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Posts Tagged ‘charlotte’


Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

class of '15 I have this desire to be funny. Everyone around me is funny; my husband, my friends. I have a good sense of humor. I’m quick to laugh and I’m a great audience. But telling a joke and creating laughter wasn’t my forte. Still, I wanted to try.
I attempted improv once, taking a series of classes in Charlotte, NC. That was a failure. I would practice possible scenarios in my mind, which kinda defeats the point of improvisational comedy. Standup comedy, however, is all about writing and preparation. I wanted to see if I could make a crowd laugh on purpose.
8 weeks of classes at Improv Boston was a blast. Gary, our instructor was a wonderful, funny, and supportive teacher. The folks in my class were the highlight; 3 teenagers, a doctor, 2 Africans, a Black-Jewish woman, a white guy in the middle of bankruptcy and me, a Chinese chick working out her mid-life crisis on the stage. We were an All-American bunch and it was a hoot.
The penultimate class left me in a desperate place. I didn’t think I would be able to find my funny but Sam, my classmate, helped me parse out the crap I had written and left me with just the funny bits.
By the time our recital came, I felt my funny bone had been strengthened!
Being on stage or talking to a bunch of people wasn’t a big deal for me, but hearing a group of people chortle over something I’d written and delivered, well that was a first, and it was a thrill.
Tran Fans (Thanks to all my friends who were super supportive throughout this process… and to hubby, Dominick, Cary, Brad, Kristen, Kim, Tim, Ben, Drew, Padgett, Brendan, Laura and John who all came out to cheer for me!)

**This video has swear words that have been bleeped out but it still may not be ‘work appropriate.’
(You want to watch it even more now, right?!)


i am freezing

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

I stood outside waiting for my 11:00pm live shot and I had one prevailing thought – fear!  It is October.  I can see my breath!  I was standing out there, waiting the 10 minutes before I’d go live and I realized, I was freezing.  How was I going to survive this winter?  The other day, I wore a coat to work and hubby removed our air conditioner from the window.  Not only was summer over but winter was already nipping at my frigid fingers.

I am actually scared of winter.  The last time I was in Boston, I worked mainly during the day.  It meant various court stories, where I would be bundle up, yes, taking off many layers as I sat in court, but at least I was warm for a portion of the day.  This go around, I am on the night shift.  There are no court stories in the evening.  Nearly all of my stories take place outside.  And, of course, it’s colder at night.  I can honestly say I’m frightened!!

It’s been 4 years since I’ve reported in the bitter cold of a New England winter.  In Charlotte, October is the most glorious month after September.  In the Carolinas, summer extends well into September.  October and November are late summer months.  Autumn comes in December.  January and February are the winter months.  Spring is in March while April, May and June are the summer months.  It’s July and August that are dreaded because they are oppressively hot and humid.  In the South, July and August is über-summer.

I started to think about New England weather.  I returned in late March.  I still needed a coat and gloves.  Spring starts in April here and summer arrives in June.  Friends told me August actually marks the end of summer.  Fall arrives quickly in September and as I’m now realizing, winter starts dipping the mercury in October.  At this rate, winter will extend into December and frozen tundra time will occur in January and February.  Awesome.

I came home from my live shot in a full panic.  Where are my winter boots?  Did I donate them to the Salvation Army 4 years ago?  How many pairs of long johns do I have?  Oh poop, only one.  I donated several pairs when we moved south!  I thought of the hand and feet warmers I’d have to buy.  I purchased them in bulk before and when I left for Charlotte, I bequeathed them to my photographers, but now I’d have to invest again in mass quantities of these little packets of warmth.  I need to locate the hats, gloves, and scarves.  I don’t even know where to start looking for my space pen.  (While working in Boston, every year I’d ask for a space pen for Christmas.  It allowed me to write in freezing temperatures.  Don’t laugh – it was a necessity!)  Maybe this year I’ll just use a pencil.

The hyperventilation panic has subsided.  Thanks for the longer nights, I’ve gotten a good night sleep and have awaken with a brighter perspective!  I figure I have enough gear for fall and winter here, which gives me a couple more weeks to prepare for the frostbite months.  I’ll take any suggestions you have on stay warm (best thermals, must have jackets, warmest boots) but I think the only positive side is – there are only four more months until spring.


Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

It’s official.  My bio is up on WHDH‘s website, so I’m officially part of the team.  I can’t tell you how super excited I am about being back here in Boston.

To be honest I didn’t think I’d be back.  After the first winter in Charlotte, which was sunny and gorgeous, hubby and I kind of thought we’d never leave the South.  We imagined my next career move could take us to Atlanta or we’d just stay in Charlotte forever; we didn’t contemplate a move back to the Northeast.  I even donated almost all of my winter coats and most of my snow gear.  We were done with snow.

Then came the call to come up for three months.  The station needed some freelance reporters to fill in as two reporters were out on maternity.  I hesitated.  I didn’t want to move back, live with friends and work at a station that was once competition (I’d worked at the Fox affiliate from 2003-2006).  We had dear friends here in Charlotte and while on sabbatical, I had finished my first novel, volunteered a ton, and took improv classes.  I was happy.  But I missed working.  So I took the assignment with this in mind, I’ll hate it and know I’m done with news or I’ll have some new, updated stories for my resume reel.  But it didn’t take long for me to remember why I loved reporting in a big market; stories of national and international significance were constantly happening.  I was covering the police raid of the accused Time Square bomber’s Connecticut home.  I was standing outside the Garden as the Celtics attempted another championship.  I interviewed a concert violinist who left her instrument on a transit trolley, only to have it returned.  Even with all that, I still hesitated when the station offered me a full time position.

I thought I wanted to pursue my news anchoring dreams more.  I thought I wanted to focus on my fiction writing.  I thought I might try something outside of TV news.  But in the end, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but telling peoples’ stories; using their words,  my words, my photographer’s video.

While at WHDH during those three temporary months, I gained new perspective, saw a new opportunity, and regained my love of TV news.  Ultimately, what I found was a new place to call home.

newport folk fest

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

Hubby and I recently spent a weekend in Newport for the Folk Festival and I have to tell you it was so much fun!!!

The music was awesome, with legends like Richie Haven gracing the stage and Charlotte natives the Avett Brothers.  But it was also an amazing venue to discover new music.  The festival introduced me to musicians like Yim Yames, Andrew Bird, Sam Bush, and April Smith.  It was also an opportunity to see a bunch of folks I’m already a fan of like Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Swell Season (from the movie Once), and Calexico.

What made the weekend even more spectacular was the weather.  It seemed everyone was hoping for sunshine and a nice sea breeze and well, the rosary beads strung outside a nearby church, worked!

Here’s a look at the sights and sounds from our weekend; shot completely from my iPhone.

*Thanks to Bernie and Anita for the tickets.

moving day

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I hate moving.  You’d think that since we move about every 3 years, I’d be used to it, but I’m not.  I loathe it.  It’s my personal hell.  Actually it may be purgatory, you don’t know when it will be worse or when it will get better.  You’re stuck perpetually in between boxes.  Every time I move, I tell myself, no, never again. But that is silly since hubby and I are often moving to advance my career and upward means onward!

beautiful charlotte

roommates matt and bob

our new street

This time we moved back to Boston.  But it was just 3.5 years ago we moved from Boston to Charlotte. And just 3 months ago, I had moved in with friends, as this job at WHDH was only temporary at the time.  So I had some stuff in Arlington, hubby and my stuff in Charlotte, and we needed all of it to make its way to our new apartment in Boston.

moving day in clt

We had some great movers, Gentle Giants!  But no move is without its kinks.  This time, it was timing!  With me working (in Boston) and hubby traveling, the giants picked up our stuff in Charlotte on July 23rd.  But we couldn’t get into our apartment until August 1st.  We needed to paint so they delivered our belongings on the 4th.  We also moved from central air, everywhere, to a quaint brownstone without an air conditioner.  Of course moving day was one of the hottest, most humid days of the year, so there was a desperate, last minute search for an air conditioner.

In the middle of unpacking I caught myself saying never again!  Hubby looked at me.  I’m not sure if his stare was in disbelief, exasperation, or surrender.


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!)


Monday, June 28th, 2010

This is my view as I’m writing this blog post.  I’m in Bermuda and if you haven’t been, you need to go for five reasons alone!

1. The View – this is what you’ll be looking at during your stay.

2. The Ease – it’s a quick flight (2 hours) from Charlotte or Boston.  I venture to say it’s easier to get to Bermuda than the Outer Banks or Provincetown.

3. The People – they are Bermudian and English.  They’re basically the nicest and most polite people you’ll meet.

4. The Money – they use US currency so there is no exchange rate.

5. The Community – hubby and I have visited a few islands and resort communities where the poverty is disheartening.  We would leave feeling like ugly Americans who visit, consume and utilize what locals could not afford.  In Bermuda, they are often more educated and wealthier than us.  The economy isn’t based soley on tourism so locals want you to love their home but it’s more out of pride than necessity.

** I’m headed to the beach now.  I’ll be updating during the trip then give you a full video tour upon my return!

preview race

Monday, May 31st, 2010

One of my favorite events since moving to Charlotte is Speed Week.  For my group of friends and me, it means a week of activities – culminating with Sunday night’s big race, the Coca Cola 600.  I’m working on my Race Week blog post.  It will include some fun surprises including the definition of “yupneck,” a portmanteau we created.  That post won’t be ready until midweek due to travel back to Boston and work.  For now I give you a preview.  This is video of our neighbors at Charlotte Motor Speedway setting up camp.  It’s 8 minutes of video condensed into one minute.  Enjoy!

photo shoot

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Last fall I had a photo shoot for Charlotte’s Uptown Magazine.  It was for the “Sexy Uptown” edition.  It was my first photo shoot.  Granted, I’m on TV 5 days a week.  Granted, I’m not shy about having my picture made.  (For y’all not in the South, here, your picture isn’t taken; you have your picture made).  Granted, I’ve had professional photos taken for the various TV stations where I’ve worked.   But a photo shoot was different.  Way different.  And I was supposed to look sexy.  If you know me, you know sexy is a tall order for my 5’1” frame!  I’m more of a goofball who’s super loud, overly friendly, and somewhat opinionated.  I’m just saying, I was out of my element.

I arrived with a few outfits.  Todd, the editor, and Ryan, the photographer were both at Enso, which was playing host to the shoot.  I had,what I considered, a trendy outfit, a jeans-and-a-fun-top outfit, and a little black dress.  They liked the black dress.  Hair done.  Make-up done.  (Ryan has subsequently told me, I was part of a cattle call, not a real photo shoot.  I feel slightly cheated but on second thought, it might have been worse if I was at “real” photo shoot.)

I tried to adjust expectations with Ryan.  I told him, I’m not really a “sexy” kind of person.  I’m more “self-deprecatingly humorous.”  He assured me I would be just fine.  In my head I was thinking, I’m a foot shorter, 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier than the women you’re used to photographing so, um, make me look taller, younger, and thinner.  And he did, the genius that he is!

Just recently, Ryan sent me the 53 shots he took that day, the outtakes! I saw them all for the first time and I have to say, it’s embarrassing.  Really!  I wouldn’t write a blog post if it were not somewhat humiliating.  I have never been a fan of my profile, so I didn’t like those shots.  Some pictures are so clear, you can see every curve of my figure, and not all curves are good.  I have slight wrinkles and way too many awkward poses.

I’m fortunate that they were able to find one suitable for publication.  In the end, that’s all you need, right?  Just one yes!  Just one picture where someone made you look sexy!  Thanks Ryan!