Friday, May 30, 2014

Random Photo Friday - Spoiler Edition

So, the last time I was in Cedar City, I raided my mom's Agatha Christie murder selection, as I often do.

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A few weeks later, in the mood for a little light reading, I selected this title, opened it up to find that it had once belonged to my grandfather!

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That was a nice feeling, one that brought back many good memories. But, then I turned the page, and what should I find, but a summary, in my grandfather's handwriting of every chapter in the book.

The whole thing was just so "vintage" Bertram T. Willis that it warmed my heart and made me shake my head all at the same time.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

"That's because, late at night when I'm all alone, I put my FACE in the FIRE!"

*Title is a quote from the quirkily hilarious movie, Austenland. Rest assured there were no faces put into the fire in connection with this post.

So, waaaay back in December, a very generous member of the Board of Trustees of my company offered me (and every other staff member) a complimentary three-night stay at her Deer Valley condominium.

Best Christmas bonus I ever got.

Eric and I talked it over, and realizing that Deer Valley isn't the most family friendly spot in the world, decided to use it as a date vacation. But then, we got thinking about how that was kind of a waste, since the condo would sleep eight, and we aren't really big skiiers or golfers or other resort-y kind of people anyway.

And then I realized that a condo in Park City which would sleep eight would be the perfect place for a girls weekend. Coincidentally, we had been half-heartedly trying to put together a girls weekend for the Corry daughters and wives (and mom of course) for a couple of years. I ran the idea by Eric, he happily agreed with me, and after about a million e-mails between us all, my sisters, mother, and I had chosen the dates.

And so it was that towards the end of March, I drove the trusty Hyundai to Park City for four days and three nights of uninterrupted girl time.

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The scenery was gorgeous, if a little bit chilly for my sisters, all of whom were coming from either sunny southern Utah or sunny Arizona. For me in Cache Valley though, it was perfectly close to what I'm used to in March.
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The first day we were there, we decided to take in a movie together. I've decided that this is one of my very favorite things to do when on a kid-less vacation. Just the thought of being able to drive to a movie theatre, plunk down the money and go in without the hassle of arranging a babysitter makes me a little giddy inside. I know that's kind of silly, but it's how I feel all the same.

Getting back to the movie, we decided to check out Divergent. Becca got online to look up the movie on her favorite how-appropriate-is-this-flick-for-me-and/or-my-kids site (, and having deemed it worthy of our time, we headed over, leaving early enough to get in some shopping at the outlets of course.

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Turns out, that movie was the big event of our weekend--which just goes to show how relaxing and low-key and fabulous our weekend was. We ate out once a day and cobbled together meals for the other times.

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The girls. We are missing one sister here. Krista had a brand new baby at the time, and didn't feel comfortable leaving him or bringing him along on the trip. I can't say that I blame her.

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We did a bunch of sewing and other needlework (because apparently, that's what Corry girls do),

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And explored a little,

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and hung out and chatted a whole bunch.

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Naturally there were many shopping expeditions taken as well, but I didn't take pictures of that, because well, I didn't really think it was necessary, you know?

A few funny things about the trip from my perspective:

-We all wanted to pick up souvenirs/presents for our kids, but since we all go to Park City every two years for a standing family reunion, we were a little stumped as to what we might get. As it turned out, every one of us, with the exception of Melissa (who had already ordered it online) purchased a copy of the movie Frozen for our children's/grandchildren's viewing pleasure.

-We rented Austenland from Redbox and watched it on our first or second night. The rest of the trip we were all making obnoxious quotes from the movie and cracking ourselves up at it.

-Heather immediately got sick once I left, spiking a bit of a fever and having an upset stomach. I worried about it, but Eric told me to relax that everything was fine, that she was fine, and that it would all be fine. He was right--by the time I got home Heather was well and all was well. Eric told me stories though of a moping moping Heather, a Heather who would sit on the couch and want to talk to him about mom, about the good old days when mom was here, how nice she was, how pretty she was, how we wish she were here right now to take care of us and hug us, how we wish we had enjoyed her when she was around. Apparently Eric listened to it all and humored her as best he could. That Eric is a saint, let me tell you.

-Becca told me about how she had a wheat grinder and loved it, and mysteriously within a month or two, I had set aside some money (a portion of our tax refund) to get my own wheat grinder.

In summary--it was a delightful weekend, and a tradition that I hope we will be able to continue into the future for many many years to come.

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Saturday, May 24, 2014


I was going through some papers the other day, and I found this:

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They are the words to a song that we used to sing for fun at the Corry reunion and at other Corry gatherings. My Uncle Steve printed up the words and re-taught it to all of us at Christmas Eve this past year. You know how certain smells or certain songs can take you back to other times in your life? This song reminds me of my childhood.

* * *

Eric and I sometimes compare childhoods. Eric loved loved his childhood. That's actually saying quite a bit, since he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was only two years old, which was naturally followed by a lifetime of needles and pokes and emotional (blood sugar influenced) ups and downs and hospital stays. 

Fortunately, it was also filled with frog catching, and pet-owning, and comic-book collecting, and bike riding, and boys-club-forming, and toy-dreaming which was often followed by toy-owning. To hear him tell it, his growing up years were about as idyllic as they could be. I love thinking about that for him.

My childhood was pretty idyllic as well. I ran around with a group of girls that were nothing short of heaven-sent. Smart, kind, funny, accepting, creative, loyal, you name it, my friends were that. My summers were spent camping, dancing, sleeping on the trampoline in the backyard, spending full weeks in the homes of my cousins in exotic places like American Fork and Stansbury Park, Utah. My winters were full of Christmas traditions and birthday celebrations, sleepovers and family home evenings where we all joined hands and danced greek-style as I taught them all the latest steps I had learned in my American Folk Ballet class. (You think I'm kidding--but I'm not.)

And then, there was family--lots and lots of family. I have thirteen aunts and thirteen uncles, and I have memories of them all. There's the reunion year that I was assigned to room with Aunt Judy (Rich, not Liddle--just to be clear) and a few cousins, and we giggled and played until well into the night every night. There was the summer when my mom and Aunt Mary Beth drove all of us kids to San Francisco so we could play there and pick up Aunt Rebecca as she arrived home from her Asian adventure in Okinawa. Aunt Lou Jean and Uncle Warren showed us the wonders of China town, and it seemed I'd never seen a place so magical.

There are hazy memories of a tragic August when we all met together in Illinois for a family reunion, a few days of fun and laughter, laughter that was abruptly interrupted by sadness and gathering in close and bearing together as my Aunt Francine passed away unexpectedly and almost without explanation. I don't think I was more than five at the time, but I do have some memories - mainly of tears and smiles, confusion and peace, sadness and love. Hard stuff. The kind of stuff that can galvanize a family or demolish a family. I like to think that we ended up with the former.

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An old photo of some of the members of my mom's family back in the late 1960s. Aunt Francine is top row, second from the end on the right.

I have memories of hiding on the landing of our home or in the stairwell of my grandmother's home so that I could listen to (eavesdrop on) the banter of my father and his siblings, teasing, laughing, re-living old stories, telling new stories. I still love to replay some of those stories in my mind, how Uncle Steve used to slide his hand over the face of my dad and Uncle Jeff to make sure they were still breathing under the covers (scaring them to death in the process), how they all used to sneak ice cream out of the freezer, eating it straight out of the carton with a spoon, always ready to pop the spoon into the sink or stuff it into their pocket (!!) if they were in danger of getting caught.

The first time I met all of Eric's family was the Christmas when we were engaged. I remember on Christmas Day, sitting around the kitchen table with all my in-laws-to-be, laughing our heads off while Wayne and Beverly read from a book that some of the children had created of inside jokes, quotes, and memories of the funny times growing up in the Cantwell clan. To be sure, I wasn't in on most (practically any) of the jokes, and most of them didn't really translate to me, but I had a ball that day. Comparing Eric's family to mine, and finding out that there were a whole lot of similarities in a whole lot of areas that have a whole lot of importance to me was a really big confirmation that this guy I had chosen to marry was a keeper, and his family was full of keepers as well.

It all makes me wonder about my Heather, what memories she will take from time spent with aunts and uncles (she's got eight of each), girlfriends, pets and dance class, etc. Who knows, maybe someday we'll all hold hands and do a dance around our living room for family home evening.

Oh wait, we already do that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


So, back in February I cut my hair.

Like, cut it shorter than I think I've ever had it since I was a baby.

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I'd been thinking about it for awhile, since September or so actually, but decided to wait for the spring because, what kind of an idiot cuts her long hair right before the frigidness of winter?

So, I waited, and then in February I was in Cedar City, telling my sisters about how I was going to cut my hair in the spring and one of my sisters-in-law has a mother who is a licensed beautician and happened to be visiting in Cedar City as well, and one thing led to another, and the next day I was sitting on a kitchen chair, getting my hair chopped off.

I like it. I feel more sassy, more pretty, more spunky. What's not to like about that?

Heather hated it. I knew she would, so I warned her when I went to do it that I'd look different but that it was still me and she shouldn't worry. She did worry, and she actually cried when she first saw me. But, she adjusted, and all is well now.

There was a bit of a learning curve though. I hadn't consistently blow-dried my hair for years and years, and when I first tried it, I decided to follow some advice I'd received and blow dry it with my head upside-down to give it a little bit of body.


Turns out when you've got thick hair like I do, you have enough natural body that if you decide to blow dry it upside down you end up with Roxanne Ritchie "exciting" hair.

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[Megamind disguised as Bernard is waiting at the restaurant for Roxanne when she arrives late with wind swept hair]
Megamind: Roxanne!
Roxanne Ritchie: I'm sorry I'm late. 
Megamind: Wow, your hair! It looks exciting

So yeah, Eric and I had a good time laughing at that for a bit.

And in case you were wondering-- love, love, LOVE Megamind. Cracks me up every single time.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

'cuz we haven't talked about Readers Digest in awhile

A week or so ago I was trying to eek out a few more minutes of morning sleep while Heather thumbed through my copy of Readers Digest. From time to time she would mention some interesting tidbit or another about the page she was on. Finally she turned to an article about a small town in Spain where everyone became millionaires by winning the lottery. The article featured a photo of a city of gold. This photo, actually:

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As she looked at the photo, she said in an awed voice, "Look at all that gold! I really want all that gold!"

As I reluctantly started to rouse myself from my sleep so that I could give her a lecture on the evils of lusting after gold, she continued on, saying,

Then I could go around to every one and say, "You want some gold?  Here you go!"

Relieved, I fell back asleep for a good ten more minutes. Whew!

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