Starbucks

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So yes, I have not yet learned how to crop pictures from instagram here.   I quit Facebook in July.  I got tired of all the useless comments and it started to make my heard hurt.  So I decided to take a social media fast, excluding Yelp and Instagram of course.  I found out that life without Facebook is really quite nice, and so I have never really returned.

So now I have posted a photo from Instagram.  It’s me with a collection of Starbucks products for breakfast.  I’m trying to remember when SBUX became such a tremendous part of my life.

Oh yes, that’s right.  When I stared traveling for work and needed caffeine to keep me awake.  I am technically a work at home employee, so when I am not traveling for work, I am usually working from home, a company office,. . .or Starbucks.

Turns out other people are in similar situations–I see the same people at the same SBUX the same time of day, ordering the same thing, and if possible, sitting at the same table.

I am trying to remember what people did prior to the explosion of SBUX.  I think we just worked in offices, and most people did not have laptops or tablets then.  But today is different.  I realize people go to  SBUX for coffee. . .plus. . . however, it’s hard to ignore the social dynamic I’m noticing.

People are mobile.  

People are isolated, bored, overextended,  and sleep deprived.

People want to be sane. . .

so they come to SBUX.

This is what I have found out.  Although it’s a chain of stores, my  SBUX actually has become a neighborhood SBUX.  It’s like a default place to go when you are bored or just want to be around people.  It’s a place to just hang out with friends.  And apparently it’s also a top destination to meet people in real life you met through social media.

When I am in town, I am there, with all my stuff, in my corner table, unless the huge cut dude is sitting there.  And there is the Greek dude with the hat with his laptop and paper. . .

and the most recent guy I met.  We bonded over a MJ song that was playing at the time.  He says one year–apparently a very difficult one–he spent $8.000 just on SBUX.

I thought that a little inflated at first.  Really?  That much?  That’s a trip to Europe.  And then I thought about it.  A speciality drink in the morning, maybe a bagel.  Sweet repeat in the afternoon with nuts or protein plate. . .it all adds up. . .yeah, I can see that.  

It’s quite plausible.

Most important thing is that it kept him sane.  He says he went to SBUX because he would go crazy if he stayed in the house.

I get that.  Why do you think I go there?  Free wifi.  Energy of other people.  Hair tips from the barista.  She really hooked me up when she told me about the hair wand she uses to get those gorgeous long curls.

I got Spanish lessons from a Venezuelan dude, who just turned out to be a vidente.  An intuitive.  A Dominican chick told me about a great children’s book to help me learn Spanish, and another woman sang some of the tunes she is practicing for upcoming performances. . .we also had on the same shoes. . .

So, sure, I come here for the caffeine, and sometimes the sugar.  Definitely the wifi, and the music.

But mainly for sanity.  To get out of the house.  To get a break.  To dodge the roommates.  To go somewhere, and see what someone decided to wear.  To see what characters might walk through the door.  To get work and Yelping done.

And it feels like home because they are everywhere.  

Ever. ree. wear. 

It’s like my comfort stop.

My happy place.

Cheers without the alcohol.

 

 

 

Ugh

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I decided to take a media fast.  I’m so over facebook right now with all the comments about the Trayvon Martin verdit.  All the ugly is coming out, and it’s not doing anything but making my head hurt.

Sure I’m happy the conversation is happening. . .I just wish there could be sensibilty in it all.  That’s all I want is some reasoning.  Can we just reason? 

I just returned from a very enlightening trip from Montgomery, AL.  I grew up there, and sure there is much history, negative history to be clear.  I have never visited the AL capitol or the first white house of the confederacy.  It’s only because of Yelp that I even knew the first white house of the confederacy even existed.

So I learned several things during this trip:

The downtown court square fountain made in France that’s so gorgeous that I have always admired was actually the site where slaves were auctioned.

The nice concrete area in the park I enjoyed as a child– it was actually a pool that was filled when segregation was no longer legal.  So, if Blacks had the right to swim, it just seemed more reasonable at the time to fill it with concrete and allow no one to swim.

This is the history of my birthplace and the place I spent my formative years. So, this verdict comes at a heavy time for me–just after visiting these heavy historical sites.  It is taking me some time to process it all really. . .

The thing is, I am a Black American and I live with this every day in this country.  So what does that mean, exactly? 

 While visiting Cafe TuTu Tango, a bunch of British guys from Wales, visiting for a golf trip, learned I’m from the deep south.  When they learned this, they were fascinated and wanted to know all about it.

In my mind, I’m thinking, “Why would anyone want to know about any of that?” But now that so many misguided opinions are running wild, I am realizing that maybe people really do need to know.  

I think becasue  Blacks have overcome so much in this country, it’s hard for those not close to issues to really understand the anger and frustration.

People get bent out of shape becasue it triggers thoughts of uglier times. Because we are still dealing with this.

Still.  

Because being Black is clearly still an issue–a problem.

Yes, I am fortunate to have grown up in a different time than my mother to have choices that were not available to her.  Sure, it’s awesome I don’t have to worry about not being served in certain stores as she once did. . .

But what I have experienced is more unspoken undertones that leaves one feeling less than, or even worse, invisible.  When people are constantly making inaccurate assumptions about you,  it’s unnerving and very frustrating to deal with, and very upsetting.

Here are a few examples (only a few):

I walk into a music store, and I’m immediately shown the Black gospel section, and I’m told that I probably already have the music of various choirs I have never even heard of.

I’m told that I really should look at banking at other nearby institutions because a minimum amount always needs to be maintained.  When I tell the banker I have no issue with this and she keeps pressing, I just get up and walk away.

While out shopping, a store associate shows every customer (except me), a different dressing area with no waiting.  And when I ask her about it she avoids all eye contact and shuffles about making up every lame excuse in the book.

Someone tells me, “You’re a good swimmer, for an American.”  For a Black American is what you really mean.

When I take a day off from work and decide to muck horse stalls at a friends stables, someone comes and asks me if I’m the farm hand. . .and then proceedes to tell me there are much worse things I could be doing  with my life.                  Yup.

And when I call out a Black person for discounting a White person simply becaue they are White, I’m thrown under the bus.

And because I’m not “Black enough” I’m seen as some freak of nature by some Blacks.

The clerk at the beauty store holds my $5 dollar bill to the light to make sure it’s real. Or even worse, another clerk falls over and knocks down an entire display of product because he’s bending over, almost crawling, trying not to be seen while following me throughout the store. . .

I could go on. . .but why?  

It gets old people.

It’s a heaviness I cannot describe.  I was talking to my brother about all this, and I know he understands. Honestly,  I cannot imagine what it must be like to be a Black male.  

My cousin noticed a woman dropped a $20 bill on the ground at a gas station.  He picked it up and walked over to give it to her–but she quickly jumped in her car, locked the doors, and sped away. . .

These are just a few random examples of a very long line of experiences I have had living in the deep south.

It’s something I cannot describe.  People look at you differently.  Words do not have to be said–you feel it.  It feels like your’e not free. . .because you’re not.  Always having to demonstrate you are worthy or ok, or safe.

While in Bama, I’m always finding myself trying to make others feel comfortable around me.  To make myself seen, because if not, you could just be there, and no one even sees you. Mind you, these are wonderful skills to have learned early in life.  I can insert myself in very unfamiliar circles and feel at ease. . .I have had plenty of practice.

Because every social situation growing up was uncomfortable for me.

I really don’t think anyone that has not lived it, or has lived it by proxy from those close to them, can ever really understand the heaviness–the implications of what being Black means in this country.

The frustration.

The anger.

When I moved to Orlando, I felt a freedom.  It’s like I can be more myself and the heaviness is not there. For now I’m in a good place.  I’m not saying Orlando does not have its issues.  After all, Sanford is only about 30 miles north of here.  But for me, it’s made a world of difference.

I’ve had no racial issues since moving here.  It’s like a breath of fresh air.  I think some of it could be that people don’t think I’m Black here. I wrote another post on that.  Sounds simplistic, but seriously, I have had many people seem really surprised when I told them I’m Black.

 Growing up, I believed my being Black was an issue–it felt kind of like a birth defect or something that you always had to compensate for somehow.  As I got older, I began to dismiss the incorrect views of others–it was their problem, not mine. 

 This is how I survived growing up in the deep South. I’m not the problem–they are.  And so I can dismiss their misguided states of thought and go on with my life. Ignore their ignorant comments, try to get a nugget of understanding in there somewhere and move on. So ignorning attitudes of others worked for me, and it worked because I’m not a threat to anyone.

I have that luxury because I’m female.  I’m afraid Black men don’t. 

 I was just at the post office yesterday, and an older woman came up to me and started speaking to me in Spanish.  She then started touching my shoulder as I was wearing a strapless dress.  

I told her I do not speak Spanish very well and asked her to slow down.  

She told me she likes my dark skin and that I’m beautiful.  I smile, happy that she sees me.  I understand her, even though we do not understand each other. 

My dark skin in Orlando is just the same as it is in Bama.  It’s not an issue–just as this Hispanic woman affirmed. . .

it just all depends on who’s looking.

 

 

 

 

What are you?

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ethnicRude right?

I mean, I thought it was quite obvious I’m Black American, but I guess not.  It is now a long running joke with me and my friends about my questionable ethnicity.  This seriously has gone on for many years.

What I find so intriguing  about this phenomenon is that usually there is no segue into the question.  No conversation connectors that might make asking this question logical.

I remember,  for example, sitting in a community hot tub once.  This dude,  never seen him before,  just asks,  ” Are you African American or Indian?–I can’t tell.”

Yup, just like that.  And then he asked me if I’m a Christian . . .and seemed surprised when I left the hottub.

Another great moment happened yesterday. I attended a Zumba class at a dance studio.  I usually only attend belly dance class, so I’m not a regular here by any means.  I took my place in the back wall because I am not familiar with the steps.

A woman next to me says, ”  You look  familiar.  What are you?”

This is how it happens.

No transition, no hello, or “is this your first class?”  Just–”what are you?”

Although I have had this question asked many times and many ways, I was taken off guard this time.

I remember several times replying, “I am a Leo. What are you?”

But not that swift today.

So, I asked her what she meant.

“What’s your background?”

She thought I was from Guyana.  Which has been assumed before.

As far as my nationality is concerned, people have different theories.  People have told me I am from many different countries–Haiti, East India, England, Ethiopia,  Egypt, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Canada?  Yes, Canada really, Jamaica, the Phillipines, and Columbia are a few.

Why no one guesses America is beyond me.  I feel sometimes I just might make things easier on myself if I just tattooed an American flag on my forehead.  . .

but then I would probably be asked to explain  why I have an American flag on my forehead when I’m actually ____.

And then I would be seen as a traitor.  Ok, bad idea.

When visiting an East Indian restaurant a worker there started speaking to me in a language that I cannot even name.  Several people have walked up to me and have started speaking to me in Spanish.

It breaks my heart when I give them the deer in the headlights look.  “I know nothing of which you speak.”

Granted, I am learning Spanish, so now at least I can let

Tibetan refugee Rhea

Tibetan refugee Rhea

people know in Espanol, that I’m learning.

American Rhea

American Rhea

I just do not understand why complete strangers feel ok with asking me this question.  What difference will it make in your life to know this?

I just decided to have fun with it, because even if it is a rude question, people continue to ask.

Too much to write on all this.  What I need is an interactive map.  A map I can post with the places people assume I am from. . .

I’ll work on that. . .

Bermudian Rhea

Bermudian Rhea

 

 

 

When you find out the answer let me know

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Ah, massage.  I realize most people think of them as a time to unwind and relax. However, it is a rare occasion in which I can enjoy a relaxing massage without going into some in depth, spiritual exchange with the massage therapist.  I have tried, it just does not work out.

Perhaps I should just commit to silence and before the appointment and then schedule time for coffee and conversation with the massage therapist later?  Worth a shot.

So, it’s this phenomenon people experience that was the topic of discussion during my last visit.  I call it self neglect. It’s amazing, because I’m sick with the flu as I write this, and I’ve been noticing all the things my body does all on its own to heal itself–create a high body temperature to get rid of infection, cough to release phlegm. ..and I watch people around me doing things to directly go against any healing of the body, like smoking, for example.

I am not exempt from this, mind you.  I keep having my hip worked on the massage table because I’m not really good about doing the stretches the physical therapist recommended some time ago. I tell the masseuse I have been lazy, and she will need to work the spot.

And so this question gets posed on the table, “Why is it so difficult for us to do things that are self enhancing and good for us?”

And the enlightened masseuse replies, ” If my bike looked like Philly cheese steak I would be in the best shape ever. I don’t get it either.”

So, now both of us are stumped.

Believe it or not, wisdom sometimes comes from the most unlikely places.  And I have to say, if there is one nugget of truth I learned from my eighth grade Algebra teacher, it is this:

“People don’t want to do what’s good for them.”

He says if it has a warning labels somewhere on it that it will kill you, this is what people will want to do.

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Now, you have to understand my 8th grade Algebra teacher to get a full appreciation of what’s being stated here. Dude looks like he came straight out of central casting for 80′s pimp. Mid height textured fro, silver satin shirt unbuttoned revealing gold chains.  Shiny rings on every other finger, gold capped teeth, and a jeweled money clip. He would always make sure to flash all the one hundred dollar bills so everyone could see during the class.

I’m writing this now and it seems so bizarre.  But yes, this was my 8th grade teacher.  He ran a very ghetto night club.  This club had a reputation, even in those days–I mean, this is a place in which people lost their lives. . .

And it would close, and open up again under a different name over time as some clubs do when terrible things happen. The last I heard, the club actually offered a “Food Stamp Friday” promotion.

Yup.

I am not sure if teach actually still owns this club, hopefully he has moved on to better things?  I just think, wow, how did this man end up in the classroom teaching impressionable, young children.  Amazing.

At any rate, he was on to something.  It’s crazy because if someone were in my care, like a child, or even an animal, I would make sure that all healthy things were theirs every day.

So, why do I chose not to do healthy things for myself every day?  (Like get enough sleep for example?)

Does anyone know the answer to this question?  Does Tony Robbins?  Deepak Chopra? Oprah?

Anyone?

Cafe Gratitude

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I had the most extraordinary experience today at a Kansas City restaurant.  It’s so much more than a restaurant.  I’ve not experienced anyplace quite like it, and wrote a Yelp review, which I decided to post here as well.

My higher self did not accompany me on this visit to Cafe Gratitude.  I chose the cafe because I have a great appreciation for natural and healthful foods.  I want to eat foods that turn into beauty and health, and support the businesses that promote this lifestyle.

I had just experienced a 1 1/2 hour flight next to a young boy who told me everything about his play station, his dogs, his BFF since preschool, somewhat classified information about his father’s job (oops), and  even– yes, even the history of Godzilla.

Operating on maybe 4 hours of sleep, and frustrated I could not find the place after circling around several times, and then having a similar frustration with finding a legal parking space, and oh, almost forgot–

stopping at “Total Tool”. . .

(I mean, one simply MUST stop by Total Tool before going to Cafe Gratitude),

Bottom line, I just wanted to grab something and go . . .

So, my review of Cafe Gratitude is written in the spirit of deep sleep deprivation, tiredness, and stress.  I appreciate the intentions and efforts of all those involved in creating such a space, and feel it should not be discounted or belittled in any way.

My thoughts in this recollection is not to poke fun, but rather, is sort of a reflection of what happens when different states of mind collide.

And now, the review. . .

This is not a “grab and go” place. It’s really a kind and self enhancing environment here.  I  felt as if I had walked into either:

A.  An ashram
B.  A cult of some sort
C.  Rehab

It’s syrupy sweet, and not suitable to some.   I read the affirmations everywhere, and smiled, took a seat at the bar, and was then asked the question of the day.

Yup.  It’s sharing time folks.

The question, “What are you giving up?”

My answer, “Excess.”

Answer of the woman sitting next to me, “I think I’ll answer than one silently.”

Perfect. I’ll use that one next time.

So, waiting for my food, so many observations.  Mainly, the slow, melodic, almost hypnotic kind of  accent everyone that works here uses.

I kept hearing food orders being called up in said accent:

” I am present.”
“I am humble.”
“I am extraordinary.”
“I am comforted.”
“I am connected.”

And in my mind?  Let’s just be honest. . .

“I am freaking nauseated.”

I laughed at my low vibrational affirmation– if there is such a thing.  I needed the laugh, almost as much as sleep and food.

So,the meal.
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“I am Fortified”  has an amazing sauce, bitter vegetables, and amazing flavors. I  chose quinoa, which was tasty. I felt the food came from the earth, and it felt nice to nourish myself in this way.

I only wish there were a tinge of sweetness–just a little, just a little– maybe in the form of cranberry?

I wish the vegetables were a little more cooked. Although the flavors were really amazing in the dish, it seems there was something missing in the cohesiveness of the dish. . .

I intend to find out what the missing piece is on a second visit. . .

So, basically, Cafe Gratitude is an experience all its own–and then there is food.

My first visit was kind of a culture shock because I was not aware I needed to do the pre-work of getting centered before visiting–I just thought I was coming for food.

But now that I know, I’ll make sure to pack my higher self next time.

Namaste.

Cafe Gratitude

333 Southwest Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64108

Me and sage

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It happened again today.  First time in four years. 

I checked into a hotel.  Got somewhat settled, noticed a strong vibe, and had to check out after an hour of trying to convince myself the room is fine and I need to get over it.  Besides, who wants to pack up all the crap to move?

Me!!!

The first time it happened I was in Iowa.  The hotel was fine.  It was clean, but not the nicest.  But that’s ok.  I mean, I have stayed at some very questionable hotels.  The very worst was a motel in Iowa after the flood.  It was the only room I could find due to people who had lost their homes staying in hotels, and construction workers and engineers being bused in.

The room was so horrible I did not even turn off the lights.  I refused to get in the bed.  And bathing was certainly out of the question.  I just dosed off in a chair and convinced myself I would be fine in the morning. . .and I was.  It seems as if nothing but rough truck drivers and their shady counterparts stayed here.  So yuck.

Well, this other hotel was not like this.  It just had a vibe.  I walked into the room and there was a recognition.  It was just so loud and so clear to me–something went down in that room.  Something very terrible and significant. This was further confirmed by uncontrollable itching I experienced during my one hour stay in that place.

I didn’t even explain anything to the dude at the front desk.  I just called a different hotel and got the hell out.

And today, I kept telling myself to just chill, everything is fine.  And after about an hour of trying to make myself feel comfortable, I could no longer fight it and decided to leave.  I tried to ignore it, but it just kept bothering me.  So, I just told the girl at the front apparently I’m allergic to something in the room.

I learned about sage last year.  It’s just a way of cleaning and clearing the energy around you. I have now made it a tradition to sage my hotel room before I settle in. It makes me feel better when making my home for the night. . .or nights.

I have been told that burning sage smells like pot.  I do not know, or care for that matter.  So far no one has come knocking on my hotel door requesting to search the room for pot.  And I always burn incense in my hotel room as well.  Just makes it feel like home.

The car.  Well. . .I should have taken fire safety before saging the car.  I thought I would be efficient and save time and burn the sage while driving slowly to the post office.  Well, that was pure genius.  Even with the window rolled down, there was smoke whirling all throughout the front seat, with me coughing, head out the window trying to breathe. . . .

and then flickers of burning sage landed in the back seat. . .so now i have a hole in the back seat of my car. 

Don’t sage and drive. Take a bowl or something with you to collect sage pieces when you sage the car, when it is in parked.

I’m now all settled in my new hotel room.  I feel as if I can breathe now, and move, and be comfortable. 

So happy I moved on. . .

 

City of surprises

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It seems as if I am behind in life.  Like I’m trying to catch up with things that other people do or understand earlier than I have.  I try not to be down on myself about it, after all, I had no control over my limited exposure in my formative years.

I have not been extremely fond of my understanding of “American culture,” and I’m finding out quite quickly that I don’t know  what American culture really is.  It just seems so broad. . .or something.

I understand I was born and raised in the states, however my experience has been very limited with most of my time in the Southeastern USA–mainly Alabama.  And my Bama experience is not a complete reflection of what life is like here in the states. . .I don’t know America.

So, my visit to Kansas City was such a huge surprise to me.  I have heard of people saying that midwesterners are “good” and “honest” people.  A line in Rich Mullins song, “Hard” comes to mind, “I am a good midwestern boy, I give an honest day’s work when I can get it.  I don’t cheat on my taxes, don’t cheat on my girl, I got values that would make the White House jealous. . .”

And you know what, props to KC.  This is what I noticed:

  • People are friendly and polite.  I mean, they let you pass in the hallways if you need to.
  • People let you change lanes in traffic.  It blows my mind!  I even changed lanes without need just to see if someone will let me over, and they do it every time.  And every single time it freaks me out, and I go through this “OMG, I cannot believe this statement every single time it happens.”
  • In business, it seems people don’t say more than what is necessary.  I like this. It seems rather drama free and to the point
  • Seems that everything is geared towards quickness and efficiency (I found that out as soon as I stepped inside the airport)
  • They don’t take my housekeeping tips in the hotel room unless I leave a note.  So, when I left a note telling them it was a tip, they left me a note back thanking me for it :) How cute!
  • The parking is free in the parking garages.  I kept looking for places to pick up my ticket but could never find it, and then posted something on Yelp and locals told me yeah, it’s free.  What is this??!!  What???!!
  • The fashion of course is different than what I am used to.  Young dudes tend to have beards. I mean, it’s like the norm.  Dark rimmed glasses, sweat shirts , jeans, cross body bag, and beard.
  •  Not a lot of jewelery or accessories on the females. However I did notice a disturbing trend of severe chunking highlights and way too many Vera Bradley backpacks
  • There seems to be a lot of investment in the local community in agencies that assist others

I have been told the shady side of KC is really on the Kansas side.  This whole KC, Missouri, KC, Kentucky is really confusing to me.  At first I thought it was a city that just happened to be located on state lines, however, I was quickly informed that KCMO and KCKS are very different cities, and there can even be some rivalries between them.

I had a fantastic time in KC– I really look forward to returning and spending some more time exploring.  The KC Yelp community has been so welcoming and helpful in directing me to where I need to go.  I was not aware that KC is actually the “city of fountains,” and it has been said only Rome has more.

I hate I missed Anthony Bourdaine’s special on KC.  I am sure there has to be a way for me to see it.  Only I’m guessing it involves a lot of BBQ?  What about BBQ tofu?  Hmmmm.

So, many surprises and many more to come from this surprising city!

Florida girl

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One of the things I have noticed about traveling is that people “show” themselves all the time without even knowing it. It’s like, I cannot explain it, but when I see it, I know it.  So, sometimes I feel the vibe of a person, check out their clothes, or hear an accent, and it’s like, “your Midwest is showing.”

Or when I met this girl in Alabama, she started talking, and she had NYC written all over her.  And I just laughed and couldn’t hold it in any longer and busted out with the “OMG, you are SO from NY.”  And she immediately started laughing hysterically.

And even though I have only been in Florida for 4 years now, it seems that I have morphed into a Florida girl. It’s weird because I feel I have not changed that much as a person, but then I go to Alabama and it’s like shocking. I mean SHOCKING.

The slowness.  The sing song drawl.  The “what church do you go to?  Is Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour?” question that always gets asked that drives me nuts. . .or even, the “what are you?” question.

Ughhhhhh!!!  I told someone once that I’m a Leo in response to the “what are you?” question.  I suppose it beats having an argument with a total stranger about why that’s a rude question.  If I have to explain why it’s rude, it’s really futile. Really.

And I have had those spirited debates (in my younger years)  with strangers in Alabama before.  One man stopped me and asked me what religion I belong.  He then told me what I was, or what he thought I should be,  and wanted to know my religious background.  I could not believe I was having this conversation in the middle of Wal Mart with someone I have never met before. . .and yet I was.

WTF?

I have learned to just shut those people down now.  Respond simply with “That’s personal, thank you.”  And if they insist, do the broken record method while continuing to walk away, pepper spray visible, “that’s personal, thank you.  That’s personal, thank you.” And if it escalates, well, I have more direct words in reserve to be used, that will not be listed on this lovely post. . .

Cheesus.

But Orlando is different.  Yes, people in general seem to be flirty here.  Obsessed with labels; their gorgeous bodies, and tend to be materialistic.  People here like to party, and like money (or at least in the circles I have observed). Of course there are some that do not fit this description, however, this is the general vibe I get about this place.

Orlando seems to be drama filled.  Missing people.  Sexual predators.  Kidnappings. If you watch a lot of crime shows like I do–Dateline, Discovery Investigation, Fugitive shows. . .a lot of these stories take place in Florida.  Yep, it’s all here.

What I love about Orlando?  Well, fireworks somewhere every night. The breeze, warm weather, International diversity.  There really is a lot to do here, and a lot of places to party, and plenty of people to party with.  Many people say Orlando is a small city trying to be a large one.  Ok, good point, but it’s cute here.

Now, sense of community?  Not so much.  Lots of people coming in and out. Actually, it’s very difficult to find people who were born and raised here…it seems as if everyone is from somewhere else.

Many New Yorkers here have voiced having a hard time adjusting.  It’s too spread out. You have to drive everywhere. And of course, it’s Not NYC, so it’s not the “center of the universe.” Bless their hearts.

I love it here though.  The cost of living is not outrageous.  The weather is phenomenal.  And I love meeting the different characters. . .but that’s everywhere I go really. . .

I wish it were more progressive here, however.  Public transportation has many opportunities for improvement.  And I do not understand the laws here that are not very gay friendly, even though Orlando was just named #2 for gayest cities in America.

I’m not sure if there ever will be a perfect city anywhere in the world, but for now, Orlando is home.  I love it here.Image

Sacred Space

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I think every church should have a garden.  I find them reflective, soothing, and sacred.  I feel the same way about inside of churches as well. . .especially if there is no one inside it.  Nothing like being inside an empty sanctuary. . .there is a presence.

My theory of Kansas City

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So, I will be commuting to Kansas City for work this month.  To be clear, I have never been to this area–the closest is Springfield and Branson, MO–Las Vegas for seniors. I did not get to spend much time there because of an approaching snow storm–so basically, I flewImage in, quickly arranged to get out, and left the next morning.

While on the flight to KC, I thought it might be fun to write out how I think the city might be, and then compare it to what I actually observe.  This is what I know of KC at this point:

1.  The state of KS is referenced in the movie, “Wizard of Oz”

2.  Kansas and the Midwest is known for flat land and tornadoes

3.  KC has a Yelp community manger, so it has to be a cool place

So, not a lot of reference or knowledge at all.  This is what I think KC will be like:

  • Conservative, slow pace
  • I think people may be friendly, but long winded
  • Style.  Plain Jane, minimal styling, jewelry, accessories, and cosmetics
  • I feel I will not get the humor here
  • I feel accents will be non-distinguishable (not heavy in any particular direction)
  • I think it will be more progressive than states I have visited in the deep south

These are the thoughts in my mind about Kansas City now. . .I’ll write a month from now to let you know if my theory is correct or not.

This is what I love most about traveling. . .fascinating stuff.