Prince Charming


This weekend is a little crazy.  I must admit my mental demeanor is a little irritated   like a fire-breathing dragon less than pleasant.  


I have been trying to write a post, but the interruptions are too many right now.  Prince Charming sent me the link to this cartoon last week which I saved because I thought it was funny.  It is more than appropriate from my viewpoint today.  Nothing to do with driving, just to do with people.  I LOVE the last frame!


It is from a strip called Diesel Sweeties, and all the copyright info is on the strip.  (I hope I am being totally legal here.)


click on strip for larger image


By Louise Cannon

After the comments from my last post, and having who knows how many days in a row of long posts, I have decided to do a picture with a short description.  OK, somewhat short description.


But first I must comment on the opening picture.  I. love. my hat.  I usually wear the whole outfit (wedding dress and hat) a couple of times a year.  This picture was taken last year because I have not worn it yet this year.  (The hat attracts a lot of attention, and I am not a lot attracted to attention.)  Anyway, the hat STAYS!!!  (Thanks for making me laugh with your comments!)


The picture below was taken on April 3 during Prince Charming’s and my Bermuda Cruise.  We were docked there for 3-1/2 days and had a fabulous time motoring around on a scooter, letterboxing and sightseeing. 


The ocean is part of me.  I do not know why because I grew up in Missouri and have only very briefly lived within view of the ocean. But I love it anyway, and I miss it when I am not near it (which is most of the time).  Unfortunately our trip to Bermuda did not happen upon the nicest weather, and there was not a lot of opportunity for me to hit the beautiful water in a hundred shades of turquoise.  The last half-day was no better, but I did not care. There was no way I was leaving there without having done more than get my feet wet at the shore.  I went into the cold ocean while there was no warm sun.  I am not an ocean swimmer, but I love to play with the waves and body surf.  I love to see how far I can get from the shore.  Prince Charming is not so interested in water in general, so he kept the camera and took about a gazillion pictures of me.  Most I would never dare publish on the internet, but I think this one is funny.


Prince Charming was talking to me as I jumped over waves.  I was just at the point where they were breaking against my knees.  I was inching backward, and he did not warn me that a much larger one was on its way.  He snapped the picture right as it broke flat on my back, taking me totally by surprise.  It was FREEZING.  It HURT!  But it was funny!  And I have no doubt that if the places had been reversed, I would have done the same or worse.



That’s it!


By Louise Cannon

  My last post was somewhat out of character from what my myriad of few readers have come to expect.  Today’s will be a little lighter.


Today I thought it would be fun (for me, not necessarily you, Reader) to follow up on my previous posts so that all of you who were left hanging on the edge of a cliff by my exciting life would know what is happening in it.  (I am throwing in pictures where I can to liven it up a little as well.)


Being somewhat obsessive compulsive (Prince Charming would argue it is more than somewhat, but there has been no clinical diagnosis, so I am going with “somewhat”), I am required to go in order.


But FIRST, did anyone notice that my sitemeter says I have had over ONE THOUSAND VISITS?!!???  I really do not know what I was expecting, but I do not think I was expecting that in three weeks.  (Special thanks to the ones that are coming back after being here the first time!  Of course that makes my numbers better (as if I really care about numbers) but it is quite humbling AND inspiring to know that people actually like to read what I write as well as see my pictures.)


This is Me.   This is Me Blogging.  This is a comment more than an update.  What I have realized in the previous 16 posts I have done is that this was not at all what I thought it would be.  I thought there would be a more even mix of writing (hopefully humorous most of the time), photography with little comment and stamping projects.  Clearly, it’s been mostly writing with some photography thrown in.  This I cannot explain.  Every day that I post I have one (or six) ideas, sometimes already written, for what I am going to put on my blog.  Then the time comes, and something totally different happens.  I enjoy it, but it is sucking up my time.  No plans to stop, though Prince Charming is urging me to cut down on the frequency of posts.  At this point I cannot help that, either.  When I post it is because something draws me (likely avoiding something I should be doing) to the computer.  I probably need help for this problem.


Rainier Cherries.  I was a little distressed that we did not get more cherries as soon as I had hoped, but am elated to report there is a bumper crop in most stores as of last week.  Counting the initial two pounds, I have consumed five pounds of them already.  I have another three pounds in my refrigerator at this very moment.  The last time I bought them was last Friday for $5.98 per pound.  Not bad for Rainier Cherries, but good, healthy eating certainly is expensive!


Washing Dishes.  Not very long after posting my dishwasher woes, I got a call from the installation guy who came two days later instead of a week and two days later.  Still too long in my opinion, but better than it could have been.  The guy was extra nice (unusual), seemed knowledgeable and did not get upset that my dog was protective of me.  Next time I need something installed, I will call him directly.  We love how the new dishwasher cleans but are in a not-steep-enough learning curve about how to load it efficiently.


Sky Watch Friday, The Heart of Our Home and Finding Nemo.  These posts do not require updating.  (You’re saying to yourself, “Thank Whom/Whatever!)


Ten Years With Prince Charming.  This will be an ongoing series.  I have several post ideas in my head about the attributes and some of the things that make him a Prince Charming.  Those will come.  Ten years and two weeks later, we’re still happy and in love!  Oh yes, the picture with the post was taken this year at the beginning of April.  Below is a picture from the day we got married.  (I apologize for the poor quality.  I scanned an 11 x 14 that is in a frame.  I am much too lazy to take it out to get a better scan.)


We Miss You.  In the quest to find the perfect way to make a sign to show our daughters how much we missed them, all we could come up with is this:


We would have liked to get the thousands of giant mutant mosquitoes (For which we were totally unprepared; we forget about blood-sucking insects since living in the desert) to fly in formation, but they did not wish to do us any favors.  We saw a crop duster over some canola fields, but it was not into sky writing.  In fact, I think it was a little irritated at our location and trying to scare us away!


We thought about mowing out a section of a canola field, but we did not have a giant mowing/harvesting/whatever tractor of any sorts.  (The lighting was strange anyway.  I thought I would be getting the BEST pictures there in the evening light, but I think mid-day would have been better.  All we got were lots of mosquito bites.)



I Like the Horse Part of the Parade.  We had a lovely time.  It was cooler than usual.  Chicklet is enough older that she did not whine or cry until the very end.  I did not get a better picture of a painted horse.  Partly because my photography heart was not there that day, and partly because there were not any really good paint jobs.  This is the best I got.



These Things Bring Tears to My Eyes.  I feel the need to point out here that there are other things that bring tears to my eyes, but they are things like death of a loved on one or pet, that bring tears to everyone’s eyes.  Last night the girls and I watched the modern version of The Parent Trap, and yes, a couple of times I got a little choked up.  Chic was comforting me through her own tears!


Inspiration for Stamping.  A big thank you to all who gave me such nice compliments on that one.  I have some other ideas lined up, but my time right now does not allow for much creative endeavor.  I do hope to post some things sooner, however, that are not completely thought up by me.  You know, my take and execution on what someone else, far more talented than yours truly, thought up.


Why I Spent a Good Portion of My Day Transplanting Plants.  There is a little alarming news on this one.  I left the plants outside to dry because I had rinsed them.  The sun scorched several leaves on several plants.  And the worst part is that one of them is still outside because Prince Charming is gone, and it’s too heavy for me to lift. Grateful for a few very cloudy, rainy days in this parched land, but it has got another full day outside before it can be rescued.  A couple of the plants seem to be elated with their new pots, however.


The Cheetah Girls.  Chic and Chicklet are still Princesses, but on Sunday we went to a high school production of Mulan.  Chicklet now wants to be a “soldier in the Army.”  Daddy will be proud, I guess.  (Daddy was an officer in the Army for 10 years.)  Chic is fully convinced that girls can “beat” boys in anything.  I think I will just leave it at that!


Red Sky in Morning.  We have yet to go swimming.  The sun peeked out for a couple of hours Sunday while we were at Mulan.  We have had quite a bit of rain, actually.  Even some thunder and lightning.  On Saturday afternoon it rained for about 25 minutes, and Chic said, “Is it EVER going to stop raining?”  It’s all about perspective. 


Prince Charming is enjoying his time in North Dakota re-connecting with old friends.  I am half sure he will want to move there when he gets back.  Not a lot of job activity there, though.  And I am personally having not a whole lot of fun manning the castle on my own.  I had dinner guests here Saturday for a meeting.  All this without a slave Prince has kept me up late and pretty much crabby.  (Prince Charming returns about 30 hours after this post goes up.)  Here’s a picture of the the same sunrise that day–just because I cannot control myself with sky pictures and feel like putting it in here.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge


NOT the Motel 6.  There will be more pictures eventually of our Winnipeg trip.  (Whenever whatever it is that motivates me tells me to do it.)


The Worst Day of My Life.  To be honest, there have been lots of days in my life worse than the ones in this post.  The reason it comes to me as the worst is because it was directed at me, and no other time in my life have I had such physical manifestations (of) my turmoil.  This was just a post in response to a word trigger.  It is not why I am writing under a pen name.  I hope the reason I am will eventually come to these pages, but as I responded to someone who commented, “I am a happy ending kind of girl.”  The other worse stuff does not, and cannot, have a happy ending.  I will get to it, I think.  But it will take a while, and I promise it will not be in giant doses at once.  Oh, the picture with that post was not from that time period.  But both of the really bad days mentioned were snowy and ugly, and that was the best picture I could come up with for it.



Now, don’t you feel so satisfied that you know the updates to all of that?  (I promise to not do this every 16 posts!)


By Louise Cannon


Edited:  Sorry about the typos.  I fixed the ones I’ve found.  I have a rough time catching them without my editor, Prince Charming. 


When I started this blog, it was sort of on a whim.  I had been thinking about it for a long time.  Prince Charming had purchased Blogging For Dummies for me; I was about half-way through it.  I had pretty much decided I WOULD blog (with absolutely no pressure at all from my cousins, the writer and the blog guru), but I really did not know when it would happen. 


I am sure that like most people who blog, I had already started thinking in terms of “this is what I would write in my blog,” and “if I were blogging, I would talk about this in that way.”  But I still was not ready.  My life is chaos.  It is organized chaos, but the bottom line is I have WAY too much to do as it is, and I did not know how I would keep up.


Almost three weeks after beginning to blog, I still do not know.  The day I took the plunge, something just came over me.  I was sitting at my computer looking at other blogs that I liked, and suddenly, there I was, looking at the opening page and typing in my information.  Lucky for me, that was a slower-than-usual time of my life.  School was out, my business was somewhat intentionally slow and I had a VERY injured ankle that prevented my taking up one or 1-1/2 hours a day exercising. 


But things are different now.  School has not started (thank goodness), my business is still somewhat intentionally slow and my ankle is far worse than it was then.  But life-as-usual has assailed me the past few days, and it will only get worse.  (And it is especially bad right now since Prince Charming is not here to pick up some of the slack!  I ironed TWICE today!)


As I have been blogging, I have wondered what would happen when my life was “normal” (for me) again.  Now I sort of know, but it will be worse when school starts.  I do not have time to blog; that is all there is.  BUT, I want to do it anyway.  I have no idea why.  I can still read blogs without doing my own, but there is something about blogging that I sort of like.  So I have decided that on days like this (which will become more numerous), I will just throw a picture (or a few) up on my blog and say a little about them.  I thought I would be able to just put pictures up without saying anything, but those of you who have read me before already know I am not very good at just shutting up and getting on with it when I am writing.  (Oh, if you only knew me in real life—how quiet and introverted I am.)


So today’s pictures are of the place we stayed on our anniversary trip.  Because I was already blogging at that point, I took a bazillion pictures of the rooms in which we stayed.  I am forcing myself (for your benefit) to choose only my favorite of each room, and a couple extra that I just cannot help showing you.


(I realize I have already written almost as much as I do on a regular day.  I just cannot help myself.  That is another thing about blogging.  Almost every day I have an idea about what to post.  I have things already written.  But the day comes, and I get a moment to do it, and something completely different flies off my fingers.  I need to figure out what is up with that.)


ANYWAY, this was NOT the Motel 6, or equivalent, which I probably would have booked due to my responsible tightwad ways.  I was enamored when I first saw it.  Then I wondered, “Do we really NEED all these rooms?”  Then I realized I liked having that many rooms.  It was so nice not to pile everything in the bedroom.  It was nice to have tea in the living room and strawberries in the dining room.  Prince Charming knows how to show a girl a good time!


A view of the roof.  It is smack in the middle of downtown Winnipeg, and there are not many places one can get an overall view.  I forgot to even try.




The dining room was where we entered the suite.  It was called the “Vice Regal” suite and was supposed to be the nicest room/suite in the hotel, and there was only one.  (Only Prince Charming.  I SO would have never done this!)  It was way bigger than the dining room in my house and richly appointed, as was the entire suite.



On the dining room table were the GIANT chocolate covered strawberries that Prince Charming had ordered.  Three for each of us.  Even I was not dying for another one after that.  It was more than a meal.  (But that did not stop us from going out for dinner!)



This is not my favorite picture of the living  room, but it gives you a better idea of the layout than any other picture.  (The door just left of the center of the picture is to the hallway/foyer.)  We had coffee/herbal tea (guess who had which!) in the living room every morning while reading the paper in our plush bathrobes.  I think I might be able to get used to a lifestyle a little more laid back like that was!  If only!



Before we could get a good look at the bedroom, the hotel fire alarm went off.  Hmmmm….  we obviously had not unpacked.  Should we just haul our luggage back down with us?  We decided it was probably a false alarm and left the luggage (my ankle was killing me), but took the camera.  We had a nice rest on the front steps for about 20 minutes.



After the “all-clear” sounded, we returned to investigate the bedroom.  It was the most difficult room to capture in one photo.  It was beautiful.  The curtains were a rich tapestry fabric.  There was art everywhere—actual paintings.  I liked the beach ones the best, and you can see one of them in this bedroom photo.  And the bed…..  I’ve never stayed in a Westin which is supposed to have the “heavenly” bed, but the best hotel bed I had previously encountered was at a Hyatt.  This bed equaled it.  It was so divine to have a nice hotel bed.



I cannot help but show you the molding on the ceiling in the bedroom.  Oh, the ceilings were about 12 or 13 feet, except in the dining room, which were 9 or 10 feet.




Lastly was the bathroom.  This was an old building so the bathroom was not huge.  However, it had a bath AND a shower AND had these lovely L’Occitane toiletries.  I LOVE L’Occitane stuff.  Living in the desert, a good lotion is essential.  L’Occitane has the best I have ever used.  Not typical hotel toiletry fare!



And the BEST part about the bathroom, which I am so sad to say there is no picture for you to see…  The shower head in the shower was dreamy.  It was like heavy rain.  I think it might even be called a “rain shower,” but I do not really know.  Whatever it was, when I took my first shower at home again (with what I usually think is a great shower head), I was disappointed.


There are lots more hotel pictures, but I would not want to (further) bore you.  And some are unusual, so I will probably just pull them out when I honestly just throw up a picture and do not say anything (or much) about it!


By Louise Cannon

David McMahon at Authorblog does this weekly thing in which he asks a question, then asks readers to answer it on their blogs.  I have liked a lot of his questions and wanted to answer them, but did not have a blog.  Now I do.


So the first question for which I am eligible to answer is, “What brings tears to your eyes?”


Hmmmm.   My first thought was onions; onions bring tears to my eyes more frequently than any other thing does.  I love to cook.  I cook great meals for our family most days of the week.  And I love onions.  I am always chopping onions, and am almost always in tears from them.  The worst are the red ones, which I tend to use a great deal because they add color to things.


I doubt that was the kind of answer David was after, however, and for some reason, I am compelled to add something else myself.


Last week was my anniversary, and I introduced you to Prince Charming, including how we met.  We did not want pretense, but wanted to be ourselves so there would not be surprises later.  I sort of feel like I need to do that with my blog.  I am not sure why, but a lot of the things that run through my head to post are about my weaknesses, failings and neuroses (many of which might be funny).  I can only think this is because I want my thousands hundreds scores dozens handful of few readers to know the worst of me, take it or leave it.  There are probably deep-seeded psychological reasons for this, but that discussion is not for now


Back to the things that bring tears to my eyes….


-Good chic flicks.  I know I should apologize for this, but I cannot.  I love a good chic flick.  (And my opinion is what constitutes “good” or “not good.”)  During the sappy, sweet parts, I well up inside, my vision gets blurry and a tear or two (or more) may escape to trickle down my cheeks.  Thank goodness for Prince Charming who not only puts up with more than his fair share of chic flicks, but does not make fun of me when I get emotional about them.


-My birthday.  This is a new one, and it has nothing to do with the fact that I am now officially “middle-aged.”  My forty-third birthday happened recently.  I wept a lot of the day.  I am not the weepy type.  It was because of loved ones that were no longer there to share it with me.  The silly one was a dog who passed away about eight months before my birthday.  The other was my mother who has been gone for 1-1/2 years.


-Milestones of my children.  I will admit to having a few tears in my eyes at Chic’s Kindergarten graduation this past May as well as Chicklet’s promotion from Cradle Roll to Kindergarten at church a couple of weeks ago.  I love that my children are growing, and I am really not into babies.  But I see how fast they are growing and realize before I know it, they will be gone.  I love our life the way it is now.  I know I will love it more as they grow, but they just bring so much happiness right now.  That must be why I get a little choked up at big milestones.  And those milestones are not THAT big, but I do not have a child in the “baby class” at church anymore!


-A good book.  Everyone has tears over a good book, right?


-Music.  I love a lot of kinds of music, but mostly listen to classical music.  When I am at a play, musical, symphony or opera, the music often brings tears to my eyes because being there is just so powerful.


-Parades.  I have no idea what it is, but I am grateful that parades are outside and sunny because I always have a few tears at them.  It happens when the loud things go by—the 128 Harleys all revving their engines.  Or the fire trucks.  Or the antique cars.  Some kind of emotional response to sound, I realize, but I am still not sure I understand it.


-The National Anthem.  If I am anywhere that our National Anthem is played or sung, tears come to my eyes.  This does not happen if it is on television or the radio—just in person.


-Cards from Prince Charming.  My husband, S, gives me cards for all the regular things, and sometimes just for no reason.  I make cards—NICE cards.  He digs out my stuff and makes cards for me sometimes, but usually he goes on an enormous expedition to find just the right store-bought (usually hand-made, however) card so that I can get a new idea for something to make myself.  But what brings tears to my eyes are the messages he writes in them.


-Making love.  Being with my husband in the most intimate way releases emotions that do not get released any other way.  It is something I cannot describe.  Sometimes the only expression I have left is tears.  Obviously good tears. 


There are other things that are more mundane.  The thing to really know about me, however, is that my emotions are deep beneath the surface most of the time.  Most of my real-life friends would probably be surprised to know that all (or even any of) these things bring tears to my eyes.  But you, my bloggy friends, for some reason are getting a peek deeper inside.  But if we are ever together at a parade?  Don’t expect me to take off my sunglasses!


by Louise Cannon

Prince Charming and I met online eleven years and three months ago.  We lived 1000 miles from one another.  I was living alone after being divorced at age 32, after a 3-year marriage.  (I had been divorced a couple of years.)  It was a dreadfully boring Saturday night (a concept I cannot begin to imagine at this point in my life), so I decided to check online to see if there were any e-mails I could answer.  None.  I was relatively new to the internet and started poking around.  I found something called “Love at AOL.” 



 “What could it hurt?”  I thought to myself.  “I’ll just look around a little.  It should be amusing.”


 A search for men in my region of the country with some similar interests brought up S.  I e-mailed him.


 My blog was only a week old yesterday, but some of you may have already figured out that when I write, I write a lot.  I explain things a lot.  Being 32 and divorced (never mind completely new to online dating), I wrote him a long e-mail explaining me.  I did not want pretense.  It was sort of a “this is who I am, let me know if you are interested in more.”  I do not remember what I wrote at all, but it was probably 4 or 5 typewritten pages.


I did not hear back from him for a couple of weeks.  That was fine; I just figured it was not something that would happen, and I did not need to waste time worrying about it.  (Later I would learn that it took so long because he was, let’s say, “overwhelmed” by my e-mail.)  Apparently after he got over the length and depth of the thing, he was impressed by how different I was from everyone else who had responded to his ad, or whatever it was called.  


 For the next 3 months we e-mailed, IM’d and talked on the phone on-and-off.  Then right after Memorial Day weekend, we decided that we were going to talk more.  And meet.


 I was getting ready to go on a trip to see some cousins.  I had a new car (which I still miss, but it wouldn’t hold the dogs AND the kids after they came along) and some vacation time built up.  S and I decided I should make a slight detour to meet so we did not build “castles in the sky,” only to potentially be disappointed when meeting later.


 I had never driven 15 hours before.  I decided to stop after 12 and do the last three hours the next day to not be so tired when I got there.  


 We had done a LOT of talking so we would not be misleading one another.  He had also been through a divorce, and due to our histories, we both thought it was important to just be ourselves when we met.  He did a really good job of that.  I almost did, but will admit to spending 30 minutes curling my hair the morning I began the final 3-hour leg of the journey at 5:30 a.m.


 When I met him on June 1, 1997, there was no chemistry for me.  He was definitely not “my type.”  He was wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt and had on glasses with frames that were just a little too big.  My heart sank a little, but I was careful to keep it hidden. 


He worked at a college and was on-duty.  However, it was summer, so there was not much going on.  He took me for a tour.  Somewhere on that tour, the chemistry kicked in.  It started to not matter that I liked “tall,” and he was “not-so-tall.”  It started to not matter that I liked “lean,” and he had a football player’s body.  (Three of his undergrad years had been funded by a football scholarship.)  It started to not matter that I liked dark, thick hair, and he had medium-brown, ordinary hair.  I cannot explain it, but by the end of the tour, I liked him.  And I could imagine liking him a lot more.  It must have been the Prince Charming qualities that would take years for me to fully realize.  (I am actually sure I have not realized all of it yet.)


 We spent 4 days together.  He visited me two weeks later.  After that we saw each other on the 1st day of every month until the following April.  We were engaged in February (the trip in which he visited over the 1st day of March), and got married on June 30.  We wanted to get married July 1 because we clearly had a thing about the 1st days of months.  But we got married in Canada, and July 1 is a National Holiday there.  And we did not think it would be easy to find a random person to perform the ceremony for “foreigners.”


 We each only had one witness.  Mine was my favorite cousin.  His was his very best friend. 


 S made all the arrangements for the wedding which was in Winnipeg.  He had driven up there from North Dakota one long weekend to check out things and start on the arrangements.  I did not have to do anything.  He was not controlling about it; he would have let me do anything I wanted.  In hindsight he probably wishes he would have made me do some of it because he set a precedent which has never been broken.  Louise. does. not. make. travel. arrangements! 


 Our honeymoon was spent moving him from North Dakota to my home in Missouri where he would begin graduate school.  Little did I know that the 2 years for a masters’ degree would turn into 4 years for two masters’ degrees.  (The only reason he is not working on/does not have his PhD is that he got a real job and that had to go on hold–at my insistence.) 


 The day we got married, I was somewhat terrified.  In ways, I knew S better than anyone I had ever dated.  Our relationship was based mostly on talking, which we had done a lot.  We made a point to visit one another, but talking on the phone was what we did most.  (No free cell phones in those days, either.)  But in other ways, I felt like on that day I did not know him at all.  I was sitting in a car next to a man I had spent a couple of handfuls of days with, on my way to get MARRIED to him.  But I am not the type of girl to back out.  And I also know that I have very good judgment, but I often do not trust it when it relates to me.  So I went ahead with it, even though part of me said I could be a complete idiot making the biggest mistake of my life.


 It has been the best thing of my life.  I really do not know of many any men who could even come close to being the Prince Charming he is, especially with me.  I think I am a pretty good catch, but it is not just anyone who could appreciate all of my finer qualities.  He can.  He has.  He embraces them.  He is all the things I am not.  I am uptight.  He is calm.  I am a workaholic.  He is a lazy bum willing to stop and enjoy life sometimes and makes sure I do as well.  He does not play mind games, and does not acknowledge them if I do.  He will be honest with me unless it is to tell me that something makes me look fat.  We are a terrific team.  There will be a lot of posts in the future about his specific attributes, but for now my purpose is to let you know overall how wonderful he is and how happy I am to have been married to him for 10 years.


 So right now we are in Winnipeg, which is where we got married.  We are staying here, where we stayed on our honeymoon.  But I think he booked the best suite they have this time.  Remember HE makes all the travel arrangements.  Which is good, because I am the frugal one, and we would be staying in a cheap dump if it were up to me!  We will be here for 5 days—which is 3 more than we were here when we got married.  There is a certain market/mall to which we are excited to return.  There are some beautiful sites to see and the ruins of an old cathedral (an amateur photographer’s paradise).  We have some letterboxes to find.  We are having a wonderful time getting the honeymoon we never really had


 By Louise Cannon


Washing dishes was something I never learned to do as a child.  Don’t get me wrong; my family was not rich.  I was not pampered.  It was the opposite.  My parents believed I should significantly contribute to the household (and outside) chores, and when I was young, my parents were poor.  Dirt poor.  Wrong side of town poor.  


So why did I not learn to wash dishes?  It was because my parents were poor that I did not.  They were terrified that I might break a precious dish that they could not afford to replace.  In fact, many of our dishes came from “green stamps” and from the county fair.  When I was little there was a place on the midway at the county fair where one could throw nickels and dimes at dishes.  If said coin landed on a dish, the person throwing the coin got to keep the dish.  My mother mastered a technique that won us enough dishes to get by.


(One might wonder if my parents were so poor, why did they spend the money to go to the fair in the first place?  I do not know.  I never asked.  I have a theory that the entrance fee was worth the dishes won.  I also believe that there was pressure from friends or family that all children must have this experience.  We went on Free Ride Day.)


But I’m getting way off track.


I remember begging to wash dishes, but to no avail.  My mother simply would not risk it.


When I was 10 years old, someone gave my parents a portable dishwasher.  That forever solved the issue.  I never learned to wash dishes.  I remember living in one house in which the dishwasher broke.  My brother and I had to wash the dishes one day.  It was horrible.  (I finally made him leave and did it myself so it would get finished more quickly.)  But having lived with a dishwasher for several years, my parents bought one the next day and had it installed as quickly.  (They also were no longer dirt poor.)


Every place I lived after I left my parents’ house had a dishwasher.  The last house I lived in had a broken-dishwasher-problem, but I took care of it as my parents had. 


My attitude about washing dishes, I will admit, has become a bit cavalier.  I love to cook, and loving to cook usually means getting a lot of dishes and pans dirty.  I do not care.  I put them in the dishwasher.  If it gets full, I run it.  I even will hesitatingly admit that I have been more than a little proud when the dishwasher runs 3 or 4 times in one day because I have made such a feast—and not on a holiday!  I do not hand-wash dishes unless it is of vital importance to re-use an item before I can get it back out of the dishwasher.  This drives my husband, S, a little crazy.


Monday night I was out of the house rubber stamping with some friends.  Oh, the bliss.  When I returned home, I could feel the tension in the house and my children were still up!  I must make it clear that Prince Charming never, EVER waits for me to get home to put the children to bed.  He does it every single day (whether or not I am  home) unless he is out of town.  Something was definitely wrong.


Our dishwasher was broken.  A part of me was relieved because I always hated that particular machine.  It came with the house and is the type that comes with houses that are put up in just 3 months, like all the houses on our block.  We moved into this new house just under 6 years ago, and we have never liked the dishwasher.  So this was our opportunity to go out and get one we liked better, even if we had to wash dishes a day or two.




We My husband did hours and hours sort of enough research online and decided on this model.    We found a reasonable place in town that had them in stock (and gave a discount for a military ID, which my husband has because he is in the inactive reserve), and went to shell out a fair amount of money.  Our plan was that by today we should have been washing dishes in a dishwasher again.  But NO!  So far we have not even received the call to SET UP the installation.  The sales person at the store said that they will call BY FRIDAY NIGHT, and then it will probably be another week before it can be installed.


Imagine the sinking feeling in my weary, little, I-do-not-know-how-to-wash-dishes heart.  Almost always S cleans up after dinner because I make the meal.  Mind you I clean as I go and do not leave the kitchen a disaster area, but I clean up by rinsing and putting everything into the dishwasher.  Now I have to WASH DISHES all day long.  And I have actually washed the dinner dishes the last two evenings because no matter what a Prince I’m married to, he just doesn’t wash dishes fast enough.  (It reminds me of washing dishes with my brother when I was younger.)  Needless to say, my lifestyle has been disrupted, and I am more than a little cranky.


Today’s menu featured one of the biggest meals I make all year.  (My menu planning might be on another post.  Maybe.  No guarantees.)  I was really busy today checking my blog and reading other blogs getting ready for a stamping class I am teaching tomorrow night, plus swimming lessons and some swimming laundry, and I sort of forgot to start dinner early—which is required for me.  So I thought I should just make it anyway and stop goofing around on the computer being productive in other areas.  Then I remembered the dishwasher.  This meal would require a great many dirty dishes and pans.  Even if we were to eat on paper plates (which we did last night), the clean-up would be a nightmare.  I was tired just thinking about it.


So as I write this, S and the girls are at Burg*r K*ng getting food to bring home.  What a wimp I am!

Red-and-gold jewels


There are few foods I love in this world more than Rainier Cherries.


It escapes me when I first discovered these delectable delights.  I might have been single in the mid-90’s grocery shopping for Lean Cuisine frozen “meals” when these striking red-and-golden jewels caught my eye.  It may have been after I married S.  (I actually did do the grocery shopping for our household for several years of our marriage.  But that information is for later posts.)  Although I cannot remember exactly when the love affair began, I know it changed me as only true love can, and I have never been the same since.


The problem with Rainier Cherries is that they are available for 4-8 weeks a year.  And if it is for 8 weeks, it is not continuous through that time.  Well, not in Missouri or New Mexico, at least, which are the places I have lived since my discovery of them.  They are usually prevalent in July, possibly beginning late in June.


But imagine my UTTER DELIGHT when my husband, S, brought home TWO POUNDS to me after his grocery shopping trip on June 8! 


My personality is complicated, but most people would consider me a controlled person.  There are, however, a few things in life that can cause me to make a complete fool of myself bring out a screech of delight from me.  Rainier Cherries on JUNE 8 would be one of those things.  (OK, the first time I see them every season would be one of those things, but JUNE 8????)


Where did you find these,” I breathlessly asked?  He had been to one of the warehouse price club stores that day.  They had them.  And even though it was June 8, they only cost $10 for two pounds.  (I have happily paid $9/lb when I have seen them early in the season at a grocery store.) 


This all happened outside our front door.  I may have been watering plants.  I may have just been sitting admiring all the blooming trees.  I may have been warming up because my house is notably cold.  I cannot remember because the cherries eclipsed all else.  I ripped the precious bag from his hands, sprinted into the house and put about a pound of them in a colander for cleaning.  I would like to tell you that the picture with this post was from that first pound of cherries, but alas, I did not care about taking pictures at this point.  The only thing in my brain was, “I have two pounds of Rainier cherries on June 8!  I can eat them for two months!  I can eat them now!”  I cleaned them as quickly as I could and gobbled down the pound.  I did not even try to savor every bite because I had another pound.  And did I mention that it was only June 8?


Oh, the delightful bliss.  My girls and I had just returned from a 2-week+ trip to visit family in another state.  Vacation–then cherries.  It was going to be a good summer.


The picture you see is from the second pound of cherries, which I ate the next day.  By this time I had enough control to see how beautiful they were in the bowl with the morning light coming in.  I grabbed my camera and got the picture, which I’m actually quite happy with.  (By the way, I do not alter my pictures other than occasional cropping.  I do not have any software to do so, and I do not have a clue how to do it anyway.  Those cherries looked just that good all by themselves!)


Tuesday came along, and I was happy enough.  My cherries were gone, but I could wait until Sunday when S went grocery shopping again.  And if there were a real crisis, I could go myself during the week. 


But NO!  NOT ONE!  S frequents three different shopping establishments.  None in any.  Often we he needs to pick up something during the week, so other establishments have been checked.  Nothing.  NOTHING!  My sad, greedy self is craving those cherries.  It is bad enough that I can only have them for such a short time each year, but to be falsely led to believe I would have a longer cherry season this year has been torturous.  Maybe, had I known, I would have been a little more careful about eating the first ones all at once.  (Maybe not. OK, there is not even a chance of that.)


Would it have been better if I had not had the first taste so early?  Maybe.  Maybe I would not be sitting in anguish each week for S to come home with cherries, only to be disappointed. 


BUT, there is good news.  The actual Rainier Cherry season is almost here.  I should be feasting on these little treasures within a week.  And it should last about 4 weeks.  The time is almost ripe.


By Louise Cannon

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