Sunday, November 30, 2014

Confession: I'm Thankful For Being A Bad Blogger

For the past three days, I've been thinking... "I need to write a Thanksgiving post."
After all... that's what I'm sure every blogger I know (and tons more that I don't) has done by now.
They even wished the world a Happy Thanksgiving via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and God knows where else...
But I didn't.
I'm a bad blogger.
And that is what I am most thankful for this year.

I get that you've got your head cocked in confusion like Scooby Doo, so allow me to explain, if I can.

I don't mean that I'm a "bad blogger" in terms of writing capabilities.  I mean it in terms of "duty to the title."  As in doing what's needed (or expected of me) to remain visible, relevant, popular, and/or even just interesting on my blog (and on social media networks, by extension).

I may haven't been completely "bad," per se... but I haven't exactly been good either.

So why am I grateful for being a bad blogger?
Because, it's made me good in other aspects of my life.
Very good, in fact.

I've lost a lot being a bad blogger...
But I've gained so much more...
An abundance of clarity, newly discovered strength,  and a somewhat renewed sense of purpose that I am excited to take with me into a new year.
(more on this at another time... this conversation is far from over)

Well... this IS still somewhat a Thanksgiving post... and it IS on my blog...
So for the sake of tradition, here we go...

I am very thankful for my family and their continued love and support. So extremely thankful for my two wonderful and amazingly talented children.  I'd like to specifically mention my beautiful mother who uprooted herself from Maryland last year and moved to Georgia. There are no words to express my gratitude for her physical presence in our daily lives.

I am thankful for my friends... especially my off-line friends... those that I feel that I unintentionally abandoned over the years due to my chosen profession (among other things).  This year I have been more connected to them than ever and I'm so grateful that despite my neglect, our friendship is as strong as it ever was.

I am thankful for my position with CWI Team.  The opportunity to work with them is a continuous blessing that I cannot thank God enough for.

I'm thankful for those who still believe I am a "good blogger" (kind of like a kid who wants to believe that Santa is real, but deep down knows the truth) Your confidence in me as well as every bone thrown in my direction is overwhelmingly appreciated.

Yes, the winds of change are a-blowing once again...
For the first time, the overwhelming sense of fear does not accompany it and I am thankful for that too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cirque Du Soleil's AMALUNA: A Celebration of Strength and Beauty

This past Sunday I was invited to see the fabulous Cirque Du Soleil show, Amaluna.
I love when Cirque comes to Altanta.
Like the vintage carnivals of yesteryear, the caravan rolls into town and pitches their enormous Big Top on the edge of Atlanta's Atlantic Station where it is clearly visible from many angles of the city.
After seeing Totem two years ago, I was elated to have the chance to experience their newest creation.

I've seen a few of their performances in my day, and I have to say that seeing it under the Big Top is THE way to see Cirque Du Soleil.
It is an intimate setting where every single seat yields a perfect view and the audience is easily a part of the action regardless of the row.  Of course, the closer you sit, the more intense it is, but the energy can be felt with force no matter where your ticket has placed you.

As with all Cirque shows, Amaluna has no shortage of pageantry through costumes, choreography, music and set design.
Dazzling special effects, lighting, and pyrotechnics.
And of course (why we've come to love Cirque in the first place) the amazing, death-defying stunts, acrobatics, and magic.

But there is one very distinctive way that Amaluna is different from other Cirque shows.
For the first time in Cirque Du Soleil’s 30 year history, the cast of this production is 70% female. 
Given the name as translated is “Mother Moon,” Amaluna was created to showcase and celebrate the strength and beauty of women.
Each artist portrays a strong and dominate female character through their own special brand of talent, balance, grace, and fearless athleticism.
And the music!
For me, the music was definitely a highlight of the show. The voices and the rock-fusion that came from that all-girl band was nothing short of explosive!

Oh... the guys… they were good too!
There is nothing like a male pole dancer!
Just putting it out there… do with it what you want.

Learning that Amaluna was a “girl thing” added and extra layer of appreciation for the show.
It also made me even more glad that my mom was my date for the evening.
She moved to Atlanta from Maryland around this time last year and has been (as always) a blessing to me and my kids.
Usually when I am off on my social media adventures, she is the one who watches my kids.
But not this time.
I wanted her to experience some of the excitement of this life that her presence allows me to live.

I enjoyed Amaluna very much and I know you will too!

Amaluna will be in Atlanta through November 30th. Click HERE for tickets and show times.  Next US cities are Miami and Houston.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Driving, Flying and Punching Fear in the Face... Again!

The Great Georgia Air Show is back again and again, I was invited by my friends at Lexus to get a sneak peek of the fabulous aircrafts and attractions this weekend will have in store.

Last year, you may remember that I was randomly chosen to take a ride in a World War II fighter plane.  This year, there was no random selection... I volunteered.

And it wasn't a fighter plane.

This time I decided to take a ride in a war helicopter... a HU1E flown in Vietnam and Desert Storm.
If you've seen any war movie like Apocalypse Now or Platoon or even Tropic Thunder, you've seen this type of aircraft...
It's the chopper that you often see the soldiers shooting out of...
You know... the ones with no doors!
(well, there are doors... they just don't ever close them... ever.)

So I (along with a crew of other seemingly fearless journalists) jump up and down going "ME ME ME" when Eddie, our veteran pilot asks "Who's ready to ride in the Huey?"

Never mind the fact that one of my fellow journalists who took this ride last year regaled us with his version of the adventure riddled with phrases like "There's nothing but a little mesh seat and a 50 year-old canvas strap to hold you in! HELL NO! I'm NEVER getting on that thing EVER again!" 

I happily marched toward that chopper like it was nothing but a harmless carnival carousel... Instagramming pictures with happy little captions about going to ride in the sky with no doors... la di da di da...
Gunner Seats
I had not a care in the world sliding into the "gunner's seat" (little mesh seat) and getting hooked into my seatbelt (50 year old canvas strap).
I didn't even text my mom and kids like I did before the WWII plane ride when I was positive I was going to meet my maker.
My only thought was... How cool is this?  A side view!

I must have been having an outer body experience...
Clearly, I was not my usual scared-shitless self.
My usual scared-shitless self would have been back in the hangar eating lunch with the other normal scared-shitless people.

The engine roars, the propeller begins to slice the air with that familiar thwacking, and the aircraft levitates from the ground slowly.
#NoDoors = #NoFilter and #NoZoom
My gunner seat-mate and I are giggling like pig-tailed school girls (except for him being a guy) snapping photos and waving to those we left behind.

The wind picks up with the speed and altitude and my first instinct is to hold on to something...
Except there isn't anything to hold on to.
Like... nothing!
Well maybe the person I'm sitting next to... but
#1 - I don't know him like that and
#2 - He doesn't have anything to hold on to either!

Higher and faster we go... flying over the beautiful golf course peppered landscape of Peachtree City.
With a kung-fu-vice-grip on my phone, I do the best I can to take as many photos of the breathtaking scenery as I can while my adorable gunner seat-mate FaceTimes his mom!
^^ Those are my knees!  See... NO DOORS!

It was all fun and games... until...
Hard.  Bank.  Left.
What does hard bank left mean?
It means that I am now nearly parallel to the ground in a helicopter with no effin' doors, devoid of "oh shit" bars, and only a 50 year old canvas strap keeping me from certain death...
This is exactly the point where my usual scared-shitless self returned...
And the screaming began.

I wasn't alone.
The only people not screaming were the pilots.
And they continued left banking... right banking... going up... diving down... solely for their amusement and our terror-slash-excitement.
Truth be told... I went back and forth between complete fright and complete exhilaration.

Safely back on the ground, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life!
More than the chopper ride, it was that I entered into it with no fear... ZERO!
For me, that is unheard of!
I mean... my 10 year-old daughter couldn't even believe that I did it!
I could not be more prouder of myself!
(and I do not care if that sentence is or is not grammatically correct)

Now, if only I could approach more of my less life-threatening situations this way, right?

If you are in the Atlanta area this weekend, you too can experience the helicopter ride of a lifetime at The Great Georgia Air Show.  October 11 and 12 at Falcon Field.  A great time for the whole family!  Check it out!