Apologies in advance for all the things I'm leaving off.
So here it is -- 21 things I'm thankful for ...
1. My Family -- Both my immediate family and my extended family. I could probably draft a larger list listing each of my family members by name, and highlighting how they add to my life, but for the purposes of this list, we'll list them as one. You know how much each and every one of you mean to me.
2. My Friends -- I've been tight with some of you since we were young 'uns, others I've picked up along the way, and still others I've known just a few years -- but regardless of how long I've known you, I always enjoy sharing a laugh, and knowing we're there for each other.
3. My Health -- Definitely getting to that age where I can't take this one for granted anymore. Every healthy, active day is a blessing.
4. Beautiful Stonework. OK, so it's part of what I do, but the more I work with stone, the more I appreciate the true masterpieces, and am humbled by what the masters can do. This is truly an art form that one could spend a lifetime attempting to master. I'm thankful to live in an area where there is so much beautiful stonework to admire on a daily basis.
5. My Employees -- past and present. All the projects we've done over the years, all the project pictures you see on this website -- your blood, sweat and tears are part of those projects. (Thankfully not too much blood). Thank you.
6. Cordless drills/screwguns. We build a fair amount of fences and decks. I can't even begin to imagine how this was done with a simple hammer and nails. Really makes you appreciate what was accomplished in the old days.
7. Swarthmore. Many of you familiar with "The Swat" know what I'm talking about, but for those not familiar with it you really have to experience it to believe it. Great people, natural beauty, great architecture, a safe walkable/bikeable community, great schools, and great activity resources.
8. A Sense of Humor. When times are stressful or down, sometimes a good, intelligent laugh is the best cure.
9. Hawaiian shirts. What can I say? I like 'em. They're fun.
10. My Clients. While we are a providing a service for you, you are the ones who make it all possible. I've met some really great people over the years, who have made my life richer.
11. Hikes in the Woods. One always finds something new and interesting, often when not actively searching. Sometimes you hit the ground running, other days it's all you can do to get motivated. But I always feel great when I'm done. And better off for it.
12. Music. The soundtrack of life. Can't possibly imagine life without it.
13. The Internet Community. So as much as I grumble about the "internet-ization" of society, proliferation of ID passwords, and the lack of real social interaction (all very valid complaints, I might add), there are some amazing resources out there, available with just the click of a button. Whether it's sourcing materials, searching for pictures and information, or sharing information via forums, the internet can be a great thing. And for my forum friends (you know who you are), I can't thank you enough for all the information and feedback you've provided over the years. Hopefully I reciprocate as much as I take away. I try.
14. My Supplier Network -- There's a number of suppliers who I rely on consistently to provide quality materials and services, but I owe a special shout-out to Galantino Supply Company -- always helpful, always friendly, and always glad to help with the highest level of professionalism.
15. Slider-Flip-flops. You know when you're lounging around at home in your socks, and you realize you need to run out for a quick errand, but you don't feel like dealing with shoelaces? And since old-school flip-flops have that annoying prongy thing next to the big toe, you can't wear them with socks, at least not comfortably. Love my slider flip flops. I'll throw my cowboy boots into this category too, for when it's even colder or wet.
16. The Arts. Whether it's fine painting, beautiful architecture, drama, music, or dance, art is the decoration of life that makes you appreciate it. Take away the arts, and there's not much left.
17. Teachers. Being married to one, I see firsthand the dedication involved to helping young citizens grow and become their best. And I can certainly think back on a number of teachers who have had a dramatic impact on my life.
18. A Healthy Planet. But one we must respect. There's a lot of talk being thrown around about the earth's problems and man's impact, but in the here and now it's amazing what Mother Earth provides for us. I can only hope that the Earth we know and love will remain relatively the same for at least my children and my children's children's lives.
19. Gardens. Man's interaction and interpretation of nature. Whether it's a formal English garden, interactive children's garden, Japanese meditation garden, an urban rooftop -- the list could be endless -- it always amazes me what can be created when man patiently tends to and cultivates a piece of the planet.
20. Good Food and Drink. Creating good food is an art form unto itself, and definitely worthy of our appreciation. Whether it's formal culinary arts, informal roadside barbecue, small-batch brewing, or wine-making, how can you not appreciate this one. Especially now at Thanksgiving time?
21. A Peaceful Soul. Some days more than others. But I always sleep easily at night knowing that I've done what I do to the best of my ability, been honest with myself and others, and looked out for the interests of everyone around me as best as I can. You can't ask anything more of anybody than that.
I sincerely wish everybody a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. Wishing you a long list of things you can be thankful for.