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She IS Alive!

Hello.

I didn’t forget about this blog, I promise.

I just haven’t had anything good to write about.

The last 6 months have been hard. Brutal.

Jeff and I broke up a few times. Then one time it stuck. And before I knew it I got a fabulous apartment back in Norfolk, and now I’m sitting in my new living room wondering how a year later I ended up right back where I started, and where the hell all those days went. It feels like it went by so fast.

Out of respect for Jeff, I won’t divulge the details of our breakup. It just didn’t work. In all those Disney movies I grew up with, I must have missed the story about the princess finding Prince Charming, only to discover no matter how much they loved each other, they weren’t compatible domestically. It isn’t supposed to work that way.

But anyway, enough wallowing. I’m back, and hopefully I’ll be able to commit to this blog a bit more in the future.

I’ve been crafting like crazy to decorate my new apartment, and I plan to share my projects in the near future. Staying busy is good, and staying busy making your space adorable is even better.

So, if you’ve stuck around during my prolonged absence, I thank you. It’s such a bittersweet time for me right now, but knowing I have a fresh start feels great. It’s time to reinvent myself. Again.

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New York, New York

Over a month. I haven’t written here in over a month. That’s sad.

Since I last wrote here:

  • I had extensive food allergy tests done
  • I’ve decided to open an Etsy shop after Christmas
  • I joined a Shutzhund club
  • I went to New York to visit my bff on her 30th birthday

Let’s focus on the latter tonight. (More on the food allergies later. Or, given my recent track record, maybe not.)

I’ve written about Christine here before. She, her dog Olive, Kane, and I were a unit for a while when we lived in Norfolk. Thursday nights usually found the four of us at the dog park, then either at dinner (where dogs were allowed on the patio), or Cold Stone. Or both.

Christine turned 30 on October 27, and I hopped on a bus to Manhattan to spend it with her. (Oh, the shopping and stuff was a total afterthought. Promise.)

We took it easy Wednesday night. On Thursday I took Olive for a run, which due to my total lack of navigation ability, ended up being a 2-hour ordeal run which at one point may or may not have involved me crying, begging a stranger to help me find my way back out of the park. After that I shopped. And shopped. And shopped. And shopped. And then my feet were so swollen they literally were spilling out of my shoes.

Fast forward a few hours, we went to a fancy shmancy dinner to celebrate her big 3-0. I was admittedly not a pretty sight stumbling around the village, trying to pretend my feet felt great in my 4-inch heels. (Note to all of you: if you don’t wear heels often because you work from home, don’t assume you can run on concrete for 2 hours, then shop for 6 hours, then slip into heels and jaunt around like a spring chicken. It doesn’t work like that.)

Regardless, the food was awesome.

On Friday we explored more of the city: had lunch in Little Italy, checked out anΒ  herbalist shop in Chinatown, gorged ourselves at a gluten-free bakery, and strolled around Union Square looking in the little merchants’ tents and chatting with artists.

On Saturday I woke up miserable, and spent the next 24 hours, uh, in the rest room. It was a bad day, and I didn’t leave the apartment. I consoled myself by thinking about how much weight I must’ve been losing. It reminded me of the line from The Devil Wears Prada, “I’m one stomach flu away from my goal weight!”

I left on Sunday, and in true Courtney fashion, missed my bus. Missed, as in, it left as our cab pulled up. There was another company running to Richmond a few blocks down, and they had a bus loading as I walked up. So that was awesome.

I had a great time in New York. It was wonderful to spend some quality in-person time with Christine, and I scored some awesome deals at Loehman’s. I spent the most money on shoes, because as winter approaches, I find myself with no suitable, practical, non-butch, warm work-from-home footwear. In addition to a few flats, I got these sneakers and these boots from Merrell. They’re so comfortable. I actually bought the sneakers on Friday because my feet were still swollen and sore, and I refused to spend another day hobbling around. $110 so well spent.

Like any trip spent visiting a good friend, it was over way too soon. I can’t wait to go back, hopefully with 40x the money to spend, and 40 fewer pounds to dress.

Finally, a very special HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I truly believe the best is yet to come.

Christine with the all-purpose tote I made for her

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When Kane was 4 months old, he met a spunky 6-month old German shepherd at the park named Olive. It was love at first sight. There was no hesitation, no shyness, no boundaries. They were drawn to each other as if by magnetism, wrestling and biting and running around. Their chemistry was undeniable.

Two friendships were born that day. That was also the day I met one of my dearest friends, Olive’s mom, Christine.

Because Christine and I became friends, Olive and Kane were able to continue their friendship. They grew up together at the park and the beach at in each other’s homes.


They’ve grown up into two incredible, strong-willed, and memorable dogs. Some may believe that dogs aren’t capable of friendships. I totally disagree. Kane and Olive are different with each other than they are with anyone else. If any other dog approached either of them with the familiarity they’re entitled to with each other, there would be trouble. (What would you do if someone other than your partner/spouse greeted you with a pat on the bottom?)

When I was in middle school, my dad told me that a person is lucky if they leave this world with one true friend. Kane and Olive share a closeness that most humans search their entire lives for. It’s a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Olive moved to Manhattan in January, and I know Kane misses her. This weekend he was lucky enough to have her visit for a few days while Christine attended to family matters. They joy in their eyes was unmistakable.

 


They may not be capable of having a sense of time or distance, but their friendship surpasses those anyway.

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Sweet New Ride

Jeff got me this mountain bike over Memorial Day weekend.

Well, he found me this mountain bike. Apparently someone didn’t secure it properly to their vehicle before taking off for their Memorial Day weekend, and it fell off on the highway. Jeff saw it, picked it up, replaced the damaged/bent parts, and surprised me with it.

Now all I need is a good trail and a sidecar for Kane!

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I spent the better part of last week visiting a good friend I haven’t seen in years in an area of the country I’d never been to before.

And it was glorious.

I didn’t sleep much (thanks to the time zone difference), and we stayed busy, but it was so, so good.

Kendra was amazing in that she took all of the pictures from the trip with her fancy shmancy camera, which let me focus on actually seeing what was in front of me.

In a nutshell, Seattle was an awesome, upbeat, lively city. But the countryside around it — absolutely breathtaking.

I have over 200 pictures from the trip. You guys get to see the best of them. (The ones where I look really skinny πŸ™‚ )

Seattle from Queen Anne Hill. The pretty girl in front is me.

Ouch! That needle hurts.

Me shivering under the heater in the door of the Metropolitan Grill after dinner. June 2nd, and it was 50-some degrees outside.

The next few shots are from the Underground Tour. Which was super cool.


I loved all the junk from way back when that was strewn all over the place.

At Deception Pass. Un-freaking-believable.

At Snoqualmie Falls. Also un-freaking-believable.

Wine tasting around Seattle. Ignore the hair. It wasn't our first tasting that day.

The last thing we did was a sunset tour around Puget Sound. So pretty!

Of course, the Virginian in me got pretty cold.

A pinkish Mt. Rainier at sunset.

I’m glad to be home, but I’m sad it’s over. Thanks times 5 million to Kendra for being such an amazing hostess and photographer!

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One of my New Year’s resolutions was to give more than I receive. I don’t remember where it fell on the list. But resolution, I have not forgotten you.

The Home Ec ecourse I’m taking, which is opening my eyes to how amazingly fun and engaging and rewarding sewing is, is packed full of useful and gorgeous projects. Not surprisingly, some of the easier ones are geared toward babies or kids. I don’t have either.

But I have good friends who do, and they should enjoy the cute and pretty fruits of my labor.

(Does anyone know of a sewing course designed for people with dogs instead of kids? I’m imagining dog beds, collars, and winter jackets in all sorts of materials.)

Quilted patchwork bibs, side one.

Quilted bibs, side 2

Pencil case

If you would like a tutorial for any of the projects I’ve posted, or will post in the future, please let me know. Since I’m taking them directly from someone else through the Home Ec ecourse, I obviously can’t post how-to’s here. πŸ™‚

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Today is the first day I start working from home full time.

I’ve been working from home on an ad-hoc basis for over four years. It’s nice every now and then. You can get some laundry done, go for a run later in the day, make an awesome dinner, and STILL get more work done that you would have in the office.

But working from home full time will be different. It means no chatting with my cube neighbors. It means having to really focus on my job during the day rather than focusing on the other millions of things I could be doing.

I wanted and needed a room to work in, one where I would truly want to be all day. And this is what I created.

It’s not finished. At some point I’d like to paint the walls a creamy yellow. Even without fresh walls, this is definitely a space where I want to be.

 

Shot from the door.

Also shot from the door.

My work area. Favorite elements: handcrafted globe on the shelf, and big blue and white vase on the top shelf ($2 thrift store find)

Where I craft and sew. Favorite elements: ribbonned bulletin board and 2 fat eighth bundles of Moda fabric (directly above bulletin board on the right)

Where I read. Favorite elements: My Cynder puppy, $4 thrifted lamp, toile curtains (which I made πŸ™‚ )

Other end of where I read. Favorite elements: Doberman watercolor (a gift from a good friend), heap of handmade pillows, and overflowing box of beautiful fabric, just waiting to be made into something!

Wall opposite desk. Favorite elements: Life-size Dwight poster. I made this for Jeff when we first started dating. He hung it up for me as a surprise when I moved in. Also note the tote hanging on the doorknob. I made that yesterday!!

 

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