The Kindness of Strangers

Be Kind - We are all fighting

One of my goals for this year is to be more flexible, specifically to relearn how to do splits. While I am not exactly the creaky old crone I could be, I am definitely not as flexible as I used to be. Aging? Already? This one I can work on.

Got tested about a different style of flexibility this weekend. Hand plans to spend the weekend with the man & his family for Superbowl, a birthday & a few other things. Due to scheduling some work in another city in between Charlotte (where our families are) & Wilmington (home), we weren’t able to drive in together. Which meant I got to come into town early & spend some time with the little dude (& of course the rest of the family). What we didn’t plan was his car cracking up & leaving him stuck in Wilmington.

After a trying week for both of us & not getting to see each other much, it was not ok. I wanted to scream. Bummed to say the least.

After the initial anger, we both agreed it was better to just relax and enjoy our weekends even if not as planned or even together. ENJOY. There is my word of the year again. So I’m trying. There are worse things that easily could have happen. Still sometimes life is just frustrating. Today as I watched my nephew have a breakdown because he didn’t want to take his nap, I thought about how maybe we as adults should embrace the meltdown tantrums. Just release the feelings & express ourselves. Then again should I be taking life advice from a 20 month old? Probably not. Have to admit hearing him yell my name in his little munchkin voice to come save him from his daddy trying to get him to sleep kind of melted me.

Although it’s not quite the one I wanted to spend the weekend with, at least I get to watch the big game tomorrow with one of my favorite guys. Still making memories & suddenly I have more time to read now. Maybe I will even get to knock out another book on my way to 50!

Recently I did finish a book that I have to say surprised me.

I’m a big fan of catching Amazon freebies & when I saw that one about someone traveling across America by hitchhiking I thought why not? So I added The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America to my stash & didn’t think much about it. After finishing Wild, I really wanted something travel related & discovered this find again on my Kindle. Thanks to a blog I read regularly, Crazy Running Girl, I also discovered there is a bloggers’ book club that has started up by Sarah Ohm where we get a topic each month to read our interpretation of & then blog about the books read. Right up my alley! January’s theme is Motivational Book, which Kindness of Strangers ended up being for me.

The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America

No I’m not going hitchhiking anytime soon, but this memoir by Mike McIntyre did inspire me to think about how kind people really can be. I’ve started looking at people walking near roads a tad differently too.

Mike finds himself in a place where he isn’t sure of his life. Frustrations with a relationship and career lead him to decide to toss aside his job, responsibilities and fears and walk from his home in California to a place on the east coast called Cape Fear. Which strangely enough is where I live! Truth be told the Cape Fear is a river and the Cape Fear he is heading towards is just the area considered as the river basin for that river. He doesn’t realize this but the whole time reading I was confused by his talking about going to Cape Fear, North Carolina. “No such place” I would mental argue each time I read it.

His rule is simple. He is going to get from California to North Carolina, coast to coast, without a single penny. No cash. No credit or debit cards. No checks. Nothing. Not carried on him & not accepted from anyone along the way. In this era (he did this trek in the mid-90s), this concept seems absolutely crazy. Completely letting go of control and trusting that he will find people to provide a place to stay, rides, food and the occasional necessities like a bathroom or shower once in a while.

Equipped with a sign and a backpack he starts off simply thumbing from town to town. Along the way he meets some very unique characters as you might imagine. Knowing this is a true story both gives me faith in people and scares me slightly. You really just don’t know who to trust and who not to sometimes.

“Sometimes those who give the most are the ones with the least to spare.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers

I won’t give away much more, but I did find his travels very entertaining. His leap of faith is one I don’t think I will ever be brave enough to attempt, but my wanderlust is rev’d up. I’m more likely to trust the wilderness of nature like Cheryl Strayed in Wild than the people along the highways across the US!

“There was a time in this country when you were a jerk if you passed somebody in need. Now you’re a fool for helping. Gangs, drugs, murderers, rapists, thieves, carjackers. Why risk it? I Don’t Want to Get Involved has become a national motto.”
Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America

Something to think about. Are you the kind stranger or the one who drives past?


2013 Draft Pride

Last weekend was incredible.  You can see more here, on my Aunt related blog.

But this weekend was more focused on making myself happy.


Was the weekend of the 2013 NFL Draft & the Carolina Panthers threw a party!

I had a blast getting to check out the view from the field, inside the locker room & seeing lots of fans and Panther related activities.  The forecast didn’t look so great & Dad dragged getting up there making it later than I would have liked, but we still managed to see almost everything before the storm started up.


Still trying to figure out where the term “Hog Mollies” came from & why suddenly everyone is using it, but otherwise the draft was exciting.  We are going to be a team unlike we have ever been before.  Should be interesting seeing what happens combining the new players with those seasoned ones that make being a Panther fan so exciting.

Some say it is only a game, but to me it is time to forget everything else and come together to cheer on a team for a few hours.   Games are a break from all the stress of life and all that chaos that comes with it.  Connection with something bigger for a little while.  A pride.  Together we hope, we cheer, we defend, we win or we lose.  Together.  Then a week later, we do it all again.  I’m not one who likes watching the game with the know-it-alls who get all in an uproar about how it should be done & get mad.  Over all it is a game.  There is money to be made, but it is there for enjoyment not stress.  I’m not on that field (normally) but I trust that those who are know much better what they are doing.


Each game only happens once.  You can replay the clips, but even with the same guys on the same teams, it is never the same.  The suspense lies in watching to see how it all turns out this time.  Hoping that no one is injured and that all play better than they ever played before!  Surprises lurk at any moment.  You can call plays & know what can happen, but good luck trying to predict what actually does happen.  The emotions on each team member, fan or opponent’s faces shine brightly with each act and you feel alive.


The draft for me is a time to glance at what the season could be like.  More than that, I get caught up in watching dreams come true.  For my team or for others.  Watching the draft gets me emotionally.  These guys worked harder than I can fathom to get to that point.  Support from family, friends, coaches and so many others help build them up to becoming NFL potential.  Then they get a call and it happens.  The dream is realized.  They get drafted to a professional team.  No matter what comes in life, that happened.  It only happens to a select group of people in the world, but it happens for them.  The hope and gratitude displayed by these grown men is moving.  How many people can honestly say that they had a dream and it came true? While the nation watched!  Beautiful.

The part I hate is that for the dreams to come true for a few, the experience must end or change for even more.  Players become Alumni.  Teams restructure and new faces join the old.  Like life I suppose.  Still painful sometimes.


Looking in the Panthers locker room this weekend it struck me.  Seeing the favorite’s names up above their lockers was thrilling, but seeing the empty ones hit home.  That empty locker once held shoes, jerseys & all the other stuff.  It had a name that hung above it proving that someone’s dream had become a reality.  Now it waits.  Everything packed up & moved, it waits for a new name and new stuff to fill the waiting shelves.

The titles may show that one person replaces another, but it never really works like that.  There will always be the clips showing that the player that has moved on was once a part of that season with their own stories to tell.  No game is ever the same just as no player is ever the same.  Everyone brings their unique talents to the table, making it their season, their game.

Can you imagine working out there? Love it!

Can you imagine working out there? Love it!

Sure to some it is just a bunch of grown men throwing an oddly shaped brown ball around and running.  To those that connect with the game, we see the magic.  The spirits and the dreams coming true right before our eyes and we know that through it all we were there.

 If nothing else, it is simply a few hours enjoying a distraction and maybe a beer or a few while the weight of the world waits away from the action.

Either way, COUNT ME IN!  I am ready for some FOOTBALL… but not any football.



Bring it!  We always KEEP POUNDING in Carolina!

Sam Mills' spirit still inspires! (looked like the Autograph poster was still signed by the 2012-13 team)

Sam Mills’ spirit still inspires!
(looked like the Autograph poster was still signed by the 2012-13 team)

the Revolution is coming

September is FLYING right by me! I can’t believe it has already been a week.  So much I feel like has happened since August.  So much left for me to do before the month escapes me.  Lot of deadlines with homework and other “have to-do”s but still finding time to stop and enjoy a few “want to-do”s when I can.  I savor every one of those moments.

Wilmington is affectionately called Hollywood East or Wilmywood and with good reason most years.  One of the reasons I even checked out the school while in high school, was that the Crow had just become one of my favorite films.  Brandon Lee, already deceased at the time, was a HUGE crush for me & my best friend.  She had the idea to check out the university in the town where he died on set.  Perhaps we could walk the same steps he did in his last days while getting our degrees.  Having the beach just a few minutes away from our dorm room all but sealed the deal for us!

Stay in this city more than a few days and you are bound to get bitten by the bug.  Buzz about who is here, who has been here, who may be coming here for what movie is all around from local rumors to confirmed news sources.  Drive the streets most anytime of year and you are likely to see extras or crew parking signs or one of the many trailers for cast, equipment or other necessities of production.  The town ignited back in 1983, when a young gal named Drew Barrymore starred in a production based on a book by Stephen King (Firestarter).  However rarely do we have Premieres.  This just isn’t a red carpet town.

Maybe it is the beach life where start times are negotiable, weather can change any moment or the mix of students, retirees and tourist that doesn’t make it seem like the place to be seen or for big fanfare.  Still we are a proud town of the industry.  Both the University and Community College have film studies programs, talk with more than 5 people and odds are at least one of them has been on a set at some point either as an extra or crew or at least has been somewhere at the same time a celebrity has been there.

Last night this little town showed how into entertainment it is….. in spades!

Few months back the talk of another TV series picked up.  We have had our share of pilots come and go and our tourism industries benefit to this day for being the place where Dawson & pals came of age.  One Tree Hill seemed to take the place of Dawson’s Creek when it stopped production.  Now that One Tree Hill has ended, many wondered would the production stop locally for the small screen or will something else come in?  As of July this year, the new kid is in town!


Hoping it gets to stay for quite a while.

To kick off the series, NBC chose to do a contest to determine which 10 cities would host preview parties.  Sadly the simple math of the more population you have, the more likely you will have more people to vote meant Wilmington lost out to some bigger cities.  Still they decided that since the city has been the place where the episodes are being filmed, they deserved a party too!  Thanks to a Facebook give away, I got word that the event was to be held last night & even got a pass to get in.  Turns out I was far from the only one.  So many people showed up in support that there were more people than seats (like 3 times more!).  Guess they gave away more passes to ensure that there would be a full house & didn’t expect so many people to actually make it, but we did!

I got great seats thanks to a few friends with inside connections (yup they were extras).  Was nice to be treated to free popcorn & a coke as soon as we walked in.  The epitome of a great movie experience in my eyes.  Nothing quite like the combination of popcorn, coke & a movie.  Many childhood memories include those elements.  Even though it wasn’t a movie, being in Thalian Hall with its HUMONOUS big screen up on the stage it felt like movie night.  Something special about being able to watch the show, which is about a world where the power has gone out & stayed out for the last 15 years, in a theater that was around 50 years before it installed electricity.  Added to the thrill of it all.

Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad, Once Upon A Time & a million other things – seriously he has even been in Sesame Street episodes!), Graham Rogers (Anyone remember the insurance “Can I get a HOT TUB?” commercial) & Daniella Alonso (she was previously filming in Wilmington on One Tree Hill)

Seeing a few of the actors watch along side in the audience was exciting but seeing how down to earth and gracious they were as they answered questions afterward was the icing on the top.  They were literally glowing as they bask in the energy of the night.  I can only imagine what they experienced working so hard on something and then being there while so many viewed their hard work.  Pretty sure one of them visibly blushed when asked for a hug from a fan.  To be there watching as dreams come true was simply magical.  Tales of sleeping for months on a friend’s floor to making the connection from just working on going to auditions to actually working making commercials, paid off as he discovered the limelight of being a star.  While it may have only been viewed in 11 cities (& by others online), clearly fans have blossomed and the actors have become characters who we want to watch.   Did I mention they stayed for BOTH screenings? Yup they had so many people come that they offered a second screening for those with passes that were not able to get in due to the theater being at capacity!

I know in this day of reality is king & everything has to be true down to the last detail, some might not think a story about a world without power (or cellphone & social media) would be something to watch, but I am here to tell you it is!  Give me fantasy any day over reality, but when it comes from the same people who brought us LOST and Supernatural – look out.  It will pack a punch.  Pilots tend to be dull spending a lot of time establishing characters and connections.  Revolution catches you up to speed while capturing your heart and mind.  I won’t give away anything, but I will tell you that you want the leads to make it.  There is a journey, strong characters on a quest.  So much potential for what will happen along the way.  All the while we watch what life could be like if we all were suddenly unplugged.  So many have stepped away from nature, but what would it be like if our survival depended on embracing it?

The whole idea has had me thinking since I learned it was the twist in the show.

I’m starting to look at my house differently, wondering what would be lost and what would be suddenly worthless.  This laptop for one.  All the digital photos I love.  The iPod, phone, air conditioning, ….so much!  Take a few moments to think about it.

What would be lost if it never lit again?

But be sure that before some mysterious event occurs and we all lose our connections, watch the pilot!  Revolution will make its broadcast premiere on Monday, September 17th on NBC at 10 pm (eastern).  Set the DVRs while you still can to catch the entire series.  If you really don’t feel like waiting, check out the full length pilot HERE – & thankfully it is from NBC themselves, not some pirated version from last night.  I know I’m looking forward to seeing where this adventure takes us.  So many questions came up (Both times I have seen it).

Feels great to be in place where such exciting things are happening with great people.  I might forget now & then, but when we come together in support we can move mountains…. or at least overwork a popcorn machine & pack a house twice over!  Life is all about enjoying the moments with a smile.  You never know when the opportunities will end.

Slip Sliding Away

Bye week. The fall Sunday that I have no idea what to do with.

Started out with a great meal.  Pot roast, fried okra & black eyed peas.  Nope I didn’t cook, but it tastes home made.  Comforting.

Had planned on going to visit Airlie Gardens for the free residents day, maybe even the museum, but got a text while eating that had me scoping out the beach instead.

KITE FEST 2011!  Had visions of the diamond shaped ones we “tried to fly” as kids, but I was SHOCKED at the sight I saw.  Forgot all about the gardens.

Parking was a bear.  All the public spaces near the end of the beach were taken & I passed 2 patrol people passing out tickets to people ignoring the NO PARKING ANYTIME signs.  So this was a fundraiser for the local government… got it.  Finally found a space in a lot down the beach & decided that the walk would do me good anyway.  Start the fitness program off right.

Hit the beach with the camera & felt a bit silly being on the beach in sneakers, but it was chilly.  Few steps on down & SLIP… what the? That’s when I spotted them – slippery little landmines ALL OVER waiting to help some unsuspecting soul face plant right into the sand.

When I say all over, I mean ALL OVER.

Glad I wore my sneakers & was really glad I brought the epipen with me just in case.  No need to test it thought.  I treaded carefully watching every step but admittedly I still slid around a bit.

But it was so worth it.

On to not as fun stuff like laundry & maybe attempting to clean out a closet around here.  All while humming a song I had stuck in my head ever since leaving the beach.