Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.

December 25th is the day we've devoted to the giving of gifts. The fourth Thursday of November is a day we devote to the giving of thanks. Oh, sure, we stuff our stomachs with good food and watch a lot of football, but in between dinner, dessert and the fourth quarter, we hang out with family and friends and find time to be grateful for the good things in our lives.

I'm having dinner with my friends Emily and Mike and over 20 people I might or might not have met before. Em and Mike live at a Bahia Honda State Park and are preparing the holiday meal for the park's volunteers and staff. I think that's a lovely thing to do and am grateful to be part of the gathering.

Em and I also work together. Count this as something else on my gratitude list -- that every day I get to work with people I really like and admire. We share not only a commitment to a mission, but get to be friends while doing so. Bonus!

Speaking of friends, I've made several new ones over the last year or so. A dog park brought us together. We've planned, organized, and put on events together and since May have raised over $24,000.00! We set out to build a park and in so doing built friendships. Cora, Drew, Maye, Lori, Rick, Robin, Michelle, Jo, Dave, Jane . . . the list goes on and I'll never be able to include everybody but I say thanks for each and every one of you! I am grateful every time I think of the many things you've done, the hours you've worked and the successes we've enjoyed.

Cora and Drew also gave me the nudge I needed to look for a boat of my own, and then helped me find one. Once found, you also helped me bring it home, are helping me increase my skills, and patiently answer every question, including the ones that must seem dumb.

Is it silly to be grateful for a boat? Maybe to some. For me, it fits so well with my thankfulness that I live in a beautiful place like the Florida Keys. Being on the water makes me very happy and happiness is always a reason to give thanks.

If you thought the boat thanks were silly, wait for the next thing on my list. Facebook. Yes, Facebook, because it brought me back in touch with long-lost friends. Some from high school; some from my college years. We're spread out all over the country but connected again on one dot com.

Family and friends don't feel so far away when you can get glimpses into each other's lives so easily. I'm grateful for that, as I am for the times that I do get to see them in person.

What else am I thankful for? Well, for one thing, I'm glad that I know when I'm on the verge of going overboard with a blog post. I don't need to list every single thing here, particularly when I carry them all in my heart. All the time.

Thanksgiving might be a single day. Giving thanks goes on all year.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This That and Everything Else

With so much going on in my life, you'd think that I'd have an endless list of topics about which to blog.

You'd be right. What I've lacked is time.

I thought, foolishly, that once Barktoberfest was over, I'd have hours and hours of time back at night to do lots of different things and catch up on stuff. Ha. I forgot that a week later I'd start a Coast Guard Auxiliary class on Boating Safety and Seamanship. Why, you ask?

Did I tell you that I bought a boat? I think so. I actually purchased the boat in late August but it sat out of the water at a marina for a couple of months while I waited for a boat lift to be installed at my house. To be absolutely correct, I waited for the permits to clear the different agencies so the work could be done. The installation only took two days. The permit approval took w-e-e-k-s. First through the Dept. of Environmental Protection, then the Army Corps of Engineers, then the city where I live. Normally these different departments take their own sweet time, but the regular process was further delayed by matters completely out of anyone's control.

The person at the Army Corps apparently came down with the swine flu the day before she would have completed and mailed out my permit.

The city inspectors couldn't get down my street to check out the plan because of the huge construction trucks installing the sewer infrastructure. (More on that later)

Finally, however, everything got done and my boat is now home, sitting on its lift where I can take it out whenever the opportunity rises.

I LOVE having my own boat. What fun.

I'll enjoy it even more when I've built up my experience, skills and knowledge. Hence the Coast Guard class.

Two classes a week. Two and a half hours each class. Three weeks. We covered safety equipment, chart plotting, navigation, weather, radio usage, rules of boating, signs/markers. Each chapter was at least 20 pages long and crammed with information. I studied like I haven't since college. (My father in Heaven might be rolling his eyes wishing I'd studied this hard IN college.)

I truly thought that the chapter on weather would do me in with the various types of clouds, the westerlies, the trade winds, the high and low pressure systems and everything else.

Happily, I passed the final exam, correctly answering 79 of 80 questions! I gained a boating license and, finally, more time at night.

More time at night, which I'll no doubt enjoy more now that the big weekend event at work is over. Oh, and I'm sure that I'll enjoy that extra time, once I'm done preparing for and working at Bark Bingo on Wednesday. After that, I really don't have much to do to prepare out booth for the City's 10th Anniversary event on Saturday.

Yes, surely, with all this extra free time I'll be 100% percent better at blogging on a more regular basis.

I promise!