle up with the other, and then, once rejected by the other, either throwing herself (yes, I'm sure this particular wiper is a she) to the bottom of the windshield, only to sit there in despair, or flying all over the windshield in hysterical rage.

Entertaining, to be sure, but not exactly helpful in a rainstorm or a snowstorm. Keeping in mind the fact that this particular wiper was on the drivers side, it was a malady that needed to be fixed sooner rather than later.

So, after stressing about how much this would cost and how much time this would take (in spite of the fact that Eric, who is generally right about these kinds of things, told me that it would almost surely be a quick and easy fix), I called my good friends at Burruss Automotive.

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(I trust them there. They've never tried to take advantage of me, they don't try to upsell me with flushes and changes and upgrades that I don't need. They are down home, honest, and know their stuff. I'm a fan.)

I told them the issue, and the man on the phone said, "I can probably have that fixed in about 5 minutes if you'll bring it down." So, not being a dummy, that's exactly what I did.

I pulled up, parked my car, wandered into the shop and told the first person I could find about my phone conversation. He went into the garage and soon a tall dude with tattoos, big old earrings (the circle kind that you put in the holes in your ears and stretch out the holes), and shoulder-length hair came out to help me. He was awesome. He had me turn on the wipers and demonstrate the problem. Then he went back into the garage, got a socket set, popped the hood, made three twists on a bolt with his wrench and Voila! Totally fixed.

I asked him what I owed him, and he said it was on the house, that he wouldn't feel good about taking my money for something that was so simple to fix. I told him that it might have been simple for him, but that it certainly wasn't anything that I could have figured out on my own. He said that that might have been true, but he still didn't see the point of charging me.

I gave him my effusive thanks, hopped in my car and drove away, resolving to do a lot more sharing and giving and a lot less taking and whining. Who knew a flirty wiper and a stellar mechanic would teach me so much that day? Not me.

Hells Angels pic courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Friday, June 07, 2013

a festival of documentaries (save one)

I've loved the "if you liked this, you'll like this" feature on Netflix.  So, just for fun, here are a few movies that I hadn't heard of, watched on the recommendation of Netflix, and enjoyed enough to share with the world-or at least the minuscule portion of the world that will see this pots, anyway.

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Gifted Hands, the Ben Carson Story--Very inspiring, a man who believes in God and relies on him to become an unmatched neurosurgeon.  He uses classical music to help him perform intricate and dangerous surgeries, so how can I help but like him?  He rises from essentially nothing and becomes something amazing.  Cuba Gooding Jr. plays the title role.  I love this movie.

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The Conspirator--Stars James McAvoy (Professor X in X-Men First Class), Kevin Kline, Robin Wright.  Educational, a young attorney (who had been a captain for the North in the Civil War) is made to defend a woman accused of conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln.  Thought provoking with excellent acting (in my humble opinion).

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Mao's Last Dancer--I found this one inspiring and educational, a story about a young Chinese man who becomes a world-class dancer, the film provides a window into Communist China in the 1970s and 1980s, which I found interesting.  More importantly, there's a happy ending, and a whole lot of beautiful dancing.

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Happy-The Movie--This is another documentary that I found fascinating and for the most part, encouraging. It takes a look at different cultures, socioeconomic levels, and lives in general, and brings forth findings on what it is exactly that truly influences happiness. Spoiler--it's not money, it's relationships, service, self-improvement, finding a passion, etc. One of the findings that's been particularly helpful for me was that in studies they've determined that while there is a significant difference in the happiness level between people who make $5,000 and $50,000 annually, there is no significant difference between people who make $50,000 and $5,000,000 annually. In our current economic climate, I find myself getting more concerned about money than I used to, and so it is nice to realize that once the basic needs of food and shelter are met, it's absolutely true that money does not equal (or guarantee) happiness.

I'm hoping to do a bit more reading this summer, so perhaps I'll have a listing like this of books in a few months. We'll see though. I'm making no promises.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Animal Planet--Cantwell Style

So, awhile ago, I glanced out the back door to see Marilee playing with a mouse.

Talk about fascinating.

Now, if you've ever seen a cat catching a mouse or heard of how a cat catches a mouse, this will be a review for you and you'll probably want to skip it. As for me, I had heard of how a cat catches a mouse, but I'd never seen it before, and I was absolutely riveted.

(This next part gets a little 'national geographic special' graphic. If you have a fondness for mice (I don't. I consider it a personal affront anytime any mouse dares cross into "my" territory), I recommend you skip the next little bit.)

She'd swat it around a bit, let it run away from her for a few feet, and then, she'd slam it down with her paw. Then she'd let it up, and slowly, it would start hobbling around again. If it didn't move fast enough for her, she'd pick it up in her mouth, and deposit it in the garden area, letting it hide beneath the plants there. Then she'd stand on guard, staring with fascination to see if it would dare to move again. Finally, it would move enough to her satisfaction, and she'd grab it, put it back on the sidewalk again, and the cycle would start again. Of course each time the mouse would move more and more slowly, as all the inexorable slamming and mouth carrying broke its bones and squashed its organs.

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I stood there, transfixed by the drama, cheering for my Marilee, telling her to go for it! Pound that vermin into the ground! After a bit, Heather wandered over to see what I found so interesting. That was the beginning of the end of the show for me. Heather, forgetting her love for our Marilee, began cheering for the mouse, with and ardor that equaled and then excelled my own pro-cat cheers. As it became more and more apparent that the mouse was going to lose this battle, Heather became concerned, and as I saw that she was leaving concern and heading into sadness and anxiety, I took her away from the door, and left Marilee to her prey in solitude. I have no proof of how it all ended, but I think we can all guess who the victor of this little duel was.

On thing though, viewing this little escapade has made me think twice (or about twenty times) about ever going on an African Safari. Tigers? Lions?  No thanks.

(Eric still stands by his preferred method of kicking the bucket himself, in case you were wondering.)

(That man is an absolute nut.)

image (that looks like Marilee but isn't) courtesy of stevepj2009
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