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05 December 2016

Cost Of Living Aboard Tickety Boo | October & November 2016


It’s time for our regular cost of living update, which I do every two months. We've been tracking how much it costs to live aboard our Moody 346 sailboat, S/V Tickety Boo, at Indiantown Marina in southern Florida, where we were initially laid up during last hurricane season and where I'm now living while Scott is working overseas. While Scott has been in Scotland, I've been staying on our boat and slowly ticking things off of our project list. So, our live aboard costs are pretty much just that - cost of my daily living aboard our boat and occasionally buying stuff for Tickety Boo to keep her happy.

You can find links to other cost updates from ourselves and others on this page, as well as on The Monkey's Fist. If you want to know how much we spent over the past two months, have a look below.


Cost of Living Aboard | August & September 2016

Overall, we spent $6,706 during October and November which is up a whopping $4,265 from the previous two months. Yikes!

The primary reason that we had such an increase in spending was due to healthcare bills from an issue I had way back in March. I wish I could say that was the end of the healthcare bills for the year, but sadly there's more coming due. And all of this is even with insurance, thanks to the huge deductible and out-of-pocket expenses that we have to pay before insurance kicks in. Remind me never to get sick again.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of what we spent, here are a few things to note:

1 - All costs are in US dollars.

2 - Not all expenses are included - here's what we've left out:

(a) We don't report how much we spend on alcohol. I remember reading some horrible, judgy comments in a blog post a few years back about how much someone spent on booze, so I left it out when we first started tracking our cruising costs back in New Zealand. For consistency's sake, I've continued to leave it out when tracking our cruising and RV costs.
(b) We haven't included costs related to storing our Scamp travel trailer ($21 per month) because we track the cost of our RV and cruising adventures separately.
(c) We've also left out our costs for medical insurance. We didn't think it made sense to include insurance costs as they can vary so widely depending upon your nationality, where you cruise, what level of coverage you want and can afford etc. In case you are curious, while we're back in the States, we do have insurance through the health insurance marketplace (aka ACA/Obamacare), primarily to protect our assets and cover us in case of a catastrophic medical condition. After spending a pretty big chunk of change for health insurance during 2015, we were in a bit of a quandary about whether we should go ahead and get coverage for 2016 or take the risk and pay the tax penalty for being uninsured. In the end, after weighing up the potential tax penalty, possible tax credits and risk of being uninsured, we ended up getting insurance for 2016. If you want to know more about our health insurance options and quandary for 2016, check this post out.
3 - Scott has been in Scotland taking care of some work projects and tending to some other matters, so grocery and entertainment costs are less than they would be normally.

4 - I've included any shipping and taxes we've paid in what we report. Florida has a 6% sales tax. Boo.


GROCERIES | Total = $357

This category includes everything we put in our bodies in terms of food and drink (excluding booze) that we prepare ourselves. It doesn't include things like paper towels and ziploc bags, which I know some people would classify as groceries. Sure, you could probably eat them, but they wouldn't taste very good.


PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD | Total = $56

This is the category where we include household things (like paper towels and ziploc bags) and personal hygiene items (like soap and shampoo). We also capture items for the "home" here - like bug spray.


ENTERTAINMENT | Total = $169

One of the great things about hanging out in Indiantown is that there really isn't all that much to spend your entertainment dollars on.

In terms of drinks and eating out, this includes everything we don't prepare ourselves, even if we get something to go and eat it back on the boat. We also track how much we spend on books, magazines, DVD rentals etc. in this category, as well as the occasional lottery ticket.


COMMUNICATIONS | Total = $140

Our cell phone is actually one of our biggest non-boat related expenses. I have a $60 monthly GoPhone plan with AT&T which includes 6GB of data and unlimited calls and texts. While Scott is away, I've also added on a $10 monthly international call plan so that we can have our daily phone call.


BOAT FUEL | Total = Nil

Because our boat hasn't left the slip, we haven't needed to spend anything on diesel or gas.


LPG | Total = Nil

I've been primarily using our microwave, an electric burner and crock pot for cooking, so haven't needed to top up the LPG tanks. Electricity is included in the slip fee so it makes sense to use that for cooking.


MARINA COSTS | Total = $1,166

Keeping Tickety Boo in a slip is one of our biggest expenses. The monthly cost of a slip with electricity at Indiantown Marina for a 34.5' boat is $572.40. The guys at the marina will also come pump out our holding tank on demand - $5.30 for each visit.


BOAT STUFF | Total = Nil

This category is for all the stuff we've been buying for the boat. We've got a long list of stuff we need to get for Tickety Boo - some upgrades, some maintenance related items, equipment etc. I haven't been working on many boat projects lately so there has been zero spend in this category during the past two months. The expenditure in this category will probably increase quite a bit over the next two months as Scott gets back and we start buying things again for the boat and ticking items off of the project list.


TRANSPORT | Total = $49

This category is for costs related to our vehicle, mostly for gas to keep it going and drive into the nearby "big city" of Stuart for errands. Gas is so cheap these days that I've really been able to keep these costs down.


MEDICAL EXPENSES | Total = $3,558

This category includes medical expenses outside of our monthly insurance premium (which aren't included here - see section on exclusions above), like over the counter medications, prescriptions and things for our medical kit. It also includes the costs of doctors visits and medical tests which aren't covered by our insurance.


OTHER | Total = $1,210

In this category, we break out how much we spend on clothes and travel expenses. We also include a catch-all miscellaneous group for stuff that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else - things like laundry ($3.25 for a wash and dry at Indiantown Marina).

The big expenses in this category were for travel related expenses - Scott's plane ticket back to the States ($840) and airport parking and taxi fare for my trip to Portland ($99).





Do you budget and/or track your expenses? If so, do you find it helps you manage your money better?

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02 December 2016

November In Numbers

Clockwise from upper left corner: (1) IPA - my favorite kind of beer; (2) Andy Warhol exhibit in Portland; (3) Press on nails - research for my mystery novel; (4)  Family fun - searching for gravestones; (5) A new coloring book!; and (6) Thanksgiving festivities and friends.


It's time for the monthly recap in numbers - an assortment of odd tidbits and random thoughts that popped into my head when I was reflecting back on the month.

  • 1 – The number of beers I had during election night coverage. I went with a nautically themed beer – a Boatswain American IPA. It was a delightful distraction.
  • 9 – The number of hours it took to fly from West Palm Beach, Florida to Portland, Oregon to visit my family. Once you add in travel time to the airport, time spent waiting in lines and sitting around time, it makes for a long day. My flights were on time, which was good. However, on one of my flights, the guy sitting next to me was in a serious need of a shower, which was not so good.
  • 3 – The number of times my mom and I visited Lone Fir Cemetery in search of dead bodies. I realize saying “dead bodies” probably doesn’t make sense. One expects the bodies in cemeteries to be dead. But you never know, so it doesn’t hurt to specify to the universe that you’d prefer the bodies in the cemetery to be dead.
  • $20 – How much my new messenger bag cost me. I had been hanging onto my old one for a really long time in an effort not to spend money unnecessarily. But it finally gave up on life and, to be honest, it was starting to smell bad like that guy on the airplane.
  • $1.50 – How much it cost to rent Star Trek: Beyond at the Red Box kiosk while I was in Portland. I had no idea what Red Box was all about. What’s even more astonishing is that I had no idea they have one in Indiantown. I just always assume anything I really want or need requires a drive to Stuart. Turns out, DVD rentals can also be found in Indiantown. Dunkin Donuts and Red Box - why would anyone ever want to leave this place?
  • Gazillion – How many boats there currently are in slips at the marina. Okay, maybe not a gazillion as there aren’t a gazillion slips here, but after the long, quiet summer, it’s starting to seem a little crazy here with all of the people.
  • 7,505 – Number of words I wrote on one of the days during the NaNoWriMo Challenge. I was mentally exhausted by the end of that day.
  • 4 – Number of days of Thanksgiving festivities at Indiantown Marina. The owner puts on a huge celebration for everyone here including live music, meals (including Thanksgiving dinner), drinks and more. A good opportunity to catch up with friends and eat far too much.

In case you missed them, here are some of our favorite posts from last month:

Emigrating to New Zealand | How & Why We Did It
Some Secrets are Dead Boring
Morning Coffee | Random Thoughts & Oddities


How was your November? What are you looking forward to in December?

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30 November 2016

Wordless Wednesday | NaNoWriMo & Secret Projects



Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words. Plus this isn't a photo, it's a picture of a screen shot, so that's another rule broken.

1 - So, that secret project I was working on during November - it was NaNoWriMo.

2 - NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a challenge where people sign up to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1-30. That's 1,667 words a day.

3 - After my dismal failure last year, I decided to keep it a secret this time around.

4 - I was late to the party, starting the challenge on November 11th, and finished on November 27th. I skipped three days along the way, which means I wrote 50,021 words in just 14 days. No wonder my brain hurts.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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28 November 2016

Emigrating To New Zealand | How & Why We Did It

New Zealand has a rich Maori history.

One of our blog readers (hi Richard!) asked if we could share a bit more about our experiences in New Zealand. That wasn’t a hard request to say yes to considering how much we love New Zealand.

When I was visiting my family in Portland, I went through the boxes we have stored at my sister’s house. I found all sorts of weird and interesting things, including chest x-rays.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “Chest x-rays? That’s weird.” 

Yes, saving chest x-rays is kind of weird. Honestly, I have no idea why I saved them. But they were really important once upon a time when we applied for permanent residency in New Zealand in 2008.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “So, what were the chest x-rays for? Get to the point already.

Okay – here’s the point. If you want to emigrate to New Zealand, then you have to prove that you don’t have tuberculosis (TB). Normally, this wouldn’t be a worry for folks like us who didn’t live or work in areas with a high risk of TB. However, my sister had TB and underwent treatment for a year, so I was terrified that it might turn out that I also had TB. That would have probably meant that we could kiss the opportunity to move to New Zealand goodbye.

So, because I have TB and chest x-rays on my mind, I thought I’d tell you all about our experience applying for permanent residency including all of the other things that caused me to lose sleep during the process, like worrying that I was on the FBI’s wanted list because I had accidentally robbed a bank while sleepwalking back when we lived in the States. Or worrying that they would think that one of us was some sort of mail order bride.

If you’re thinking of emigrating to New Zealand, and a number of Americans are looking into it following the election, then read on. Even if you’re happy where you are, you might be curious about what's involved in emigrating to another country or maybe you just want to know more about this mail order bride thing. If so, read on.

Haihei Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula.


Why New Zealand?

Probably the more logical question is why not New Zealand?  The country is gorgeous, the people are down to earth and friendly and the sailing is great. Who wouldn’t want to relocate to New Zealand?
Prior to our move to New Zealand, we had been living in Scotland since 2001. During the dark and gloomy winter nights, we would watch shows on the telly about people who decided to chuck it all in and move to faraway places, like New Zealand.

I remember that we would say to each other, “Wouldn’t it be fun to move to New Zealand?” But the conversation usually ended there as we moved onto more profound discussions about which soap opera is better - East Enders or Coronation Street. Okay, we never really discussed that. It was more along the lines of Scott saying, “Why do you want to watch that stupid soap opera again? Didn’t you just see it yesterday?”

Then, one day, out of the blue, I got a call from a headhunter asking if I’d be interested in a job in New Zealand. I asked her if they aired East Enders and Coronation Street on telly in New Zealand and when the answer was yes, I said, “Sure, sign me up.” 

Turns out getting the job was the easy part. Going through the visa application process with Immigration New Zealand was the hard part. Here’s what it involved.

{Disclaimer: Keep in mind that this was our experience in 2008 and things will probably have changed since then. Plus, we’re not immigration experts or lawyer. This isn’t immigration advice, so take our story with a grain of salt. If you’re seriously interested in moving to New Zealand, check out Immigration New Zealand’s site for the real scoop on how things work.}

The port of Auckland as seen from our sailboat.


Types of Visas

First off we had to decide what visa to apply for. We could have gone for the relatively straightforward work visa which would have allowed us to stay in the country temporarily (up to five years) while I was working for the company that made me the job offer.

The idea of having our visa status tied to a specific job was a little unnerving. What if that didn’t work out? What if we wanted to stay in New Zealand? So, instead we applied for a skilled migrant visa which would allow us to live in New Zealand permanently. The downside of this decision was that the process was more onerous and time consuming, as well as having a greater risk of not working out. Considering I had already given notice at my previous job and was due to start my new job in New Zealand in a couple of months, the thought of not obtaining a visa in time was nerve-wracking.

{You can see the different visa options here.}

Peachgrove Bay in the Mercury Islands. Great place to anchor and watch the sunset.


You’ve Got Skills?

In order to get a skilled migrant visa, you need to have skills that can contribute to New Zealand’s economic growth. Because New Zealand is such a small country (around 4.4 million people), they have skills shortages in certain areas, like medicine, procurement, forestry science, physics and, to my surprise, organizational development. My background and work experience were pretty run of the mill when I worked in the States and Scotland, but fortunately they turned out to be my golden ticket to New Zealand.

I love the flower baskets hanging in front of the police station.


Expression of Interest

Once I figured out that I had desirable skills, the next step was to fill out an Expression of Interest (EOI). To be honest, it seems like a silly name – who wouldn’t be interested in moving to New Zealand?

The EOI is an online form that you complete to make sure you meet the criteria for a skilled migrant visa and, more importantly, have enough points to be considered. It’s kind of like a game show where the host asks you increasingly difficult questions. If you answer them correctly and earn enough points (minimum of 100), then you’ll be accepted into the selection pool. Every two weeks, the EOIs are reviewed and some are selected and invited to apply for residency. You currently need a minimum of 160 points to be selected. I can’t remember how many points were needed when we applied – I think 140.  We had 180 points. {You can check out how many points you have using the points calculator here.}

Here’s the criteria you have to meet and how we stacked up when we submitted our EOI back in 2008. {N/A means points aren’t awarded for that specific criteria.}

If you’re selected, then you have to provide proof of everything listed in your EOI. You don’t have to provide it up front.

1 – Identity (N/A)

This one’s easy-peasy. You just have to be able to prove you are who you say you are. Have your passport handy.

2 – Character (N/A)

New Zealand doesn’t want to let any dodgy characters into the country. I can’t really blame them. I’ve sat next to plenty of people on trains late at night who were of questionable character. They’re usually the ones that have had way too much to drink and throw up on your shoes.

This one was one of the biggest pains in the you-know-what for us. Because we’re Americans, we had to have an FBI background check. This involved getting our fingerprints taken at the local police station in Scotland, filling out a form and sending it into the FBI. Then it was a matter of praying that neither of us had unknowingly robbed a bank in our sleep or had had our identity stolen and used by people who knowingly rob banks while awake. We also were up against the clock as the FBI background check can be notoriously slow.

Because we were living in Scotland at the time, we also needed a background check from the UK. And to top it all off, because we also hold Irish passports, we needed a background check from the Republic of Ireland, despite the fact that neither of us has actually lived in Ireland.

Most people only have to deal with one background check.  We had to deal with three. Plus three times the fees. Fortunately, it turns out we were of good character in the States, the UK and Ireland.

3 – Health (N/A)

This was where TB comes in. We both had to have medical exams, blood tests and the infamous chest x-rays. It’s all understandable. After all New Zealand doesn’t want to take people in who could be a danger to their population or be a burden on their health care system.

You can only get these exams done in the UK by certain doctors who are approved by Immigration NZ. In addition to worrying about TB, I was also paranoid about my weight and waist measurement. I’m not sure what they require nowadays, but at the time we applied your BMI and waist measurement had to be within certain parameters. I had read too many horror stories on immigration forums about people who had been denied because they ate one too many delicious McVitie’s digestive biscuits. We went on a bit of crash diet before our medical exams.

Thankfully, we passed the medical exams with flying colors. And then we went back to eating cheese, bacon and cookies.

3 – English (N/A)

Kind of a no-brainer. You have to be able to speak English. Because we’re American, we didn’t need to take a test to prove it.

4 – Age (20 points)

You have to be under 55 to apply for a skilled migrant visa. The younger you are, the more points you get. I was middle-aged at the time, so I got 20 points. {Because I was the one with the job offer, I was the principal applicant and only my age was factored in, along with other criteria.}

5 – Skilled Employment (50 points)

You have to be able to prove that you’re able to work in skilled employment by providing evidence of work experience and qualifications. Because I had a job offer from an accredited employer, I earned 50 points. If my job offer had been outside of Auckland, or if I had been offered a role in an area of absolute skills shortage or a future growth area, I could have earned even more points. It’s kind of like picking Door #1 and winning a washer/dryer vs. picking Door #2 and winning a brand-new convertible.

6 - Qualification (60 points)

You can earn points if you have a recognized qualification, such as a university degree or vocational qualification. I racked up the maximum points in this category due to my Ph.D. Turns out all those years of study finally paid off.

7 – Work Experience (30 points)

I had 10+ years of work experience related to my job offer so I earned 30 points. You can earn additional points if you have New Zealand work experience and/or work experience in an area of absolute skills shortage.

8 – Family in New Zealand (Nil points)

Because we didn’t have close family in New Zealand, we didn’t earn any points in this category. Heck, we hadn’t even been to New Zealand before we moved there.

9 – Partner (20 points)

This is where Scott came in. We earned 20 bonus points because he has a university degree.

A cute single track bridge somewhere in the countryside.


Mail Order Brides

Once our EOI was selected from the pool, we were invited to apply for residency and provide proof of everything we claimed. This was a mad rush of collecting paperwork, medical exams, background checks and, interestingly enough, proving that neither one of us was a mail order bride.

I would have thought a marriage certificate and the fact that we argued over the remote control would have been enough to prove that we were in a genuine and stable relationship, especially as we had been married for 15+ years at the time of application, but  it wasn’t. {By the way, a partnership can be two people, same or opposite sex, who are in a legal marriage, a civil union or a de facto relationship.}

To prove our marriage was genuine, we had to provide copies of joint bank account statements, letters addressed to the two of us (like holiday cards and party invitations), photos of us together on vacation (I used one of us riding camels in Tunisia), mortgage documents and the like.

Blue Lake on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.


Biting My Nails

After submitting all of the paperwork, then the waiting started. I was starting to get concerned that our gamble wouldn't pay off and we might not get approved or get approved in time for me to start my new job.

Why didn't we just go for the regular work visa rather than go through all the hoops for the skilled migrant visa? I asked myself this over and over again as I bit all of my nails off. After I ran out of my own nails, I tried to bite Scott's nails off, but he gave me a pack of McVitie's digestive biscuits to chew on instead.

I hit refresh on the Immigration New Zealand's tracking system constantly  to see what our status was. If your internet crashed during 2008, I might have been the cause by overloading the system with my incessant demands for updates. Sorry. I also might have been the cause for the McVitie's shortage at your local grocery store. I'm not sorry about that one though. I needed all the McVitie's I could lay my hands on at the time.

Auckland's Sky Tower as seen from a cafe on K Street.


Breathing a Giant Sigh of Relief

Finally, and just in the nick of time, our approval came through and we were the proud bearers of passports with lovely New Zealand residency stickers in them. I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Although, it was probably more like some sort of hyperventilation kind of thing than a simple sigh. Either way, it was time to pack the bags and head to New Zealand!

If you want to read more about our adventures in New Zealand, you can find a list of all of our blog posts on our time there on this page.

Have you ever emigrated to another country? What was your experience like? Is there another country that you've ever thought would be fun to live in one day?

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25 November 2016

Flashback Friday | Freedom Of Speech & Boat Names

 

Today is Michael d’Agostino’s Flashback Friday. The idea is to republish an old post of yours that maybe didn't get enough attention, or that you're really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc. We started this blog almost three years ago and have lots more followers now then we did back then (thanks guys!) and many of them may not have seen some of our earlier blog posts.

I had mixed feeling about whether to share this post for Flashback Friday. I often write quite silly and fluffy stuff on the blog, but this one is much more serious post about freedom of speech.  

When we lived in New Zealand, we would walk the docks at our local marina and check out the other boats, and their names. One boat had a name which I found offensive. It inspired me to reflect on the importance of freedom of speech, even when you don't always like what someone else is saying. 

I realize this post may not be everyone's cup of tea, but freedom of speech is something I've been thinking about quite a bit recently following the recent US election. I'm curious what you all think about it too. I'd love for you to have a read and share your thoughts in the comments.

{This post was originally published in September 2013. You can find it here.}

 
****

 
Westhaven Marina, where we currently keep our boat, is a lovely marina centrally located in Auckland with friendly staff, good facilities, great views of the downtown area and Waitemata Harbor and lots of different types of boats. 

Like most children, all of the boats in Westhaven are sweet-natured and have their own unique beauty. Except for one boat who I suspect bullies the other boats in the marina around and quite frankly frightens me. I blame the boat’s parents for giving her what I think is an offensive name, which may be the reason she is so mean-spirited. 

I’m not going to say what the name of the boat is, but it basically describes what a mob of angry people might do to a poor innocent person whom they hate because he or she is different. What they do their victim might involve a rope and a tree perhaps. And if you can’t quite figure out what the boat name means, they have a very helpful illustration on the side to help you out.
I’ve given some pretty obvious clues so you’ve probably figured out the name by now. If not, trust me, it isn’t pleasant. And if you’re American, it's particularly unpleasant. But maybe that’s just me.

I happen to think that describing ways to kill people on the side of your boat both in words and pictures isn’t very pleasant. A sailboat is meant to be a “pleasure vessel” and death kind of takes the “pleasure” out of it for me. You expect pirates and violence in the Gulf of Aden, but you don't really expect to see a boat with a death threat on it sailing in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand.

I try to give the boat owners the benefit of doubt. Maybe they adopted her and find it too expensive and time consuming to change the name she came with (I can relate to being cheap and lazy). Perhaps they don’t know what their boat name means (although the picture kind of gives it away). They’re probably Kiwis so I imagine the name doesn’t have the same impact on them that it would have on an American (although it does describe a way to kill people). Maybe they can’t read (but again there's the picture). Or maybe they’re just trying to be ironic. Who knows.

Part of me would love to set up my own little private agency which gives out tickets to people with offensive boat names (and maybe silly and stupid boat names too), but then I remember that I’m a big fan of freedom of speech and that it does come with a price. Sometimes that price involves being offended. People are free to  name their boat what they want and I'm free to choose to be offended or not.

By the way, feel free to give us a ticket for having a silly boat name – Rainbow’s End. We inherited the name when we bought the boat and, while it isn’t the name we would have chosen, we don’t find it offensive. Plus we’re too cheap to change her name and repaint the boat. And the bonus picture of a seahorse on the stern somehow makes up for it. If you’re offended by the name “Rainbow’s End”, exercise your freedom of speech and let us know.

What are the best and/or worst boat names you've come across? What are your thoughts on freedom of speech?

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23 November 2016

Wordless Wednesday | Parade In Rhodes


 





Wordless Wednesday is supposed to be about posting a photo(s) without any words. But, I'm a rule breaker, so here are a few words:

1 - There's nothing more fun when you're traveling than to stumble across a parade, like this one when we were in Rhodes.

2 - I'm thinking about starting to wear flowers in my hair on a daily basis. They really jazz up an outfit.

3 - The costumes some of the kids wore during the parade were incredible. So much work must have gone into them.  

4 - I think my favorite group of kids were the ones with their pets. One even carried his bunny rabbit in a cage along the parade route. Not sure what the bunny thought, but it was adorable.

What words does this picture(s) bring to your mind when you look at it?

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, click here

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21 November 2016

Thankfulness

It's that time of year again in the States - the countdown to Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on what you're thankful for and count your blessings. So that's what I'm doing - thinking about just a few of the things I'm thankful for.




1 - I'm thankful that I don't like pumpkin pie. One less temptation at Thanksgiving.

2 - I'm thankful I don't have to cook Thanksgiving dinner and instead have an invite to a friend's house. I was at the supermarket yesterday and it was a madhouse. More than a few folks were looking stressed out trying to get all their shopping done and everything organized for the big day.


3 - I'm thankful for all the interesting connections I've made through blogging. I got to meet up with Dan and Jaye from Life Afloat, some friends who I had originally met through blogging, and see their boat yesterday. While I was visiting, they introduced me to a really cool family on S/V Octopussy who are off cruising full-time and boat schooling along the way. They all love pumpkin by the way.



4 - I'm thankful that there are people out there who look out for animals in need. I met this adorable puppy yesterday. He witnessed his owner being killed by a car a week or so ago and, fortunately, some nice folks have taken him in and are making him feel loved. He's such a sweetie.

5 - I'm thankful that I have enough to eat every day and a sheltered place to put my head every night.



6 - I'm thankful for pants with some stretch in them. What did we do before spandex and lycra? I'll be needing my stretchy pants by the end of this week, if not before. Indiantown Marina is putting on a full week of Thanksgiving festivities complete with bands, dinghy races and plenty of food and drink. It's definitely the season of overindulgence. It's a good thing I don't like pumpkin pie.

7 - I'm thankful Scott will be back in a few weeks.

What are you thankful for? Do you like pumpkin pie?

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