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Why Stir?

The words in the mixer above, give you a glimpse of the subject matter that I will stir up in this blog.

I am passionate about people, politics, equal rights, and issues that face the next generation including education, climate change, and innovation.

I love to travel and have a healthy appreciation for music, art, delicious food and pleasing libations.

I always find it strange to write about myself, but now I have decided to start blogging, so here I go. I am a 40-year-old woman that currently resides in Florida, I have been a workaholic most of my life primarily in the social sector. I have had the privilege of leading organizations that work to change the world, yet all of this comes at a price – a physical and mental price for myself and the people closest to me.

So, like the metamorphosis of a monarch butterfly, I have been through many changes in my life so far. I was born in the late 70’s, had a great childhood that instilled work ethic and a love for all living things into my soul, I wrapped myself with making a positive change like a chrysalis, and now I spread my wings to continue discovering and consulting around the world.

Let’s make this a two-way conversation. I would love to hear from you and know what stirs you.

Happy stirring,

Molly

Speed Blogging – Take One

Well, it has been a few weeks since I have written and I have finished my 9,000 mile trip through North America. Now I am left wondering when I can get back in my 100 sq ft of bliss and do it again!

When I last left you, I was somewhere in Canada and finding that wifi in places without people is hard to find. I really wanted to disconnect which also made posting a bit difficult, so we are going to go on a few rounds of “Speed Blogging” to catch up. It is kind of like speed dating, but without the awkward silence – or so I hope. Don’t leave me hanging 🙂

One thing I had never done was to visit Niagara Falls, and it didn’t disappoint. With my bike beneath me and my bright yellow poncho (because this girl is prepared!) in my backpack, I took off from my campsite to the Falls. A couple of tips: 1) Do this before the summer is in full swing. I know that a few weeks later the crowds were insane and I was happy that I had a little more peace and quiet on my trip. 2) Don’t drive. Take your bike or public transit (on the Candian side) and take the day to enjoy the entire area.

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From there I headed to Montreal and drove along the Trans-Canada Highway to Fort Francis where I crossed back into the US. It is a bit hard to find words to describe this drive because it is lovely and full of surprises along the way. At this point in my trip, I had no agenda. I would wake up in the morning, have breakfast, and literally just drive until I found something interesting. Well, that happened a lot during this piece of my journey, and needless to say, I extended my time in Canada by a few days.

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Bliss
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This seems to be a thing in Canada
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Yes, I brought a vase to collect local flowers as I went. Doesn’t everyone love fresh flowers in their living space?
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My tiny home in the distance

IMG_2549A nice tribute to Glenn Gould, a Canadian pianist who became one of the celebrated classical pianists of the 20th century. He was renowned as an interpreter of the keyboard works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Listen and enjoy!

Have to stop there! Getting ready for my #AirbnbExperience guests to arrive!

 

 

 

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias Definition:
The tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

It is June, PRIDE month. As I road trip across the country, I see we have raised our rainbow flags, applied our social media filters and planned great parties and parades.

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On the surface, I love this! I have a robust group of friends that identify as LGBTQ and I love celebrating them! Personally, I have never understood the drama about identity and why some people (including a plethora of elected officials) get so bent out of shape about it. None of these identifying characteristics affects anyone except the individual.

When I reflect a bit more, I am faced with this question – Why in 2018 do we have a month of recognition for people who should just be able to be people?

People are people, love is love – get over it!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the symbolism of why PRIDE is in June, but here is what stirs me. In Florida, it has been two years since the tragedy at Pulse, I see the online support for the families, demonstrations in Orlando, and the anger from people that will never again hold that friend, but there are fewer discriminatory protections now than when that disaster happened. Are we merely existing in an echo chamber? Will people that feel hate toward this community be positively affected because of PRIDE or is this a classic example of confirmation bias?

Personally, I don’t believe that PRIDE flags and rainbow streamers really change anything. Instead, let’s allocate the resources spent on these fun accouterments on registering people to vote, driving a neighbor to his or her polling place, or providing support for LGBTQ teens that are being bullied. Let’s fill the chambers of our local government when they are making laws and let’s drive a bus to Tallahassee to continue to demand change instead of singing to our own choir.

Don’t get me wrong, I will show up to party in glitter and feathers, but I want to do more.

Happy PRIDE!

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My Playlist – Part One

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Music is something I have always been passionate about, and this road trip needs a soundtrack. A string of memories that will last a lifetime and bring back smiles for the miles spent on the road.

From the time I was very young, I remember musical moments having an impact and staying with me over time. As a dancer, music became even more significant in my life, and now there is nothing I can do to stop myself from moving when I hear a piece of music that stirs me. Even in my sleep, my feet move to the beat – so I have been told.

I enjoy most types of music, except for hard metal, which just makes me anxious. From country to classical my favorites crisscross genres like a Florida driver changes lanes.

This journey started with “Let the Monkey Drive” by Sparks. As time passed, I bounced around including my favorite Pandora station: Sunday Funday Brunch. This is my go to in the mornings. I love the classics! “At Last” by Ella Fitzgerald, “Unforgettable” by Louis Armstrong,  and “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra

At night the Gipsy Kings are always on the menu. This band takes me back to my early days in Sarasota, living in a warehouse, teaching, and dancing the night away at the Alley Cat Café. Listen to “Djobi Doba.” Get up and dance!

My favorite soundtrack is Reservoir Dogs, and I am a sucker for some old-school rap from Arrested Development. “Mr.Wendal” makes it to the top of this list.

I recently saw Public Service Broadcasting live in Brighton, England. If you haven’t heard them, check them out! As a lover of the space program, I get down to “Go,” but enjoy all of their work. When you combine the subject matter and artistry with the appreciation of musicians and their instruments, it is magic.

My guilty pleasure is Pink and her new album, “Beautiful Trauma” is great. I play it end to end every time and “I Am Here” needs to be played at full volume!

More to come…what song stirs you?

Oh yeah, food blends nicely with music as well! I stopped by the market after a busy day and grabbed some veggies to grill out last night. Skewered vegetables painted with a little olive oil, and S&P on the grill – voilà – dinner. I poured my first glass of Candian red wine and turned on “Both Sides” by Candian artist Joni Mitchell to round out my evening. 

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America the Beautiful

As I traveled north toward the Cape with scenery passing by, it made me think of the author of “America the Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates, who was born in Massachusetts in 1859.

Coming off the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the Shenandoah Valley, I was looking for a new adventure – a deeper stir. I stumbled upon the Luray Caverns in Virginia and was not disappointed. I read a bit about the caverns before I stopped and took a chance even though it is called a tourist attraction online and people complained about the price.

With 500,000 visitors annually, it is a destination, but it was terrific and well worth the $26!

IMG_1557Everywhere you look, there is natural art dripping from the ceiling and pushing up beneath your feet. The pool towards the middle is absolutely magical, tricking your eyes as to where the water ends and air begins.

IMG_1543After a good night’s sleep in the KOA near Gettysburg, I decided it was time to take my bike out for a spin. I found the greenbelt that encircles the city of Harrisburg and set off to City Island to find a parking spot for the Airstream. The ride was about 20 miles, and most were off the main roads. With several parks mixed with a college campus and downtown, there was plenty to look at and almost no one else on the trail which made for an enjoyable afternoon. Full disclosure…coming from Florida, the elevation changes were challenging, but a good warm up before I head west.

IMG_1545Until next time…happy trails!

Take care of you​

RIP Kate Spade.

A kickass designer and businesswoman has committed suicide, and this stirs me. I can only imagine this will probably be the most painful thing that will ever happen to Kate Spade’s family.

It is just over two years since I lost a dear friend this way. She was caring, talented, and successful. She had just turned 40, and no one saw it coming. I will never forget getting that call as I was getting ready for work. Since I will never have the opportunity to talk through this with her, all I am left with is unanswerable questions and personal assumptions.

How does this happen?

The thought that someone is in so much pain, brave enough to take their own life, yet can’t speak to those closest to them to let them know how they feel.

Why can’t we ask for help?

I feel fortunate that I have never been to this darkest place, but I am acutely aware that the pain in the world and in our personal lives are powerful and should not and cannot be ignored.

I have been that girl. Professionally bullied and abused, silenced and broken.

I disappeared from people closest to me; I simply woke up, went to work and slept the moment I got home. After three years, I took time off, tried to reconnect with things that were important, but it didn’t work, I was different. I always used to see the good in the world, but now, for the first time in my life, I was wearing a pair of glasses that didn’t enable me to see that way. They were opaque with sadness, and I couldn’t see any light.

I pushed through, put on a smile, got a puppy and moved on. But, I was broken, shattered into a thousand pieces. This was not a job for a handyman with superglue, this was for the finest in the biz of restoration. I found a professional to talk to, and I am here today, raw, open and mindful that each day I must take care of me.

I’m lucky to have made it through. Kate sadly not so, but who knows, with the right person to talk to and be heard she may still be here.

Take care of you!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline For confidential support available 24/7 for everyone in the United States, call 1-800-273-8255.

 

No blues on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Well, this is a day late, but when you combine the delicious ingredients of the past 24 hours with a visit to my bestie, the schedule goes out the window.

A friend recommended driving the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way from Charlotte to Virginia, and I am so glad he did. Thanks, T.J.!

If you haven’t been, put it on your list – the short list. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains from North Carolina to Virginia and is known for its beauty.

I caught the parkway around the Blue Ridge Music Center and was pleased throughout the day by dappled shadows, curious wildlife, winding roads and majestic trees. Driving along America’s longest linear park was fun, even in a camper!

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I stopped at Stone Mountain to enjoy a little hike in the crisp air and was again reminded of the vast beauty of the area. Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they don’t do it justice. Nonetheless, enjoy a peek into my afternoon.

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Stone Mountain

As I pulled into camp last night, I caught the last bit of the sunset over the mountains, and all seems right in Virginia.

IMG_1432Looking forward to biking a bit this morning and then off for some museum action in D.C.

Which museum stirs you the most?

Planning – my happy place

When I started to think about how I wanted to travel around the country, I knew that one thing I want to appreciate is the local flavors without breaking the bank on expensive restaurants – though I am sure there will be a few.

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So, I started with a bit of food planning and cooking. Vegetarian ingredients, so I don’t have to worry about keeping meat, things that I can pair with local veggies I pick up at markets as I travel, AND items that could last a month in the freezer.

 Veggie chili and lasagna, dal tadka, pesto, sundried tomato pesto and roasted garlic hummus.

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Since the freezer in the Airstream is small, and I try to stay away from disposables as much as possible, I bought a case of canning jars (for $8) and started chopping, sauteing and processing. I have to say, as someone new to cooking, I love America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks. They lay it out straight, give you best practices and even more importantly for a Virgo like myself, the reasons why it all matters.

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Since I rented the RV in Florida, I brought it home and packed my own kitchen complete with a food processor, french press,  soda stream, and Le Creuset dutch oven.

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Pulling into camp and cooking a real meal is so much fun!

Oh, by the way, there is a Le Creuset factory store in Georgia and EVERYTHING is 50% off the discounted prices. You’re welcome!

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