Today is my 11-year anniversary of moving to Florida, and in that time I’ve learned this: Christmas in Florida is weird. I didn’t always live here – for the first part of my life I lived in a place with normal seasons and even snow during the wintertime, which was kind of nice during the holidays. But I’ve been in Florida on Christmas morning when it’s been in the 80’s. It still takes some getting used to.

That doesn’t stop people from putting up all the decorations though. In fact, I think we go a little crazier here than most places in an attempt to make up for the unseasonable weather. Like last night – The annual Lake Kilarney Boat parade.

LF wakeskater Bri Chmel lives on Kilarney as well, so she called earlier in the day to tell me that they were going to decorate their boat and enter the parade. So at about 6:45 I plied into Bri’s boat and we headed off for the parade.

I’ve been in the parade before and have to say I was bummed at the turn out this year. I think there were only about 10 boats, and one of them was a Zodiac (although Taz did a great job of decorating and not getting run over, so that was nice.) The people that did enter went all out — there was was manger, a big sailboat, and a nice gingerbread house looking thing that probably won first prize. Out boat had the standard, palm-tree tropical Christmas vibe, and though we had the best light display I think the vibe might have been a little NC-17 for the family crowd. At least we didn’t lose anybody over the side.

On the flip side, Matt Staker had his neighborhood open house Christmas party, which was much more subdued of an event. Lots of networking, schmoozing, wine and cookies. One big piece of news that came out of the night was that Lauren Loe is officially retiring from wakeboarding to pursue a career as a hair stylist. This is not a lie. So if you see Lauren or talk to her be sure to thank her for eight years of great riding and lots of memories. She definitely did it on her terms, and we’ll miss that.

Socks and underwear, ties and gift certificates … I hope you get them all.