Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm off...

To see this awesome chica....

And her adorable mama and grandmama...

On the agenda: a trip to the Korean Spa, good food and lots of laughing (per usual.) Can't wait to see you, Christine! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Rob Gonsalves, Water Dancing

"Every act of perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination." - Gerald M. Edelman

Monday, December 26, 2011

Come Around: You've Been Through Too Much to Be Down

A Little Bit More

“How could it be so? It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

~Dr. Seuss

This is Love

"This is love:
to fly toward a secret sky,
to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.
First to let go of life.
Finally, to take a step without feet."


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Courtney with a C loves Tavi with a T

About a month ago I was at a party at my parent's friend's house. I was enjoying some wine with the hostess in the kitchen when in came her 12-year old daughter and 2 friends. I immediately realized that these girls were all wearing jean underwear shorts and midriff tops. Did I mention it was November? And freezing? The girls were giggling adorably in a way that seemed incongruent with their baby-hooker outfits. They were also standing in that way - you know the way - with their hips jutted out, leaning back slightly to either look "too cool" to stand up straight or to make their tummies flatter. I'm not sure. Or maybe this is just the way tween girls stand based on a confidence/hormonal thing? Anyway, when I introduced myself as "Courtney," the hostess's daughter literally gasped and slapped her hand across her mouth.

"Ohmahgod. Wait like, Courtney with K?! Like Kourtney Kardashian?!?!?!!" she squealed. Her friends looked at me wide-eyed.

I stood there slightly dumb-founded for a moment. Not only is Kourtney Kardashian 30 years old and in an emotionally abusive relationship and has a child with one of the most deplorable men I've ever had the displeasure of watching on TV, but she also has absolutely no discernable talent or reason for becoming a famous millionaire and having her own TV show. Why do these girls know who she is? Or watch her show? Or find it so cool that I share her name? Frankly I am a little embaressed to be associated with someone like that.

"No," I replied with slight amusement. "I'm Courtney with a 'C'." (I now wish I had said, "and the 'C' is for courageous!!!!!!!")

When I broke this news to them, they looked dissappointed. As if somehow I'd be instantly kooler if my name was Courtney with a K, like this famous person who is famous merely because her family sells their souls for money and fame... *sigh* is this what our future looks like? I'll be right back. I need to go to the bathroom and stick my head in the toilet and flush it...

Alas! Behold! Hark! It is not! Because you see there are girls like Tavi Gevinson (aka the style rookie, aka the girl in the videos above) and my co-worker's daughter who makes and enjoys eating German Christmas cookies with her mom and who doesn't fit into skinny jeans but understands that her ability to be a good sister and a good daughter are far more important than that. I also think there is hope for all girls, even the girls from my story, because life has a way of forcing us to realize what actually matters. You can try to blind yourself from what is real for only so long. Life has a way of cracking our perfect shells of how the world/others/yourself should be or should look, the way tapping a spoon on the carmelized sugar surface of crème brûlée breaks the thin crust to reveal a creamy, richer filling.

Or, as Leonard Cohen says "there is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in." So remember to be thankful for the cracks, the imperfections, the struggles, the questions, the confusion and the quirky uniqueness that makes you you. It's what makes us human, and simultaneously it's what brings us closer to the infinite goodness (godliness) that connects all beings. Even those Kardashians, God help them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God Grant Me...

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

1. quality of being brave: also bravery, boldness, fearlessness, mettle, fortitude, or intrepidity) is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Beef with IDK

I am not one of those people who get all hyped up on the correct use (usage?) of words, grammar and the English language. I don't flip a cahooney - yup, I just made that word up - when someone uses "their" instead of "there" or "then" instead of "than." I realize, obviously, there are bigger problems in life than whether or not you're starting a sentence with an unspecified determiner. I actually don't even know what that is, I just looked it up.

You see, I could care less about all of this despite having graduated with an English & Philosophy degree (...umm yeah, after I changed from Political Science to History & Writing to Philosophy to... Undeclared). Probably most English majors don't know what the heck else to study, so we study human stories, indirectly studying ourselves.

So I cringe when I tell people what I majored in in college because I inevitably know what comes next...

"Oh! Gosh! I should watch what I say then!"

Uh. huh? Unless you're being very rude I don't really care what you say or how you say it. I also don't care if, when texting/facebooking/gchatting etc. you use abbreviations, no punctuation or misspell words. I get that normal rules don't apply in those spheres of communication.


I have a GIGANTIC dislike for the abbreviation "idk." Gigantic. I wouldn't say I hate it. Hate's a strong word. But this "idk" thing grates on my nerves like nails tearing down a chalkboard. To me, "idk" (especially when spoken - GAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) is on the same level of communication as cave-man grunting and Valley Girl speak.I cannot hear or see "idk" without hearing it the way Cher and her cohorts say "Whatever" "As if" and "I'm outtie" in the best-movie-of-the-century (and no I'm not kidding), Clueless. (*Fun fact: did you know it's a modern rendition of Shakespeare's "Emma"?! And oh by the way, the only true stereotype of English majors is that we all love Shakespeare - and dashes, and commas, and parantheses. Or maybe it's just me.)

But back to the dreaded IDK. It doesn't matter if a guy says it to me or a girl, I immediately hear Alicia Silverstone's voice and imagine that the person talking to me is smacking their gum, flipping and twirling their hair and wearing a mini-skirt with bubble-gum colored argyle knee-highs.

"Idk" is a viral term similar to "random" and "awkward" - it's become a blanket statement that covers a wide range of human emotion/thoughts/feeling and has been spreading like the flu in a college dorm room. Apparently it's "awkward" to tell someone that you aren't sure about something. Or you pretend like you aren't sure of something because if you knew something it would be so totally random that you actually knew it. I'm not sure. I'm confused. I don't really understand. Could someone please clarify? It seems more complicated than I know, let's talk about it. Can we discuss this? I'd like to know more about this. I need more information. Can we figuire this out together? Hmmm, what do you think?

You see there are a thousand other ways to respond when you don't have all of the information to know something. A thousand more engaging and helpful ways than this three-letter stonewall that people throw around. Because after someone says "idk" it gives the other person virtually no way to respond.

So please for the love of Shakespeare, the next time you don't know something or aren't sure... get a little more creative and engage the person with whom you are communicating rather than slap an idk on the conversation like hot pink duct tape. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like Cher, but a lot less adorable.

P.S. - You DO know.
P.P.S. - If you don't think you know, dig deeper. Ask questions. Clueless isn't cute. It's without a clue. And life and people are filled with clues... become a detective and ask. Learn. Grow.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lovely Links

Thanks, StumbleUpon!

Because there IS more to life than what you look like... watch The Wisdom Project

Perfect gifts for her, a Dogeared whispers necklace or a morse code necklace

Genius... an old cabinet to a toy kitchen?

Best gift for your boss... delicious pears (they are aaahhhhmazing)

My friend's brother is hitting his stride ... check out his awesome tumblr

Graffiti art comes to life (or death?)

Someone like you remixxxxx

45 Most Powerful Images of 2011

My hilarious writer friend Rachel is the young American in London and blogging about it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse

via Kana Island

Moon Faces by thewheatfield

Tonight is a full moon total lunar eclipse. And what is that you may ask?

A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes behind the Earth so that the Earth blocks the Sun's rays from striking the Moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur on the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes. Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small areas of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the moon's shadow. - 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekend Bits

Strawberry shortcake that the Chef at Silverspoon made special for Opa
Sparkly blue sticker nails on black velvet leggings
Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail stickers - they work so well!
Red roses from me to me

The Austrian Village!
Which of these three doesn't belong?
The table
Accordian player
Our tree
Maple Pumpkin cheesecake
Me & dad's Sunday dinner: burgers, roasted potato fries, green bean and kimchi

A funny thing happened this morning. Well, actually two funny things happened this morning. First my phone alarm went off at 6:38 am this morning as it does every weekday morning. I promptly looked at it, rolled over and laughed to myself, "Ha! Stupid phone alarm! It must be confused between my weekday and weekend alarm settings!" You see. I truly believed it was Sunday...

Second funny is that when I finally realized it was Monday... at 7:30 when I woke up again (my train comes at 8:06) I quickly checked on my phone which I do every weekday morning. 68 and sunny! Yes! La-dee-dah-dee-doo... no jacket today!

Turns out even though I set my default locations on months ago to be the town where I live and the town where I work, my default location had been somehow mysteriously reset to Ha'il Saudi Arabia. I have no idea how this happened or how long this has been going on. I would reckon to say about two weeks since lately I've been dressing grossly inappropriate for the weather. No wonder people have been looking at me oddly these days when I walk to the train station in my light spring-time bomber jacket and thin-material trousers while they are bundled up in winter coats, gloves and hats. "Oh these people," I would think while trembling, "they have no idea it's supposed to be sunny and go up to 61 today!"

Turns out the jokes on me. Both times. iPhone: 2. Courtney: 0.

I've also come up with a mathmatical formula about my humor that seems to be 99.9% accurate. It turns out that there's a directly proportionate inverse relationship between how funny my blog post is and the amount of sleep I got the night before I wrote it.... the less sleep I get the funnier I am. Thank you, Anxiety<3, for keeping me awake all last night and for making me funnier. Totally worth it.

Anxiety<3: 1. Courtney: 0.

In other news... I hope you enjoy my pictures from the weekend. On Saturday, my family celebrated my Opa's 82nd birthday at the Austrian Village - an authentic German restaurant in Rockledge, PA. It was a very down-home kind of place with linoleum flooring, pitchers of beer, waitresses wearing shirts saying "Schnitzel Happens," an accordian player and polka-dancing. We sat in our own private room called the Schwaben Stube (house of Swabia) and ate schnitzel (which is just breaded pork cutlet), delicious german potato salad and the best sauerkraut I've had yet, pickled beets, warm and tangy red cabbage, spaetzle (thick german noodles with what tasted like turkey gravy on top) and black forest cake. Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the food because my phone died - but I assure you, any photos of the food would not be pretty. Sometimes the most quality things aren't what they appear :)

We also sang "Hail, Hail the Gang's All Here" (my new favorite song, kid you not) and did our own version of "polka dancing" otherwise known as "Der Ententanz" - the Chicken polka dance. And if you want a visual, this is what my Opa looked like doing the Der Ententanz (see girl in pink)...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Operation Beautiful

Through another internet trail of crumbs, I leap frogged from Daily Garnish to Back to Her Roots and stumbled upon this site/movement/genius idea --> Operation Beautiful. The operation? It's 3 easy steps:

1. Write an inspiring note telling someone they are beautiful and stick it somewhere. On a mirror in a mall bathroom, on a subway window, in a grocery store, on the door to a gym, on a desk in your classroom - anywhere.
2.Take a picture of it.
3. Send it to Caitlin at with a little story and see it on their website within 2 weeks.

So what are you waiting for? Get stickin' on the movement! There are too many messages that subliminally put us down and make us feel less-than, "fat" (whatever that means?), not good enough, not beautiful enough, broken and worthless. Let's spread ANOTHER message. A true message. A message without fear. A message that isn't lying. A message that doesn't try to get you to spend money or buy new things to "improve" yourself. A message that says you are beautiful exactly as you are.

Where am I putting my stickys? On the seat in front of me on the train, the gas station, and on the ATM.

Happy stickn'! :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And It's Hard to Dance with a Devil on Your Back... so shake him off!

Florence + The Machine – Shake it Out
Dawes with Mumford & Sons – When My Time Comes
Magic Latern - Somebody Told Me
Florence + The Machine – What the Water Gave Me
Clem Snide - Moment in the Sun

In Flowers

Stasia Burrington illustrations