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Cannonball! July 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Nature, Poetry, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,

Brittle air asphixiates

A smothering blanket of humidity
Strangles every breath

Melting feet to pavement


Stifling muggy heat
Chokes all thought

Escape plans evaporate


Crisp gingerbread cookies
Reduced to a leathery crust

In a hot summer oven



* * *

* S~P~L~A~S~H! *


Aah . . . that’s better!

How do you like to Beat the Heat in the sultry days of summer?

A Backwards Glance Bucket List June 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Gratitude, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,

Calvin-gots-an-IdeaMost people create Bucket Lists by looking forward to what they have not done yet that they would like to do before they kick the bucket.

This is a Backwards Glance Bucket List ~> a list of things I have tried and experienced during my brief sojourn here that I’m glad to have added to my Life Bucket:

1. Fly in a two-seater plane over North Carolina.
2. Take a helicopter ride over the Badlands of South Dakota.
3. Soar in a hot air balloon over Palm Springs California.
4. Graduate with a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy.
5. Obtain my J.D. degree and pass the Bar in NC, NJ, and PA.
6. Rent and furnish our first apartment.
7. Marry BFF.  Wear mom’s wedding dress.
8. Enjoy being married to BFF for 30 years (and counting).
9. Practice law as a litigator for 13 years.

10. Start a domestic violence program to educate victims of abuse.
11. Run an AmeriCorps program at Salisbury University serving at-risk youth.
12. Sample cuisines from Greece, Switzerland, India, Mexico, Italy, etc.
13. Travel across the U.S. from coast to coast.  Twice.
14. Visit the giant Sequoias in California.
15. See wildlife, geysers, and paint pots in Yellowstone.
16. Drive down the Pacific Coast highway.
17. Visit Native American cliff dwellings.
18. Hike in Bryce Canyon and Zion.
19. Stop at the Grand Canyon without seeing the canyon. Twice.
20. Canoe the New River.  Twice.  Get snagged on rocks and capsize once.
21. Sail Penobscot Bay on a Windjammer.  Sleep in a coffin-sized cabin.
22. Kayak the Manatee River.
23. Paddle board at Oscar Scherer State Park.

24. Hike through the mountains of North Carolina visiting waterfalls.
25. Visit Brown Mountain Beach and picnic on boulders mid-stream.
26. Hike to Dingman’s Falls in Pennsylvania.
27. Visit New York City and Central Park.
28. See shows on Broadway, off Broadway, and at Radio City.
29. Eat roasted chestnuts and Sabrett’s from street vendors.
30. See the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Elfreth’s Alley  in Philadelphia.
31. Eat Bangers & Mash at Dickens Pub. Have a Philly Cheese Steak.
32. Hit the Jersey Shore for tons of Sun and Fun.  And Carvel ice cream.
33. See the wild ponies of Chincoteague VA.
34. Wander the boardwalk in Rehobeth Beach Delaware.
35. Eat Thrasher Fries on the boardwalk in Ocean City MD.

36. Visit the Swinging Lizard Lounge.
37. Rent a boat and cruise the waterways in Naples Florida.
38. Visit a Jazz Club in Marco Island Florida.
39. Attend the Steeplechase in South Carolina.
40. Tour the Kennedy Space Center in FL.
41. Get Shucked at Marina Raw Bar in Myrtle Beach SC.
42. Take a ferry from the Outer Banks of NC to Ocracoke.
43. See “The Lost Colony” on Roanoke Island.
44. Visit Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea.
45. Eat lunch on the patio at the Hogsbreath Inn.
46. Sample fried clams at the Clam Hut in Kennebunkport Maine.
47. Sip Mint Juleps and Peanut Soup at the King’s Arms Tavern.
48. Host 25th & 50th Anniversary Parties for Mom & Dad.
49. Play matchmaker for Mike and Allison (married for 27 years so far).
50. Enjoy Wine Festivals at Chateau Morrissette on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
51. Admire Half Dome and Yosemite Falls.
52. See Memorial Plaque to Susannah North Martin in Salem Mass.
53. Visit the castles of the Loire Valley in France.
54. Enjoy petit pain au beurre and café au lait in Paris.  Bake baguettes.

55. Travel solo to St. Thomas for Spring Break senior year.
56. Teach myself to play the guitar.
57. Learn to play the piano, the clarinet, and the kazoo.
58. Visit the Corn Palace in Mitchell South Dakota.
59. Spend sultry summer days dashing through sprinklers.
60. Play hopscotch and jump-rope.
61. Shoot marbles, snatch jacks, bounce on a pogo stick.
62. Learn to Hula Hoop, ride a bike, toss a Frisbee, Yo Yo.
63. Play tag, kickball, soccer, and field hockey.  Hit a home run.
64. Shoot hoops. Toss horseshoes.  Play Bocce Ball on the beach.
65. Play catch, Mother May I?, Simon Says, and Cemetery.
66. Play Canasta, Bridge, War, Go Fish, and Penny Poker.
67. Enjoy shuffleboard, Ping Pong, shooting Pool, Bowling.
68. Learn to cook.  Experiment in the kitchen.  Don’t poison anyone.

69. Tour a chicken processing plant.
70. Visit an egg laying facility.
71. Become a vegetarian.
72. Watch the sun rise over the Atlantic and set over the Pacific.
73. See the Golden Gate Bridge. Ride BART.  Drive down Lombard Street.
74. Eat sourdough bread and Ghirardelli Chocolate at Fisherman’s Wharf.
75. Take a Cable Car through the streets of San Francisco.  Eat Rice-A-Roni.
76. Go antiquing in New England and shop for bargains at Flea Markets.
77. Donate the iron, ironing board, and all “Dry Clean Only” clothes.
78. Bake Ginger Snaps and Butterscotch Nests for Christmas.
79. Paint watercolors.

80. Start a blog.  Write 2350 posts (and counting).
81. Arts & Crafts ~ Macramé, Découpage, Rug Hooking, Needlepoint.
82. Sew dresses for Betsy McCall and Midge.
83. Make a dress for me. Give the over-sized “tent” to mom.
84. Learn to knit scarves, vests, sweaters, and hats.
85. Build a snow fort and have a colossal snowball fight.
86. Go sledding, ice skating, and build a snow man with a carrot nose.
87. Drink hot cocoa (and hot toddies) before a roaring fire.
88. Make S’Mores around a campfire.

89. Sleep in the backyard under the stars.
90. Picnic on Mayapple Hill and at Deer Lake.
91. Go on Mystery Rides with my grandparents and Aunt Edie.
92. Ride Coasters at Great Adventure, Busch Gardens, Carowinds.
93. Visit Disney World, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Universal.
94. Celebrate Birthdays and Anniversaries.
95. Delight in Holiday Magic at Christmas.  Watch Scrooge’s transformation.
96. Inhale Chocolate Bunnies and Jelly Beans at Easter.
98. Watch the Macy’s parade, give thanks, and FEAST on Thanksgiving.
98. Dress up and enjoy ghoulish tricks and treats for Halloween.
99. See “bombs bursting in air” on the Fourth of July.
100. Send and receive heart-warming Valentines.
101. Have a sleep-over with build your own subs and sundaes.

102. Travel to the top of Pikes Peak.
103. Hike up Mt. Ascutney in Vermont.  Enjoy the view.
104. Admire Simon Pierce Glassworks.
105. Hike down Quechee Gorge.
106. Visit Weston to buy Penny Candy.
107. Play “The Game” with relatives in Vermont.
108. Send and receive letters to and from Pen Pals in France and Korea.
109. Share smiles with strangers.
110. Laugh out loud.
111. Play the guitar and sing in weddings for friends and family.
112. Dance in the rain.  Sing in the shower.  Write songs.
113. Enjoy afternoon tea and scones.
114. Adopt Jazz, Cayenne, and Tigger.  And Sydney (the rabbit).

115. Attend outdoor concerts at Tanglewood and the GSAC.
116. Eat Italian Ice at Riverside Park on the Navesink River.
117. Take a last minute Sunset Sail in Bar Harbor.
118. Stay at the Balance Rock Inn in Maine.
119. Win a weekend get-away to Ever-May on the Delaware.
120. Wander cold clammy dark caves in Virginia.  Watch for bats.
121. Visit Mount Vernon and Monticello.
122. Tour the Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown.
123. Pick fresh tomatoes, peaches, peppers, and berries.

124. Sleep late on a rainy day.
125. Read novels, watch movies, see plays.
126. Play Miniature Golf.  Miss winning a tournament by one stroke.
127. Sketch with pencil, charcoal, and pastels.
128. Acid etch a Thistle Bracelet.
129. Throw a piece of pottery . . . without breaking it.
130. Try my hand at Batik.
131. Make Pumpkin Raisin Bread, Pecan Pie, and Pineapple Cheesecake.
132. Host cocktail parties and dinner parties for friends and family.
133. Eat by candlelight at Salem Tavern in Old Salem.
134. Enjoy Moravian Cookies from the Salem Bakery.
135. Find and refinish our first house in Winston-Salem.
136. Host Holiday Open Houses  in Cherry Hill.
137. Enjoy sunsets over the Chesapeake Bay on Deal Island.

138. Eat Shrimp Scampi at A.J.’s on the Creek.
139. Order Gilbertini at Applegate’s Landing in Columbia.
140. Enjoy Country Fried Steak, Grits, and Sweet Tea at Yesterday’s.
141. Indulge in Sunday Brunch at the Lobster Shanty and Claridge’s.
142. Play guitar in exchange for free passage on Le Junque in St. Thomas.
143. Take a Caribbean cruise with mom, dad, Betsy, Mike, Jess, and Sam.
144. Sort and pack food for the homeless on Christmas Eve.
145. Sew Button Trees and Snowmen and Reindeer to give as gifts.
146. Attend Baby Showers and Wedding Showers.
147. Enjoy fireside dinners of Cheese Fondue and Raclette.

148. Write short stories, poems, and still-to-be-completed novels.
149. Visit friends in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis, El Paso, Richmond.
150. Eat tacos at a sidewalk stand in Mexico.
151. Try Gumba Punch and Conch Fritters in the Bahamas.
152. Enjoy a Croque Monsieur and pommes frites at a Paris Cafe.
153. Learn how to speak French and Spanish . . . un peu.
154. See Star Wars in high school at my brother’s insistence.  His treat.
155. Learn to drive a car.  Parallel park only when necessary.
156. Buy my first car. Used. With a set of dishes in the trunk.
157. Babysit for kids around the neighborhood.  Decide not to have kids.
158. Get my first “real” job.  Earn next to nothing after tax withholding.
159. Go on weekend camping excursions in North Carolina and New England.
160. Lobsters on the back deck of The Lobster House, Cape May NJ.
161. Churn homemade ice cream in the backyard with the Nasts.
162. Pack a picnic lunch to eat by the lake with Linda.
163. Cook bacon over a Bunsen Burner at Girl Scout camp.
164. Wade in the brook. Catch minnows. Watch for snakes.  And gators.

165. Catch fireflies at twilight.  Remember to release them.
166. Rescue Buddha and Rocky ~ orphaned kitten and raccoon.
167. Go Deep Sea Fishing with parents and siblings.  Catch a whopper!
168. Stay up to midnight to ring in the New Year with the Pavelkas.
169. Sample seafood on the North Shore of Boston.
170. See the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway Park.
171. Follow the Freedom Trail.
172. Ride the Fall Foliage Train in the Great Smoky Mountains.
173. Take the auto train to New Jersey to get mom.
174. Play blackjack in Las Vegas.  Enjoy free drinks while losing.
175. See Mount Rushmore and Devil’s Tower.
176. Visit Wall Drug and Deadwood.
177. Learn about Jack-a-Lopes in Jackson Wyoming.
178. Ride a horse for the first time. Fall off. Get back on.

179. Decide NOT to get on a Bucking Bronco.
180. Learn to read. Visit the bookmobile. Get my first library card.
181. Learn to tie my shoes, blow a bubble, whistle, snap my fingers.
182. Play PONG and Tetris.
183. Listen to record albums.  Memorize the album covers.
184. Play backgammon.
185. Sing and dance as The Grouch in Green Eggs & Ham.
186. Ride my bike to the General Store to spend my allowance.
187. Attend the Firemen’s Fair.  Ride rides.  Gamble at The Wheel.
188. Eat frozen Milky Ways at Countryside Swim & Tennis Club.
189. Visit Turtleback Zoo with my grandparents and Edie.

190. Pass the swimming test and take out row boats on Deer Lake.
191. Soar over the sea on swings at Seaside Heights.
192. Go Paddle-Boating and feed the ducks at Tanglewood Park.
193. Win the lottery!
194. Picnic “on the hill” in Vermont.  “What?  No Porta-Johns?”
195. Learn how to shoot a rifle, bow and arrow, and BB Gun.
196. Stay at the Sanderling Inn.  Eat at the Duck Deli.
197. Serve stale foot longs at the Garden State Arts Center.
198. Sell Exam Survival Kits at W&M.
199. Swab the decks as a beer tender at the Hoi Polloi.
200. Hear Neil Young, Boston, and the Grateful Dead at W&M Hall.
201. Build a record-setting ice cream sundae in the Sunken Garden.
202. Eat Cheese Shop Sandwiches in Colonial Williamsburg.
203. Enjoy peace and quiet at Lake Matoaka.
204. Make midnight donut runs to Mr. Donut.
205. Savor triple cones from Baskin Robbins.
206. Eat dinner at George’s.  “Taste yer beans ‘fore ye salt ‘em.”
207. Attend English classes in the Wren Building.
208. See Pure Prairie League, Steve Forbert, Dave Mason & Dave Matthews.
209. Teach Legal Writing to 1st Year Law Students.
210. Learn how to make a budget and stick to it.

211. Be brave enough to STOP practicing law.
212. Survive an AmeriCorps Audit . . . hair intact.
213. Move to Florida.
214. Attend the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
215. Make late night pizza runs to Marlboro Pizza.
216. Pick up fresh bagels on Sunday mornings.
217. Back up to the bar for shots of te~qui~la!
218. Fly kites to higher heights.
219. Grow tomatoes, peppers, basil, zucchini, and flowers.
220. Pick a lemon off my own lemon tree.
221. Grow a pineapple in the courtyard (in progress).

222. Zip-Line through the tree tops with the High Ropes Course.
223. Ride in a Pace Car at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
224. Leave the drag races at Raceway Park early due to THE NOISE.
225. Hold yard sales and garage sales to clear clutter.
226. Survive surgery. Twice.
227. Eat a wild mushroom. Get stomach pumped.  Avoid fungus in the future.
228. Feed calve’s liver to the dog.  Oops . . . no dessert for me!
229. Make homemade pizza with Jessica, Amanda, Caroline, Julie, etc.
230. Have a basement flood. “Wow! We have too much stuff.”
231. Read Simplify Your Life.
232. Clear clutter and down-size. Realize Less is More.
233. Start a 401K.  Roll-over to an IRA.  Save more. Spend less.
234. Ride the Duquesne Incline in Pittsburgh.
235. Drink a Pina Colada on the sand at Megan’s Bay, U.S. Virgin Islands.
236. Get an earworm while riding “It’s a Small World” at the World’s Fair.
237. Jump out of a hayloft in Canada.  Land on a mountain of hay.
238. Sample smoked octopus. Once.
239. Hang around.  Pretend to be a sloth.

Nancy - Zoo

240. Eat chocolate covered raspberry jellies from Wythe Candy Shoppe.
241. Ride on the Colonial Parkway to Nick’s with a college crush.
242. Enjoy an Island Romance with a free-lance photographer.
243. Develop film and print prints in dad’s dark-room.
244. Pick up a snake. Once.  Avoid snakes in the future.
245. Eat at Tavern on the Green in Central Park and at Mama Leone’s.
246. Listen to the still silent voice within.
247. Slurp HOT Tattie Soup with WARM Oatcakes on a C~O~L~D day.
248. Savor Grilled Cheese (Vermont Cheddar) on Toscano Pano.


249. Enjoy the show at Medieval Times, King Arthur’s Court, Arabian Nights.
250. Attend Celtic Fairs at Castle McCulloch and Furnace Town.
251. Drink Bloody Mary’s on the rocks overlooking the sea at Acadia.
252. Buy Pink Pearl Perfume in the Bahamas.
253. White Water Raft the Poudre River in Colorado.
254. Take Jess & Sam to see fireworks in their pj’s.  And to see Natasha.
255. Climb lighthouses in Cape May, Ocracoke, and Chincoteague.
256. Inhale an Orange Creme Cupcake in Siesta Key.
257. Play Mastermind, Yahtzee, Scrabble, and RumiKub.


258. Sub Runs to the College Deli. Bawdy Minstrels at Chownings.
259. Take Ballet Lessons and dance as the Sugar Plum Fairy.
260. Visit highlights in Washington D.C.
261. See Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Piccadilly Circus.
262. Eat Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago.
263. Learn basic auto maintenance. Change the oil. Twice.
264. Learn to walk, talk, swim, and fly. (Not bad ~ 3 out of 4.)
265. Tour the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
266. Watch a Meteor Shower with thousands of shooting stars.
267. Have a glass of wine at the Eiffel Tower after dark.
268. March with the Brownies in the Memorial Day Parade.
269. Watch Jess on TV in London’s New Year’s Day Parade.
270. Visit Versailles and Petite Trianon.
271. Get the chi flowing again with acupuncture.
272. Take Judo lessons, flow with Tai Chi, stretch with Yoga.
273. Have a massage or two . . . hundred.
274. Try an infared sauna session.  “Is it hot in here?”
275. Start a Meditation practice.  Stick with it.
276. Develop and foster an Attitude of Gratitude.

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277. Run for Student Council and win.
278. Run for Student Council President and lose.  (Also a win!)
279. Serve as Scorer for the Gymnastics Team.
280. Get busted for smoking in the Girl’s Room. Enjoy a 3-day suspension.
281. Play Golden Oldies in the Hatch Family Band.
282. Travel to France, Brussels, and London with the French Club.
283. Eat escargot at L’escargot in Charlotte Amalie.  Once.
284. Cut school to eat at Tang’s in Red Bank.
285. Ponder how to spend my first monthly clothing allowance.
286. See mom sing and dance on stage with the Bayshore Follies.
287. Watch dad on TV during the launch of Telstar. [Counter 19:32]

288. Attend family dinners and reunions in NJ, VT, FL, and Colorado.
289. Spend hours engaged in idle conversation with friends.
290. Stroll through art galleries and museums.
291. Watch Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn through a high-powered telescope.
292. Enjoy the antics of the Ring-Tail Lemurs at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
293. Have a cold beer on a hot day at the Rod & Reel Pier.
294. Ride boats around Anna Maria Island, Sarasota Bay, and Bradenton.
295. Visit Historic Spanish Point and Historic Manatee Village.
296. Enjoy cocktails at the Naples Country Club with W&M Alumni.
297. Attend Homecomings and Class Reunions in Williamsburg.
298. Splash in the pool twice a week for Water Aerobics.
299. Boat up the Potomac River for dinner with college roommates.
300. Hang out and have fun with our 10 nieces and nephews.


The above list isn’t complete.  In fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface.  You could say these items are just a drop in the bucket. 

Plus: I’m alive and well and adding new experiences all the time.  

Still on the horizon:  

1. Watch the sunset at Mallory Square in Key West.
2. Meander through the Florida Keys.
3. Cruise the coast on the Key West Express from Ft. Myers Beach.
4. Go snorkeling. Watch out for sharks.
5. Hike the Scottish Highlands with the walking stick carved for my grandmother’s grandmother by a suitor who just didna suit her.

6. Visit the Hebrides, the Highlands, Aberdeen, the Orkneys.
7. Stop by Loch Ness to look for Nessie.
8. Walk the course at St. Andrews and the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
9.  Attend the Highland Games and/or the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.
10. Do NOT try Haggis! (Unless you’ve first fortified yourself with Scotch.)
11. Play the bagpipes.  “I’ll huff . . . and I’ll puff . . . and I’ll blow those pipes.”
12. Bag a “munro” ~ a hill over 3,000 feet in height.
13. Kiss the Blarney Stone.
14. Visit the Poison Garden at Blarney Castle.
15. Wander through market stalls in Morocco.
16. Cruise on the Victory Chimes through the Caribbean.
17. Eat pasta, pizza, and gelato in Italy.  Mangia!
18. Cruise the Mediterranean Sea around the Greek Isles.  Eat olives.
19. Visit St. Augustine, the Georgia Isles, the Panhandle.
20. Go parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico.

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21. Visit Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Isle, the Bay of Fundy.
22. Read more books, watch more movies, see more plays.
23.  Eat more pizza!
24. Celebrate more birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
25. Laugh. Every day.


Aah . . . that’s better!

What’s on YOUR bucket list?

Related posts: A Very Pathetic Bucket List (Coffee Kat Blog) * In Defense of the Serious Bucket List (Raptitude) * Lessons from the Movies: The Bucket List & The Bucket List: Fried Ice Cream (Did That Just Happen?)

Picking and Grinning May 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,

A few days ago, to celebrate an unexpected break in the weather, we drove out to Hunsader Farms to pick tomatoes.

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A picture perfect day to head out into the fields.

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Due to high supply and insufficient demand, the price of the U-Pick Tomatoes dropped to $2 a bag or bucket.

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We picked 56 tomatoes, at the peak of perfection, to fill our bucket.

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Picking and grinning the whole time.

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Before leaving the farm, we wandered around the petting zoo and met the residents as they bleated, “We’re hungry.  Feed us.”

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Does this guy seem a bit horny to you?

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In addition to hungry goats begging for oats, we spied a few other natives hanging around.

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We enjoyed meeting the Hay Family ~ Fescue, Timothy, Alfalfa and Clover.

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But we didn’t catch this guy’s name ~> he was a bit of a stuffed shirt.

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Our bucket of summer goodness didn’t impress Tigger, despite the price.

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Because man cannot live by tomatoes alone, we bought a few token sweet potatoes, zucchini, red peppers, carrots, and a cantaloupe.

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We also got a 50 pound box of butternut squash for $5.  Enough to fill a laundry basket in our pantry and keep us full of fiber until the fall harvest.

But the first thing we ate ~> tomatoes!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Virtual Feast May 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,

Bass Harbor Lighthouse (in Public Domain)

You can take a virtual vacation any time.

Well, virtually any time.

It’s not advisable when driving or operating heavy machinery.

Just close your eyes and visualize . . .

Today, I’m taking a virtual drive up the coast to Wiscasset, Maine.

In line at Red’s Eat, I chat with the locals and order an overflowing Lobster Roll to eat waterside.

I grab a table on the dock, take a bite of salty seaside goodness, and smile.

Noisy gulls scream and screech at me for not sharing.

Wiping butter from my chin, I reply to the incessant cries of these shameless hovercrafts . . . “Hey! Get your own lobster roll!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Electric Vehicle rEVolution April 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Sustainable Living, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,

Last Friday, we attended a Lunch & Learn at Goodwill ~ The Electric Vehicle rEVolution.  Chris Sharek, President of Sharek Solutions, Inc., discussed both pure electrics and hybrid vehicles from his perspective as an Environmental Engineer and Chevy VOLT owner.

A few fun facts:

* This is not “new” technology.  Electric Vehicles have been around since the 1800’s.  In 1900, 28% of all cars made in the US were electric.

Wikipedia ~ Electric Car (in Public Domain)

* EV’s are quiet, reliable, and easy to maintain.  Sharek won’t need his first oil change until he hits 80,000 miles.

* EV’s get great gas mileage.  Sharek has driven 46,000 miles on 200 gallons of gas in the past 3 years.  That’s an impressive 230 mpg!

At present, the owners of Electric Vehicles tend to be Green, Tech-Savvy, Risk Takers . . . like my younger brother who just leased a LEAF:

* My little bro, a techie with a green streak, has solar panels on the roof of his home, soaking up the Colorado sunshine.  For fun, he can watch his meter run backwards as he sells sustainable energy to the power company on sunny days.

* He purchased solar panels for his camper and hooked them up so he can move them around to catch the sunlight while the camper stays cool in the shade of Colorado Pines.

* He latest acquisition is a leased Nissan Leaf which he charges in his garage and at free charging stations around Ft. Collins.  At home, he’s charging it with sunlight from his solar panels.  It costs him about $15 a month for 1,000 miles of drive time.

Nothing like a Leaf to enhance your green techie streak.  That said, the current ownership profile for EV’s will change and expand.  Soon we’ll all be driving electric cars . . . powered by the sun.

Don’t believe me?  Just ask Stephen King:

During a dedication ceremony for a public charging station in downtown Sarasota, Sharek met famed author Stephen King who autographed a novel for Sharek:  “From one Volt owner to another.”

King later endorsed Sharek’s “lucid, fact-filled” book.

Sharek wrote “The Electric Vehicle rEVolution” in 2013 to summarize the first 26,000 miles or almost two years of his electric car experience.

To get your copy of his e-book for Kindle, Nook, or PDF:  Buy Here for $5!

Also available on Amazon for Kindle for $7.49.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  10 Thoughts For Earth Day (Where’s My Backpack) * Frog Wisdom ~ Earth Day (Candid Impressions)

“Ready, Aim, FIRE!” April 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Lessons, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
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 enjoyed his assigned rifle even though “all spare time has to be used to keep our rifles clean.”  In a letter to Aunt Pete and Uncle Webb:

“The rifle is really nice.  It takes an 8-shot clip which can be fired as fast as the trigger can be pulled.  When the 8th shot is fired, the clip is thrown out and the gun remains open ready for another clip to be inserted.  The peep sight has adjustments for both windage and elevation.”

In a letter to his dad at the end of July:

“We have been having more lectures on the rifle.  We spent four hours on adjusting our sights for elevation and windage.  They showed us how to determine the velocity of the wind, how the direction of the wind could be taken into account.  When Garrand invented this rifle, he did a darn good job.”

A highlight of basic training for dad, who had gone deer hunting in Vermont each fall, involved qualifying on the rifle range as an expert on the M1 semi-automatic rifle.  He enjoyed his time on the rifle range, despite having to rise early.  In a letter to his father dated August 5th:

“We are on the rifle range for a few days.  We get up at 2:45 and have reveille at 3:00.  We don’t come back from range till 7:00 P.M.  Then we have to clean equipment.  We will shoot 200, 300, 500 yards.”

Wikipedia ~ Basic Training (in Public Domain)

Two days later:

“We have had 3 days on the range firing the Garrand semi-automatic rifle (M1).  Today we started firing for record.  We use a 20-inch bulls eye at 500 yards, which is over one quarter of a mile.  I got 5 bulls eyes and 3 4’s which gave me 37 out of 40.”

“At 300 yards, I had 51 seconds to drop from standing to prone position, fire one shot, take clip from cartridge belt, reload and fire 8 more rounds. Out of the 9 shots, I got 5 bulls eyes, 2 4’s and 2 3’s, which totals 39 out of 45.”

“As a total of all my shooting for record I have 109 out of a possible 125 so far.  Tomorrow I will fire 17 more shots from 200 yards ~ a maximum score of 85 points.  We need 180 for expert, 165 for sharpshooter, and 140 for marksman.  It’s time for light’s out so I will finish tomorrow night when I can tell you how I qualified.”

The next night, he finished the letter with good news:

“We finished our time on the rifle range this morning.  Last night, I was a little doubtful whether I could make expert or not.  It meant getting 71 out of 85 points today.  I made it with 3 to spare ~ I got 74 out of 85. My total on record fire was 183 out of 210. That qualifies me as expert.”

“Nine of the shots I fired today were sustained fire (rapid fire).  It was another 51 second exercise.  I had to be standing, go to a sitting position, fire 1 round, insert new clip and fire 8 more.  Of the nine, I got 6 bulls eyes and 3 4’s for a total of 42 out of 45.  Out of the 42 shots fired for record, I got 19 bulls eyes, 19 4’s, and 4 3’s.  Better than I can shoot a 22.”

“Tomorrow morning will be a relief after getting up at 2:45.  We don’t have to get up until 5:00.  Next week we have bayonet drill.  They say that is a hard week, but it looks like fun.  I really should catch up on some sleep.  After all I have had only 5 hours of sleep per night for the last four nights.  Now for the sack.”


A few days later, on August 10th, he shared an abbreviated version of his qualification experience with Aunt Lucy:

“This week we spent most of our time firing the M1 rifle at targets 200, 300, and 500 yards away. I did pretty good.  We needed 140 to get qualified as marksman, 165 to qualify as sharpshooter and 180 to qualify as expert.  I had 183, so made expert.  I feel pretty good about it.  I really didn’t expect to do nearly that good.

“As of today my training here is half over.  I have finished four of the eight weeks of training.  So far it hasn’t been bad except for the heat. This weekend I have a pass which allows me to go anywhere within 100 miles of the fort as long as I am back by 5 o’clock Monday morning.  I think I may take advantage of it.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Concludes tomorrow . . . We Rest Here

Can’t Stand The Heat? Get IN The Kitchen April 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Life Lessons, Travel & Leisure.
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.

During free time, he enjoyed playing cards, buying drinks at the service club, going to the movies (“to take advantage of the $.15 tickets”), and getting to know his fellow enlistees.

“Tonight I am down at the service club.  They furnish stationary, desks, etc.  They have a nice restaurant and also a soda bar here.  There is a large room with easy chairs that would equal a very nice hotel lobby. They also have pool tables and ping pong tables.  I am down with two other fellows, both from Massachusetts.  We ate in the restaurant to see what it was like to avoid the mess hall of our company.”

“Right near the service club is the post library.  It has a lot of good books and most of the latest magazines.  It really wasn’t any hardship not to get a pass this weekend.  I am going to stop now and drink some milk that we bought here at the service club.  That is one thing the army doesn’t serve much of here.  They say it would make us sick on the kind of work that we are doing.  P.S. I really do not dislike the army.  Of course there are moments that are a little disgusting.”

Dad took advantage of the post library rather than getting a weekend pass to go into town (especially after being told that “there are more soldiers there than anything else”).  In a letter to his dad at the end of July:

“I have taken a book from the library on sea navigation and have been studying it during spare time.  I’m still glad that I enlisted and think that I will be a lot farther ahead at the end of one year and a half.”

In a letter to his dad, dated July 26th, he recounted some of the challenges of basic training:

“Just a few lines tonight.  I drew my first K.P. since I hit Fort McClellan. Tomorrow, instead of getting up at 5:15 as usual, I will have to get up at 4:30.  I get off at 7:30 P.M.  I think that it will keep me from having to stand inspection.

“The training has been pretty tiring, mostly on account of the heat.  I don’t have access to a thermometer, but one of the sgts said that it was 127 degrees F yesterday noon.  After marching, standing, and running the obstacle course in that all afternoon we didn’t care much whether we had supper or not.  After I cooled off I was hungry enough though.”

_0001 (3b)

Dad ~ Top Right

A few days later, in a postcard to his step-mother, Margaret, he concluded with: “The life here is really pretty easy.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Continued tomorrow . . . “Ready, Aim, FIRE!”

Flight 293 April 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , ,

AirplaneShortly after a British Airways flight had reached its cruising altitude, the captain announced:

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain. Welcome to Flight 293, non-stop from London Heathrow to New York.  The weather ahead looks good, so we should have a smooth uneventful flight.

So sit back, relax, and . . . OH . . .  MY GOD!

Silence followed.

Some moments later, the captain came back on the intercom:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m sorry if I scared you. While I was talking, a flight attendant dropped a cup of hot coffee in my lap. You should see the front of my pants.

From the back of the plane, an Irish passenger yelled, “For the luvva Jaysus . . . you should see the back of mine!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Cocktails and Crew April 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , , , ,

Last week, we attended a cocktail party hosted by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast at the Bay Preserve on Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey.

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The Conservation Foundation’s mission ~> “protecting the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”

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Before the drinks started flowing, we watched local middle schoolers wading into the waters for crew practice.

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Ready . . .  Set . . . Heave Ho!

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Over it goes.

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And they’re off.

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While the kids rowed, rowed, rowed their boats . . .

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Instructors scooted around in motor boats, barking orders.

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We wandered out on the dock and found a school of friendly fish.

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Bellying up to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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The sun made its descent before the crew teams called it a day.

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The guest of honor, Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, regaled us with tales of early conservationists, including Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.

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At last, time for some Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale.

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 Aah . . . that’s better!

Sneak Peek at Neal Preserve April 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: , , ,

Our neighborhood is a bird sanctuary surrounded by 3 nature preserves ~ Robinson, Perico, and Neal.  Avian visitors include egrets, heron, pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, ibis, ducks, geese, vultures, and roseate spoonbills.


Robinson Preserve opened in 2008 with walking and biking trails, a picnic area, kayak launch, playground, visitor’s center, viewing tower, and lots of wildlife ~ including several nesting pairs of bald eagles.


Perico Preserve, still under construction, will be a bird rookery for nesting parents and baby birds.  “No Dogs Allowed.”


Neal Preserve, located just to the west of our neighborhood, is scheduled to open tomorrow.  A few weeks ago, we had a chance to take a sneak peek.

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We walked along the elevated boardwalk and climbed the viewing tower.

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We saw fluffy cotton and cacti growing wild, 2000-year-old conch shells lining pathways, and palms swaying overhead.

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We enjoyed stories shared by the resident archeologist about two ancient burial mounds (300 B.C. – 100 A.D.) found on the grounds.

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And admired a trio of skeletons acting sentry over the ancient mounds.

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We didn’t see even the whisper of a ghost.  Maybe next time.

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Aah . . . that’s better!


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