Sunday, February 28

so apparently turning twenty three doesn't make you any smarter

Today I drove out to Clarksburg (a small town off of the river road, made up of mostly farmland and vineyards) to take some photos and to visit my friend Jess while she painted at a venue for wine tasting. I had such a good time talking with her that I stayed until she was done at five o'clock, helped her carry her paintings back to her car, and then got in my truck and drove off.

About ten minutes after she turned left and I turned right, a reflection off of the river caught my eye so I pulled over to capture it with my camera.

definitely not worth it

One minute later, I decided that it hadn't really been worth pulling over for since the best angle would be from a boat in the river, and seeing as how I didn't have a boat and I wasn't about to go swimming, I walked back to my truck to open the door and get in.

Only it wouldn't open. It was locked.

So I reached for the keys in my pocket.

But they weren't in my pocket.
They were sitting on the drivers seat.
Next to my cell phone.
Inside my locked car.

Inside my locked car that was parked in (basically) the middle of nowhere.
In a No Parking Zone.


I tried jiggling the handle in the hopes that it would magically unlock. I tried pounding on the sliding window on the back of the cab, hoping the lever would pop open and that I could squeeze through. I even tried dismantling my windshield wipers to try and pop the lock.

All to no avail.

And the cars driving by? They had no problem staring at me, but to pull over and ask if I was okay was just too difficult.

When I finally figured out that no one was going to step up and play the good Samaritan in this tragic comedy I call "My Life," I started walking to find the nearest house.

I hesitantly walked down the first steep driveway I saw to find a little family out in their garden, the little boy yelling up to me "who are you?"

I sheepishly admitted to being a complete fool, then asked if I could trouble them to use their phone to call my dad so he could come and rescue me. They were very kind and handed me a cell phone.

But there's no doubt about it-

They thought I was a moron.

And I felt like one for another hour while I sat on my tailgate, the daylight growing dim, the mosquitos biting my feet, and the cars just driving on by.

So. What can we learn from today?

Always, ALWAYS, have a hide-a-key.

Don't pull over and park when there's a sign saying No Parking. It'll bite you in the butt.

And make sure the photo you pull over to take is worth a two hour layover in Clarksburg.

sitting on my tailgate, stranded in Clarksburg

Saturday, February 27

I love it when

I walk into a friend's house to be greeted with-

my friend Jess and all of her fiance's basketball friends shouting "Courtney!"

a glass of wine

and chocolate covered strawberries made especially for me by Jessica's brother Josh for my birthday.

Josh's strawberries

Life is good.

Wednesday, February 24

that's amore

I love eating lunch with one of my best friends.

I love going to the bank and discovering I've got more money than I thought.

I love putting fresh flowers on my grandpa's grave. then sitting and reflecting upon my Kit Kat bar in the cemetery.

I love driving to Ventura Highway playing on the radio.

I love phone conversations with boys I used to have a crush on, where you both laugh the whole time, where you think to yourself I'm so glad I got over having a crush on him because we make really awesome friends.

I love drinking margaritas with the girls, eating free chips and discussing life and death.

I love trips to the craft store.

I love it when an old friend calls just to let you know she found a funny card you made for her years and years ago. And then reads said card while I'm trying to cover my phone with my hair, so I don't get pulled over by highway patrol.

I love new libraries with magical book scanning abilities. Set your book on a pad and somehow the computer knows which book you have? Mesmerizing. Definitely spent a few moments completely befuddled and amazed. However, I miss convo's with the librarians. Maybe they don't have amazing technical abilities but at least they smile.

I love going to the thrift store and not buying anything because I get in there and realize there's nothing I really need.

I love getting in the ridiculously long line that goes out the door at the pharmacy, only to realize I'm in the wrong line. I belong in the short, fast line. Awesome!

I love having a mom who's good at scratching itches.

I love coming up with ideas to redecorate my room, only to realize it won't be my room for long, and soon I'll be out on my own.

I love checking off all the important stuff on my to-do list.

I love today.

So thank you Wednesday. I needed you.

spring is here!

Tuesday, February 23

hello, Wednesday

Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.

Mark Twain

on another note, my birthday flowers are holding up quite well...

birthday flowers

I don't know about you, but I can never leave a bouquet alone when I first get it. It's got to be rearranged. Then divided up so the joy can be spread all over the house. I'm thinking it's those florist genes passed down from my great granddad.

birthday flowers

birthday flowers

birthday flowers

Monday, February 22

music for your Monday

This past week has been full of emotions, from high highs to low lows.
This song helps me get through those lows.

Not only is it a beautiful and relaxing arrangement, but I also find the lyrics to be very comforting. Especially this little chunk...

remember to keep warm
take shelter from the storm
the night will not last for much more
I wrote in a small note
put on your winter coat
a cold wind will blow through your door

night will follow day
sure as the sun and moon
remember I will always be with you
just fold your hands and pray
and I am beside you
tell mother I'll help to see you through

Saturday, February 20

Dear Diana, I think I love you.

oh Diana, I think I love you

I finally got the first two rolls from my Diana camera developed! I wasn't very happy with any of the images from the roll of color, however I was pretty pleased with my black and whites. This one was my favorite!

If only I could get over the development sticker shock...

In other news
This afternoon I stopped by a bakery down the street from my grandmother's that is known for it's divinely delicious sweet treats. I picked up a tasty looking cupcake and licked my lips the whole way to Grandma's house.
Then she and I split it.

That little old lady can down a cupcake like no other.

Wednesday, February 17


at the beginning of this month, I wrote a post. A post about death, life, and love.

And then I never posted it.

I still don't think I'll post it, but here's the gist-

February is a complicated month.

It seems to be that the most significant deaths in my life occur in February. Both my grandfathers, friend's fathers, father's friends, birthday buddies.

And now. Now I am faced with another death.

And it never gets easier.

My friend Don passed away this morning. My friend Don who was only in his forties. My friend Don who has two young kids. My friend Don who has endured much for the past few years.

My friend Don who was an amazing person.

I can't say I was very close with him, he wasn't someone I spent time with outside of work. But inside of work he was one of my favorites in the kitchen. Always kind, always encouraging, usually laughing.

I don't know what the future holds for his family, close friends, and the business I got to know him in.

I do know that he will greatly, greatly be missed.

And now, more so than ever, I continue to have a love/hate relationship with February.

Twenty three things about me as I begin my twenty third year

23. Scotch tape has a smell, and I love it. In fact, when I was a little girl, my family called me the Tape Queen, because of my love for it. Need a gift taped? No problem. I would tape it up so good it would be difficult to open.

22. I love to tidy things up. But I hate cleaning. Real, honest cleaning is near impossible for me. I get distracted and things never get fully cleaned.

21. Ever since I was three, the first thing I do in the morning is reach over and put on my glasses.

20. I have dropped an entire entree (salmon I believe) on a table, making the food go everywhere (including the customer's lap) and spilling the wine all over the table. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, sitting in the restaurant stopped their conversations to turn and gawk at me. What can I say? That plate was hot.

19. My first kiss came from a drunk sixty year old man. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Neither. Did. I.

18. My parents always taught me to save the best for last. So I do. The best looking bite on my plate? Last. And then I savor it. Which brings me to number seventeen.

17. People say I'm a slow eater. Not ridiculously slow, but slow. Hey, I can't help it if I like to taste my food before it goes down.

16. Sometimes I can be pretty systematic. For example, unless I'm starved for my Skittles, I have a order of eating them. First the yellow and green. Together. Occasionally I'll throw in an orange. Then red. Then purple, sometimes mixing the two as well.

15. I wanted to be Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking when I was a kid.

14. I am very very lazy. Possibly to a fault.

13. I'm really bad at answering my cell phone. It's usually in the other room, or on silent, or I'm just not in the mood. Let's just say, I don't need my cell phone to feel complete.

12. One time in high school, I wasn't paying attention and totally walked into a trash can. Then nearly fell in.

11. Sit me in front of a movie with Cary Grant, Gene Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, or Judy Garland and I'm a happy girl.

10. When I was a kid I had a rock collection. Made up of mostly the gravel from our driveway. Slightly pitiful? Perhaps.

9. I'm picky. I know what I like and I like to choose it.

8. I can't drive a stick shift. So I guess you can't depend on me in an emergency.

7. I have ridiculously cold hands. In both winter and summer. Don't know what that's all about.

6. I wish you could get paid for daydreaming. I'd be filthy rich!

5. I'm really bad at graciously accepting compliments. I usually end up insulting myself. Recently I had a customer tell me how much she enjoyed my service. I responded "thank you, but you probably wouldn't have said that if you were one of my tables an hour ago!"

4. I get REALLY excited over unimportant things.

3. Favorite smells include (but are not limited to)- fresh cut grass, the smell that comes after it rains, gasoline (explains some things, doesn't it?), my grandparent's garage (weird, I know, but it totally brings back childhood memories), any baked goods fresh out of the oven, violets and other flowers, and dirt.

2. I'm really good at window shopping.

1. You know how some people have a year, an age that they're afraid of? This is mine. When I was a kid I laid out a plan for my life, and I had all these things I wanted to accomplish by my twenty third year. So far, I'm nowhere near accomplishing any of them. I know that things will work out in the end, that God's plan is bigger than mine, but man, sometimes waiting around for the real plan sucks.

So there you have it. I've been dreading this year for the past few of my life and it is finally upon me.

Then again, the more I think about it, the more it makes me want to make twenty three the best year yet. It can't be much worse than twenty two. And so far, I can't complain. It's been pretty great!

Hey, wait, can I get another thing?

This post marks my one year blog-versary. I am so very, very grateful for the friends I have made in this little blog world the past year. Thank you for your sweet comments, your wonderful advice, and for sharing your experiences with me. Your words have meant so much to me and I can't believe you all keep coming back to read what I have to say.

P.S. Here's my twenty two things about me from last year!

Monday, February 15

to say it's been a pretty good day

would be making a complete understatement.

For starters, I went to Ireland.




juuust kiddinnng...

But isn't this place everything you ever dreamed Ireland to be? (Minus the heather, wooly sheep, and beer?)

I actually went on a hiking/biking/oh-my-god-I-am-ridiculously-out-of-shape adventure with my cousin, Robby, to Point Reyes, right here in California. Some of the views were completely breathtaking, at times I felt I was in a tropical jungle, in others, Ireland. There's that wanderlust popping up again.


"Robby! Look at this!" = Courtney wants a break.

ooh aahh

my world traveling shoes, a cliff, and the Pacific Ocean


I climbed up a tree to get this shot. And then lost my footing and fell. Thank goodness Robby has quick reflexes and caught me!

We found tons of these crazy cool spider webs.

And... I even made Robby get off his bike so I could do my best Dirty Dancing impression.

After the mud splattering bike ride back to the truck, we headed into town for a much needed lunch. We stopped into this little town store and had some delicious tacos with chicken, cilantro, onions, a yummy green salsa and lime. I would show you a photo but I devoured it so quickly that I didn't have time to take one! Then we headed for home, only to hit traffic. Being the map lovers we are, I pulled one out and made an alternate route for us that took us through Napa, turning out to be a much more beautiful drive than the one we took on the way up.

I got home, exhausted, and then, a few hours later reluctantly logged into San Francisco State University's website for probably the fiftieth time this month to see if my admission status had changed.

So. Guess where I'm moving to in the fall?


Can I get a HUZZAH?!!!

Pretty good day, indeed.

Saturday, February 13

an armful of love

I think it is safe to say
that I might have gotten
the slightest bit carried away
cutting out paper hearts last week.

I would walk into rooms with arms full
and fling them into the air,
watching them flutter down to the ground
while proclaiming
happy Valentines day!

My family only found this amusing the first time.

So I banished myself to the outdoors.

Here are a very few of the hearts that I've scattered all over, have stuffed and mailed in envelopes, and that make me ridiculously giddy when I fling them into the air.






Funny thing is, I haven't been big on Valentines Day in years. But for some reason, when I cut out that first heart last week, oh boy was I hooked. I guess I just miss the Valentines parties in elementary school, when everyone feels the love that day. And the cookies. I sure do miss those.

Thursday, February 11

dear grocery store boy,

Thanks for the smile from three check out lanes over. It made me blush.

You're hot. Let's date.


Tuesday, February 9

Grace is not my middle name. *

I spent the afternoon baking cookies with some friends in Davis.

What could go wrong?

With me? Plenty.

First of all, my socks slid a little too well across the laminate floor leading to a not so graceful slide/dance. Then, reaching, I ripped a hole in the arm of one of my favorite dresses. When attempting to get the plastic seal off of the bottle of vanilla extract, I accidentally yanked the cap off, which led to vanilla splatters. Everywhere.

I guess that's okay. Because now my hair smells delicious.

On the way home? I ran over the curb.

I just can't win. Thank goodness I was with friends who love me, clumsiness and all!

*however, my middle name, Anne, means grace. Go figure.

Monday, February 8

music for your Monday

some new Vampire Weekend over on La Blogotheque!

It's ridiculous how much I wish I had been in that room.

So. Badly.

I think it's quite obvious that I love them.

Sunday, February 7


a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

If this were a disease then I would definitely fit the symptoms.

Lately, all I can think about is exploring this amazing world. I sit in Borders for hours looking at travel books, I've ordered books from Amazon and impatiently waited for their arrival in the mail. My bookshelves are out of space. But the curiosity is still aplenty.

This afternoon I was thinking about my first trip on my own. I was eighteen, and I was to start at the local community college in a week. One night at work I got the idea to fly over to North Carolina to visit my cousin Katie, who had just moved there eight months before. So I went home, purchased my ticket, and two days later I was off. I loved the thrill of traveling by myself. Although it was a little scary, I always met someone at just the right time who helped me to find my way.

I remember stepping out on the tarmac at JFK, climbing up the stairs onto the plane, feeling like a celebrity boarding her private jet. Only it wasn't so private. I sat between a man named Steve and an environmental conservationist. Interesting how I remember those little details but fail to remember many other moments once I reached my destination.

I'll never forget the flight home, either. I sat in the very last row of the plane, between a very large man and a marine. The marine. Was. Hilarious. I'll never have a better flight partner. I remember how I had to run to catch that connecting flight, made it just in time, and right before takeoff there was a medical emergency so we sat in the plane for two hours before even taking off. When the stewardess began her speal about safety, I turned to the marine and quietly asked him if he had ever watched Tommy Boy.

To which he replied with a complete (and loud) re-enactment of the scene where Chris Farley is being suffocated by the life vest.

Like I said, the man was hilarious. Seemed like everyone in the plane turned around to gawk.

My next trip alone was again to visit Katie, who, a year and half later, was now living in Okinawa, Japan. The people on the long flight were not near as friendly or entertaining, behind me was a little man who liked to stick his foot in between my chair and the window, I woke up several times to find I had fallen asleep on it. There was also a little boy who enjoyed singing some song from the movie Madagascar. Cute the first fifteen times.

I had a layover in Taipai, and then, surprisingly, found myself in first class on the hour long flight over to Okinawa. Nice, right? Then I hit customs. And could not understand a word that was spoken to me. I think I left a lot of Japanese airport security very annoyed.

Anyways, all this reminiscing to say, that both of these times, I traveled alone. But I always met someone at my destination. I suppose what scares me is that if I step out and travel this year, not only will I be alone in my travels, but I'll also be alone when I arrive at my destination. There will be no one to greet me and gently usher me into new territory. There will be no one to keep me company as I discover new corners and cultures.


I know I can do it. It's just getting to the doing it that scares me.

Perhaps Katie's husband, Kevin, should rejoin the army so they would get stationed somewhere new for me to visit.

Naw, bad idea.

I'll just have to strike out on my own and hope I make it.

Okinawa. It seemed like everywhere we went, Audrey, my cousin's daughter, drew attention because of her blond hair.

Audrey ducking out of the photo just in time.

A very matching family.

Quite possibly one of my all time favorites. It sparked my love of travel photography. These photos were taken with my Canon AE-1, before I was introduced to digital beyond a point and shoot.

Sorry for all the travel posts. If it's driving you crazy you'll probably be happy to know it's driving me crazy too.

Wednesday, February 3

sidewalk love notes

Sidewalk love notes

During my semester in Paris, one day I took a new route home and noticed this little love note painted on the sidewalk of my street. For the next few months, I found more, walking to the post office, in a parking lot, on the way to the park.

love me
hug me
adore me

On and on they went.
Simple demands of the heart.

I loved finding them, and always wondered who those little love notes were for.

And yes, there's a good chance that I secretly wished they were meant for me.

Tuesday, February 2

so apparently

it's been exactly two years since I landed in Paris. At least that's what my friends who also studied abroad there keep telling me on facebook. Which means it's been two years since the start of the best three months of my life (so far). Honestly, I had forgotten it was today.

So to honor that monumental day, two years ago, sitting on the plane thinking what did I get myself into, here's a few photos that show that it was worth it.

Warning: I say "few" very loosely. I started looking through these photos and got a little carried away!

The first photo I took. Near the Champs Elysees.

I loved all the street markets. And nothing beats fresh flowers.


Waiting in line for the top floor of the Eiffel Tower.

Pretty incredible what a lot of time and patience will get you.



Window display and street refection off the Champs Elysees.

View from the top.

My roommate and greatest friend of the trip, Kelsey. And I. Lost in the early hours of morning near the Louvre.


Paris in springtime. Pretty lovely.

Amazing transportation system, including these bikes you can rent all over the city.


Bicycles in front of Notre Dame.

Brandon decided to join us on the left. And then there's Sam-and-or-antha, moi, Sophie/Quasi, Kels, and Karissa. My partners in crime.

Je t'aime Paris,
vous avez saisi mon coeur et ne laisserez pas aller.

walk it off

when I was a little girl, I had to wear an eye patch, pirate style.

Thanks to a little thing called strabismus, I had (and still have) a lazy eye. Don't worry, I don't walk the streets looking like a crazy, thankfully contacts and glasses set my eye straight. When I was younger, I would wear an eye patch over my strong eye to strengthen the weak one.

And I hated it. When I was really little, the eye patches were pretty much big sticky band-aids, which hurt like a mother to take off. And then later, there were these neat felt ones that slid over my glasses (making it easy to cheat). Because the big sticky ones were so awful, my mom made a calendar, put it on the fridge, and every day that I wore my eye patch she would place a sticker on the calendar. When the calendar was full, she'd take me out for a prize, like a Barbie. It worked. Like a charm.

Fast forward almost twenty years later. For years my mom has been complaining about weighing more than she'd like. But she never does anything about it. She doesn't like to buy new clothes, because hopefully one day soon she'll magically shrink and then they wouldn't fit. A few years ago she and my dad bought a treadmill. That I've used more than her. Problem is, I've probably only used it ten or so times.

I've begun to realize how much my mother and I are alike. We need that push from someone else, and, I just realized, we're not self starters. Bummer.

I guess this means I need to be the one that pushes this time. So yesterday, I made a calendar. Put in on the fridge. Got some cool stickers.

And this morning (because she kept putting me off yesterday) we got up (way earlier than I'd like) and went for a walk.

A forty minute walk. The compromise we made because she didn't do the twenty minute walk yesterday.

I hope my mom will keep with it so she can get her barbie.

Monday, February 1

in the spirit of February...

Okay, so maybe it's a hospital commercial about heart disease, but it's lovely all the same.

music for your Monday

So I'm sure you've all seen this because of it's awesome-ness.

Which is why I've never posted it before. But this morning I was in the mood to watch and listen to it for probably, umm, the hundredth time, so I figured you might want to join me in celebrating the wonderful outcome of what was probably a very long day.

Yeah? Okay, good.

Hurray for stop-motion and good music combined!

P.S. This weekend I discovered that I've been spelling hurray wrong for as long as I could miss-spell it. Apparently hooray isn't right. I think I prefer hooray anyways. Or perhaps I will begin to say hurrah! Maybe, even, huzzah! Much more climactic.

Alright. I'm done.