Category Archives: The South


A cold-ish drizzle has been dripping in Charlotte for a few days.  I enjoy this for a few reasons:

  1. It obviously reminds me of home
  2. Charlotteans freak out and remain indoors and find leftover wood to…
  3. Start fires; I love the look and smell of smoke coming from chimneys

I’ve recently started a new volunteering gig at a nearby botanical garden.  I’m a greenhouse grunt and though I may be familiar with growing edibles, the extensive variety of plants and flowers at the garden are daunting; I’m way out of my comfort zone.

In the past two weeks I’ve also been chased by an amorous wild turkey, wielded a machete, dug up 800 tulip bulbs, was surrounded by a deranged flock of Canada Geese, accidentally frightened some tourists, help plant flowers in three enormous landscaped areas and learned to identify three weeds previously unknown to me.

The people have been gracious and kind and not meaning to draw parallels, none of them are from the region.  They have formed a little tribe, devoted to beautifying and maintaining a stunning piece of land in place that does not belong to them for people who do not want them here.



Posted by on 25 April 2012 in North Carolina, The South


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I’d like to go back.  Now, please.  Maybe we could all rent a house, drink beer and take long walks in the public squares, yes?


Posted by on 14 February 2012 in Photographs, The South, Travel


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>Mother Nature


….certainly is pissed off at us.
I watched in horror as a tornado, reported to be 1-1.5 miles wide rip through Alabama.  Debris was falling from the sky over 15 miles away and it just kept going.  As of now, tornadoes are still touching ground in the Carolinas among other places.
If I didn’t have to be on an airplane this morning, you’d probably find me in the fetal position on the closet floor.
I hate this weather.  
I was to drive to the airport around 4:30am today, but left much earlier to avoid being on the road when the storm was scheduled to hit Charlotte, but apparently that bitch failed to get the memo.  Being in that car, blinded by horizontal rain, fighting for control during gusts of wind, having the sky light up by continuous lightening strikes, was one of the most frightening and probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.
As everyone boarded the tiny regional jet to Washington, DC a few final flashes of lightening bid us farewell; we were all pale and silent for the do-I-send-off-a-final-text-message-because-I’m-convinced-this-plane-is-going-down flight.
My connection in DC was delayed for nearly two hours, but I really didn’t care because that meant I was not in the air.
Now I’m 3,000 miles away in a downtown Seattle hotel room, which has a spectacular view of the Space Needle.  The weather is perfect and it’s easy to get distracted.  Several hundred people died last night.  Entire cities were destroyed.  And the storm is still here.
As much as I hate this weather, I hate feeling this helpless even more.

Posted by on 28 April 2011 in The South, Weather


>Oh, Hello There


I’m out crossing items off my Life List and will return sometime next week.
Recent observations:
  • My Central/Eastern European heritage has contributed to a skin color so ghost-like, that I really have no business living in the South where summer clothing can almost be worn year-round.
  • Every time I eat a pretzel, I miss the street vendors in Philadelphia.  Sorry New York (and every other vendor and ballpark in the country), this is where Philly has you beat.
  • Watching baseball makes me want to play softball.  I turned down athletic scholarships from three different colleges to take advantage of an academic offer.  I don’t regret a thing, but would love to swing a bat again.
  • If you ever get the opportunity to hear a man named Chip Callaway speak, do it!  He is a native North Carolinian that specializes in the restoration of historic gardens, mostly at old plantations.  My Southern readers will understand when I say he is a master of Southern story-telling.  Even if you do not like gardens, it is a thrill to hear him weave tales about his grandmother and other people that have come in and out of his life.
Now, where the hell is the sunscreen?  I know you Southerners are still wearing scarves and gloves at 60°F, but this is BBQ-at-the-river weather for Pacific Northwesterners.  I know I’m pale, but if you stop looking at me like I’m crazy for wearing a sundress, I’ll stop rolling my eyes when you duck for cover at the slightest whisper of rain.

Posted by on 3 March 2011 in Happy Thoughts, The South




The South has been crippled by ice and snow.
Loaves of bread have been torn open and fought over in the local grocery stores.
I’m sorry, Southerners, but most of you have no business driving in this weather, so please stop trying. Because you just end up crashing into trees and telephone poles that fall over and systematically take out the power grid in Charlotte.  And I’d like to keep the lights on while stuck in the house.

Posted by on 11 January 2011 in Bad Ideas, Charlotte, The South, Weather


Religion, Politics & the Weather

It’s common knowledge the two things to keep away from in conversation are religion and politics.  Especially in the Southern States, affectionately referred to as the “Bible Belt”.

Is that a sweeping generalization?  Yes.  Is it warranted?  Absolutely.  Are there going to be more stereotypes issued by me?  You have no idea what I must stifle on a daily basis.  (Well, Kelly and Magnolia may have an idea.)
I am from the Pacific Northwest.  Also know as the Gray Region of Godless Heathens, Marx-Loving-Environmentalists, United-Marijuana-Growers, Save-the-Spotted-Owl-or-Whales-or-Microscopic-Amphibian-That-No-One-Has-Ever-Heard-Of, Do-We-Take-Your-Subaru-Outback-or-My-Prius-Oh-Who-Are-We-Kidding-Because-We-Will-Ride-Our-Bicycles, I-am-Dressed-Up-This-is-My-Good-Flannel, Caffeine-Addicted-Maniacs.
(How the hell Idaho qualified as “No Religion” is beyond me.  Especially when shit like this is almost a regular occurrence.)
(Also, Alaska and Hawaii do not matter, because in true American fashion, “out of sight, out of mind” reigns supreme.)
I am now living in the Southeast, indicated on the above map by the magenta hellfire that apparently awaits everyone, even my “love thy neighbor” faithful.
What started this rant?  The weather.
The. Weather.
The weather was the single “safe” item to bring up in any conversation.  But over and over again, I see it play out like this:
Southern Native: “Sure is getting cold.”
Northern Transplant: “There is a slight chill in the air, but it’s nothing like the winters in New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts.”
Southern Native: “Well, dear, it’s a little cold for my liking.  I hear it may even snow this weekend.”
Northern Transplant: “I hope not, only because you Southerners don’t know how to drive in the snow.”
Southern Native: “Well, bless your heart!  I just hope the snow won’t keep you from attending Church this Sunday.”
Northern Transplant: “?”
Southern Native: “God created snow.”
Northern Transplant: “There is no God.”
Southern Native: “You probably voted for that Muslim, too?”
Northern Transplant: “You know Reconstruction ended in the 1870s, right?”
Southern Native: “YANKEE!”
Northern Transplant: “REDNECK!”
Southern Native: “Have a blessed day.”
This fabricated conversation is not far from the truth as this is a benign weather report that ran in my local newspaper.  Please take the time to read the 80+ comments that follow.
I’m just going to say it: Southerners are afraid of change.  Northerners are pretentious a-holes.  I’m guilty of taking cheap shots at the South and I’ve been told to “go home” more than once.
What most Southerners fail to recognize is we followed a job, as did most transplants that fill Charlotte, not the calculated invasion the locals would have you believe.  If The Husband wanted to remain employed, we had to relocate.  I was excited for future experiences; Southern Hospitality,  good conversation, new food and Gothic literature.
Instead, I’ve watched Charlotte struggle with an identity; public transportation expansions have stalled while the NASCAR Hall of Fame has opened and is on the road to bankruptcy.
I’ve met intelligent, creative and all-around great people.  They are all transplants, too.  Locals lose interest in me once an acceptable accent in not detected.  My Christmas plans do not include a Church service.  The horror.
Anything unfamiliar is labeled “Yankee” and the term is always used as a pejorative, but Charlotte has no problem naming neighborhoods as “NoDa”, “Midtown” and “Uptown”.  They love the concept of New York, just not New Yorkers.  Please come visit, Northerners, just don’t stay.
Libraries are basically non-existent and sprawling suburbia shows no sign of stopping because of how City Council operates.  How are we not to discuss politics?
Every Sunday the mega-Church around the corner must have police direct traffic so the buses shuttling parishioners from off-site parking lots can make it on time.  A local Mosque is constantly being vandalized with bacon.  How are we not to discuss religion?
But it’s not polite to discuss such matters.  Instead we will watch the snow fall from our living room windows, seething at the Atheists with a visible Christmas tree or the Baptist stocking their kitchen with bread and milk.

Posted by on 4 December 2010 in Broken Stuff, Charlotte, The South


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>The Neighborhood


The South sure loves her fireworks.  Just as New York City will take any excuse to have a parade, the natives of these parts will blow shit up at the mere idea of ‘merica!  I’ve never seen anything like it; nothing says, “Hooray for the Nation’s Work Force!” like my unemployed, intoxicated, neighbors waving sparklers in the street.

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