You Don’t Hear That Every Day

So I was rolling home last evening after a really long day of cranky behavior and I was a bit brain dead and just ready to be at my own little home.

I put on the radio to the local news chat station and turned off my brain for the ride.

Somewhere along the way as I was bumpitty bumping along a torn up stretch of road, my brain locked on to a couple words uttered by the news caster.

The words were: loose kangaroo


“Oh,” thought my tired brain, “They are probably talking about something that happened in Australia.”

Nope. They were talking about something that happened in Florida.

Doesn’t the weird stuff always happen in Florida? It seems like any of the weirdest of the weird news I read either went down in Thailand or Florida. The humidity must make things odd.

Reader’s Digest version: A loose kangaroo held up traffic on US 301 and the authorities were called. Police and fire chased the animal around for a while and then a former wrestler named Kevin Wehling showed up. He tracked it to a ditch and then grappled with the beast.

Side note: I understand kangaroos are sort of mean. If they get a back claw into you they can open you up pretty good.

But Wehling prevailed and finally subdued the beast. It was then taken to a local kangaroo ranch for safekeeping. Evidently it was not their ‘roo. Evidently it’s normal to have a kangaroo ranch? Evidently it’s normal for many people to own a ‘roo? Evidently a loose kangaroo is to be expected?

Um. Ok.

Just another normal day in the Sunshine State.


Image found here.

And That’s All She Had to Say About That

The scene: Tuesday evening in Opelika, Alabama at a delicious little restaurant called the Warehouse Bistro.

The people: Several of my coworkers, a large group of folks from the supplier we were visiting, and me.

The situation: We’d had a day long business meeting. It had been a full marathon session that was mostly good and occasionally heated. We ended the work day on a good note and headed off for drinks and good eats. We’d all started with a few mixed drinks, then beers and wine bottles were ordered, and delicious food was served. Near the end of the night as the servers cleared dessert plates the whole group was feeling quite convivial, there was a lot of good natured ribbing going back and forth.

I got a fair bit of grief for being from California. Things like “you buncha wine sniffing weirdos” and “You damn Californians!” I’m used to it, I get it back home in New Mexico too, so I know how to hold my own.

At the table were three guys who had driven over to Alabama from Daytona, Florida. It’s about a seven hour drive and they had seen the entire span of Georgia along the way. This one ol’ boy from Florida was the one leading the charge on giving people grief. He was dishing it out pretty hard to everyone at the table. Didn’t matter who you were or where you were from, you were gonna get your share. Even the guy from Australia.

So at one point he was talking about the drive over and saying, “geez, what is it with Georgia? All along the road all we saw were adult shops and fireworks stands. I mean all along I-10 that’s all there was. I couldn’t find a damn McDonalds but I could find all that crazy stuff. There’s gotta be something wrong with Georgia.”

Then he got an evil look in his eye.

He turned to the sweetest, quietest girl in the room who was sitting at the end of the table.

“Hey Cathy*, you’re from Georgia. What’s up with that? I mean, I thought this was the Bible Belt!”

She paused, took a sip of sweet tea, then said, very clearly so all could hear….”That’s because here in Georgia, we’re so good, when we’re done having a little fun we don’t smoke a cigarette, we light off a Roman candle.”

The room was quiet for one, two three beats….then came thunderous applause and laughter.

In the vernacular of our times, that ol’ boy from Florida just got served. In the most quiet, gentle and polite Southern way.

Loved it!

Image found at

* Not her real name


Remember how I pondered a couple days ago if I was, perhaps, too attached to my pet?

Today I read this article and think, maybe I’m doin’ all right:

Florida Man Punches Shark To Save His Terrier

Says pet owner Greg LeNoir:

“…We have no children. Jake became our child. When I saw the shark engulf him, I thought, `This can’t be the end.’”

Poor pupular is doing fine after some extensive vet work.

And I thought scrunching over to the very edge of the bed to allow room for a spread eagle sleeping cat was a sacrifice.

Greg LeNoir, you win.

Head out for the highway

Yes, Monday finds me back at my same gray walled office. Back to work, slogging through emails and working up my expense report.

All in all, the trip to Florida was a good one.

I’m glad to be home. It was a long haul on Saturday, hopping a couple planes and ultimately arriving almost two hours later than I was supposed to. But I made it and a really cute boy was waiting for me when I came down the stairs to baggage claim.

I didn’t sleep well on the trip, so was glad to sleep in my own little bed, and sleep I did. Woke up Sunday morning MUCH refreshed. The Good Man fussed over me and that helped get me right, too.

Back to “regular” work today. While making the drive in this morning, I was thinking about what made the Florida trip fun, and I hit on a thought.

I got to drive.

Now, don’t gave me that doggy head tilt look. Let me explain.

“Back in the day” living in New Mexico, one of my best stress relievers was to get in the car and drive. Not always with a destination, sometimes just driving, watching the white lines roll by.

Since I went to school in Las Cruces and my folks lived in Carlsbad, I had a LOT of hours in the middle of NOWHERE, hum of the tires as my companion.

I got a LOT of good thinking done during those drives.

Meditation. That’s really what it is.

Well now living here in a densely populated area, just getting in the car and going isn’t all that meditative. With all the traffic, it is stress inducing.

When I lived in Albuquerque, I could drive for a half hour in pretty much any direction and be OUT of the city, humming along at 75 mph, and letting the stress float away.

Here, I can drive a half hour and be ever more mired in humanity.

So I enjoyed the fact that, last week, I got some road time. The ride on I-4W to Clearwater Beach took about two and a half hours all in. It was a little densely populated around Tampa Bay and that stressed me, but had moments of a peaceful ride. It got really good when I got off I-4 and into the small roads winding through Clearwater and over all the causeways.

The trip to Cocoa Beach was only about an hour and was PERFECT for highway meditation. (see, I still can find NOTHING wrong with Cocoa Beach). SR-528E is pretty rural, away from people, not heavily trafficked on a weekday. The tolls do take a bit away from that trip, but even they are manageable. You get a rhythm of hitting the various toll plazas and you know they’ll be there (kind of like having to stop at a Border Patrol station…so it’s all good).

And during those two drives a lot of thinking got done. Some useful (i.e. where should I emphasize success criteria for my team this year), some not (i.e. why do so called “80’s” radio stations only play the cheesy “hits” like “Jump” (both Van Halen and Pointer sisters), and not the deeper cuts from bands like Depeche Mode or The Cure?).

Getting all that thinking done is healing. I find I’m in a better mood today than when I left. Like I’ve grown from my journey.

I sure wish I could more easily hit the open road from where I live to think things out.

Oh well, just another reason to miss my fair New Mexico.

If still water runs the deepest…

…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)


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.