Jumping Back In…

It’s been a little while…

After a long discussion about how therapeutic blogging can be, I realized that I’ve let my own blog slip through the cracks a little. So…I’m back!

Getting Up to Speed:

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December 1st, 2013 (left)/September 1st, 2014 (right)
I don’t mean to beat this topic to death, but this transplant is still one of the best things I ever did for myself. I am speechless sometimes at how happy it has made me and how I feel about it 🙂

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Aydan Michael
The love of my life was born on August 9th, 2014 – just 5 days shy of my birthday. My little cousin made quite the entrance into this world. He wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a heart beat when he was born for 4 minutes, but he pulled through and was released from NICU 4 days later. He is perfect.

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Bug Bites Galore!
This past weekend (September 5th – 7th) I went camping in Gettysburg, PA with my cousins Amber and Ashley and 5 other people. I had an absolute blast with them, and the only downside? BUGS. Something out there really, reaaaallly loved me. They tore my legs up…and only mine. But hey, stuff happens.

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Procrastination – The Musical

It’s finals week….everything that hasn’t been done all semester is being done right now, as in tonight….due tomorrow… Procrastination: 45,358, Courtney: -20.

And then I continue to procrastinate by watching, and relating to, things like this!

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You WILL Fail, and That’s Totally OK

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Growing up as the oldest child, I was always pushed to do better in school than my sisters. I was an A student all the way through high school. In college I’ve been an A/B student, and still that’s not so bad. My sisters, however, could get away with whatever the minimum was: You only need a D to pass – then D it is! My mom just accepted that the 3 of us were different people and that they may not excell the same way that I did. What sucks about the whole thing is that when I would get anything less than an A (B’s), my parents would freakout on me. It was acceptable.

When I went to college and received my first C, I almost had a panic attack. I felt like a straight failure. I failed one class in undergrad, and I just felt like my whole career was down the toilet. In grad school, I have been on the verge of panic every semester even though my GPA has been a steady 3.2 <- which isn’t bad by any means. However, I continuously feel like I am doing something wrong and that I will disappoint everyone because I’ll be a drop out.

Every mistake I make, maybe when I say the wrong word or pronounce something wrong, I ruminate on it for hours and I keep saying to myself “How could you be so stupid?”. Failure or mistakes are NOT ok in my book. But, the problem is that to err is human, right? We are all bound to make mistakes. It happens. It’s how you react to those mistakes that determines how far you’ll go. You have to make the mistake, reajdust your thinking, and try again.

I just wish that my parents would have accepted my mistakes, and told me that it was ok to make them every now and then. Maybe I wouldn’t beat up on myself like I do now.

Daily Prompt

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Last, But the Most Important…

The Daily Prompt for today is “Last But Not Least“:

In my imaginary awards acceptance speech, the very end would be “Last, and most importantly, I want to thank my mother”.

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In truth, I have no idea what I would do without this woman. She is my biggest fan and supporter on so many levels, and she is my number one role model. My mom had children at a young age (17 & 19), she (along with my father) scraped up every penny they had and they made everything work. When I was young, we may not have had everything we wanted, but we had everything we needed – and that’s what matters. She took my cousin (someone I see as my little sister) in when her parents died (my mom’s brother and sister-in-law), and treated her as if she was her child – I don’t think many people are capable of doing that. She has always been a friend to me, but my mother first and foremost.

She is my hero and my role model, and I will say that until the day I die. I have always been, and always will be, a mommy’s girl.

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Yup, it’s broken…

I am about 98% sure that I just broke my toe…

It’s slanted, purple, and pretty swollen. Not to mention, it hurts so bad to put weight on my foot.

How did this happen?…I was playing with the dog and ran into the wall, that’s how.

I knew I did something wrong when I heard the crunch.

Well, damn.

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Wedding Madness

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So, I survived my cousin’s wedding. My cousin Amber, the beautiful bride, and  I are only a month apart in age. I was born in August on the 14th and she was born in September on the 18th. We were close while we grew up and my grandmother always referred to me and my sister as the C’s (Courtney & Colleen) and my cousin’s as the A’s (Amber & Ashley). We always laughed about how my dad and his sister both had only girls and named us with matching first letters. Amber and I had dreams of going to the same college and living together in Salisbury, near the ocean. We talked about when we would meet, and eventually date, the Backstreet Boys. We built forts out of couch cushions in my grandmother’s living room and spent every New Years Eve together. But then, in 2007 when I was 18, my grandmother died and so did any sibling love between my dad and his sister.

There was a lot of drama at that time. There was bitterness because we had been taking care of my grandmother, and my aunt and cousins were never there. There was some money issues and some drama over the ashes. It was pretty ugly for a while and Amber and I ended up having a falling out over me telling her “nana isn’t looking so good, you should go see her”. I had watch my other grandmother die from cancer only a few years before and I knew what the end looked like, but when I cautioned Amber, I was the bad guy. We stopped speaking, ended up deleting each other on MySpace (all the rage at the time), and went on with our lives.

Four years later, close to my 22nd birthday, Amber reached out to me on Facebook and we began to talk again. Her mom and dad had gotten divorced, her sister was having a baby, and she was buying a house with her current boyfriend. We didn’t really touch on the family drama…we missed one another. We went to dinner regularly, she came out to my birthday party that year (and that’s about all I remember…that night was kinda crazy), her sister had the baby, and we became close again. When she got engaged in May 2012 she asked me if I would be one of her bridesmaids and I said yes, while crying like a baby.

Yesterday, May 10th, 2014, was the big day. On Friday I headed over to her house around 11 a.m., and we made our way to the mansion and the hotel we were staying at. We get to the hotel and Amber crushes her finger in the car door – pretty badly I might add. She didn’t break it, but she bruised the hell out of it. We got through the rehearsal ceremony and headed off for the dinner. The maid of honor, my cousin Ashley, left 5 minutes in and caused a little bit of a commotion. My aunt, cousin, and I bonded over a bottle of white wine that we all loved. Amber and I worked on the table/seating lists until 11:30 p.m. and then stayed up talking and laughing until 2 a.m. We got up about 4:30 a.m., I ran to get coffee for everyone from Dunkin Donuts, and we started getting hair and makeup done.

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A few minutes before the ceremony started my parents, sisters, and grandfather showed up. I ran the boutonnieres down for her poppop and ours, and made sure the picture of our grandmother was out on the “Remembrance” table. When amber made her way down the aisle, she was crying and then I cried. During the reception, she cried – A LOT. She danced with our poppop and she danced with her mom. Her dad is a dickhead and decided that his new wife was more important than his daughter.The maid of honor ended up leaving the wedding, before the apron dance, so I stood in for her. At the very end, I went up to my cousin and asked her if the whole apron would buy a dance for me and her and she cried and danced with me.

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My aunt was crying and telling me that she was really glad I was there and that my dad was there. She was scared he wouldn’t come. I told her that no matter what drama had gone down, he never would have done that to Amber. He never would have missed her wedding, no matter how much he groaned about having to go. She just hugged me, thanked me, and walked away. Then the DJ announced the parent dance and Harley’s parents (the groom’s parents) went up and danced, but my Aunt Melissa didn’t have anyone to dance with and she sat down. My mom and I went to my dad and told him that regardless of everything, it would be nice if he took his sister to dance, because she was a parent and she couldn’t help it if the bride’s father was an ass. And then my father talked to his sister for the first time in 7 years.

As soon as he asked his sister to dance, she started crying. When they hit the dance floor I watched my cousin’s reaction and it was absolutely priceless. As soon as she saw my dad and her mom, she did a double (and a triple) take and started SOBBING. She was almost hysterical. She could not believe it. One of the groomsmen was asking what was wrong and she could barely get it out, but she kept going “My mom…is dancing with her brother…my MOM is dancing with her BROTHER”. It was beautiful. When they finished, my aunt hugged me and thanked me for everything. The whole thing even made my mom and sisters tear up, and they would be the last people I would expect to tear up.

In the very end, the day was beautiful. The rain held out long enough for the ceremony and cocktail hour to finish, the reception was great, the mansion was beautiful, the drama was non-existent, and most importantly, my cousin was happy.

I don’t know what the future is for my father’s relationship with my aunt, but as far as yesterday went…it was just beautiful. At the end of the day, I was exhausted. But, I have to say this: not to beep my own horn or anything (beep, beep!) but I was up at 4:30 a.m., my hair and makeup were done around 5 a.m., I had endured a whole ceremony, I was soaked by the rain around 6 p.m., and I still looked pretty freakin’ cute:

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Beep, beep 🙂

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Depending on the Situation…

So, May 7th’s Daily Post is called “Witness Protection“, when doing scary or stressful things, who would I want to be surrounded by? Friends or Strangers?

I, of course, have to be complicated. There are levels to this sh*t right here.

Now, if I am speaking publicly, I would rather be surrounded by friends. I hate reading things that I have written to people that I don’t know. With my friends around me I feel a little more supported and I feel better about speaking to a large group of people.

If I am doing something like bungee jumping or sky diving, it has to be strangers. Why? Because if I back out I won’t have to worry about my friends finding out I’m a scardey cat. Now, on the flip side, if my friends are there then I have to go through with it.

Now, what I say I would rather have and what has been available to me in these scary or stressful times, are two completely different things. Through bosses who have pushed me to be successful, and parents who know that I need to be independent, I have been forced to step outside of my comfort zones. I have done some of the scariest things in my life with strangers. I went to a middle school where I knew no one and in college I did the same thing. I had to be outgoing and I had to learn my way around. It’s made me comfortable enough to do scary or stressful things with friends or without.

Normally a stranger doesn’t stay a stranger very long, anyway. I have been told that I can make friends with a fire hydrant, so you know…it all depends on the situation.

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Emotion Overload

This week has been one hell of an emotional roller coaster, let me tell you.

On Monday I saw my cousin Sam for the last time before she packed up everything she owned in her little yellow beetle and left for California. She’s the first one in my family (which isn’t big) to leave the state. I’m still a little uncertain about how I feel about the whole situation. On one hand, I saw her rarely when she lived less than 5 minutes from my house. I kept up with her mostly through Facebook and text, so that aspect of our relationship won’t change. But, I’m still sad to see her go. She’s one of the few [relatively] sane family members I have, and I won’t be able to drop in and see her every now and then. When she gets married and/or has kids will we be able to be there? Or will she be here? Or will I watch them grow through Facebook? My mom is quite bitter, even if she won’t admit it. She looks at it as “She chose to leave, so unless she comes back here I won’t ever see her again”. Where I’m like “cool, I could go to California and have a free place to stay!” She’s already promised me the couch if I want to come and visit…and I really think I’ll take her up on the offer. I’m a combination of sad and happy (for her and for the opportunity to go across country).

On Tuesday I had a follow up appointment with the surgeon who did my hair transplant. It will officially be 6 months on May 26th, but this follow-up was for pictures and just to check on my progress. I cried in my doctors office and in turn I made her cry. I’ve been seeing the progress and the hair growth over the last few months, and it’s given me hope and a new sense of comfort I had lost along the way. I haven’t been comfortable with bleaching my hair or lightening my hair for a very long time. I felt that my hair was way too thin to lighten it, especially since it would make it look thinner. I have been getting hair cuts once a month for the last 3 years, mainly because my hair would start to look thinner and stringy as time went on. For the first time in years I have highlights in my hair and I haven’t had a hair cut for 3 months (I did go and get it cut Saturday since I’m in a wedding this week). It’s just nice. I cry sometimes when I look at my hair, and I was extremely excited to go to the doctors office and show off my new found confidence. The nurse was wowing over it while she took my ‘after’ pictures and compared them to my ‘before’ pictures. The difference was insane. It has filled in SO nicely and it made me cry a little more. After that I went to see the actual doctor and she was saying that I made her week because it’s healed up and grown in a lot better than she thought it would have at 6 months. I still have about a year to go for all of it to grow in, but my scar looks FANTASTIC, almost invisible. My hair has grown enough that it’s blending in with the hair that was already there, and she said that she can’t tell new hair growth apart from the rest. Overall, she was extremely happy with my results. She told me that she loved the color I had gone with in my hair and I told her that she well and truly made my year/life. I told her that for the first time in years I felt like I could do something more with my hair. I cried, she cried, we hugged, and I was on my way out the door. The quickest, yet most satisfying doctor’s appointment I have ever gone to.

Today, Wednesday, I went with my cousin Amber to get our nails done. Amber is the only cousin I have that is my age, we’re only one month apart. Her wedding is on Saturday, and I’m one of her bridesmaids. We went out and just enjoyed a day spent together prepping for the festivities. I’ll be with her Friday to Saturday and I’m so excited and happy for her. Her fiance, soon-to-be husband, is by far the best boyfriend she’s ever had. I’m happy for them both, and at the same time I’m sad. We’re not little anymore. For about 4 years we didn’t speak to one another (stupid family bull when my grandmother passed away), and we missed out on a good portion of each others lives. But, with that being water under the bridge and in the past, I just can’t help but think about us as little kids celebrating new years eve and swearing up and down that we would live together in Salisbury, MD. We would go to college together, live together, and go to Ocean city regularly. Clearly, that didn’t happen, but it felt like a simpler time. We promised those things to each other before I lost a good chunk of family to cancer and suicide, and we were so innocent. Now, I’m old enough to know that we probably would have killed each other. But you know, it’s sad to know that we’re not little anymore, but exciting to see what the next chapter in our lives brings.

Halfway through the week and I’ve already cried a hundred times…jeeze I’ll be an emotional wreck by Saturday.

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I’m an Over-Thinker

The Daily Post’s Prompt, “Going Obsolete“, made me think of a conversation that I just had the other day.

The other day my little sister’s 16 year old friend asked me “If you could choose, what time period would you want to live in?” and of course, I did a few things: 1. I dated myself. 2. I spoke to her as if she was a classmate in one of my grad. courses, so she checked out pretty early on in the conversation. 3. I began to over think what was supposed to be a simple question.

“Well, today we have the better medicine, science, technology…..but we can’t communicate face-to-face for anything. Years ago, we could send letters and know how to talk to someone instead of text them. But, we also couldn’t get in touch with them quickly in case of emergencies  ….” – my sister’s friend was going to hit me, I think.

Now, on the subject of technology that has gone obsolete…I don’t think I really miss any single piece of technology. I miss the human (not technology) interaction with people.

I miss hand written letters in the mail and the excitement of seeing a letter from my friend in the marines or another friend in Virginia.

I miss the days of being able to talk to someone who doesn’t have their face in a phone. I feel like I’m talking to a wall with people. Everything that I want to talk to my boss about has to be documented in an e-mail, and every attempt to talk to him is met with “e-mail it to me”….NO! Answer my question and then follow up. But talk to me, dammit!

I miss toys and games for kids that made them think and use their imagination. Plain baby dolls that did nothing special except maybe open their creepy, beady eyes.

I miss being able to function without the internet.

And then I circle back and think of how great these things are at the same time.

And I still didn’t answer the prompt…but you understand what I’m getting at.

 

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Happiness is Hair Growth

Happiness for me is many things.

Happiness is…

  • being with family
  • being with friends
  • reading a good book
  • passing my classes
  • helping other people
  • volunteering
  • laughing until I cry
  • laying around watching TV with my best friend
  • a hot cup of tea
  • having a job
  • walking around the harbor on a spring day

and most importantly?

Happiness is hair growth.

Every day I find myself admiring the new, growing hairs on my head. As embarrassing as it is to have a hair transplant as a 24 year old woman, I want to scream and shout about how happy I am with my results. It’s filling in, slowly but surely. Hopefully it continues to fill in. It looks…patchy? right now. Not all of the hairs have grown.

I have an appointment on May 6th to do photos. I get to see the before and the after, and I really want to see it. I have tried to document on my own…but it’s hard to remember sometimes.

Happy days ahead.

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