Monday, October 13, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Typically my inspiration for posting is based on the idiocy or humor that I find in others. But yesterday, I inspired myself.

While shopping at World Market, I wandered around somewhat aimlessly adding things to my basket - sea salt, new rug for the front entry, chocolate, candles, etc. And on a whim I shuffled over to the Halloween area in the hopes of finding some inspiration for a costume. Nothing earth shattering there, but I did find a cute little pair of devil horns. I figured worst case scenario, I wear jeans, a black t-shirt and devil horns. Perfect.

So, I get to the register and the woman checking me out feels it necessary to discuss every item I am purchasing with me (no, this isn't the idiocy yet). As I am focusing on my wallet she says, "Aw ... and you didn't forget your pooch. How Cute."

Awkward silence ensues.

And then, the "aha!" moment.

I was wondering why the devil horns had a chin strap, but I figured with a bobby-pin or two I could make them work.

Um yeah, the chip strap is for my dog's chin. These horns are for the dogs.

So, everyone makes mistakes. And I ain't afraid to admit it.

On that note, a couple little mistakes that the fine folks of Bluffton have let slip out of late ...

Town Meeting, September 17. There must have been something in the water that day.

The disgusting gentleman who sat behind me for 90 minutes burped out loud for 89 minutes. The icing on the cake was that with every belch he would blow a breeze my way. Lovely.

Almost as disturbing, but so much funnier because well, I didn't have to smell it ...

The woman sitting a few rows in front of us must have felt a rumble in the tumble because she abruptly jumped from her seat and sped to the door. All the while passing gas loudly. I am ashamed to say that I laughed and laughed and laughed at that one. I don't know who should be more embarrassed, me or her? Ok ... me.

Since no one has shit their pants in front of me this month, I guess I will leave it at that.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Courtney Naughton is STILL in South Carolina?

My furor over a local elected officials statement that boils down to "new residents go home, I don't care what you think" received some press in Bluffton Today and the Island Packet.

But, considering the apathy in our town regarding local politics I didn't expect much in the way of a response. I got a "Go Jersey Girl" cheer and then one commented that baffled me, printed in Friday's BT. It went something like this ...

"Frankly, I am surprised that Courtney Naughton is still in South Carolina."

Come again? I think the point is being missed on this one. This isn't about me. It is about one of Bluffton's Town Council Members saying in public and on the record that he doesn't consider the opinions of the "new people" in town to be valid.

Well, wake up people. 80% of Bluffton is made up of new residents. Why don't you care?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Saying Goodbye to a Favorite Pair

It's been weeks now. I guess I knew it was coming.

But, they have been so loyal,always standing with me, that I just couldn't let them go.

So, I worked them hard in those last weeks knowing our time together was short. And as a result - as they began to come apart at the seams - they lost the dignity that they deserved. Even crazy glue couldn't have held them together.

It was one day too many -- a long 12 hour day -- and they just couldn't stand up to the pressure.

At 7:16 p.m. on Tuesday, September 2, I said goodbye to my high-heeled, black, patent leather, strappy sandals.

Today, I will wrap them carefully in tissue paper, place them in their original box (yes, I save them) and after a moment of silence (i.e. consideration as to when and where the next pair may come) I will toss them into the big,green, plastic after life.

Can I get an Amen?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

In Wednesday's paper(s) one of our Town Council Members basically offended 80% of the town's residents -- yup, you guessed it - the new people i.e. those from New Jersey, Ohio and New York.

Me being well, me ... I couldn't resist a letter to the editor on the topic. Not sure if it will make the cut, but this is what I submitted.

Dear Editor(s) –

I am disappointed that Councilman Fred Hamilton would publicly state, “I'm not going to let people who have not been here long decide” during the Council discussions regarding a public referendum.

Not only is this a disregard for the democratic process but folks, when you ask yourself why there is so much distaste for Northerners here in Bluffton, well here is your answer. If a representative of our town government is not willing to welcome the folks (Northern or otherwise) who relocate to Bluffton, well then this problem will never be resolved. What a horrible message we are sending to all of the people visiting or passing through – why would they ever come back? I guess we can tell the Chamber of Commerce to stop positioning Bluffton as a destination. And, we might as well close the Heyward House. We don’t need a Welcome Center in Bluffton because well, we’re not welcome.

How sad.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is that yer ass hangin' out boy?


The Jasper County Council (our neighboring county for the folks reading from afar) passed "on second reading a proposed ordinance Monday that would make it unlawful for any person to wear his or her pants 3 inches below the waist".

Scheduled for a third reading on August 15th, if passed the ordinance would call for a maximum $500 fine and 30 days in jail if violated.

I expect a huge run on belts and string at the local Piggly Wiggly.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm Pissed

I wasn't sure where I should post this ... I consider a Letter to the Editor or a VOX or Blog on the Bluffton Today website, but ... people are idiots and I knew that there would be backlash of the "damn Yankee go back home if you don't like it" persuasion.

So, I'll post it here ... how many people actually read this anyway?

So, let me start again.

I'm pissed.

As I've mentioned, I have been running and/or walking every morning. I walk just as the sun is coming up and the street lights are going off for the day. I walk through my neighborhood and along the new walking/bike paths on Buckwalter Parkway. And, twice in the last two weeks I have been harassed.

The first incident was on Buckwalter, a white contractor's van (yes, I saw the name of the company) slowed down and the passenger felt it necessary to hang out the window and whistle, hoot and holler. It spooked me and I high-tailed it home.

The second incident was yesterday in MY neighborhood. A white mini-van slowed and passed me and then turned around to pass me again ... this time though, the driver and/or passenger made it a point of slowing and sending me a kiss -- you know, a loud, wet, smooch. Disgusting.

And again I was spooked -- I kept my eyes ahead and focused on the house where I knew a Marine lived and most likely would be awake and have a gun. When I passed his house, my Mom's house was in sight and her next-door-neighbors police cruiser was in his driveway. Safety for just a few more houses. Then, I rounded the corner to my house, where two Sheriff's officers live just doors down.

Whew. Home. Safe.

And that is when I burst into tears. Listen, it is easy to piss me of and get me rilled up. But, it is pretty hard to make me cry. I was scared, this was a fear cry.

Once I got over my fear -- and Joe took off in his truck to try to find the white mini-van (not the brightest move)-- I got pissed.

Someone please explain why men feel the need to hoot, holler, and blow kisses. This wasn't broad daylight with neighbors out and about and kids playing in the street. This is daybreak - most of the East Coast is sleeping and I am exercising. It used to make me feel good -- I am a morning person and a morning workout gives me energy for the day. I can only imagine that the perpetrator's (yes, they are now criminals in my mind) intention was to scare me.

Now, I am afraid. And I am pissed.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wood I?

In my never ending search for freelance work, I pitched the idea of a profile on Paul Raines, friend and expert craftsman, to Coastal Antiques and Art and they bit. The story appears on page 13 of the July issue (complete with a picture of moi!).

He's Making Wood Work
As you turn into the driveway of Paul Raines’ workshop the first thing you see is a boat. Stately, proud, and polished the vessel rests there as the unofficial welcoming committee. As you start to talk to Raines you understand why. “I went to sea at 13”, he tells you.

This is a statement that one would expect from a man raised in a small Alaskan fishing town, not Miami, Florida. However, if you dig deeper you will learn that Raines’ mom made the decision to “send him to sea” – her attempt at a scared straight program. Admittedly, he “wasn’t the best kid” and his mom did what she thought she needed to do. Today, Raines sees that decision as one that shaped him and his love for woodworking.

“On the boat, I was lower than a deckhand,” he says. He started out as a mechanic’s assistance, a mere teenager working in the bilge room of an 88 foot tug boat. But, hard work is rewarded and soon Raines found himself working on boats all along the eastern seaboard where he was given the opportunity to refine his skills in woodworking, joinery and carpentry.

In 1990 the Hilton Head based boat he was working on was sold. He was stranded, if you will, on the Island. Raines quickly took his experience and started his own company – Wooden Expressions - restoring boats. Ten years later, his business expanded to private homes where he has been creating inimitable living spaces ever since. “I never copy myself,” he shares. Instead he concentrates on finding interesting design aspects that will suit the needs and personalities of his clients.

On a recent tour of the Beringhause home in Berkeley Hall, Raines showed us the range of his work – spectacular mahogany front doors that make you feel special just walking through them; a wine room built into a converted elevator shaft with a handcrafted hard wood floor; a theatre room that reminds you of days gone by; and a wet bar designed to feel like the galley of a boat but with the smooth lines and craftsmanship of the finest yacht.

Raines is a true artisan but jokingly describes himself as a mediator – between husband and wife who can’t always see eye to eye on what will work best for their home. “Some ideas are born on a cocktail napkin others take months and months of refinement. Regardless, I lay in bed at night and I picture the piece I am working on. I ask myself how will it fit, how will I put this together, what it will look like.”

And then Raines says with a chuckle, “I think about the finances, the schedules, the employees, and the next job … until I fall asleep.”

And the next day, he wakes up and does it all over again.

- Courtney Naughton for Coastal Antiques & Art

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I've Done It

I have finally made the final, final decision that I do not want to (or need to) move back to the ol' homeland.

A week in New Jersey reminded me of all the things I love about the Jersey Shore -- the beach, the boardwalk, the shops of Spring Lake (where I did significant damage), the pizza!

It also reminded me of all the things that I don't miss ... the traffic and the traffic and the traffic. Oh, and that one little detail of snobbery.

I got up most mornings and walked on the boardwalk for almost an hour. That's more than five hours of walking and one, count 'em one, person said hello to me (even when I smiled first!).

To put it in perspective, I walk/jog at home most mornings at 5:30 a.m. and everyone that I see (putting out the garbage, jogging by, walking their dog) says good morning. Everyone. (Did I mention that it is 5:30 a.m.?) Now, I'm not going to jump on the Bash the Yankee Bandwagon, but I have to ask why?

Of course I have also seen my fair share of tongue-lashings in the Lowcountry (see archives of my column) and these folks can be meaner than any Jersey Girl you ever met.

The bottom line is ... I am staying put. This Yankee ain't going home.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

You Can Go Home Again

And I have. I woke up this morning at the Jersey Shore. I walked out the front door of our beach rental, walked the 3 short blocks to the boardwalk and walked along the ocean for 45 minutes. And the past comes rushing back.

Well, it actually rushed back yesterday as we prepared to land in Newark. Now, 90% of the time when you approach Newark airport you fly over the loading docks of Port Newark, or the "factory district", or if you are lucky the Budweiser factory. But, yesterday was different, we banked right and out of the left side of the plane the NYC skyline came into view - the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty stood proud. I got a little chill as the past came racing back.

I whizzed through baggage claim and was in my rental car in 30 minutes flat.

Then, it hit me. Well actually, it cut me off.

"It" being some guido in a 1997 black camaro who drives the Garden State Parkway for sport. Weaving in and out cars as if racing a slalom course. Yeah, this I don't miss.

Now I thought the guido epidemic was one of the past - reserved for the 1980s and for some poor souls it unfortunately spilled over in the 90s as well. I am here to tell you that it is still alive and well at the Jersey Shore. Lord help us.

On that note, I discovered a really interesting blog last week - "Cajun Boy in the City" (not for the faint of heart or kids under 18). Basically the anti-Courtney. A Southern guy living in NYC. Check out his take on Guidos.

If I wasn't married, he could be my perfect match!

More to come as my adventures at the Jersey Shore play out over the week.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Walking Like a Duck

So, how does the old saying go ... if it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck it must be well, a duck.

Not in these parts. I've recently discovered that if it looks like a cockroach and it walks like a cockroach then it is indeed a ... (wait for it) ... Palmetto Bug!

Um, what?

Just a testament to the Southern culture I guess. I imagine the conversation going something like this ...

"Bless her heart, we can't call her a cockroach ... that's just not polite." A few minutes of rocking in the chair, and an iced cold sweet tea and suddenly ... "I've got it! We'll call her Palmetto Bug."

I wish the Yankees had it so easy. I'm still waiting for someone to call me a nice name.

I rock.

I sip.

And nothing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Holy Shit I am 35 Today

“Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what happened.” - Jennifer Yane

I am still trying to decide how I feel about this. Five years ago, I cancelled my 30th birthday celebration during a spell of denial. So my hunch is that 35 is not going to go any smoother than 30 did. We’re talking a lot of years here.

In trying to come to terms with this milestone, I did a little research on some other things that are turning twenty-fifteen this year.

The cell phone. Yes, believe it or not in 1973 Martin Cooper, leader of Motorola's cell phone team, called Joel Engel, research head of rival AT&T's Bell Labs to say, "Joel, I'm calling you from a real cellular phone."

The interchangeable head screwdriver.

The MRI.

The Sears Tower.

The Jet Ski.

In entertainment news, Elvis Presley's Aloha From Hawaii television special was seen around the world by more than 1 billion viewers. The Young & the Restless, The Bobby Darrin Show, and Concentration all made their television debuts in 1973 and George Jefferson made his first appearance on All In the Family.

Is it fair to say that most things just get better with age?

Yeah, that is my story and I am sticking to it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

You Go Dad!

I have been teaching for six years now and despite the obligatory annual request from the Dean, I had never attended a graduation ceremony.

This year was different. One of my public speaking students, Reece, was selected as the student speaker for the graduation ceremonies. This was big! I suspect that Reece had the gift of public speaking long before he entered my classroom, but regardless I was extremely proud.

So last Friday, I made the trek to the Parris Island Chapel for the Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) Graduation. As I suspected, Reece's presentation was flawless and inspiring.

Despite the fact that I selfishly attended just to hear Reece's speech, I was actually touched by something else that I witnessed.

The graduates were of all ages, races, backgrounds and majors but one thing was consistent - the pride that their family members had.

Despite etiquette instructions on the school website that indicated that "guests should not clap, cheer, or make other excessive noise as names are called" this crowd was rowdy! (And who could blame them?)

As one gentlement crossed the stage and his name was called the entire row in front of me rose to their feet clapping and cheering as one called out, "Yeah! Way to go Dad!"

I was truly touched -- watching a child cheer for his father who accomplished his goal, when it is so often the other way around. And that is why I love teaching.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A little respect for her majesty please ...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Grace Lady Courtney the Philomath of Divine Intervention
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I know, I know. This is a lame excuse for a blog post, but it is a start. My friend Patrick (Venerable Lord Patrick the Random of Dramble Buzzcock) had this on his blog and I stole the idea.

However, now that I hold this royal post of ridiculousness, I pledge to post more often. I do have a few ideas brewing so stay tuned for --

"Yeah, You Go Dad"
"A Little Humility Please"
and my personal favorite ... "Holy Shit I am 35 Years Old Today"

Later kids.

P.S. If anyone can find the definition of "philomath" let me know. The American Heritage Dictionary on my desk does not show a listing.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A 25 Chicken a Day Alligator


Yes, Alex I know it.

"Phrases I never thought I would hear in a meeting!"

Where am I? And, what does that mean?

Apparently it is just more of my indoctrination into the South. My boss (E.T.B.) calls it my "Southern Education". He is a Southern Gentleman through and through and has been working for a few years now to soften the Yankee. Secretly, I know that he loves the 'tude sometimes. He is the good cop, I am the bad cop -- it works for us and I think it is why we work so well together.

I have copies of the Foxfire Books in my office courtesy of good ol' E.T.B, all of the issues of Garden and Gun magazine (which I love! it's the only mag I have every read cover to cover, every issue.), music selections, and random quotes, articles, movie titles, and books that I am supposed to digest in his quest to acclimate me to the South.

I think it is working.

I can't even remember the context in which "A 25 Chicken a Day Alligator" was used, but I know that next time I hear it, my jaw will not drop. I'll be able to play it cool.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Body & Soul

I recently had the opportunity to write for a new publication, Coastal Antiques & Art. My first assignment was to interview an artist (duh) about his process and body of work.

Before I could accept I had to come clean to the Editor -- telling her that I hated Art History class and really didn't consider myself an art connoissuer. I didn't tell her that up until a few years ago "art" in my house consisted of prints I bought at Michael's and framed myself -- we are doing much better now, thanks.

Lucky for me she liked my writing style (so now there are three people who do) and gave me the assignment anyway.

I had the great pleasure of interviewing painter Bruce Knecht. He got the same confession as my Editor and he was still game. Here is how it all turned out in the February issue of Coastal Antiques & Art. Click the link below and enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

My Secret Shame

It's funny how life works and seems to always come full circle.

I walked into the market at work this morning and Christopher Cross was on the radio "getting caught between the moon and New York City" and I had to chuckle.

When I was young we used to vacation all summer. Mom was a teacher and Dad was a firefighter who would save up all of his vacation time for the summer. On the last day of school we would pack up and take off for a long adventure. To keep us company on the long drives, Dad brought along two friends. Christopher Cross and Neil Diamond would fill the silence of hours of travel.

Later in life, when I had my own car and my own radio I would be taken back in time when one of the songs of my childhood would be on the radio.

And then, in college I discovered my secret shame.

Her name was Delilah.

Delilah was a DJ on 92.7 / WOMB. There, folks could tune in each night to be serenaded by love songs. I would listen at night and enjoy the freedom to sing along to ...

"Wind Beneath My Wings"
"I Will Always Love You"
"When You Say Nothing at All"
"Everything I Do I Do It For You"
"Right Here Waiting"
"More Than Words"

Fast forward more years than I care to admit and I am here in South Carolina driving home from teaching a night class and I hear a familiar voice.

Delilah right here in my new backyard?

Not so much. Apparently Delilah is syndicated nation-wide, which really means just one thing. My secret shame is for sure shared by millions of other hopeless romantics who may be looking for love in all the wrong places.

So as Christopher Cross serenaded me while I got my coffee this morning, I told my summer vacation story to my colleague, Jen.

Sure enough that led to talking about Delilah and guess what? Jen thought that Delilah was a local DJ on her small town South Carolina station and was shocked to learn years later that she too was sharing love songs with the whole U.S. of A.

And, we've come full circle again.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I Spooned a Black Lab Last Night

I couldn't help it. It is cold!

And, with those words it is possible that I have finally and fully acclimated to my new surroundings. I'm a flip-flop-loving girl destined for monthly pedicures and my tootsies aren't toasty.

The South is in the midst of a cold snap and I can't stand it anymore. A little chill in the air was nice around Thanksgiving and Christmas -- made me think of holidays past, but once the tree is down I am ready for the temperature to go up.

I remember going to my cousin's wedding in Florida fifteen Decembers ago and prancing around in shorts and a t-shirt while the FLA residents shivered in the (mere) 70 degree temperatures. I couldn't figure them out.

And now I have to wonder, did I just turn into Grandma Noon?

So, on nights where I typically whine that Darby is taking up too much space in the bed, last night I welcomed him to curl right up there with me - under the covers and all.

I slept through the night and woke up refreshed and covered in dog hair, but it was worth it.

I spooned a black lab last night and I loved every minute of it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Rednecks and Yankees

Like cowboys and angels ... we can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. Check out this great column by the Island Packet's David Lauderdale.