Oh, My! It is Nov 2! I forgot. Yesterday, I knew it was the day after Halloween, All Saints Day, and a new month, but I forgot that it was the first day of November. November is my month of gratitude, and honestly, I could have used a tad of gratitude yesterday. It was surgery day and two people called off (one needed and one also needed, but because of their choices the night before, that resulted in food poisoning). Of course, I was grateful for the cross-training that allowed us to safely get almost everything done. I was mostly grateful that folks were kind when we didn’t get calls made in a timely manner.

Nov 2: I am grateful for the ability to think on my feet. I am teaching a class of gifted fifth graders on Wednesdays. It is just an hour, and I am teaching about heartworm disease. Since I have a master of science degree in veterinary parasitology and concentrated on heartworm disease, I needed little prep, but two hours before the talk, I am yet to come up with an activity. Yet, I’m sure there will be one.

Nov 3: I am grateful for coffee. A wild and eventful day included morning coffee with a friend at my office. It’s not just the taste, warmth, smell, and clear coffee color, which are all sublime, but the fact that it can be shared by friends at any time with no calories or guilt.

Nov 4: I am grateful that I have been forgiven for something I didn’t do and that I didn’t know about from a decade or more ago.

Nov 5: I am grateful to be writing again. I started a 30-day challenge about a year ago with Darren Pillsbury; his support and guidance have been phenomenal. The book is becoming far better than I would have ever gotten on my own, and he has urged me to step out of my comfort zone to commission some really great book covers.

Nov 6: I am grateful to be able to practice falconry. It is hard to describe the bond with a wild creature. They are not pets. Do falconry wrong, and they can choose to leave at almost any time. It requires patience (I’m working on that), knowledge, and comradery. Falconry cannot be learned from a book or a video, a long and good apprenticeship is required to be a good falconer. I’ve been at this for decades, and there is still much to learn, but as a master falconer, I find I am often in a position to teach. Good video from a FB friend.

Nov 7: I am grateful for my dogs. Whiskey is probably the best behaved and a great snuggler, although he can’t get on the tall bed anymore. He can get on the shorter bed and protects me from the cats by lying on my right side, plastered to me.

Nov 8: I am grateful for Tango. He is definitely different than his half-brother; he is adventurous and mischievous. He loves cardboard but often counter-surfs. He is a credible snuggler. He is a lab, and he had a cancer scare but is doing well for now. (Bonus, I’m grateful.)

Nov 9: I am grateful for Foxtrot. This chocolate lab adamantly insists that I am his human. He is comfortable in his space, but if I am around, his space is mine. He jumps and twists when we head out for the night. He pees and pees and pees for so long that even when I didn’t have to go, I had to go. I love him with all my soul. I even take him to Dragon Land.

Nov 10: I am grateful for my cats. Tigre, Parker, and Jarvis not only provide efficient uninvited rodent control (important when you live in the woods), but they provide warmth in the winter. Tigre tries (and often succeeds) to escape and now lives at GAMC, but every night Tigre can be found on my left side with their head on my shoulder. Parker is on the right side, curled up in my back. Parker would prefer to sleep in a U-shape around my head on the pillow, but mild allergies prevent that.

Nov 11. I’m grateful for my time in the service. It was not popular then. But I became a better, stronger person and gained a family that was to last decades. How appropriate that my first happy veterans day message is from an academy classmate. Fourteen women graduated that first year. We’re not alike, and we don’t often agree, but we share a bond like no other, and I have lifelong friends with the guys that were my classmates.

Nov 12 I am grateful for coffee. I like the warmth, the aroma, the hot black clean taste. I like the memories of coffee in service and the much better-tasting coffee now with friends.

Nov 13: I am grateful for my immediate family. Merry has grown up to be a conscientious adult with good morals. Matt has supported all (well, many) of my hair-brained ideas throughout the decades. (Think: camping in a remote revenuer’s cabin, whitewater kayaking, week-long canoe trips, sled dog running, falconry, wildlife rehab…)

Nov 14: I am grateful for my staff. Although they are few, they all pitch in to make sure what needs doing gets done. Each and every one that I now have genuinely cares about animals and their human folk.

Nov 15: I am grateful for the limits that are being stretched. Because of my book, I am learning charting skills and working on fitting geography into my book. I am meeting new people and having to think outside my normal box. The cover, the characters, and the map are getting me excited about Dragon Flame again.

Nov 16: I am grateful for falconry. Today is World Falconry day which celebrates the inscription of falconry as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is great, but for me, it is a challenge (that’s good); it gets me out in the woods, and I have a bond with the birds that would otherwise not be achievable. Hawks are not bred to be domestic; they are wild animals that choose to work in partnership with a human. I am honored that I am the human for Bravo and Zulu and that I get to work with Charlie and Foghorn, also.

Nov 17: I am grateful that I started this many years ago. I was caught up in all the negativity of Facebook, and I decided to do a little something to fight back. Started posting one thing that I was grateful for each day. N in real life that is probably family, friends, animals, nature, and spirituality, but for the purpose of this exercise, it was to be something that I was grateful for at the moment. Now to be fair, when I stop to think of it, it is often coffee at the moment. It is that I have learned to pair coffee with feeling gratitude. And what could be better?

Nov 18: I am grateful for the many animals that I am privileged to work with. From the smell of puppy breath (they lack an enzyme in the liver, and it goes away as soon as they mature a bit) to the purr of a kitten as it waits for a forever home, animals appeal to the senses. Of course, my hawks and the occasional carnivore appeal to other senses sometimes. Still, it is proof that I am alive and living. Maybe the bo us gratefulness is that I heal quickly.

Nov 19: I am grateful for the seasons. Rainy springs, hot, green summers, colorful falling leaves, and snowy hills are all amazing. I am especially grateful for November because it seems we have had all seasons this week.

Nov 20: I am grateful for friends. Friends who get e through the work day. Friends who list without complaint. Friends who share coffee. And friends who abduct me to go hawking.

Nov 21: I am grateful for what I can do. Sure my knees hurt when I walked today around the park, but I can walk. There are some that cannot. A wise man recently told me: “Every minute, every day, take as a gift because there may not be another moment. Your eyes, you should see as a gift. You may not see me tomorrow. Walking is a gift. Tomorrow your legs may not work. If you have a sound brain, that is a gift. You should use it. Another day may not be able to. Everything now is a gift. You should use it while you have it.” This man was blind, living in a harsh world, and still could appreciate life more than most.

Nov 22: I am grateful for technology. And for Josh at Tech Wizar s who comes and fixes it for me when I need it. Not as grateful that all h did was unplug it, which my staff told me they had done.

Nov 23: I am grateful for the new in-house chemistry machine we just got. Although we have had multiple machines, one more means we can do things more efficiently.

Nov 24: I am grateful for Guardian Animal Medical Center. I am grateful for the clients that trust us to partner with them for the treatment and care of our patients. I’m grateful for my staff that put up with my strive for perfection. I’m also grateful that we can help others. These shirts were made by women in Uganda in a training program to help them get jobs to be able to eat. I’m grateful today, there is plenty of food, and it is not a day of fasting.

Nov 25: I’m grateful for Lucas, our Red Rumped tarantula. She has taught us much about spiders. We just got a new spiderling, L2. L2 s a tiny regal jumping spider. It is so fun to watch them jump and catch tiny gnats.

Nov 26: I am grateful for Tri-State Animal ER. The ER works hard to see all the emergencies and urgencies on the TriState and beyond. I feel like animals deserve to be treated all the time, and the ER allows for this. I feel like it is important enough to take more than my share of shifts. But although I do take shifts there so that it can remain open, I also benefit from the ability to be almost totally off and do some fun things. (My staff still has complete and total access to me for patients.)

Nov 27: I am grateful for the days off. This is something that I have not had a lot my life. In the Coast Guard, every day was on duty. With the one desk job that I had, I decided that I had enough free time to take a full load of classes at the local university to get my second bachelor’s degree. Studying kept me busy. With our current staffing situation, we don’t have enough staff to be open every Saturday. That means that I get a couple of days off in a row. I am often working or checking on patients, but the stress of not having to be in to open is gone.

Nov 28: I am grateful for a spouse that stands with me and understands I need to be doing a multitude of things.

Nov 29: I am grateful to have written two articles to express my gratitude. Writing helps me express things and focus, but at the end of a busy week, I’m’ glad to be done.

Nov 30: I am grateful for the chance to review how rich my life is. This may have started as a statement against negativity, but I have grown through the years.