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?


That’s No Snow

For all those friends and family members who were praying & begging to see their winter wonderlands, they got their dose.  Just not quite like they had expected or hoped.   We got a massive dumping of pure ICE.


Heavy.   Slippery.   Dangerous.


It was enough to shut down schools even at the college levels from Tuesday to Friday, when it finally started to melt.  The whole city was an ice skating rink.

While I was quite content to stay inside and hibernate in my grumpiness, Mr Man was having none of that.  He was determined not to let some frozen water stop his fun.  He missed one day of work and pulled me out to explore.  Even ended up playing a bit and taking a turn sliding down the street.  I trusted his confidence in his driving skills and judgment and against my instincts let him drag me around town from the river to the ocean to see the town in an entirely different light.


I dare say I had fun.

Doesn’t mean I want any more winter weather but I admit it wasn’t as bad here as it could have been.  The terror that happened in and around Atlanta was a nightmare, but thankfully we didn’t deal with those issues.

Worst part was completely slipping as I walked across the street to the car and hearing a crowd of people from the bar giggle, which I joined in doing.  Nearly flipped completely.  My rear end certainly remembers it well but I’m hoping soon it will forgive and forget & feel normal again.  Always spreading smiles I guess! Could have been a lot worse.

Best part was enjoying a few hands of cards and a bottle of wine in front of a warm fire Mr Man insisted on making.  He truly does know how to make life better and for that I am truly grateful.


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.

Hear me rawr

Once in a while things come together in ways that there is no denying they are pointing you toward where you should be.  That place where your soul will burn bright in bliss.

Maybe it was meeting new guys that I actually am interested in after a long dry spell of meeting people who just were not my guys.  Not only meeting guys I could very well get smitten by, but who also seem to be in the same “perhaps” phase.  The anticipation time is bliss …. or complete agony! But mostly smiles.  And the flirts can drive a lady crazy!

The pole dancing classes may have been the spark.  Getting back in touch with my body.  The way it moves.  The recognition that even if I haven’t had sex in a really long time… I am still sexy.  Learning how certain moves not only look enticing, but take a strength that right now I just have to strive for.

Lately I am just feeling very feminine.  Feeling appreciated for being feminine.  Feeling connected with Athena, Aphrodite  and still Kali seems to always be near.  Just embracing the mood.

Sadly I have long grown out of my Wonder Woman underroos, but the spirit still lives within.

Learning about a local vote to deny funding that would cover IUDs for women on what seems like their opinion that birth control pills would be cheaper INFURIATES me!  How dare they? I agree the pills are cheaper.  BUT they are not for every woman.  Without the funding those that may be better on the IUD will get the pill… which can be skipped & ineffective.  Leading to unplanned pregnancies & the choices that they bring… & the cost associated with those decisions.  So decision based on a budget? NO its grant money to use or loose.  They said loose it based on their opinions AS MEN.

Why should ANY man be making a decision about my body.  Perhaps if it is a medical professional who understands my unique situations and is aware of any side effects or risks.   Perhaps their opinion would be valued.  but a group of local elected MEN,…. No.  Just NO.

Click on the picture to take you to the news story.

So tomorrow its time to stand & be counted.  Let them know there are vaginas in this town.  Vaginas who vote.  Vaginas who are smart enough to think for themselves and educate others as we can without making choices for them.

If they want to make a difference, why don’t they do something really inspiring and ban banana hammocks on the beach for anyone over a certain age or weight…. no they would never do that.  For they all fall in those limits.  Could effect them directly.

I just don’t understand how people can pass up free funding just because they preferred it were funding something else that THEY feel would work better.  Not their choice.  Make the choices available & let the women decide.

Remember that although you say that “they shouldn’t be having sex”.. its a NATURAL instinct and is going to happen.  Pregnancies can be prevented and diseases can be prevented.  With the tools to fight & knowledge to know how.  How dare we limit access to these?

Just sadden & madden by my local representatives’ short sightedness.  Perhaps they should spend some time with their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, wives, daughters, granddaughters, co-workers who are women, neighbors…. any one who has her very own vagina.  Someone who can explain that it is ours to protect how we see fit.

Tomorrow I will attempt to make my voice her in a rally.  Hoping that its not too late for this grant funding & hoping this snafu and embarrassing series of events do not prevent us from being eligible for future assistance.

My opinion is my own.  I reserve the right to believe it & speak it freely.  I also sincerely hope that when it comes time to vote, I can do so feeling that my voice will be considered in all actions.

Thinking its time to bust out the red pumps again.  Rocking the Red Pump was about being aware…. its time were are all VERY aware.

Mustache Ali

Moustache? for moi?

maybe not… but for today I have to.  Inspired.

Thanks to Twitter I learned of this fundraiser from a seasoned grower himself!  Check out @Jergo for his status on this year’s new growth.  Better yet do like I have & DONATE!  You can give a little or a lot, but every little bit helps kids who could really use the cash.

2011 Mustaches for Kids Promo from Matt Ev on Vimeo.

I moustache you to help too!

Remember back when I said this month’s 10 on 10 was going to be at a later date?  This is why! Had to support this great cause.

Wilmington’s Mustaches For Kids is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been giving to children’s charities since 1999. These guys spend a month growing mustaches and raising cash for local organizations.

Donating is easy.  Just go HERE, make whatever donation you can to (remember to choose “PERSONAL” & “GIFT”) & follow along as the month goes on to see this year’s ‘stache progress.

To those participating: GROW ON!

Funny enough, facial hair has always sort of been a turn off for me. Throw back to bad experiences of my youth made me slightly untrusting, well other than Santa.  Still lately I am learning about the beard. Part of healing has to be rethinking those thoughts that you think but don’t really have a good reason why.  If you can’t defend the belief, why support it.  So open mind, open heart & forget the fear.

Finding myself seeing past it to the comforting eyes behind.  The guys who are participating in Mustaches for Kids prove the fantastic things these hairy guys can do.  So tossing the old urges aside & opening my world to a whole new view.

Added bonus I never thought of before: its great for exfoliating.  Don’t think about that too long.  Probably too much information but my lips are doing wonderful even in this cooler weather!  Funny enough one of the dates I thought wouldn’t amount to much more than just a night out is the one that I’m finding myself thinking more and more about.  Who knows where it will lead but I know it tis the season of the ‘stache! (no not @jergo! Don’t want to start any rumors by misunderstanding.)

Now I am afraid I MOUSTACHE away & defurrify my face.  Admittedly the fuzz is not my style.

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.

Keep Shooting Til You Get the Shot

Loving this picture a friend on facebook shared! Sadly that is how it has been feeling in my house.  Movies get viewed, TV series kept up & of course I watch any Panthers game I can catch, but the books… gather dust.  No more.

Its day three in the 31 Days of Reading!

Yesterday’s fun in the local session of the World Wide Photo Walk, inspired me.  I feel like I NEED more camera time in my life.  Love the feeling of seeing the details in life & “catching” them.  Great to see some people I hadn’t in a while.  Tonight I have some editing & going through the 665 pictures I took!  Love digital! Just go for it.  Play with it & delete the ones that don’t work out.  Not as committed to the perfect shot as I might be if it was film I had to pay for per shot & to develop before I saw how it came out.  Like the reflection shot…

I had a blast getting this, but it wasn’t the first shot.  Its a reflection in a glass door to an optometrist office.

So much of life doesn’t work out with the first shot.  We have to keep just clicking along to see what works & what doesn’t.  Take the risk of the shot.

Tonight I have to suggest a couple of books that I have loved.  Its photography for those who just want to shoot good picture instead of reading all the details.  Give me the basics & then let me play til I get it.

Scott Kelby, who started & does the photo walks each year, writes books for people like me.  Just the facts please.  Then let me go.  …but be there if I need you to answer a question.

The Digital Photography Book series do that.  I have the set & highly recommend them to anyone who has or wants a DSLR camera.

Then you can be part of the crazy, obsessed crew that scours the streets for that “perfect” shot… or maybe just a few like these.  To remind you why you stay in this town.  The beauty of it all & the fun surprises to be found when you look.