Friday, December 3, 2010

Dear Future Employers: Stop Creeping on Me

With the rise of social media sites, blogs, and Internet searches, job applicants are now subject to deeper, and more personal, scrutiny than ever before. While applying for various jobs, individuals search through their tagged photos on Facebook and quickly remove any and all photos that would shed a less than favorable light upon him or her. Now some would argue that this comes with the territory. If you're willing to put something on the Internet, it should be fair game for any and all to view it. I used to share this viewpoint. But I've changed my mind. I truly believe that my qualifications for a job should be clear through my resume, through an interview, or through my references. There is no need to click through my Facebook photos, view my friends' wall posts, or, read this blog, to determine whether not I would be a good representative of a company/employer/etc.

Now...I'm sure you're all thinking, "Well, what is she trying to hide?" And that's my point. I have absolutely nothing to hide. Pictures of me drinking a beer or holding a red cup are not in violation of any law. I didn't drink until I was 21 (some people don't believe this, but alas, it's true). On this note, I'm not condoning high schoolers who post pictures from parties on Facebook. That's just dumb. But I'm 23 and I should not have to worry about removing pictures from websites because of the impression they might give off. I'll defend any photo/tag/post you can find on my Facebook, by Google searching my name, or even reading my old Xanga.

I would rather that an employer ask me about certain things they find about me online, rather than me try to frantically cover up anything that might give the wrong impression. And wouldn't an employer rather see who I really am than some shined up, polished, fake online version of me? I sure would hope so.

So yes, we live in a time where the Internet dominates our lives and lifestyles. But the economy is tough enough for us recent college grads. While some of my fellow grads are still searching for jobs, how about we cut them a break and stop judging them strictly by their online content. Give them (us) a chance to explain.

In order to prove my point, I challenge you to try to dig up some really good dirt on me via the Internet. And then lets talk about it. Let me know what you find.

*stepping off my soap box now*

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pardon my rant...

But seriously...I was having a good day/evening until about 45 minutes ago. But first, let me rewind and provide some background information.

Yesterday, Sioux Falls experienced our first snowfall (I mean we only got an inch or so, but still). It made the roads pretty slick and even the plows came out for the first time this winter season. My brother Josh returned to Iowa State on Sunday and since he's a freshman, my parents did not allow for him to bring his truck with it sits in front of our house. Well, in fact, Josh last parked it in front of our neighbors house and the tail end was partially hanging over their third stall driveway. So last night, post-work and post-dinner, I was going to the gym when I suggested to my parents that I should just drive Josh's truck to the gym and then re-park it in front of our house upon my return. Dad thought this was a good idea. Mom didn't comment. So that's what I did.

Fast forward to this evening in which I was departing for the gym again (post-work, post-dinner). This time, I didn't say anything about driving Josh's truck, but I figured it would do some good to drive it a couple miles every day since it's starting to get frigid cold around these parts. So I drive it to the gym, work out, and begin to drive to Hy-Vee to pick up some Special K cereal and yogurt. Then....I see flashing lights behind me. Perfect.

I knew I wasn't speeding. Ever since I got a whopper of a fine in Indiana, I've decided to reign in my speed so I was thinking "ummm....okay dude. lets see what you got." As it turns out, one of the truck's headlights was out. Awesome. (After hearing this, I did recall overhearing a conversation between Josh and my parents about said headlight...but heck, it's not my car, I don't have to take care of it). THEN he asked for proof of insurance for the truck. Great. Now I have to dig through my brother's mess of a truck for an insurance card. Well I happened to find two cards...both of which were expired. Again, thanks Josh for being responsible. So I tried to explain to the cop that it's the same insurance policy, it's not my truck, I'm sure the current card is at home. He asks me to call my parents. Excellent. So I call. Mom's not too happy about having to drive to Hy-Vee and bring the updated insurance card...but alas, she gets in the car, sans cell phone. The cop tells me to wave out my window to the patrol car when I get a hold of my parents, so I foolishly lean out the truck window and wave. Patrolman comes up...I inform him that my mom has the updated card and she's coming to drop it off. Cop: "Oh there's no need for that I guess. I'll just give you a warning for a burned out headlight and failure to show proof of insurance." Me (in my head): "Seriously dude? Do you have any idea how crabby my mom's going to be?" Me (actually): "Thank you, sir." So then I frantically call home, and Dad tells me that Mom already left and she didn't bring her cell phone.

End of Scene. Close Curtain.

Curtain Up. Mom arrives.

I get out of the truck and grab the card from my mom, who is obviously wondering where the squad car is. I tell her that they no longer needed to see the card and that I tried calling her but she had already left. THEN she proceeds to lecture me about how I'm going to have to pay my brother for gas. Why yes Mom, I'll be sure to give Josh $3 for the 5 miles that I've driven his truck over the past two days. Let me also note that Josh doesn't even pay for his own parents do! Ugh so frustrating.

When I returned home, neither one of my parents asked if I got a ticket. It would've been even better if I did...nothing like getting a ticket for a burned out headlight on a vehicle that I usually NEVER drive and for failure to provide proof of insurance when, in fact, my insurance card for my Grand Prix is always in my wallet. Apparently responsibility only gets you so far as to when you have to rely on other people to be responsible too.

Hi, my name is Courtney, I'm 23, a college graduate, and living at home with my parents.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

P Diddy is my hero too?

Saw this on somebody's Facebook page. Thought I would share it so that you might understand why I (generally) vote Republican.

I'm voting democrat because Barbara Walters is my idol and so is P.Diddy.I'm voting Democrat because English has no place being the official language in America. I'm voting Democrat because I'd rather pay $4 for a gallon of gas than allow drilling for oil off the coasts of America. I'm voting Democrat because I think the government will do a better job of spending my money than I could. I'm voting Democrat because when we pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, I know the Islamic terrorists will stop trying to kill us because they'll think we're a good and decent country.I'm voting Democrat because I believe people who can't tell us if it will rain in two or three days, can now tell us the polar ice caps will disappear in ten years if I don't start riding a bicycle, build a windmill or inflate my tires to proper levels. I'm voting Democrat because it's alright to kill millions of babies as long as we keep violent, convicted murderers on death row alive.I'm voting Democrat because I believe businesses in America should not be
allowed to make profits.Businesses should just break even and give the rest to the government so politicians and bureaucrats can redistribute the money the way they think it should be redistributed.I'm voting Democrat because I believe guns, and not the people misusing them, are the cause of crimes and killings.I'm voting Democrat because when someone with a weapon threatens my family or me, I know the government can respond faster through a call to 911 than I can with a gun in my hand.I'm voting Democrat because oil companies' 5% profit on a gallon of gas are obscene, but government taxes of 18% on the same gallon of gas are just fine.I'm voting Democrat because I believe three or four elitist liberals should rewrite the Constitution every few months to suit some fringe element that could never get their agenda past voters.I'm voting Democrat because illegal aliens are not criminals, are not sucking up resources through government aid, hospital services, education, or social services, but are just people trying to make a better life by coming to America illegally.We can't blame them for that, can we?I'm voting Democrat because the same teacher that didn't teach my child to read can reasonably educate them about sex.I'm voting Democrat because my trial lawyer's crippling multi-million dollar lawsuits against doctors, hospitals, drug companies, and HMO's will make health insurance and medicine much more affordable.I'm voting Democrat because Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, and Jesse Jackson will end racism once and for all. because Christians in the Republican Party are intolerant, theocratic warmongers and atheists like William Ayers have never hurt anybody.I'm voting Democrat so that no family member of mine will die in a hospital bed. They will still be waiting in line for Obama's socialized medicine, so they will never actually make it to a bed. If you want more reasons just hit me up!

Yikes. Big, big yikes. Except for the first sentence. P.Diddy is pretty legit.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Election Hangover...

Greetings loyal subscribers. The campaign season has officially wrapped up and it's truly hard to believe. I honestly can't believe that Thanksgiving is only a couple weeks away! But let me back up and give you a little bit of an update.

I was one of two people in charge of planning and organizing the Election Night Victory Party for all of our statewide candidates here in Sioux Falls. That included the US Senate, US House, Governor, Sec of State races and on down the ballot. So needless to say, it was a pretty crazy process. I've never planned a party before (well, besides Student Senate parties...but those were easy = I make food, you bring drinks). This was on a much larger scale. I had to stay within budget, research venues, vendors, pick out the food, figure out music/staging, and make sure people were actually going to come to this thing. Angel (I consider her my mentor at work...I've learned oh so much from her during the time that I've worked at FOJT) was my partner-in-crime. And thank the Lord she had done this before. So we narrowed it down to which venue we wanted (Ramkota) and which vendors and we were planning on 400-500 people to come. We organized the program and gathered campaign signage to hang in the room. Things were definitely falling into place! And then...I was dispatched to partner with the Kristi Noem campaign and do advance work for the bus tour the weekend prior to Election Day.

First of all, I should say that I was super excited. I love traveling and meeting voters across the I was pumped to get out of the office for a couple days. And then I realized that I would be dumping basically all of this Victory Party work onto Angel's lap. Realizing that this party could completely flop or succeed depending on the work that was put into the planning process, I briefly panicked, and then managed to gather my mental thoughts and move forward. The bus tour came and went (it was a huge success btw) and after returning to Sioux Falls, we had only 2 days before the big day!

After little sleep, Tuesday quickly arrived and Angel and I spent all day at the Ramkota setting things up for the event. We worked with great vendors who managed to get everything set-up and powered up around 5:30 so we even had time to change! Which was certainly something that we weren't expecting.

Then the doors opened.

And 800-1000 people showed up.

Oh my goodness. It was a mad house. But it was GREAT. Thanks to my good friend and former boss, Hugh Weber, he twitpic'd a comparison of the Republican/Democratic parties. tell me which party looks like more fun. (For more pictures from the party, visit John Thune's facebook page!)

Needless to say, the party went off without a hitch (I think) and every single statewide Republican candidate won! It was absolutely amazing.

We finished cleaning up/tearing down half of the room around 1:30AM and then hit the bar.

**As a note, I hadn't had a drink in 90 days, and I've lost 35 please keep my new level of "tolerance" in mind when reading the following section**

I had a tequila sunrise. And was incredibly buzzed. Should've stopped there. But no, I had some celebratory wine. Oops.

**Fast forward to the next morning at work**


In conclusion, the election is over. For those of you who are concerned about my future plans, they're up in the air at this point. I'm employed at FOJT until the end of December, so I have some time to figure it out. I'm also going on a cruise in the beginning of January, so that's somewhat inconvenient when it comes to government jobs, but hopefully that's not a deal breaker. If anything develops, I'll be sure to let the blogosphere know.

Also, I'll be in Valpo a week from today. I can't wait to pretend I'm a college student again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cultural Experiences at the Nail Salon

So for girls like me, who like to get their nails done and don't want to spend an absurd amount of money to do so, we tend to go to the no-appointment needed, "we welcome walk-in" type nail salon. Typically, these are owned and operated by a lot of Asians. The store names are also pretty unoriginal: i.e. LA Nails, California Nails, Sun Nails, etc. Well this past week, I visited my very first, Asian-operated nail salon in Sioux Falls. After doing some brief research, I decided to go to Ann Nails (who's Ann? I wondered...) on the east side of town by Dunn Bros Coffee.

I walked in, and of course, there are five workers just waiting for the opportunity to touch my feet and hands. And as usual, I get stuck with the one Asian guy employee. Their super soft hands just creep me out. So I take my seat in the kinda nice massage chair and the pedicure process begins. Now the heels I had been wearing at work that day had left some damage on my big toe, yet the guy couldn't seem to avoid this area. I think he poured nail polish remover (aka pure acid) on the wound five times. I bit my tongue. After he mentioned that I have nice feet (thanks, guy?), he proceeded to massage my foot. Typically, this is my favorite part of the pedicure process. This dude, however, squeezed my foot so hard that he gave me a charlie horse. Of course, he didn't notice, even though my foot was stuck in some odd position and I couldn't move it. I wanted to kick him.

The rest of the pedicure was pretty uneventful. Except at one point he was basically punching my leg. Must be some new massage technique. Whatevs.

On to the manicure. So for those who don't know, I wear a sapphire ring on my right hand. It's nothing too incredibly special and it's not worth $5000. But this dude was FASCINATED by my ring. He nudge the neighboring Asian worker and said something like "She likes your ring." Ummm okay guy. Then they proceeded to converse about my ring in a language I clearly couldn't understand. The Asian woman than proceeded to stand up, walk over to me, pick up my hand and stare at my ring. It might not sound that bizarre to you, but trust me, it was awkward.

The manicure proceeded as normal...until Asian guy started singing along to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"....except he definitely didn't know the lyrics. I should've started singing along. Dang. Opportunity = missed. And then...we all got Rick Rolled. Clearly this wasn't an experience I could enjoy with others, considering the cultural barriers surrounding me. But I did giggle to myself.

All in all, it was quite the experience. And no matter what Asian nail salon you visit, you will notice the following:
1. The owner/manager lady is always wearing crazy/uncomfortable looking shoes
2. The TV is either turned to TNT/TBS or the radio is tuned to the "lite hits" station
3. There is only ONE male worker.
4. You will never have a good conversation with your manicurist.

Anybody else have nail salon stories to share?

Friday, October 1, 2010

The power of a good Hallmark card...

I'm the first to admit that I generally do not read the cards that I receive. I should clarify by saying that if I receive one completely out of the blue, I'll *mostly* read it, but as for birthdays/graduation, forget it. Skip the mass production language and get to the good stuff. And everybody says that a handwritten card means more than just buying one off the shelf. But at this point in my life, I think I'm going to have to disagree. I think both handwritten and store-bought cards can provide incredibly powerful messages.

I don't know why I recently started reading cards. Maybe it's because I also had to buy a couple and really took some time to find a card that seemed personal and relevant to the relationship/friendship I had with the individual receiving said card. are two examples of cards that truly moved me (and made me cry). The first is from my great, awesome, fantastic, loving, beautiful, hilarious friend Rachel and the second is from my grandparents :)

Card #1:
"For My Friend:
It's hard to put into words all the things that come to mind when I think about how many happy birthdays we've wished each other through the years.

We've been through so much together.

We've done the whole laugh-till-it-hurts thing more times than we could ever count.

We've loved and lost and loved again.

We've talked through feelings and dreams too embarrassing to share with just anyone, and shared the details of the everyday stuff of life no one else would probably care about.

And even though we've seen our lives change so much from one year to the next, I know without a doubt that nothing will ever change how much your friendship means to me.

Happy Birthday."

Card #2:
"Life Legacies: Thoughts for my Granddaughter on her Birthday

Live Deep: Never stop learning, playing, or finding wonder in the world around you. Live the length of your life, but live the depth of it as well.

Travel light: There is no use in carrying around worry and regret. They only weigh you down. Always keep yourself open to hope and to love. They give us wings.

Forgive imperfections in yourself and others. Imperfections keep things interesting. They're the cracks where the light shines through.

Own beautiful things: And not just to keep in the drawer, tucked away for a perfect day. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, that remind you of the beauty all around us if we only keep our eyes open to it.

Make mistakes: Follow detours. Sometimes it takes an unexpected turn to help us find the life that is waiting for us around the bend. Trust yourself and the path that is meant for you.

Take care of yourself: And sometimes that means you need the ice cream. Be good to your body, but also to your mind and spirit. You're the only one who can.

And always, always know you are loved. You are a gift to this world and a blessing to us. And that will never change."

So to all of you greeting card writers out there, keep up the good work. Because when I read those cards, I heard the voices of one of my best friends and my grandparents. They truly moved me.

On that note, I challenge you to send a card to the first person you think about when I say the word----luau! GO!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lets talk about....birthdays.

Last week, I celebrated my 23rd birthday. Actually, there was a lack of celebration, but alas, my 23rd birthday did come and go. This was my first post-college birthday, and needless to say, it was different than the past 4 years. On the other hand, it was the first birthday in four years that I was able to spend with family, who probably didn't have to look at Facebook to remember that indeed, I was born on September 17th. But all in all, it was a good day. Got free lunch at work, got off work two hours early, and got to see both of my brothers. While driving down to Iowa State that afternoon, I thought about past birthdays...and thought I would share some memories with you:

--Elementary school birthdays: Lets face it. They're all pretty much the same. Generally theme-oriented. Invites are a must. And ice cream cake. I specifically remember making a list of approximately 12 different types of "tag" to play at one birthday party. I was a cool kid. These birthday parties were either held at my house, Carousel Skate, Gigglebee's, or this one giant indoor playground place (the name is currently failing me). I also recall my mom reminding me to be somewhat secretive about giving out the invites, so the un-invited weren't offended. Also, these were "no boys allowed" events. Should've kept it that way.

--Middle school birthdays: Slightly less organized and more focused on sleepovers. They were the COOLEST THINGS EVER. I also ventured to a bowling alley and even to a showing of Pearl Harbor. I finally got to the point in which I realized I didn't have to invite every single girl in my class to my birthday party. The most popular gift? Either cds or lotions/shower gel from Bath & Body Works. I seriously think I have some left from that 7th grade birthday party. Ridiculous. I can't even smell Country Apple or Cucumber Melon without thinking of middle school.

--High school birthdays: I started to lack any and all motivation to have a party for my birthday in high school. It's probably because I was also in marching band, so the weekends in September were typically spent at competitions. I did, however, have a SURPRISE 16th birthday party :)

As I said, I was in marching band, and we had practice at 6:45AM every morning. But that September morning sophomore year, I was woken by the sound of people in my room at like 5 in the morning. And they were boys. Two of them, in fact. Eric Lindquist and Matt Hitchcock. Two guys that probably hated each other, but yet I was their common thread. Bizarre. Anyways...Missy and KTF were behind it all and the four of them got me out of bed, made me wear some ridiculous combination of clothing that they grabbed from my closet, and brought me to breakfast at Denny's. Or Perkin's. I can't remember. They let me go home and shower before I came home and my lovely, awesome, '88 Chevy Celebrity was decorated in "Ahhh it's my birthday!" slogans. Thanks, Dad. Throughout the school day, I also pieced together the fact that a surprise birthday party was also happening that evening. Mostly because people weren't talking to me. At all. And then I got home from school and my dad said that our family was going to go bowling (we never go bowling). When we were pulling up, I saw Collin walking in late anyways haha. But it was a great evening filled with an incredibly eclectic group of friends.

I think for my 17th birthday, we had a marching band competition in Eden Prairie. But we won best drum majors (I was a drum major), so that was sweet.

I don't really remember what I did senior year. Oh well. Should've kept a diary. WAIT. I HAD XANGA. (this is a strict copy/paste from my Sept 18, 2005 entry):

my birthday was also yesterday, which was very some sweet things. the celebration started friday night with an amazing trip to olive garden with missy, kt m, sadie, anne, and jen....a good time to be had by all. as for yesterday, for supper we made a stop at applebee' which, danny managed to tell the waitress that it was my birthday. applebees was unfortunately understaffed that night, but my good 'ol friends still managed to some what sing the applebees "happy birthday" song. after realizing that i was really embarrassed, all 12 of them gathered closely around and sang the classic happy bday song, at a high decibel level. but you know, i laughed a lot...and what's life without a little embarrassment? i love all of those guys, they're great. after we got back to sioux falls, missy, rachel n, justin, and i made a short stop at fryn' pan, because we were hungry, but yet still delirious from the bus ride home. just ask justin, he was unconscious, trust me.

*unrelated to birthdays, you all should read my xanga. and justin's xanga. and collin's too. Please forgive me for my obnoxious layout. If you want to know what we were like in high school, this is probably a good representation* Thanks Xanga!

--College birthdays:

Freshman roomie, KadSchmad, decorated our door with an awesome birthday message on our white board. Which was awesome. Then that weekend, Collin, Justin, and Ryan took me on a trip downtown Chi-town. Tons of fun was had at the North Face store and at Rainforest Cafe, in which we got a chocolate volcano (because we thought it was free), but it ended up being $12. Pictures are posted on my fbook...probably in a Freshman Year album, since that would seem to make the most sense.

Sophomore year...the big 2-0. Mary and Collin completely decorated my dorm room with streamers and tons of balloons while I was at the library being a good student. Came back after midnight with Rachel and saw the party in my room...I was then sprayed with silly string. Lots of it. Pictures are on fbook. Check the sophomore year section. A bunch of us girls also went to dinner at Abuelo's, a fantastic, absolutely incredible Mexican restaurant in Merrillville. So good. I think that was it.

Junior year...epic. First of all, (on a completely non-alcohol related note), my dad told me that he sent me two dozen roses. Well, I hadn't received them, so my dad called the company and they agreed to send two dozen more. A day after I received the replacement roses, another two dozen roses arrived and Rachel and I were forced to use all cups/glasses/water bottles available to fit these roses into our dorm room. They were everywhere, and it was awesome. Anyways...moving on. At midnight, I took my first shot. I'm pretty sure it was Malibu. Rachel planned the whole evening in which I would walk around campus and meet up with 21 people at 21 different spots and have a drink. For those of you who don't know, I didn't drink until I was 21, so this was a pretty big deal. And since Rachel didn't want to kill me, she made mixed drinks for me instead of forcing me to do endless shots. It was seriously the best way to spend my 21st...with tons of friends and tons of surprises :) Photos are on facebook.

Senior year...22 isn't as exciting as being 21. But we did go out to Duffy's and celebrated there! I'm not sure if there are any photos of this evening. The best thing about this birthday was that the vast majority of my Valpo friends were also 21, so they could come out and celebrate as well!

I think that's all of the birthday memories I have today. How about you? Share some of your favorite birthdays below!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lets talk about fall...and Twins baseball.

Although summer isn't "officially" over. It actually is. School has started for the young ones and the pools are closed. And here in Sioux Falls, B&G Milky Ways are starting to close for the regardless of the official's time for fall.

I love fall.

Not only is it the best time EVER to go to Starbucks and get a tasty pumpkin spice latte or the classic white chocolate mocha (although I can't have any on this diet...I'm referring to previous fall experiences), but it's time for some solid layers of clothing. For those of you who actually know my personal style (which is kinda weird because I'm not even sure I know what my style is), you would most likely observe that I wear a lot of layers. Now that it's cooling off, my layer options have multiplied. And it's awesome. If anyone's looking to get me a gift, please consider getting me a jacket. Or a new North Face/Mountain Hard Wear coat. K thanks.

Another great thing about fall: fall scents. i.e. pumpkin, cider, cinnamon, apple orchards, yum. I spent this past weekend in Lincoln, NE with Abbalange and we ventured into a Yankee Candle store, in which I purchased three car scents. All appropriately fall scented. I think "Farmers Market" is currently hanging from one of my air vents. Check it out. It smells like a fruit basket with spice.

Great thing about fall: fireplaces. No need for an explanation.

And I would talk about the start of football...but lets be serious...I'm clearly most excited about post-season baseball. Anybody who knows anything about me probably knows that I'm a Twins fan (and they're kicking butt right now). I can't wait until October when I can wave my Homer Hanky like a mad woman and cheer for my boys!! (P.S. I'm going to another game on Wednesday....pumped!) I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you either don't have a particular team that you cheer for, or if your team has sucked this season and won't be making it to post-season, you should cheer for the Twins. Because they're the best "team" in baseball.

But perhaps the most relevant reason as to why I love fall is because it's truly "campaign season." (47 days until Noem beats SHS) It's exciting to see people get involved across the state as November draws closer...but at the same point, even I get sick of the political commercials. However, if you're lucky enough to live in SD, you can spot me in an occasional Dennis Daugaard for Governor commercial. He's shaking my hand/you see the back of my head/I'm shaking my head like a fool.

Now that I've rambled on and on about why I love fall...take a minute and tell me what you love/hate about this fabulous season :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Adventures into Fall: Real Life Style.

Well...classes have started again. Except I'm not taking any, which is pretty bizarre. After years and years of going to school, it's strange to not have a class-oriented schedule that's oddly comforting. However, I am very thankful that I haven't had too much time to think about it as I'm staying busy at the campaign. In summers past (2008 and 2009 in particular), I had become so involved in the campaigns I was working on at the time, I didn't want to go back to Valpo. So now I have the unique opportunity of actually finishing out a campaign...which is pretty exciting for me!

That being said, I won't be able to return to Valpo for Homecoming, which is disappointing. It's just too far of a drive for such a short period of time during a busy campaign weekend. Fortunately, I've been lucky to spend occasional weekends with friends, either here in Sioux Falls or in Minneapolis! I've been to Target Field (twice!), had Abby come up for the weekend (twice!), and even had tons of Valpo people here in SF for Charli and Drew's wedding at the end of July. And there have been occasional days when high school friends have traveled home for the it's been great catching up with them too! But I still miss all of my underclassmen friends, so I'm hoping to make it out to Valpo post-election but pre-Thanksgiving. So brace yourself!

Speaking of post-election, I'm starting to get questions about what my plans are after November. be honest, I'm trying to not have plans. I'm waiting for a certain indication from a certain politician before moving forward with anything else. I did turn down a DC job, which was one of the toughest decisions I've had to make up until this point. I would have been working with people I love, for somebody that inspires me, and in a city that I cherish...but it just didn't feel right. After lots of prayers, sleepless nights, and conversations with close friends, family, and co-workers, I said "thanks, but no thanks," and have continued to work here in SF. Some people call me crazy, but those who know me best, know that I'm confident and comfortable with my decision, which is ultimately the most important factor.

Another new career development in my life is that I've been looking at pursuing my Masters of Education in Teaching. There's no doubt that I love politics and the political process, but I think that can trickle down into different arenas as well. So I would also love to teach government/history at the high school or middle school level. Since I didn't major in education at Valpo, this Master's program would not only allow me to earn a post-grad degree, but would also grant me my teacher certification. This program would start next fall (plus it's online and night class based = super flexible!), so I have some time to wait and see what happens with my current job and where that could potentially lead. But I know that I would be comfortable pursuing the teaching path as things are looking up!

In other (definitely more personal) news, I've dropped 20 pounds in 5 weeks! I've just really wanted to get rid of the weight I gained from eating El Amigo and drinking too much in I'll probably look different to most of you by the time you see me next! It's not something I want to boast about, but it is something I'm proud of and it's something I want to be honest about.

On that note, I really don't have anything else to thanks to all my loyal followers for reading my quarterly updates...and I hope all is well with you too :)

I also turn 23 next week. Ugh.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Well, I officially received my diploma and have left the [great?] state of Indiana. It still doesn't feel like I'm done with college, mostly due to the fact that I'm used to leaving for the it'll be bizarre come August when I continue working while everyone else (including both of my brothers) return to school.

So far, life after graduation hasn't been that exciting. I moved back the day after graduating and unloaded and reorganized my room that Tuesday. In all, I think I took about eight garbage bags full of clothes/stuff to Goodwill...purging definitely feels good. Since then, my youngest brother Josh graduated from high I was busy helping my mother get ready for the open house and such. This past week was pretty uneventful, aside from a quick (but awesome) 24 hour trip to Minneapolis to see my best friend Missy and my favorite team, the Minnesota Twins. [Target Field is beautiful, btw...definitely worth checking out].

Perhaps the only thing I've had a hard time adjusting to is this whole living at home business. Not many of my friends live in Sioux Falls anymore, so I've had to figure out what to do with my spare time. I've resorted to working out....a lot. Rotating between Jillian's 30 day shred and the McKennan Wellness Center, in which my work out time is filled with running, weights, and swimming, I'm definitely feeling more energetic and just feeling much better about myself, in general.

I finally start my job on Tuesday and I'm super excited. I'm ready to be a big girl and to figure out what exactly I'll be doing until November. And I'm SUPER ready for that paycheck.

But, in the meantime, I have two more days to do whatever I I'm planning on enjoying that as much as I can :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's Almost Time....again.

Attention followers:

I graduate in 12 days (it should be noted that when I looked at my calendar to start the mental countdown, I realized I had not switched said calendar to the month of May...time is going way too fast...). I pick up my already purchase cap and gown tomorrow. Holy crap.

This time always brings about 12,000 sentences that contain phrases such as "this is the last time that..." Take a look at my Twitter feed today, and every single senior (that's probably not true...but a rough estimate) tweeted "Last undergrad class ever!" in some form or another. This is not to say that I am annoyed by this, because I tweeted something very similar. It's just overwhelming. Always having to think of an event or situation as potentially the "last time I will ever do this with this group of people."

Another example.

Today, I dropped a bag off in Scheele (imagine a really high-class, fancy apartment building...then think the opposite...that's Scheele dormitory) that I borrowed from a friend when I went to Europe (those blog posts are being postponed until summer FYI). I ran into someone that I had been working closely with for the past two years or so and she said, "Well I suppose this might be the last time that I see you for awhile." My response? "Yeah, I suppose so."

I don't like to think of graduation as a time of "lasts." I want this to be an exciting, intoxicating couple of weeks with some of the greatest people I have ever known. Who knows what this summer will bring, or where we will all be six months from now...what I do know is that I don't want to spend "my last moments" with friends getting all emotional about it.

Now you might be thinking..."Why Courtney, you are soulless."


I will be incredibly emotional for the 10 hour road trip back to South Dakota...and numerous other times following that. I would hate to reflect back on graduation five years from now and just remember spending it over a box of Kleenex. So I'm turning my potential tears into laughs and I hope you'll do the same.

Last Monday night was my final Student Senate meeting. A bunch of people had asked me if I was going to cry during my final report, and I said no, I won't. But I have to admit, I thought about it. Looking out and seeing all of these people that I've grown to was hard to picture my Monday nights without them. I looked at Danny and thought about everything that we had worked through this year...looked at Justin and pictured him as a 1st grader (then I my head)...looked at Collin and remembered high school graduation. You get the idea. But I survived without a tear...until I got to my car. So I'm not emotionless...I'm not trying to be cynical. It's just that I could cry about it every day, and all day, if I wanted to. Life, as I know it, will be changing in more ways than I can even imagine.

That realization makes this whole process difficult enough.

So I'm [attempting] to give the tear ducts a rest until May 17th.

Until then, I'm going to share some favorite memories from senior year...[in no particular order]:
  • SigEp's Slip and Slide party and my poor, poor attempt to pre-pre-pre-pre game.
  • Luau...great times with my favorite people and my favorite date :)
  • All of the Twins/White Sox games (made it to 4 between the 2009 and 2010 seasons)...thanks Collin!
  • Getting kicked out of the potential 5th Twins/Sox game (although, chronologically it would have been #2)....thanks Zach!
  • All of the traveling! Went to New Orleans during the summer (ELCA national youth gathering with Valpo!), Minneapolis to see Josh run, fall break in Washington, DC with Collin and Luke, San Diego in February with Ryan, Europe (also known as the best trip ever) with the boys, and Montana with NCUR. I'm sure there's been more...
  • All of the dance parties...for obvious reasons.
  • Almost getting a bid to SigEp...thanks Collin! No thanks to Steve...
  • Giving the charge to the student body at Opening Convocation
  • Playing piano at Bethel Church.
  • Weekly meetings with Danny, Tim, and Bonnie...especially the one when Danny said poop.
  • American Home field trip on Halloween (and the day after the Halloween dance party)
  • Tim Garibay.
  • You get the picture.
I loved senior year. But enough sentimentalism for now...I'll leave you with the second Jon McLaughlin song that I'm attempting to cover...

All my best.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Will Work for Food.

Everybody's seen this type of sign before. Whether it's along the side of the road, or in a crowded city street or park, our society is filled with people in need.

This morning, I played piano and attended the worship services at Bethel Church as usual. Following the second service of the day (third of the weekend), I began the trek back down Highway 30 towards Valpo. After first stopping at the Honeybaked Ham cafe (unfortunately, they were closed), I continued driving until I saw an elderly gentleman holding such a sign on the side of the road. I'm not sure what it was about that moment that broke my heart. Perhaps it was because this was the first time I saw an individual standing along Highway 30, praying for a passerby to stop, or maybe it was some inner guilt of mine because typically I'm not the person that stops. Today was different.

It's my "personal policy" not to hand out money, so I choose to hand out food. Ever since I participated in a missions trip to inner city Los Angeles before my junior year in high school, I have attempted to mentally approach these situations in a different manner. Most of the time, I continue walking...if I'm to be perfectly honest. For example, I just returned from Europe a week ago, and failed to hand out any food. It's scary, it's uncomfortable, and it's challenging. Again, today was different.

I drove past the man and continued on to the next intersection which had a Subway inside the gas station. I walked in and ordered a $5 footlong. This also sounds bizarre, but I had no idea what to put on the sub. I tried to think of the most generic sub sandwich, in fear that he might not like mayonnaise or peppers. Three minutes later, I walked back out with a turkey sub on Italian bread, with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes. On the drive back to the gentleman, my heart was racing. Why was I so nervous? I parked my car next to a temporarily closed gas station and walked across the street to the man. He was quite shy and I really didn't know what to say. "I brought a sandwich for you, sir." "Thank you, God bless you." "Have a good day." He shook my hand and I walked away.

Walking back to my car, I realize I didn't say "you too" after he said "God bless you." I hope he received a sense of that though, because even though I didn't say it, I definitely meant it. I got back into my car and saw another vehicle pull over to the side of the road and hand the man some cash. But perhaps what struck me the most was that this man, somebody's son, and possibly somebody's dad, grandpa, and brother, didn't eat the sandwich when I was there. He went and set it along the side of a fence and continued to hold up the sign. I'm not sure if I was expecting him to eat immediately or what, but it reminded me that if he's holding up a sign for food, he's going to need a lot more than a Subway footlong. He waved at me as I drove by. I waved back. And that was it. The interaction was less than two minutes long.

Back at my apartment, my heart was still racing. Still not sure why. Maybe it's the realization that if my grandpa was standing along the side of a highway, I would buy him all the food he wanted for the rest of his life. So why would I do so much for someone I know and love and do so comparatively little for a stranger? It's definitely something I'll be thinking about for awhile.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Great Places, Greater People

Why hello blog! currently listening to....neon: john mayer.

Happy Valentines Day :) Just wanted to take the time to share what I've been up to lately...last weekend, I took a trip to San Diego with Ryan to visit Matt. As we were on the plane from Minneapolis to San Diego, I started getting I am, going to visit a friend, who lives with four other guys. Is it going to be awkward? Why am I always the only girl? Will they feel comfortable with me around? Three hours later, our plane landed and since I somehow managed to fit my stuff into a carry-on, we hurried out to the pick-up area. As soon as I saw Matt, I knew it was all going to be okay. He gave us each huge hugs and welcomed us to San Diego. Looking back, it's crazy how I didn't even notice the temperature difference at first...what did strike me was how relaxed I was. We got in the car and I stared out the window like a little puppy. I'd seen palm trees plenty of times before, but you just can't understand the beauty of San Diego until you actually go there. I guarantee a smile was permanently glued to my face, because I was filled with sheer giddiness. Before we got to Matt's house, we stopped for some bomb Mexican food (which would happen numerous times throughout the weekend) much as I hate to say it, it was much better than El Amigo, or any "mexican" food we have here in NWIndiana. We got settled in and then headed out for the night...

Needless to say, the rest of the weekend was filled with walking along beaches, bar-hopping, and hanging out with great people who never stopped making me laugh. It was incredibly sad to leave. I knew getting back on that plane meant a return to reality and a return to the stress of both the job and school (well, having to go to classes, would be more accurate). I was a completely different person in San Diego, in a great way. Life was carefree and I was willing to try anything. Every day was exciting and an adventure. Now I'm back in Valpo...and there's snow on the ground. Looks like I can't look at the stars from a hammock here...

MOVING ON. (currently listening to....someday: no more kings)

I might be traveling back to SFSD this weekend :) Not only do I miss my family (I had a nightmare last night that Josh died...), but Missy might be able to make it home too...and Matt is going home and bringing his best friend Casey (who has never been to the Midwest...he had to go buy winter clothes yesterday haha). It would be a great time for all of us to get back together and have some good times.

But in 13 short days....I'm flying to Germany for Spring Break with Brett, Justin, and Collin. I think I'm so excited that I can't even feel the excitement anymore. (currently listening to....please don't stop the rain: james morrison)...CAN'T WAIT.

Well...real life is calling. Have a great V-Day :)

Friday, January 22, 2010's about that time again...

I should really just deactivate this whole blog. Not only do I NEVER update, but I feel that I don't have too many interesting things to say.

However, I decided today that I am going to [attempt] to send people letters in the mail. I think there's something romantic/nostalgic about it...and I'm gonna bring the trend back. Plus, I never get any interesting mail...the thing I look forward to the most is Netflix and the Economist (and no, I'm not 70...just trying to get smart, that's all...), so a response back would be the most exciting thing in my life since who knows when. That's probably not true...

In other news, I got my car back today and it feels like new. I should get in accidents that aren't my fault more often. But only with insured drivers, preferably...because the lack of insurance on the other party's part was just plain obnoxious and pretty annoying.

Also...I'm flying to San Diego on the 4th to visit a friend from home who goes to school out there. I'm really excited. And this makes me sound like a 12 year old, but I haven't told my parents yet. I'm sure they wouldn't care that much [maybe...], but they would just say that I have a spending problem. Which is true. I won't deny. I can hear it now: "Shouldn't you be saving for Germany?" Yeah, yeah....I'll tell them eventually. Maybe when I'm boarding the plane.

Graduation is looming. I'm super grateful to have a job's hard to see friends stress out over applying to school/jobs. I wish there was more I could do to help them...just pray I suppose! But I do feel very lucky.

On a final and incredibly random note, something happened to me for the first time last night. Can't really provide any more details than that. Just pray for me?