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Archive for July, 2010


Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

photo by: eric guzik

When we first moved to Charlotte, we thought it was a place we’d live for three years and be out, like a layover, a situation to be endured.  We had no idea we’d fall in love with Charlotte.

We should have known.  We arrived in mid-September, one of the best times of the year for the Queen City.  Carolina blue sky welcomed us the day we drove in and remained a constant sight for weeks thereafter.  The weather was perfect, it felt like the perfect 75-degree day, everyday and that awesome weather lasted well into December.

photo by: eric guzik

I remember having lunch at the Fox and Hound on Tryon Street, Uptown.  We had picked up several free magazines on the walk over: Uptown Magazine, Creative Loafing, and Skirt.  The waitress immediately engaged us in conversation upon arriving at our table.  I thought she was just a friendly server but the same hospitality was extended at the grocery store and Starbucks next day.  No one behind me in line batted an eye when the barista asked how I was, and actually waited for a response.  I felt like I had been transported into a foreign land.

A co-worker introduced me to NASCAR.  Another taught me Southern terms like, “over yonder,” “might could,” “having your picture made,” “mashing a button,” and “right quick.”  I learned that “bless your heart” was not a compliment.  I embraced the word, “y’all.”  I found the best fried chicken place ever (Price’s Chicken Coop) and drank sweet tea like it was spring water.

Football season arrived and we met friends of friends.  They were serious tailgaters who opened up their home to friends for every home game.  They continued the tradition even when they had their daughter.

There were a core group of 10 of us.  We ate, drank, and played together.  You could often find one of us at Connolly’s on 5th.  One other friend called us a herd.  We thought of ourselves as a commune.  If we were without a car, someone else let us borrow theirs.  If a washer or dryer was out, we’d go to another’s home.  We looked out for each other’s pets, houses, and spouses.  Eventually, our commune grew into a community of friends.  We had holiday dinners, celebrated birthdays, and toast accomplishments.  We took joint vacations.  We collected toys for children during the holidays, tried to help build a home for Habitat for Humanities, spearheaded Mustaches for Kids, to raise money for supplies needed in local classrooms and collected clothes for homeless men.

Hubby and I settled into Charlotte.  It felt like home.

So it goes without saying, it was extremely difficult to leave.  The freelance job I took in Boston became permanent.

I have no doubt we’ll be back in Charlotte, it may be just for a visit, in three years when my current contract is up, or when we retire.  But we’ll be back because we love Charlotte.

In the meantime, I’m bringing y’all to Boston.  (The phrase and not the literal y’all, though if you’re in town… let me know!)

beautiful bermuda

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I think Bermuda is one of the most exquisite places on earth.
If I were a poet, I’d write a sonnet.
If I were a musician, I’d compose a song.
But I’m merely a television news girl, who’s video and interviews will never adequately capture Bermuda’s resplendent beauty.
I did try…

If you need more convincing, here are top 5 reasons why you should go!

summer reading

Monday, July 5th, 2010

It’s summer and I’m looking for some good reading material. In a book I find conversations, solitude, guffaws, and triumph. As a kid, I loved all Judy Blume books. I also remember saving up my allowance for the newest book in the Sweet Valley Twins followed by the Sweet Valley High series.

I didn’t read as much for pleasure in college which is sad but I picked it up again after I was out of school. It was a great escape after a long day at work. It’s then that I realized, news supplied me with more than enough reality and when I’m reading for pleasure, it was for escape, so I only like a certain type of book.

I like happy endings. Most people would describe my genre as chick-lit but I think that’s a bit simplistic. I like well-crafted, character driven stories. I like modern story lines that take place in the U.S. I enjoy how books give me a voyeuristic look into other people’s (happy) lives. Unfortunately, my aversion to reality limits what I read. I find Oprah books too depressing. I generally don’t enjoy non-fiction, memoirs, fantasies, sci-fi, or romance, but I’ve made exceptions (Harry Potter is the least likely book I’d read, but I loved the entire series). It means finding a book that I’d enjoy is a task with few resources. So help a girl out! I’ll list a few of the novels I’ve enjoyed if you’ll do the same!

I’m currently reading The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse. I’m reading it on hubby’s iPad because we didn’t have time to stop at a bookstore before our trip. I’ve found myself underlining several lines because it’s so beautifully written. I’m in the middle of it and can already tell I’ll be telling my friends about this book. This summer I also want to re-read one of my favorite books, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, for its 50th anniversary.

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is a coming of age story that has one of my favorite lines of all times. “…we accept the love we think we deserve.” I’ve given this book as a gift to a half dozen friends because I thought it related to so many lives.

The Blind Side by Michael Lewis had me loving football and talking about the West Coast offense with hubby. It’s a book I’ve loaned to several girlfriends. In fact, one friend read it poolside and returned complete with chlorine-water stains (I love a weathered book!). The movie is good but the book, as they say, is better.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini is not my kind of book. My best friend, Carrie, tricked me into reading it. I was visiting her in California, just finished my book, and didn’t have anything to read. She suggested The Kite Runner knowing I’d say, “no, thank you.” But she told me it was an immigrant’s tale that took place mainly in America. Be forewarned, it doesn’t take place mainly in the U.S. nor is it predominately an immigrant’s story. But once you start the book, you won’t be able to put it down.

American Wife, Prep, and Man of My Dreams are all by one of my favorite authors Curtis Sittenfeld. I wasn’t going to read Prep because it looked like a Young Adult book but my friend Veronica insisted, saying she loved it. After finishing that book I was starving for more of Sittenfeld’s work which is smartly written chick-lit. I quickly read Man of My Dreams and then had to wait a while before she released American Wife. It was a fun and interesting story, very loosely based on Former First Lady Laura Bush, that was well worth the wait.

Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford is a gem of a book. I found it while searching for information about literary agents. It touched a cord because like Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, it’s a window into parts of my own upbringing, an experience I had thought was uniquely mine.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave is a beautifully written story that is difficult to describe. A few lines pulled me in so quickly I had to order the book for next day delivery. “Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl… A pound coin can go wherever it thinks it will be safest… Of course a pound coin can be serious too. It can disguise itself as power, or property, and there is nothing more serious when you are a girl who has neither.”

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is told through the eyes of a dog. And funny thing is, dogs are excellent storytellers. I enjoyed it the way I enjoyed Marley and Me by John Grogan. Both are books you can give to a dude and he won’t feel like you’re offering a pink-covered paperback that he’d be embarrassed reading in public.

Here are a few other books I really enjoyed and are great summer reads: Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead, Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen, In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank, The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Krug, Ask Again Later by Jill Davis, Chloe Does Yale by Natalie Krinsky, and The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Happy reading and don’t forget to leave me other suggestions! Thanks!