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All . . . Aboard! June 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Travel & Leisure.
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Instead of retracing the 1200 miles from Florida to New Jersey for the third time in as many weeks, I’ve decided to let Amtrak do the “heavy lifting” for me.  When I head back to NJ tomorrow, I’m taking the . . . Auto Train!

English: Amtrak's Auto Train passing the Railf...

English: Amtrak’s Auto Train passing the Railfan platform in Folkston. Jason Trew Photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The train departs Sanford FL (about 3 hours from us) tomorrow at 4 pm.  After boarding at 2:30 and getting settled in to my spacious coach seat accommodations, I’ll head straight to the lounge for a Wine and Cheese reception.  Bella!  After watching the scenery pass by for a few hours, it’s off to the Dining Car for dinner on the rails, followed by a movie in the 2nd floor lounge until the Land of Nod beckons.

After the movie, I’ll pull out my security blanket and pillow and kick back to enjoy a cozy siesta, serenaded by the clickety~clackety~clack of the rails beneath my feet.

Breakfast is served, beginning at 6 am, before we pull into the station at Lorton Virginia (just south of Washington DC) around 9:30 am.

As soon as my car is unloaded from the auto transport car, I’ll drive the last 4 hours to mom’s.


Once back in NJ, I’ll keep mom company until the Memorial Service on July 15th, help her decide what she wants to bring back to Florida with us, and  start cleaning out the house of possessions accumulated by mom and dad over the past 46+ years.

I’m excited.  It’s been ages since I’ve taken a long distance train ride.

And . . . it’ll be great not to have to keep a lookout for the next rest stop since trains (unlike cars) have bathrooms on board!

Aah . . . that’s better!

To Death’s Chagrin June 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Last night, I wrote my father’s obituary.

He’s gone.

Today, my older brother arranged for the cremation of his remains.  

He’s not coming back. 

We’re busy planning a Memorial Service . . . notifying family and friends . . . making travel arrangements . . . checking in with mom.

Dad’s dead.  

And, yet, to death’s chagrin, dad lives on . . . we have wrested his remains from the Grim Reaper’s grasp. 

With each breath, our hearts echo his love, light, and laughter.  Our retained memories sustain us and keep him alive.

While we live . . . he lives.

Aah . . . that’s better!   

Life Is What Happens June 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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I’m home . . . but probably not for long.  

We did the best we could in the time allotted, but my parents have more to cope with than their combined coping skills can manage at the moment.

Things are, to put it bluntly, a mixed up muddled up mess . . .

For much of the week, the ground beneath our feet felt like shifting sands as the focus of our efforts and priorities changed with the rapidity of a strobe light in a 70’s Disco:

* Dad started the week at Sunrise, an assisted living facility; he ended it in the hospital ~ non-responsive since last Monday when admitted for evaluation.

* We took mom to a spine specialist and learned she has two compression fractures of the spine. Surgery is recommended.  Understandably, she wants to see what happens with dad before making a decision. 

* My sister’s puppy, Chess, started limping after stepping on an unidentified object during a walk and had to be taken to the vet.  She recovered. 

* My sister-in-law got broadsided on Broad Street after visiting dad in the hospital. Her minivan had to be towed from the scene.  Thankfully, she did not.

* Et cetera. 

Despite the bass tones, we found things to celebrate in the midst of the mess.

* A Father’s Day barbecue at Sunrise:

* A Gathering of the Clans at my older brother’s home:

Where we all enjoyed a cookout . . .

And chocolate wine which smoothed the edges a bit . . .

I must confess, the arduous adventures of the week caused me to feel a bit discombobulated . . . as if my head had taken a vacation, leaving the rest of me to fend for myself:

The trip ended on a high note.  After 18-hours on the road and a short night’s sleep at my sister’s, I met up with BFF and his sister’s family for fun in the sun:

And lunch . . . complete with indoor thunderstorms at the Rainforest Cafe: 

We ate, supervised and overseen by trumpeting elephants and funny frogs:

Who kept their eyes on what and how we ate to see if we cleaned our plate:

Life is full of twists and turns . . .

Ups and downs . . . 

High notes and low notes . . .

Shared smiles and laughter makes the pain more palatable.  Keep breathing.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Good Menu For A Marriage June 16, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, People.
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BFF and I didn’t start dating for more than a year after we met ~ probably closer to 2 years.

By the time we started dating, we knew we enjoyed each other’s company, laughed at the same things, and believed in mutual respect.

Now, 32 years later, and 28 years (today!) since we “tied the knot,” we still enjoy each other’s company, laugh at the same things, and believe in mutual respect.

It’s a good menu for a marriage.

Thoughts on Love & Marriage:

* What’s so remarkable about love at first sight?  It’s when people have been looking at each other for years that it becomes remarkable. 

* Happiness is being married to your best friend.

* Love is such a big word, it really should have more letters.  ~ Kobi Yamada

The family reunion is all but over.  I hear the “fat lady” warming up in the wings . . . Mi Mi Mi Mi Mi Mi Mi.  

(What a narcissist . . . she obviously thinks it’s all about “Mi”!)

Aah . . . that’s better!

Bean Point ~ Posterized & Metallicized June 15, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature.
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Not that Mother Nature needs any help . . .

But I enjoyed playing around in PhotoSmart . . .

To further advertise this slice of paradise with posterized special effects . . .

And a dash of metallica thrown in for good measure . . .

Rather a surreal landscape, isn’t it? . . . Reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz

Auntie Em, Auntie Em . . . we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Family togetherness is all well and good, but Dorothy was right . . . “there’s no place like home.”  Now, where did I put those Ruby Slippers?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Government Cost Cutting Measures June 13, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Joke, People.
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Wikipedia ~ Old Age (in Public Domain)

To help boost the failing economy, the Federal Government has just announced that the Immigration Department will start deporting senior citizens in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs.

The rationale for the cost-saving measure is two-fold:

(1) Older people are easier to catch than illegal immigrants.

(2) Once deported, they will not remember how to get back home.

Thanks for the chuckle, Granny1947!

* * *

If things are going according to plan, our reunion is at the halfway mark.

Life should return to “as usual” in the not-too-distant future.  Til then . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Advice From A Firefly June 11, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Life Balance, Nature.
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While I’m off enjoying our family gathering, I plan to share a few LIGHT-hearted posts.  First up:

Advice From A Firefly

Be full of bright ideas. 

Pulse with excitement. 

Have a healthy glow.

* * *

Delight in summer evenings.

Keep a childlike sense of wonder.

Set a shining example.

 * * *  

Lighten up!

~ Ilan Shamir

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more advice from nature . . . visit National Wildlife Federation or Your True Nature.

Don’t let my absence leave you tongue-tied.  Please chat freely amongst yourselves.  I’ll respond to any comments when life returns to “as usual.”

Hop On The Bus, Gus! June 9, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor.
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Well, I’m off!

I’m headed to Orlando to “hop on the bus, Gus.”

Once packed, with suitcases and duffel bags stacked, we’ll wend our way North to New Jersey (the Garden State) for a fun old-fashioned family reunion.

Or, as we Scots call it . . . a “gathering of the clans.”

Wikipedia ~ Hammer Throw (in Public Domain)

A get-together . . . just like the Braemar Gathering.

Only smaller.

With fewer kilt-wearing, caber tossing, highland dancing,  bagpiping Haggis eaters in attendance.

And no Royals from Balmoral ~  they’re still recovering from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

We will have a few wee drams of Scotch on hand to “wet the whistle.”

For medicinal purposes only.

{{nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more}}

I may have access to the internet and time for cyber-surfing amidst the festive frivolity and frivolous fun.

Or not.

Time will tell.   Be well.

Ach, mon . . . that’s better!

Welcome to SPAM~A~LOT! June 8, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, Mindfulness, People.
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SLTW has become a stomping ground for SPAM of late.

Everytime I go to Dashboard, the Spam Filter is brimming over with gratuitous messages spawned of devious design and dubious mind:

* proclaiming my brilliance at blogging
* extolling the virtues of the theme for SLTW
* wondering whether they can “borrow” content to share elsewhere

And et cetera ad nauseatum.

I no sooner clean out the crap and clap trap from the SPAM filter’s yap trap when more yap lands in my lap . . . ACK!

Early on during this blogging adventure, someone in the know  told me  that SPAM is good ~ it means that search engines are directing traffic this way.

But I’m left to wonder . . . is it the right kind of traffic to attract?

Do visits from Flatterers and SPAM Spatterers artificially inflate stats?

As they add to traffic congestion on certain posts, are they counted  when calculating traffic patterns?

Are SPAM comments included in tallies or disregarded once deleted?

If you know, do tell!

In the meantime, welcome to SPAM~A~LOT!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  What’s the Deal with SPAM? (WP Daily Post)

When We Land On Our Derrious June 7, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Poetry.
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The world would be happier
If we were all sillier

Especially when clouds threaten rain

Life’s too short to be serious
When we land on our derrious*

Time to retrain our brains

If kids with cancer can Laugh and Smile and Sing and Dance and Be Silly . . .  can’t we do the same?  Thanks, Jacqueline ~> best Occupy Blogosphere yet!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Post:  Gray Day Silliness (Crowing Crone)

* Derrious ~ n : a polite reference to one’s posterior