All posts by Jennifer

In Case of Disaster, Please Read

Some people believe the apocalypse is coming in 2012.

Let’s hope not. But if it does, rest assured, we have a guide to rebuild society. (If there are any of us left.)

guidestones

The Georgia Guidestones. Wired Magazine referred to them as “America’s Stonehenge,” but that they are not. The six granite slabs are each 16 feet tall, and like Stonehenge, stand out in the middle of a field. But I had to fight multi-national tourists to get up to the ROPE surrounding the 26-foot-tall Stonehenge rocks; my group and I stood alone at the base of these slabs and we could walk right up to them.

Besides, scientists think they may actually know who built Stonehenge. The Georgia Guidestones are a mystery with a message: LET THESE BE GUIDESTONES TO AN AGE OF REASON.

The words engraved in six major languages do appear fairly reasonable, although I’m sure someone will question the part about population control. (Hey, China does it.)

The other cool (or odd) thing about the stones is that the county in Georgia does not appear to be interested in levying them as tourist attractions. We did not see a single sign along the way indicating their existence and found our way only through the use of GPS. Stonehenge, of course, has a zillion buses to get you there, an audio tour and the ubiquitous gift shop.

Check out Wired’s
detailed and beautifully written article on the subject for more information.

And cross your fingers that we don’t have to use them.

Finding My Inner Kermit

I have had two old license plates sitting in my trunk for months. Ok, years. Illinois – 2005. Tennessee – 2007. My boyfriend recently added an NC-2009 plate to that pile.  And when my sister moved here last week, she handed me one from Texas.

Time to recycle some metal!

I hated to throw those in a landfill, so I headed over to the license plate agency near my office.

“We don’t accept out of state plates,” she told me, handing three out of four back.

Really? You don’t want metal that can be recycled into new plates? She suggested I mail them back to the state where they sprung. Sure, I’m paying that postage.

I set off in search of a solution. And as Kermit says, It A’int Easy Being Green. I found a place that recycles scrap metal and pays you money for your items. Score!

The place is on Garner Road, not far from my downtown home. However, it’s on the less-than-nicer end of town. I arrived in gray capris, a black shirt and black high heels — having just come from a business meeting. That expression “sticks out like a sore thumb” doesn’t even cover it. Sticks out like a dressed up girl among a bunch of hard-working people wearing work boots, jeans and dirty T-shirts.

I stepped up to the scale, my meager offering looking sad compared to the prior refrigerator-sized loads. But he took them, weighed them, and in the end, I got $3.75 for my green efforts.

If you have some metal to recycle, check out Raleigh Scrap Metal Recycling.

A Reckless Deadline

My 20s are almost behind me, with one year to go.

According to my bff in her birthday card to me, we have exactly one year of recklessness remaining. Well, not recklessness. But the recklessness that can be later written off with a dash of devil-may-care-I-was-in-my-20s-so-it-was-justified.

Flickr Creative Commons

So what should I do for this requisite recklessness? Jump out of an airplane? That’s on my bucket list, but shouldn’t I wait until I’m closer to Death before laughing in its face, flinging myself out into the open and hoping a flimsy piece of nylon prevents us from actually meeting?

Um, that sounds like a good plan.

Maybe I should party until dawn. But my birthday celebration was more low-key than temerarious tippling. Oops.

Maybe it was the change in venue.

This year I left behind my beloved Landmark Tavern, where I celebrated the past two years, for a not-so-busy Busy Bee, resulting in a quiet table discussion with drinks among my group.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Why do we use our birthdays each year to hit the pause button and reflect on our lives thus far? Does my multi-paragraph pondering really allow me to step back and get a 360-view of the space time continuum of Jennifer?

If so, the view I have is looking pretty good. As I get older, I get less reckless, sure. But also more adventurous.

So instead of using this one-year deadline to get “reckless” out of my system, maybe I’ll just take advantage of getting older to be bolder.

Maybe I will jump out of that airplane this year. That’s bold no matter what your age.

Then again, I think I’d rather go hang gliding.  Does that count?



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A Capitol Idea

Charleston

While walking around good ole downtown Raleigh recently, Leo came up with a brilliant idea: Wouldn’t it be cool to visit all 50 capitals?

Sign me up. So here is the plan: As we take road trips together during the next 50 years, we will visit every state’s Capitol. Raleigh, of course, is easy.

We just checked off the first two during our weekend jaunt to a wedding: Charleston, West Virginia and Columbus, Ohio.

As you can see, the weather wasn’t great for either of those stops. And although each was shot on a different day, I’m wearing the same outfit. (Hey, comfy traveling clothes are hard to find!)

We’re going to get a map of the United States and use pins to mark the ones we’ve done. It’s a fun goal. What will be more fun is the stories we gather along the way. These first two were just simple and quick stops. At others, we will take a tour or try to get a night photo.

Columbus

For Raleigh’s, we’ll have to do something special. We walk by the Capitol nearly every day, so we might try to take multiple pictures there.

For some states, I can’t even name the capital. But Wikipedia has a full list.

Here is a post with some of the cooler buildings we can’t wait to see.

Winter Escape

by dtraleigh

Cold wind gushed along the sand, making a sieve out of my jacket. I smiled.

Leo’s parents have a house at Carolina Beach, so we go fairly often. But I almost prefer the beach in the winter, when the sand and sea have a desolate, lonely look. No one is there as you walk along the wet, packed sand, watching angry waves create foam that blows on ahead of your path. It is cold, but the ocean has a different appearance during this time. It’s like She puts on winter clothes.

There is also something appealing about a beach town during the off-season, when no one but the locals are in residence.

For me, the beach is an escape from my home in Raleigh, an easy getaway to something different. In winter, that retreat is more complete because of the ambiance emptiness and gray skies lend to a normally cheerful and bright location.

Washington

by dtraleigh

The cold enormity of President Lincoln sat before me, a marble cast reminder of how insignificant my life really is compared to those who would take incredible risks and achieve greatness.

But the laughter of those around me seemed to take away from the weight of his words etched into the wall.

The Key to Happiness

Six a.m. is not my best hour. But for Key West, it might be worth it.

Still, I was sleepy on the drive down from Miami. We’d just been stuffed full of Cuban food, courtesy of my boyfriend Leo’s grandparents. All I wanted to do was take the longest, strongest nap of my life.

But then I saw it. The vast water, a shade of aqua that I’d only seen on TV.  I sat up in my seat in our rented car and just stared. My eyes couldn’t drink enough of the view.

Until August, I’d never been to South Florida or the keys. It was a sauna, but that didn’t deter my friends and I, who snorkeled, partied on Duval Street and enjoyed a free house for three full days.

Who needs sleep when you’ve got all that?

Hot Tub High Five

As Leo and I sat in the car, we joked that maybe this cabin retreat would have a hot tub.

Hot Tub at Sequoia Cottage

“Nah,” I told him. “I don’t think so.”

We pulled up to the Sugar Hollow Sequoia cabin at 10:30 p.m. I was struck by how homey it appeared from the outside and how conveniently it was set up inside. As we explored, I wandered to the rear of the living room to scope out the back deck. I wanted to know if I could see any stars.

But eyes were not drawn to the skies. “What IS that?” I asked Leo.

We both started laughing. It’s a HOT TUB!

We turned and gave each other a high five.

Sugar Hollow is a cabin/woods retreat just across the Tennessee border, not far from where I used to live in Bristol.  I’ve just been hired to help do some writing for them and get the word out about the place, hence the reason for my visit. You can look for my writings on the Sugar Hollow Web site soon.