Monday, December 5, 2011

These Funny Bodies

What funny, wild forms for us to be in. How dare we create a standard for a form that’s so wild to begin with.

Guate. Summer 2009.

"When'd this just become a mortal home?"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Office Rules

The Office rules. Also, here are some office rules.

-Imagine that what you’re saying to one person will be shared with the entire “team.” It might be.
-Don’t say anything about weight.
-Include everyone. This means no whispering when you’re in a group. This means saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to everyone.
-Don’t complain–very much–unless your complaint is funny/has a constructive & uplifting nature.
-Don't try to make love furtively with your cell phone all day. Just keep your phone in the car or something.

The day before I started working at the bank. 8.29.10

"Be all that you can be
In hospitals and schools
Airports and banks and bars"

Monday, November 21, 2011

Done with Applebee's

The other day I told my dad, “[Blondie] showed his two weeks’ notice to the man–”
Dad corrected me, “The way to say it is ‘gave two weeks’ notice.’”
“I know,” I said, “but, in this case, I wanted you to imagine him showing his two weeks’ notice, in the form of a letter, to the manager. He didn’t say anything. He showed her the piece of paper.”
“Well, that’s rude of him,” Dad said.

Blondie at the Bee. January 18, 2011.

"Whatever lies beyond this morning
is a little later on."

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Better Use of Friday

I’ve recently wanted to read Tennesee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I have heard the title so many times but have never seen a performance or read the hard copy. I looked it up on the library database and found, to my surprise, that there is only one copy of the play available in this county. It is nestled in the fourth series of an anthology called Best American Plays.
I customarily have a long workday at the bank on Friday, but, today, I was off. In bed, I reached for the play anthology. Gratefully, I pored over Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I could see so much honesty and beauty, and when I say I was reading ‘gratefully,’ I mean my being was one giant squeal of praise, and I felt like I was doing something that I was supposed to be doing. Interacting with a text felt like a much better use of my time than working at my job–if you don’t count the money, of course.

McDaddy. July 8, 2010.

"How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?"

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Principle 3: Be Honest Around Everyone

Wisdom of the ages . . . a journal entry from April 11, 2010 . . . “I realized that when I’m talking to exes I don’t do that trying-to-be-nice stuff. I really like that idea. I’m going to act like everyone is my ex-boyfriend for the next few days.”

You wouldn't be dishonest around someone you know really well because your dishonesty would be obvious–obviously weird. But other people, even those you don't know, can sense it, too.

Principle 3: Be honest around everyone.

On the tube in London. September 15, 2008.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Artistic Aspirations

Blondie and I signed onto our Netflix account–well, it's really Dad's account that he lets us use.

Blondie said, "Wait. Thumbelina's our top pick? What?"

Don Bluth's Thumbelina is the first of Netflix's top ten recommendations for us.

You can find lots of good crap in every single text, even Thumbelina.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Prayer for Marriage

The first wedding anniversary is approaching. The bells rung last year on October 23. After a year of marriage, I don’t know Blondie any better. We’ll never begin to know each other. I don’t mean this in a cheesy way, i.e., sigh, we’re going to keep discovering each other for the rest of our lives. What I mean is there is no “each other”–no fixed “him” and no fixed “me.” The whole principle of our being together is NOT to get to know each other, not to nail each other down Myers-Briggs-style. I’ve never really thought of him as a person. By that I mean that he’s not an object outside of myself that I can criticize, label, or, most abhorrently, "get to know." I think, for a union like this, you actually have to be unified–to the point where there is no separation in your mind between you and the other.

Bride and groom with best man, Rod, and maid of honor, Kit. October 23, 2010

"I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Pigmentation Pigs

Wedding treats. October 23, 2010. Credits to Panda, wedding photographer.

Blondie sent me a Facebook message with a link to a new Coldplay song, "Paradise." Coldplay will release their album the day after our first wedding anniversary–as kind of a gift.
While the song played, I perused our Facebook message thread. We have sent about nine Facebook messages to each other as a married couple, so it didn't take me long to get to one written on September 14, 2010 during the wedding planning process:

"isle runner lindor choc and quotes
posters with arrows
and balloons
pigmentation pigs
rubber chicken

Blondie skimmed the list with a dumbfounded look. I reminded him of that day we explored our wedding venue, and he took notes on his phone. These were our brilliant ideas.

I'm really glad that "cupcakes" and "water" were the only ideas in this list that made it to the finals.

It'll all work out.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Don't Carry Dead Weight

Our next-door neighbor, fed up with storing his cars in the country, decided a few months ago to build an addition: a monstrous garage. My family, understandably, wasn’t thrilled. For one, the view outside our window would no longer be of trees and bushes but of cinderblock. For two, with a yuckier view, our house would surely lose a chunk of property value.

We thought, “Whaddya need all those cars for, doctor?”
The guy already had a two car garage, and he needed another one?!
We hoped the Community Association would stop him. At first, the Association rejected his building plan. They gave in eventually, though, and in early summer, construction began.

We’ve heard loud noises all summer. I’ve lost bushes and trees that I’ve been staring at since I was in fourth grade.
Seeing the trees reduced to neat rows of logs was hard to take. But I’ve found that it’s most convenient/healthy to cultivate a sense of fondness for pretty much everything (while at the same time, taking action when necessary/possible).
There was nothing I could do!

So, instead of being angry, I watched the doctor with fondness as he dug holes until the very end of dusk every night. This was making him very happy. I could see it. I appreciated the jolly sounds of the work crew outside my window. They were laughing and hollering all the time, and they didn't carry an air of complaint with them (as so many people carry to their jobs).
The garage will be finished this week when the work crew lays the asphalt.
And I guess I’m okay with it. Our view doesn't look as woodsy anymore, but it looks like something else, and I still feel fondness.

My neighbor's lawn–pre-garage.

You know you can't keep letting it get you down
And you can't keep dragging that dead weight around.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Local Theme Park

This evening Blondie and I went to the local theme park for the fourth time this summer. We've been going every Wednesday, our day off together. Things about the park:

(1) Traveling with nothing but our clothes is the most wonderful thing. As soon as we gain access to the park, we turn around, walk our season passes to the car, and reenter the park, so that we have nothing. Nothing can slip out of our pockets.

(2) The aesthetic value of the park, on the whole, is low (there was no great attempt made to create atmosphere), but we see beauty...a cattail pond; a huge flower bed, purple and pink; below one of the water rides, a huge 'field' of soaking, almost black mulch; the way the stuffed gorillas, hanging in a row, look at night (in the moonlight and spotlight).

(3) The rides stay the same, but our subjective experience of them is different every time (like different theatrical productions of the same text).

(4) It is very good to go to a different place for a bit.

My bank's drive-through. June 2011.

"I don't want to spend another day in this city.
I woke up thirsty. It's hard to go back, you know."

Thursday, June 30, 2011


All is well.

Prin dorm. 1.11.10

"Quit acting like a wolf, and feel 
the shepherd's love filling you."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Principle 2: And Ye Shall Love Them Right Away

England Abroaders. August 26, 2008.

I've told people so many times, "I learned so much on the England Abroad." But I rarely venture into the specifics–I guess because it's almost painful to reduce such beautiful lessons to words.

Usually, if asked, "Well then, what did you learn?" I share the easiest lesson to describe: I learned to love everyone right away.

I learned that if you spend six weeks with anyone on an abroad in England, you will love them, so why not love them immediately?

You might object, "But if I spent six weeks with this person, I'd be even more eager to vandalize their garden gnomes." But really, the key to the England Abroad was that all of us were prayerfully supporting it the whole summer before we went and the whole time we were there. So, I'm saying, if you're in that type of environment with any individual, you'll come to love them.

When we got back to campus, we spent three and a half weeks rehearsing for our production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. People who peeked in the Black Box and saw us rehearsing noted that we were like one light. I'd never been in such a cohesive group, a group in which every member poured forth affection and support and dearness.

At the end of the abroad, I thought, "Why didn't I just love them all immediately? It was going to come to love anyway, so it would have been best–most efficient, most accurate–to start out with that assumption." Love is the most obvious end result in every case, so it makes sense to start with it.

Principle 2: Try to love everyone right away, before they've done anything to acquire your love, before you know their favorite cereal, before you know their name.

"I don't care
Who you are (who you are)
Where you're from (where you're from)
What you did"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Principle 1

People don't like creepo bathroom self-portraits. October 9, 2009.

I graduated in June 2010. I've had a year to think about the principles I want to keep in my life, ideas I care about that I don't want to ever lose sight of.

Principle 1:
Don't let your weird and generalized conceptions of what people think interfere with your doing what you intuit to be the most right. Kenneth Branagh said in Ivanov, a play Ripe saw at Shakespeare's Globe, "Who is 'people'? I’ve never met 'people.'"

"How many looks does it take
to read your mind, oh, on your face?"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rain, Snow, Sleet, Hail, Sun

I like Sleek’s comment on my last post: “But I love talking about the weather! I couldn’t get out of the habit after going to England, hehe.” I wish to find all things magical, including weather talk, so it's nice to hear someone I love defend it.

I don’t think the statement I made about weather talk is complete–maybe not completely accurate.

The most absolute statement I could make, and thus the most accurate, would be: I love everyone, and I love them when they’re talking about weather just as much as I love them when they’re talking about Moby Dick.

Salmon Pie by Blondie. February 2011.

"You took your coat off and stood in the rain,
You were always crazy like that."

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nothing New vs. Everything New

I have intimated before that I stick up my nose to conversations about the weather. I won’t participate in it. When people ask, 'Could it get any hotter?,' I give them a quick nod, thinking 'Yes, I know. Hot. Big surprise. It’s June 1.' I won’t even LOOK at a weather report.

Maybe I shouldn’t be such a priss.

If I’m going to take a stand against weather talk, why don’t I also refuse to answer the question 'What’s up?' and spit when someone uses an idiomatic phrase? The reason I’m upset about weather talk is that it lacks freshness and originality. But, so what? A lot of people say, and the Bible says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” I know, to a certain degree, that is true, but I also love originality, and I think we should settle as little as possible for the, uh, dronespeak, and try to, um, really say something.

“Courts, it’s really hot outside.” “Oh, really, IS THAT ALL YOU WANNA TALK ABOUT?!”

"I push my fingers into my eyes
It's the only thing that slowly stops the ache
But it's made of all the things I have to take
Jesus, it never ends, it works its way inside
If the pain goes on

Sunday, May 29, 2011


I’m so grateful that
life was already bringing me closer to (zooming me towards)
Blondie and Dough
when I was 12.

Blondie moved to Virginia in sixth grade and transferred to my middle school for three months. I was in seventh grade. I was really depressed that year. It’s so weird that Blondie was walking the halls.

Also, when I was 12, I attended a three-week summer camp session in Michigan. I hated it (I’d probably love it now, but I’m a little too old). I never went back. But there are many reasons I’m grateful I was there. Probably número uno is that I can relate to Dough on the subject. She tried out the Michigan camp the same year I did; we went to different sessions but were there the same summer. Unlike me, she returned for nine more summers. At least I know what she's talking about when she talks about morning dips in Lake Michigan.

Blondie and Dad goofing in the living room. January 9, 2011.

Dough pretending to be Jasmine in the dressing room. November 7, 2009.

"You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Breathing Again

I visited the beloved alma mater (May 15 to May 22) and Dough hosted me! I saw important artistic productions: Llama’s installation piece, 'Gravity and Grace'; the musical Dough was in, ‘25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'; the musical the college put on, ‘A Tale of Two Cities.’


The best analogy I can come up with for how I feel right now is: like a sponge, which had been removed from the coral reef for twelve months, and has just now had a week soaking in water again.

St. Louis Airport. May 15, 2011.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You Can Find Good Everywhere

Sometimes, I whine about how hard it is to find kindred spirits. Now that I’m not in college with a bunch of like-minded people, how am I ever going to find friends?
Then, Mom reminds me, “you met your husband at a dinky little high school in Richmond.”
Good point, Mom.

August 16, 2006. Look, Blondie still has braces.

"My mama told me when I was young,
'We are all born superstars.'
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir."

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

With Me Everywhere

As I mentioned in March, I’ve been intent on getting rid of things.

I had another round of symbolic gourd-throwing at the lake. I picked up the miniature pumpkin on my draftsman table this morning–a rotting memento from the wedding–and it was hollow, except for a few crisp bits, which rattled around. I meant to give it to Ripe at the wedding, but I ended up being too busy getting married to think about bringing along pumpkins. I mean, I didn’t even have a purse.

I brought it to the lake today. As I threw, I screamed in thought, “Ripe is with me everywhere!”

I also got rid of something else from the wedding today. At my bridal shower, a friend put together a bouquet of the bows and ribbons that had wrapped my gifts. It’s been on a glass shelf with other wedding paraphernalia until today. Now, it’s in the trash.

I gave the bouquet the honor of a photo shoot before burial. May 10, 2011.

The pumpkin perching before flight. May 10, 2011.

CNN Update:
Blondie is a manager at Applebee’s! Kinda funny that I wrote that post last night about managers without knowing.

"Lucky you were born that far away
So we could both make fun of distance."

Monday, May 9, 2011

Oh, Management

Do your bosses ever criticize you?

How do you deal with it?

Do you even have a boss?

Some people say, “My only boss is God.” Some people say, “I do not give a flying textbook what my boss thinks or says.” Some people say, “I hate my boss.” Some people say, “I know how to handle criticism–both constructive and destructive.” Some people say, “We get along like Jack and Rose.” Some people say, “I’d prefer eight hours in an outhouse with a spiny orb-weaver to one hour in a boardroom with my twisted boss from hell.”

What role does your boss have in your life?

The beautiful Principia woods where I discovered spiny orb-weavers.
October 2009.

"We got egos like hairdos
They're different every day
Depending on how we slept the night before
Depending on the demons that are at our door"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dumb Stories

This afternoon, at a slow point in my work day, I called my mom's branch and quickly made the decision to pretend to be a man. She answered, "Thank you for calling [so-and-so] bank. This is Sally Mc–"
"Hello," I said gruffly.
"Hello" I said, my pitch still lowered.
There was irritation in the air. She was speechless.
"This is me," I announced in my real voice.

She said she really had thought I was a man and had been getting ready to hang up on me. I was pleased that my trick worked. She usually doesn't fall for things like that.


My mom and I went out to do errands this evening while it was still light, and in the car, we discussed our days at our respective branches. I enjoy talking with my mom about the bank, detailing my brushes with the age-old client-archetypes. She gets a kick out of hearing about my encounters with the types of clients she’s encountered her whole time as a banker. When I begin one of the stories, she says, “Ohhh yeah. I’ve seen that one before.”

So, as we were pulling up to a stoplight, I started telling her about this young guy who came in today, and then, I thought I saw the guy in question, sitting shotgun in the next lane. I could only see him from behind, so I leaned forward to try to see his face. His friends must have tipped him off because he began glancing back. I got a good look at his face, his black Kouture cap (it wasn’t the guy); by then, he was glowing, grinning at me. Absolutely glowing, he blew a kiss. I blew a kiss back. He winked. I winked back. The light turned green, and as he was swept away in a U-turn, he turned completely around, waving profusely. I liked this encounter because it wasn’t cheesy, like ‘I’m hitting on you.’ He looked so loving, open, gleeful (as opposed to sly).


I was working at the bank a few days ago, and a couple came through the drive through. I processed their transaction–quickly and accurately, as I’m supposed to–and I saw, in a brief glance, a big dog sitting in the back seat. I stuffed a dog biscuit* in the box with their receipt, but then, I quickly removed the biscuit when I took a second look at the dog and realized it was actually a grey jacket, the Saturday morning dry cleaning pick-up, swathed in plastic.

Observation powers to the max.

This is apparently my first reaction to inanimate objects: to mistake them for animals. I've done this before–with plastic bags skittering in the wind (“Look, Mom–it’s a terrier!”) or a white tuft of litter far ahead on the path (I approach softly, thinking I’m approaching a rabbit). Today, as I was passing Walmart, I thought, for a split second, the black car part tumbling towards the median was a possum. At least they say when you see things in nothing you must be creative.

At least I caught myself before delivering the bone-shaped treat to my clients, who had dry cleaning but no dog. The couple really would have wondered. I would have tittered it off, “Oh, whoops (hee hee). I mistook your dry cleaning for a Great Dane," and they would have driven away thinking, “I can’t believe space cases like that handle our money.”

*For those who aren’t in-the-banking-know, tellers hand out lollipops to chillies and biscuits to canines. So, when I see a dog in a car, I stick a biscuit in the drive through box. Blondie didn't know this until I started working at the bank.

Guatemala. Summer 2009.

"Picture yourself in a boat on a river,
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties.
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile,
The girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Friday, April 8, 2011

Olives and Cheese

I am a big fan of interacting through writing with what’s happening in life. That’s why I write this blog. That’s why I love other people’s blogs. That’s why I eat up Dough’s posts like black olive and provolone sandwiches.

Last night I read, like, a year of her posts in a row. Boop. They were from, like, 2009.

I read backwards to the date in February when she and I became friends. “Only two years ago!”, we have declared in shock.

I haven’t felt one hundred percent at ease publishing writing about myself because I've thought of how this sort of writing sometimes is viewed as narcissistic. I've heard someone call diary writing "navel-gazing." The annoying mirror shots, right? The point of this post is to say that I dig this sort of writing.

Fall 2009.

"but, of course, some days, I just lie around
and hardly exist,
and can´t tell apart what I´m eating
from my hand or my wrist,
´cause flesh is flesh, flesh is flesh is flesh,
the difference is thin.
but life has a certain ability of breathing new
life into me,
so i breathe it in.
it says here we are, and we all are here,
and you still can make sense,
if you just show up and present an honest face,
instead of that grin."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Playful, if only in my dreams

It occurred to me, when I was working at the bank today, that it would be
really funny if bankers played April Fools' jokes on their clients.
How baffling and inappropriate would that be.

"Before you leave, Mr. Pittroli, you ought to stop by the desk and talk with a financial services representative about your overdraft fees."
"My what?" Mr. Pittroli sounds like he's been slapped in the face.
"I'm looking at your account here," the teller says, scrolling down."Those checks cleared yesterday and brought your account into the red. You've accumulated five overdraft fees since your balance went into the negative."
Mr. Pittroli's countenance begins to change from confused to combative, and the teller gleefully yells, "April Fools!"

Or over the phone:
"Yes, this is Sam from Pride Bank. I'm calling to inform that we have reviewed your application, Mrs. Ravioli, and we sincerely regret to inform you that you don't qualify for the equity loan. April Fools!"

Since last August when I began working 'in the real world', I've had a sense of resistance to how seriously everything has to be taken. Of course, I keep this playful sense of resistance to myself, and I don't act it out.

"As each year goes by
I know more about how my father must have felt"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Courtney Shrine

One nice thing about Blondie is that he
doesn’t need material things.
He is spiritually happy all the time.
But this means that, when I give him gifts, he treats them like collectibles (even if they’re not meant to be). I mean, sure, maybe he couldn’t really have used the Love Bug, a micro robotic creature that ambles towards whomever in the room is talking. But I’m looking through this pile right now, and I know he could have used the puppy stickers and the Principia Chapel bookmark. In his parent’s house, he had a big room, and in the corner, there was a tiny shelf, which became the “Courtney shrine.” He kept all my gifts there. It’s almost like the minute he received something from me (right after thanking me with tears and an ovation), he’d dump it right on top of the pile and forget about it.

This didn’t bother me. It never bothered me because I liked how non-materialistic he was, how he didn’t put much stake in gifts. They were always the most special thing in the world in the moment he received them. Each gift would set him off on a speech about how I am the perfect gift-giver. Sometimes, as I mentioned, he would actually cry because the gift was so perfect–so perfect for that time. And then, inevitably, it would wind up on the shelf with the others.

If I ever try to toss any of these things, he protests, “You gave that to me!” I gave him an alarm egg from Sharper Image. When we moved all the stuff over to my house, somehow the alarm wound up on the round cherry table in the living room near where my mom does her studies. The alarm beeps every other minute. Last week, I suggested to my mom that we throw it in the trash bag, so it can beep all the way to the dump. Mom whooped and hollered with agreement, but Alex was at work, and I said we should wait for him to get home so he could be part of the decision. I asked him, and sure enough, he was like, “You gave it to me!” I was like, “You have never used it.” He said, “It’s too quiet. I will use it when I get used to waking up to something that soft.” I said, “Well, if you can figure out how to get it to stop beeping...,” and Blondie was like, “I like it,” referring to the sound.

When Blondie moved to my house, he packed up all the things he wanted to take with him. He used a New York & Company shopping bag to carry the Courtney stuff, and we just stuck it in the basement. I recently brought it up to my room, so I could go through it and maybe put all the old high school notes in a scrapbook–it’s funny that I’m doing that to the stuff I gave him–and maybe get Blondie to use some of the stuff that can actually be used, like the Pearl Oral Care toothbrush or the dachshund picture holder that his mom thought was a bong.

The Courtney shrine pile.

"I don't know what he does to make you cry
But I'll be there to make you smile
I don't have a fancy car
To get to you I'd walk a thousand miles
I don't care if he buys you nice things
Does his gifts come from the heart?
I don't know
But if you were my girl
I'd make it so we'd never be apart"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Junk in my Trunk

I can’t go to bed tonight without writing something.
For months, I have been hankering to get rid of my belongings.
I have clothes that could be fun to goof around in, but I won’t need them for a job or any social function.
There’s that whole deal with wanting to keep something because it will come to use. Everyone knows about that. Like the fuchsia exercise shorts I gave to Good Will last summer. I saw a picture of them and thought, “I’d love to run in those right now.” But who cares? I have other shorts I can run in, and I can find mental variety rather than variety in the clothes I wear.
At some point, I’ll move to an apartment, and I won’t want it to be filled “from the crown to the toe top-full” (Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act I, Scene V).
I’ll write more on this later! I just needed to write something.

"Ain't nobody dope as me. I'm just so fresh so clean."

The fuchsia shorts–last seen on June 14, 2010.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pleeze call, I lvlvlv uuu

You know how we went to the Haley Toyota dealership last Thursday and that crazy salesman wouldn't give it a rest? He is still acting like an overdependent ex-boyfriend. Blondie receives a cornucopia of calls and texts. Ah, Rick. We never were really attracted to the 2009 Cobalt.

And I still receive calls from the Mary Kay rep, who did my makeup for the wedding. She is a lovely gal, and I would very much like to be pals with her IF SHE WEREN'T A CRAZY MARY KAY REP TRYING TO CONVINCE ME TO BECOME A CRAZY MARY KAY REP. I won't have it. I ignore her calls (besides when my mom accidentally picks up the home phone). Would the mature thing be to let her know I'm not interested? Maybe, but I'd rather just delete a voice message every week and eight emails a day.

MK rep, fixing me up. October 23, 2010.

"They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it's true
Don't say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

Remember when you held me tight
And you kissed me all through the night
Think of all that we've been through
Breaking up is hard to do"

Friday, March 4, 2011

Keep Trying

"I don't care about anything
Dou demo ii tte kao shinagara
Zutto zutto inotteita
Naimono nedari
Chotto ya sotto de manzoku dekinai
Keep trying."

Today, maybe I’ll sink your boat.

I need to hang my dirty laundry outside.

What is it I hate, and how can I get rid of it?

I hate the feeling I have had–an arid one. I feel dry because I’m doing stuff I don’t love all day–small talk, monetary transactions. So, I should process all this through writing. Write in the blog more. Writing is my joy and power. Write about the everyday bull, so you stay in contact with yourself (clear thoughts, power) even in the midst of it.

I don’t know. It’s hard! I am so resistant to small talk! Oooo, I hate it!

Well, I feel as though honesty is still there, even in mediocre conversations. And maybe honesty shouldn't be measured so scrutinizingly.

May 17, 2010.

"I don’t care about anything
Putting on a face like, whatever
I was praying the whole time
Asking for too much
I can’t be satisfied easily or gently
That’s why I
Keep Trying."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feliz Cumpleaños

Today, Blondie, birthday boy, was king, and he got to decide what we did.
We had burritos at Q’doba.
We had his Park Avenue appraised at a Haley Toyota dealership. The car sales man showed us a gold Cobalt that Blondie didn’t really like. The man was relentless. I felt like I was breaking up with him. “I thought I found the right fit for you. I thought I did everything you asked for. C’mon. What are you saying? Let’s give it another test drive.”
Grocery shopping.
We went to Mexico for dinner.
Now, we are lying on our stomachs, resuscitating.
I hate being this full.

Blondie asked me out when he was sixteen, and I was seventeen.
The first birthday I spent with him was his seventeenth, and that’s the day it occurred to him that we should get married. He was staring at the cake, coming up with a wish, and he was like, “Oh yeah–I want to marry Courtney.”
Then, I missed his next four birthdays because I was in college in Illinois.
Finally, in 2011, we are together again for his birthday! It really hasn’t been that big of a deal. As I said, we ate Mexican food and talked with a pushy car salesman. But it is a trip to think of what’s happened between the two days–first, a wish, and then, the actual thing.

"You got a fast car. I want a ticket to
Anywhere. Maybe we make a deal. Maybe together
We can get somewhere. Maybe we'll make something.
But me myself I got nothing to prove."

They sang to us at Mexico Restaurant. March 3, 2011.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


It’s warm.
The coworkers are supportive, and they connect with you in little ways, like singing your name or blowing on the back of your head as they’re passing. The servers speak candidly.
I get junk on my hands. Whatevs.

Today, Blondie and I had back to back shifts at the Bee. He was cut at 3:00, and he stuck around until 4:00, waiting for me to come on shift, so he could greet me. I really wanted him to linger at the bar, but he had to go to a barbecue at his uncle’s. “I’m not even going to take a shower. I’m just going to go like this.” He had food on his shirt. He reeked of the kitchen. Later, one of our coworkers told me, “Your husband is going straight to a barbecue at his uncle’s, and he's not taking a shower. I told him he needs to shower first.” I like how the people who know him know me.

I hear "Don't fight the Applebee's" when Jay-Z says, "Don’t bite the apple, Eve" in
"Empire State of Mind."

I sometimes hate being at work. I get sore in the legs. I agonize over a high school host's lack of communication skills.

But, whatever. All is well.

Blondie began working at the Bee in January 2010, and I started in August 2010. One night in August, when I had gotten the job but hadn't had my first shift, I expressed to Blondie my fear that it would depressing to work there (pointless), and he said something really inspiring. He described Applebee's, our store, as it's own world. It is one universe. We are always going back to that idea–the idea of our store as a world, where there are so many things happening, such a distinct order of operations. The Front of the House (host stand, bar, restaurant area) is one hemisphere. The Back of the House (kitchen, Powerhouse, where the real work is done) is the other hemisphere.

Wiles, sweating in the Back of the House. January 11, 2011.

"Yeah, I'm up at Brooklyn,
Now I'm down in Tribeca,
Right next to DeNiro, but
I’ll be hood forever,
I’m the new Sinatra,
and since I made it here,
I can make it anywhere."

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I was eating lunch at Panera with mi madre, and I saw a kid pass our table, marching after his mom, holding his drink out in front of himself like a flag. She told him to toss it, and he protested, “But, I’d be wasting this precious, um–” and then, I couldn’t hear anymore.
I liked that because recently I’ve been obsessed with not wasting.

I also liked that my bangs came out at work, and I looked like a crazed rooster. They had been clipped to my head, and they busted out when I was speeding back to the host stand. I didn’t realize they'd come out until a server walked up behind me and tried to smash them back down. A guest walked in, I welcomed him to the restaurant, and he said, “Your hair looks funny.”

I took a picture of the loco bangs. February 20, 2011.

She's open waiting for more
And I know he's only looking to score
And it is way too unhealthy
Often they've typically
Been starved for attention before

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

First Real Boyfriend

England, 2008.

My first boyfriend. I’m not saying it’s unusual or cute. I had a bf in first grade.
SO?! SO DOES EVERYONE! Well, whatever. There are specifics to every story. My boyfriend, André from Brazil, was accepting, and he had depth. He was disinterested in the fight for coolness, distant from worries about what others thought.

I don’t even remember if he really kissed my neck on the way back in from recess. Everyone saw it happen. Maybe they looked back, and he was lunging at me in play. Or maybe he really did mean to kiss my neck. Everyone’s rumors became the truth for me, and it was a happy truth. We were together. We played Power Rangers on the basketball courts every recess. He even played on Halloween when I was the only one in school who wore a costume. It was an elaborate homemade Simba costume–fuzzy, white chest and long draping tail with a white puff.

He moved back to Brazil in the middle of the school year, and we all had to write him a letter. I sat in the center of the class, writing my note on pink paper, drawing hearts.

Ten nine eight and I’m breaking away.
I’m all dressed up, and I’m ready to play.
Seven six five four, and I’m all over you.
Counting three two one and I’m having fun.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Will You Be My Water-Getter?

One common question for newly-weds is: “How is married life?” One thing I like about it is that Blondie and I have split the duties. The jobs he doesn’t want to do, I do. The jobs I don’t want to do, he does. I never really feel like getting up to get water, but I definitely like keeping receipts.

He is the Water-Getter. I am the Receipt-Keeper. Those are the first titles we’ve created, and we’ve been throwing them around a lot.

“Water-Getter, could you get me some water, please?” I say to Blondie when we’re talking in our room, and I’m thirsty.

“Here’s a receipt, Receipt-Keeper,” he says when he has a receipt that needs to be filed away by me, the Great Organized One.

Blondie said a little while ago, “Blog-Maker, make me a blog.”

September 19, 2010.
Does this look like someone you would entrust your receipts to?

When I was eight, I remember setting one qualification for my future husband: he must play the sax. I was a Jazz-Liker, and maybe I was thinking of the cool owl from Sesame Street who plays saxophone? I also wanted to marry the family dachshund, but...
Anyway, Blondie does play the saxophone. So, bam. I did it. I found a saxophonist. The eight-year-old’s dream: accomplished.

August 29, 2010.
Does this look like someone who would like to get you water?

Always there when you call, always on time
Gave you be mine
Always there when you call (call), always on time
Gave you

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The same town everywhere

I used to hear this saying a lot in Sunday school: “There is no spot where God is not.” I actually got sick of hearing it. I was like, “I get it!”

A recent thought from a dream: every place is blank & then filled by us. In the dream, I walked into a building in the purest part of town where all good things happen, and then, later, I entered a building in the regular part of town where nothing special is supposed to happen. Since the buildings were in different parts of town, they should have had different ranges of possibilities, but I felt the same way, entering both. They were both blank–the atoms, nothing. They were blank, so thought could fill them (they weren’t already filled). So, it doesn’t matter which part of town you’re in.

Entrance to the black box theatre. October 2009.

If you can hold on,
if you can hold on, hold on.
I wanna stand up, I wanna let go.
You know, you know–no you don't, you don't.
I wanna shine on in the hearts of men.
I wanna mean it from the back of
my broken hand.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I’m lying in my bed on my stomach, propped up by two pillows, and thinking about what to write. I want to write about how I’m mourning Sylli.

Isn’t that silly? We were going to name our dog “Sylli,” spelling it with the vowels switched up so the heavier one got to sit in the passenger’s seat. The word seemed to have better balance that way. “Sylli” would have been short for “Sylvester,” the name of a Prin dorm I like.

“Sylli” would have been short for “Sylvester” if we had gotten the dog. We’d given a down payment to the breeder a couple of weeks ago, but last night, we came to our final decision: that it would not be a good idea to get the bull dog right now. Today, we drove deep into the rural parts where the American bull dog mother stays in a lifted crate with her three pups. We gave back the receipt to the breeder, and he returned our down payment. Me and the blond guy whined like puppies all the way home.*****

When Blondie was in the shower last night, he heard an eerie noise: “Hoo hoooo. Hoo hoooo. Hoo hoooooo.” He thought it was an owl at first. “Maybe it’s Courtney crying,” he thought. It occurred to him that the sound could be coming from his nose. He tried to breathe through his nose to see if it would happen again. He recounted his thoughts to me later, “Wait–is that an owl, me, or her? It sounded like an owl in a distant tree in Steve’s yard, looking down at me, going ‘hoo hooooo.’”

It was me crying over the bull dog. I had fallen in love with the idea of that dog. Really, the dog would have been a long commitment. One of the days we visited it, I held it in my hands, and it was the most pure being. I dreamed of how pure it would be–this pure being–something to be really excited about. I just needed to cry to acknowledge fully that dream I had had.

***** “The blond guy and I!!!!!” Dad and my superego scream.

Sylvester Dorm. Winter 2010.

Looking for something crazy
Beautiful love.
Are you hungry for wonderful

'Cause I am, wonderful 'cause I am.
I wrote a song about your eyes

Ate a slice of cherry pie

I cried all night.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Not a blonde
Not a runner
Not a banker
Not a writer

In eleventh grade, I became good friends with Mione in Latin class by way of notebooks. We scribbled in each other’s journals while Mrs. Wagstaff talked about Roman children picking up "lignum vitaes." One of Mione's first gifts was a lavender spiral notebook, which she suggested that I carry to school. Cheers, Mione, for instigating my practice of carrying a journal with me everywhere.

Even with a journal in my pocket at all times and a bachelor’s degree in English with a creative writing track, I don’t think of myself as a writer. I don’t think of myself as anything. I don’t consider myself a blonde, a runner, or a banker. I engage in these activities: writing, running, having blonde hair, and processing people’s monetary transactions. But the labels are not for me.

My creative writing prof. got me to take this picture of lavender petals in the cracks of the asphalt path when we were on a walk. April 15, 2010.

I am an empty wineglass.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weird Beliefs!

You can have weird beliefs, and then, you can grow out of them.

(1) I used to be concerned with popularity. I saw princes and princesses at school, at the grocery store, at PetsMart, at the county fair. In eleventh grade, I visited colleges and estimated the percentage of preps on each campus. At some point in college, early on in my experience, I stopped seeing preppiness. Now, I just don’t. I lost my prep-o-meter. No one on the streets seems like a priss. They all seem way more complex than that.

(2) When I was a kid, I used to think I had to–this sounds crazy–save up happiness for later. I could let out only a certain amount of happy energy per day. I would save it for the times when I needed it. I didn’t want it to run out. The philosophy operated in my life like this:
Let’s say, it’s Saturday, and tonight, I’m going to a sleepover. Before I meet my friends, I have to be grumpy for a little bit & not tap into any of the good resources. I’ll need all the good energy I can get during the sleepover. If I’m excited and happy during the day, I won’t have any happy energy left because...
Okay, this really sounds crazy, but it was like that! For real. This way of thinking carried over into middle school. I thought of it as “saving smiles,” and I genuinely thought it was how I worked. I was so amazed when it went away.
I don’t save up positive energy. I use it whenever I can. I understand joy is infinite: it has no bounds, it doesn’t run out, and I’m not going to have to be grumpy later if I don’t get all the grumpiness out now.

(3) When I was a toddler, I believed that if I walked on the sidewalk behind our condominium, I would be snatched up by kidnappers immediately.

Prin College Bluffs. Winter 2010.

I have no doubt
one day we're gonna
get out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I’ve been going to the same church since Day One, and I used to be so in love with the mural on the wall of the nursery. The scene enchanted me: a girl swinging in a giant apple tree and her little farmer brother holding a bucket like Jack. I drooled at the sight of the fat-limbed tree, wanting to climb it. I wondered what genius came up with this piece.

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled Blondie into the nursery for a photo shoot. It’s weird to see the juxtaposition of the marriage mate and the childhood mural. He's just sitting there next to something I stared at for hours when I was little. It’s so crazy to think that I had no prediction of Blondie back then. When I think back, it seems like he was there.

January 9, 2011

How do these things exist in the same universe?

I had a little love–
now I’m back for more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remain Funny

One of my regular clients, Peeves, came to the bank today, looking frostbitten and truly glum. He asked how I was, expecting me to say “well,” which I did. I asked how he was, expecting him to make a gibe about how he’s the opposite of “well,” which he did. We tend to joke about how I’m the happy one, and he’s the sad one. “Somewhere there’s an average,” Peeves said. I thanked him for his business and said, “You really don’t look happy.” Usually, he is full of momentum, fired up about how horrendous everything is. Today, he looked absolutely mournful. He said, “Thank you for cheering me up,” and, then, he slipped in a joke. “This,” he said, referring to his appearance, “is cheery.” Thank you for joking anyway, Peeves.

Oh, man, it’s so good, so good, so good
to offer good things continuously and
not shut off from the good.

Sleek in one of her Much Ado About Nothing costumes. November 1, 2008.

"I close my eyes and I
smile, knowing that everything
is alright
to the core
so close that door
is this happening?"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Tonight, my mom asked, “If you could go back and live your entire senior year over again, would you?”
I said, “Yeah.”
“You would jump at the opportunity to do all that homework again?”
“I’ve got my capstone on file, so I could just–”
“That doesn’t count. You would really have to experience the whole thing over again without even knowing you’d experienced it the first time.”
“I would only do it if I could go back with all of the knowledge, all of the experience. I’d do it if I could go back, still in possession of all of that. I would love–"
“I thought about this when I was four,” Blondie squawked.
Haha, Blondie. No, but seriously, I get a kick out of thinking about this.
It’s January 12, 2011. I have reached a certain state of thought thanks to all of my experience on this earth. Let’s say right now I went back in time, with my current state of thought, to June 27, 1988, my birthday, and then, I got to live my life over with my current state of thought being the starting point. It wouldn’t be like Back to the Future, in which Marty McFly actually has to worry about damaging the future. This would be like a dream that I really experienced–more like Inception. Once I reached January 12, 2011 in the dream life, my life, the life we're all living now, would resume, and I would take nothing with me from all of those re-years but the mental experience of them.
Man, I got so excited, thinking about those re-years.
I'd get to enjoy it all again but without any of the dumb worries I had the first time around. I’d know it was all going to turn out okay. I’d just wake up again and be Courtney in the real 2011.
But the real years are actually like re-years in the sense that it always does end up okay, and all of the fears end up being dumb.

The Steak and Shake bathroom. I had just finished presenting my capstone, and Dough took me out to celebrate. May 25, 2010.

Katie, you're a brave girl,
And I know it's only just started,
But I'm gonna be there at six
With some flowers on sticks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Employment (Part II)

Four things I like about working at Applebee’s:
I work in the same store as my husband.
The music is loud; in most public places, the music is soft.
The temperature is not too hot or cold.
I don’t have to bring any homework.

One thing I like about working at the bank:
Mom has always, always worked at a bank, and I get to share the experience with her.

Mom, a financial services representative at the bank. January 5, 2011.

Take their money and run. Say, "It's been swell, sweetheart, but it was just one of those things."

Sunday, January 2, 2011


It is so good to have no homework right now.
A year ago today, Winter Break ended, and I spent the day in the airport, traveling back to school. Between flights, I crafted a proposal for a creative writing project. I was anticipating lots of work.
Now, life is basically
blank except for the marriage, which is one bright, rainbow light.

In the airport bathroom. Classy, eh? January 2, 2010.

I don't mind waiting in line–no, no.
I don't mind if the bills pile up, and the work is slow.
I don't mind the gas or the groceries or the grind.
Long as I'm with you, I'm having a good time.