Goodbye, cake.

I have felt like a drug addict waiting to go to treatment ever since I decided to sign up for the Fitness Challenge at the gym.

I have eaten everything I could get my hands on since I made this decision. Each meal, inching ever closer to my quit date…

My last supper.

I haven’t worked out in ages. I’ve quit going for walks. Sometimes I still do yoga, but not the kind that makes you sweat. I am officially out-of-shape.

I have a very stressful job. And when I get stressed, the only coping skill I have is to eat cake. And for the last year and a half, I have eaten a lot of cake.

I am writing this letter because cake and I need to break up. Cake doesn’t make me feel better. Well, maybe for a minute, but… just like drugs, it doesn’t last. And afterwards, I feel worse.

So, today, we are breaking up.

I have joined a gym. I have weighed in. I have been measured. I have proven to myself that I am as out-of-shape as I have ever been in my life. I can’t even do one push-up. It was ugly.

So, at 205.5 pounds, I am stopping the madness. I have to find other ways to de-stress… to de-compress… after work… and not just after work… whenever I am tempted to use food to change the way I feel.

I have written about this before. I have tried this before. I am not going to let that stop me. I have got to do something different and why not this… why not now?

Goodbye, cake.

Fast Cars and Fried Chicken!

Originally published 9/18/11

If Friday night was urban and artsy, Saturday was not! Our plans included the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Bar-B-Q King! And I could not wait! Yee-haw!

We checked out of the hotel and headed to the Hall. An exquisite facility conveniently located in the heart of downtown at 400 East Martin Luther King, Charlotte, N.C. 28202, the Hall of Fame is an impressive sight!

NASCAR exterior

And let me just tell you, I loooooved this place! It was so much better than any of my expectations! They have done a great job making this museum a place that appeals to long-time fans or to someone like my husband who doesn’t care at all about NASCAR but can appreciate how fun this place turned out to be!

Rather than a dusty old museum where the visitors and the stuff are separated by ropes and glass, this museum is extremely interactive and anything but stuffy!


From the very cool display of the evolution of the cars in the series that greets you when you walk in to the excellent film that gets you into the mood as soon as you sit down, this place will draw you in right away!

There was so much to do and see! As we made our way around, we checked out the displays for the actual inductees that gave you an excellent representation of each man’s contribution to motorsports history. We continued our tour and entered into an area where you could choose videos of dramatic crashes and famous fights!

There was memorabilia from all eras of NASCAR history that was definitely worth seeing, and whole sections of the Museum will give you a feel for how things are really done! Hands-on experiences including tire changing, waving the flag from the starter’s stand, and simulating driving experiences in actual Chase cars are just a few of the activities that are offered.

For NASCAR fans, gearheads, or somebody just looking for something different to get into, the NASCAR Hall of Fame has a lot to offer and makes for a really fun afternoon!

After getting in touch with our NASCAR roots, we headed to Bar-B-Q King! Located at 2900 Wilkinson Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28208, this old-school curb service restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and we were ready to check it out for ourselves!


Barbecue, chicken, hamburgers, perch plates or trout sandwiches… Oh, my! I finally settled on the bar-b-q chicken, and it was on! This was a feast! Oh, yeah!

BarBQKing plate

This place is outstanding! And if… if… you have any room left… there is dessert!! Fresh strawberry pie!

BarBQKing pie

When it was all over, we had an outstanding day… fun and fascinating tour of the NASCAR Hall of Fame first… followed by a super delicious meal at the Bar-B-Q King!

Thank you Charlotte for a weekend well done! And thank you to my sweetie who helped make this super fun field trip actually happen!

BarBQKing Mike

Art and Fish Tacos!

Originally published 9/14/11

If you’re anything like me, you have watched those shows like Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and Man v. Food and said “Boy, I would love to go there.” You might have even started to make your own list of places that you’ve read about… or heard about… and want to check out!

Then a weekend comes or holiday weekend which is even better and you think… “How ’bout now?” “How ’bout a trip to Charlotte or wherever….” You start poking around on the internet and before you know it, you’ve put together a whole tour!

Well, that’s what we did on a Labor Day holiday not all too long ago! Charlotte’s not too far away… there were places to go, things to do, and food to eat! And before we knew it, this field trip had turned into two days of outstanding food and lots of fun!

Friday, our ultimate destination was Cabo Fish Taco, 3201 North Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28205, but it turned out to be that and so much more!

We soon discovered that it was also the All Arts Crawl in NoDa that night! The North Davidson Arts District (aka NoDa) is a wonderful collection of galleries, shops and restaurants and a very cool historic neighborhood. After finding a place to park, we hit the street! Bookstores, art galleries, and an eclectic variety of stores… all with their doors open… beckoning us to come inside! We got busy checking out the street vendors, shops, and galleries right away!

Wandering around and checking it all out, it was still a little too early for dinner so we made our way across the street to Fu’s Custom Tattoo.

noda art

What a bonus! An excellent show was opening at the gallery and the artist was actually at work while we were there!!

The folks at the tattoo shop were also kind enough to give us the heads up that we needed to get our names on the list at the restaurant before we did anything else!

There was apparently going to be a wait! And they weren’t kidding! We were lucky enough to get on the list early! A 30-minute wait was all we had to worry about, but by the time we got called, the wait had increased to one hour. (And just so you know, that wait continued to grow… and by the time we left around 9 it was up to two… hours, that is!)

cabo fish taco

The menu looked good… and we were ready to eat! The plates going by us to the surrounding tables looked good! There was an excellent variety of sides available to accompany most dishes. Some of them sounded pretty exciting… jalapeno and cheese mashers, mexi slaw, and nopalito salad … or you could opt for the more traditional black beans and rice, baja rice, or refried beans. Choices! Choices!

We shared the super fresh homemade guacamole and chips. I followed that up with a couple of outstanding lemon grilled tuna tacos. This was one delicious dinner!

cabo fish taco dinner

A casual atmosphere that was kinda noisy with the sounds of folks having a really good time and some excellent food… Cabo Fish Taco is a perfect Friday night destination!

Filled up, we headed back because there was still more to see! From there we decided to check out the arts market that was happening at the Neighborhood Theatre, and it was definitely worth it. Upstairs and downstairs, the place was filled with loads of artists and craftspeople with quite a wonderful variety of wares available for sale!

We were also lucky enough to discover the Rat’s Nest, located at 442 E. 36th St.!

A wonderful assortment of vintage clothes… cowboy boots, dresses, accessories, western shirts, ringer tees, belt buckles, and other funky stuff… this place is definitely worth a peek!

the rats nest

We perused the stores, ate the food, watched the people, and thoroughly enjoyed our Friday night! It was time to head back to the hotel and prepare for a very different Day Two that was soon to unfold!

Welcome to the Gun Show.


Recently, I have engaged in several discussions regarding gun ownership.

More specifically, should I?

A few years ago, when I was seriously thinking about getting a job as a Probation Officer, I had to consider the possibility. Due to a recent overhaul of the policies governing probation, a P.O. is now required to carry a sidearm.

At the time, my brother posed a very serious question…

If I had a gun, was I prepared to use it?

I ended up switching from Criminal Justice to Human Services/Substance Abuse and the gun-toting issue fell by the wayside.

I never really had to answer my brother’s question.

Recently, the topic re-surfaced.


This time the idea was floated to me by my husband.

And I have been considering the question again.

I know that I would have a lot to learn. I know that I would want to be responsible.

I also know what it feels like to think that someone is capable of killing you.

Could I shoot someone whom I believe wanted to kill me?

Something to think about.


You’re afraid of black people.


Last night, right as I was getting ready to leave work… to go home and get ready for a fancy Valentine’s dinner with my husband… after a very full day at work… one of my clients tells me that there is someone outside.

That someone was an older man, dressed neatly in blue jeans, a button down shirt and grey suede shoes. The man reeked of alcohol and said he was looking for help.

I asked the man to come in to waiting area. It was bitter cold outside and I had done this countless other times. I asked him what was going on. He was shaking… his eyes were bleary… he said he was afraid that if he didn’t get some help that he might go into dt’s.

I asked if he needed an ambulance. He said no but he said needed detox. We don’t do direct admissions… I can’t drive him because he is not a client… so I called Mobile Crisis to see if they would come get him.

He was calm. He was well-spoken. He was neatly dressed. I was not afraid.

I called Mobile Crisis. The woman who answered the call said she was about a half an hour away but agreed to come. I was nervous that he might not be able to wait that long as his tremors seemed to be getting worse.

I asked him again about the ambulance but again he felt that wasn’t necessary. He agreed to wait.

He asked where she would be taking him. How long he would be there and what would he need. When I mentioned that it would be 3-5 days, he wanted to go home and get a few things.

I had to let him go. He wasn’t a client and I couldn’t make him stay. I got a phone number and the address from him and told him that we would call him if he didn’t come back. I was worried, but I recognized the address of a boarding house very close by.

I went and told the tech on duty what was going on and that I hoped he would come back.

I checked the clock. I was beginning to worry about the time. Dinner was at 8… in Greensboro… I was still on Burlington and waiting for the man to come back and for Mobile Crisis to get there.

I went back to work at my desk while I waited. The waiting area is right outside my office… I would know when either one of them got there.

At 620, I was beginning to think he wouldn’t come back. I called Mobile Crisis… she tried to call him… the call was answered with a message about only being able to receive texts… she wanted to call her boss… and call me back.

He came back.

I ran to call her back. One of the residents escorted him from the door to the waiting area and left him there.

She was on her way.

He said loud enough for me to hear in my office, “I smell red. Something smells like red in here.”

Then he called to me from the waiting area while i was getting off the phone.

“I need to tell you something.”

I was nervous. He told me not to be.

He told me he was schizophrenic and that he needed to be in a hospital.

He told me about his background. He told me about his family. He told me about his jobs. He told me about his diagnosis and when things changed for him. He told me what it’s been like living with the voices.

The voices that tell him that he’s bad. The voices that tell him to do bad things.

He changed. His look. His tone. He told me about the Assyrians. He recited a lengthy passage from the Bible. He told me about the Angel of Death.

He told me he had something for me.

Something about the tone. Something about the look. Suddenly I was very afraid.

As he reached into his coat, I knew that he was reaching for a weapon.

Maybe I watch too much TV.

Maybe I knew he could kill me.

My reaction only seemed to anger him.

He told me that I shouldn’t be afraid of black people.

He was angry. He was agitated.

I didn’t know what to do. I was scared.

Someone called my name.

An older black woman came around the corner.

The woman from Mobile Crisis had made it!

I met her in the hallway.

I told her he was agitated.

She entered the room.

She had forms to fill out.

He answered her questions.

He told her I was afraid of black people.

I left him with her.

I returned to my office.

I wanted to go to dinner.

I broke down and cried.

I was painfully aware of my inexperience.

I was afraid.

A Food Blog?! Me?!

Last night yet another person suggested that I start a food blog. I’ll admit that I have been inundating my Facebook friends with photos and descriptions of all my eating adventures for months, but a food blog? I didn’t even know how to get started.

Well, I asked around. I had friends who were blogging and I checked them out. I thought maybe I could have some fun with this! Look for lots of food photos and descriptions of delicious dining discoveries as I follow my own motto of… “I’ll eat anywhere once!”

I love to eat, I love to try new things, and I love to take pictures of it all!

This is the picture that really brought the folks who had been following all the food fun out of the closet.

The Bacon Cheddar Dog is an all-beef hot dog stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, and deep-fried. The specialty at Grey’s Tavern, 343 S. Elm St. Greensboro, NC 27401, I had been wanting to try it for awhile. When I did, it was a truly glorious dining experience! It has everything that makes eating fun!

Originally posted: 06/12/2011

Taking the Day.

I work too dang much.

I’m on call every other weekend and that generally means I end up working at least one of my days off. This only feeds my compulsion to work more and more often.

And unfortunately with all the best intentions to use that time to catch up, I usually end up getting caught up in something else entirely when I go in.

Yesterday, I intended to go in for a few hours, do some catching up, and get out.

Just like Groundhog Day, I got there and it was the same ol’ same ol’…

Detox was crazy and then things jumped off in residential and hours later I realize that I haven’t done anything I came in to do. I’m still behind, I’m really stressed, and I don’t know how I will possibly get it all done.

So I left. But right before that, I did something different. I told my boss that I needed tomorrow  (now today) OFF. I knew. I was down to a nub. I keep hearing all these folks telling me I need to take better care of myself. I know. And for once, I did.


So far, I’ve gotten my car fixed.


I’ve had a tasty breakfast.


And I’m free until 530…

then it’s time for school.



OK. So I put in for a day off on Friday too.

We’ll see how that goes.