Photo by Melissa O’BrienIt’s a question that gets asked in interviews, by the curious: What gets you out of bed in the morning? It certainly seems a fair way to discern what it is one cares about. To what your heart is tethered? Beyond the obligatory heed to the alarm, tend to the kids, walk the dog, get to work…what is just cause to face another day on a melting planet ruled by greedy warlords?
To everything there is, indeed, a season. I don’t think I ever thought terribly clearly about my time in Charlotte closing down, but here we are. My daughter Coco is graduating from CCS in a few weeks.
Not long ago, Melissa O’Brien wrote about having breakfast with the Charlotte Shelburne Hinesburg Rotary. She told of the laughter, the kindness, the attentiveness—all true. Wednesday morning Rotary meetings are a hump-day bright spot during what can often feel like a dark week.
I went to the Architectural Digest Design Show in New York two weeks ago. It was a terrific concentration of furniture and arts and lighting, decorative stuff, electronics, appliances.
When I was seven I learned to ice skate on the west side of New York City. In someone’s apartment.
My daughter, Coco and I did something kind of spontaneous last week. Weary from the persistent cold, tired from the many challenging circumstances of my life, I booked us a very short trip to Florida. Risky, I know, to attempt such a short getaway, but I didn’t think much could go wrong.
Charlotte, like any community, has seen its share of rough losses. In a small town like ours, premature death hits us hard, whether we knew the individual or not. These last few months have been no exception.
I have a different view now. I moved to Grand Isle three weeks ago (and until I sell my house, I plan on continuing this column), and I am slowly finding my eyes. Views, I think, are often taken for granted if they’re our daily companions, as my Charlotte view was for 22 years. They comfort more than they amaze. But having all new views from the entire house is letting me see again.
I think maybe you don’t know, you really can’t know—until you stand next to a person in the coffee line at the Best Western who tells you that it was a wall of fire on both sides and that they dodged falling trees the whole way down—what it’s like to survive something like the Camp Fire.
Writing a column for one’s local paper is a challenge. As a volunteer who writes only to provide our community with something other than the news to ponder, I suffer from inspiration blocks for a variety of reasons: my full-time job, three grandkids, five kids, a house that always needs painting or cleaning or repairing, a lawn that needs to be mowed, dishes, laundry and cooking that must be done.
I was having a conversation with Nate, my son who is going to turn 21 soon, about meaning and life. He was curious about how we find meaning. Almost as if meaning is hidden somewhere, and our life’s work is to search and search for this thing that will bring us to a place of peace or understanding or, lord help us, happiness. Ah! There it is! Meaning! Finally!
A few weeks ago, I realized I needed an attitude adjustment. I felt as though everything that came out of my mouth was laced with indignation, my thoughts as I fell asleep were fraught with negativity and I found most things (with the exception of my husband and grandchildren) in my arguably perfect life annoying.
I am moving to Grand Isle in October. After years of searching for a house on the water that I can afford, I’ve finally found a wonderful house. Part of me thinks this is crazy as I will have barely finished cancer treatment and have two big shows at the FlynnSpace just two weeks prior to the move date, but in some bizarre way this is all making sense to me.
The backstory is rich and complicated, but suffice it to say this: Matt Dibley died two years ago in July. Not long after, people started finding dimes, as can be the case when someone dies and the living are more tuned in to spiritual activity. Sometimes the dead leave feathers, sometimes they present as a bird or a butterfly.
We all know it’s true: life is a journey filled with fast lanes, traffic jams, breathtaking vistas and ugly roadside motels. What that journey isn’t filled with is dead ends and U-turns. There’s no going back in this long, strange trip—only forward, and this week’s bio comes from a Charlotte woman who, after feeling as though her time here in our little town had run its course, took a deep breath and found that it isn’t the physical place that fulfills but how to occupy that place.
When I first moved to Charlotte 22 years ago from New York City it was culture shock, for sure. I had grown tired of NYC and the noise, the pollution and the many, many people. I was eager for a change.
Memories. How do we catalog them, hold on to them, use them? Last week, I found myself wishing I had taken my 10th grade English teacher’s advice and kept a journal every day, jotting down moments that seemed as though they’d be forever embedded in my brain. Of course, we lose those moments, and now, in my mid-50s, I can look at photographs and think, “Wow, I don’t remember that.”
The deadline for this issue happened to fall on the seven-year anniversary of my sobriety. I kind of hate that word, and it’s been so long now that it’s not that big of a deal anymore, but I do think about it each year.
As I mentioned in a previous article, I am being treated for early-stage breast cancer. While I’m on a break between chemotherapy and radiation, I wanted to share a few insights for folks who might have friends or loved ones who share a new cancer diagnosis with them.
It’s a curious thing to wake up in a city that’s quiet. Sure, it’s Saturday morning, but it happened on Friday, too. It could be that I’m used to the sounds of New York, which seems to be busy and loud at all hours of the day, and so I assume that all cities are noisy. San Francisco is quiet in the early morning.