She is Gone, And I Will Miss Her.

I have not much to say, but she was my friend and she is gone. And I will miss her. I began to miss her those years ago, watching this disease take my friend and turn her into a stranger. When you’re young, it is impossible to comprehend the consequences, to fathom the future or see more than the here and now. You always just assume it will all be OK.

Even into my 30s, it is still easy to make this assumption. But sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, it is not. Those golden, fearless, free days of my late-teens and early-twenties were spent with her. Living together. Laughing. Crying. Fighting. Growing. Up and apart. How differently lives that once seemed so similar can end up.

Today I will be sad for a friend who lost so much, who never found what she was looking for. And I will be thankful for the peace she has found. For that time in our lives, never to be replaced, but to be looked upon with fondness.

I will learn to live a little bit each day for those who no longer can. To find beauty and appreciation in things often ignored, taken for granted. Smile at things I know she loved, or perhaps would’ve loved someday. Perhaps cry some, then laugh at and enjoy songs that we loved together, music she introduced me to for the first time. Songs we fell in love with together.

A million random memories have managed to flood into my mind over the past 24 hours. Not all are beautiful memories, but I will be thankful for each and every one, for that was a special time in my life and I like to think it was a special time in hers. A closeness was formed that I hope she didn’t truly feel was broken out of meanness, but somehow understood it was out of necessity, preservation of oneself, myself.

Sometimes you cannot continue to watch people harm themselves and have to make the decision to move on with your life before you start to sink down yourself. Anyone with addictive tendencies, myself in mind, could have easily ended up in her shoes. No, we didn’t all have the same personal demons to fight, but a few different choices could have had a lot of us here writing a different story or perhaps not here at all.

Sitting here today, those thoughts are flooding back in as well. Always the “was there something I could have done? or said?”. Ultimately, rationally, we know the answer is no. But while the mind protects, it also attacks.

I hope you rest easy my dear friend. I hope it didn’t hurt and that it wasn’t scary. I hope you didn’t feel alone. I hope you knew that you were loved. I hope you’re out there in the cosmic beyond free of pain and agony and the things that hurt you for so long. I hope you get to watch the rest of us and I hope we get to do good things that make you happy and proud. I wish you could be here to do it all with us.

This song was one that I suppose could fall under the “weird” category – we both liked it and it seems appropriate today.

The Night Sky


For this piece, I had the pleasure of meeting with a local astronomy club called the Crystal Coast Stargazers. I found them to be truly enthusiastic about all things astronomy and a very knowledgeable group of people.

They have a formal meeting once a month but go out on viewing excursions whenever the weather allows, setting up their telescopes and cameras to enjoy the sky themselves or allow others to see nature’s wonders up close for the first time. Some of the members have special cameras and lenses they attach to their telescopes allowing them to capture breathtaking photos as seen in the article.

The club is a member of the Nigh Sky Network which allows them access to NASA materials for their own use as well as training other amateurs new to the hobby. They were truly a wonderful group to meet and from just one meeting, it was easy to see they were more like a small family than a club.

Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/2CwTLys.

The Bone Keeper


This story explores Bonehenge, a marine mammal conservation center in Beaufort, NC. I spent time with Keith Rittmaster, a local marine scientist, who was spearheading the project. At the time of our interview (July 2018), he was working out of a small trailer at the site of the new building. The trailer was being used as both his office space and storage for his thousands of artifacts including the pieces of the whale skeleton that was intended to be displayed from the ceiling of Bonehenge once it was complete.

To date, the center hasn’t quite yet opened but is very close. It was a wonderful experience getting to know Mr. Rittmaster as well as learning about the marine mammals in our area, the dangers they face due to human pollution and what Rittmaster and others like him are doing to try to lessen the potential negative impact humans have on the dozens of species that call the Crystal Coast home.

Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/2OHWrkc.

Finding Atlantis


This article explores the oldest hotel in Pine Knoll Shores, one of the small towns located on Bogue Banks.

Bogue Banks is the small barrier island located along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina which is also home to Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle and Indian Beach.

Having been born and raised in Atlantic Beach myself (and being a 3rd generation Carteret County native), it was exciting to learn not only about the hotel but the history of Pine Knoll Shores from members of the Hall family who founded the hotel.

This article reawakened in me my love for history and historical research that had been somewhat dormant for years. I find it to be a special thing when the project you’re working on gives something back to you – this was one that certainly did that for me.

Read the full article here: https://bit.ly/2AmBClN.

Keep it Local

My wonderful friend Taylor McCune has started a news media outlet, The Eastern Beacon, here in Carteret County. It focuses on Beaufort and areas east, a traditionally under-covered section of the county when it comes to news and other issues.

To keep my writer juices (I’m not sure I like how that sounds but I’m no creative writer) flowing, she asked me to help out with an article discussing the Olde Beaufort Farmer’s Market which is held on Saturday’s through November on the courthouse square.

Since I’ve moved back to the area, I’ve regained an appreciation for all things local and both the Eastern Beacon and the Olde Beaufort Farmer’s market are no exception.

I’m not going to steal from the Friendly Market’s (another wonderful local business with delicious food) slogan BUT I’m going to add to it: Eat. Shop. Live. READ. Local.

Just as local shops, businesses and restaurants need our support, so does local media.

Read the full article on the Olde Beaufort Farmer’s Market here.

Stepping into the Past

Yesterday Michael and I took his daughter to Tryon Palace which was the governor’s mansion of colonial North Carolina when New Bern was the capitol.

George III was, like, everywhere. Paintings, seals, insignias. His portrait hung throughout the home – and countless other homes that were an ocean away that he’d never see – really provides some insight into this dude. Maybe they only hung it up when someone official was coming by because, let me tell you, he wasn’t much too look at (unless you’re into that powdered-wig-silky-pantaloons look).

The visit was interesting for a number of reasons – mainly because history is cool (duh), but also because Mike and I both remembered going on field trips there as kids and hadn’t been since. We both specifically remembered making candles and were pretty bummed no one offered to let us do that.

I’ve been to Biltmore in Asheville much more recently so for me it was reminiscent of that but being at Tryon did bring back some memories, at least I convinced myself I remembered some of it. Unfortunately we got there a bit too late to gaze in wonder upon “the actual bed where George Washington slept!”, but they’ve done a great job recreating the time period and displaying everything.

I even learned something new! Though I’m pretty sure people actually did used to be shorter, the tour guide said the beds in historical homes like that always look short because they were custom-sized. The width of them is odd and unexpected to our modern eyes, thus making them look short because they tend to be more square versus rectangular.

It is always hard for me to resist the urge to touch things – especially the books – I guess that is an urge that never really goes away as you get older. “What would happen if I just reached over and touched those giant books of colonial laws that are screaming out to me with both their visual appeal and that old musty smell that nerds of my breed simply can’t resist?” Someone should bottle that old book/old home/old-artifacts-are-everywhere scent, like 3% of people would go nuts.

When possible, I never pass up the chance for a good historical tour – it’s a shame I’ve already seen most of the local stuff. Give it a chance sometime if you haven’t, it made for a fun day.

In the spirit of playing tourist, I took some photos – enjoy!

Please Do Not Feed the Fears

Hoping for some good news today and trying to starve those little suckers but my oh my aren’t they always so ravenous? Always reaching for, nay, demanding, nourishment no matter how many times you stomp them down, screaming “I’M NOT GOING TO FEED YOU!”.

Well, here’s to distraction, mundane chores, watching the news (somehow it works for me), rearranging furniture, going to the gym, whatever it takes to starve them out of my mind for the day. Hope you all are able to do the same.

Cheers – and don’t feed the fears.

Good for the Soul

Lately I have taken to going for long walks on a nature trail in Atlantic Beach. Besides the great exercise (its roughly 3.5 miles round trip and quite hilly in places), I’ve found it’s an excellent place to clear my mind or to let my thoughts wander wherever they need to go.

I don’t know if it’s the isolation created by my headphones, the distraction of having to focus on my body movements or just the enjoyment of a new (to me) little spot hidden right in my hometown, but it’s become my therapy a few times every week.

Yesterday instead of doing the full loop of the trail, I did half of it and then decided to walk on the beach back towards where I parked. This early in the year the beach isn’t crowded and it was one of those weather days that may as well have been a painting.

I wasn’t going to stop for a picture, thinking I have hundreds just like this, but then thought “Why should that matter? I enjoy looking back at these”. I hope you enjoy them too. Take the walk, take the picture, even if you’ve taken both 100 times before.