Saturday, November 21, 2009

Giving Thanks

Chance and I went to the beach today. I didn't stay as long as's becoming that time of year when life speeds up and the next 6 weeks will fly by, and in reality, it should be quite the opposite. It should be a time of introspection, reflection, and observation--a time to kick back and just breathe, to slow down. Yet, I suddenly see my time speeding up fast. So, unfortunately, I let that nag me while I was at the beach with Chance, and it won--I came home.

Good thing, though. I have a clean house and part of my Operations Management homework done. Still 2 more questions til I've completed that course. And there's lots to do for Organizational Behavior, but I enjoy it.

Anyhoo, yesterday, I had Thanksgiving potluck at work. Oh my, there was so much good food. I know every person in there had to eat until they were stuffed. So, I have to be thankful for that. I am thankful that I am one of those people who is fortunate enough to be able to eat at all.

I'm thankful for all of my friends who inspire me. It's amazing that I have friends all over the U.S., that still affect me somehow. You've all been part of what's made me who I am. I'm thankful for all of the opportunities I've had to meet so many different people throughout life.

Oh, and it seems petty, but I am thankful to have moved to Florida. I walked on the beach in shorts and my bikini today, and was hot. I sat outside and drank my coffee this morning in shorts and a t-shirt and was pleasant, no chill, not hot, not humid. It was perfect. And it's late November.

What I am not thankful for, is that I have to travel to Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio in December. Along with a week long vacation to home, finals coming up, and a trip to New Year will be here before I know it. And I am thankful for that. I think 2010 is going to be a great year!

Well, my friends and family: I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, whether you are here or on the West Coast, or up the East Coast, or in the Caribbean (lucky sucker), and I hope I bump into you in the next 10 weeks.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hoot Owl Outside my Window

I arrived home last night at 10:30--nothing unusual. What was unusual is that Brian was already asleep on the couch. I woke him and sent him to bed. What sucks about being a night student but an early bird is that I am not sleepy when I come home. I am tired, but not ready to sink into sleep. You see, my day has been going since 5 am or earlier and didn't stop until I got home at 10:30. I need to do something relaxing. To most people, DH included, that's watch TV. I can waste hours on mindless TV but it's not what I consider relaxing. It's noise to me. So, my relaxation, as some of you might guess, is to go hang outside with the super excited furball who is now ready to play. Well, I don't call playing at nearly midnight relaxing, but the outdoors part is.

So, tonight, being like any other night, I walked outside on the lanai. The first thing I noticed was a hoot owl hooting. Now, if I were still in FtB, this would not surprise me, or still on my hill in Knoxville. But living in suburbia, this is strange. I looked (stupidly) around for the bird. Ok, dummy, it's nighttime, there are two trees around you and you can't see in them. Why are you looking for an owl?

Oddly enough, Chance looked up and put his sniffer in the air; so I looked up, and there was my owl, perched on the light pole, right above the light, making him very hard to see and well hidden, but giving him a keen view of everything around. I was ecstatic. One, this is surprising in suburbia. Two, I expected him to leave with mine and Chance's presence. But he stayed. The trees were quiet as ever, every vermin that occupied them surely was not moving. I sat on the end of the porch smiling every time I heard the familiar "hooooo, hoo, hoo, hhoooo-ooo-ooo, hoo". Such sweet sound to a girl from the country. And that means perhaps, the friendly owl will return and take away that pestering possum that's stealing my veggies from the garden.

Finally, I decided I was going to bed. As I stood up and turned my back to the owl, I walked across the porch and heard nothing more than a squeal, a tiny one. I turned and looked and my owl was gone. And so the life cycle goes, Chance and I crawled in the bed and drifted off to dreamland, while our feathery night watcher enjoyed a snack...hope it was the possum.

Bicycle Tires

Monday evening, I made it home in time to take Chance for his evening bike ride before the sun set. This was fantastic. First of all, it's rare that I get home that early's usually 10:30-11 at night before I arrive to my furball thanks to my pursuit of another higher degree. Second, it was a nice warm evening, mid 70s with a breeze blowing. There are two fountains in the large lake in our neighborhood, and they were both lit up, with a nice red sunset behind them. What a sight. And, where else in the US would I be out in mid-November with flip flops on and light yoga pants without being chilled or cold or playing tough like I'm not cold? Nowhere but south Florida.

I enjoy my bike rides with Chance. While the same route gets boring from time to time, I still can enjoy and smile and breathe in a deep breath of forest air (and CO from the nearby interstate). the path we ride on is blacktop pavement, but not the smooth kind--it's more like the kind that looks like rocks that are melting together.

So, near the end of our ride, I was coasting (as by 2 miles of running a 108 pound furball, he's finally tired and slows down). I put my legs down straight, you know where they are parallel to the pavement but not touching it. I looked down, and what I saw were my toes sticking out of my flip flops, and the wheels of the bike turning round and round, going over these pebbles like lightspeed. From the perspective of an insect, these pebbles are life size, and the wheels are even larger--larger than life, and regardless of what pebble the tires hit, they keep on rolling, slowing down and speeding up with the rises and falls in the terrain.

Then the wheels in my head started to turn. I think that's why I love my animals so much. They force me to get out in nature, to stop and just be, to forget the daily stress--the person who pissed you off at work, the looming deadline, the bills you have to pay, the household chores you need to do, your nagging spouse, or your animals have always made me see the world through their eyes, or at least slow down and just smell like they do. It's these bike rides, walks, trips to the beach, that my worries go away, and my creative mind and philosophic mind awakens.

As the tires turned and I watched as my feet flew over the pebbles that flew by so fast, they looked as if they were melting together, like the days that run together when you are busy. And I thought: I wake up every Monday and wish for Friday, so I can just slow down and enjoy the great outdoors, wake up when I want, take Chancey out before the world wakes, and come home to a nice cup of coffee on the lanai and enjoy the silence. I am the big wheel, and the days that I have to overcome are just pebbles. They seem big when my tire hits one, but after it rolls over the rock, it's just another rock. And it's behind me, and my tires keep plodding on to get me to the end destination--which is and has always been HOME.

Home is where you make it. I've said this a lot. I was always told that and never realized it until I left home. I love my home. It's where I long to be--there with my family. Well, if I'm the bicycle, and today is a pebble, let me see if I can get my bike home...and enjoy some smells along the way. Smells, well, I guess those are your daily encounters, some are good, and some just plain old stink. But like smells, they pass.