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A “Thumbs Up” Birthday Lunch October 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events.
Tags: , , , , ,
25 comments

On BFF’s Birthday, we went to University Town Center for lunch at Seasons 52.

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We ordered Warm Olives with Rosemary & Garlic, Flatbread Pizza, and the Hummus Duo.

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The Margherita pizza was crisp, chewy, and cheesy with lots of fresh basil and tomatoes.

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When the food arrived, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.

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We ended lunch with a trio of Mini Indulgences, the signature dessert at Season’s 52.

Make mine Mocha Macchiato!

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BFF ordered two Birthday Desserts ~> Carrot Cake and Chocolate S’Mores.  Yes.  I tasted them both . . . for quality control purposes only!

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Before we walked around the new mall to burn off the excess calories, BFF gave the meal a Thumbs Up!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

The Danger of Handshakes October 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Lessons, People.
Tags: , , ,
25 comments

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3A few years ago, at the Suncoast Lifestyle Expo, we met Dr. Z who invited us to his office for a FREE consultation, chiropractic exam, and massage.

We accepted the invitation, went to his office, listened to his dog and pony show, and agreed to return in two days with the completed new patient paperwork for our FREE adjustment.

After considerable debate and two days sitting on the fence, we completed the paperwork and returned for the rest of the FREE consultation.

We spoke with Dr. Z and the woman responsible for billing about the cost of future adjustments and treatments and decided not to schedule further visits.

At check out, we paid for a reusable ice pack.

Two months later, out of the blue, we received a $257 bill for BFF’s FREE consultation and exam.

I called the office and Maria agreed that there had been a mix up.  She promised to clear BFF’s account.  I had her check my account too . . . sure enough, a bill was on its way.

A few days later, I called Maria back to make sure that the accounts had been cleared.  She said, “we’re “working on it.”

The-Pink-PantherIn due course, the accounts were cleared.

It’s good to trust others, but handshake agreements can be problematic.  Memories fade.  Mistakes are made.

Next time . . . I’ll get in IN WRITING!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Top Tips for Tuesday October 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , , ,
39 comments

Tuesday’s Top Tips for weight control:

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1.  Eat things you love at every meal, in moderation, rounding them out with filling, high fiber, nutritious fruits and veggies.

2.  Write down what you eat.  I lost 10 pounds in 12 weeks this Spring by jotting down what I was going to eat BEFORE eating it.  I didn’t tally up fat grams or calories, I just recorded basic quantities and food types.  It kept me focused on my desire to lose weight.

3.  Drink lots of water instead of drinking calories or diet sodas.

4.  Move more ~ walk, bike, swim, or dance in the living room.  But try to do 20-30 minutes of something every day.

* * *

Speaking of veggies, whenever I have LOTS of greens. I saute them with oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to wilt them down and reduce the volume. Then I freeze in 2 cup portions for soups, stews, and sides.  Delicious stirred into mashed potatoes, rice, or other grains.

I do the same thing when I have lots of peppers and onions.

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* * *

Bonus Tip (for Road Trips):  Bring a bucket of cat litter for “emergencies.”

Perfect when traveling in a blizzard with no bathrooms in sight.  Easier than aiming at an empty coffee cup (or trying to stop the flow when the cup threatens to overflow).

For more tips on “going with the flow” ~> When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go (My Years Of Sweat).

And, now, you’ll have to excuse me. I am laughing too hard to “contain myself.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

“It’s Time To Fly!” October 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Poetry, Word Play.
Tags: , , ,
73 comments

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“Tonight’s Halloween.  Let’s have fun.
Mayhem and mischief shall be done!”

Hilda swirled and twirled round the room.
Fireplace sparks pierced the gloom.

“Where’s my broomstick?  It’s time to fly!”
Pumpkin sat mute.  With no reply.

Hilda reached underneath the bed,
but only found a shrunken head.

She opened drawers and closet doors,
accompanied by creaking floors.

Dust rose and fell as Hilda paced.
Pumpkin glared.  Evil grin in place.

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Cauldron bubbled with purple brew.
“Broomstick. Broomstick. Where are you?”

The clock chimed twelve and Hilda froze,
as one small tear ran down her nose.

* * *

To enter:  Add a Link to the 4th Halloweensie Contest List on Susanna’s Blog

Flying Squirrels & Other Silly Bits October 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, People.
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31 comments

Beyond politics, gardening, and newsy tidbits, my grandfather’s letters are sprinkled with flying squirrels, dueling mosquitoes, and other silly bits:

1957

2/24 ~ Hartland: busy week, including a trip to Middlebury for the Mid Winter Legion meeting, banquet, and dance.  “After the orchestra left for home a group of 25 or so got around a piano and sang old songs.  I got away with it in the crowd.”

6/13 ~ Montpelier: “Last evening as I prepared for bed I discovered I had a noise in the closet. (It wasn’t a skeleton).  I suspected the half-witted woman from the third floor at first as she some times wanders in on people. I got a flash light.  Inspection showed a flying squirrel sitting on the pillow stored on end of the closet.  I got the dust mop and tapped him over the left ear.  I then laid him out on the porch roof till I could embalm him.  This morning I completed the rites.”

9/12 ~ Family politics.  “Margaret is getting so she TV’s till 11 o’clock.  And after all she said against it!  Wow!”  [First documented example of transforming a noun ("TV") into a verb.]

1958

2/17 ~ Deland, FL.  For his birthday, he decided to visit with an old girl friend, Thelma Lovell.  “Last Saturday I dressed with unusual care and prevailed on Margaret that we should look Thelma up.  Margaret was a bit sour but she went.  Now it is the party at Merrills.  The mad social whirl!”

11/28 ~ Hartland: “With respect to the Church Drive, I am drifting along and letting the sand sift and settle as it may.  We have churches which through discord and disagreement are being allowed to rot while a frantic minority campaigns to build more, which as far as I know may also rot.”

1959

2/5 ~ Montpelier: “I have been giving some thought to a gift for Feb. 14. I feel that you might like another tool for the shop or cigars if you still use them. Since you can buy something you would like, please do. Oh, Richard, part of the gift you buy is from Margaret. Like if you get a hammer, the handle is from Margaret.”

Margaret & Walter at my parents' wedding, 1955

Margaret & Walter at my parents’ wedding, 1955

1960

8/26 ~ Hartland:  “I had an exhibit at the Hartland Fair.  Do you remember the “Swimming Hole” black and white over the desk?  Emerline Webster wanted Arts & Crafts exhibits and I entered that.  It got a 3rd prize.  I always thought I had a high degree of artistic taste!”

9/2 ~ “I have been watching Echo I [passive communications satellite] each night.  Last evening it was visible at 7.59 and 10.04.  I was able to find it both trips around.  Margaret went up back of the mill with me the last time.  It is just the time she wants to prowl anyway.  It is a nice morning.  The sun was up at seven, or before, when we first looked upon it.  The brook was peaceful and full to overflowing of the dam.  Only a wandering mosquito broke the slumber with its insistent buzzing.  I traced it to a window, open a mere bit, and battled with it.  I think I slew it.  Our Day had started. Margaret is cooking something by the sound from the kitchen.  I dare not enter.”

1961

2/25 ~ Hartland: “My day yesterday had it filled with snow flakes. That stuff most necessary for skis. It fell all day. This morning it is sunny. On the sordid side, I spent much of yesterday with a wooden shovel in my hand. There is plenty of snow for all. It is two feet above the window ledge at my desk. There is more to put . . . I don’t just know where. I had to start by clearing the porch roof. It had to be moved again to clear the path down to the shed door, gas bottles, and garage. Soon the entrenchment was too high to shoot out of breast high. The only entrance is the kitchen door.”

“We watched the space shot from the arm chair. It was on all day. We served coffee and something at noon, our eyes glazed but still glued to Cocoa Beach. Believe me, the arm chair is an exciting place these days. Alice in Wonderland had Margaret on the edge of her seat. I just spent an hour with the wooden hand tool. The pinnacle hangs higher in the sky. If the clouds hung low, I could see, dim, through the break in the mist, the snow tipped range, the stunted growth, the Mountain of the Moon, the Himalaya in the yard. I read the Geographic. And no fooling I like it. Marjorie read some of this over my shoulder. Said she, “They will think you are a goof.” In closing, I am alive. I have been seen returning to the coal bin after dark each night with a shovel.”

3/12 ~ Hartland:  “We had a mild February and early March but on the ninth 12 or 14 inches came down.  When I walked to the State House, the sidewalks were bare, the evening balmy.  I dashed down at seven in low shoes and no rubbers.  My head was bent in deep and concentrated thought.  I should have looked skyward but too busy ~ I went home in 3 inches of snow.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

I Heard . . . October 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Art & Photography, Nature.
Tags: , , ,
30 comments

Enjoy a short walk into the wilderness to hopscotch over rocks and admire the magical mystical mist:

Aah . . . that’s better!

To learn more or read the full video script:  “I Heard . . . ” (Sierra Club)

The Case of the Stolen Stollen October 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Word Play.
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34 comments

Mystery Ride5bMy maternal grandfather loved puns, crosswords, and word play . . . like Toyota = Toy Auto.

He also loved Stollen Bread and received a loaf from my mother every Christmas for as long as he lived.

When I read Nancy Curteman’s post on Global Mysteries about The Isle of Guernsey, it struck me that the ingredients for a Guernsey Gache sounded like those for Stollen Bread.

I wondered whether the similarities stemmed from German occupation of Guernsey during World War II.

Could it be The Case of the Stolen Stollen?

There’s a mystery for Miss Marple!

Aah . . . that’s better!

ACK! I said the C-word and it’s not even half-past Halloween.

Puts fingers in ears and hums “LA~LA~LA~LA~LA” to drown out premature mention of the advent. :mrgreen:

Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru October 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness, Humor.
Tags: , , , ,
35 comments
Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

Happy Birthday to my Ordinary Guru

Life often conspires to teach us what we need to know.

Some lessons seem negative because our vantage point is limited.

We are lost in the trees.

Once we move farther along the path, we see more of the forest.  Our changed vantage point provides clarity.

With expanded cognition, we find that the “negative events” we resisted resulted in valuable lessons and navigational aids:

* Perhaps we learned to be patient and allow life to unfold.

* Or we shifted our perspective from malignant thoughts of certain doom to benign thoughts of light and laughter.

* Maybe we gained proficiency with a valuable life skill, such as living in the midst of uncertainty without gravitating to worst case scenarios, wild imaginings, and dire predictions.

Anything, even the grin of an Ordinary Guru, can be a nudge in the right direction.

A shortcut to becoming who were were always meant to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2 October 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
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62 comments

Continued from Four Glitches & A Tumor . . .

Two months later, I arrived in pre-op for surgery at 5 a.m., wearing a green hospital gown. Despite the early hour, I was peaceful and chipper . . . even without my customary cup of coffee.

The nurses urged me to focus on the serious nature of coming events. “We need you to read this Release carefully. It addresses the risks of surgery.”

I nodded. “I know all about the risks. I’m a medical malpractice attorney.”

“Really? And you’re not worried?”

“Nope.” Then I gave them my best grin. “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die laughing.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

After deciding I hadn’t left my marbles at home on the bedside table, they had me sign the requisite forms and continued to prep me for surgery.

Glitch #3: Picture a tree with a single trunk and many branches. Most parotid gland tumors are located at the base of the trunk, along a major branch of the facial nerves, making it fairly straightforward to excise the tumor without damaging the nerves. With a well-placed tumor, surgery lasts 1-2 hours. My surgery lasted 6 hours because the tumor was hanging around the branches of smaller facial nerves.

The surgeon (for whom we had waited patiently) worked patiently on his patient patient.

Due to his care and concern, I am not a drooler. I emerged from surgery with all facial nerves intact. He even did a fat graft to pad my face to ensure it would not look lopsided. He was worth the wait.

But the waiting wasn’t over yet.

Glitch #4: Once out of Recovery, my surgeon admitted me to the Intensive Care Unit. The next day, after restless morphine-induced sleep, I asked about the tumor. “Was it benign?”

“I don’t know.”

“What? You don’t have the pathologist’s report yet?”

“I have his report. But you had an atypical tumor. Given the unique cell make-up, the pathology department’s not sure whether it’s benign or malignant. They’ve sent your slides to teaching hospitals around the country for additional input.”

“My tumor’s on tour?”

He grinned. “Yup. It’s gonna be a star.”

After 3 days in the ICU, I went home.  No report.

A week later, I went to the surgeon’s office for follow-up.  Still nothing. “Once they reach consensus, I’ll let you know.”

Two months later he called with a verdict worth waiting for . . . Benign!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow with . . . Even The Grin Of An Ordinary Guru

Four Glitches & A Tumor October 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , ,
52 comments

“You have a parotid gland tumor.”

The doctor’s words hung in the air as we reviewed options:

(1) Have surgery to remove the tumor, or
(2) Do nothing and allow the tumor to grow, possibly impacting facial nerves.

As a medical malpractice attorney, I knew all the things that could go wrong during surgery. But as a litigator, I relied on my facial nerves to convey subtle nuances to the jury.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, we opted for Door #1.

Surgery.

Glitch #1: The surgeon we hand-picked wasn’t available for at least 2 months because he was moving from one teaching hospital to another.

My husband and I decided our preferred surgeon would be worth the wait . . . as long as the tumor wasn’t malignant.

Glitch #2: Due to the tumor’s proximity to facial nerves, the surgeon couldn’t perform a needle biopsy.

Great. We agreed to wait it out “in the dark.” Odds were in favor of it being benign, but . . .

Once home, the initial numbness began to wear off, replaced with worry and anxiety. I tried to calm myself by making plans.

“I’m going to have to call everyone I know before going under the knife.”

“Why?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

So much for calmness. Blind hysteria set in and I started to cry.  My husband allowed the scene to register and then he . . . grinned. He grinned! There I was, on the verge of imminent disaster, and he was laughing at me.

This was NOT the kind, caring, and compassionate man I had married.

I made a mental note to rewrite my will and change the beneficiary of my life insurance policy from him to someone else.

Anyone else.

Well, anyone other than my surgeon; I didn’t want to create a conflict of interest for him if he had medical malpractice insurance premiums coming due.

I glared at my husband and ex-best friend. “What are you smiling about?”

He didn’t even blink. His grin never wavered.  Proof that my tumor had already destroyed facial nerves essential to glaring, staring, and/or giving someone the “stink eye.”

Ignoring my ire, he spoke. “I just took what you said to its logical extreme.”

“Meaning?”

“You should probably call everyone you know every morning.”

“What for?”

“To say good-bye . . . just in case.”

“What are you talking about?”

His grin grew two sizes as he said, “Well . . . you never know when you’re going to be hit by that proverbial bus.”

Cheshire_Cat_Tenniel

I looked at his Cheshire grin with simmering resentment, annoyed that he had full use of his smile muscles.

Then his words sunk in and I burst out laughing.

“You’re right! I could die tomorrow on the way to work. Or next week by running into a brick wall. Or the week after that while caught between a rock and a hard place.”

“Exactly! Why get worked up now over surgery that’s not even scheduled?”

As we relaxed into the moment, I knew I would be all right . . . no matter what happened. Instead of dwelling on the “black cloud of uncertainty,” I had the time of my life that summer.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To be continued tomorrow . . . Four Glitches & A Tumor ~ Part 2.

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