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Joy.

29 Sep

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water

Lake Glenville, North Carolina.

Brazil

13 May

Well, almost a week after being home, I finally made it through my Google Reader. Having all those hundreds of blogs unread was really stressing me out. Whew!

Brazil was simply amazing.  If it weren’t for missing Tim and Took as much as I did, I may have never left.  And I’m truly sorry I wasn’t able to bring you with me as planned, it turned out I had very little internet connection while I was there, and when I did have it, it was verrrrrry slow and irritating.  So I ended up taking a vacation from the internet.  If you haven’t done that at some point this century, I recommend it highly.  It feels good to detach yourself from the interwebs every now and again.  I had forgotten there’s a whole world out there in non-digital format!  And that world?  It was filled with delicious food, warm people, and plenty of sunshine.

I think I came back 20 pounds heavier, though. I had no idea the food would be so good. In fact, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to eat a thing. As far as meat goes, I only eat chicken, and if you don’t already know, South America is very meat-centric. But I was able to get by with consuming plenty of beans and rice, delicious chicken, lots of fresh fruit and juices, and plenty of sweets. As much as I enjoyed every bit of food I put into my mouth, my stomach is happy to be back. My stomach does not like Brazil as much as I do.

The first week there, we held our meetings in a lodge just outside the national park Serra do Cipó, where we are doing some work. It’s ironic we met in such a beautiful setting, because the only time I stepped outside was to go down the river above, and I only did that twice. So as much as I was told to take as many pictures as possible, sadly, you wouldn’t have wanted to see them because they would have been of meetings. But that river above?  I swam in it my second day there and was the happiest I’ve been in a long time.  I’ve never lived somewhere where the rivers didn’t shock you to death with their cold at first touch and never quite make it to the point where they’re enjoyable.  Although not necessarily warm, it was very inviting and comfortable to be in.  I had to tear myself away to give a presentation that some people slept through (I was apparently very compelling), and I would have rather had just stayed in the river.

The last day of the meetings, we had a chance to explore the park a bit and it was the best part of my trip. We took a long bumpy 4-wheeled drive deeper into the park and hiked into a waterfall. As much as I enjoyed the river by the lodge, the river at the end of the hike provided me with such bliss, it has now become my happy place in my mind when I need to escape reality. Even though it was colder than the one by the lodge, it was just so….refreshing. I wish I were better with words to be able to describe it’s effect on me, but maybe describing it as my happy place is enough.

I’m sorry, I had no intention of swimming in the river while trying to keep my camera dry, so it was left behind and there are no photos. I’m sorry you can’t see the picture in my head. It would be your happy place, too, if you could. But it was right in the middle of this canyon:

After the meetings ended, we headed to Lagoa Santa where I said goodbye to my American and Bolivian colleagues and stayed behind to spend some time in our Brazilian office. Before continuing working, I had the chance to explore the town of Ouro Preto. Let’s pause for a moment to look at photos of this incredible town:

Founded because of gold, this has to be the most beautiful, historic town I have ever been to. In every direction you turn, there is a church that was built in the late 1700’s and roofs every color imaginable. The city palette and cobblestone streets make you feel like you’re in a storybook. I wish I had been there alone and not with two men. I would’ve spent hours ducking in and out of stores filled with handcrafts, I would’ve sat in a cafe on a corner and watched the people go by. Instead, I was with two men – one a colleague and one a board member – and that didn’t allow for my freedom necessarily. At one point we spent a good hour perusing a museum on the history of Brazilian currency. It was thrilling, let me tell you. Then, about half-way through the day in Ouro Preto, I started to miss Tim tremendously and was ready to leave. I know that sounds ridiculous and bratty, but it was just such a romantic city, it felt wrong to be there with two men that weren’t my husband. I wanted my husband and I to be checking into a bed and breakfast hidden down a sweet side street and wandering the cobblestone streets holding his hands and stealing kisses by blooming flowers. When we finally left, I promised myself I’d be back with Tim and I’d soak in every last bit of that city.

The next few days were spent boringly working in the office (have you noticed yet that I only had that one day off in Ouro Preto, and it was spent with a colleague and board member? That is not a day off in my book, just saying). But I did get to meet this guy:

That guy right there is the world’s biggest rodent (ROUS anyone?), a capybara. And I swear to you, I wanted to bring him right home with me the second I saw him. Poor guy was blind. Usually they’ve very social animals and they run in packs, but I’m assuming this little guy was being shunned because he could no longer see and was a bit elderly from what I could tell. I know there’s no way for you to tell this, but he’s the size of a dog. A medium sized dog, not a little one, and this is where he lives his life:

Not too rough of a life, really. I’m glad they live there and not in the streets and walls like our rodents here do. Could you imagine coming home and seeing that on your counter? Although, if it were me, I’d probably just make it my pet. But I’m a bit strange when it comes to animals. Have you noticed that yet?

Anyway, I know there aren’t very many exciting pictures, and I barely make an appearance in any of them…it was hard to want to bring my camera out when I was so exhausted from working. But you need to trust me when I say you need to go to Brazil as soon as possible. Even though I was working every day I was there, it was still absolutely incredible, and nothing like I thought it would be. I want to go back and spend a month exploring with Tim. Unlike other Latin American countries I have been to, Brazilians don’t make you feel uncomfortable because you’re an American tourist. They welome you with open arms and kisses on the cheeks. They laugh in good nature when you say you don’t speak Portuguese, they don’t get annoyed at you like so many other cultures do. And the food alone is worth going for. I wish I could describe to you what about it makes it so delicious, but I have absolutely no idea. I would love to go back and learn how to cook from a native. I also wish I would have taken pictures of the food to show you. They are very proud of their food and it shows incredibly.

So basically: go now. Go as soon as you can, you won’t regret it. And also? As much as I loved it, it’s nice to be back. I missed you guys.

Radio silence.

18 Apr

Don’t you hate it when your job gets in the way of your blogging?

I mean, what exactly do they think they’re paying me for, anyway?  I was under the impression it was for expression of my reproductive turmoil on this little blog of mine.  Apparently…that is not the case.  Oops!

Don’t worry, I didn’t get Dooced.  In fact, there’s something very exciting coming my way in the realm of my work-life: in a week today, I’ll be on my way to Brazil.   And I’ll be getting paid for it!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love my job?  I do.  I really really do.  (Even though sometimes it’s hard to concentrate when there are all of you lovely ladies out there waiting to be read and conversed with.)  I guess I haven’t mentioned my job at all on this blog as a result of the above mentioned possible consequence of talking about your work on your blog, but I feel very lucky to work where I do.  It started out as a part-time gig that has since grown into a new title and full-time position complete with promotion.  And now: Brazil!

The downside is that in order to get ready for this trip, I have been so insanely busy these last two weeks that I might actually need a vacation when my trip is over.  I’m hoping this explains my radio silence as of late, and it will continue to explain the silence for the next few weeks as well.  I will have internet connection while I am there, so I’m planning on posting pictures and little blips of my trip, so I won’t disappear completely.  Plus, I like the idea of sharing a little more fun with you all instead of just doom and gloom a lot of the time.  Especially when that fun equals caipirinha, 80 degree weather and monkeys at your doorstep.  That would just be cruel to not take you along with me.

Aren’t I so thoughtful?  I know, it’s okay, you can hate me just a little bit.  I kind of hate me, too.

I will miss Took Tim dearly, and hate that I’m going there without him.  10 days is a long time to be away from home.  I can’t believe I’ve become such a homebody in my older years, but I guess a year and a half of social-dodging will do that to someone.

So I hope you’ll forgive my absence here for a little while.  It’s for a good cause, I promise.

Caipirinha can’t drink itself, after all.

I’ve never been lucky, anyway.

17 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Unfortunately, I’m no longer Irish.  No, I didn’t give it up for lent (I’m also not Catholic), but I did spend most of my life thinking I was Irish until that got taken away from me last year (I’m looking at you, Mom and Dad!).  My parents decided around Christmas time to research our family tree and as a result, we found out we were French (more recently, French Canadian!  Ladies, I’m one of you!) on one side and English on the other (shocker) .  Um, so, not at all Irish.  Oops!  At least I got away with claiming it having been a fair skinned and red-cheeked my whole life and having a sister with red hair.   But I am kind of sad that this year I can’t claim that I’m Irish.  At least I can still drink a Guinness.  You can’t take that away from me!

I thought I would share with you some of the pictures from our trip to Yosemite.  I was going to make a little movie for you to watch but the motivation I had for that earlier went somewhere and I can’t find it any more.  Let me know if you find it out there somewhere.

So let the photos begin!

The central valley of California is made up of mostly fruit and nut trees.  Right now they’re almost all in bloom and it’s gorgeous.  We were in a moving car, so this is the best shot I got of them.  But they’re beautiful.

Tim drove so I had ample time to take pictures of myself.  Good times.

Once we got into the park, we headed straight to the slopes so Tim could snowboard.  But on the way we stopped to see this.  It’s so ugly.  I couldn’t understand why everyone was stopping to look.  Blech.

Then we drove up to see the snow.  Yay snow!  I was so excited to see it (I know so many of you are rolling your eyes at me right now…but I’ve had my fair share of snow in my life having grown up in Maine.  And now that I don’t live where it snows, all I want is snow.  THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENER.  Unless it’s covered with snow.)  Tim was the lucky one who got to go snowboarding (you can’t leave your dog unattended inside the park)…but I had a lovely time walking around and sitting on the side of the slopes repeatedly giving people permission to pet my dog.

This guy right here might have been the only one happier to see snow.  Only he doesn’t look it right here.  But that’s because he’s not in the snow and some jerk put him in the car.

This was what the jerk was looking at.

On the way back down the mountain, we happen to catch this.  Another terrible eye sore.

We got to our hotel and this was the view from our balcony (also, this is the anxiety-inducing river I mentioned yesterday).

In the morning it was still there and hadn’t consumed our hotel.  This is apparently my happy face (and bed-hair).

Then we explored the park some and stopped to see this.

Can you believe how dreadful Yosemite is?  I would never recommend going.

See how unhappy we were?

Fortunately, when it was time to go home the next day, the sun had gone away so it made it a little easier to tear ourselves away from our balcony.

I really didn’t want to leave.  I have such a hard time coming back to reality.  I wonder if there will ever be a point where my reality is so blissful, I don’t ever want to escape it.  I truly hope so.

If you can swing it, you should check out Yosemite.  You know, if beautiful nature is your thing.

Now go kiss someone Irish.  Or French Canadian…either one.

I rocked Seattle

22 Feb

See?

Keep an eye out on my world tour — dates coming soon to a city near you.

I loved Seattle just like I thought I would. If I didn’t love my job and my step-daughter’s mom didn’t live here, I’d be begging Tim to move there tomorrow. It was just the city I had always imagined. And of course, the time spent with my friend S was just what we both needed. I’m surprised I still have my voice after the amount of talking we did. It was perfect. Cold….but perfect.

Here are some pictures that pretty much sum it up (with the exception of a picture of S and I on the couch gabbing. That may not have been very exciting for you to see.).

Pike Place market was just as you would imagine. Unfortunately, it was even more packed than usual because it was actually sunny as well as a long weekend. But I still enjoyed it. Not to mention the delicious fish sandwich I had. Mmmmm.

This is the Fremont Troll in, well, Fremont. The Troll was designed by some local artists in a competition back in the early 90’s. The story is pretty cool, here’s a snippet from our friend Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the picture of me on it is on my real camera and the chances of getting it alone is about 0.000002%. So instead you get to see some random kids.

No explanation needed for this one, I believe. But I do want to mention that we got a chance to check out the Experience Music Project which is just at the base of the needle and starting April 16th, there’s going to be an exhibit on Nirvana and I’ve already planned my visit back this summer specifically for that. (MO, wanna come? I know you want to!) Even without going in, it was pretty cool. We sat in the entrance way for a while just listening to the music and watching the lights. We decided not to spend the money to go into the exhibits because Jimmy Hendrix (don’t hate me) didn’t appeal to us as much as Nirvana, but I’m sure if we had, we would’ve loved it.

This one is for Tim (he’s skateboarder). Pretty cool it was right by the space needle. Plus, S and I got to feel like high school girls for a minute while all the boys showed off for us.

Besides grunge, I’ve dreamt of the coffee in Seattle. And it did not disappoint. Mmmmm.

This mobile is in the Sea-Tac airport and it was breathtaking. The picture does not do it justice. It’s made up of tiny birds and fish hung from strings and I didn’t understand why I was the only one marveling at it. Here: this will give you a better idea of what it looks like.

And finally, this was my (pre)view of Mt. Rainier on my flight home. Talk about breathtaking.

Thank you so much, S. I had such a good weekend and every time I see you, it’s like no time has passed. I’m so lucky to have you.

And welcome ICLWers! I’m sorry I was MIA yesterday. I promise to be around the rest of the week from here on out. And also, please feel free to read my About page which includes my TTC timeline. I know you found me because of what you’re going through and let me say how sorry I am for that. But at the same time, welcome to this incredible support group. I feel blessed to have found them and I hope you do, too.

Okay…off to make up for lack of commenting yesterday!

My flannel shirt is packed.

19 Feb

Well guys, I’m off!  I’m headed to Seattle for the weekend to visit my wonderful friend S and I can hardly contain myself!  Ever since Pearl Jam and grunge consumed me in my adolescence, I’ve dreamt of going to Seattle.  My friend moved there not long ago and gave me a great excuse to finally live out my dream.  There may not be grunge bands and long hair, but there’s going to be sightseeing, coffee-consuming, girl-talk, and laughter.  I think that sounds even better.

Hope you have a great weekend!

(llustration courtesy of Design*Sponge)

A little snow-covered hello.

14 Jan

snow

I’ve been hiding out at my friend’s in Asheville, North Carolina for the week under a blanket of cold cold snow.  We haven’t done much of anything because the roads have prevented it, but it’s been so nice to get away and be with a friend that will let me be how I need to be.  There’s no need to try and act like I’m okay, like my every other thought isn’t about this past year and the miscarriages.

In some good news, my friend Megan had her sweet baby on the 12th.  I’m so happy for her.  She was two weeks ahead of me, so it was a bittersweet reminder when the announcement came…but the joy I had for her took over any sadness.  It was scary at the end there for her, so I’m so relieved for her that he’s here and has the cutest smoochable cheeks I’ve ever seen on a newborn.  I can’t wait to meet him.

Also, it’s so funny, I always have these grand plans of going away and having all this time to focus on my blog.  But man, once I’m there, I can never drum up the motivation.  I go into super slug-mode.  It’s like all the time I spend not relaxing when I’m home builds up and just overflows when I go on vacation.  And it feels soooo good.

Which makes me realize I’ve now been in non-slug mode for a whole 10 minutes and I need to get back to that.  Please excuse me.  Talk to you all soon.

Lots of love,

Courtney