“A Day In The Life Of A Ship Agent”

When I first met my love he was a self- employed custom tile worker. He did the most amazing sawork yet a few months into our relationship he suffered an injury that would end his days of tile work. I remember how frustrated he was at not working, yet I kept reminding him that everything happens for a reason, and within 3 months time he knew the reason. A job that he had done many years prior suddenly had an opening and my love finally had his reason for the injury: he became a ship agent. It’s a job he loved before and one that he loves even more now.

So what is a ship agent? Well, it’s many things, and my love let me spend an entire Saturday with him on a day he had to “sail a ship.” It was an incredible experience for me to see what he does and to be able to watch the ship, the crew, and all that they needed to do.

First off, let me tell you that being a ship agent is a tough job. My love is at the beck and call of the ship and there are times he’s out in the middle of the night until the wee hours of the morning doing his job. He works overtime, spends every other weekend on call, and will even do ships on his weekends off. He climbs gangplanks and pilot ladders, rides on a tug to get to a ship that isn’t docked, and at times has to walk over and around an obstacle course of machines and equipment just to get to the ship, and all the while with a heavy backpack strapped to him.

I thought I knew a lot about his job until after this past Saturday. The ship had been docked in Staten Island so we had a long drive home and I asked him: I know what you do, but what do you really do as a ship agent? Well, he told me and it was much more than I had known and it filled the time in the car until we got home!

A ship agent is the liason between the owners and operators of the vessels, and everyone else in between, which includes the government, customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. The job of the agent starts long before the ship comes into the port. The agent has to gather the information on the vessel, the crew and their cargo, sending all this information to customs, immigration and the Coast Guard. A PDA, or proforma disbursement account must be sent to the owners before hand; this includes the costs necessary to bring the ship in. After that the agent sets up the pilots, tugs, lineman and long shoreman that are needed to help bring the vessel into port. Many factors have to be considered with each ship; whether they are tide restricted, which berth can accomodate them, and when it’s safe to travel, to name a few.

And the ship agent doesn’t stop there; he is there to help the captain and crew with anything they need while in port; this could be a trip to the store, a doctor or dentist appointment, phone cards or accomodations necessary if the ship is berthed overnight. The ship agent does what it takes to make the captain and crew comfortable while in the port and to help them with the lay of the land, especially when it’s a foreign ship.

Once the ship is ready to sail, the ship agent has to record a “statement of facts” which includes everything they did with the ship while they were in port. It is then sent to the owners and operators. All of these tasks are done at minimal cost and maximum efficiency.

The interesting part is that these ships come from all over the world, and the ship agent has the privilege of meeting the captain and crew, and sometimes is invited in for coffee and something to eat…all indicitive of the country they are from. It can be exciting at times for my love to meet people from all over the world, sharing stories of his life and listening to stories of theirs; many are out at sea for months, leaving their wives and children behind.  No matter the culture or the miles, the stories of “love and family” seem to be universal.

Each ship carries something different, from salt, to orange juice; chemicals to containers.  Ship agents rarely have a mundane day “at the port or the office!”

I’m grateful I had the privilege of spending the day in Staten Island watching my love handle a “salt ship.” It was exciting for me to watch the process and wave to the crew members on board…I know they all saw me watching and taking pictures.

I’m a believe that “everyone has a story” if you just take the time to ask and to listen.

And this is the story of my love and “the day in the life of a ship agent.”

Wishing you love, light and smooth seas,

~Anne Dennish~

ship agent and the girl

“The ship agent and the writer”

 

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“Wish Them What They Deserve”

wish them well

I wrote this quote years ago and the reaction to it by some was a much different one than I had expected or anticipated. I didn’t write it with malice or ill-will, yet the people that took it that way had a reason for feeling that it was a nasty quote: they were afraid of what they “deserved.”

At the time I wrote these words I was in the process of letting some people in my life go. They had taught me life lessons and had become a “toxic” presence in my life, so it was time to wish them love and light and let them go. It’s a hard thing to wish someone who hurt you or betrayed you “well,” so I decided that I would wish them what they deserve, which is my way of putting the responsbility of what they deserve in the hands of the Universe.

And I didn’t mean any of it in a nasty way.

I believe that what you put out there in the world you get back; if you’re nasty and vindictive, at some point you’ll receive it back. If you’re a kind hearted soul, that will come back to you as well. Some call it karma; I call it the laws of attraction: you attract what you put out there.wish them well 2

I remember saying this quote to someone I knew well. He wasn’t the kindest guy in the world; he was selfish at times and self-centered most of the times. When I told him this quote he got all upset and said “why would you wish me what I deserve?”

My answer was: “Don’t you think you deserve all that is good? If someone wished me what I deserve I would be happy, because while I’m not perfect, I’ve lived my life being a kind and compasionate human being and I would think I deserved all that is good.”

His response: “Point taken.”

So you see, it’s not meant to be a cruel quote. It’s an honest one, and my feeling is if it offends you, then you need to look at yourself and your behavior and figure out why.

As for my tribe of people, if I tell them I wish them what they deserve, they know that what they deserve is all good stuff and I would feel the same if they said it to me.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

 

 

“Under The Tree – Just Me”

under the tree uncle bobI sit here this morning alone  with my coffee while all my loved ones are asleep, thinking to myself that I can’t wait for this month of March to be over. I lost a very close friend two weeks ago and last night I lost my “favorite” uncle. It seems that throughout my life this month of March has brought pain and heartache, and sadly, I have the proof to back it up. Anyone who knows me will joke and say to me”ugh, it’s that month of March for you.” And so it is, and so I try every year to change it. This year has been a tough one, and this morning I’m grieving and my heart is hurting.

I  hadn’t heard from my close friend, Rosamond, in almost two weeks, so my love and I trekked over to her house, only to find that the car hadn’t been moved and the house was locked up. I came home, called the local police and received the phone call I was dreading an hour later: they found her in her home, and she had passed away.

She was just 70 years old, but one of my closest friends and my greatest spiritual teacher. She was the one who introduced me to this amazing circle of “Angel” people that have been my teachers as well. I miss her everyday and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the phone to call her…yet she’ll never answer.

Last night I received a call from my cousin on the West Coast. He called to tell me my most favorite uncle had lost his battle to brain cancer. I knew it was coming but I wasn’t ready to

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My “favorite uncle” with his “favorite niece.”

know it. He was just 68 years old and a man that had a life of love and passion, excitement and adventure. No matter what life handed him, including cancer, he made the best of it. I’d love to believe that this part of him is part of me.

I’m feeling the loss so deeply this morning, yet I also believe that when someone passes we can still hear them…and sometimes still feel them. I’m grieving at the loss of the physical touch and the sound of their voice.

This morning I’m sitting quietly outside while the rest of my house is asleep; I’m sitting under my “magic tree,” which hasn’t yet bloomed, but it’s still magic. It’s under this tree that I wrote a poem which turned into a song by the same name; it’s under this tree that I can hear my loved ones on the other side; I can hear their reassurance of them being okay and that I will be too; I hear them whisper “I love you and always will” to me; I hear them that they take our love for them with them and that their love for us will always be a part of us; and I hear them assure me that they will always be with me, and that all I need is to speak to them, and they will listen and answer.

It’s this belief that helps me grieve and heal and brings me a sense of peace that while their physical body may be gone, their spiritual soul lives on. And it lives on in me.

Today I remember Rosamond, and I wish my Uncle Bob well on his travels to the other side, knowing he’ll be whole, he’ll be healthy, and he’ll be carrying all our love with him.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~”

*I wrote this song over a year ago and today I dedicate it to my “favorite uncle,” my Uncle Bobby and to my dear friend, Rosamond

 

“Breaking Apart”

break apart 2We’ve all broken apart at one time or another in our lives. We may have endured a broken heart, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or the brokenness of a good friend showing their true colors. Whatever the reason, it’s caused us to “break apart.”

I’ve had my heart broken, endured cancer, gone through divorce, and been hurt by people who I thought were my friends. I’ve been broken many times, yet through it all I learned that all these moments that “broke” me were all lessons I needed to learn. I learned to take the pain of each moment that broke me apart and make peace with it; I learned to be grateful for them because it taught me something about myself and my life that was for my Highest Good; I learned to see it as a blessing in disguise.

So what do you do when you break apart? How do you get through it all? You make a choice. You make a choice to put the pieces back together, and you put them back together stronger. It’s the lessons you learn through them that enable you to put them back differently; stronger, smarter and tougher.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll never “break apart” again, but what it does mean is that the next time you’re faced with a “breaking apart” moment, you’ll be able to handle it differently. You’ll handle it even better. And the time it takes to put the pieces back together get’s shorter and shorter…and that’s because you learned a lesson from each of those moments.

Life is all about perspective and if you can learn to embrace those “breaking apart” moments as a gift towards you having the life you deserve, then you will understand that those moments aren’t forever…just for the time it takes for you to understand the lesson.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

 

“Maybe You’re A Dreamer”

dreamer 1

I wrote that quote two years ago amidst some naysayers telling me that I was a dreamer and should be more focused on the “real world.” They felt that all my dreams were “nice” but that they were to far fetched; too high to reach for; too ridiculous. They thought I should be focused on “reality.”

I used to believe that it was a bad thing to be a dreamer; that it meant you were living in a fantasy world, not reality. I thought about what they said, took into account WHO was saying those things to me, and realized something about myself: “I am a  dreamer and I do live in reality;  but I still believe in going after my dreams because the difference is I have faith, and they don’t.”

I’ve come to realize that the people who critisize my dreams are the one’s who have no idea how to pursue their own. They are the one’s who look at me and see what they wish they could do: believe in themselves. And they are the one’s who will hurt and criticize me the most because they’re afraid.

They’re afraid to take a chance on their own dreams; they’re afraid to step out of their comfort zone; they’re afraid to do something new; they’re afraid to change. And that’s their choice.

And my choice is to be a dreamer.

“Dream big and make it happen!”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

*Here’s a song I wrote about myself called “The Dreamer.” Who says dreams can’t come true? Not me!

Lyrics by Anne Dennish – Music by Sutton Thomas Music – Vocals by Sutton Thomas & Anne Dennish

“The Sweetness of Doing Nothing”

It’s a lazy Sunday morning in my home today.  My love and I are sipping our coffee a bit more slowly and are in no hurry to get dressed for the day. I can already see that it will be a day of sweat pants, big comfy shirts and slippers, mindless television and catching up on reading.

It will be a day of “dolce far niente” which in Italian means “the sweetness of doing nothing.” And after a busy day yesterday, this is just what the doctor ordered for everyone in my house: a day of doing nothing…together.

“Dolce far niente” is one of my favorite Italian quotes and one of the most important ones for me to remember. All of us get so busy in life that we forget to do nothing, and doing nothing together can be the most meaningful way to spend your time. Sometimes we have to slow our life down to be ready for when it speeds up.

“The sweetness of doing nothing” means that you can breathe, meditate, think, talk, love and laugh with no agenda of time limits or constraints…just time “to be.”

Find your “sweetness of doing nothing.” It will inspire you, motivate you, and allow you the time to rest and relax. It will fill you with peace and serenity…and that is a good thing!

“Dolce far niente…”

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

dolce far niente

Photo by Anne Dennish – copyright @2017

 

“The Gypsy”

Anne Dennish - Writer

sunflower fields

I  believe that we all have an inner gypsy, and I’m missing mine these days. You know what I’m talking about, that “roll down the windows in the car, hair blowing in the wind, radio blaring, bare feet,  that free kind of feeling.” It’s your inner gypsy and mine has been silent for too long.

My inner gypsy is the girl who dances barefoot in the grass under the full moon, spinninggypsy in circles and releasing all that stuff that no longer serves her; it’s the girl who dances in public, no matter where she is; it’s the girl who flies by the seat of her pants some days, not knowing where she’s going to land; it’s the girl that takes a leap of faith and leaves a life behind to find a better one; it’s the girl who remembers how it feels to be happy and has the nerve…

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“Getting Your Balls Back”

I once put two brass balls in a plastic bag and gave them to my girlfriend. I told her that if I ever lost them again to give them back to me.

I was a different woman then than I am now when I went through my divorce. It was over 10 years ago and that woman I was seems so foreign to me now.

I remember that at that time I made many changes in my life; I had lost weight, been college booksworking out at the gym, and had gone back to college to take creative writing courses. I was invited by my professor, a published author as well, to join his writer’s workshop. It was the best time of my life, yet also the darkest time knowing that there was a divorce to go through.

Yet I was strong. All those things I was doing for “me” gave me the strength to endure a nasty divorce. I felt good about myself, I felt like my brain was functioning like a writer, not just a mom, and I was in great shape. I will always believe that my Higher Power had directed me to all those positive changes to make me stronger, because He knew what was just around the corner for me.working out

I thought at that time that my children would feel like their mother had “left the building” because I was doing a lot of things, good things, for me. Yet that wasn’t so. I remember them being so proud of me for all of it, and I realized that all the things I did for myself were making me a better “mom” to them. What a feeling and what a lesson to learn. Sometime we “mom’s” think that if we’re doing things for ourselves that our children will suffer. So not true. It made my relationship with my kids even stronger, and to hear them brag to their friends about their mom going back to school and writing a book was one of the best moments I ever experienced as their mother. My oldest son loved the fact that I was working out and used to joke with his friends that “they better watch out because my mom can beat you up!” So simple, yet so empowering.

And that’s when I realized and learned that doing good things for me isn’t selfish. It made me a stronger and better woman and mom, and all that good stuff spilled onto my kids.

Sadly, it didn’t spill onto my husband. He hated it all. I look back objectively now and see that he may have felt threatened that this woman he controlled for over 20 years suddenly had a mind and body all her own, and she did it without him. I actually did it because of him.

Everything happens for a reason and I look back at that time and truly believe that all those things I did for myself were put in my path to make me strong, because once the divorce process began, my world changed. And it was all that I did for myself that helped to get me through.

It was sad enough that the marriage had been abusive on all levels, yet the divorce was even worse. The details aren’t important but the outcome is: I’m a different woman now and living in a happy life with two of my five children and the love of my life.

Yet there were times I lost my strength during it. I was a single mom taking care of the mental and physical well being of five children; I was the woman dealing with lawyers and sitting through mediations, which were a waste of time. I was tired, lonely, and so wanting it to be over.

My serenity at that time was in the backyard of my girlfriend. I could shed my tears there, talk for as long as I needed, and could always count on her shoulder to cry on. I remember one day she looked at me and said “where’d your balls go? You’re such a strong woman but not now? You gotta find your balls again, girlfriend.”

And so I did. I put two of them in that bag and told her to give them back to me if I ever lost them again.

And I never did.

Well, to be honest, there are times I feel weak and ready to give up, but I always remember that bag of balls that she still has and that’s enough for me to get them back.

And I always do…

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

brass balls 1

“The Lost Stars”

lost timeline

I think at one time in life or another, we feel lost. We lose our direction as to where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be doing. We lose focus, we lose balance, and for a brief time, we lose ourselves.

But we’re never really lost. In fact, we’re actually being found when we feel most lost.

And it’s you finding yourself.

What a gift that is to be lost. What a gift to work on finding yourself. What a gift it is to learn something new about yourself. Wow…what a gift!

I like to think that we’re like stars in the sky, twinkling bright one moment then hidden away by the clouds. Isn’t that what life is like sometimes? One minute we’re all that we can be until something happens to diminish it, and isn’t that the same as a cloud covering the twinkling of a star?

And here’s the best part: the clouds will move and the star will shine again, and that’s exactly how we are as human beings. We can’t always be perfect, and we can’t always shine, but when the cloud moves, there we are…the brightest star ever trying to light up the dark.

Feeling lost is similar to the cloud in front of the star; it’s only a moment or two that it lasts, but in the end, the star shines again and even brighter. Those moments of feeling lost are simply our cloud hiding our star, but a star is a forever, and so is your soul. A cloud will move on and move out; it will move across the sky and dissipate with time.

But the star has a light of its’ own, just like you. A star always burns bright, and while its’ twinkle and shine may get covered by a cloud, so will you. Your clouds are simply lessons to learn in life; they’re not meant to stay forever, just until you learn what you need to. And then it moves and so do you and you shine ever more brightly.

Try and look at a day when you feel lost as an adventure; you don’t know what’s coming next, you don’t know who will drop into your life, and you don’t know what opportunities are coming. Your light may be dimmed by this feeling, but if you can accept it as a gift, trust in the journey, believe in yourself and have faith in your Higher Power, you’ll find Don’t worry about being lost; I can promise you that you will always be found!that the cloud will move and you will be left as a bright star who can light up the dark.

And I can promise you that you always be found!

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

maroon 5 lost stars

“On The Outside Looking In”

invisible me 3

There are times in my life when I feel like I’m on the outside looking in and I know in my heart that it’s okay to feel that way, because:

“Sometimes you need to step outside of your life in order to see what’s inside of it”.

Do you ever find yourself getting lost in the midst of your day to day routine? Getting lost among your loved ones, finding yourself wondering who you are anymore? Are you a mom, a wife, a “life partner?” And where are “you?” Where did you go?

It’s not a conscious decision to be on the outside. It just happens. One day you wake up and don’t feel like yourself; you feel like you’re “on the outside looking in.” At least for me that’s how it happens. And there’s no time frame for it; you feel that way for as long as it takes to see and learn what you need to, and it could be a day or two, or longer.

Sometimes amidst the routine of loving and caring for my nearest and dearest I suddenly find myself wondering where I went to…where am I in all this. It seems like everything is about everybody else, but not me.

I feel like no one notices me unless they need something, and tempers are shortened when I’m not doing what I should be…for them. I spoiled them by doing it all, and I love doing it all, but I also love being loved and cared for by THEM. I want them to spoil me just a bit, I want them to notice my feelings, I want them to reassure me of their love and commitment to me as much as I do to them. I don’t want to be taken for granted.

Yet on the other hand, I believe that being on the “outside” is most often times the only way we can observe our life; it’s the one way we can be objective by looking in from the outside at each person and each situation; it’s the best way we can see what is or isn’t and learn from it.

It’s the best way to see ourselves objectively.

And that’s when the lessons are learned.

We observe the behavior of others towards us; we see how they’re treating us and how we’re reacting to it. We see what the truth of our relationships are and what they aren’t. We see our strengths and our weaknesses, and we can see whether or not we’re speaking our truth.

Often times we find ourselves on the outside when we’re holding too much inside; we’re not speaking our truth for fear of the outcome. It’s that fear thing holding us back and keeping us on the outside.

I’m looking from the outside at all the excitement everyone around me is having; new adventures, exciting opportunities, and movement, yet I’m not a part of it. I’m here, in a life of laundry and cooking, responsibility and reality.

I’m looking at this girl I once knew who had one adventure after another, more excitement than she knew what to do, and an appetite for life and all it had to offer. Life slowed down on her, and she stepped back and she stepped into solitude; the woman who’s life revolves around every one else’s became invisible to those she loved most.

Yet, it was her fault. She allowed it, she contributed to it, and by not speaking her truth, those around her never knew how she was feeling. She had hoped that they would; but they didn’t. And I guess in the end,  it doesn’t matter, because that’s what being on the outside is about, and she knows that it’s up to her to get back to the inside.

So, here I sit on the outside, observing, making decisions, and making big changes. I want those adventures again; I want to feel the excitement of my passion again; I want to be me again.

And so I will. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even being on the outside, and once I  get back to the inside I feel that my life will be even better than it is now.

Wishing you love and light,

~Anne Dennish~

outside looking in