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A Forward Look, Backwards September 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Poetry.
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Today is Mom’s Birthday!

She’s “twenty-one plus” . . . and holding.

Happy Birthday, Mom!


A few years ago, we wanted mom and dad to move into a smaller place.  Mom didn’t want to move.  Dad was on the fence.  To encourage her to reconsider, I sent her a poem for her birthday ~ A Forward Look, Backwards.


A Forward Look, Backwards

Mom, as you know, we’ve moved around a bunch
One place at breakfast, another by lunch
In contrast, you’re more like an Oak tree
Roots deep in the soil, branches floating free

From the coast of Maine, to Paris at night
Hiking and biking, you’ve seen many a sight
But your roots remained in the Garden State
And your memories there have grown in weight

For forty-three years, you’ve stayed in one place
Adding rings ’round your trunk with grit and grace
Roots sinking deeper, memories growing
But, Mom, at long last – your age is showing


Four children grown, and off on their own
The seeds you planted have now been resown
And most of your rooms sit empty and bare
Silent echoes of laughter filling the air

One thing we have learned over the years
Moving about is no cause for tears
In each place, our memories came too
Now, I ask, what are you going to do?

Will you stay in a house, too big by far
Or . . . “would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are . . .

Or would you rather be a mule?” *

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM . . . whatever you decide.


The poem didn’t work.

A few more birthdays came and went.  In time, life made the decision for her ~ dad died last June and our childhood house has since been sold.


Life’s like that . . . always moving forward, even if we’re looking backwards.


Aah . . . that’s better!

* * * * *

* The rest of the stanza from Would You Like To Swing On A Star:

A mule is an animal with long funny ears
He kicks up at everything he hears
His back is brawny but his brain is weak
He’s just plain stupid with a stubborn streak . . .


Flesh Eating Bacteria September 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Health & Wellness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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Starfish-in-the-waterThis weekend, I overheard an amputee explaining how he ended up with one less limb.

His story’s a bit grim.

He went to the beach for vacation in 2001 and woke up one morning with a sore leg.

By nightfall, he was in a coma.  When he “woke up,” his right leg had been amputated to evict a “flesh-eating bacteria.”

I am NOT including photos of necrotizing fascitis because they are way too nasty for all but the most stalwart . . . if you’ve got a strong stomach, you can see them HERE.

I’ve heard about this sort of thing happening on occasion . . . but usually due to going into the water with an open wound or eating raw seafood.

In this guy’s case, the doctors never found the point of entry.

There’s a warning for parts of Florida right now which recommends against eating raw shellfish or going into the water if you have an open wound.

As if sharks, jellyfish, and sting-rays weren’t enough to worry about while floating about in the waves.  It’s enough to keep a body on the beach.


If you’re wondering what to be grateful for tonight, not losing life and limb to flesh eating bacteria might be just the thing.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related stories:  Aimee Copeland Gets Prosthetic Hands (NY Daily News) * Flesh Eating Bacteria in Coastal Waters (Action News) * 26 Cases of Vibrio Vulnificus Reported Across State (First Coast News) * Flesh Eating Bacteria Found in Gulf (Wink News Now)

More From Oscar Scherer September 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Travel & Leisure.
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Yesterday, in addition to trying paddle boarding for the first time, we went on a Tram Ride around Oscar Scherer State Park.


We met some sociable Scrub Jays (and some sociable kayakers and bikers).


We learned the name of these beautiful berries ~> Beauty Berries.


We hiked a bit of the Legacy Trail, transformed into a bike trail by removing most of the old rail road tracks . . . but not all of them.


We walked around Osprey Lake before heading to the beach to climb aboard a YOLO board.


And we enjoyed a picnic lunch while listening to some fine fiddling music.  All in all a great place to spend National Public Lands Day.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Paddle Boarding at Oscar Scherer September 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance.
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Today I did something I’ve never done before . . . I went YOLO boarding!


YOLO (“You Only Live Once”) Boarding is a cross between surfing and kayaking.  Participants stand on a board that’s thicker and sturdier than a surfboard and use canoe-type paddles to glide across the water.

Sounds like a FUN way to explore new vistas, eh?  Just remember to keep an eye out for wildlife.


Before heading out on gator patrol, I took a brief 20-second lesson on balancing, paddling, and standing up without toppling over.


Then I paddled around the shallows of Osprey Lake looking for hungry gators lurking about.


I didn’t see any, but you can’t be too careful in gator country.  I made another pass before sending the “all clear” sign.


Wait . . . did he see me?  Better double check before standing.  Yoo Hoo.  Over Here.  I’m ready to stand up now.


YES!  I did it!  I stood up first try.  With only a slight wobbly.  Yay!


OK . . . let’s paddle around to see the sights in Oscar Scherer State Park without falling into the brackish water.


Yay!  I stayed HIGH and DRY!  Not too shabby for a first-timer.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever gone paddle boarding?  If not, would you like to give it a try?

Related posts:  YOLO (You Only Live Once) Boarding * Something I’ve Never Done Before (Sidey’s Weekend Theme) * WP Daily Prompt ~ Ebb & Flow

Adults Have All The Fun . . . NOT! September 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor.
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“Why do I have to go to bed? . . . I’m not tired.”

“Because it’s bedtime.”

“If it’s bedtime, why don’t you have to go to bed?”

“Because we’re adults.”

“It’s no fair . . . you get to have all the fun.”

“Tell you what.  If you go to bed RIGHT NOW, we’ll go out for ice cream tomorrow.”

“Three cones?”

“Three cones.”

“Now I’m too excited to sleep!”


Aah . . . that’s better!

When Pigs Fly September 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor.
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alice26thOnce upon a time, I decided to paint a zebra.

My Inner Critic (an outspoken naysayer) admonished and remonstrated with me (using his ever-clever kindergarten-style taunt), “You can’t paint a zebra.”

“Why not?”

“You don’t know HOW to paint a zebra.”

“Sure I do.  Why don’t you take a hike across the Serengeti while I paint?”

“Fine.  Be that way!  But don’t blame me when you fall flat on your face.”

He left.  I painted.

* * * * *

I asked the zebra, Are you black with white strips? Or white with black strips?
And the zebra asked me:
Are you good with bad habits? Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times? Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with sad days? Or are you sad with happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?  Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra about stripes again.
~ Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

* * * * *

Fast forward 15 years ~ here’s the painting I told a few of you about yesterday:


Are there tell-tale mistakes, splatters of paint, and skewed perspectives?

Yup . . . and that’s OK.  I wasn’t looking to paint a perfect zebra the first time out of the barn.

In fact, my Inner Critic tells me I’ll paint a PERFECT zebra when Pigs Fly!


I expect he’s right.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  We Are The Champions (Andra) * Silence The Inner Critic

Making Your Dreams Come True September 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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A short time ago, when I posted a post about Plein Air Painting, several readers requested that I share my paintings.

Since scanning hadn’t worked well, Tok suggested I photograph them.

Here’s one painted in 1998, ten years before we moved to FL.  If you look past the glare off the glass, it’s how I dreamed my life could be and would be:


Listen to the mustn’ts child. Listen to the don’ts.
Listen to the shouldn’t haves, the impossibles, the won’ts.
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen child.  Anything can be.

~ Shel Silverstein

Was it worth the wait?

You betcha!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A-Moose Me! September 25, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor.
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On our way to watch the sunset over the Gulf last Saturday, I spied this sign:


Hmm . . . why do men get to join the Loyal Order of the Moose for $30 but it costs women $40?


Is it because women eat too much at the Friday night buffets?  Or drink too much when they belly up to the bar?

Perhaps they are just too distracting?


I know!  Maybe men are jealous because women are better hula hoopers?

OK . . . I give up.  You tell me.  Put on your thinking cap and come up with the best explanation you can for why men get to join the Loyal Order of the Moose for $30 but it costs women $40.

Get the Loyal Order of the Moose in your sights.  Take aim.  And . . . FIRE!

Try to a-moose.


Aah . . . that’s better!

To double your FUN . . . enter your answer in Eric’s Worst Short Story Contest.

Related post:  Terrible Houseguests (Janna)

“Finicky Eaters” September 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Sustainable Living, Word Play.
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Donald-DuckaThe other day, I read a comment that made me pause and scratch my head . . .

Someone had chosen to characterize vegetarians and vegans as “finicky eaters.”

Hmm . . .

Thinking that maybe she was using some antiquated or esoteric definition of “finicky,” I went off to investigate.

Googling “finicky,” I found these definitions:


* Insisting capriciously on getting just what one wants; difficult to please; fastidious

* excessively particular, as in tastes or standards; fussy

* full of trivial detail; overelaborate

Next, I googled “capricious” to make sure I wasn’t overlooking the obvious:

* subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic

Nope.  “Finicky” is NOT the word I would choose to describe someone who has adopted a sustainable lifestyle designed to minimize the suffering of animals while, at the same time, improving their own health and well-being.

Calvin-gots-an-IdeaInstead of “finicky,” the word “discerning” springs to mind:

* Exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; perceptive.

And from Merriam-Webster:

* able to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently

* wise, insightful, perceptive, prudent, sagacious, sage, sapient

Mickey-OKYes!  I’m sure that “discerning” is the adjective she was looking for.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.”
~ Albert Einstein

Related posts:  Tammy’s Top Ten Reasons To Become A Vegetarian * Forks Over Knives * Milk ~ The Deadly PoisonOnly A Fool Would Say That

Are You Doing IT Right? September 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.
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3D-CowHave you ever written a blog post seeking reassurance that you’re not alone, that others view the world the same way you do, that you are doing IT (whatever IT is) right?


Me neither.

When we are comfortable with the decisions we are making, that’s a sign that we are on the right track . . . for us.

That does NOT mean that we should encourage everyone else to follow us as we take The Leap and wait for The Net to appear.

It might not be a big enough net.  And it might not be the right leap for them.

7dwarfsWhen we have niggling doubts about decisions we are making, that’s a signal that we are on the wrong track . . . for us.

Human nature being what it is, and silly rabbits that we are, when faced with internal misgivings, we look around to see if others think we are doing the Right Thing.

Of course, what they think is none of our business.   They cannot tell us whether what we are doing is the Right Thing . . . for us.

Because their perspective is limited.  Their view is skewed.  They don’t know how we feel nor do they know which path we are meant to be following.  So their high fives, pats on the back, and nods of reassurance aren’t worth anything at all.


Now, let’s say that while we’re putting IT out there and holding our actions up for a vote from a fellowship of our perceived peers (i.e., seeking reassurance from all the wrong places), someone comes along, looks at us askance, and notes that, IF we were comfortable with the choices we were making, we wouldn’t need to seek external validation from a posse of our peers.

What happens then?

Often, we get bristly and defensive.  Because WE wanted reassurance.  Not just from one or two people.  But from a hundred.  Or a thousand.  Or more.

Because, let’s be honest here, the Ego can NEVER get enough validation.  Like a pig feeding at a trough, Ego has an insatiable appetite.

HobbesAnd we are ANNOYED . . . even if we sugar-coat it with saccharine sweetness . . . because we wanted to be validated in the choices we’ve been making.

We wanted THEM to tell us we are on the RIGHT track.  We wanted high fives and pats on the back and nods of encouragement, not HONEST (*gasp*) feedback.

So our thoughts head south:

Who IS this person to look at ME askance and question what I am doing?  

They don’t know ME.  They haven’t walked in MY shoes.  They haven’t had the same experiences as ME.  They are not in a position to judge ME.  


If you want to know if you are doing it right, look deep.  The answers lie within.

Your perceived need for reassurance from others may be your heart asking you to make a slight course correction:

HEART:  “OMG!  What are you doing?  Why did you just run him through with a pitchfork?”

YOU:  “It’s OK.  I know what I’m doing . . . he tried to hit me with a forklift!”

HEART:  “But . . . “

YOU:  “No, really.  It’s OK.  I did the RIGHT thing.  I asked my posse and they all said I should keep doing what I’m doing.”

HEART:  “What do they know about the path you’re on?”


Be open.  Listen.  Adjust your sails if necessary.  Consistency is over-rated.

Aah . . . that’s better!

”You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.” ~ Thomas Wolfe

Related posts:  The Sound of Silence (Kate Shrewsday) * To Thine Own Self Be True * The Answers Lie Within * Daily Prompt ~ Fork Me!!!  (I Am Who I Am)