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Which lily leave: A 2017 Retrospective

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Dear Family, Friends, and the NSA who, as we all know, reads everything that's ever been posted on the Innerwebs -
As the end of the year approaches, I like to reflect on the year's events to try and gain some perspective. I try not to classify events as good or bad; rather, simply as events that shaped my life as I launch into whatever the future may hold.
So here are the 23 defining memories and experiences in the Life of Joe, 2017 Edition (in no particular order):  Diane. (Ok...it's in some order, with the most important first and last.)7/21/1996 is still a thing.12/13/1997 is not.Twilight Tunes on the square in Denton, Texas.Finally saw a game at The Swamp. OK...half a game. The Swamp is, well...a swamp. Doak is a way better venue.Mom’s semi-annual heart replacements are getting more and more frequent. Doctors are now using hearts made from

When life gives you lemons...

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Diane and I are going through something of a waiting period. It seems to be one of those waits in the hallway between one door closing and the next one opening. We are both confident the second door will open. It’s just that neither of us are really that into hallways. Or waiting.
While she was visiting Florida in July, the lemons on the tree in my back yard were growing larger, seemingly by the day. We chose one of the more mature lemons and determined that when it ripened, it would be the sign that the next phase of our life would be ready to start. It would signal that the second door through which we were intended to walk would open.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the lemonade...
Hurricane Irma rolled through Florida on September 10-11, wreaking havoc on virtually the entire state. (Note: See the link at the end if you would like to donate to Hurricane Irma or Harvey relief.) Families evacuated, vacations were cut short, homes and businesses were destroyed, even lives were …

Visiting Florida: A Tourist Guide

In 2016, more than 112 million people from all over the world visited the state of Florida. Most of these visitors went to place like Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Pensacola, the Florida Keys, and the Space Coast area of Melbourne, though some of them accidentally ended up in Jacksonville. But, hey...their tourist dollars count, too.
And this is no accident. The state spends upwards of $75 million dollars every year on the “Visit Florida” campaign to market the state as a tourist destination. According to Florida Governor Rick Scott, this expense is justified because of the estimated $109 billion in visitor spending that tourism brings. And as all Floridians know, Governor Scott wouldn’t ever play fast and loose with financial numbers (*cough*Columbia HCA Medicare and Medicaid Fraud*cough*).
But while the State of Florida does a good job of pimping Mickey Mouse, Harry Potter, Jimmy Buffett, beaches, and all the fun in the sun activities Florida has to offer, they don’t do a very good job of in…