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Dry Fire in the Pouring Rain April 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, Life Lessons.
Tags: , , ,

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.

At first, mile-long hikes alternated walking and running.  With improved stamina, the recruits ran with guns and packs on their backs.  Officers kept the company company:

“Lieutenant Knoll and the other officers run with us every day.  That is one thing about the infantry, the officers ask the men to do nothing that they won’t do themselves.”

Everyone in the barracks rose early.  When asked about his schedule, he shared the following:

“We have to get up at 5:30, wash, make our beds, and fall out at 6:00 for reveille.  We police up the company and have breakfast at 6:30.  7:30-8:30 First Aid class.  8:30-9:30 Military Courtesy.  9:30 – 11:30 Rifle mechanism and cleaning.  12:00 Dinner.  12:45 Fall in.  1:00-2:30 2 shots and 1 vaccination.  Also examination of eyes and teeth.  Mine were OK.  3:00-4:00 Physical Training (slap boxing and mile run ~ they still let us walk and run alternately).  4:00-5:00 Drill.  5:30 Supper.  6:30-7:00 Rifle inspection by platoon sgt.  7:00-9:00 “G.I. Party” (remove all beds and equipment from barracks to mop and clean it).   9:00 Lights out.  Perhaps this will give you a little idea of our schedule.”

Some days were better than others.  In a letter to Margaret, his step-mother, he wrote:

“Monday it rained hard here.  We were out on the range having what they call dry fire (without live ammunition).  It seemed [other than] dry to me.  The showers here are regular cloudbursts.  We were all soaked to the skin.  We had to walk back to the barracks about 1 1/2 miles through 3 inches of mud.  While on the firing range, we had to lie down in it.  We were really a mess.  They let us change our clothes.”

“A lot of the fellows have been sick here on account of the heat, etc.  A few have had pneumonia.  Some of the others were taken to the hospital after having their shots.  So far I have felt perfectly O.K.  I don’t expect to be sick much while I am in the army either.  That is one thing that I am very lucky in.  I have only been sick once in the last five years and that was chicken pox.”

Dad teased his younger sister Marjorie for taking advantage of his absence:

“Do I have any clothes left and is my radio still working?  I haven’t heard from you much so you must be spending half your evenings at Marshal’s and the other half taking things from my room, namely clothes.”

“The fellows drink a lot of coke here.  We sweat so much that we are thirsty all of the time except at night when it cools off.  It cools off enough at night so that we can sleep comfortably with one army blanket over us and one under.  They don’t issue sheets here.  We have pillow cases though.”

“I suppose that you are rich now that you are working.  If I were you I would try to save all I could.  You will never be sorry.  The money that I saved got me started in college.  Without it, I probably wouldn’t have started.  Now that I am started I can see my way clear to finish as long as the government is going to pay part, or should I say all except for clothing perhaps.”

“This letter is too long for me to write.  I might collapse from shock so I will stop.  Daddy mentioned in his letter that you were going to write so I had better hear from you or else.”

“P.S. Tell Daddy that in an emergency, I could get a furlough if the local Red Cross notified the Red Cross here at the Fort.  I think a doctor has to say that you are needed at home.  I don’t want you to think that I am trying to get home because if I did I would have to take basic training over again from the start.  One fellow got a furlough already because he broke both his wrists the first day on the obstacle course.  Enough said.”


Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . Can’t Stand the Heat?  Get IN the Kitchen!

“It’s a Rifle, Not a Gun!” April 14, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Lessons, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,

Dad enlisted in the Army and reported for duty on June 27, 1946, at age 18.

His enlistment, at the end of his first year at Northeastern University, coincided with the end of World War II, just before the Korean War.


Dad survived 8 weeks of basic training at Fort McClellan in Alabama during the hottest part of the summer, arriving on July 11th and leaving two months later:

“Arrived here early this morning to start basic training in the infantry. It is really going to be hot here this summer.  We started drill today. They have issued us gas masks, packs, battle helmets, etc.  I think we get rifles tomorrow.  On the way down here, we went to Cincinnati, Ohio; then came south.  I have been in 13 states since I enlisted.  We had troop sleepers so the trip wasn’t bad except that it got awful dirty. So did I.”

When writing Aunt Pete and Uncle Webb on July 21st, 10 days after arrival:

“The food on the train was rather poor or the helpings were small.  I don’t suppose they could do much better though as long as the train traveled day and night.  Anyway one rather amusing incident occurred.  The train stopped at a small station.  (We weren’t allowed to leave the train).  A lone man was standing on the platform with his arms loaded with groceries.  It was in Kentucky I think.  One of the fellows asked if he had any cigarettes.  He tossed a pack into the car. When they tried to pay him, he threw in a package of doughnuts and said keep your money.  “I was in the army for four years and I know that they are starving you on the troop train.”  Enough for now.

P.S. They really didn’t starve us.  We just could have eaten more.”

On July 16, he wrote his dad:

“Basic training officially started yesterday.  We have had classes in personal hygiene, diseases, sanitation, the M1 Rifle, map reading, the general orders, etc.  We have done quite a lot of drilling and they have had us out on the obstacle course some.  My watch lasted exactly one day of this training before the crystal came out.  One fellow dropped his rifle today and has to carry it with him all the time for one week. One of the sgts. didn’t like to have me call the rifle a gun.  At least I didn’t get extra detail.  It really isn’t bad here except that they keep us busy all day with very little time off.  Everybody’s shoulders are sore from carrying the rifles.”

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Lights out!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Continued tomorrow . . . Dry Fire in the Pouring Rain

“You’re Out Of Line!” April 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,

SwimmingAt Water Aerobics last week, I listened to my body instead of following the leader’s orchestration.

As I did my own thing, I heard a resounding chorus of “Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!”

Alarmed that someone was drowning, I turned and heard, “You’re not doing it right.”  “We’re not doing that any more.”

I nodded and kept doing my own thing.

A few days later, as we rode our bikes around the neighborhood to check out the Annual Yard Sale offerings (more focused on socializing than shopping), we ran into some folks from Water Aerobics.

It was great chatting with them . . . with clothes on!

Donald-DuckaUntil one guy (who has hardly spoken to me before) asked, “Why don’t you do what everyone else is doing in Water Aerobics?”

Taken aback by the challenge in his voice, I said, “Well, if my shoulder is bothering me, I do other stretches.”

Dissatisfied with my answer, he rephrased his question, “Are you just not a good listener?”

“I listen.  But I listen to my body first and foremost.”

Ignoring my attempt to deflect the discussion, he continued with his cross examination, “Do you just not like to have people tell you what to do?”

Tigger-Looking-At-His-Tail“Well, I admit I don’t worry much about staying in line.  It’s not synchronized swimming after all.”

He kept at it, determined to discover why I am not doing what I’m supposed to be doing when I’m supposed to be doing it.


I’m not sure and I didn’t ask.  That’s HIS business.

Perhaps . . .

* I stepped outside the lines of what he views as acceptable conduct.
* He believes I am stepping on his toes by coloring outside the lines.
* He blames me for upsetting him . . . when he’s upsetting himself.

People like him are exhausting.  They require too much tending, insisting that we spend time mending broken fences that splintered under the weight of their expectations.

Mickey-SurferLife is short.  Feel free to ignore the Border Collies yapping at your heels to get you “back in line.”  Do what you want to do.  Let them think what they will.

They’re not the boss of you.

Unless, of course, they are the boss of you . . . in which case Listen Up!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Hottie . . . or a Nottie? March 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Fun & Games, Humor, People.
Tags: , , , ,

Goofy-Riding-A-BikeOn the way to Bradenton’s Farmer’s Market last weekend, we saw a man riding a bike, wearing tight biker shorts but no top.

His shirtless state revealed a big belly bulge as his badge of honor.

“Look, BFF!  That guy is following his gut instincts!”

“That’s not a 6-pack . . . it’s a keg!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Triple A To The Rescue! January 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , ,

Woodstock-&-SnoopyWhen your car breaks down, it’s Triple A to the rescue.  If your life bogs down, you can also turn to AAA for help:

Action Alleviates Anxiety

Sometimes a small change has a tremendous impact on our mental outlook:

* Exercise is a great stress buster.  Go for a brisk walk.  Boost your heart rate while lowering your stress and anxiety levels.

* Take the dog and/or kids to the park or playground.  Play tag, dodge ball, or monkey in the middle.  Get on with it.  Live Life Now.

* Offer to take nursing home residents in wheelchairs for outings around the neighborhood.  Walk dogs at the local shelter.  Volunteering two hours per week can reduce stress and provide other feel good benefits.

* Join a tai chi or yoga group in the park.  Meditative movements help melt anxiety.  Sunshine is a mood booster.

* Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff ~ Swap out one negative thought a day for a more positive thought.

* Catch up with friends.  Peel an orange.  Read a book.  Don’t let life slip through your fingers.  

* Be mindful.  Pay attention.  Awake and aware, we walk, pause, listen, reflect, know, and see the world anew ~ bright, fragrant, alive.

Life is a tapestry of textures.  Enjoy it!  Make your life come true.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Ski-A-Rees December 1, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Fun & Games, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,

On Sundays, the Ski-A-Rees Water Ski Show Team gathers to wow spectators with feats of strength and coordination, with the Sarasota skyline as a backdrop.


Tandem skiers do twist-a-roos, skiing forward and backward and then in circles.


With an elegance rivaling ballet dancers and the strength of gymnasts, they hold precarious poses while riding over wakes in their way.


Tandem skiers team up for aerial acrobatics, back bends, and yoga moves.


And then the finale is announced . . . as skiers report to the platform for the final pyramid.


Ready . . . Set . . . they’re off!

But, wait!  Where’s the pyramid?


The pyramid’s created “in flight” as top deck skiers kick off their skis and climb up to perch on the shoulders of the pyramid base below.


Up . . . Up . . . and Away!

They take a final loop around Sarasota Bay before calling it a day.


That’s all folks!  See ya next week.


Aah . . . that’s better!

For more (and far better) photos of the team in action:  Ski-A-Rees Photos

Taking A Holiday November 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , , ,

What we eat is important to health and wellness . . . but so is flexibility.

Being too rigid adds to our stress levels and creates feelings of deprivation ~ both of which can negate the benefits of healthy eating.


When we view food choices as “all or nothing,” we’re afraid to slip up.  And, if we do, that momentary indulgence can result in an all-out binge.  Instead of enjoying a single cookie or savoring a piece of chocolate, we inhale boxes and bags of sweet and savory treats.

By swapping our “all or nothing” mentality for a 90/10 rule, we can enjoy mini-indulgences without telling ourselves that we’ve “blown it!”

What we do MOST of the time matters more than the occasional Holiday.

Here . . . have a cookie!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Bag Ladies On The Beach November 4, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Humor, Sustainable Living.
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IMGP2348bArmed with a few plastic bags, and green surgical gloves, my nieces and I set out to stroll along the coast one weekend.

We intended to get some exercise from walking while picking up small bits of trash as we strode along the sand.

With our matching gloves and bags, we looked a bit like the Blue Man Group ~ or, maybe, the Green Glove Group.

Our thought, naïve as it turns out, was to pick up wind-whipped wrappers from straws on juice boxes, blown away from harried mothers with toddlers.

We planned to scan the horizon and pick up the extraneous can or bottle inadvertently dropped by families packing up to leave the beach.

Instead, we found whole piles of garbage people had left behind on purpose!

We didn’t find the occasional can or bottle sitting in the sand ~ we found carefully stacked cases of empty beverage containers that people were too lazy, indolent, or ignorant to take with them when they left.

We didn’t find isolated cigarette butts here and there, we found mounds of butts that people were too self-important to pick up and dispose of properly ~ despite the fact that Manatee County installed ashtrays up and down its beaches to help stem the tide of butts left behind by butt heads.

We didn’t find “a” Subway napkin blowing in the wind.

We found a Subway bag, the size of a beach ball, stuffed with napkins,  sub wrappers, and chip bags, lying on the sand, ready to float out with the next tide and clog the stomach of unsuspecting sea turtles looking to fill up on jelly fish.

Next to the beach ball of garbage, sat a  ponderous pile of empty Subway cups.  What is wrong with people?  What ever happened to leave only footprints and take only pictures?

As we gathered trash, an enormous group gathered on the beach offered to assist our efforts by giving us their cans and bottles.  Perhaps they thought we were treasure hunting . . . “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

“Hey, are you collecting cans for recycling?”

“Not really.  No.  We’re picking up garbage to keep the beach clean and to prevent refuse from washing out to sea.”

“Well, we have a bunch of cans here,” waving arm at a two-foot-tall pile of empty Buds and Bud Lights, “you can have them if you want them.”

“No, we’re good.  We’re finding plenty of trash left by other beachgoers.”

“OK, that’s cool.  But they’re yours if you want them.”

“Great.  We’ll catch you on the rebound if we have room left in our bags.”

We didn’t.

In no time, the bags we brought overflowed with plastic bottles, dirty napkins, aluminum cans, Dr. Scholl’s foot insoles, and sticky styrofoam soda cups full of ants.  We also found plastic bags dancing on the breeze like wind-blown jellyfish and captured them to stash trash.

Within half an hour, the three of us had 6-7 bulging bags of garbage to carry off the beach.

On the one hand, we felt good that we had done some small thing to make our corner of the world a better place.  On the other green-gloved hand, we were steamed.  Literally.  Our hands under our matching green plastic surgical gloves were hot and sweaty and gross ~ but we were glad to have those gloves on as protection against the germs left by beach goers who have a strong aversion to carrying trash off the beach.

Mark Twain once wrote:  “Golf is a good walk spoiled.”

As someone of Scottish descent, that type of commentary on the greatest sport ever invented seems somewhat cavalier.

But I can say:  “A good walk on the Gulf is spoiled by garbage left behind by butt heads.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

On a related note:  Jan Philpot (Think Pink) wrote a fun story about a librarian who runs away from home and responsibilities to live at the beach.  If you’re interested:  Millie Gail Grundy, BLOB (Bag Lady on the Beach)

Top 10 Reasons to Get Walking October 9, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
Tags: , , , ,

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3Walking is a great form of exercise for people of all ages.

And the health benefits are abundant.  Going for regular brisk walks is a great way to:

1.  Boost your energy levels, optimism, and enthusiasm.

2.  Ease stress, anxiety, and depression.


3.  Increase your odds of getting a good night’s sleep.

4.  Improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

5.  Lose weight and maintain that loss.

6.  Improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.

7.  Decrease your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

8.  Lower your risk of getting several types of cancer.

Mickey-OK9.  Reduce pain and disability caused by arthritis.

10.  Help prevent bone loss and improve balance.

Exercise creates endorphins which elevate our mood naturally. It’s a miracle drug for body, mind, and soul.

BONUS:  Walking improves your memory!

To fit walks into a packed schedule, try walking during lunch or after dinner 3-5 days a week.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Beginner’s Yoga 1~2~3 * 10 Happiness Boosters * 13 Tips to Stay Healthy & Happy * Walk Off Some Weight * Get Out!!! * Exercise Exercise Exercise

You Can Call Me “Ray” October 1, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Exercise & Fitness, Nature.
Tags: , , , , , ,

We went for a walk on the beach yesterday, enjoying the salty air, abundant sunshine, and turquoise seas.


I snapped a few shots of beach cottages.


Perched “high” on the dunes . . . a full two feet above sea level.


We skirted around most of the birds as we marched along the sand.


And made the acquaintance of a few really brave ones.


Then a fever of rays caught our eyes in the crest of a wave.


We followed them up the beach stopping every few feet to snap another shot.


Despite taking two dozen photos of the group, I didn’t get a good enough photo to determine what type of stingrays we’d seen.


That’s OK . . . we’ll just say we watched rays in the waves under the rays of the sun and be done with it.


I’m certain the rays weren’t manta rays given their diminutive stature.


Despite what happened to Steve Irwin, stingrays do not attack humans . . . as a general rule.  Stings do occur if a ray is provoked or accidentally stepped on.

To avoid stepping on stingrays buried in shallow water, do the Stingray Shuffle.

Aah . . . that’s better!


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