Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back in Action

Sorry to you all that check on my blog that I've been MIA for so long! For those of you that know me, know I have TERRIBLE luck with electronics, and I have been without a laptop for about a month. I will explain later. So, as to be expected, a lot has happened in the last month and a half so I won't go into a lot of detail. I'll just do a list of my life for the past month (I love lists as you can see) and will hope to be more consistent.

1) First and foremost- I have been at my job for over a month and LOVE it. Love the staff, the environment, the work I do- everything. I feel I am where I am supposed to be. And everyone smiles here, which is always a good thing. I think I have found a great fit in an environment where I can better myself professionally, learn, challenge myself, grow, and most importantly, help others.

2) I FOUND HOMES FOR ALL THE KITTENS- THANK GOODNESS!!! This was a huge weight off my shoulders, and the families that took them email me and I know they are in good homes. Layla (the mom), however, is the horniest cat EVER and tries continuously to take advantage of the stone tiger in the house and Coach purses. She is having her womanhood removed this Sat. thanks to the Meck County Animal control center- for free! What an amazing program.

3) I am doing 2 marathons within 2 weeks of one another- one up in the mountains in NC and the Indy Monumental. Should be quite the challenge. I'm sure my quads will hate me for a long time. What can I say, I am impulsive.

4) I did my first triathlon about a month ago and it went great! You can look @ the results here: It was a great learning experience- not to mention, my brother had flown in for the weekend, and it was the anniversary of Elliott's death and my aunt (one of the strongest women I know) did it with some girl friends, sporting the logo of Elliott's band on her shirt, and did AWESOME! AND, had her hip replaced less than a year ago. What an inspiration. I definitely caught the TRI bug and want to do more (and win them). My runs had some room for improvement, so I am going to try and actually train this time!

5) Brent came and visited, and we had an amazing time. We went to a concert (Old Crow Medicine show), hiked in the mountains, and he got to cheer me on in my race. I forgot how much it helps to have loved ones cheer you on in a race- sadly none of my family is close by so I never have their support! I have a feeling Brent will end up here one day.

6) Life continues to confuse me, stress me out and challenge me, but I am learning to enjoy the ride. I sometimes make questionable decisions but fortunately I have my friends and family to help keep me on the straight and narrow- but sometimes it is just so fun to go off that path :) I am such a free spirit sometime and am a little bit too fearless, but am trying to work on not being so impulsive.

7) I finished the book "In Beauty" by Zadie Smith on Saturday, recommended to me by a close friend. Awesome book about race and cultural expectations- highly recommend it.

8) I will be making 2 trips to Indy and one to Chi town for the Rock and Roll half marathon, so if you are in those areas and want to meet up, let me know!
9) After finally saving for a laptop, I bought my Macbook, which I loved! Well, I have horrible luck, and needless to say, it broke. Well, it got stepped on. Apple said it would be $800 to repair. My roomate was told of a website called that repairs Apple products for MUCH less. They mail you the box, you ship it to them, they fix it and they mail it back (in one day). The best part ? It was only $200!!! So, I finally have my computer back, and will treat this one like gold.

I think that's it for now. I'm sure I've missed things but I feel this post is boring enough as it is. I will be back soon!
Copperhead encounter # 2! Beautiful but very creepy....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peaceful, easy feeling.

Wow, how the tables have turned. I am on such a high this week, I can't even begin to explain it! I HAVE A JOB I HAVE A JOB I HAVE A JOB!!!!! It has been over a month since I had my interview, but after endless nights of praying (and pretty much every free second I had) I got the call I had been hoping for yesterday. From the 28 people they interviewed, I was offered the job!!!!! The timing couldn't be more perfect. My spa is closing on Friday, so I was facing the possibility of not having a full-time job with less than a week to go. I have learned so much about myself in this past month. When I first found out we were closing, it was fear I felt first, then a high amount of stress, then I became more rational and wrote down all of my finances to see what the bare minimum I could make to get by would be, and eventually came the feeling of peace. I had been asked by several friends, "Aren't you stressed?". And my answer was always no, surprisingly not! It was this calm feeling I had even though my life was completely up in the air, and I couldn't even tell you where I would be 2 weeks from the present. Maybe I felt so calm because of the freeing feeling of having no clue what was going on in my life? I didn't feel worried. I weighed my options, after realizing I had options, and that was the biggest lesson I have learned from all of this. Options. Options are good. When you feel like you have no control over your life, give yourself as many options as possible, even if they aren't ideal. I applied for 100's of jobs, many of which I didn't really want, but they would give me options. I researched going back to school, and confessed to family members my fears about that, and they gave me options to combat those fears. I researched the possibility of moving home, which was an option. I added up how many PRN hours I would have to pick up at my part- time job at the Keys of Carolina to pay my monthly bills, and found that to be an option. And finally, after having a few days of sleepless nights and no appetite, I felt ok. I knew I would be just fine. And whatever happened was meant to be, and I could make it work. And it was not until I reached that feeling of peace that things started coming together. I made some amazing new friends, there were some very lovely things happening in my personal life, I won an essay competition in which I wrote about the struggles I was having while quickly approaching unemployment and won a free bid into the Chicago Rock N Roll Half Marathon, and I was offered the job I have been wanting since I graduated college! I won't become rich off of it, but I am working for the county, which allows great government benefits. I am finally IN! It is so hard to break into a job with the county, but once you are in, it opens up so many doors. I am going to gain the experience I haven't been able to for the past 3 years (I have had lots of experience, but not neccesarily in case management), and I am going to learn and grow my professional life. And I can't wait to see what the future holds! I finally feel like my life is back on track after months of struggling with the unknown. I know this feeling won't last forever, and things can go offtrack again in a heartbeat, but, this was the most I had ever struggled (even including my years in athletics!) and I know now I can handle anything life throws my way. If you keep fighting, if you keep burying your head down and getting through it, life has a funny (and oftentimes, ironic) way of working itself out. For all of you who prayed for me, sent me encouraging messages, or just provided me with a listening ear, you don't know how much I needed that support, and I hope one day, if you ever need it, I can provide the same to you.

Sunset on Lake Norman, where I get that beloved "peaceful, easy feeling".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

hope costs nothing.

"What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise"
Oscar Wilde

Well, all I can say is, I sure as heck hope that's the case in this situation! Obviously it is easier to say that in retrospect, and I'm really looking forward to hopefully applying that to my current situation. Life is insanely crazy right now, but surprisingly, I feel hopeful. I honestly have no clue why. Maybe it's denial, unacceptance, or maybe I just don't care anymore? But I have a feeling it's more than that. For some reason, there is a small thread of hope that I'm clinging on to, and I feel really happy! I didn't expect to feel that way, but I'm obviously not going to deny the feeling! Sorry I've been absent for the better part of a month. It's not really because I've been busy- it's more just waiting for things to pan out and the dust to settle. Not sure that will happen though. So, instead of elaborating, here is a list.

1) Amazing old friends. Michelle came to visit and there is something about the reaffirmation that no matter what, some friendships will NEVER change. Lots of laughs ensued, which was just what I needed.
2) Brent is coming to visit in less than a month, and I miss him so much!
3) Great new people in my life that have popped in in the last month or so.
4) I have the best customers in the world @ Planet Beach and they have been amazing this past month- so helpful and so caring! I know I will stay in touch with a lot of them and that makes me happy.
5)New blonde hair.
6) Watching the kittens grow.
7) Great core group of friends that support me through thick and thin.
8)The ability to laugh through it all.
10)I buy my health insurance myself so nothing other than my paycheck will change in a week.
11) Tax refund- more than expected. Hallelujah!
12)I overpaid my credit card payment for some reason and got a check back. Perfect timing!
13) The weather is perfect.
14) My music collection on my Macbook has now surpassed what was on my stolen laptop. Thank God!

1) I didn't get chosen in the lottery for the NYC marathon. Oh well, on to the next.
2) I will be without a fulltime job in one week. Hmmmm.
3) My half marathon sucked Saturday- 1:38 (7:30 pace). I had been training at 6:30 pace but lost motivation after I got sick and my life took a quick downward spiral. I did get 2nd in my age group and got a fun prize- and I am all about the hardware, so that adds some positiveness (is that a word?) to a sucky race.
4) I know I put this in the positives, but I have 6...SIX....cats. It makes life a bit complicated and sleep limited.
5) No call back yet.
6) My pants are too tight.
7) I'm a tad bit homesick.
8) No matter how in control I try to be in my life, I am not in control. I guess that's a good thing too.
9) I got in a teeny accident and my MSU plate has a crack in it.
10) Cancer. Sucks.

It could be A LOT worse. So that's my list. Here are some recent pics....

Friends for well over 10 years!

I will always love you, Davidson.

Mountains, best friends, and a good dog= perfect day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Balls. What a fun word! It can mean so many different things. Cheese balls, chocolate balls, beach balls and most recently in my life, furballs. I myself have been one GIANT stressball these days. And if you know me and my close friend Ellen, one of our favorite exclamations when things go bad is..."Oh, Balls!". Which, by the way, is actually an old-time phrase; the book I just recently finished, East of Eden, written in the 50's, had characters in it that would use that phrase. It's a great way to proclaim frustration, excitement, anger, or surprise, and lets face it, it's just a really funny word to say. You should try it; it feels really good to say :).

All silliness aside, I want you all to know how much your thoughts, prayers and well-wishes sent my way mean. I really believe I have some of the greatest friends and family in the entire world. The messages, texts and emails helped me get through a very stressful time and helped me do one of my favorite things- laugh. Your suggestions and support mean more than you ever know, and I now realize that when someone is having a rough time, even if they aren't reaching out for help, words of encouragement can make all the difference. You guys are truly amazing and I'm not quite sure how I have gotten so lucky in my life to know so many wonderful people, but please know I feel blessed to know each and every one of you. I get so busy and have trouble staying in touch over the phone, but that doesn't mean I don't miss you, think about you or appreciate you in my life! Things are VERY up in the air right now in my life and that is a scary, scary feeling. I am a creature of habit and although I do thrive in chaos, I do enjoy stability as well. It seems like everyone I know have lives on the the straight and narrow path; it's like they are doing the perfect math equation to get the perfect answer. My life is a MILLION different equations and I have no clue what the answer will end up being. I feel so incredibly busy and I feel as though I keep spinning my wheels, but am moving no where. I have realized though the past few weeks this wheel spinning has allowed me to meet all the people that have supported and encouraged me. Everything happens for a reason, I firmly believe that, but it has been a bit difficult to find these reasons. I am hoping that one day (hopefully soon!), I will be able to look back in retrospect on the difficult times and say "Ah hah, so THAT's what that happened!". I love when I am able to do that! After being irrational and spending Friday crying and eating cupcakes, I have been able to look at things a little more rationally and am determined to make things work. They may be unplanned circumstances, but some of you have shed some clarity on the situation and it just may be a positive thing. I sure hope so.

On another note, something that I thought would be a huge inconvenience and hindrance on my life has turned out to be very exciting .I recently rescued a kitty from the outdoors about two months ago. Her name is Layla and I have to say, she is a pretty cool cat. Except she LOVES to eat. I mean, like a bag of catfood a week. She gets it honestly, since me and Laramie love to eat too! My roommates and I noticed that she had been growing quite large from the mere 6 pounds that she was when I got her. We went back and forth, could she be pregnant? Does she have worms? Is she just eating wayyyy too much? I had been holding off on the vet because I have her on the Mecklenburg County waiting list to get everything done for free since she was a rescue. Well, we got our answer Sunday. Out of nowhere, while I was at work, out came 5 babies! UNDER MY BED nonetheless. I got a text from Ellen saying, "uh Courtney, congratulations, you're a Grandma!". I guess Layla was just hanging out downstairs looking like she had gone on Jenny Craig or something, so they realized she must have given birth. They went to my room and heard some squeaking, and sure enough, she had made her nest under my bed. I am amazed by the whole process. Not a drop of blood or mess anywhere. She cleaned it all up. What a champ. Getting able to witness animal instinct first hand is incredible. The fact that she knew she was going to have them, went upstairs, picked a safe place, popped them out, cleaned them, and now knows exactly how to care for them, is mind-boggling! She doesn't question her instincts, she just does it. I need to follow that pattern for my own life. And as stressed out as I first was when I heard the news, I have to say, kittens have been a pleasant surprise so far. At first I thought, "Just my luck; here I try to do a good deed and rescue an animal, and now I have SIX CATS living under my bed. My life is a joke." But, I have to say, knowing I was coming home to kittens after work Sunday night put a huge smile on my face. I felt like a doting grandmother, telling everyone at work the great news. They are very self-sufficient, and so dang cute! There is a possibility I will be able to find homes for all of them, which is a huge plus. If any of you want one, feel free to take one!!! The only one that for sure has a home is the calico. To sound cliche, it has been very cool to witness the miracle of life, even if it has just been with kittens. I can't imagine what it feels like to have an actual child! Wow.

Thank you again for all your positive thoughts in my direction; I need them all and I can't thank you enough! My longtime best friend Michelle gets into town this evening from NYC so that makes life all the more better. So excited! Enjoy the pictures of "my grandchildren" =) Oh, and mom, if you are reading this, surprise! You know how you told me not to rescue that cat? Well, I did. And now I have six cats....whoops. Love you!
Proud Mama!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid....Jesus

A very sweet friend sent that to me today. It's funny how people are there for you just when you least expect it, just when you need it most. I have hit a bit of a rough patch. Nothing serious, and I know I'll make it out ok, but things in my life are very uncertain right now and I'm in a pretty dark place. I don't know how many of you read this, but for those of you who do, if you pray, please add me to your list. I need a few right now. I have wonderful people in my life and couldn't ask for better friends and family, so thank you for being there for me. Life could be much worse, but I could use some stability in my life. It feels like I'm constantly changing things, but the change is lateral. There are some people who seem so full-filled and satisfied, and I want that so badly for myself. I want to be at peace with where my life is going. Any prayers or good thoughts my way would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thou Mayest

I'm happy to say I'm still working hard toward most parts of my New Year's Resolutions (aside from the piles in my room- that is a lost cause). I finished another book and it was a very thought-provoking, entertaining read.

John Steinbeck's "East of Eden" took me a few weeks to get into, but once I was in, I was hooked. It was written in 1952, but aside from a few language differences, you would never know. The book oozes sexuality and controversy, and shockingly, the words they used back then were very similar to the words we use today. In short, the book explores the difference between good and evil, and what makes one person inherently "bad" over another. I was fascinated by this because as a psychology major, I have always been intrigued as to why some people seem to be good eggs, and some people seem to be pure evil. I have always taken a humanistic approach, which is a viewpoint that in general, all humans are born good, and it is circumstances in life (abuse, neglect, chemical imbalance, etc) that makes a person "bad". The book explores concepts and phrases from the Bible that address evil. Two of the main characters, Aron and Cal, are what the author uses explore his theory. Their lives parallel Cain and Abel's from the Bible in many ways. Cal and Aron's mother seemed to be inherently evil (she killed her parents as a young child and then became a prostitute) while their father was one of the most kind, naive, good people to walk the earth. He married their mother having no clue about her past; she was very manipulative, used him for everything he had (he was wealthy) and left him with the boys shortly after they were born to go run a whorehouse. Ironically, their father is not even their biological father- their mother slept with their father's brother one evening and was impregnated by him (this is not revealed until later in the book) Evil seemed to follow her throughout the whole book. She is cold, heartless, and will do anything to anyone to better her own life. She murders on numerous occassions to get what she wants. The father becomes very depressed about being a single father, but is surrounded by good people that literally end up slapping him straight, and convincing him his job as a father is more important than his heartbreak and he is able to realize this and become the father he needs to be to raise his boys. The boys grow up thinking their mother is dead, and when on accident, Cal discovers who his mother really is, he struggles with the realization that the evil that was in his mother could very well be in him as well. While Aron was always doing what was right, Cal seemed to get a thrill from finding people's weaknesses and feeding upon them. It was something he didn't feel he could help. He didn't know why he did it, other than that it made him feel powerful. He worried he inherited this trait from his mother, who used people her whole life, and never really loved anyone. He battles this throughout the entire book and wonders if it is a lost cause to try and be a good person. There is a particular phrase that is examined by the best friend and farm hand (Lee) of the twin's father that is in the Hebrew version of the Bible- "timshel". In translation, it means thou mayest. Lee was a very educated man and studied several religions to better grasp the concept of God. He couldn't seem to get "timshel" out of his head, and goes on a quest to find out what the Bible means by it.

"[The Hebrew] word "Timshel"- thou mayest-that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if Thou mayest- it is also true that thou mayest not...[thou mayest] makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and in his filth...he still has the great choice. He can choose his course and fight through it and WIN."

Lee tries is best to show Cal that just because he has a tendency toward being evil, he has a choice, and can choose to be good. Basically, the entire book explores the concepts of good and evil and where free will lies amongst the spectrum. One doesn't have to be good; one doesn't have to be bad. One is whatever one chooses to be. I loved reading about this theory. I'm not sure if I necessarily agree with it, because I do believe that some people are faced with circumstances in life that really do not give them a fighting chance to be good, but I do feel like human beings are powerful and can overcome terrible, terrible things in life, and use them for good. I left out a lot ( I think the book is close to 800 pages) but that is the general concept of it, and I highly recommend this book. It provides a lot of food for thought, and anyone fascinated by human behaviors will enjoy it. It provides hope for mankind. We are neither destined to be good or destined to be bad; we are whatever we choose to be. I will leave you with a quote from the book that I absolutely loved:

"Riches seem to come to those poor in spirit; the poor in interest and joy. To put it straight- the very rich are a poor bunch of bastards."

Even without money, you can be rich- it's all how you view your life :)

Anyways, here's a little update on my life- I ran a 5k with Ellen this past weekend and it was absolutely miserable. Not only was it 25 degrees in the morning (ridiculous for Charlotte in March!), but I just felt like complete junk the whole race. Thank goodness the company was at least good. My training has been faster than I ran the race. I believe my final time was 21:10. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't terrible, but I should have been faster. The fact that I didn't run but once during the week leading up to it probably didn't help. I just haven't been able to find a lot of time to work out lately. I did get a trophy at least and some cool race freebies; those of you who know me know I love freebies and I love winning some hardware even more. No clue why. Anyways, thanks Ellen for enduring a painful morning with me and hopefully our next race will be much more enjoyable :)

Not-so-flattering picture from the Hardcore trail run a few weeks back.

Hope everyone had a very happy Monday! Spring is here!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Always behave like a duck...

...stay calm and collected on the surface, but paddle like the devil beneath the water!
I love that quote, and that was my motto throughout this week. Do you ever feel like the entire universe is against you? I am usually a very happy-go-lucky, laid back person, but a few days out of the month, I feel like no matter what I do things are not going to go my way or how I planned for them to go, so I might as well just suck it up, deal with it and wait for the storm to pass, knowing the sun WILL come out again eventually. There wasn't anything tragic or overtly malicious that happened to me this week. It was just a bunch of little things that kept happening, and happening, aaaaaand happening, until finally I reach the point where I just have to laugh and say "seriously???". Some of this could be due to hormones, which can make a person a bit irrational. I know it is also because of mental and physical exhaustion. I get emotional and irrational when I'm tired, and working two jobs while doing a pretty strict training regime for my upcoming races has started to catch up with me. I really do feel like I have weeks, however, where everything goes my way and I'm walking on cloud nine, but I never let myself get too comfortable because I know it won't last forever. Just like the bad times don't last forever. It's hard to explain to someone else why I'm having such a terrible day, because all the little things that happen really are not a big deal at all, but when they keep happening, I eventually reach my breaking point and have a good cry. The funny thing is, it's usually something REALLY small that eventually make me cry, like a pencil breaking, or stubbing my toe. It's the accumulation of events, not one particular event, that causes the cry. After that, I'm usually ok and things start to turn up again. Amongst a million other teeny things that happened on Thursday, the icing on the cake was that I made myself go to the gym for my 6 mile tempo run, as much as I just wanted to go home and pull the covers over my head. The goal was to hold 6:45-7:00 pace for each mile, which I did. But I struggle on treadmills- something about constantly being able to check how much longer I have left makes it a lot more difficult than running outside for me. So I need a good soundtrack to keep me going. For some reason, my Ipod was against me that night too, and as I began to struggle mentally with the run, and the temptation to hit the "slow down" button was creeping up on me, I needed some solid rock music to pull me through. Well, my Ipod somehow chose every slow song known to mankind- love songs, symphony music, you name it, it played it. I frantically kept hitting "next", but to no avail. I finally just accepted this run was going to make me more mentally tough; I buried my head down, did my best to encourage myself and not look at how much time I had left. I was able to finish the run with a 6:45 average pace, which was my goal, but man was it tough. And then, my Ipod decided it would break after that! I just laughed. I've gone through so many days like this in my life now that I know you just have to get through it and it will get better, but man do they suck! I won't go into detail about everything else that happened because frankly, it's boring. I had a lovely dinner with a wonderful friend last night, and that helps. Friends, a bit of mental toughness, and faith are what pull you through rough times. I can already feel things getting better, so once again, I know I will be fine. I think you need days like that to not take the good days for granted. My coping skills sure have sharpened since I've become an adult and there are a lot more things that can go wrong!
One thing in particular that kept me going through this week was the wonderful news that I found out one of my very best friends, Michelle, is coming to visit me for 5 days in March! I can't even begin to explain how excited I am. We have a good time no matter what, but I can't wait to show her what my life is like in North Carolina. I had the opportunity to visit her in New York City and it was one of my most favorite vacations. Now, when I talk to her on the phone, I have a visual of what her life is like. We have gone in such different paths since high school and college and it's amazing to see what the lives of people you are close with are like. I miss her and cannot wait to see her!
Other random thoughts- I am actually excited for Jessica Simpson's new show on VH1- I am fascinated by perceptions of beauty and think it will be very educational. Who would of thought? And, I really like Daughtry's new song. Especially the quote, "All that I'm after is a life full of laughter". Exactly! Can anyone guess what channel I'm watching right now?

Thanks for listening to me rant, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend!!
Goofing off with my NEW Mac!