What Jane Taught Me (Hint: Take the Weird Classes in College!)

Gombe, Tanzania – Jane Goodall watches as Hugo van Lawick operates a film camera. The feature documentary JANE will be released in select theaters October 2017. (Jane Goodall Institute)

On March 12th, National Geographic will premiere it’s new bio-documentary Jane, about the legendary and iconic Miss Jane Goodall, Ultimate Conservationist and Queen of Primatology. Thinking again about Goodall sent me spiraling back to memories from my college years when I first learned of her work, her pioneering studies on chimpanzee behavior. I can still rattle off a sizable list of absolutely useless things that I remember (the term ‘opposable thumbs’ comes to mind), nuggets of information that I still think are absolutely fascinating with regard to her life’s work.

View the trailer here: JANE.

…This was SO ME in my twenties!

 

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Honeybee

PC: Instagram @beeandbloom

One of my favorite books, since I started having favorite books, is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. She did something fantastic, something that all of my favorite authors seem to do: she taught me something I didn’t know.  Read more

Jellies

PC: Instagram @luakanishi

I heard his tell-tale screeches from all the way down the beach. A young boy, around eight by my best guess, clearly thought he was going to die of pain. I stayed out of the pandemonium at first, trying not to be the (nosy) kind of person who tells someone else how to do their job, but his parents were turning themselves around in circles, picking up and dropping towels, dumping water bottles onto his skinny, paralyzed little limbs and making a wrinkled, sandy mess of their perfect pallets near the water’s edge.

They were jellyfish virgins, it was clear. Read more

A Little Bit Longer

We are not morning people. The Restless, I mean.

But we also don’t sleep well. Ever.

There is a stirring in our soul, an ember of new life flickering in our hearts that isn’t going to give us a moment’s peace until we follow it.

It’s been a long time. Since joy. Since love. Since contentment.

A whole life lived for others. No more.

Stability is not safe for us. Selflessness is not healthy for us.
Smallness in anything kills us a little bit more everyday. Read more

The Kind of Women You Want Around

Lori, Marcia, Melissa and Tracy…They L.O.V.E. the Tide! Pensacola Beach, 2017.

Yesterday was Saturday, ahhhhh, and that, to me, meant I could sleep in and not have to put on my pencil skirts and heels to go to work. It’s just about all that mattered to me in the world. I threw on some shorts and a plain red t-shirt. No big deal, right?

Well, I had friends in town from Tuscaloosa. Dinner and drinks somewhere local was on the agenda. I knew we would hit Pegleg’s because that’s where everybody wants to go when they stay on the beach. I was excited about relaxing with the girls, enjoying our bushwhackers and talking about girl things…husbands, kids, careers, I don’t know…shoes, maybe? Read more

The Turtle People

PC: Frank Abbott Photography www.frankabbott.com

I ascended to the top of the boardwalk on my way down to the beach in front of my house, sometime around the beginning of this past summer. It would’ve been the middle of June, if I recall, and I noticed that a strange partition had been erected out in the middle of the beach, right in the sand. From a distance, it looked like it was marked off with crime scene tape, which is what got my attention. Read more

Best Worst Weekend Ever

PC: Instagram @patrice_dior

In 2010, our high school baseball team went to the State play-offs. I didn’t care much one way or the other about the baseball but I was quite fond of South Florida so I volunteered to escort two 17-year old girls (members of our school’s media journalism program) to the game so they could film the excitement for our Student Body.

Two young girls from a really, really small country town, Lindsey and Bekah, plus myself… one mature, supposedly well-traveled adult. Reservations were made, plans were finalized. Piece of cake, right?

Next stop: Miami Read more

Oyster Culture

Website: www.frankabbott.com Instagram: @frankabbottphotography

PC: Frank Abbott Photography

I have two vivid memories of my dad saying to me, “You’re gonna have to learn to do this by yourself.”

The first was riding a bike and his exasperation came from having to give me a hundred pushes but then also having to catch up and run behind me as I peddled. He held onto the back of my bicycle seat with one hand, trying to keep up, exhausted after just a few hundred feet of that nonsense. (And once we’ve all attempted that awkward move ourselves as parents, we realize that crap’s for the birds.) Well, my dad figured out that pushing off of the curb with one foot provided the launch I needed and when coupled with a bike that was just a tad too small for me, I had the foot reach I needed to keep myself from falling over. Necessity breeds invention, so they say, and he stopped having to wear himself out while I, like every other child in the world, learned to ride a bike.

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I Was A Matador Groupie

PC: Instagram @alan_hurtado

This title, sadly, evokes an impression that isn’t quite true, so I apologize for bringing you here dishonestly. I’ve never slept with a bullfighter. A long, long time ago though, I probably would have if I’d had even the slightest chance. In my twenties, when it came to the heart throbs of the bullring, I found myself the kind of shrilling, shrieking fangirl not found in any part of North America. Ole!

When I was in college, my dad moved to the border town of Laredo, Texas with his job in the oil field. Before the drug cartels ruined the mercados on the other side of the US-Mexico border, we would cross over and spend the day in what felt to me like another world. I bartered for trinkets from open air vendors who didn’t speak English, trying my own hand at the high school Spanish I rarely got to actually use. It was exhilarating when the storekeepers smiled and nodded at me in understanding.  I purchased cheap t-shirts and funny-smelling blankets as souvenirs for my friends and my dad and I drank real margaritas out of enormous plastic cups. By ‘real’ I mean alcoholic margaritas because, let’s be honest, there was no drinking age in a town starving for American dollars. I silently worried about the ice in my beverage because visitors to Mexico knew we weren’t supposed to drink the water. Read more

My City By the Bay

PC: Instagram @frankabbottphotography

Y’all!! It’s 4th of July weekend. There were absolutely perfect grand finale fireworks exploding over the bay behind Wahoos Stadium last Saturday night as Cat Country belted out the Star Spangled Banner and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” for the whole town, songs we know by heart because we’ve heard them, literally, hundreds and hundreds of times growing up here. Our townsfolk serenaded each other up and down the coastline as they sprawled out on blankets laid on pelts of damp grass downtown in the historic district while their kids twirled sparklers in the air screaming, “Look, mama!” We drank ice cold canned drinks plucked from sloshy coolers doubling as benches and we grilled big fat hotdogs, sitting on the hallowed ground of five hundred years of European history as kids hit baseballs and men planned offshore fishing trips for next weekend. We ate truckloads of chilled watermelon. We drove our big lifted trucks to get down there, or maybe our convertibles, or our Jeeps, because the climate of this area just begs for you to ride around with the top down, the twang of a Luke Bryan country song blaring out your window, talking with your passenger about the excitement of the Blue Angels Show coming up the next weekend. We complain about the traffic…and the heat…my God the heat, but yes, we love it here. The pride we have in our military, the confident air of superiority we have in all things USA…well, it makes us walk a little straighter and push our shoulders back just a smidge. It’s gooood to be an American. Really good. I couldn’t be more patriotic right now in my red, white and blue hangover if I’d signed the Declaration of Independence myself.  We love our country. Read more