Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting Healthy

It's been 100+ days since writing my last post. Where have I been you ask? From July 7th through August 29th I was sick and from August 30th through today I  have been getting healthy. Here is the story.

This is me on July 5th the night before I started to get sick. I wont bore you with the details, so here are the highlights...or should I call them low light of what happened.

I broke out in a mystery rash over my entire body on July 6th. After 2 trips to urgent care I was put on steroids for what the doctors diagnosed as an allergic reaction. Over the next  2 months I saw 5 different urgent care doctors on 7 diffrent trips to UC, saw my primary care physcian, got 9 viles of blood drawn, saw 2 dermatologists, and got a double ear infection when the rash spread into my ears.

Here are just 2 pictures of what the rash looked like. These were taken on my "good days"...on the bad days I couldn't move.

In late August while on my last round of steroids I decided to do my own research. I found a book called The Candida Cure by Anne Boroch. It talked about the cycle of illnesses that happen when your body is thrown off balance while  of antibiotics and steroids. Considering I had been on steroids the majority of the last 2 months I thought the diet she suggested couldn't hurt. 

I gave up soda and sugar first. Then I gave  up almost everything else, essentially it's a Gluten Free-Casein  Free diet. I basically ate vegetables and seeds for the first few weeks. As I became use to my diet I started adding in brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta, GMO corn tortilla chips instead of my usual chips. 

I stopped my steroids on August 30th and to my surprise and happiness the rash did not come back like it did when I went off the steroids the times prior. 

I also watched a movie called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead which is a documentary about 2 men going on a juice fast. The movie is amazing and I suggest you watch it as soon as possible. I'm pretty sure I had what the guy in the movie suffered from but thankfully I caught it early instead of being on steroids for 9 yeas like he was. 

I have lost 30lbs and I feel great. I still follow a Gluten Free Diet and I don't drink anything but water. When I do eat Gluten I feel like shit, my stomach bloats out so I  look pregnant, and I get a few itchy dots again. I'm still not 100% sure what happened to my body this summer and I don't know if I ever will. 

Here's a before and after photo.  On the left I am 161 lbs and on steroids, the photo was taken August 28th. On the right I am 131 lbs and not on any medication, it was taken November 6th. 

Hopefully I can get back into blogging now. While I will still write about my husband and I on our adventures here in California I will also be posting about my new diet and better health too. 

Thank you for stopping by and continuing to read my little old blog. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

During our Surprise, Surprise visit home to North Carolina we kept ourselves very busy and the time flew by. It's hard to believe that we've been back in California for 2 weeks already. Here are a few (quite a few actually) of the highlights of our trip.

There are just certain "things" you can't get on the West Cost and for the last 18 months we (Carl mostly) has had a hankering for good old BoJangles'. If you're not familiar with BoJangles' it's a southern fast food restuarant chain famous for their Chicken n' Biscuits. I was never a huge fan of biscuits, but I credit Bojangles for turning me on to Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. YUM! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Here's Carl enjoying our first  morning with his favorites.

After the of day of Surprises on Friday we were able to coordinate quite a large cook out. Thanks to Carl's brother Craig and his family for hosting the "event" at their home for 22 people on such short notice.

Craig manned the grill to cook some awesome hot dogs and hamburgers. Carl relaxed in the shade and caught up with his dad and friends, Brian, Heather, and John. 

I shared a clip of the video from surprising our mom with my brother Wesley. 

My aunt Bobbi and her DH, Kevin, joined us from their home in Raleigh, NC after just getting back from their own summer vacation.  The next day we shared a quite breakfast with them at Cracker Barrel, which we also don't have on the West Coast. 

Carl enjoyed a little rest with our nephew Darren.  

Even in the dark Carl gave the kids a little sculpting lesson. Our niece Zoe is becoming quite the little artist. 

Little Man is so cute, like a mini Carl!

Why does Carl look like that? He' trying to comprehend a story Little Man just told him but it was a little difficult....

... because Carl had drank a little of this. Crystal Skull Vodka....
or as Carl called it Vod-ick-a.

Which  also made Carl become fascinated with a sparkler. 

The next day we headed to Carl's dads house for a little pool time. 

Les and Zoe had  a little diving fun while Hilary snapped a few underwater photo's. 

Later in our trip we got to spend quality time with the kids. Carl gave Little Man a drum lesson. 

And even my Big Man can't help but play the drums, even if they are designed for children. 

This is one of my favorite video's from the trip. 

And while the boys played drums the girls and I stayed busy with crafts.

  We were both very happy that our friends, Brian and Heather, were able to come into town from their home in Sevierville, TN to spend time catching up face to face. And they brought their dog, Jane, who just loves Carl.

We enjoyed a nice dinner out and a little story telling. Brian is by far one of the best story tellers ever.  

Of course we ate way to much while we were in town including at this dinner out with Les and  Hilary at The Chop House,  just one of the new restaurants that have popped up since we've been gone.  

The visit could not be complete if Carl didn't take a nap on his moms SUPER comfortable couch. 

Or devour his moms cooking. 

On our last night home we sat on the deck and just  listened to the sounds of the country. I will end this post here, so sit back, relax, close your eyes and drift back to NC with me and listen to this little clip. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

After 18 months of Living and Loving in California my husband and I decided we were long overdue for a visit back to North Carolina. It was a pleasant surprise when our schedules actually allowed both of us to be off for a week at the same time. We couldn't pass up the opportunity since we were unsure of when our schedules would align again.

We got the idea to do a spur of the moment surprise trip home on  Monday (6/27) and by Thursday (6/30) we touched down in super humid and hot Charlotte, North Carolina. Of course we couldn't pull off this surprise without letting a few people in on it so Carl's brother, Craig, picked us up at the airport and we were off to start surprising people.

Since we got  in late Thursday night there were only 3 people that we could surprise that night. Our nieces Zoe and Reece, and our nephew Darren were completely shocked when their mom called them into the kitchen where we were hiding. They had gotten so big and even though we've done video chats and seen pictures there was no way to really see all the changes until we saw them in person. It was amazing and a great way to start our week.

The next day we started Round 2 of Operation Surprise by popping into Carl's dad's office. Of course he knew something was up when he saw Carl's brother standing outside with a  video camera...but I don't think he had suspected us. Thanks to Hilary for helping us keep this secret for a few days.

Next we were off to surprise my mom. She had coincidentally taken that day off of work which worked out well.  We drove about 40 minutes to Concord, NC and pulled into her drive way only to find that she wasn't there! I casually called her cell phone and after a minute of chit chat she revealed that she was at the store Dollar Tree and that she was going grocery shopping after. While still hiding our secret I told her to call me when she got home. I then called my aunt and asked her where the Dollar Tree was (because I'm not familiar with that side of town)  and that we were going to go there and surprise  mom since she wasn't home. We found my mom's truck in the parking lot and made our way to the front door of the store. The following video pretty much sums up the rest of the adventure.

May I suggest you hit the play button and then immediately pause it so that you can see my moms face through the glass! What you didn't see is that when she got to the door she looked at me and then looked back at her purse, then she looked at me and smiled and looked back at her purse, and THEN it registered that it was ME standing there are she lost it. Afterwards she said she thought, "Wow, that girl looks familiar". We went back to her place for an hour to visit before we had to head off to surprise one more person, Carl's mom.

Cal's mom had to  work all day so after she got home and had time to relax we headed up the road for our final surprise. We pulled into the driveway and unload ourselves (Carl's brother and family joined us to see and video tape the surprise but I don't have that video to share). Carl gave his signature knock and a minute later his mom, Gill, peaked  out of the blinds...and then peaked again before opening the door. She was shocked and it took her awhile to realize what was happening but after a moment her shock turned into joy and excitement. 

The first  24 surprise filled hours were everything we had hoped they would be and we kept pinching ourselves that we were home. If I can get my hands on the other surprise video's then I'll upload them here as well. 

On a side note, there was one funny "reaction" that almost everyone had. As you can hear in the video my mom kept saying "What are you guys doing here?" while Carl's mom kept asking "How come?". And when Carl told his brother that we were going to take a trip home he must have said it rather cryptically because his brothers first thoughts were that something was wrong. Thankfully that was not the case and we were just able to make the trip leisurely.

I'll stop this post here but I'll be writing again soon to share stories from the remainder of our North Carolina vacation!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Too gross to share but too funny not to share

This is bathroom have been warned!

After not seeing her husband for a week my friend and her husband sat down at a restaurant for a nice dinner. After dinner they decide to go to an electronics store. They went in to look at TV's which are located all the way in the back on the left side of the store. Just as they get to the TV aisle my friend suddenly and without warning is struck with tummy trouble. My friend dashes to the bathroom located in the front, right side of the store. As my friend nears the restroom a store clerk wheels one of those giant ladders in front of the restroom door and manages to get it stuck on a sign hanging over head. My friend debates on whether or not to climb under the ladder or give it a giant shove to un-stick it from the sign....thankfully the clerk figures it out with out my friends assistance. My friend makes it to the restroom only to be followed in by a store employee. My friend waits patiently for the employee to leave so that she doesn't embarrass herself by making unflattering unladylike noises.

My friend enters the stall only to realize that there is another patron siting in the neighboring stall who is also apparently having tummy trouble. My friend finds this hilarious since both her and the other patron  are now sitting side by side in silence waiting for the other one to make their move. My friend starts laughing hysterically and is unable to "contain" herself which only causes more laughing. Finally the neighbor patron leaves (probably because she thought my friend was laughing at her) and my friend is left in peace and quiet...for about 2 seconds before a new potty patron enters the neighboring restroom stall and sits down beside her. My friend decides that this situation can't get any worse and texts her husband (who is still in the TV aisle) to meet her at the car.

My friend cried with laughter all the way home...her husband did not.

For the record I would like to remind you that EVERYONE poops...just not everyone talks about it. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Best $3 I ever spent

Just in case you needed proof that I am still a big child!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Count Down: 16 Days

There are many reasons why I look forward to summer vacation, but one has been glaring at me for quite some time now. 

Each day I come home and take off my shoes and I have to ask myself, "Are my feet dirty or are those tan lines?"

I admit that I wear the same shoes almost everyday to work. They are comfortable sneaker/ tennis shoes. Perfect for running after kids in. Unfortunately, they have straps that go across the top of my feet and since we spend at least an hour on the playground each day they have left me with quite the tan lines. 

I did apply a self tanner last night, so they don't look as bad as they did, but do you see what I  mean? Add to it that my arms are several shades darker than the rest of my body and I look like a mis-matched Bride of Frankenstein. 

So, I am counting down the days until I can bask naked (not really) in the sun and even out my skin tone. Counting the days until I can wear strappy sandals.
Counting the days until I can wear shorts.  
Counting the days until I can wear tank tops. 
Counting the days until I don't have to wear a bra if I don't feel like it. 

And counting, and counting, and counting....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Late Night or Early Morning?

I'm not sure what these little guys (and their huge mother) were doing out at this hour of the morning but it was so darn cute I had to grab the camera. 

Mom climbed up on the fence first and then the little ones got stuck and could reach. 

Although furry and little, I kept my distance since their mom was screeching the whole time. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Even skinny girls have cellulite

I speak from experience.

I consider myself on the skinny side. Not super model thin but more like slender with a little jiggle...and a touch of cellulite.

I'd like to say my little dimples don't bother me but then I'd be lying. It's like I woke up one day and realized that I'm in my LATE twenties instead of my Early twenties and that there is a big difference between  the two. My dreams off being discovered as America's Next Top Model in the local mall are over now.

I started dying my hair on a regular basis to cover the gray instead of doing it to look fashionable.

I stopped looking in the Juniors department when I go clothes shopping now.

I slather on extra 70 SPF sunscreen when I go out.

I don't think I even own a pair of thong underwear anymore.

And I just purchased my first bottle of cellulite cream.

I should put a sign on the front door that says "Welcome to almost 30".

My husband has no sympathy for me or my cellulite. My husband has the most perfectly smooth, lump free man bum I've ever seen. When I complain to my husband about my cellulite his response is "then you should bike to work, I do". I swear to God that is what he just said to me as I typed this post. So apparently my husband has the perfect un-lumpy rump because he bikes one sixteenth of a mile to his job everyday.

Anyway, back to me and my car ride loving cellulite.

I'm pretty sure that cellulite cream works...but not the way it was intended. You see, ladies like myself buy the cream/lotion/goo and proceed to rub themselves down with it while praying to the cottage cheese fairy  to take it all away. But subconsciously we try to eat better and exercise more... like taking the stairs 2 at a time instead of one at a time or doing lunges down  the school hallway instead of walking like a normal person. And over time we notice fewer dents and jiggles so we think, "This cellulite cream is a miracle!".

I know this is true and yet I can not stop myself  from buying the overpriced  tube of hope and replaying in my head the scene from Silence of the Lambs... "It rubs the lotion on it's skin or it gets the hose again!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Never too old to finger paint

That is the title I came up with for my art themed bulletin board for Open House Night at school. Here's a look at my finished board. 

A closer look at the signs...

Those are my hands. If I had planned ahead a little better than I would have had my students do the sign language letters, but I didn't think of this until well after 4 PM yesterday. 

I'm really pleased with the finger paint portrait that I did, it came out much better than I had envisioned. To bad I only had 1 parent show up for Open House Night. Oh well, I got the job done and I'm happy with it and at least my room is nice and SUPER clean again. 

I told you this would happen

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! You've gone and inspired me again people! More specifically it was my Aunt Bobbi from Love Shack Living that did it this time with her post on Art & Soul where she again amazed me with her latest artwork.

Tonight is our school's Open House and Silent Auction. Not only did I have to clean and prep my room for tonight, I also had to come up with a new bulletin board with the theme "Art". Easy right? Not really. Being the last minute Lucy that I am I started my board yesterday.

So yesterday before school I read Love Shack Living and found my inspiration. It's not 100% completed yet, but here is a little peek at what  I got done yesterday...

It's called "Never to old to finger paint". I finger painted the portrait on the left and my students created their own versions on the right. If the kids don't manage to rip it down  by the end of the day then I'll share a "finished" photo with you later tonight!

Thanks for the inspiration Bobbi!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something (anything) to look forward to

I've realized that it is important to have something to look forward to especially when there are 5 weeks (22 teaching days) of school left and they seem  be getting  harder instead of easier.

While 22 teaching days seems like a walk in the park compared to the 180 school days that I had in front of me in September, it  is honestly the longest part of the whole year. And for that reason I have to have something (sometimes anything) to look forward to at the end of each day. It's not enough  to look forward to something at the end of the week or month...I need something o look forward to each and every day.

Here is my list of "Looking Forward To's". Don't judge  me...sometimes it's thee small things that get me through  the day.

Monday- I  joined another bowling league for the summer on Monday nights. The only reason why I don't call out sick on Monday's now is because I have bowling and I'd be to scared to "call out sick" and then get caught at the alley by my boss.

Tuesday- 2 things...coming home and reading the NEW grocery store sales fliers.  Lame, I know. I also look forward to watching The Biggest Looser on TV, but with only 2 episodes left I don't know what I'll do with out it!

Wednesday- it's hump day, need I explain further? (Get your dirty minds out of the gutter!)

Thursday- bowling with my friend Suki for the Thursday night league.

Friday- Dinner and comedy with friends at LA Connection in Sherman Oaks. (I'll have to write about LA Connection in another post, but just know that it makes my day!)

Saturday- buying the Saturday paper which is an early edition of the Sunday paper so I get to sit on the couch and coupon for hours if I so choose. And napping.

Sunday- as if I didn't bowl enough...I join a group of leaguers for the Coffee Club which gets together Sunday mornings from 9-1 to practice their bowling. And I grocery shop and nap...and nap again. That's right, sometimes I nap twice on Sunday.

And for the long term I look forward to my 3-day weekend on  May 30th for Memorial Day followed by the last day of school on June 17th.

And knowing myself, the workaholic that I am, I will probably start prepping and planning for summer school the day after school gets out... but  I also look forward to that. It's amazing how much work I can get done when I don't have any students.

What do you look forward to?

Monday, May 16, 2011

30 Days of Blogging

I have been very slack lately on my  blog writing (and reading). I just can't seem to muster up the energy to sit at my computer when I get home and I find myself slumped on the couch. Please don't be offended if I haven't read your blog in brain is fried.

So this is the first day of my 30 day blogging challenge.

I am challenging myself  to write one post per day no matter how insignificant it seems to be.

I also challenge myself to read all the new blog entries from the lovely blogs I follow on a daily basis. And quite honestly, when I read your blogs I get inspired to write more myself.

So have a goodnight blog land and I will see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bloody Hell

The last 3 days at work have been pretty crappy (that's a nice was of saying it) and I have been slightly stressed out (that's an understatement). 

I'm not sure if it was the stress or the increase of allergens in the air but this picture pretty much sums up my day...

Nothing says, "F*** You Cortney" better than a bloody nose on the day I wear a white shirt. 

I'm not proud of it, but I drove all the way home with that damn tissue shoved up my nose. 

Take that you stupid bloody nose, you will not ruin my day or my shirt. 

You may ruin my pride but not my shirt!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Best Spring Break Ever

I took a little blogging hiatus but I am back now and I can't wait to share the stories from  the best spring break ever!

I was really ready for Spring Break from school anyway, but this year I had reason to be a little more excited about my week off. My mom came to town! I hadn't seen my mom since we moved to California 16 months ago. She booked her plane tickets back in February and we've been counting down the days ever since.

Day 1 started off with a trip to Disneyland. Carl and I had never been before but my mom had been when she was younger.  

I got a little sun burn on my arms during the day and then had to buy a pair of pants that night because it got really chilly.  The firework show over the castle made for a beautiful end to our day. 

Mom and I spent the 2nd day of her trip preparing for our 3rd day because we had tickets to 

The Price is Right!

I had signed for tickets back in February when she first booked her ticket and it was the one thing we both really wanted to do more than anything else. When I double checked the tickets on-line we found out that the taping we signed up for was going to be their Mother's Day Special so we made special Mother's Day shirts to wear. 

We got in line at a little before 5 AM and seven hours later we waked into the studio and found our seats in THE FRONT ROW!!!! Holy Cow! Although we didn't get called on stage, we had an awesome time that was well worth the wait. Watch The Price Is Right on Friday, May 6th and look for us right behind contestants row!

On Wednesday we returned to CBS Studio and watched a taping of Craig Ferguson. No pictures of course but if you go to this website and listen at the 3:45 mark you'll be able to hear Carl laughing. 

On Thursday we did  little laundry and I prepared for "Sweepers" at bowling. It was the last night of bowling for the season and we finished dead last...a far cry from our summer triumph  last year.

On Friday we headed over to Warner Brothers Studio for their VIP Tour. Most shows are on hiatus for the season now and seeing as how it was Good Friday there weren't any stars to be seen  on the lot. We still had a good time and got a few photo's in. 

Then later that night we took a trip  to the Santa Monica Pier to enjoy the view and the chilly ocean breeze. 

Zoom in a little closer and you'll see that some CRAZY people were actually taking a dip. 

We ate a nice dinner at Finn McCool's Irish Bar and Restaurant in Santa Monica and then  headed home. 

The week went by way to fast and before we knew if my mom's trip and my Spring Break was over. But we had an awesome time and it was the Best Spring Break ever!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gas...It Stinks!

On March 1st I drove by a little gas station and was shocked to see the price.

I was so shocked that I decided to take a picture of the sign...

I was even more shocked when I drove by that same station the next day as saw this...

 And then a week later...

And a week after that...

And this week...

I only live 5 miles from my job and it is now officially cheaper for me to take the bus than to drive my car. However, I'm still willing to pay for the convenience my car gives me. 

But if gas hits $5.00 then I will seriously consider parking the car permanently. And if the prices continue to rise in April the way they did in March then that day is coming sooner rather than later. 

What are gas prices like in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Potato Overdose

If it were possible to overdose on potatoes than I think my husband is at serious risk. 

I decided to clean out the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets this afternoon instead of sitting on my *** watching mindless TV. Although, considering the TV is about 10 feet from the kitchen, I guess you can say I listened to mindless TV while I cleaned. 

Back to the point...

In order to clean the freezer I took everything out of it. 

Taking the bags of frozen French fried potato products out of the freezer was like watching clowns get out of  a car at the circus. They just kept coming! *That's what she said*

See what  I mean...

That's 1 un-opened bag of roasted potato wedges
1 open bag of steak fries
3 un-opened bags of Tater Rounds (think tater tots but squished flat)
and 4 OPEN bags of Crispy Stix fries!!!!

You know how much space all these bags were taking up? A lot.

All the open bags met the trash can after I took their photo while the un-opened bags found a new home on the top shelf of the freezer.  

I am now officially on potato strike and refuse to buy another frozen potato product until the last tater round is consumed. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bathroom Talk(ing)

We are all entitled to our own opinions and we all have our own preferences so bare with me as I share mine. 

When using a public restroom I prefer not to carry on a conversation or chit chat with anyone in a neighboring stall. 

Once the stall door closes all conversations should stop. I will not answer you while I tinkle. I don't care if you're my best friend, family member, or stranger...I don't talk while on the toilet. 

Tonight while at my weekly bowling league I went to  the restroom for a pre-game tinkle. Another bowler was also in the restroom and we greeted each other.  I proceeded to go into a stall while she went into the stall beside me and attempted to carry on a little chit chat with me. I did not reciprocate. 

Now what makes this 10x's worse is that shortly after the fellow bowler entered the stall she let out one of the grossest, loudest, and longest toilet farts I have ever heard!!!! Now I know that everyone (yes everyone) farts and has probably let a few toilet farts go before, but when using a public bathroom you'd think that a person would at least wait until a toilet flushes or fake a cough to cover the sound. I had to bite my lip hard to keep from bursting out in laughter. 

I tried to get out of the stall to wash my hands and leave the bathroom as soon as I could in order to avoid eye contact with this women when she emerged from her stall but I didn't make it! 

This is my punishment for not chit chatting with this women in the bathroom stall. I can never look at this women or speak to her again without thinking about the toilet fart. She could bowl a 300 game and I would still think, "You are a public restroom talking toilet farter".