What Does This Image Mean to You?

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Take a gander. I’ll bet this image elicits an immediate visceral reaction:

It sure does for me. If you were in college or attended any sort of raucous party in the last several decades, then you too have an instant recognition and reaction to….

The ubiquitous Solo Red Cup.

Truly an American icon.

When a keg is purchased, what must come along with it? A nice big stack of Solo Red Cups.

Having a picnic? Well then what is a certain necessity? The Solo Red Cup.

Up for a game of beer pong? Gonna need several of these bad boys.

Sometimes it comes in blue, but red is the most recognizable and widely available color.

I have a deep appreciation and a love for the Solo Red Cup that borders on something inappropriate (but not quite objectophilia).

Summertime makes me think of my old friend Solo Red Cup. Warm days, beer with a head that is way too foamy because the knucklehead tapped the keg wrong, and flip flops.

In my memory, days seem a lot simpler when I have a Solo Red Cup in my hand.

May we all have a Solo Red Cup kind of a day….

Cheers!

Seasons Change

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Today I have to say goodbye to the employee who has been with me the longest. She’s been with the company four years, three and a half under my team. She is a veteran by Silicon Valley standards.

Ok, to be fair, it was time for her to go. The job grew and she didn’t. She was struggling. The team was struggling. She found another job that is tailor made to fit, and we get to keep her as an employee at this company. It works out well for everyone. But at the end of the day, I’m still a little sad.

When someone has been through the trenches with you, fought the good fight, and in this lady’s case, even sacrificed her physical health (briefly) for the sake of making our team a success, you don’t forget that.

She is best known for sensing that I was mad at a supplier in a meeting and was about to unleash my fury. She quietly slid a box of mints across the table, whispered under her breath “take one…when it’s gone, then talk”.

Oddly enough, I complied.

She was right. Waiting for that mint to dissolve, I formed my argument more logically. And with fresh breath, I was in a better frame of mind to properly negotiate.

There are many times I can’t “take the mint first” and instead jump in there with both feet. The lesson I learned from the quiet, tiny, beautiful and talented friend stays with me.

I wish her luck today, tomorrow, always.

And so for me, the quest to be fully staffed begins again. It only lasted a month and a half this time.

*sigh*

In other news, my sweet kitty had to have minor surgery today and I am beside myself. All is fine. She did well, came out of anesthesia ok. I want to race home and clutch her to me. I love that damn cat. Way too much, probably.

Happy Friday to All. I need a bebida after this long week.

If still water runs the deepest…

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…then what does Clearwater do?

Sits there and shimmers like the jewel of the Gulf that it is…

(This is not my photo but this is right where I was)

Gorgeous!

I was astounded that the white sand at Sand Key Beach was literally FILLED with seashells, mostly tiny scallop shells. Now, the bottoms of my feet are pretty well beat up from walking on all the jagged edges, but the effect, running hands through sand and finding shell after shell after shell was so very cool.

That’s the kick about warm, fairly calm water. Not only shells, INTACT shells.

If you’ll excuse the crappy quality of this iPhone photo…look at THESE little beauties! I personally snagged them from the floor of the ocean.

I think my eyes bugged out of my head when I saw them bouncing around in the sand. My cheap but effective goggles kept my eyes in my head as I paddled down to the bottom of the shallow sea floor and scooped them up. There were thousands of them down there!

These are coming home with me, a love gift for a certain wonderful man.

I’ll say this, the Gulf wasn’t as warm as I remember from my last visit at South Padre Island. It was pretty cold, actually. Much colder than the Atlantic. Though nowhere near as cold as the Pacific.

Oh, which reminds me…in the course of less than one week, I’ve visited three oceans.

Sunday, I was at Half Moon Bay, gazing at the beautiful but tumultuous Pacific. Tuesday I was at Cocoa Beach, at peace with the Atlantic and today, Friday, it was Clearwater Beach and the Gulf.

Cool, huh?

Clearwater was recommended to me by four separate locals, so that’s why I chose to run out there today. The choice of Sand Key Beach was because it was public and it was away from the main drag of hotels and restaurants. There were a LOT of Spring Breakers out, so that wasn’t fun.

All said, I prefer Cocoa Beach. It is just a lot more mellow and easy. But today’s journey to the west coast of Florida was truly amazing. A day to remember.

I didn’t end up taking many photos, sorry. This one will live on in my mind. Another happy place to escape to when work meetings drag on too long.

And now, to pack. While I had fun, I’m glad the week is over. I miss The Good Man and I miss the cranky feline too.

So tomorrow, with noise cancelling headphones in place, I hop a westbound plane and go back to the life I love. I’ll be happy to snuggle down in my own bed and sleep contentedly with those I love the most.

There is nothing wrong with Cocoa Beach

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If you’ve known me for a while, you’ve heard me say this phrase.

A lot.

If you are new to the obsessive compulsive wonders that are Karen, then let me explain.

About ten years ago, I was sent to Orlando on business. I worked for Lockheed back then and we were sent out to have a love fest with the Orlando folks. We were all supposed to be getting along like one big happy corporate family, but we weren’t. The Lockheed and Martin merger was…tricky, to say the least.

So on that last trip, me a timid little New Mexico girl, I had some spare time on my hands and I quaveringly looked at the Florida map and planned a drive. An easy drive out of Orlando. About an hour all on one road. Albeit a toll road, which added to the stress.

So I went to Cocoa Beach. Yes, it’s all very I Dream of Jeannie, but it had a familiar ring and it was coastal.

While there, I stumbled onto something great. Well, first I went to Ron Jon Surf Shop. As a NM girl, surfing isn’t exactly something I know much about. But one day at work I’d found a coffee mug that looked cool and it was from Ron Jon in Cocoa Beach. So I was happy to explore this strange place.

I was stunned by how utterly cool the store was. I timidly tried on bathing suits (two piece, ooh la la) from their endless racks of suits. I ended up boldly purchasing an orange two piece, put it on, then sashayed down the block from the shop and out onto the beach.

It. Was. Awesome. As soon as I got over my timidity, that is. That was the first two piece I’d ever owned. I felt…naked.

Soon enough I was splashing in the warm Atlantic and having one hell of a good time. The people were nice. The people watching was fun and that was one of those days that lives in my memory. A happy place, if you will.

And upon my return, I told anyone who would listen: “There is *nothing* wrong with Cocoa Beach. It is perfect!”

So here I am, once again sent on business to Orlando. And today I got a chance to go once more eastbound on SR-528. I was no less nervous this time, but more prepared. I had a film canister full of quarters for the toll-booths and I knew where I was going. I drove a little more confidently as I have ten extra years of livin’ to go along for the ride.

Upon rolling into Cocoa Beach, I was disappointed. It’s grown a LOT in ten years. What I liked about it back then was that there wasn’t much to the town. Mostly locals and a few tourists. This time there are A LOT of tourists and stores everywhere. The upside, they built a parking structure. Parking was a bear last time.

I went to Ron Jon again. And once again, I shopped for swimming suits. Yes, two pieces, but the more modest tankini’s this time. They still have endless racks of really cool suits. And I still had great success there, purchasing not one but two. Yay!

I didn’t put one on, tho, it was actually not all that warm today (low sixties with a cool wind). But I still hauled my cookies down the block and out onto the beach.

And as this photo will show, I found everything to be juuuuuuust fine:

Yes, those are my toes in the foreground. And that is the Atlantic ocean in the background.

It’s still warm. Or at least one hell of a lot warmer (and calmer) than the Pacific. I picked at shells on the beach, not taking any, just looking. The Pacific is so rough no shell makes it to the shore intact.

Once again, I found NOTHING wrong with Cocoa Beach. It is a little slice of heaven.

Except for this Portuguese little fella. A Man O’ War they call it.

And these two yahoolios.

Think the friend will pee on the guy who will soon have stinging hands? (as they say uric acid will help the burn…I don’t know if that’s actually true……)

But even with stinging fish and brainiacs on Spring Break, it was still a perfect day.

Tomorrow, it’s game face. Start at 7:00 and sit all day in a hotel conference room. But that’s ok…when the attention span wanders, I’ll go again to my happy place. This time I have photos!

East bound and down…

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…loaded up and truckin’

Yes, I just quoted the theme from “Smokey and the Bandit” and I’m not sorry.

Ok, maybe a little sorry. But I’d do it again.

I’m in kind-of-panicked but mostly excited mode because I have some travel coming up next week.

In the many long years I’ve worked at The Company, I’ve only traveled a scant three times. This will be my fourth trip on the company dime.

I get to go to Northern Florida. For a conference.

There’s not a lot going on in the Northern half of Florida. But that’s ok. I got that “anywhere but here” thing going. I haven’t traveled in a REALLY long time and I’m anxious to get going. I do love to go places.

There are some downsides.

1) It’s Florida. And still Spring Break season. I may have to pimp slap some drunk college kids. I’ll do it too.

2) I’m not going for fun. I’m going to work. True, a conference isn’t exactly *work*, but it involves sitting indoors, eating conference chicken and being over air conditioned to within an inch of my life.

3) It is one long ass plane ride to get from the left coast to the right one. Yeah, shaddup all you “oh, but to fly to Australia is WAY longer” or whatever. I’m just saying… Mama gets restless on a plane. Five hours plus three time zones is just long enough to piss me off, not long enough to get anywhere really good…like London or something.

4) Disney. God I hate Disney. And there is little else to do BUT freakin’ Disney where I’m going. Gaaaaah! I Googled “fun non-Disney things to do” and found…well, not much.

Oh well. It’s a trip. That I’m not paying for. It will be warm. I won’t have to sit at my desk. And the Atlantic is warm.

So there you have it.

I keep thinking “oh, I should pack goggles” then remind myself “WORK! This is work!”

I am taking the camera tho…I’ll share any interesting shots. (nod to Avelino on this)