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Punctuating Our Days With HAPPY Hours July 31, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Eeyore is prone to pessimism. 

Instead of looking for “the good,” he scans the horizon for something that holds no appeal . . . and hangs onto it.


Devoting his focus and energy to things he dislikes causes him to miss out on any number of happy moments he otherwise might have enjoyed.

A.A. Milne’s Eeyore is not alone in his unhappy habit . . . I see Eeyores  everywhere. 

The world is filled with people who walk around with a perpetual sour look marring their countenance and obscuring their perspective.  They are never at a loss for something to grumble about . . . or frown at with displeasure.

Do they find some obscure satisfaction from dissatisfaction? Or some comfort from residing in an uncomfortable, albeit familiar, state of mind?


And, then, there’s Tigger . . . who bounces through life with a perpetual grin on his face.

The anti-thesis of Eeyore.

Eyes wide open to “the good,” Tigger finds joy and beauty in every nook and cranny of life.  There is always something for Tigger to smile about as he moves through his days and nights. 

Can we not claim the same?

Happiness is never in things . . . it is in us.  Or it isn’t.  It’s a choice we make moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day.

If we want to emulate Tigger’s optimism and enthusiasm, we need only punctuate our days with HAPPY Hours.

Think of all the beauty still left around you and Be Happy.  ~ Anne Frank

Ahh . . . that’s better!

* * * * *

Artwork by Anne Abbgott ~ available at Island Gallery West.

Lost and Found July 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance.
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Living with mom reminds me of an endless game of “Hide the Thimble” . . . with all manner of sundry objects ready, willing, and able to step in as understudy for the lead role.

Sunrise to sunset, we play “hide and seek” with her glasses, her book, her walker, her cane, her hearing aids, her coffee cup, her cigarettes, her pocketbook, her lighter, her  photo albums, her pillbox, her whatchmacallit, etc.

It’s not that objects disappear from plain view or vanish into thin air, it’s that mom never chooses to look for them in the right place at the right time.

Mom has never been good at games.

If her pocketbook is hanging around her neck, she looks for it in her room.

If her coffee cup is sitting on the table, she wanders into the kitchen to see if it’s turned up there.

If her walker is at the back door, she searches for it by my computer.

BFF and I compensate for her incompetence with chattels by locating lost, misplaced, and “hidden” objects with a minimum of bother and fuss.

“Found it!”

“Oh, you did.  Where was it?”

“Right where you left it, mom.”

Yesterday, it was my turn.  I lost something of great value.  Priceless, really.  The most valuable possession I own for coping with life’s many, myriad, constant, and sundry challenges.

I lost my sense of humor, not for long, but for long enough for life to turn on its head with nothing but dark dismal cold stark gray on the horizon.

Without a sense of humor to temper my temper . . . my patience with HER began to wear thin.  Everything SHE did or said chafed.

Instead of smiling at her inane and/or ironic comments, I wanted her to disappear.  To step in as understudy for the Thimble.  To be lost, and never found.

I have since recovered my sense of humor (and with it my equilibrium).  All our recent practice with “Hide the Thimble” and “Lost and Found” paid off:

“Found it!”

“Oh, you did.  Where was it?”

“Right where I left it, mom.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Top Ten Things ~ Train Travel July 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure.
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This month, I traveled round-trip to New Jersey via the Auto Train  which  clickety~clackety~clacks, forth and back, on tracks from Sanford Florida  (northeast of Orlando) to Lorton VA (south of Washington DC).

The Top Ten Things I/we enjoyed about Train Travel:

1.  At the train station, we left everything packed in the car . . . except for a small overnight bag with pj’s, snacks, and toothbrush.

2.  No one asked us to take off our shoes, disrobe, endure a patdown, or pass through an onerous metal detector at a TSA checkpoint before boarding.

3. Amtrak offered wheelchair assistance for mom (who is recovering from spine surgery). The person who helped her out of the car came and found her when we needed to board the train.

4.  We enjoyed a free wine and cheese reception as soon as we boarded the train and stowed our belongings in the sleeper car.

5.  While nibbling on fruit, nuts, veggies, and cheese, we enjoyed panoramic views of sleepy towns in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia through expansive picture windows . . . with no tractor trailers to mar the scenery.

6.  We avoided 900 miles of tedious interstate driving on the I-95 corridor while still being able to use my packed-to-the-rafters Honda to transport mom’s clothes, meds, toiletries, etc., from NJ to FL.

7.  Friendly stewards served us dinner (salad, rolls, entrée, dessert, wine) at  a spacious table in a dedicated dining car . . . rather than passing us a tray of insipid airline food to eat while strapped/trapped in an assigned seat.   Mom had grilled salmon with lobster sauce.  I chose four cheese spinach  lasagna.

8.  Delicious desserts!  We both ordered the Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake ~  best tasting dessert I’ve had anywhere this year.  Sadly, we were too full from dinner (and the wine and cheese reception) to finish it.

9.  During dinner and in the lounge car, we met passengers of all ages from all walks of life ~ including an active duty Coast Guard officer relocating to Cape Cod Massachusetts from Florida, a veteran of the Korean War, and lots of excited children thrilled to be traveling to/from Disney World via train.

10.  Instead of being cramped in a crowded car, legs crossed between ill-timed Rest Stops, we remained free to move about cabin . . . with food, beverages, and bathrooms (!) available at all times.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (WP Daily Prompt)

Navigational Aids & Shortcuts July 26, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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Experiences may 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.

When we look over our shoulder and take a retrospective glance at the negatives (e.g., being diagnosed with a tumor, having to undergo surgery, dealing with a flooded basement), we find our perspective has shifted.

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

We learned something we needed to know.

We received a nudge in the right direction ~ a shortcut to becoming who we were always intended to be.

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more:  Zen & The Art of Happiness

One Speck In Space July 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor.
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EarthHow do you find a single speck in space when it is racing around the Earth at 16,000 miles per hour?

Answer:  The same way you’d track a golf ball . . . from 200 miles away.

In 1962, our family spent the summer in a small cabin on a lake in Andover Maine, coincident  with the launch of Telstar.

In this video from the Bell Telephone Laboratory Archives, dad responds to an inquiry to Satellite Acquisition:

“Roger.  We will initiate test series on fifth pass.” [counter 19:32]

A few minutes later, the announcer proclaims:  Bullseye!  Dead on Target.

Months and years of precision planning for the Telstar payload paid off!

On July 10th, we celebrated Telstar’s 50th Anniversary . . . coincident with our preparations for dad’s Memorial Service.

A single speck in space improved and facilitated communication systems around the globe.

Maybe we should strive to do the same?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Moment to Moment July 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogging.
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Thanks for all your kind and supportive comments over the past few weeks.

At the moment, the dust is still settling.  Once it clears, and a routine appears, I’ll be a bit more visible . . . both here and there.

Keep breathing!



Old friends pass away, new friends appear.

It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. 

The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.

~ His Holiness The XIV Dalai Lama

Aah . . . that’s better!

Artwork available at Roderick MacIver Arts.  The beauty of Rod’s art lies in his ability NOT to control all aspects of the water ~ he allows it latitude to do its thing while he does his. The result speaks for itself.

HOME!!! . . . At Last! July 20, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor.
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I’m back . . . but rather overwhelmed by the challenges of dealing with my mother on a round the clock basis.

Mom is not only hard of hearing (“what???”), confused (“where am I?” “what day is it?” “where’s Doug?”), and forgetful (“where did I put my X? my Y? my Z?”), but in physical pain which limits her mobility, strains her disposition, and tests her (and my) patience.

This too shall pass . . . keep breathing.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Artwork by Monica Stewart . . . “Unity”