It’s Our Anniversary: If It Ain’t Broke…Don’t Break It, Again!

January 14th is a date I’ll never forget. Six years ago today, on our wedding anniversary, is the day Denene broke her leg. And boy did she ever do it right. Broken in three places. Surgery. Plates, pins, and screws. Lots of physical therapy, a wheelchair and crutches, and a blue cast. Believe me, it broke my heart to see her like that.

Well, January 14th has rolled around again and all is well, and I’m going to be watching every step she takes today. No more slip ups!

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to take a peek at just a few of the many places we’ve been over the years. And you know what…we’ve done some traveling! Lots of hiking, walking, climbing, paddling, driving, flying, and boating to get to some of these spots. Shoot, we’ve even stood on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.

How about you? Recognize any of these sights?

Pacific Coast Hwy/Big Sur.

Washington State, overlooking the San Juan Islands. We found the spot by parking the car and taking a walk through some pretty dense woods. What a pleasant surprise when we reached this clearing.

The bridge to Mt. St. Helens.

Somewhere in the thick of the Cascades in Washington State. Another hike. A very looonnngggg hike.

Boston skyline.

Sydney, Australia

Hearst Castle swimming pool. San Simeon, California.

Okay, you know where this was taken, right…

Grand Canyon during a cross country RV trip.

Somewhere in Arizona.

Heading south on Hwy 1 from San Jose, California.

Jockey’s Ridge, N.C.

Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

Santa Barbara, California.

Sunset in Capitola, California (Think Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS).

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Tybee Island, Ga., with a hurricane passing by just off the coast.

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St. Augustine, Fl.

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A greeter at the Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Ga.

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Aboard the deck of a Mighty Midget – Mare Island, Ca.

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Cliffside, near San Francisco.

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Somewhere we shouldn’t have been. And far, far too close!

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On an island, enjoying the sunset…

I truly cherish every day of our time together, and here’s to many more years of joy.

Happy Anniversary, Denene!

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We Wore Swim Caps to Celebrate the New Year

The Guinness world record for the largest gathering of people wearing swim caps was set in July of 2011, in Japan. The number was 546. Well, Denene and I were part of a group of people who crushed that number. That’s right (doing a little dance now) we toppled the former record when 2049 swim-cap-wearing folks stormed the beach beside the pier at Tybee Island, Ga. The rest, as they say, is now history, and we have the paperwork (and swim caps) to prove it. That’s right, Denene and I are listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

What kind of people show up on a holiday weekend to break a world record? Probably not the average Joe, or Jane…

Bringing up the rear were…

The horn sounded and we’d done it. A new record was set and…

It was time for the Polar Plunge. The water temperature was a mild 55 degrees, with air temps hovering in the mid-70’s. Not very polar-like, but everyone had a blast.

Even a sergeant from the Massachusetts State Police drove down to take the plunge, in uniform.

Now, as promised…Denene and I wearing our swim caps. Another one for the record books.

Maybe I’ll wear the cap at the next WPA. Who knows?

Until then…Happy New Year!

 

 

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The Case of the Midnight Prowler: How Would You Handle the Call?

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A few years ago our Christmas vacation took an odd and unexpected twist. First, we left fairly warm temperatures and sunny skies in coastal Georgia so we could spend some time at our house in North Carolina (near Mayberry, of course). Well, who would’ve expected that we’d be slammed with a pretty powerful winter storm, the same storm system that crippled much of the east coast. And who would’ve figured we’d have unexpected guests show up a little after midnight on our first night there.

Here’s what brought the middle-of-the-night guests to our snow-covered abode.

The snow was coming down quite heavily, and not only did it knock power out for several days, it placed a tremendous burden on the branches of several newly-planted evergreens in the backyard. The weight of the wet snow caused a few of the young trees to bend until their tops rested on the already white ground. And me, not wanting to lose either of those precious Deodar (Himalayan) Cedars, suited up and braved the cold and blowing snow to lend them a hand with their fight for survival. Sounds brave, but what I actually did was simply slip on a jacket, boots, and gloves, and venture out into the moonless night to shake the snow from their narrow branches (not so heroic after all, huh?).

Since I was already outside I also decided to clear a “restroom” spot for the family poodle, and I brushed several inches of snow from the satellite dish. Then, with my chores complete, I headed back inside where I sat near the toasty-warm fireplace to work on an in-progress writing project (thankfully, we had a generator, the only one in our neighborhood).

*I’m a late-night writer, which may account for the many errors seen on this blog.

Anyway, I settled into a comfortable chair with my laptop and was deep into my work when the doorbell began to ring, quite relentlessly.

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Remember, this was well after midnight during a heavy snowstorm when the roads were nearly impassible (our N.C. house was well into the depths of the county, situated in a lakeside community). Of course, my background immediately sent my cop-brain into overdrive. I began to think the worse.

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Okay, it was late and I was really tired…

But, having lived the life of a trained observer and teacher of police officer safety and survival, I reverted back to my many years of training and did what any hyper-alert police officer would’ve done…I slowly and carefully peeked outside through the blinds to see who, or what, was ringing my bell so late at night.

I was surprised to see not one, but two snow-covered police vehicles idling in my driveway. I was also a little stunned to see that the officers had my house and yard brightly illuminated with their spotlights and takedown lights. AND they’d taken tactical positions around the house. The only thing missing was the bullhorn and the hostage negotiation team.

My first thought…hide the eggnog and rum cake. Second thought…put on something other than sleepwear. Third thought…Well, there was no third thought. I simply opened the door and stepped outside, in shorts, t-shirt, and with ten bare toes. It was around 25 degrees, so I slipped my hands into my pockets for a little warmth, leaving my toes to fend for themselves.

One of the officers, the one in charge, decided to approach me, cautiously. It was at this point when I realized they were awfully serious about something. A second officer—backup—walked up with his hand resting on his sidearm. I noticed the thumb break on his holster had been unsnapped.

His other hand gripped a can of pepperspray.

Very nice, polite officers. Both of them. Red-faced, buzz-cut, and full of “ready-for-any-and-all-action.” They were all about the business at hand.

Now, you tell me how you think the deputies handled this situation. Were their methods and questions appropriate? Did they ask enough questions? Too many? Were they safety-conscious? Anything wrong? Everything right? Here’s the basic conversation (questioning).

Officer #1 (speaking to me) – “Evening, sir. Wonder if you could tell me what you’re doing here?”

Me – “I live here.”

#1 – “But this house is vacant.”

Me – “No, I live here, but we have a home in another state as well. We’re back and forth between the two.”

#1 – “How long have you lived in this house?”

Me – “Two years, or so.”

#1 – “How long have you been here, on this trip?”

Me – “Since last week.”

#1 – “Who owns the house?”

Me – “I do. Would you like to see some ID?”

#1 – “No, that’s not necessary at this point.”

Officer #2  abruptly chimed in. “You’re not black.”

Amazed at his uncanny investigative/observation skills, I smiled, and then said, “No, I’m not.”

#2 – “You been outside tonight?” (Remember, I’d been out tending to the trees and to the doggy restroom, therefore, the yard was loaded with footprints in the snow).

Me – “I have.” (I explained).

#2 – “Someone called and said a black guy wearing a hoodie was walking around your house peeping in the windows. You seen anyone?”

Me – “No.” Tip…providing more information than what you’re asked can sometimes be the beginning of an all new black and white striped wardrobe.

#2 to #1 – “She must have seen him (a nod toward me) outside and thought it was someone else.” By the way, his use of the pronoun “she” let me know that it was one of my female neighbors who’d made the call to the sheriff’s office.

#1 uses his portable to call dispatch – “I’m talking to the homeowner. This is his house but he lives out of state and is in town here for a while. Everything’s 10-4.”

#1 to me – “Sorry we bothered you, but we have to check these things out. Have a good night.”

Me to #1 and #2 – “Thanks for coming out. Makes me feel good knowing you respond to these type of calls, especially since we’re not around all the time.” (I didn’t bother to tell him about our alarm system and the across-the-street neighbors who watched and checked the place like Pinkerton guards).

#1 and #2 in unison – “No problem.”

Me, again – “Sure you wouldn’t you like to see some ID?”

#1 – “No, we trust you. Have a good night, now.”

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And with head-nods and waves they turned their backs to me and walked to their patrol vehicles, leaving me standing barefoot on the front porch as they drove away. Shivering, with my hands still inside my pockets, I watched their taillights disappear around the curve.

The deputies, while extremely polite, left me with a few questions bouncing around inside my head. Anyone have an idea what those questions could be?

Would you have handled the call differently? If so, how?

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The Twelve Graveyard Shifts of Christmas

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The Twelve Graveyard Shifts of Christmas

On the first night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the second night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, two prostitutes and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the third night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the fourth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the fifth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

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On the sixth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the seventh night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, seven robbers running, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the eighth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, eight maids embezzling, seven robbers running, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the ninth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, nine ladies fighting, eight maids embezzling, seven robbers running, six drunks a peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes , and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the tenth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, ten perverts peeping, nine ladies fighting, eight maids embezzling, seven robbers running, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the eleventh night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, eleven crackheads smoking, ten perverts peeping, nine ladies fighting, eight maids embezzling, seven robbers running, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes, and a cartridge and a cuff key.

On the twelfth night of graveyard my sergeant gave to me, twelve Santas drinking, eleven crackheads smoking, ten perverts peeping, nine ladies fighting, eight maids embezzling, seven robbers running, six drunks a-peeing, five…cans…of…pepperspray, four calls from wackos, three stinky winos, two prostitutes , and a cartridge…and…a…cuff…keeey.

Ho, Ho, Ho to one and all!!

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The 10 Most Common Holiday Crimes

  1. Identity theft

    Identity theft is a risk for virtually everyone during the holidays. Thieves are online and offline, waiting to steal your personal information, credit card number, and Social Security number, and use it to commit crimes. Thieves can steal your identity in various ways, such as skimming, phishing, pretexting, and old-fashioned stealing. As common as identity theft is during the holidays, there are many ways to protect yourself and your finances from being compromised, such as reviewing your monthly statements, balancing your checkbook, reviewing your credit reports, and securing your personal information.

  2. Shoplifting

    Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed during the holidays. With shopping at an all-time high during Christmas, shoplifters have more opportunities to take advantage of the large crowds and distracted workers. According to Adweek, one in every 11 people engages in shoplifting and with the recession still in full swing, that number could be much higher.

  3. Robbery

    The holidays are a hot time for robberies because of the increased cash volume and the distractions of crowds. Robbers are well aware of the fact that people carry more money on them during the holidays and they will go to great lengths to try to steal from people on the street, in parking lots, and other public places. People have turned to crime to solve their financial problems and see robbery as one of the quickest ways to do that.

  4. Drunk driving

    The holidays are a time for fun and celebration, but they are unfortunately one of most dangerous times to be on the road. Drunk driving is extremely common this time of year and fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving has risen since 2005. In December 2008, 520 people died from alcohol- or drug-related crashes.

  5. Vehicle theft

    Vehicle burglaries are a problem all year long, but it is far worse around the holidays. Thieves know that shoppers leave expensive gifts in the car and that they could be gone for hours. It doesn’t take much for criminals to see what’s inside your car and figure out a way to steal your valuables. The good news is drivers can prevent auto burglaries by taking some simple, but effective preventative steps, such as locking the doors, hiding your valuables, and taking the keys with you.

  6. Rape and sexual assault

    Reports of rape and sexual assault have increased around Christmastime. This is most likely due to the increase of parties and alcohol consumption that takes place during this time of year. Women who engage in heavy drinking have a greater risk of becoming a victim of rape or sexual assault. When alcohol or drugs are involved, people’s judgment becomes impaired and they may find themselves in more dangerous situations than when they are sober.

  7. Home burglary

    Home burglary is a concern any time of the year, but it’s especially bad during the holidays. Burglars tend to break into homes that are easy to access and they usually steal items that they can quickly and inconspicuously carry, such as laptops, electronics, jewelry, and cash. The risk of being burglarized is always there, but homeowners can take effective measures to protect their house and belongings.

  8. Counterfeiting

    Every year, unsuspecting shoppers get duped into buying counterfeit merchandise that they think are genuine. Counterfeiters profit from tricking consumers into buying knock-off items and illegally downloading music, movies, and television shows. Not only do these criminals steal from consumers, but they also cost legitimate companies a great deal of money. Counterfeiters often use these profits to fund other illegal activities.

  9. Scams

    Scams are very common during the holidays, when unsuspecting shoppers give money to a phony charity or enter a bogus sweepstakes. Scammers will tug at your heart strings and take advantage of your giving mood. They also prey on naïve and desperate people who are easily lured by deals that seem too good to be true. Shoppers can protect themselves from these sneaky scams by doing thorough research on a particular deal or offer before giving any money or personal information to anyone or any site.

  10. Domestic violence

    Domestic violence is a growing problem during the holidays, and experts believe it increased with the stress of gift giving, celebrations, and the close proximity to family. Alcohol and drugs only add to the problem and put more people in danger. The holidays have a tendency to exacerbate family tension, drug use, and financial woes, causing people to act out in violent and destructive ways.

* Today’s article brought to you by www.criminaljusticedegreesguide.com

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It’s In The Cards

Zelda did a reading for us this morning and she’s confident 2013 will be a fantastic year. Here’s a list of her top ten predictions. Believe me, she’s always right.

1. The Beatles will not record a new album.

2. There will be snowfall in some areas of the country. Sun will shine in others.

3. Lindsay Lohan will see time in a courtroom.

4. The rich will continue to make money. The poor…not so much.

5. Auto-tune will record a number one CD without human assistance.

7. Sometime during the year Christina Aguilera will wear a low-cut top and too much makeup.

8. Twinkies will be saved from extinction.

9. Taylor Swift will part ways with a boyfriend and will write a song about the breakup.

10. The 2013 Writers’ Police Academy will be the biggest and best ever.

So there you have it. Looks like a great year for all.

Happy New Year!

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