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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To Summon a Worm, Just Grunt

I was excited to learn today that Sopchoppy in Wakulla County holds an annual Worm Gruntin' Festival! No, seriously, I'm really interested in seeing what this is all about. Although I could not find the 2006 dates, I'm thinking this year's festival will be held over the same weekend as in 2005, in which I will be in Miami. Hmmm, Miami or Sopchoppy? I'd pick Sopchoppy!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shake, Shake, Shake...

After taking about two months off from belly dance class, I returned. I ran out of excuses for NOT going. Once there, I realized two things.

1. I really missed the class.
2. I'm really annoyed with one of the participants. She's just too "showy" - always wiggling around and distracting the class. But, she had a big strike against her when we met. Her mannerisms and her face remind me of a girl from my past who annoyed me.

Anyway, for any one (woman) wanting to try it, just do it! I enjoy the discipline it teaches my body, the control of the muscles. And if you have a bit to jiggle, that's a good thing!

On-going beginners classes are offered on Monday nights at the N. Monroe YMCA. The 90-minute class begins at 7:30 PM. The cost is $8 per person but YMCA members are free.

Classes are taught by instructors from In Step Studio. Visit the site to find about their other class offerings.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Whole Lotta Bull in Jackson County, Fla

It was a bit like watching a beauty pageant or fashion show. The contestants nervously paced back and forth in the waiting area which was hidden behind the staging area. I could see a head poke out behind the wall, eyes wandering and trying to figure out what was going on.

One by one they were brought out and comments were made about their shiny black coats and "fine thighs." My favorite line of the afternoon was, "Number 16 is an example of up and coming Angus." Yes, it was a true meat market. The University of Florida's Bull Test Auction, to be exact.

Yesterday's news clips caught my eye, the "Jackson County Floridian" headline read, "Bull test sale expected to draw hundreds." Normally, I would not give up a Saturday of apartment cleaning, laundry and writing to attend a cattle auction. I was intrigued with the article stating that the Jackson County Tourist Development Council (TDC) funded a grant application for the sale! $4,500 - to be used to drive tourists to fill motel rooms and restaurants during this weekend.

Having heard many organizations' pleas for TDC grant funds from my previous job, I was curious how much of a tourism event this was. So, I hopped into my Saturn Ion and headed to Greenwood, Fla, about an hour northwest of Tallahassee. After crossing into the Central Time Zone, the banjos of "Deliverance" began to play.

The Florida back roads remind me of Idaho and Utah. Slightly rolling hills, lots of open space and agriculture - cotton, peanuts and sugar cane. An unseasonably warm day, folks were sitting on their couches enjoying the afternoon - on their porches - with rifles propped at their sides. A mud-covered family shared laughs at gas station, refueling their ATVs. God bless America!

I pulled into the University of Florida's bull testing facility and realized I would stick out like a sore thumb. First, mine was about the only non-pick-up truck. Second, I was not wearing a hat but was wearing pink sandals. But, they were friendly folks when I arrived. After all, I was a tourist.

I'd never been to a livestock auction before. The callers were entertaining, although I really had no idea what they were saying. The spotters on the floor were in charge of finding the bidders and giving a screech when another bid was placed. I swatted a fly (true, these type of events attract a lot of flies) which meant I submitted a bid of $1,000 for beef. Luckily, I was out bid and stood still as possible for the rest of my time there.

I'm not sure how many people in the audience were "tourists." Granted, the stands were full and it was standing room only. While I walked back to my car, which was surrounded by pick-up trucks, I noticed a handful of out-of-state plates. Wonder if these were families on their way to Disney and decided to take a detour to the real Florida?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gallery Opening: Thomas Eads Fine Art

This Friday, January 20, 2006, join artists Stewart Nelson, Jim Miller, Rob Cunningham and Thomas Eads for the grand opening of the Thomas Eads Fine Art Gallery (1122 Thomasville Road Unit 8). Location: right across from Historic Whataburger #72. (ok, it's Tallahassee, hamburger joints are important), Park in Mt. Vernon Square, just south of 5th Ave on Thomasville Rd. The reception is 6:00 - 9:00 PM and gallery goers will enjoy live jazz, Italian food, smart architecture and good company.

Outside of my coworkers, Tom is one of the first people I met when I moved to Tallahassee. It's nice to see the progress he's made in a short period of time. Read the story about my adventure with Tom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006