Don't talk to me like that

Friday, March 23, 2018

I've thought a lot about it and with absolutely zero context (sorry), here are the three worst things you can say to me:

1. "I don't know how to take you."

2. "You need to get over it."

3. "It's chocolate cake, not vanilla."


Friday, December 15, 2017

I don't even know how to start this post. If it had been 8 months since you last spoke to a friend, you wouldn't walk up to them casually and just say, "Hey." You'd likely be a little bit more excited (and honestly, probably kind of miffed. "Ever hear of a thing call a text message!?")

So that's why it feels weird to just dive right into this post when you haven't heard from me in 227 days.

I don't know why I just completely stopped writing. I like my life for the most part, but I got tired of talking about it.

We all go through periods of change. Even if there aren't any specific external factors influencing that change, we still feel occasional shifts in our hearts and minds. For me, I got really sick of living with constant anxiety. For the longest time, I didn't even recognize it as anxiety because my panic attacks are actually so few and far between. But a lot of conversations with my therapist led me to the realization that anxiety isn't just an accelerated heart rate, sweaty palms, and feeling like someone's stepping on my throat. My anxiety is feeling sick to my stomach more days than not, it's irritability, it's rapidly changing moods, it's being short with anyone who interrupts my brain while it's trying to worry, it's obsessive thinking patterns, it's my inability to be in the present moment.

I never recognized all of those things as anxiety. I've been living like that for so long, I thought it was just part of being Courtney.

But it doesn't have to be me. And I'm working through a lot of things in an effort to help change it.

It's been a really interesting process/journey/whatever you want to call it to understand myself better and why I think, act, and respond the way that I do. It's helped me to have more patience and love for myself, rather than constantly berating myself for not "being normal".

I know "being normal" is totally subjective and we're all a little nuts, but most people don't just start randomly crying in a meeting because they're worried about their dog dying when he's perfectly fine and healthy at home.

Gosh, do you ever share something personal about yourself and then immediately regret it? That's me writing this post. I'm not ashamed that I'm struggling, but I'm also not not kind of embarrassed, ya know? Mostly because I'm in my 30s and have barely started trying to sort through the hurt and mess.

Since you have been on this blogging train with me for so long, I can give some updates on the topics I usually talk about:

Clayton and Joey are doing well. Clayton and I celebrated 9 years of marriage (!!!) earlier this month. Joey turned 13 in November and yes, I had a nervous breakdown leading up to his birthday, but was able to temporarily put my anxiety aside so I could be in a good enough headspace to love on him the entire day.

I'm still running. I finished my 13th half marathon in November during the Monumental Marathon. I finished under 2 hours and 10 minutes which sadly, is now a good time for me. Running is still a struggle, but I've gotten used to the "hit or miss" mystery of each work out. I've changed my workout days to Monday-Friday, giving myself the entire weekend to rest. I didn't realize how much I dreaded Saturday mornings until I stopped forcing myself to run. Of course the body conscious girl in me initially fretted about taking two rest days in a row, but I actually kind of love it now. I plan to keep this up until my next training cycle begins.

To supplement my running and build overall strength, I'm going through the Bikini Body Guide program. I'm on week 6 out of 12 and despite its name, it's actually really hard. But I'm happy to report that I can do endless squats and burpees without breaking a sweat, so I guess it's working?

We don't have any immediately vacations on the horizon, but we are in talks of D.C., Seattle, or going back to NYC this fall.

I hope all of you are doing well and are enjoying the holiday season!


Punta Cana vacation

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Is blogging dead?

Maybe I should just start a podcast. That seems to be the thing now. How would you like to hear the sound of my voice, whining about the inflated price of avocados for 10 minutes every week? I'm sure I'd talk about other things, but avocados are like, ridiculously expensive right now, amirite?

I supposed I'll write about my vacation since that is a thing that happened recently. Then I'll probably forget to blog again until after my next vacation.

Clayton and I returned from the Dominican Republic late last Thursday night. We brought back sunburnt skin, a thing I like to call "airplane face" (seriously, my skin gets so dry and gross when I fly), and an obscene amount of sand that I don't think I'll ever, ever be able to get out my suitcase.

And 2 pounds. I think I gained 2 pounds on the trip. But that's to be expected when you get to the beach at 7:30am every morning and have your first margarita by 9am.


Clayton and I dreamed of a lazy, tropical vacation with no obligations and no schedule to follow. That's exactly what we got, too. We arrived in Punta Cana late on a weekend afternoon and I don't think I changed out of my swimsuit until we left 5 days later.

As I said, we got up every morning at 7am, claimed our lounge chairs on the beach, grabbed breakfast, and then laid under the sun until it started to set.

It. Was. Glorious.

I even got up extra early one morning to run along the beach (barefoot) as the sun came up. Who am I!?

I've never seen water so clear and so turquoise in my entire life! I've been to the ocean plenty of times, but the Florida beaches and Mexican resort I stayed at during our honeymoon had nothing on this place. It was a dream. I was in awe of the crystal clear water and spent a lot of time just standing in the ocean and admiring my toenail polish ... because I could see it!

That was another thing! As much as I love the ocean and feel the compulsion to visit it whenever possible, I don't exactly love being in it. Firstly, salt water is just sticky and unpleasant. Secondly, everything I fear most in life just so happens to live in ocean water. I've never been a huge fan of doing more than dipping my toe in.

But in Punta Cana? I couldn't get enough. The clear waters made me brave and we spent a lot of time just bobbing up and down with the waves, not once worrying that a crab was going to run across my foot and ruin my life.

We only left the resort once and that was to experience the Dolphin Explorer excursion. Oddly enough, our tour didn't include actual dolphins, but they were nearby and I saw them and that's all that matters.

Our excursion took us to a beautiful beach away from the traffic of the resorts and gave us the opportunity to interact with fur seals (!!!!!!!!!!), stingrays (??????), and a shark (@#$%^&!!). I was all about the fur seals and happily shelled out $15 for a commemorative photograph of me squeezing one, but I would have been fine to completely skip the stingray and shark.

I'm not a fan of rubbery animals. Dolphins get a free pass because they're basically sea puppies, but stingrays and sharks are definitely not on my Top 10 Things I Must Touch list. In a word, I was hesitant.

I was mostly hesitant to swim with the shark because 1) it's a shark, I don't care how toothless it is and 2) you had to wear a snorkel and I've never snorkeled in my life. I have zero problems putting my face in the water, but I've always been afraid to do it with a tube in my mouth. One false move and that sucker is filling up with water and you're choking.

Plus, to my earlier point, I am afraid of everything in the ocean. I don't need to put my face closer to it.

But I'm a big girl and would regret it forever if I didn't try, so I begrudgingly put on my snorkel and jumped in the shark pool. We were a group of about 16 people, so we spent 15 minutes bumping into each other and scouring the ocean floor for this elusive shark. Thank goodness we never found it because later in the day I saw it swimming at the surface and it was about 5 feet longer than I thought.

After the toothless sharked ghosted us, we hopped into the stingray pool to snap a picture with one of the slimy sea frisbees.

As you read this post, I think you're beginning to sense a theme. I just can't with 99% of ocean life. The stingrays were friendly which somehow made me more nervous and I didn't love how eagerly they surfaced and tried to get in your arms. Our group stood in a line along an underwater platform and took turns posing for a photo with one of the sting rays. While we waited, I chatted nervously with Clayton and accidentally wondered out loud, "What's keeping the sting rays from swimming onto this platform?" As soon as the words came out of my mouth, a monster of a sting ray took a sharp right turn and enveloped the platform right where I was standing. Myself and the three girls to my right almost killed each other trying to claw our way out of the water. I almost kicked it in its creepy slit of a mouth.

Needless to say, I didn't really go for touching the stingray. When it was Clayton's and my turn to hold the ray and smile for the camera, Clayton basically spooned it and I more or less just stood off to the side and pointed in its general direction.

After we touched all the things, our groups were loaded into a boat and taken to a nearby reef for snorkeling. Remember how I said I was scared of snorkeling? I am so, so glad I got over that fear and just went for it because snorkeling in the Dominican Republic was without a doubt a major highlight of my life. No exaggeration. I swam with a school of colorful fish and saw coral that looked like something straight out of The Little Mermaid (that's my frame or reference for all things ocean. That and Jaws). And when the sunlight hit the sea floor? Oh my gosh! I kept gasping out loud in my snorkel and freaked Clayton out because he kept thinking I was in distress. I was just amazed. And since I was still a newbie and feeling a little unsure, we held hands most of the time and it was romantic and magical.

I couldn't get enough of the beautiful water. I took literally 100 pictures of the water after we got back into the boat.

Our next stop was a sand bar where we parked alongside other boats and jumped into the shallow water. A floating bar kept coming by with endless cups of the official beer of the Dominican Republic and lemme just say, we had a looooooooooot of fun.

When I last looked at my set of pictures from this trip, there were over 400. It's almost impossible to pick and choose which to keep and which to include in the photo book I will inevitably make. I'm one of those people who wants to remember every last detail and believe that the best way to do that is to take 10 pictures of the same thing. It's gotta be perfect, right?

I love that Clayton and I have such a great time together. It's to be expected that you get along with your spouse, but there's just something about Clayton's and my relationship that makes life so bright and everything feel so new and exciting.

I can't wait to see where we're gonna go next!


Let's keep this going

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

I got an email that my domain automatically renewed for another year, so I guess we're still doing this. 

Ever the glutton for punishment, I'm currently in the throes of training for my 12th half marathon. At least I THINK it's my 12th. I honestly don't know. I feel like I've run my 11th half marathon like, four times already. But I think twelve is fair. 

I'm training for the Hoosier Half Marathon this April and I haven't even registeredI have THAT much confidence in my abilities. 

I was hoping that I'd be able to report that I'm back to my old self and crushing miles left and right, but that's definitely not the case. I've given up trying to diagnose the issue. My right hamstring feels like it's likely to snap in half at any given point during my workouts, but no amount of foam rolling and gentle stretching has managed to help the problem for an entire YEAR AND A HALF. The muscle might be over lengthened. It might be too tight. Everyone says something different. 

There's also a possibility that I have overtraining syndrome, which scares the dickens out of me.

I don't want to say that I've given up (I wouldn't be shuffling my body up and down Clear Creek trail for 10 miles at a time if I did), but I'm slowly letting go of my aspirations to ever getting back to where I was. I've stopped looking at my Time Hop app because if I see one more blog post I wrote about how fast I ran, I'm going to reach back in time and strangle myself. 

Since my vein surgery last October, I think my feet shrank. A pair of New Balance shoes I ran in right before my surgery are now so big that my heel slides back and forth. So I guess that's something? My Fred Flinstone feet are now slightly less Fred Flinstone-y.

The doctor also said that the nerve damage I endured during the surgery could take almost a year to heal and I don't think he was kidding. The insides of my legs were numb for months and lately I've been getting a slightly painful, itching sensation that feels like my nerves are finally waking up. Fingers crossed that's the case because not being able to feel anything is really bizarre. 

About three weeks ago I cut 5-6 inches off of my hair. 

^^Please note: My hair does not that look like this on a regular basis. It's curled and hairsprayed within an inch of its life here and I normally wear it straight. 

It was a healthy, much-needed cut and in retrospect, I don't know why I was stressing it so much. I definitely miss being able to pile my hair in a messy bun, but other than that, it's business as usual. My hair falls just past my collar bone and is angled a bit so that the back is slightly shorter than the front. In addition to wanting to give up my dream of ever setting a half marathon PR again, I've apparently also given up my dream of having long, lustrous hair. It's just not in the cards. Acceptance is a beautiful thing. 

In early February, Clayton and I replaced the carpet in our house. We'd been saving our pennies and Clayton grew tired of hearing me complain about it for four years, so we finally went for it. To save a little bit of money, we pulled up the old carpet ourselves and I was utterly disgusted to see all of the pet stains that had seeped through the old carpet and into the pad. I think the previous homeowners didn't even realize their dog was peeing in certain areas because it was obviously never cleaned up and trust me, it was bad.

And I may or may not have drawn a lewd picture on the old carpet with paint before we pulled it up. 

When I came home from work and saw our beautiful, freshly installed carpet, my eyes welled up with tears. Our house smells fresh and I'm not embarrassed to have people over! But please, for the love all of things sacred and holy, REMOVE YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING. Once Clayton accidentally put on his gym shoes in the bedroom and we had to play a game of Hot Lava to get him out of the house without touching the carpet. 

I'm only 20 years late, but I finally started reading the first Harry Potter book. I bought it on Amazon almost a year ago, but never got around to it. I have nothing against the Harry Potter franchise; it's just not something that I was particularly interested in. The only fantasy series I've ever read was The Lord of the Rings and I don't even know if that counts because it was 8th grade and let's be honest, the movies are WAY better.  But I finished Anna Kendrick's Scrappy Little Nobody and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was literally on the floor next to our bed. So I picked it up. I'm about halfway through it, and I'm not going to give away how I feel about it yet.

In other and hopefully more exciting news, Clayton's and my spring vacation is booked and ready to go. In 46 days we'll be sitting on the beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. When Clayton and I originally started talking about taking a big trip together, we had aspirations of taking a more complicated vacation that required a lot of logistical planning. Then one night over dinner, we got to talking about the trip and it became really obvious we were both skirting around the same issue:

"Um ... I don't want a structured vacation. It drives me insane having a plan for every minute of the day. Like, I don't want to do anything." 

"Oh my gosh! I'm so glad you said that. I've been feeling the same way for the longest time but just went along with our original plan because I thought that's what YOU wanted."

And that's how our Punta Cana vacation came to fruition. All-inclusive resort? I think yes!

But Punta Cana is going to have some mighty big shoes to fill because I honest-to-goodness cannot stop thinking about our time in the Grand Canyon. That is easily one of the Top 5 experiences of my life and I catch myself multiple times a week daydreaming about what it was like hiking into the canyon. I keep telling Clayton that I would be content to spend a whole week doing nothing but walking the canyon trails and that we need to go back. You know that noise Tina Belcher makes when she moans? That's me thinking about the Grand Canyon. 

I mean, come on. Look at it!

I hope you're all doing well. I apologize for the long gaps in posts. It's not you. It's me. 

Let's do this again soon, shall we?

New Year

A year of firsts

Monday, January 16, 2017

Well, this is awkward.

I haven't blogged in almost two months. Surely this is a new record for me. Not only have I not written anything since November, I missed some of the year's most prime post topics: Christmas recap, a 2016 year in review, New Year's resolutions (or lack thereof).

My bad.

After such a busy fall, I pretty much hit my wall of commitments and responsibilities by Thanksgiving. I was less "Let's make plans!" and more "Wanna take a nap?"

I spent December with most of our Christmas decorations scattered on the floor of our spare bedroom. Every time I went in there to work out, I'd take a look at the festive mess that should have been proudly displayed in my living room and thought, "It's fine."

And it seems like my mental exhaustion about the holidays was in someway foreshadowing because Clayton's grandmother passed away in his parents' home on Christmas morning.

So no, not our best Christmas.

Even though it's mid-January and I feel like I've pretty much missed the boat on formally saying goodbye to 2016, it still might be worth recapping because for as difficult as it was for me on a personal note, I still got do a buttload of cool things. I think it's safe to say it was the busiest year I've ever had.

This year's theme was travel, for sure. Travel and veins. ha ha! There was so much going on that I boarded a plane to Las Vegas just 5 days after having surgery on my veins. Crazy, right!?

I still can't believe my doctor let me do that.

When I look over all of the photos I snapped the past twelve months, I see that there were a lot of firsts this year, too.

Last January I went to Disney World for the very first time and it was magical. Magical because I got to experience it with one of my closest friends and because it was a spontaneous, random trip for a two days in the middle of winter. We hopped on a plane with just a backpack and had a great time.

A week after I got back from Disney, I traveled alone for the first time in my life and flew to San Diego to spend time at one of our external companies. I still remember texting Clayton each time I hit a traveling milestone, bursting with way more pride than a 30 year-old adult should have because she managed to get on the right airport shuttle. It was also the very first time I dipped my toes in the Pacific Ocean.

In March we visited New York City for the first time and saw everything a first-time New York traveler could possibly dream of in only a few days.

September granted me the experience of my first surgery (and hopefully my last or at least one of very few in my lifetime) as well as my first trip to Las Vegas. I traveled to Sin City for a marketing conference where I learned more about my field, made new friends, and walked almost every underwhelming inch of the Vegas Strip.

I sadly spent a good chunk of October away from Indiana (I love being home in October), but I visited Dallas for the first time during our company's sale conference and had a lot of fun bonding with my co-workers while simultaneously putting in a lot of work. Then, just a few weeks later, we boarded a plane to fly to Arizona with Dan and Emily. I watched the sun disappear behind the south rim of the Grand Canyon and hiked down into it as the sun came back up. That is by far one of the best experiences of my life.

It's hard to look at all of these trips and experiences and not feel awesome. I recognize that I am extremely fortunate. My career is allowing me opportunities that just a few years ago never seemed possible. I work for an amazing companynot just because I get to do cool things, but because I work with such good people. I spend every day with people who care about each other and the patients we serve. This past year was challenging as I tried to carve out my role and find my footing, but I am filled with optimism and excitement about where I'm going simply because of where I already am.

I'm also thankful for the people in my life who value adventure and experience as much I do. There have been a few instances this year when a friend would start to ask, "Do you wanna go to" and we'd all say yes before the sentence was even finished. I'm grateful we made it happen.

And we've already booked a trip for this upcoming spring. ;)

You take the good with the bad. My body hurt for a lot of the past 12 months and I definitely felt some of my lowest emotional lows, but as evidenced above, the bright outweighed the dark.

Onto 2017!

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