Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in photos.


 
 
 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Week Update!

Christmas is almost here and it has been absolutely insane. I feel like I haven't gotten anything done, but I'm actually alright with that. We'll save the spaz attack for the last minute.

I'm still writing for "Let's talk about dating", but I'm having a hard time saying what I want to for one thing, and for two I don't have a spare minute to write anything, except this note. Hotbuckles is busy with the holiday shipping and that means that I am more distracted than normal.

I have not finished my shopping. I know. I'm a slacker. I'll be back with you all shortly.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I guess "I Haven't Met You Yet" says it all.



Do you think that sometimes it's really all about meeting the right people?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My day in pictures











 My skull hurts too much to type more than this.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let's Talk About Dating - Part III Attempting Intelligent Conversation

Dating is a hard thing. You are expected to not only fulfill whatever whacked out physical needs the other person requires, such as nice hands, but also you must provide some sort of verbal stimulation. This is in addition to any chemical attraction you might have to each other.

I have a hard time. I am not known as an exceptionally shy person, but dates are different. They feel like a social test to me. I already have a speech impediment. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is so nervous that speaking becomes MORE difficult than normal. Who wants to be Elmer Fudd? (Here's a clue: NOT ME!) In addition to getting the words to come out of my mouth, I also have to think of something to say. Let's start with the basics.

The first thing you will probably say to a person will be a greeting of some sort. "What up, Dog" is not going to fly here, gentleman. I'm not saying that I don't say that to my little brother to drive him crazy, but I leave the G-Talk at home. If that's the way you speak to everyone at all times, including your boss, you have my permission to keep on keeping on. I find that a hello and hi are a good starting point.

The greeting is kind of the gunshot start to the relay that is the pre-date-conversation. At this point, the opportunities are endless. I try for what I consider intelligent conversation. Intelligent conversation does not include:

  • Fart jokes. (No matter how funny they are, just hold them in.)
  • Lengthy explorations of past relationships.
  • Sex talk. 
  • Personal finances
Look, I like fart jokes as much as the next person, but I like to save those nuggets of delight for a time when I know a person better. Some people, as shocking as it may seem, do not like fart jokes or talk of bodily fluids at all. It may gross them out.

Your past relationships need to stay in the past. If you spend twenty minutes lamenting the fact that you were dumped by prince charming, who you hope dies screaming and on fire, I seriously doubt that you are ready to be dating. Even if you only have wonderful things to say about your exes, keep the ex-chat to a minimum. You are here to build a new relationship, not to wade through the swamp of relationships past.

The main reason I think sex talk should be avoided is because during a pre-date-conversation or date you are trying to get to know each other better. I know I spoke of relationship goals being different for each person, but for most people the tag and bag approach is not what you are going for. Talking about sex can be a distraction from more important topics.

Personal finances should not be discussed. You are not applying for a loan or buying a house. You are trying to get to know a person. A person is not defined by their wealth or the lack thereof and talking about that seems very coarse to me.

I am interested in getting to know a person. Dates and pre-date-conversations should be about two people trying to figure each other out. When I have a pre-date-conversation or go on a date, I am trying to get into your head. I want to know the real you.

Before I go off into the night, I'll give you a couple subject that are always safe and fun to talk about:

  • Music
  • Books
  • The Arts (Theater, museums, whatever.)
  • Sports
  • Food
  • Travel
  • Where you grew up.
  • TV Shows & movies.
  • Cars (Not necessarily yours, but the kind you like.)
  • Animals
  • Dream Vacations
I like to listen and ask leading questions. Not every pre-date-conversation or date will be wonderful, but they can be enjoyable. For our next installment, unless my attention is diverted, we will discuss "If successful during the intelligent conversation stage progress to the "Planning an actual date" stage." (Hopefully, we can shorten the name up.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let's Talk about Dating: Side Note - Appropriate Date Behavior

Dating is a difficult time for many folks, myself included. The nervousness associated with dating may cause you to make decisions which, when you look back, will be cringe worthy. Today, I'll share some of the things that make me slightly crazy.

1. Flattery - One can assume that if we are going on a date that you probably think I am attractive. You have probably mentioned it during the courting/wooing/snagging process. It is not necessary for you to tell me how beautiful I am every 5 seconds. I like to hear it every once in a while, but that should not be the meat of our conversation. In addition to being incredibly beautiful (/Facepalm), I am intelligent, thoughtful, and funny. You should try to explore those other qualities.

2. Being fake - I am a real person. When I go on a date, I try to be as authentic as possible. This doesn't mean I have to spill my guts and present you with a storyboard of how I think our relationship should go. It does mean that when you are asked a question you should answer it honestly. It might not be the best time to go full strength with truth, but try to give some insight. Don't be who I want you to be. Try being you.

3. Being weird - No matter how hot my friends are, we are not both going home with you. It is not going to happen. This is not the time to disclose your darkest fantasy. This not the time to admit that you slept in your parents bed until you were twelve. This is not the time to admit that you aspire to become the next Papa Dugger. This is not the time to ask if you can rub or lick my feet.

4. Flirting with other people - I shouldn't have to mention this, but apparently I do. When you go on a date with a person you are giving them your time. If you can't hold the mack back for an hour, maybe you should reconsider your game plan and head back to the club.


 Now that we have discussed what drives me crazy, let's talk about what I like.

1. Sincerity - I love this. I recall meeting someone on a first date who brought me flowers. As I approached I thought it was so corny, but the look on his face when he gave them to me was honestly precious. He was really excited about our date and was so happy to have something to give me. Honestly, I don't even recall what kind of flowers they were, but I will never forget his face as he handed them to me. Sincerity cannot be faked or imitated.

2. Honesty - I may not like the truth, but I'll respect it. When you tell me the truth it says that you respect me.

3. Table manners - You don't have to be fit for the Queen but, for the love of everything holy, chew with your mouth closed.

4. Your attention - Nothing says I want to get to know you better than a person who is focused and involved in the conversation.


At the end of the date the only thing that matters is that you gave a clear representation of yourself and that you attempted to have a good time. I find that the latter is usually my biggest challenge.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Let's Talk about Dating. Part II - Person Selection

In my last post, I gave an outline of how I view the dating process. The first step, and the one we'll discuss today, is: Select person (or be selected by a person.)

Selecting a person is harder for some people than for others. Some people see a person that is visually appealing and that can be enough to warrant asking a person on a date. Some people need to actually speak to a person to become interested.

In the first case, everyone has things they like. We have men who like butts or boobs. We have women who like butts or swear the first thing they notice are eyes. Personally, I am a hand person. I cannot date a person with the wrong kind of hands. What kind are the right kind? Um... the right kind. There isn't any one thing about the hands. They just have to be right. I have to be able to envision the hands touching me and not feel gross about it. I know it's wrong. There are so many more things to a person than hands, but they have to be right. The only clear sign I have of bad hands are the hands of nail biters. I don't mind a little nail biting or even nail peeling, but nails that are bitten down into the quick are just not acceptable.

Now that we know that I am a freak, I mean, that I like hands we move on to the next step. The acquisition of the date. This generally requires person A to have a dialogue with person B. Here is a general idea of how this has worked in my case:

Person A: Greeting
Person B: Return greeting
Person A: Small talk
Person B: Small talk (laughing at jokes is also acceptable.)
Person A: Exhibit, explain, or imply attraction.
Person B: Reciprocate or Reject.
Person A: If attraction is mutual suggest a meeting at a future date. (If rejected move on and continue the hunt.)
Person B: Accept or Reject.
Person A: If the future meeting is accepted exchange information (phone numbers are best, but email works too.) If the future meeting is rejected attempt to exchange information anyway. Express gratitude.

The above is only for finding a person in person, obviously. Internet dating looks something like this:

Person A: View profiles until you find someone that you could potentially achieve your relationship goals with. Wink, give roses to, or message said person.
Person B: Ignore, respond, wink, or give roses back.
Person A: Send a message saying "What do you like to do for fun?" THIS IS MANDATORY!
Person B: Respond leaving out the weird crap or ignore.
Person A: Comment on whatever it is they like to do for fun. Include one emoticon minimum.
Person B: Respond to the response or ignore.
Person A: Suggest meeting in real life.
Person B: Approve or reject.


Now that we have figured out how selecting a person works we will attempt to explore being selected. Don't worry, I'll be brief(ish.)

I would say that the best way to get a person to select you is to gently convince the other person that they are attracted to you and that they want to ask you out. This is not always a planned event, though it certainly has been planned in the past. Conveying interest is a way to ease the concerns of the other party should they be interested in you. They will be more confident in asking you on a date because you have implied interest first.

Next time, we will explore Attempting to have intelligent conversation. I can hardly wait.




 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let's Talk about Dating.

It is no secret that I recently became single. It is also no secret that I am not fond of dating. I am a very happy person and I am fine with a boyfriend or without. Having a boyfriend has obvious perks, but I can be alone without too much trouble.

Dating has showed up like that long lost frenemy that you thought you were free of once and for all. Now, she wants to be friends again and I'm not completely sure I am ready.

Dating seems to work like this in most cases (for me):

  • Select person (or be selected by a person.)
  • Attempt to have intelligent conversation.
  • If successful during the intelligent conversation stage progress to the "Planning an actual date" stage.
  • Completely freak out about what to wear on the date. (AKA the "Suddenly, dressing like a 12 year old boy doesn't sound like such a good idea" stage.)
  • Enlist the help of real girls to make sure I look alright.
  • Arrive at date.
  • Revisit the "Attempt to have intelligent conversation" stage.
  • If successful and the intelligent conversation is enjoyable proceed with further dates.
This basically continuues on until you decided to commit to each other or you decide the other person is not for you (or in the words of my girlfriends "a total loser." I'll be honest, I have dated a lot of what my friends consider total losers. Some folks would say that I look for them. I'd like to think that my last boyfriend broke that cycle since he was gainfully employed, living on his own, and the proud parent of one really smart dog.)

The next blog will be an exploration of step one - person selection. Sit back and relax. You're cheaper than a therapist.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Santa Can Suck It!

I started something fun and new over at http://www.SantaCanSuckIt.com. Come check it out and join in the fun!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was wonderful.

We went to my grandmother's house and my family was there. The weather was great and it got cooler as the day went on. It made it perfect for all of the playing and exploring we did. I'll admit, I mostly talked to the ladies and then I took a tour of the property by myself.






This property has been in my family since before I was born. I love it. I feel like it's a part of me. This land feels like a family secret to me. I climbed these trees as a child. My Uncle Fred would take us on long walks through the property and tell you stories along the way.

The only time I ever ran away was here. It was less of a running away experience and more of a hiding with the cows until my mother left me experience. I don't regret it and I doubt I ever will. My grandmother has lived so much life that there isn't much about me that she doesn't understand. She loves me and I'm not sure there is anything that I could do to change that. It always feels like I am at my home base when I am there.

I also visited all of the animals when I there. The chickens seems to get more colorful every time I visit. They are Rhode Island Reds. I was given two dozen eggs and I was thrilled. I love farm fresh eggs.




I hope Grandma has her Pre-Christmas party again this year. I can't wait to go back, but I won't go on Christmas day.

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving post.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. All of the food, none of the gifts. I will have Max and Annika with me and we are going to my Grandmother's. There will be turkey and collard greens and everything that is truly important in the world.

I am grateful for so many things this year. You all know that I love bullet points, so here is the list of things that I am grateful for:

  • My children are healthy.
  • I have a reliable car.
  • My parents love me.
  • I have awesome cats.
  • I have a job that I like.
  • I have some ideas that I know will work out.
  • I have friends.
One of the most significant things that happened in the past month could have really made me feel depressed and weak, but it didn't. Sadia yelled at me that I should feel empowered because of it. She felt so strongly that she took a post-it note and wrote "Feel Empowered!"on it. She stuck it on my monitor and demanded that I leave it there. She then wrote another post-it note saying that our co-worker agreed with her and stuck that next to the first one. I come into my office every morning and I see that post-it note and I feel empowered, even if it is only for a brief time. I am grateful for that too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weekend Update: BIRTHDAY EDITION

Friday, as previously posted, was my birthday. This is how the weekend went down. (Prepare for excellence.)

Friday night, I was taken to Bern's for an absolutely wonderful dinner. It's one of those experiences that was so awesome that I am not entirely sure if I can write about it without sounding like a complete idiot. I had a Merlot that didn't taste like poison. We had hours of conversation. The food came and went and it was brilliantly served. The building alone could be written about for hours. I have to say that the lobby took my breath away. It is a brilliant shade of red with paintings and lights covering the walls. One set of lights was huge. It looked like an iron tree with orange orbs all over it. It cast a light over the whole room and inspired an otherworldly feeling.

Saturday, I played Rock Band with Sadia for hours. I am a (fake) ROCK GOD! It was awesome. Later, I had dinner with Bob at Vallarta's. He gave me a router for my birthday. While we were finishing up, I received a frantic call from my mother. She was certain my little brother was going to kill himself and that it was a race against the clock. Bob wouldn't let me go home alone. He figured if my brother was dead that I might need a little mental back up. I suppose that might have been true.

I arrived at my house and noticed all of the lights were on. This was a sure sign that my brother was home. I looked through the blinds and I could see that he was unconcious, but only his head was visible. I opened the front door to find him passed out, drunk, naked, and spread eagle. I may have cursed very loudly. I then screeched his full name and told him to cover up. There was a slight movement in which he barely covered himself. Bob and I entered and tried to get him to tell us what he had been drinking or what he had taken. He couldn't really speak. He sat up briefly, looked confused, and then grunted a name. This name made Bob and I look at each other in confusion and then burst out laughing.

It turns out that my brother drank himself into a stupor and somehow ended up naked. He is not sure how that happened. When questioned about tthe name he uttered he basically said we would never speak of it again. He slept the booze off and my mother was relieved.

Sunday, I hung out with Sadia ALL day. We were supposed to go to the beach but it rained, so we playted Yahtzee instead. Eventually, I wanted some Courtney time so I went home. I had just fired up a video game when my phone rang. It was Sadia and she wanted me to come bowling. I said no at first because I bowled so well last week. (I got a score in the thirties in the first game and in the forties in the second game.) Sadia persisted and I said I'd go if I didn't have to drive. She agreed to pick me up and we were off.

We arrived at Florida Lanes on Florida Avenue at about 8:30. We began bowling around 9pm. I had way too much to drink, but I bowled much better. The Bowling alley had a killer jukebox and we ended up dancing to Michael Jackson and Rush. We are totally awesome.

Things to say while bowling:
  • Put some stank on it!
  • Have another beer!
  • Yelling out the outcome of the throw is good too. (STRIKE! GUTTER BALL! SPARE!)
Needless to say, I was less than sober when I was delivered to my door. I made a sandwich and cut some cake. I then sent out a text message to a bunch of people telling them that I was eating a sandwich and cake. I then ate the sandwich and cake. After I ate, I fell asleep.

6:30am was UGLY. My head hurt. My cats were stomping all over me, I was hot, thirsty, and sweaty. I got up, showered, and made my lunch. I headed to work and had a really productive day. The weekend is officially over.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blurb

I feel like the calm eye of the hurricane lately. I am surrounded by chaos, but I feel centered and calm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

It's my birthday!

Dear Readers,

I am now 29 years old. It's strange to be so close to thirty. Age really is just a number to me, but I feel like I have been here a long time. I am genuinely happy to wake up every morning, even though I do it alone. My cats don't count, of course.

I've been trying to think of something funny to post. I just haven't felt at my peak of hilarity lately. I feel like I am trapped in a ledger. I'm climbing around and making corrections, but the math isn't right yet. I hope that makes sense. (I don't mean financially. I just mean that sometimes I view life as an equation that I need to balance or solve.)

As you should by now know, I do not make resolutions every year. I have one perpetual resolution that I wake up and make every day. Move forward.

It doesn't mean the same thing every day. It doesn't mean something solid. It just means to push through, find adventure, and embrace the unexpected pleasures of every day. That's it. That is my goal. I am not planning to take over the world or any part of it. I'm just going to keep exploring. I hope you all plan to come along for the ride.

Yours,
Courtney

P.S. LOOK at the cake my boss bought.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Three things you didn't know about Courtney Schoenfeld

This was sent to me by a partner in crime:

Did you know that Courtney Schoenfeld...
  1. Translates to the number 5 in numerology. If it wasn't bullshit, it would mean that you are adventurous, mercurial, and sensual. You seek growth through adventure and different life experiences. Although you are a critical thinker, you can sometimes over-ponder an issue.
  2. Has the Grizzly Bear as their Power Animal.
  3. Shares their name with a guesstimated 4 Americans?
See more at http://www.isthisyour.name

Posted using ShareThis

I would just like to say that I think the Grizzly Bear is pretty bad ass, but I always figured I was more subtle than that.

Also, ME?! Over-ponder?! NEVER!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I must see this.

Trouble... That's for sure.

I heard this song on the radio this morning and thought of you guys. Here's a little Elvis performing "Trouble" from the motion picture "King Creole".




Friday, November 13, 2009

In sickness even when it's stealth.

I woke up this morning and I was cheerful. My cats were hopping around yelling at me to wake up. I was tired, but not overly so. I showered and found something clean to wear. I haven't been hungry for the last week, so in keeping with that I decided to skip breakfast and have a bagel at work. I then began to brush my teeth.

I brush my teeth several times a day. I don't like it when they feel dirty, so if I feel less than fresh I brush. I also keep a toothbrush nearly everywhere I could be when I am feeling less than fresh. I am skilled in the usage of toothbrushes. This morning I was brushing away and humming happily (I do know that I am a dork,) when suddenly I was compelled to vomit. I had hoped that I had merely gagged myself by brushing a tad to vigorously, but that was not the case. It was just freaking lovely puking up ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for ten minutes.

I decided to take my tempature because even though I can't afford to be sick, I'm a salaried employee. If I'm puking at home my employees still get paid. I was not happy to see that I had a temperature of 100F. I was already dressed for work and I have a lot of work to do, so I decided to come in this morning and knock a few things out before going home and being furious.

I do not get sick. I DO NOT get sick. I don't even FEEL sick (except for the fever and vomiting)! This is not acceptable. I am supposed to have my children this weekend and that is not happening because they can't afford to get sick either. GREAT. I have to sit at home and do NOTHING. I hate that. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I am so furious that I want to throw things. I don't have a bad temper, but it makes me very angry when my body fails me. I am a freaking warrior. I don't get sick. This is not possible.

Now that I am done acting like a child I have decided to make a list of things to do this weekend.

Things to Do While Being Sick
  • Prepare paperwork from the Relay for Life Potluck.
  • Clean the bathroom.
  • Mop the floors since my idiot brother sprayed beer all over my living room and office area as I walked in the door last night.
  • Write a letter to my little brother in the big house with actual pen and paper.
  • Research and write for the Hotbuckles blog.
  • Play stupid video games in my underpants while my brother is at work.
  • Read the books Sadia lent me this week.
  • Call my mother and see if she will still let me come over tomorrow to walk the dog and do laundry.
  • (If Mom lets me come over) get her to wax my eyebrows.
  • Work on a severely neglected website project that I think holds a lot of potential.
  • Sleep. (Please envision me scowling at the prospect of sleeping away my free time.)
  • (If I don't have a fever Sunday) Pick up the kids and take them out to lunch at a restaurant of their choosing, but not McDonald's for the love of goodness.
So, that is what I will be doing. I have to stop typing now. My eyes are on fire and I'm really dizzy suddenly. If you look to your left you will see my Twitter widget. I will update and let you all know I am alive.

Week Update

I haven't posted much this week. I was trying to think of a way to say what I need to say.

As my loyal blog readers know, I have been dating a really amazing person named Bob. He gets mentioned from time to time because he is part of my life, but I try to limit your interaction with people who may not want to be the subject of my blog. This is, afterall, http://www.courtneyschoenfeld.com/ and not whoiscourtneydating now.com. (That could be a fabulous idea for another site, but it seems like a little more of me than I'm willing to give.)

Bob has been dissatisfied with Florida for some time and over the past month he has made the decision to leave. He says the decision has very little to do with me and that he wants to be closer to his non-Courtney friends and family. I understand that because my family is here. I cannot move away and I adore Florida. I don't want to move. Unfortunately, that means that our only course of action is to see other people. It is not what I wanted, but I knew he had been on the fence about staying for at least a year. It was not really a shock, especially since I knew he had been pulling away from me since he returned from his cruise.

Please Note: I am not at home wailing on the floor, eating Bon Bons, and cursing his name. He's not a jerk. He's just honest with himself about his needs and I respect that.

Also, Bob would prefer we not use the term "dumped." He says that garbage gets dumped and that I am not garbage. He's asked to be my agent for the career in comedy that only he thinks is possible. I said that was acceptable. You should only allow people who truly believe in you to represent you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Team Banzai Update!

 


I want to take the time to thank every single person who came out to support Team Banzai's Potluck Fundraiser. I am in awe of the fact that you came and brought such great food. I am in awe of how absolutely terribly Sadia is at Kickball, but really happy that she played anyway. I am officially declaring the event a success and it's all thanks to the following people:

  • Sadia - She agreed that a potluck fundraiser was a good idea. She brought killer chili. KICK BALL HE-RO!
  • Jeff - Showing up is half the battle. Carrying stuff is the other half.
  • Bob - Made killer Lime pies. Kept me as calm as possible. Brought his puppy Josie for added enjoyment. Took the one and only photo of the event. (See Above.)
  • Luis and the lovely Miracle - Came bearing donations and positive energy when I needed it.
  • Sarah and Michael - Made Kickball possible because Michael speaks Spanish and I do not. Sarah kicked butt in Kickball and surprised everyone, including herself.
  • Tihirih, Josh, Anthony, Andrew - Great company!
  • Jeff's Sister, her boyfriend, and Fernando - Two words: FRIED CHICKEN!
Want to know more about the powerhouse that is Team Banzai? Click Here!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's on my mind.




I'm really hormonal and this clip has been on my mind today. I'm not angry. I'm weepy. I'm not even weepy because I'll be missing Yankees vs. Phillies game tonight. I'm just sad. You can blame hormones.

The scene around the 2:24 mark is what I get in my brain. I used to think that when I was a kid. Knowing my father as an adult has helped so that I don't feel angry anymore, but I remember this feeling.

I don't need to be crying at work. I am way too old for this.

THERE IS NO CRYING IN MANAGEMENT!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My middle name IS trouble. How did you guess?

This weekend, was going to be a wonderful weekend. I had a free pass to a convention. I had a giftcard for the mall and a precise plan to spend it. I had hopes and dreams and kittens.

Unfortunately, I am an idiot.

Friday night was exactly as it should have been. I spent my time with my boyfriend. It was perfect. Saturday dawned and we had breakfast at Tiffany's, my favorite breakfast restaurant in Tampa. After breakfast, I headed Tampa to Necronomicon. I saw Patricia Briggs and Richard Lee Byers on the first panel. They were engaging and funny. Afterwards, my friend took me to meet her. She is absolutely genuine and nice. I loved meeting her.

The second panel I went to was about E-Publishing and DRM. It was killer. It was mainly great because of Ed Howdershelt. He is a Science Fiction writer and he only publishes electronically. He's got a no nonsense attitude and looks like he stepped out of a Jimmy Buffet video. (Granted, I think he's get fed up with Jimmy and knock him upside the head with a parrot or something.) The panel was wonderful and full of good info, but Ed stirred things up. If he thought a question was stupid or irrelevant, he said so. I was told he did this in a few panels where he wasn't a guest. It made me laugh.

I had lunch with my friends Ross and Nicci and then I moved my car so it wouldn't get towed. I then attended a Panel about the possibility of paperless currency. It was a good panel with good opinions and points on both sides and in the middle.

After the last panel, I decided to head home. There was one problem. My car was missing. It had been towed. It was my fault and I am an idiot, but it was too late to freakout about it at that point. I made a few phone calls and found out where my car was. Then I called my boyfriend who rescued me and helped me get the car back. He was very nice about it.

The next day I was driving home to take my brother to get a shirt for the job he found, when I noticed a pair of flashing lights behind me. This officer was pleased as punch to have pulled me over. I don't know if I fulfilled his quota or what, but the bounce in his step pretty much guaranteed that I would not be let off with a warning. He was very nice and I was polite and respectful. He was right, I had been speeding.

I had planned to go back to the convention, but after all of that I decided it would be best to just go home and bake and that's what I did. Cameron and I got his shirt, so he's now ready for work. (He starts today. Wish him luck.)

My boss gave me a gift certificate for a local mall, so Sadia, Cameron, and I went to International Plaza. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, you know I loathe shopping and that my mother buys the majority of my clothing. I needed a bra though and most stores don't carry size freak show.

We went to Dillard's. I don't like people touching me and the manager of the department wanted to fix my bra. She kept feeling my back and saying that my bra needed to be adjusted. I told her no, three freaking times, and then she handed me a bra and ordered that I try it on. My (traitor) friend, Sadia, did not help at all and actually encouraged this. She then had the audacity to laugh hysterically when I was told that I needed a size that I didn't want more than the size I already had.

I decided that I had enough torture for one day, so we gathered up my brother and went home. In some bizzare and totally sober twist of fate, we all ended up making clay and beads that afternoon. Cameron decided that he was not skilled anough after a while and left it to the ladies. I made a killer leaf and some ornaments that I plan to sell on Etsy. I'm going to need the money if I plan to pay all of these tickets and keep myself in cookie supplies.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How my brother came to live with me and other tales of woe.

Saturday morning was blissful until about 8:30am.


At 8:29am, I sat at the Olympic Cafe having breakfast at the bar with my kids. They were swinging their legs and enjoying hot cocoa. I was enjoying a glass of tea and tucking in to my biscuits and gravy. Plans for the day included hitting up the Twelve Oaks community garage sale, hitting the beauty school for a hair cut, and heading to Grandma's farm for her 85th birthday.

At 8:30am my phone rang. The caller ID said it was my brother, Cameron. This surprised me since he doesn't generally wake up until after noon. Cameron was significantly more awake than I would have expected and he explained that he was about to be arrested and that he needed to be bailed out of jail and that I would need to help him move out of his apartment immediately. I asked him about the crime he committed. I received a tale that was, for the most part, true. Essentially, he had a mandatory meeting. His attempt at attendance was sabotaged. Upon waking up and realizing what had happened he tossed on enough clothing to be decent, marched across the street to his work place, and slapped the saboteur upside the head. He was immediately and understandably fired. He walked back across the street to his apartment and began to call the family.


I urged the children to finish up their breakfast and we hurried across the bay. Cameron had been arrested by the time we got there. My mother arrived at the same time I did. We decided that my children did not need to visit the jail, so my mother took my children for breakfast number two.





I went to the bank and withdrew $150 and headed over to the jail. Let me just say that the jail was not busy. I did get to enjoy the facilities for approximately 3 hours while I waited for them to first book him and then release him. That was pleasant. October is apparently domestic violence month. They had an exhibit, created by inmates, about the effects of domestic violence. I viewed the entire thing. I called some friends. I talked to my father. I spoke to a woman in the lobby. FINALLY, he was released.


Cameron was now jobless AND homeless. Wonderful. Cameron asked if he could stay with me for a little while. I said he could, because he has nowhere else to go.


Now, I have 2 adults, 3 cats, and on occasion 2 children living in my one bedroom apartment. I also do not have a couch. Cameron has been sleeping on my recliner. He thinks it's too weird for us to sleep in the same room even though I have bunk beds. I agree.


My goals for the week are to settle Cameron in, get a couch or futon, and to stay calm.

Friday, October 16, 2009

You are invited!

Hosts: Courtney Schoenfeld & Sadia Knight


Location: John Chestnut Sr. Park
631 Chestnut Street
Clearwater, FL 34685 US

When: Sunday, November 8, 1:00PM

You and your family are invited to Team Banzai's Relay for Life Potluck Fundraiser.

Come enjoy the Florida Autumn with us and enjoy some wonderful food. We'll be bringing some interesting and delicious dishes and we can't wait to see what you will bring.

John Chestnut Sr. Park is a beautiful park with two playgrounds, horseshoe pits, a beach volleyball court, a softball field, water fountains, and restrooms. We will be in Shelter #3.

The suggested donation is $10 and 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. We can accept donations the day of the event, but we suggest that you donate via the following link: http://bit.ly/NKGKT

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A night at the movies with Zombieland!

Last Monday, Cameron and I went to see Zombieland. We headed over to the AMC Tri City 8. We watch all of our movies together there because they are $4.00 on week days and on weekends before noon. We're not cheap, we're broke.

Cameron revealed that he was shocked to see the Sherlock Holmes movie posters. He didn't know it was being made and he had no idea that Robert Downey Jr. was playing Sherlock Holmes. He seemed to be intrigued and declared that we would see it. (Robert Downey Jr. is in it. I am seeing it for darn sure. You know, to um... support reformed actors in the arts.)
We also saw posters for The Vampire's Apprentice. Neither of us knew what it was about, but we put it on our tentative lists of movies we want to watch. If you are interested you can view the trailer here. (Looks kind of cool. Is this a kids movie?)

The last poster that Cam and I saw got my heart pounding. It was for Where the Wild Things are. It looks amazing. My kids are excited. I am excited. Just view the trailer here. It's just amazing.

We walked into the theater and we were slightly surprised to see that it was over half full. Cam and I saw The Proposal here and we were two of the four people in the place. Granted, Zombieland has a broader appeal (and I felt that The Proposal was kind of a disappointment.)

Cameron took so long making me frozen Stauffer's lasagna and smoking cigarettes that by the time we got there we had almost completely missed the two year old movie quizzes and reminders that soda and popcorn were in the lobby. The theater went dark about 3 minutes after we found our seats.

The trailers that played were:

V (A new series on ABC. Looks awesome. It stars Morena Baccarin Who played Inara on Firefly.)

• Saw VI (Completely unnecessary trash. Cam and I are skipping this and all other Saw films.)

Year One (Will be renting ASAP.)

2012 (I adore John Cusack. It's a film about the world ending in 2012. It looks interesting.)

New Moon. (The second Twilight film. I'm furious. I was avoiding this like the plague. I want to see it now AND it comes out on my birthday.)

• Nightmare on Elm Street. (No. Just no.)

Finally, the movie began. The premise is that the world has been infected with a plague related to Mad Cow Disease that turns you into a zombie. This movie starts out with a young man played by Jesse Eisenberg telling us about how he survives. He has a list of rules that he lives by and when he tells you about them they have a tendency to pop up on the screen. (This is actually very funny. I have a tendency to walk up to people in my office and say "Double Tap." Hilarity almost always ensues.)

The other main character in the film is a bad ass played by Woody Harrelson. (I find him to be really sexy, but I can't really figure out why. It's got to be that accent.) He's not crazy about connecting emotionally and he doesn't want to know your name. Call him Tallahassee, because that's where he's headed.

The film goes on to tell us their story and it's seriously funny. The film also stars Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin with a cameo by the mega-awesome Bill Murray. I'm not telling you more because you need to go and see this.

I just have one question. WHY are zombies forever throwing up blood? It's really gross. Cameron says that I just don't get it and that it is, in fact, necessary. I'll take his word for it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Halloween (or OMG! What am I gonna wear!)

Last year, I was a witch. See the (poor quality) evidence below.

Photobucket

This year, I have the kids so I have to do the whole trick or treating thing. Luckily, Halloween is on a Saturday so the problem of having to leave work early is not a problem at all.

I always have a dilemma with costumes. For the most part, we did not celebrate Halloween so I completely spaz out when it comes to finding a costume. I'm open to suggestions. What do you think? Should I be a witch again or should I find something new?

P.S. If the costume involves the word "Sexy" it's not really on the list.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This week.

   This week has been a strange one. After dinner with my mother on Monday all hell seemed to break loose. Things just kept happening and they were beyond my control. I could do nothing but attempt to be helpful and supportive, but most of all I tried be THERE.

   Usually, I like to stick to myself. I like being alone. I like being with my boyfriend and my children, but if I am alone I don't find myself longing for company. (I mean, I have a small herd of cats. How could I possibly be lonely?)

   This week, my presence was needed. I like that no matter how often my mother and I fight, at the end of the day we are there for each other. I love her. I don't have to agree with everything my family does. I just have to love them and try my best to be there. I have spent a lot of time on the phone with Mom and we spent two nights together without even coming close to an argument. There was business to be handled and we stepped up. That's what we do and how we were raised.

   When I was younger, I used to pray for peace. I didn't pray for peace in the Middle East or anything. I prayed for peace in my home. I know my life is hectic, but at the end of the day there is peace in my home. I am there. My cats are there. My books are there. Peace and thoughtfulness are at my house. Sometimes, during the day chaos reigns. (My children are there sometimes. They are a force of nature.) When the night comes and we are preparing for bed and waiting to drift to sleep, that is where peace lives. I am grateful for that.

   I hope the rest of the week is better for us all.

  

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Woe is me!

As most of you know, I have a boyfriend. He and I spend what I would consider a lot of time together, as most couples do. I spend a lot of nights at his house. We talk every night before we go to bed. We chat on IM during work. We are really connected.

This week he went on a cruise. I'm an adult and I am happy he is going on this vacation. I know that he really needs one, but I'll admit that I am sad that he is not here. Granted, I'm being a total baby. He's been gone since Sunday, but he's still in Florida. He's on a boat and as of this morning they arrived in Key West.

Last night was rough and I really wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't so I sucked it up and went to sleep. This morning, I was making breakfast and got a text message. I assumed it was Twitter, so I didn't check it for about ten minutes. I was so happy when I did. They had docked in Key West and he was able to send me a quick note. Ten minutes later, I got a phone call from him and that really made my day.

I know I will be fine and very busy until he comes home. That is definitely a good thing. I'll tell you all more about last night later. Right now, work is calling.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cameron and Courtney's Outback Adventure

In case I have failed to mention him before, Cameron is my little brother. By little brother I mean, he is 6'5'', but three years younger than me. It's unfortunate. I was large and in charge until he turned 13. He then transformed into a mutantly large human being, which is lucky for him because it offsets the sheer wingspan of those ears. (Gimme a break, he's my little brother. I gotta bust his chops.)

Cameron and I get together for dinner about once a week. We like food, books, and hanging out for short periods of time. Last night, I was craving some beef. We discussed Longhorn Steakhouse, Cody's, and Sam Seltzer's, but Cam wanted to go to Outback Steakhouse. I missed the turn lane for my choice so we headed for Outback.

We went to the Outback Steakhouse in Largo located at 3690 E Bay Drive. We found an excellent parking space and headed in. We arrived at about 7:50pm and were seated immediately. Our server was Sarah. She had the patience of a saint. Cameron and I took our time ordering and attempting to plan out the meal. We lamented the complete and utter lack of Spinach dip on the menu (to ourselves). We settled on the Bloomin' Onion. I realize it has enough calories and fat to feed a small country for a few days, but it's delicious and we don't worry about our weight. (Cam has to support those ears, after all.) You can never go wrong with a Bloomin' Onion and even though we only ate half of it, it was so worth it. I love the horseradish sauce that comes with it. I could eat that on almost anything.



I always forget to take the pictures before I eat.

For our main course, we ordered the Outback Special. I got the 9oz and Cam got the 12oz. (He is a growing boy afterall. I mean, man. Very manly man. The manliest of men. Moving on...)

The Outback Special is described on their website as follows: "Our signature sirloin is seasoned with bold spices and seared just right." It is served with a salad and a side. It comes with a Blue Cheese Wedge salad, but I don't like them so I asked for a house salad with blue cheese dressing instead. Cameron stuck with the Wedge. He doesn't like to rock the boat or give the server a hard time. (NOTE: Cam is a server too at a different restaurant.) For my side item I chose the seasonal vegetables and Cam got the potatoes. (I told you, very manly.)



My untouched food as it was given to me.




Here's my take on the steak. I found it to be kind of gritty. It was flavored appropriately, but it just had a strange mouth feel this time. I still ate it and enjoyed it though. Cameron said his was good. My only real problem with my meal was the seasonal vegetables. I love vegetables and no matter what they would have been I would have been fine, except for the fact that they were overcooked and mushy. This kind of made them flavorless. Cameron said that his garlic mashed potatoes were killer.




This was on the table and also repeated on the website. While I can't agree with it because I think that Tampa Bay has several places in the same price range that are better for steak, I enjoyed my meal. I'd also like to say that our server was wonderful and she timed everything perfectly. That always makes me very happy.


Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 21, 2009

Babies and birthday parties.

   This weekend consisted of my and the kids running around to different events. Friday night we saw the Lightening defeat the Atlanta Thrashers in overtime. It was great. We got there just late enough so that by the time the kids wanted to leave, the game was over. We left the Forum in pouring rain. The kids thought that was freaking awesome. They slept the whole way home and late into the morning. Well, until 7:30am.

   Saturday, we went to a birthday party for my nephew. It was Carter's third birthday and he was very excited to have other little kids to play with. The kids were positively filthy by the time we left in the early evening. They had their faces painted by my cousin. (If you need a face painter in Pasco or Hernando, let me know. She's great.) They ate everything in sight and then drank enough Hawaiian Punch to drown a horse.

   I held a baby for a good portion of the time. He was so cute. See:


Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome to the Senate, Senator LeMieux

Dear Readers,
Below is a letter I wrote to a new Senator. I am not sure how I got on his email list, but since he was sending me an email, I thought I would take the time to write him back. If you want to send him an email also you can send it to info@lemieux.senate.gov.


Court-


Dear Senator LeMieux,
I want to take this time to welcome you to the senate. I know that you take your job very seriously and I hope you will do your best to serve the people of Florida.

I am also a native Floridian. I, however, grew up in Pasco county. Pasco county has a very large segment of senior citizens. My grandmother, who is in her eighties, lives there and through her I see the suffering of our elderly. She lived during the depression and World War II. She had many children. She has watched some of them die. She is part of the culture that helped America become what it is today, but she only gets enough social security to pay her light bill and phone bill. My grandmother, despite being nearly blind, still cooks the best collard greens I have ever had and remains relatively active. She is not alone though. There are many other seniors who don't have the large family that I have. Even in the best of economic times, they struggle. They make very hard choices. They need support.

Do you know the heartache of hearing your grandparent tell you that they are no longer interested in living? I do. I'm currently twenty eight. I have friends who are both older and younger than me. I have my brothers and my parents that love me. I have people who have lived through my lifetime and that I can relate to. When you are in your eighties you have, most likely, lost your parents, siblings, and the majority of your friends. You have seen the majority of the people you love, look up to, and look to for support die. That's in addition to being less able, in many cases, to take care of yourself.

I also ask you to please take a look into nursing homes. I know that the best way to help a family member in a nursing home is to visit often, keep lines of communication open, and to familiarize yourself with the staff. However, some of these people don't have a family or their family is not local. It is wrong that these people are so often abused or treated harshly. It is wrong that it happens so often that it isn't news anymore. It is wrong that people have to die afraid and alone. We wouldn't tolerate it if it was happening to children and we shouldn't tolerate abuse in the elderly either.

Senator, I am asking you to please take these people into consideration when you consider health care issues. End of life care is not only about keeping the body healthy, but it is about providing a life that is worth living. Happiness is awfully hard to pursue when you're elderly and you need a hand.

There are many other issues that I could write you about and that are important to me like the ability for people to marry the person that they love, the need for a high speed rail, or the preservation of the environment in the state that I love so much. I can't promise that I won't write you about those things later, but I'd like you to please consider the elderly.

Sincerely,

Courtney Schoenfeld

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Today is not all sunshine and roses like tomorrow should be.

I got to work and realized, as I was screaming loudly at the router located in another room, that I was a bit grumpy. I realized not too long after that, that I was in the full swing of PMS. My coworker came in and made silly jokes, bought me breakfast, and then got to work. I told her that I was grumpy and then I apologized in advance. I'm good like that. I rarely get grumpy, but when I do it's bad news bears.

My coworker soon got a call that her grandma was being rushed to the hospital. She, of course, ran to the hospital along with the rest of the family. You see, her whole freaking family is here in town because my coworker is getting married. Tomorrow. She kept me updated with the progress until we finally got the message that her Grandma had passed on. I thought I might puke.

My mother is about the same age as her grandma. They are not old ladies. They are young. They are older than me, but young by anyone's standards. I know that death is natural and as much a part of life as birth is, but intellectually knowing is not enough.

I also can't do anything to help. Part of me wants to bake something for her. Part of me keeps weeping (mostly my tear ducts, honestly.) Part of me just wants to shut down.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Chaos and consumables

I have been incredibly busy. I had a wonderful weekend with my boyfriend and even visited my Grandma. I was prepared for a tough week since my boss is in Vegas for a trade show, but it has taken a turn towards Suckville.

Last night, my boyfriend proved that he's pretty awesome. I knew I was going to be in the office for a good portion of the evening. He offered to drive about 45 minutes to bring me dinner. That, my loyal reader(s), is love.

Tonight, I don't think I will be so lucky. I planned ahead. By planning ahead I mean that I took out my crockpot, threw things in it, and hoped for the best. I'm telling you what is in it so that if I die you will know not to ever eat such a meal yourself.

Courtney's Chaotic Concoction (AKA Dinner)
  • One pound baby bella mushrooms (Whole since I had no time to chop them.)
  • One can of diced tomatos.
  • One can of black beans.
  • One can of mixed vegetables.
  • One can of tomato soup.
  • Half of one medium onion. (Chopped in big chunks due to time.)
  • One soup can of water.
  • One can of light red kidney beans.
  • One shot of Jack Daniel's Whiskey. (In the crock, not in your mouth. It's 6am, people!)
  • One Teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce.
  • One Teaspoon of hotsauce.
  • Salt
  • Pepper.
  • Broccoli.
Throw everything into the pot. I have listed the ingredients in the order I tossed them in, which is also the order I thought of or saw them. I put the crock on low and I will be back home about 13 hours after turning it on.

This might be one of the reasons I am not married. I have no food fear, except for the fear of feeding other people. This is why. I will almost eat anything.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

COFFEE!


Last week, I won a pound of coffee from The Coffee Beanery by retweeting a post they made. I eagerly awaited my coffee. My doctor has suggested that I not drink coffee because it makes me a little like this guy, but I love it and drink it a few times a month and I am fine. My father gave me a really cool coffee maker but, due to the fact that I live alone, most of the time I drink coffee at restaurants. I wasn't sure how this was going to work out.


I made a decision. I brought the previously mentioned really cool coffee maker and the cherished and won (in a long hard fought internet battle that required exactly two clicks) coffee to work. I figured that if I shared the coffee with my coworkers it would guarantee two things.


1. I would not drink all the coffee at home and alone with the cats. I think if I did that I'd have to get a typewriter and a pack of cigarettes. (Would I be a real writer then? I think real writers are 2/3 coffee and nicotine.)


2. The coffee would not come to live permanently in my freezer. (Sometimes, things go in my freezer and get moved from apartment to apartment. I look at them longingly and lovingly, but never really use them.)




Now, let's talk about the coffee. The tweet I received that told me I won said that I would get one pound of coffee. IT WAS A LIE! I got so much more. I got, as promised, one pound of Mocha Java, one coffee scoop, one pots worth of Smores flavored coffee, one pots worth of Carmel flavored coffee, and one pots worth of Dark and Rich flavored coffee. (I considered giving the last one to my mother since that's how she likes her men, but I figured her tastes might have changed after meeting her current male friend. He's something else altogether.)


The first day I was to make coffee in the office I couldn't decide which flavor to use. I walked up to an employee with the flavors turned away from him and asked him to pick one. He chose Smore's flavor and I declared my love for him. (I got a little excited. I'll admit it.) I prepared the coffee and the smell flooded my office. I could barely wait for the beep of the finished coffee pot. I poured my first cup and added half and half and sugar. I took a big sniff and then I sipped out of the coffee cup I borrowed from my boss. (Don't worry, I washed it.) It was delicious. It had a sweet flavor that had hints of smoke, I swear. It was like magic in my mouth. I won't lie. I drank the entire pot by myself.


If you want to find out more about the Coffee Beanery you can check them out here or follow them on twitter here. Don't worry! They also carry Decaf!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Oh So Glamorous Life. Part II

This morning I crawled into bed at 4:52am. This is exactly 24 hours after the last time I got out of bed.

Yesterday, Meg came to my office. In case you didn't notice, Meg is my best friend. I asked her to bring me something chocolate from the drive through and she said she forgot. I was totally cool with it and I told her that it was no big deal. Then, she pulled a parcel from her purse. It was a bag from the Cheesecake Factory. I couldn't believe it. I was so happy that I threw myself on the floor and moaned in ecstasy. She bought me a giant piece of Godiva cheesecake. (Why yes, we do have an incredibly professional work environment. Why do you ask?)

It was while I was rudely scarfing down the cheesecake that she asked me to go with her to the Blue Martini. I didn't have a choice. I mean, she brought me cheesecake. It was decided that we would go and she would pick me up at 9:30pm.


I planned to wear a short black dress, but I left my only pair of shoes that go with the dress at my boyfriends house, so I went with jeans, a cute top, and a pair of one inch heels. I wore make up and before lipstick this is how I looked:






The Blue Martini and I have a history. That history is basically me going a few times and loathing it every time. I have been on Friday and Saturday a few times and that is sheer misery. It is packed to the gills and impossible to move. There is nowhere to sit or stand without being touched or jostled. The dance floor is small and surrounded by tables, but people are dancing everywhere. Generally, the crowd is so thick that it is impossible to walk through.



Tuesday night at the Blue Martini is Latin Night. We started the evening on the patio. They were out of the wine I wanted, so Meg chose a Chardonnay. We drank the first glass waiting for our friend, Anna. When she arrived we purchased glass two. We drank the second glass and suddenly Anna decided we were going to dance. I agreed with her. It was time to stop sitting. Meg was not happy, but we started dancing near our table and Meg got into it. Suddenly, Anna walked away. She came back bearing Latin men. I'll admit it. I was terrified.



Now, I am not afraid of men or Latinos. I am afraid of dancing. I am a horrible dancer. Anna tried to show me, but she decided that I needed a man to lead. She brought back a man who was thrilled to pieces to dance with me. He didn't seem to notice the look of sheer terror or maybe he mistook it for a drunken smile. Who knows? We were on the dance floor and I was trying. Anna was dancing with a total hottie nearby and she kept leaning over with helpful hints like "Relax" and "Let him lead." I thought I was letting him lead.


Apparently, I was the furthest thing from relaxed. It's hard to relax. This type of dancing requires being in very close proximity to a person that I don't know. This guy bought Anna and I another glass of wine. I didn't want it, but he seemed to really want to buy it and Anna was thirsty. We all talked for a while and then he got all Gropy Groperton on me. I was forced to give Anna and Meg "The Signal."



"The Signal" is for when a dude is being a bit too familiar or creepy. When you are in a club, you keep an eye on your friends. If your girl tosses out "The Signal" you go rescue her. No matter what. You stop making out, dancing, brooding, or any other thing you are doing and you go take care of her. PERIOD. Meg saw it and in true BFF form she marched over, pushed him away, and dragged me off while I grinned apologetically.



Anna was not happy. She said "Oh no he didn't!" and stomped off into the crowd. I yelled "Don't hurt him!" She came back with A WHOLE GROUP OF CUBANS! Not kidding. She apparently tossed her dude cast net out and roped us some dudes who did not speak English. Greeeat. The guy who was tossed my way was approximately a foot shorter than me. He was wearing shoes that appeared to be made of crocodile or alligator. Anna demanded that we all dance, so we did. It was fun and the men kept their hands where they belonged. This made me happy.


I should mention that I look like a complete idiot when I am dancing. I do it with my eyes closed. I know it looks stupid or like I am really drunk, but there are so many commands being tossed out at once.


RELAX! DON'T LOOK AT YOUR FEET! LOOK AT MY FEET! FEEL THE MUSIC!



It's enough to give this girl a complete panic attack. I was close to it and covered with sweat when Anna and Meg said we should go sit on the patio. We and our new found Cuban friends all headed to the patio where the men attempted to talk to us. They also requested that we speak to them in Spanish. We explained that our Spanish was worse than their English, so we kind of sat there looking at each other.



Anna was suddenly unwell. Not just queasy, she was about to be unconscious. I had two and a half glasses of wine over a 5 hour period, so I was totally fine, but she apparently had a lot more than me. The men scurried around while Meg and I barked orders at them. We had them go get us water and napkins. They obeyed without question. Meg went to get the car and told me to bring Anna out to the Valet. Anna demanded that I take off her shoes, but I am an idiot. I tried but I couldn't get the things off. The men saw the problem and stopped the ridiculous wrestling match between me and her feet. Two men each took a foot and undid the ankle strap (that I hadn't seen. /Facepalm)



We walked Anna to Meg's car where she fell face first into the car. I thought she was going to try to sit up, but she simply lifted her feet up and I shut the door. The men said goodnight and headed off. We also headed into the night.


Anna sat up, rolled down the window, and hung out of the car. There was a police officer in front of us for a long time and Meg pleaded for dear life to get Anna back in the car, even giving her permission to vomit in the car. Anna wasn't having it. We continued driving that way for a while and then Meg had to make a right turn. The road was closer than Meg had anticipated and she had to turn abruptly. Anna literally flew across the car and into the door, face first. Meg and I were horrified. We had asked her to put on her seat belt, but she was afraid to puke in the car.


Anna screamed "I BROKE MY NOSE!" Meg and I couldn't speak for a moment because we were laughing so hard. After about 10 seconds, Meg regained composure and asked if she was bleeding. Anna screamed that she was, but we looked back and she was just a bit drooly from her mid ride flight. We tried so hard to stop laughing and if she had been hurt we would have stopped at once, but it was awful. We could not stop.



We found Anna's apartment and helped her out of the car. The left side of Meg's vehicle was now covered in oatmeal looking vomit. We were in giggles again. I got what was coming to me though. In helping Anna into the apartment, I was covered in her vomit. After everything else, it really didn't seem like that big of a deal and, of course, we laughed about it.

We stopped at IHOP and had breakfast. We rehashed the entire evening and laughed until we nearly cried.



As I crawled into my bed, shortly before I had to get up, I found myself giggling about the weirdness of the whole night.

Chili Time

I have an employee named Sadia and she makes the best damned chili. It is so good. She said that they used a random internet recipe, but then her very soon to be husband misread the directions for the spices and this is what came together. I highly recommend it.

Sadia and Jeff’s Fuxed Chili

3 lbs lean ground beef
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
2 chopped celery ribs
2 (16oz) cans kidney beans drained
1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
1 (16 oz) jar salsa
1 (14 ½ oz) can diced tomatoes
2 cups of corn (frozen or canned.)
1 can beef broth
1 ½ cups of water
¼ cup chili powder
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP dried basil
2 TBSP ground cumin
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP salt
1 TBSP ground pepper

In a large pot (6 qt), cook the beef, onions, bell pepper and celery over medium heat until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain. Stir in the remainder of ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes or until chili is desired thickness.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Oh So Glamorous Life.

This morning, I woke up at 4:52am. I have no idea why, but once I was awake there was no going back to sleep. I paced around for a bit, had breakfast, showered, and emptied the cat box. I decided that I might as well head out around 6:15 because I had to make a stop anyway.

I stopped at the Wal-Mart next to my house. They are the only place open at 6:15 and conveniently located on one of my available paths to work. It was not a pleasure visit, as much as a search and obtain mission.

I was marching through the store when then ridiculously attractive, probably felon, employee of Wal-Mart looked at me. Not in the way that you look at the crazy folks in Wal-Mart. He looked at me in the way that a man looks at a woman. I scurried away as fast as possible.

I should probably note that my style, for the most part, is probably the same as a 12 year old boy. I am wearing beige corduroy pants, sneakers, and a black t-shirt. My hair was up in a tiny pony tail and still wet from my shower. I don't really wear make up that often, and today was definitely not one of those days.

I collected my purchases and was making my way to the register when Mr. Tall, Dark, Handsome, and probably a criminal again stood in my path. I froze like prey and then he looked down. Oh God. I realized suddenly that I stood there holding the ultimate and perfect man repellent. I held in my two, suddenly sweaty, hands the following items:

  • One Giant Box of Tampons.
  • One Giant Box of Maxi Pads
  • One pack of prepared chocolate pudding cups.

I scurried away and hurried through the checkout, passing him again at the cashier's desk. I marched off into the darkness and went to work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I think we need to have a talk, folks.

Recently, my friend John Hummel was in an article in the St. Pete Times. You can see the article here. The article talks about how John was a Mormon and through life's journey found himself to be an Atheist. It talks about his curiosity about other religions and frustrations about the misconceptions of his own religion (and now lack of religion.) The article goes into how John's curiosity leads him to start a blog and a podcast about seeing 52 religions in 52 weeks.

I am not here to talk to you about the article, as much as I am here to talk to you about people's response to it.

TomH from Arizona commented:

Hummel's problem is simple. He has no faith because he doesn't nourish faith. He could not endure the taunting of the "large and spacious building" and gave into unbelief. Faith is like a seed, it must be planted and nourished. Otherwise, it dies

My problem with Tom's comment is that he expects blind faith in a god. This is the crux of nearly all religions involving a god. You must simply believe, without any proof at all, that they are there. You must believe that things happen because the god wants them too. It's almost as if there would be nothing good in the world if a god hadn't created it. I think John believes in the goodness of man. Tom believes that John was taunted by the "large and spacious building". I'm not sure why he feels that way since the article never says that. It specifically says that John left the church because he disagreed with their involvement in the political arena. Prior to that he had continued to be an active, but Atheist, member.

I'll admit that I know John Hummel. I met him at the first Tweet Up that I ever attended. I liked him from the start. He is funny and well read. He is snarky at times, but never unkind. He listens with genuine interest to views that are not his own and honestly considers them.

I have met his lovely wife, Holli. I have met his beautiful children. I have never seen a man more in love with or devoted to his wife than John Hummel.

Some people assume that an Atheist is stupid or that they have no morals, but that is not true. I have been friends with many people who consider themselves to be an Atheist and the vast majority of them are thoughtful people. They want the best for humanity because it the best for them too. They volunteer. They fight for their country. They feel sadness when their friends and relatives die.

Paul D. Valentine, the leader of the Worldwide Church of Satanic Liberation, has a channel on YouTube. I find him to be incredibly interesting. I am subscribed to his videos because I enjoy listening to him talk. He is an Atheist. Contrary to popular belief, he does not actually worship Satan. (He doesn't really mind if you are silly enough to think so though.) I was listening to a video one day and he was talking about the sadness of loss for an Atheist. He said that it was significantly more sad to know that you would never see the people you love again. I agree.

Doesn't it take a significant amount of, well, faith to believe that there is no god? You have to look at everything around you and believe that it occurred because of some cosmic fluke. Beyond that, you have to believe that you are not a special edition hand crafted by a god being. You are just another blip in the cosmos, no more significant than a grain of sand.

Another response to the article was directed towards me, as I had left a comment.

I said:
To TomH - You are wrong about Hummel's problem. John had been an Atheist for a while, but until the church made stands in areas in which they should not be involved, he remained in the church because he felt they did good in the community.

ea from Washington responded:

"Areas in which they should not be involved"? Who are you, Courtney or anyone else, to say what rights ANY group can or cannot fight for? I would not think to deny any opposing group the right to organize and petition."

I doubt "ea from Washington" will ever read this or my comment that I wrote back, but when I wrote that I was writing about a little thing that people have been trying to shred or protect for years called separation of church and state. The churches do not pay taxes. It's not a good idea for them to be getting involved in politics. It's also not a good idea for governments to be getting involved with (or banning) religion. When churches want to start paying taxes like any other business then I think that they can participate in the political arena. I just don't think that they should at all.

If you are interested in learning more about John Hummel please visit www.blogthereligions.com or another blog he runs that I like called Between the Bits. Including this post about the insanity at the Town Hall meeting about the Healthcare reform bill.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lychee Jelly Cups

I had my very first Lychee Jelly cup yesterday. It was very good. It reminded me of a Jello shot, with the exception of the fact that you can get it out of the cup with relative ease. You simply squeeze the size of the cup and it pops up.



I was told that it was very sweet and that I probably wouldn't like it, but I prepared myself, squeezed the cup, and took a bite. It was very good. It is a very sweet think gel substance with small chunks of coconut in it. The coconut is soft from being immersed in the gel and is surprisingly complimentary.

To find out more about the Lychee Fruit you can go here, here, or here.

To buy Lychee Jelly cups you can try here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I'm back!

I was sick last week. I went home early for two days and then didn't come in at all on Friday. I was in and out of a fever. I slept more than I have in a long while. My cats watched over me in confusion as I drooled and sweated all over myself. On Friday, I was finally determined to go to the doctor. I got the info I needed and then I had to wait until I was the best I could be to drive. I was so dizzy and tired that I needed to be sure that I could not only get to the doctor, but make it back home.

I was diagnosed, by the perkiest human ever, as having a severe sinus infection. I was given a horsepill of antibiotics for the next ten days and told to take Mucinex with it. I was relieved.

I had to cancel seeing my children because I was too sick. I felt really guilty and sad, but promised to see them Sunday if I was better. I knew I made the right decision when I slept the majority of Saturday too. I never could have kept up with them for the whole time.

Sunday dawned and I was nearly me. I felt better than I had in a long while. I made arrangements to take the kids and Bob to lunch. I read the paper, relaxed, and then went for lunch with the kids. We went to Cafe Alfresco which was delicious. Our waiter was kind and patient with the children. The children ate everything on their plates. I had a very delicious mushroom omelette, which left me full and satisfied for nearly the rest of the day. We went to Strachan's for ice cream afterwards and I had the chocolate chunk. It was hellagood.

Sunday evening, Bob and I visited our favorite resatraunt, Vallarta's. It was the same as it always is and we had a good time talking about Ponkeys and chaps. I was accused of being less funny than usual, but after explaining that I NEARLY DIED or something this week, I was cut some slack. MEN! Actually, I had a wonderful time. It might have been the first time that I felt back to normal. Bob caught me humming several times during dinner. I generally save that for when I am happily baking, but I felt great and day dreamy.

Today, it's back to life, back to reality.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My visit to The East Lake Cafe

Sunday, after learning that my newest favorite restaurant was no longer in business, I had to find a new restaurant for breakfast. My stomach was rumbling, my daughter was starving, and my boyfriend had a suggestion. He suggested the East Lake Cafe. It was close to where we were, so we stopped in.

We walked in the door and were seated promptly. The restaurant was clean and comfortable. Not long after we were seated we ordered our drinks. We ordered coffee and my daughter ordered Apple juice. I did not try the juice my self, but I was assured it was good. Our coffee arrived, and though we loved the large colorful mugs, the coffee was very watery.

I ordered the The Cafes Southern Special which includes eggs, 1 biscuit & gravy, grits, and sausage patties. I ate the sausage patties first and they were good. They were juicy and what you would expect in a sausage patty. I then ate the biscuits and gravy.

I should probably note that I have been making biscuits and gravy for a long time. I make it about 3 times a month and it's one of my favorite breakfast dishes. I think it's usually incredibly flavorful. When I received the biscuits and gravy from the kitchen it was lukewarm and completely devoid of any meat flavor. It was actually slightly sweet. I found that really confusing. The "meat" itself could actually be mistaken for sawdust because the pieces are so incredibly tiny. The biscuit was a very dense flavorless lump. I ate half of it and gave up. It was very disapointing.

A note about the grits. I never order grits in restaurants. I'm a real Southern girl and the majority of the grits I have eaten were made by my Grandma, who could outcook Emeril in my book any day of the week. Her grits are cooked through and are soft and creamy in your mouth. No matter where I have ordered them outside of her house they are hard, gritty, and raw. This restaurant was the exact same, but I beg you to not hold that against them since nearly every restaurant in the area makes them the exact same way (unfortunately.)

My daughter got a waffle which she actually devoured. I am going to assume she liked it because getting her to eat anything is generally a giant pain and a long process and she finished before I did.

The plates were garnished with a large leaf of something that I am assuming is parsely and an orange slice. We gave my daughter the oranges and after one bite she refused to eat them. Since oranges are one of her favorite foods I became curious and took a bite. It was very sour. I am of the opinion that nothing should ever go on a plate that is not expressly meant to be eaten. The food should speak for itself.

Bob got the Traditional - Canadian bacon - Eggs Benedict. He said that it was very bland and had very little flavor.

We found ourselves saying at the same time that we were off the opinion that very little, if anything other than the eggs, were cooked here. The kitchen is silent. There is no rushing of hot food. There are no clanging pans in the kitchen. It really was confusing as they have a sign in front that claims that they are they best in Palm Harbor.

Their website makes the claim that "All of our selections are made to order with the finest ingredients & the greatest of care, and trans fat free! Your patience is appreciated!" However, there was about 4 minutes between the time we ordered and the time that we recieved our food. I would argue that the previous statement is blatantly untrue.

The one bright spot in this trip was the service. Every staff member keeps a watchful eye on your table and they are quick with coffee refills and anything else you might need. I feel terrible about what I have written because I felt that the staff worked hard and were genuinely kind, but the food was not acceptable.

East Lake Cafe on Urbanspoon
Urbanspoon rocks

Writing and why I seem to not be doing it.

Did you know that in addition to this blog I write for three other blogs?

I write for Hotbuckles, Renter's Regret, and I just started writing for The Kind of Cat Lady. I feel like I have been neglecting my writing lately and I apologize.

When I write for Hotbuckles it's probably the most challenging. I'm not representing myself. I'm supposed to be writing about things that are important to the company. Unfortunately, whatever pops into my skull simply will not do. I have a small list of things to write about and for some reason, it seems to be a struggle.

I haven't written for a few months over at Renter's Regret. I was so furious with a situation that I wanted to scream out the details. I felt like it was a bad move and every time I intended to write something coherent, I wrote out a hateful rant. That's not really the direction I want the blog to go in, so I had to let it go for a little while. You can expect a few things up there this week. I have some new topics that I'm excited about.

I have written for The Kind of Cat Lady (or The Cat Lady Chronicles) recently. I could talk about cats all day, but whether you, the reader wants to read it is another issue entirely. I will be posting a few things there this week too. I'm super excited about that.

For this site, you're at www.courtneyschoenfeld.com by the way, I had planned to have some write ups on some restaurants I visited. The first was for The New York Skyline Restaurant in Palm Harbour. I visited. It was delicious and everything you could dream of in a breakfast place, but when I returned this past Sunday it had been closed and sold! My heart broke! My stomach grumbled! I had to go somewhere else.

My boyfriend suggested we go to The East Lake Cafe. The next blog post will describe that experience!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cemetery Junction

You probably don't know this, but I am a huge fan of Ricky Gervais. I MUST see this movie.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Death took a vacation and followed a star map.

My brother called last night. This is the message he left:

Voicemail You'll Love
Share this ...


Now, as sad as everyone is for Michael, Farrah, and Ed, I feel bad. I don't feel sad for them.



I'll start with Ed. Ed was an older man who had lived quite a massive life. I'm not going to expand on everyone's accomplishments because everyone else is so I'm sure you have read it elsewhere. He was respected widely and people liked him. Later in life, especially in the past few years he began to have financial and legal troubles. I think he was ready to go. My grandmother says that once you get to her and Ed's age, that you are kind of ready to go. Most of your friends are dead. Your parents are dead. Sometimes, your children die before you. It's tiresome. I think he was ready and relieved.



Farrah Fawcett was an actress and a very passionate woman. The past few years for her were a struggle. In addition to battling Anal Cancer, she also watched the love of her live and her son battle drug addiction and each other. She tried desperately to find a way to a cure. She traveled to different countries and looked for alternative treatments.



She made a documentary on her struggles through Cancer. She shaved her head reather then let the chemotherapy take it from her. She fought hard and I respect that. I hope that her death was like falling asleep after a hard day.



Finally, we come to Michael Jackson. I feel sad about his death because he is just little younger than my parents and a tiny bit older than my boyfriend. I worry about my mother even though she's healthy as a horse and pretty much seems invincible. I worry about my Dad becuase he has had a liver transplant and that's not really ever a sure thing. I worry about my grandparents, mostly because my grandmother's are determined to tell me that "you never know" and that they could be dead and any moment. I'm literally convinced that that will never happen. It's childish to believe that all of my family will live forever, but that's where I'm at.



Michael had a crazy life. He had a sucessful career with his brothers and then on his own. He was married though it seemes everyone thought that was strange. He was accused of skin bleaching, but claimed he had Vitiligo. He had a series of plastic surgery mishaps. He had children and named them all ofter himself. He was accused of child molestation. He had everything he had ever wanted in a physical capacity, but I don't think there is a doubt in anyone's mind that he was still desperately searching for something.I hope that Ed, Michael, and Farrah all are resting in peace, or traveling to the next place, or starting their new lives.