The Raleigh World: Month Seven

My, how time flies! It seems like I just wrote the six-month po…oh yeah. I was a bit late on that one, wasn’t I?

Well, here’s to not letting another update languish in my Drafts folder for three weeks!

So I did some stuff in my seventh month in North Carolina.

I’m still working hard as a freelancer. That’s the joy of entrepreneurship: I work ten times harder…but it’s all mine. Well, after taxes it’s all mine. *checks earpiece* Right. After taxes, rent, health insurance, utilities, and cat food it’s all…huh.

I got to photograph more adoptable kitties for Best Friend Pet Adoption. JUST LOOK AT THESE CUTIE-PATOOTIES!

Ed (Sheeran), only WAY cuter!


Bruno (Mars)


Ariana is Bruno and Ed’s mama.

Shy Taz

Shy Taz

I’m also looking for appropriate grant prospects for the organization. If you know of any, drop a note/link in the comments.

First of all, ALLEZ LES BLEUS! What a crazy-ass 2018 Men’s World Cup! Everything we thought we knew about international soccer was wrong, and I LOVED it! 1

In late July I drove down to Charlotte: it was my first trip outside of the Triangle since I got to North Carolina. I was offered the opportunity to shoot the Men’s International Champions Cup match between Liverpool FC and Borussia Dortmund. Before Impostor Syndrome could get a word in, I told my editors at Prost Amerika that I would LOVE to cover the match.

Sports photojournalist

I was happy taking this photo. Also I was having a bit of heat exhaustion.

It was a very hot and very humid day in Charlotte. I don’t know if officials announced what the heat index at field level was but it had to be a bit north of 100 degrees. It was definitely hot enough at field level that the officials worked hydration breaks into the match. The crew at Bank of America Stadium ran the sprinklers just before player warm-ups started.

As I was pounding back bottles of water, I weighed the pros and cons of leaping over the dasher boards and running through the sprinklers a couple of times before the teams took the field. I ultimately decided I’d like to spend my afternoon shooting the game and not hang out in a holding cell, so I stayed on my camping stool2.

Narrator: She should be careful what she wishes for.

essential gear

Essential gear for sports photographers!

The nearest sprinkler head was a fair distance from my spot behind the goal line dasher boards, and it didn’t reach past the goal line on its first few passes, so I didn’t think too much of it.

I settled into my seat, snapped a quick shot of my view of the field with my phone and was about to fire up Instagram again when…tiktiktiktikSPLAT!!! That gotdamb sprinkler went rogue!

Fortunately, the cameras were stashed far enough under the boards that they didn’t get wet. I, on the other hand, was soaked. Still, it felt so good–and I didn’t have to risk getting a criminal record to cool off!

As for the game. Well, sure, it was the beginning of preseason so the teams are just starting to work on fitness and timing. But if you had told 16-year-old Vicster that one day she would finally get to photograph a legendary team like Liverpool, and players who will one day be legends like Christian Pulisic (Mohamed Salah didn’t play that afternoon *sad trombone*), well, 16-year-old Vicster is still pretty stoked about the day!

Liverpool's starting  XI

Liverpool’s starting XI in their new purple kits.

Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund and USMNT)

Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund and USMNT)

This being the South, weather is always an iffy thing. Even though the sun was baking us for most of the afternoon, there were clouds in the sky and, as always, a threat of thunderstorms. The weather held but moments after the final whistle I looked up at the scoreboard to see, basically, Right! Everybody out!

stadium signage


While I was in the media room a storm cell passed over and I emerged to see drenched pavement and very light sprinkles. I was glad that it wasn’t raining heavy enough to necessitate hauling out the backpack rain cover.

Little did I realize that this would be the easy part of the trip home.


After using the Waze app to get to the stadium, I asked it to show me how to get home but it was all


So I open up Google Maps and, unlike Waze, it seemed to know how to get me home. Yay!

Narrator: Clearly she didn’t listen to that bit about wishing before…

So that bastard app sent me back to Raleigh on an unlit, mostly 2-lane country highway for 60 miles! In the pouring rain.

Well, okay, if I’m being totally honest that highway wasn’t completely dark: it was intermittently lit.


The next day I tried to figure out which route Google Maps had sent me on but, even remembering the route numbers of the highways, I had trouble finding the route on the map. I entered the directions into GM again and looked at all of the routes it offered. NONE of those routes was the Magical Misery Tour it sent me on the night before.

I hit plusses and minuses and watched the roads zoom in and out and wondered if my life had somehow turned into a Twilight Zone episode and I am now in Alternate Raleigh. After several tries, I finally found the obscure set of country roads.

Narrator: Probably, you now have a mashup of two classic songs stuck in your head, too. Also, Vicster probably is not living in Alternate Raleigh.

Really, though, I would LOVE traveling on that 2-lane country highway in the daytime, when it isn’t pouring buckets of rain outside prompting random bursts of profanity inside the car. I’m still hoping to take a few day trips like that before winter.


What can I say? They are as loco as ever. I brought back some toys from the vet’s office last week (more on that trip in a moment) that Clancy loves. He is really getting into playing with toy mice and any ball he can find. It’s been fun to watch that side of him blossom over the last few months.

Get the TPS reports to me HOOMAN

Yeahhhhh…if you could please get that TPS report to me today so I can chew it up, that would be great.

I was at the vet’s office because I had to take Charlie back for another issue with his feet. I took him in June because I noticed he was licking the large pad of his front paw. When he finally let me look at it, there were little bumps along the edge of the pad. It is a granuloma and the vet believes it’s something triggering his immune system (which is somewhat compromised as evidenced by his asthma).

Despite my fear of giving him oral prednisolone, we did a course of it and the problem cleared up. But it seemed to reappear a couple of weeks ago, only this time he was focused on his right paw instead of the left. I couldn’t see any bumps this time, but the pad felt hard. As much as I hate to put him on the prednisolone, he’s back on it for one more round. If this doesn’t clear it up, we’ll try the laser treatment.

A word from our sponsor: Did I mention that I still have some client openings? If you know someone who needs a writer, editor, photographer, or social media manager, shoo them on over here!

Seriously, though, I really hate it when the furkids don’t feel great. And the fact that Charlie started having these issues again at the end of the World Cup triggered the trauma that we went through four years ago when Simon got sick at the end of the 2014 World Cup.


Oh hey look at me over here, trying to not freak the hell out.


Oh, speaking of bumps! I came home one evening to find this guy chillin’ on my door.

Meeting more local wildlife

Since it has warts, I’m guessing it’s a toad, but I wasn’t able to match it to any of the ones I found on the NC Herpetology site. Since this was really the only way to get into my apartment, I had to encourage my new buddy to move away from the door. Just thinking about the potential chaos if it had come inside the apartment makes me shudder.

So, as I am scrunching into my life as a freelancer, I’m learning and improving with each project.

It’s always a nice bonus to see that my editors appreciate my work!

Roll on, Month Eight! More soccer! More writing! More photography! More helping people and animals! More yoga and meditation! More learning! MORE LIFE!

My Loves

My Loves

1Well, if I’m being honest, I was not terribly happy that Germany didn’t make it out of the group round. But that’s soccer for ya.

2My knees were pretty miserable after shooting my first match at field level and I noticed other photographers using those stools so I ordered one. That camping stool is just about the best $15 I spent on photography equipment!

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