December 31, 2007

What Happened in 2007

I retired from the US Postal Service after 30 years of employment. Ok, that's the big story but there is lots of back story to one of the most memorable years of my life. Everyone should have a year that is as fulfilling as this year has been. 2006 was overshadowed by the death of my mother. This year had some hard times but nothing that came anywhere near that level. There really is nothing other than my wife's continuing battle to get healthy that ranks high in the negatives column.
  • I retired. I know I said that but as life moments go this one was huge. The Post Office was a great place to work for almost the entire period but got quite unbearable at the end. I went out of sick leave in Jan. and stayed out until I retired. I miss my coworkers very much but there is nothing that could drag me back.
  • We traveled. Trips to Key West, Nashville, New York City, Cape Cod and Ocracoke were our agenda. I also made several short trips around the state for courses for the Duke program that I enrolled in this fall (see below). Nashville stands out as a unique experience. We went with our good friend John Harper, entertainment editor of The Coast. John has been attending the Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival for many years. This year we took in 9 show in 5 nights and had a blast. Nashville was wonderful, the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Frist Musuem and driving around the beautiful countryside occupied our daytime hours. Key West was another highlight, a short trip but a great break in the winter. We also so Jersey Boys in NYC. Great show - great city.
  • I took a lot of photographs. More than that I took a few good ones. Photography came to the fore in early part of the year as a way to fill my newly freed up days. I had an image accepted for a juried show in Raleigh. The first time my work has been displayed anywhere outside of a few friends walls. That same photo just appeared in the Hattiesburg Ms. paper, promoting a Christmas bird count. It has been popular. Several of my photographs appeared in Flickr's Explore list of the 500 most interesting photos on the site. My hammock photo rose into the top 10 briefly. I am still taking pictures though not at quite the pace I was this summer. Now I take fewer but hopefully better pictures. The photo blog has been a great place to share my pictures. Flickr also played big role in expanding my photographic world. I met some wonderful photographers and shared their photos while learning from them and be inspired by them. The power of the Internet is amazing.
  • We lost. Early in the year I formed with Bob Oakes. We raised and spent about $10,000 trying to convince Nags Head voters to support the town's beach nourishment plan. They didn't. We did win on the oceanfront but that turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory. The problem is still there, I hope the community can adopt a policy soon that will address beach erosion in a meaningful way. Right now we are just drifting.
  • I found a couple of projects. As the summer progressed I became deeply involved with two community service efforts. In April I joined the Board of Directors of the Outer Banks Community Development Corp. In Sept. I became the chairman of that board. Its a great group of very dedicated people and it has been very rewarding to work finding ways for people to get homes. I have shared some wonderful moments with the hard working people we serve. The Eure Outer Banks Arts Center was created to keep an Outer Banks treasure running and to expand the cultural offerings in our area. I have been working to raise money and awareness for the project. Next year we will take over the gallery and exciting times lie ahead. More about both of these projects when I write about 2008.
  • I went back to school. In order to build some skills and knowledge about the non-profit sector I enrolled in the Duke (sorry Kevin) Non Profit Management Certificate Program. I attended several seminars and took 2 on line classes. I learned a lot but even more I got to meet some remarkable people, people who are trying to change their worlds one step at a time. There isn't room here for all the stories but hopefully I will get share some down the road.
  • This blog became more active. In fact this blog matured this year. After the referendum this blog became my focus. I met some great people through this blog, Ronnie, Paula, Bill, Monticello, Jeannie and the rest of the Village People forged a wonderful community and support network. As my projects ramped up blogging dropped off but it is still important and View from the Ridge and Images from the Ridge played major roles in my life in 2007.
  • 13.1 miles. After walking nearly every day to combat type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure et al. I decided to try to walk the Outer Banks Half Marathon. One week after my retirement party I walked the entire course from Nags Head to Manteo. I had the highest score of any mail in my age group (it took me the longest) but this was not about time it was about setting and meeting goals, about discipline and about taking care of myself. Thanks to Kevin Zorc for planting the seed and to Mike Kelly for his encouraging advice.
There were some things that didn't happen in 2007 that were notable as well.
  • Still X. I didn't run of elected office. This was not hard to do and certainly didn't mean I wasn't involved in politics. Still not having to deal with the day to day details that elected officials face was a relief. I enjoyed my time on the Nags Head board but I am not ready to get back into elected politics (yet??).
  • 250 lbs. I didn't gain weight. Oh I have drifted up a little since my low of 238 back last January but I have kept the weight I lost off all year. My blood tests are all excellent and it appears through the intervention of Dr. John Sanchez I have become a whole lot healthier.
When you try to thank people you invariably forget someone but I am going to try anyway. This year as memorable in large part because of the friends, old and new, that shared it with me. Too all the readers of this blog and to Kevin, Paula, Bill, Ronnie, Monte (or the author previously know as some He Whose Name I can't Pronounce or TapkasHWHIcP for short). and all the others who have interacted with this site over the year, thanks. To the boards of the Eure Center and the OBCDC thanks for your dedication and support we had a good year but event better years are coming. Thanks to all my Flickr buddies for the interest and support of photog jones. Thanks to Bob Oakes, Ma and Pa Ratzenberger, Willo Kelly and all the rest of the protectnagshead group for their help with the referendum. Thanks to elected leaders everywhere for your service and leadership, thanks to the Nags Head Board for your courage. Thanks to Carolyn Morris who still takes my phone calls and brightens my day. My relationship with my sisters deepened this year as we pulled together to support each other after the lose of my parents, they even came to Nags Head in November and had a chance to meet many of the people who make this place important to me. Finally thanks to my wonderful wife Carole for her love and support, her encouragement and compassion and for helping me have such a great year. I couldn't have done it without her and I wouldn't have wanted to.
Upward and onward to 2008.


At 7:51 PM, Blogger Ronnie Roach said...

You had a busy year.

It was great to get to know you this year. Hope you have a wonderful 2008.


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