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Paddocks and Padlocks April 7, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, People.
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220px-Horse_and_ManAttendees at the Steeplechase Horse Race are serious about two things:  watching the race and drinking beer.

In short, they drink, and pee, like race horses.

Following their lead, I downed a few cold ones and decided it was time to make “a visit.”

Outside the Ladies Room, a spiraling line of women, at varying levels of sobriety, waited for admittance.

Quickly counting the number of heads, I realized that I would never cross the finish line in time.

Turning, I saw a row of portable toilets with no lines.

Hmm . . .

Due to the somewhat deficient bathroom situation at this annual event, serious drinkers rent private Port-A-Johns, locking them with padlocks between visits so “commoners” (like me) don’t deplete their TP!

Live and learn.

Since my rather pressing situation called for drastic measures, I darted into one of the private Port-A-Johns as soon as its owner exited.  I slammed and locked the door from inside, and proceeded to take care of my rather urgent business.

“Hey!  What the hell do you think you are doing?,” demanded a man from outside the outhouse.

“I gotta pee, man!”

“Not in my John.  Get out.”

“C’mon, man!  Give me a break . . . I have to GO!”

“Not my problem.  Get out or I’ll lock you in . . . ”

Fortunately, I am ultra efficient when I go to the bathroom, especially when being threatened with incarceration.

Stepping back into the fresh air, and smiling with relief, I came face to face with an angry man, armed with a padlock.

I smiled by most disarming smile,”Hey, man!  Thanks!  I needed that!  . . . Say, can I toss you a cold brew from our cooler to repay the favor?”

“Nah, we’re cool.  It’s all good.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  Sometimes it’s better to beg forgiveness . . . than ask permission.

There Are No Sidelines In Life April 7, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Mindfulness, People.
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Obama is poisoning our food supply still further:        Obama Gives Key Agriculture Post to Monsanto Man.

When I posted a link to the article on Facebook, several people expressed outrage at Obama’s decision ~ a sentiment shared with family farmers, farm workers, fishermen, and organizations focused on developing sustainable agriculture, promoting environmental issues, increasing food safety for consumers, and ending world hunger. 

On a related but divergent note, another acquaintance (from my days with AmeriCorps) commented on the link as follows:  

That could have been you appointed.  How long are you going to sit on the sidelines?  Especially being the brilliant lawyer you are.  Something to think about.  Get back in the game!”

Not taken in by the superficial compliment, I focused on the implications behind the related commentary and responded:

(1) Who says I’m not “in the game”? ~ I’m in the game, and having a blast. I’m just playing by my own rules (rather than striving for socially sanctioned ideals of success which, in the end, are meaningless);

(2) I don’t need to think about it ~ you couldn’t pay me enough to waste my life in Washington DC, tangled up with politicians, lobbyists, and bureaucratic bullshit;

(3) There are no sidelines in life ~ I am doing exactly what I want to do, where I want to do it;

(4) Thank God it wasn’t ~ I would NEVER accept a political appointment, with all the greasy greasing of palms and quid pro quos and other unsavory doings.


If my response seems a tad abrupt, allow me to put it into context: 

* This is not the first time this particular acquaintance has offered me well-meaning, but unneeded, career advice.   

* He is relentless in his efforts to push me back into the legal arena, and/or to encourage me to enter the political arena.   

* Instead of accepting my decision to leave the practice of law, he continues to view that decision as a mistake which must be rectified.

* He labors under the assumption that I’m somehow not fully engaged in the game of life since I no longer wear a power suit to work each day.

* Perhaps he embraces the notion that success in life is measured in the accumulation of external rewards, such as money and power. 

Not me.  

Virtually everything I have experienced in the past thirteen years (since I left the practice of law) has reinforced my desire to live a more spiritual and peaceful life ~ one focused more on internal wisdom and less on external gratification.

As my perspective shifted from old ways of thinking (centered on ego) to a “new way” of viewing the world (focused on spiritual strength), the happier I became. 

I would NEVER willingly trade that increased peace, joy and contentment for a tainted political appointment . . .

Would you? 

No rules.  Just write!

Related Posts:  Stop Playing “Follow The Leader” * Life Is Not One-Size-Fits-All * Simplify Your Life * But I Might Die Tonight  *  Way of the Peaceful Warrior

The Days of Milk and Roses April 7, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, People.
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By Linda Neuffer Chaston, Guest Blogger

While John was working on his PhD in Romance Philology (read: Spanish Language) at the University of Texas at Austin, we lived in married student housing.  We were jealous of church mice, we were so poor. 

He usually left for campus on the first shuttle bus of the day, around 7 a.m., and returned on the last shuttle of the day, around 11 p.m.  On Fridays, he would come home early and we would toss the kids in the car and go somewhere ~ for a drive, to the mall, it didn’t matter.  We just had to get away from our daily routine, and that’s what our Fridays were for. 

I think this must have been a Friday, because I was in the kitchen when he came home, which means it wasn’t after 11 o’clock.  He had in his hands two gallons of milk.

Back in those days, we went through a lot of milk at our house ~ around 6 gallons a week.  On that particular day, we were out of the stuff, and I had been waiting for him to get home so I could run to the store and get some without having to take all the kids with me ~ at the time I was pregnant with baby number three or baby number four.  Not that I didn’t often haul them along, but “Make Way for Ducklings,” as cute a tale as it is, makes for very inefficient shopping.

John handed me the milk with a sad look on his face. “I stopped at the store to buy you some flowers today,” he started.

I cocked my head and looked at him a little funny. Flowers were definitely not in our budget.  Anywhere.  I was touched by the thought, though, and he continued:

“I had a few dollars left in my wallet, and I know I never bring you flowers, but I thought how nice it would be to do that, just for no reason at all, so I stopped at the grocery store and as I walked back to where the flowers are, I passed the dairy case and I remembered that we were out of milk, and I thought about how you probably hadn’t had a chance to get to the store with the kids and all.  I didn’t have enough money to get milk AND flowers, so I just brought you the milk, but I wanted it to be the flowers.  Can you pretend that they’re flowers?”

This is the part where she leans in for a tender kiss and the screen fades to a discreet black.

I still think it’s the best present I ever received.

From the coast of Maine to Granada, Spain, Linda Neuffer Chaston is inspired by the ordinary people and everyday places around her, which to her are never ordinary or everyday. 

She also authors a blog, Elsie’s Notes from New England.

A Taste of Enlightenment April 7, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness.
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Our favorite donut shop, which serves the BEST Donuts in the entire universe, is Buddha Belly Donuts in downtown Sarasota.

The Buddha Belly Bakers have elevated the simple donut from a bit of fried dough into a Nirvana rivalling that which Buddha discovered only after meditating under a Boddhi tree for an entire night.
Had Buddha had just one taste of Buddha Belly donut . . . the truth about life and why we are here would have  revealed itself to him that much sooner.
We are here to be happy . . . and enjoy ourselves . . . by eating donuts!
Mmm . . . donuts!