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11.11.11

11 Nov

[ via flickr ]

I just erased a long emotional tirade about how I wish I had more passion for protesting the war and how the numerous battles have effected me and my family personally; but after last night’s post, it just felt like too much.  All I really wanted to say is that today I’m thinking about my grandfathers who are still with us and my uncle who is no longer, S’s step-father and her sweet friend from college that lost his life in the war, and all the men and women who have served our country.  Just saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

(Also, I can’t help but put this in because it hits close to home — did you know that during the past two years, the US military has lost more men and women to suicide than it has to combat in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Devastating.  This war needs to end.  Yesterday.  A decade ago.)

 

Another installment of “My life according to my phone.”

14 Oct

Last week my parents came to visit and we had such a great time. My folks are very laid back and low maintenance, so their visits are always welcome. I got to play tourist in my town and travel up to Mendocino for the first time, down to Alacatraz, and of course, there was the requisite wine tasting with my mom.

I took some pretty fun photos while they were here as well as some the week before for my birthday; so in light of the sadness I’ve felt the last few days for my friend and some tough changes at work, I’m going to post them here for a little momentary distraction. I hope you enjoy them as well. Happy Friday, everyone!

birthday dinner

At home after my birthday dinner and feeling blissful.

happy birthday

jewelry

This was my birthday gift from Tim and perhaps the best birthday present I have ever received.  I’ve been needing a solution for my jewelry as it was clumped all in bowls; I came home from North Carolina to this.  I was floored.  He and K had worked all weekend on it.  They made it out of salvaged windows and found small prints I had been saving and glued them to the backs of the glass that remained, then glued small wood slats and hung copper nails. 

I love it times a thousand. 

cake

So what if I baked my own birthday cake?  The pumpkiny-browned-buttercream-topped-with-caramel-walnut-goodness wasn’t going to bake itself. 

rock mushrooms

This is a little mushroom forest made out of rocks in the middle of Yountville.  Wouldn’t these look great in a garden?

mirrorsMy mom and I.  Isn’t she the cutest?  And that’s just her natural pink aura, not a fancy trick mirror in Yountville.

bird

bay

A storm in the bay – as seen from Alcatraz.

alcatraz

The Warden’s home – Alcatraz.

sf

Miniature San Francisco.

And then there’s this….

(It’s not pretty, but I have to show someone besides Tim)

ugly

Have you ever seen a bruise quite like that?  And in that location?!  I mean, this picture doesn’t do it justice because it’s BRIGHT baby-blue – pretty much the color of my shirt, only brighter.  It’s really hot.  But don’t you worry, you can have one, too!  Just squeeze your arm in between a gate and a fence, and it can be yours!  (Remember when I did that, mom and dad?  THIS was the result!)

And that concludes this installment of needing-to-clear-some-photos-off-my-phone.

Hope you all have a great weekend!  Just remember to keep your arm clear of wooden gates…

Go Sox!

6 Aug

courtney

This one goes out to my dad (which is why the Pabst symbol – and pint! – is making an appearance, in addition to the game).  California makes it very difficult to be a Boston Red Sox fan and still live here.  It’s near impossible to find the games on here, unless they’re playing the Yankees, which they are this weekend.  In fact, I was just in the middle of watching the game because the SF Giants game had ended  and the Red Sox were up 7 to 3 – and they took it away from me for “contractual reasons.”  And now it’s 7 to 4*!  Gah!

*I felt compelled to update the post with the final score because WE KICKED YANKEE ASS – 10 to 4!  This was NOT brought to you by my TV, but sadly by my computer. 

Changing my dreams.

20 Apr

Growing up, I always figured I would get married and have two kids. I have just one sister so it was natural to want a family exactly like ours. That dream changed quickly when I met Tim.  Early on when we approached the subject of having children, he admitted to me that he didn’t want to have another.  As much as I loved him, I called it quits. Having a family was too important to me to continue on in the relationship if that wasn’t in his plans. The “break-up” didn’t last long because he said he would be willing to discuss it, and that we did. I loved him too much to just give up. Besides, he was an amazing father to K, and it was his fault in the first place that I wanted children. In fact, up until I met him I wasn’t even sure I wanted them. But as soon as I saw him with his daughter, it was over. I had finally met the man I was going to have a family with, and I wouldn’t be okay with that not happening.

Fast forward two years and Tim wanted a child with me as much as I did (sometimes I think even more). At that point, I’d come to realize I would be fortunate enough to have just one with him, so I started trying to switch things in my mind a bit and became okay with a smaller family. After all, our son or daughter would already have a sibling.  In essence, I’d have my family just as I had pictured it…only slightly different what with the whole other woman’s child thing.  (Minor detail.)

Except, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that in my heart, I have never been able to let go of the thought of having two natural children of my own. As much as I’ve been trying to fool myself into thinking I was okay with just one, I’ve been planning ways to convince Tim to have another all along, and we hadn’t even started trying for our first.

We married and only waited a year before I got pregnant the first time around.

These miscarriages? They weren’t in the plan.  They’ve changed everything.

Up until a few weeks ago, I was still convinced we’d be having two.  But things have started to change dramatically for me.  The longer this takes, and the fact I will have a higher chance of miscarrying again in the future because of my history, I’m just not sure I can go through this all over again.  I have started to only desire one child and feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying for more.  I know that could change the second I hold my baby in my arms, I’m aware of that. I just feel like if I succeed at this, I will be extremely grateful for just the chance to have had one, I’m not sure I’ll want to press my luck for another.  If I can avoid this pain again, I will do everything possible to do so.  Besides, I just don’t know if I have the strength for this battle all over again.

I’m hoping my maternal desire will be fulfilled with one.  If it’s not, I have these pages to remind me of what I went through to get there.  And if I still choose another child over the risk of having to go through this again, I just pray I have the strength to make it through to the other-side.

Have you had to change the way you always envisioned your family because of your struggle with infertility or loss?  If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss, do you think you could do it all over again after a successful pregnancy?  

* Tim’s desire to only have one child is purely monetary.  If we were wealthier and could provide a comfortable lifestyle for more then one child, it would be a no-brainer because we’re going to make really cute babies.  

Making Whoopie.

5 Apr

Jjraffe over at  Too Many Fish to Fry started a Cooking with Capote project for the month of April to encourage bloggers to write about food, but specifically: their emotional attachments, stories and family lore around certain culinary traditions. Here’s my first contribution.


There was one positive to the BBQ Inferno and that was my dessert.  I had every intention of making cupcakes until the day before when I realized I wanted to make something a little different, something no one has heard of around these parts and that’s when I decided I’d make…Whoopie Pies!

Image courtesy of abakedcreation*

No, they’re not Moon Pies.  Don’t you even dare try and call them that to my face, and don’t you go try and compare them to Devil Dogs, either.  A Whoopie Pie is neither.  The former are sugary, over-processed, cakey pastries.  Whoopie Pies are traditional, homemade, two not-cakes-and-not-quite-cookies pressed together with creamy vanilla (and sometimes peanut butter).

Growing up in Maine, you’ll find Whoopies Pies every where from family gatherings to the gas station down the street;  the real ones always homemade and never from a factory.  They’re a Maine state tradition.

Unfortunately, it seems Pennsylvania claims they invented the Whoopie Pie as well so now there’s a battle going on between the two states.  Yet Maine is finally ready to stake it’s claim on this delicious treat and make it the official state dessert.  I have a few generations of family behind me ready to prove those folks from PA wrong and I’m pretty sure if you stopped a random Mainer on the street, they’d say the same thing.  And you don’t want to mess with Mainers and their traditions.  Especially when it comes to chocolatey-creamy-goodness like the Whoopie Pie.

Image courtesy of Martha Stewart*

What’s next?  Are you going to try and take our lobster, too, PA?

Sorry…where was I?  Right.  My Whoopie Pies.  BBQ Inferno.  Saturday.

I started out early since I had never actually made them before and I wasn’t sure consuming copious amounts of them in my childhood meant I’d be any good at making them.  An hour or so later, I had 32 perfect little chocolate discs and a creamy filling the best one has tasted this side of the Mississippi.  So in other words, that’s all I needed because they came out PERFECT!  Straight out of my childhood.

Of course, my camera was out of batteries and I didn’t have my phone on me, so there’s no actual evidence of said perfection, so you’ll have to just take my word for it.  They were perfect.

I brought my cake stand along with me and piled them high exactly like this:

Picture courtesy of Just a Taste*

I put candles in two, one for each of the birthday girls and the few that ate them (men mostly), seemed to love them.

Sadly, I felt like the work and love I put into them went unnoticed.  But it didn’t matter.  For me, in the middle of my hell on Saturday, they gave me a few moments of heaven.  Maybe that’s why I made them after all.  They provided me a little comfort going into that awful situation; a little piece of me and my family to act as an armor for my fear.

I’m failing you though, Jjraffe, and I’m not including my recipe.  Because if I did, I’d have to kill you.  And you’re just too sweet not to have around here.

But maybe, if ya’ll are lucky, I’ll make some for you someday.  Maybe you’ll find a little piece of comfort in my tradition, too.

* Just a note: none of the recipes attached to these photos are the traditional recipe, which is why they’re not linked.

A second six-oh.

31 Mar

It’s was my dad’s turn first, but today is my mom’s 60th birthday!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!

Growing up, I wasn’t always easy on my mom.  I was a moody teenager.  I would wake up cranky every single day* and take it out on my mom.  I don’t know why she put up with me.

But as soon I grew out of that (hormonal) stage and she no longer had to be around me in the mornings on a daily basis, we became very close.  I know I can tell her anything and she’ll listen.  Maybe even laugh.  Sometimes even cry.  Okay, often times even cry.  She’s always been there for me – for both of us – whenever we’ve needed it.  She will drop everything for her daughters and have always made sure we knew how much she loves us.  Thank you for this, Mom.

She rocked the seventies

She’s a strong woman.  I think both my sister and I get our strength from her. She’s put up with a lot in her life, and still puts everyone before her.

I also happen to think she’s the most beautiful woman in the world.

Pregnant with my sister

I know this year has been really hard on her being so far away from me.  The last time I was pregnant, I didn’t tell either of my parents because I was going to see them at 10 weeks in person and wanted to tell them to their faces that I finally had a pregnancy that was working.  But two days before I got on the plane, my D&C was scheduled.  Instead, I had to break her heart.  I hate breaking her heart.

But when my own heart was breaking, there was no where else I would have rather been than next to her.  Sometimes moms are the only ones that can make things better…even when you’re 31.

Winter 2009 & proof I am in fact her daughter

Mom…I love you so much.

Thank you for all the love and support you have given M and me throughout these years.  We couldn’t be luckier to have a mother like you.

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Court.

* Some things you apparently don’t grow out of.  Now poor Tim has to put up with Morning Cranky-Head.  How he does it, I’ll never know.

It’s all the moon’s fault.

22 Mar

Can I just say, I sure hope these two ladies are the start of a trend around here and it starts spreading to all of us.  I just told Tim that another one of is pregnant (I almost wrote “fell” pregnant, why do people say that?  That’s the oddest thing.  Wait, do people say this, or do I just say that?), and the farmer that he is just said that it’s because of the full moon.  When I responded by saying, “But there’s a full moon every month,” he clarified by saying that it’s the closest the full moon has been in a long long long time.  I know, that was a really scientific answer…but still!  Maybe there really is a trend that’s starting!  Can we just imagine for a moment what that would be like if all, what, 179+ of us bloggers all “fell” pregnant at the same time?  Even those of us not actively or even inactively trying (ahem)?  As much as I want that to be the reality, I think that would be a whole lot of hormone to deal with and I’m not sure the world is ready for that.  Plus, I think those of you that are getting pregnant, you need some of us to help you through it.  But, it sure is fun to dream.

I have to say, I honestly couldn’t be happier for them and for everyone that’s going to follow in their footsteps.  I’d be lying to say there weren’t brief pangs of sadness initially, but then I remembered who these women were.  They weren’t the random people who accidentally got pregnant while still breastfeeding their last baby that we so love to hate…they’re one of us. And I can’t take that as anything but hope.

But let’s talk about something else besides reproducing for a moment, shall we?  How about dance parties for a subject, eh?  Okay, lets.

Saturday night Tim and I really wanted to do something fun with K (for those of you new here, K is my 7-year-old step-daughter).  We had thought about going bowling, but decided we’d rather not spend the money and that we should come up with something to do at home.  Game night gets old after a while, and man, if I have to sit through another G-rated movie, I might poke my eyes out.  So Tim came up with a brilliant idea to have a dance party!  I stepped it up and decided I’d make some cupcakes to make it that much more festive.  We didn’t tell K our plan, but she knew I was up to something in the kitchen, so we told her she just had to wait until after dinner and after she did her reading for the day,* then we promised she’d be given a very fun surprise.

While they were reading I created a dance mix that would last us well over an hour.  When she was done reading, we told her she had to go get dressed up, we were going to a party…but that she couldn’t come out of her room until we came and got her.  Tim got out a bunch of candles and I made us some Manhattan’s and K a Shirley Temple, and we changed into our party clothes.  We started the music, grabbed all three drinks, and opened her door to welcome her to C—–‘s Family Dance Party.

She jumped right in, no warm up needed.  And we had a blast.  I even showed Tim and K classic moves like the Shopping Cart and the Sprinkler.  Yeah, I’ve got moves.  The only thing we were missing was the Catepillar (I’m looking at you, S).   We even had an air band in sunglasses to All Night Long, with me on the drums, and K and Tim on dualing guitars.  Guys, I’m pretty sure we were as good as AC/DC, if not better.  We seriously rocked, and it was definitely the highlight of the evening.   We continued to dance, eat cupcakes and drink our festive drinks until the music ended and our bodies were tired.  K even decided we should do this every 3 months.  And I think we just might.

What’s that?  You want pictures?  Well, they may be blurry and dark, but let me not disappoint:


Not sure what I’m doing here, but it looks HOT.

Mmmm.  Maker’s Manhattan.

And this is what I was wearing…please pardon the dreadful lighting by my mirror in my bedroom.  I swear I’m not a crackhead.  And if you could see what that skirt looks like, you would swoon.  It’s lace!  And, it impressed a 7-year-old with it’s twirl-ability!  What more could you want in a skirt?  Oh I know!  I got it for 12 dollars at a consignment shop.  BEST SKIRT EVER.  Perfect for dance parties in your living room.

I think we’ll make it a tradition.  You should, too.

—-

*She has a mandatory 25 minutes of reading she has to do every day per her teacher’s order.  She’s in 2nd grade and attends a Spanish-speaking school.  She reads 25 minutes in Spanish!