May 28, 2013

So God made the soldier.

This is a picture of my dad flying an airplane for the United States Air Force.
He is my hero.

     "Here is your check, and I'll be your cashier whenever you're ready," I said, routinely, as I made my way around the table.
     "Oh, Courtney?" The old man sat at the end of the bench and rose his finger to flag my attention, "May I ask if you've got a military discount?"
     "We do!" The excitement leapt from my body. "Do you mind if I see your military I.D.?" Before I even finished asking the question, he searched excitedly through his wallet.
     "Do you know what it's like in Africa, sweetheart?" I shook my head, not paying much attention to the dates on his card. "There are no seasons. I would know. I spend ten months of my year away from this pretty thing, and in that country," he said, pointing to his wife who looked as frail as he did. She smiled at him with a shy tilt of her head.
     "Oh? And what do you do over there?" I wondered. I wanted to sit down and hear all of his stories, wanted to ask him about my grandpa, who he knew growing up, wanted to hear his theories on life. He pointed a sharp eye towards the woman across the table.
     "I work for the government," he winked at me as she looked away.
     "While you're handling the check, dear, I'd like to find the restroom," I pointed her towards it and she was on her way. Reaching across the table to grab the dirty plates, the man grabbed my hand. I felt the wrinkles in his skin and the warm pulse under his palm.
     "I couldn't tell you this while she was here, doll," I released the plate from my fingers and he grasped hold of my hand a little tighter, "she's sensitive to these things, and I didn't go into much detail, but I'm in a branch of the military, one that trains a new generation of soldiers for combat. That's what I'm doing in Africa." Suddenly, his face got more serious and his eyes glistened a marble glow under the table's light. It seemed we were the only ones in the room as everything around me went quiet. "There are people in this world who would like to take away the things that we hold so dear, and I refuse to stop defending those things." Immediately, moisture began collecting in my own eyes and they, too, glistened under the warm light above us. "This country should remain free." He finished. His eyes were kind. I watched a smile perk on his mouth. I nodded, agreeing, as tears fell violently down my face.
     "Thank you," I whispered, "thank you for keeping me safe," I said, trying to remove any evidence of my emotional outburst. He lowered his head in a reverent bow and tightened an old baseball cap around his head. His wife came back and the two of them gathered their things.
     "That was the best steak I've had in years," he put his hand on my shoulder as the two of them headed for the door. "They don't have steak where I spend my time." He winked at me, again, as a sort of silent sentiment that everything would be alright, and I trusted him. I trusted him with my life.

     As I tallied the orders at the end of the night, I noticed that the old man's total after the discount was a measly three dollars from a 40$ total.

     This man has spent more time defending my country in his lifetime than he has spent not defending it, and all I can do for him is take $1.50 from his two steaks?

This is me shouting from the rooftops that I promise to always be on his side, the side of the armed forces. I will lend support, volunteer wherever I can, send care packages in the mail, and I'll pray for them all from the home front every day. This is also me letting both of my grandfathers, my uncle, my father, and my two older brothers know how proud I am to be a part of them. I am so proud to come from a military family and am so incredibly thankful for the freedoms that each of them protect daily.

God blessed this fine country of ours with brave, capable men and women, and he continues to do so because he knows how much we need them. There is power in that. The kind of power that sends chills like electric shock waves down my neck. I am so grateful for these people.

For me, nothing brings more joy or prompts the water works faster than watching videos of soldiers surprising their loved ones. I lose it every time. Here is one of my favorites.
Happy Memorial Day!

May 27, 2013

Sugar coat.

When I don't know who to miss or how to miss them, I miss you. I don't know how I do it, or even why, but it happens, and I can't help it.

"Write," my brain says, and I obey, "write what you want to say and don't sugar-coat."

Well, I'm sugar-coating, brain, but that's because for the first time ever, I'm not brave enough to use raw words, the ones I really want to say. Sugar protects tongue from bitter aftertaste necessary for healing. Healing to take place soon. Pill to tongue, sugar-coat in writing. Wish I didn't need these pills at all.

I cry. In almost every television sitcom that I watch, I cry. During sad country songs. I cry during those, too. They stick in my head and make me think of sad things.
Things like you and me.
Things that haven't always made me cry,
they make me cry now.

And these words are all very cryptic. They're blanketed under a coat of sugar that I wish I didn't depend so heavily upon.

Deck the walls.

In September, I'm moving into a brand new, empty apartment
and I've been dreaming of the black framed print collage that will
hang on the wall behind my button-tufted sofa in the living room.
I've collected these images and am completely in love with them.

Also, I've been listening to Michael Buble's Christmas album,
have become strangely addicted to the salted almonds from 
Sam's Club, and remember this? They're crossing into married 
land. I predicted it long before it was even a thing. They can 
thank me, but I'm crying inside because that boy was good 
looking. P.S. is it acceptable to frame pictures of Jimmy
Kimmel and John Krasinski? Because I'm considering it. 

May 25, 2013

A little party never killed nobody.

I have too many best friends, I know. I get it. But it's not my fault we're so close! 

Yesterday was McKenzie's birthday. We've been best friends since the beginning of high school where I noticed her in one of my classes. I thought she was mean at first. She didn't talk to anyone and always came to class with wet hair pulled up into a tight bun. I didn't like her until we were placed next to one another during a seating rotation. She explained that she danced at a studio pretty seriously and never had time to do anything else (that was why her hair was always wet). We literally became best friends over night. We started hanging out together every weekend and declared best friendship over christmas break when I brought Butterfinger ice cream to a sleepover at her house. We watched reruns of melodramatic soap operas and ate straight through the carton with two spoons. We were written in the stars from the beginning. Anyway, that's the story of us if you were wondering. The story of this weekend is that I had a dinner party all planned two weeks ago. It was going to be in my parents' backyard under the trees with adorable hanging lights and homemade lemonade. But when I make plans, they never go accordingly. Today, my car had to be driven and inspected to pass an emissions test before it could get cleared to get re-registered. It didn't pass and I'm now driving my mother's expedition back to school for the next few weeks. Needless to say, I ran out of time to do anything, so a few of our close friends and I took Miss McKenzie to dinner at a pizzeria downtown and came back to eat store bought cheesecake. I'm even so bad that (and I'm embarrassed to admit) the candles weren't candles at all. They were matches. Quickest happy birthday song I've ever sung. The point is, it was McKenzie's birthday, and regardless of plans, I love the way it turned out. 

Also, let's make another plug for the best friends in the world. We love each other. We really, really do. 
Tonight, we sat in a circle saying the same Russian word over and over again, laughing so hard we couldn't breathe. Carter taught us swear words in Spanish, got freakishly hooked on Instagram, and Rayo fell asleep on the couch. She slept for at least a half an hour before the rest of us even noticed. We tried to get a good picture all together, but the self-timer app can only do so much, you know? The purpose of our get together was to celebrate McKenzie's life and enjoy each others' company. Mission accomplished. Because there is never a time where I'm not enjoying these loves of mine. And when I care about a person more than I care about these people, I'll know that I've hit the jackpot. More on that theory later. For now, though, we'll put our arms around each other and curse in Spanish. Just cause it makes us happy.

Also, have you heard this and this yet? The Great Gatsby soundtrack is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. We had it on repeat tonight. 

May 21, 2013

Settle down, it'll all be clear. Don't pay no mind to the demons that fill you with fear.

When I graduated high school, it was made perfectly clear to me that upon moving to college, I would no longer have a bedroom at my parents' house. And, I mean, can't complain. I'm the only child in the Kearns Klan (We're one of those families that makes our name a perfect alliteration to emphasize our closeness. Aren't we adorable?) to have had her own bedroom, her own bathroom, her own iPod, an iPod in general, her own car, and for the latter part of her childhood, her parents all to herself. Spoiled, wasn't she? Anyway. I drove home last night in a raging fit because that Logan, well, it just had spent me. You know what I mean, spent? It had me. I left around midnight, got pulled over in the canyon where it was just me, the cop, and woods as dark as they come (One of my more terrifying experiences. Let's not have that happen again, license plate bulb). And, boy, coming up the stairs to see my mama still awake, sitting up in bed watching a Cary Grant film, waiting to tuck me in safe, was all I needed to regain my sanity.

My bedroom is the grandkids' bedroom now. There are stuffed animals on the bed and a tiny office sits in the corner of the room. I once had a plush, pink comforter and sheets with orange hibiscuses on them. Those tween-screaming sheets are now stowed away in a linen closet I don't imagine they will ever emerge from. Nevertheless, when I come home and sleep in that bed, I feel home. My parents are down the hall, the old out-of-tune upright that taught me melody down the stairs, and there's always Costco-sized Nutella in the pantry. It's home, and I'd give anything to be closer to it.

Post-graduation is one year from last semester. I've been thinking a lot about where I'll go from there. I won't be married, with child, or an experienced writer. I'm not going to bank on having the love of a boy who begs me to stay, nor will there be employers throwing money at my feet, so the possibilities are endless. Suggestions welcome.

P.S. Today, I found John & Nance's wedding pictures, photos of my dad flying planes in the Air Force, and some thirty year old snapshots Dad took of Mom at Versailles because "Look at her, Courty. She's just so pretty, I had to." My parents are literally the coolest.

May 19, 2013

"we would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright." 

ernest hemingway.

thanks for showing me this one, paige, darling.

I should have taken the broken hot water heater this morning as a sign.

This morning, when I tried to shower, the water was cold. Confession: I did not shower.

A week ago, I tried to get my shift covered for this morning. Three different people tried to pick it up, but they were all rejected by my boss because no one is allowed to work a double. (??) This afternoon, the same boss who rejected the shift changes asked me to work a double, myself. So not only did I have to work my shift, but I had to cover someone else's, too. Interesting.

I hate mean people. They are my biggest pet peeve. I wish I could help everyone in the world realize that mean people don't get very far in life. Especially those of the power-hungry variety. And don't even get me started on restaurant people. They make me sick.

Anyway. None of this is the point. The point is that I missed out on my friends tonight in Draper, where I was supposed to be. And do you know something? I was so excited to see them. Do you know why? Because they went celebrity bowling. Just when I think I can't love them any more, they go celebrity bowling. Please enjoy this picture that I should have been a part of.

Also, I can't end this post without a shout out to a few people.

First, my favorite Milton, who understood my situation tonight and told me that swearing would loosen my tension. And after I turned him down, which is another story for a later date, he said, "Wow, good for you" like he was really proud. I love you, Young Milton.

My mother. I called her in tears, hysterical, irrational, and angry. She, of course, asked me to step out of the situation, take a deep breath, and love those who've done me wrong. I, of course, rejected that, immaturely and stubbornly, but this shout out is for her because she takes the high road and loves unceasingly in every situation. She is stunningly selfless. Clearly, I've still got a few thousand things to learn from Nance Kearns. Earth angel, I tell you.

And lastly, Luke Wesemann who listens to rants like a champ, says the funniest things, and is one of the greatest friends I've ever had. I am constantly impressed by his devotion to being a good person, and I totally mean that. An honest, genuine, wonderful class act. You've got some seriously positive juju coming your way, my friend.

I've got a million reasons to be happy. There is only one bad thing to every millionth good thing. But ya know what? Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes, that scary pregnant girl you work with yells at you to fix something you didn't break, and you do it because that's you. You do it so she'll stop screaming, so that the person who is actually responsible for the mess doesn't have to feel as crappy as she made you feel. And just so you know, people will sometimes walk all over you, demanding your head if you don't show up for a ridiculous line-dancing meeting at 10:30 on a Sunday night. But if there's one thing that sets you apart, let it be the fact that you're nothing like them. Come next spring, you'll have a diploma in your hand, onto bigger things while the scary pregnant girl juggles her part time job, a bad attitude, and... what was that other thing she'll be juggling? Oh yeah. A BABY. Take pride in the fact that you know how wrong it is to take advantage of others. Be proud of the way you were raised, even if it gets you nowhere in the restaurant business. Hell, run with that! You weren't made to take orders and this is all temporary. Yeah, remember that next time they purposely make you feel stupid for not having time to heed to their every whim. It's not what you were made for and for you, it'll all be over soon.

I had a bad day at work. Can you tell? I hate that stupid job.
But there is always a small light. Today, that light was my dear friends and my dear family. I love you all to the stars and back, add a million Junior Mints. Because believe it or not, adding candy might be my love language.

May 16, 2013

A Still Life Portrait.

This is the only picture I took of the other night. 
I spend an awful lot of my weekends in Salt Lake 
with my dear friends. I will forever look at this tiny 
little snapshot and remember everything about that 
moment: Joshua Radin not six feet before me, his
honey voice, his honeyed words, trying to get the 
self-timer on my phone to get the perfect shot and 
then having that shot end up like this, better than I 
might have even imagined it. I like that about pictures. 

May 15, 2013

"So, I took her hand, and I gave it a twirl 'til I lost my heart to a Galway girl."

Kissing The Blarney Stone... I've yet to reap the luck it promised, but I still have hope.
I haven't blogged in a long while, but two years ago this week, I went on a little holiday to England and Ireland. It was, perhaps, the best two weeks of my whole entire life. What I wouldn't give to be there today.

We spent our days in the rain, walking museums, and exploring thirteenth century abbeys. Heaven in my mind looks remarkably similar to the UK. Dingle Peninsula, Kilarney, County Cork... I miss it all. Want to read about my travels from that trip? Here, here, herehere, and here. I am glad I blogged while I was over there! Good job, Younger Courtney.

And do you know the best part? My family is from Galway, making me a real and true Galway Girl. Don't know what that is? Let me enlighten you.
Doesn't it make you want to go to Ireland?

May 9, 2013

Confessions of a person who serves you food:

I am up to my elbows in one dollar bills. Stripper, server, or both? You decide. But the answer is really stripper.

I had to refill the coffee tonight. When I said I didn't know how to do that, the girl behind me said "HAHA YOU'RE SO FUNNY" like I was joking around. I laughed, nervously, and then said, "Wait... I'm being serious. I literally have no idea what I'm doing." She had already left by then, so I struggled through until, finally, coffee came out piping hot. As I swung around the corner to bring it to my table, I spilled it on myself. NOTHING GOOD CAN COME FROM COFFEE, I TELL YOU!

Tonight, I won a competition at work because I sold an outstanding number of draft beers. And because I was such a good little salesgirl, my boss treated me to an incredibly juicy, medium rare, practically bleeding sirloin dinner. It was mouth-wateringly delicious and I am a carnivore.

Yesterday, my favorite co-worker, Milton (the one who is a retired Air Force pilot and reminds me, fondly, of Lt. Col. John A. Kearns... my adorable father) told me I was born to be a server. I'm still trying to decide whether or not I am flattered by that statement. Thoughts?

P.S. I am going to a Joshua Radin concert tomorrow night in Salt Lake. J-Rad is my ULTIMATE when it comes to music. The last concert of his I went to, I met him after the show and Missy's hand got caught in his suspenders. That's right. HIS SUSPENDERS! 37 year old dreamboat. I'd marry that man, 5real (HEY RAY).

May 8, 2013

Update and shiz or whatever.

I spend a good majority of my time taking steak temperatures, and slow dancing to Garth Brooks ballads while sweeping my section after closing. Hence, the reason for all of the absence madness.

Also, my best friend just moved into town, and we've been spending our days shopping for home goods and buying groceries. No, not like THAT... Although, today, at the furniture store, the salesman asked us to both lie on either side of the mattress to prove that we wouldn't be able to feel the other move in the middle of the night. We went along with it because things often get uncomfortable when you try to explain the "no-seriously-we're-not-and-never-will-be-attracted-to-one-another" situation. It just begins a bizarre strew of "that's what they all say" and "I have these two friends who..." and "so you'll be paying separately, then?" We need a third friend to live in Logan. Holding auditions now. Midgy? Ray/O? Colt?

Anyway. My summer is already exhausting. But it's finally warming up around here and today, I bought white linens for my queen sized bed. Also, I moved out of the Hell hole I lived in and into an apartment with my roommate from freshman year. Her name is Kylee. Little victories.

P.S. the picture is my little Bean and me. I went home last Friday to catch up with my sisters who were in town for Women's Conference and Brinlee came for a visit during dinner! So happy to see that feisty girl. I love her so. Big shout out to my cousins, Madison and Jaime for sharing their tiny person time with me as all of my own tiny people live out of state. Love you forever for that!

May 2, 2013

On things you should know:

I've never seen Star Wars. Back when the little, old community theater on ninth played Friday night movies, my parents took me to see it, but I got so bored that I started throwing popcorn in the air trying to catch it in my mouth. But then I got in trouble, so I fell asleep and have never finished it because I don't care. And while I literally don't feel any guilt about saying that, I'm sort of a little bit sorry that I mean it. That's not the point, though. The point is that if you need someone by your side to accompany you on a Star Wars binge, my brother, Ben, is embarrassingly attached.

So, there you go.

Love, love,

A person who thinks you're cool, but thinks Star Wars is laaaaame.

I've been watching obscene amounts of How I Met Your Mother. Can you tell?