Sunday, October 16, 2016

Asheville to Standing Rock

This journey of 1558 miles starts with a single step... out the door, to the car: Asheville to Standing Rock, North Dakota.

This is not practical and there are so many unknowns.  Perfect!  The last five years has been a roller coaster down into certain parts of my own personal hell, and up to the most amazing experience of my adult life: marriage.  I didn't realise how going into partnership really challenges me to find out who I am in this new context.  Fast forward to three weeks ago when that still little voice said, "could I really?" I mean, we have a house, kittens, work... but the little voice kept prodding, "go!"

Nashville the first night, then Lawrence, Kansas; then Hot Springs, South Dakota; finally, to Standing Rock, North Dakota.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Asheville- Beyond Coal

Watch "Beyond Coal", and the next episode is in Asheville:  Asheville Beyond Coal | Beyond Coal

Thank you, Sierra Club, for the following information:

Mining our Mountains

In Appalachia, mining companies literally blow the tops off mountains to reach thin seams of coal. They then dump millions of tons of rubble and toxic waste into the streams and valleys below the mining sites.

This destructive practice, known as mountaintop-removal mining, has damaged or destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of streams and threatens to destroy 1.4 million acres of mountaintops and forests by 2020. The mining poisons drinking water, destroys beautiful, biodiverse forests and wildlife habitat, increases the risk of flooding, and wipes out entire communities.

Who Gets Hurt

Mountaintop-removal mining pollutes waterways and allows toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, selenium, and arsenic to leach into local water supplies that Appalachia's people rely on. But the danger isn't limited to drinking water. Mountaintop removal also causes air pollution that affects communities for miles around. Many of the toxins that pollute mountaintop-removal sites are carcinogens, and cancer rates are twice as high for people who live near mountaintop-removal sites.

The Future of Mountaintop Removal

Ending mountaintop-removal mining and transitioning to clean energy will benefit Appalachia by creating good jobs in the clean-energy and tourism industries and by improving public health.

How air pollution threatens our health

In the United States, more than 40 percent of people live in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution. Pollution from coal-fired power plants leads to smog (or ozone), a toxic compound and a dangerous irritant. Doctors liken inhaling smog to getting a sunburn on your lungs. It can cause chest pain, coughing, and breathing difficulties. It triggers asthma attacks, and it can lead to irreversible lung damage or even death. Smog exacerbates conditions like bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma—sometimes fatally.

Children are at the greatest health risk from air pollution because they are more likely to be active outdoors and their lungs are still developing. Asthma strikes nearly 1 out of every 10 school children in the United States and is the number-one health issue that causes kids to miss school. On “bad-air days” or “air alert days,” particularly during the warmer summer months, kids with asthma are forced to stay indoors to avoid aggravating their condition.

Meanwhile, soot pollution—a by-product from burning fossil fuels that results in small particles in the air composed of a mixture of metals, chemicals, and acid droplets—is one of the deadliest and most dangerous air pollutants. The smallest soot particles are less than one-thirtieth the width of a human hair. Because of their minuscule size, this fine particulate matter can travel deep into our lungs and even enter the bloodstream. Exposure to soot pollution is extremely dangerous and is linked to premature death, heart attacks, lung damage, and a variety of other significant health problems. Stronger soot standards could avoid up to 35,700 premature deaths, 23,290 visits to the emergency room, and 2.7 million days of missed work or school due to air pollution-caused ailments every year.

Continuing to allow high levels of coal pollution in our air could result in more than $100 billion in annual health costs.

But we don’t have to continue down this path—there is a better way. Clean energy sources like wind and solar can protect our health and boost our economy. No one has ever had an asthma attack triggered by a solar panel. For more information on air pollution in your community, visit our Air Quality Map.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Job in an Old Life...

How interesting to delve back into the world of acting and film.  As a kid I only wanted to be an actress or a C-5 pilot (my Mom was in the Air Force).   It feels like at least three lifetimes have happened from then to now.  Being forty and still unsure of what I want to "be" when I grow up is halfway between embarrassing, and, well, still exciting.  I'll be working with the New York Studio for Stage and Screen, as their development and social media manager! They are an incredibly talented group with an impressive array of professional instructors.  Ha.  Now this sounds like a commercial.  I'm just excited to be around people who love what they do and do it to the best of their abilities.

Go Asheville for welcoming a professional acting conservatory!!

 Here's the website, and a demo reel.  Enjoy!

The New York Studio for Stage and Screen(NYS3) Commercial Highlight Reel

Sunday, March 16, 2014

40 is Totally Rad.

The theme for my birthday was "halfway to 80", so, naturally, a totally awesome '80s party (in a cool basement) really was fantastic.  The music was perfect, the champagne was plentiful, and the pool table and firepit were hot all night!  All of the stress leading up to this "over the hill" moment dissolved like a bag of pop rocks and 1am found me outside with two of my best friends, toasting to love and gratitude, with a light snow falling in the background. 

I am incredibly blessed and grateful for amazing friends and family. Thank you for a rockin' 40.  I think it was Carl Jung who said, "everything before 40 is just research"...excellent, let's get to it then!
(cue Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me"...)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I approach Forty as I would an Eating Disorder

For the next six months I'm going to do something amazing every day.  It might be having a salad for dinner, or going to the gym...or happy hour at Mai Tais.  (Depends on the day)

I approach forty like an eating disorder, which will be easier to deal with in hindsight, but here I am now.  Geneen Roth wrote a wonderful and heartbreaking book called, "When Food is Love" and I read it through tear-blurred eyes, the first time, when I was about 13.  One chapter, in particular, has stayed with me- the part about the little girl and M&Ms:

A mother brought her overweight daughter to Ms. Roth, frantically overwrought that her daughter kept gaining wait and she was so young.  Ms. Roth asked the little girl what was her favourite treat, "M&Ms!!!" she cried.  The mother was instructed to get a pillow case and fill it with the chocolate candy and have her daughter carry it around with her wherever she went.  The mother did as instructed and the daughter was ecstatic; candy whenever she wanted it.  At first, the girl started gaining even more weight and the mom not happy, but she kept her mouth shut.  As time went on, the girl started forgetting to bring her pillowcase of candy, and at a certain point, stopped taking it with her altogether.

I might be stretching the metaphor a tiny bit, but my fortieth birthday and all that's wrapped up in it (real or imaginary) is going to stay right with me, so that I can indulge in my issues at any time.  Maybe by the time February comes around, I'll have left my pillowcase of self-doubt somewhere on the side of the road, and maybe it will turn into flowers.