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Happy Halloween! October 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People.
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IMGP4171When we moved here, we attended a meeting of the Master Association (for 700 units) mid-summer.

Other than the board members (who had to be there), only 3 other residents attended ~ a turn out that can only be described as “dismal.”

The board suggested several committees we could join.

We agreed to assist the Social Committee in planning the Monster’s Ball and said we would consider joining other committees at an undisclosed “later date.”  We also agreed to assist our individual association with a Halloween Potluck for the 100 villas on our street.

We surmised that helping the Social Committees (on our street and in the neighborhood as a whole) would give us a chance to meet and greet our new neighbors faster than if we joined the Landscaping, Building, Pool, Lighting, Flag, or Security Committees.

Donald-Duck-MadAnd helping with both events meant that we could kill two birds with one stone.

No, no.  Not you Donald. Nor Daisy.

It’s just an expression.

I would NEVER . . . 

Remember those garbled messages delivered when playing telephone?  Yup, you guessed it ~ our offer to “assist with party set-up” transmuted to “co-hosts” for the event.  When we received the October newsletter for our street, we saw we had been promoted, without consultation, to “hosts” for the evening.

At least it was a potluck supper . . . and not a sit down dinner for the Queen.


Fast forward a few weeks . . .

The Social Committee for the Master Association turned out to be a committee of one ~ a chair who self-identified as chief cook and bottle washer.   BFF and I met with her and one other volunteer the day before Halloween to decorate for the Monsters Ball.  We planned to use the same decorations for our street’s Halloween Potluck later that evening.

Smart, eh?  I often have great ideas when I put on my Thinking Cap.


In no time, we realized why the chair did not have a pool of volunteers helping her.  What a control freak!

* No, don’t put the candy corn on the tables . . . they are for the game! 

* No, no, no, we always hang the skeletons on the back wall. 

* No, the tombstones go on the front wall; the pumpkins go on the tables.

By the time the decorations were up, BFF and I had decided, thrice over, that we did not want to join the master association’s Social Committee.


That decision was reinforced the next night ~ when only twenty people showed up for the Monster’s Ball.

Not including these four goofy ghouls:


Upset by the dismal turnout, the chair proceeded to have a melt-down.  In the middle of the party!  A childish display destined to deter all but the hardiest party-goers from attending future events.



After the party, I walked over to give her a shoulder to cry on.  She shrugged off my empathy:

It’s fine.  I’m just going to throw these decorations away since people don’t appreciate my efforts!

Huh?  Words swirled, unsaid:  They aren’t your decorations to throw away!  They belong to the master association.  


Excusing ourselves from the intended carnage, BFF and I maneuvered Martha (an elderly neighbor) out of the room and affirmed our decision to steer clear of the Chair of the Anti-Social Social Committee.

In contrast to Madame Meltdown’s Monster Ball, the Halloween Potluck for our street the night before had been far more fun!


Better attended . . .  AND attended by better-behaved pumpkins!


Aah . . . that’s better!

Have a SPOOK-tacular time tonight, filled with ghoulish fun and delight.  Watch out for things that go BUMP in the night, causing scaredy-cats to jump in fright.

Halloween Horror House October 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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IMGP4171“C’mon, Karen!  Let’s go into the Haunted House.  It’s Halloween.”

“Nah.  Let’s ride the Ferris Wheel, Brad.  It’s more my speed.”

“I thought you said you wanted to try new things.”

“I did, I do, but . . . ”

“Don’t worry.  I’ll protect you.  Just think how romantic it will be.  The two of us, wandering  through the dark, with only ghosts and ghouls for company.”

“I don’t know . . . ”

“It’ll be fun.  I promise!”

“OK.  OK.  Fine.  Let’s go before I change my mind.”

Hand-in-hand, Karen and Brad groped through the dark doorway .  Spider webs brushed Karen’s cheek, “Eeek!”

“It’s nothing, just some silly string.”


Unable to see, Karen slid her feet across the planked floor, straining to hear amid the screams that filled the house with decibels of surround sound.

The noise creeped her out.  As did the dark.  She let go of Brad’s hand to scratch her leg, then held her hand up in front of her nose.  Nothing.


“I can’t even see my hand, Brad.  Let’s get out of here.  I’ve had enough.”

Karen swung her arm out to reconnect with Brad, finding nothing but chill air.

“Stop playing around, Brad.  It isn’t funny.  Where are you?”

“I mean it, Brad.  Answer me!”

Just ahead, Karen heard a gasp, followed by a scream, then laughter.

“Oh, my god!  I think I stepped on a bloody corpse!  Eww!”

Nervous laughter erupted from the group.

Karen inched forward in the dark.  Being with a group of strangers would be better than being alone.  Right?  

Where the hell is Brad?

As she reached the group in front of her, a beam of light flashed over the bloody corpse splayed across the wooden floor.

Karen rolled her eyes in disgust, “Very funny, Brad!  Get up now.  I’ve had enough Halloween Horror for one night.”

The girl holding the flashlight pointed it straight at Karen.  “You know this guy?”

Karen held a hand up to shield her eyes, “Yeah. That’s my on again, off again boyfriend. Soon to be ex-boyfriend if he doesn’t stop playing games.”


The girl aimed the flashlight at Brad, sprawled motionless in the middle of the dark corridor.  She nudged the body with the tip of a black boot.

Karen stepped forward, “Brad, if you don’t get up right now, I’m going to kill you.”

“I don’t think he can hear you . . . he’s dead to the world.”

Karen noticed blood pooling under Brad’s head and started to scream.

She didn’t stop until the lights came on. By then, a flood of mummies and ghoulish figures surrounded Brad’s lifeless body.

Karen took in the surreal scene, transfixed by the blood.  The girl with the flashlight touched her arm, causing Karen to flinch.

“We called the police. They’re on the way. I’ll stay with you until they arrive. They’re going to want to question you. I’m Rachel, by the way.”

Karen nodded, “I told Brad I didn’t want to come in here.  I told him the Ferris Wheel was more my speed.  He didn’t bloody listen.  That’s always been his problem.  He’s doesn’t bloody listen.”


Aah . . . that’s better!

Want more?  For a True Ghost Story ~ When The Dead Refuse To Leave (Living on the Edge of the Wild)

The Ghosts of Posts Past October 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogging, People.
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Blogging is a cyber-microcosm of life.

Regular visitors come and go.  Just like in the real world, there is a constant ebb and flow of people, places, things, and thoughts.


Reading comments threads from past posts reveal these ghosts.

People who stopped by to share their views on the world and then vanished without a trace into the vast reaches of cyber space.


Some ghosts are missed.  We wonder where they wander now.  Absence oft makes the heart grow fonder.

Others . . . not so much.    Out of sight, out of mind.


Here’s to the ghosts of posts past whose haunting refrain lingers in our hearts.

Aah . . . that’s better.

We loved watching this guy paddle-boarding with two dogs just before sunset at the Anna Maria Pier last week.  It looked like both dogs had been outfitted with U.S.C.G. approved flotation devices.

I invited Tigger to go paddle-boarding with me next time.  He declined.

Cackle . . . the Spooky Black Cat October 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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On a dark gloomy night in a gloomy dark wood
A black cat rapped as he prowled his hood

“Don’t mess wit me . . . cuz I’m all that!”
“They call me Cackle . . . the Spooky Black Cat!”


Trolling the corner of Cauldron and Newt
Cackle bumped into a chick in a witch’s suit

Raising one finger to the wart on her nose
Winnie applauded with glee, as Cackle froze


Cackle hissed and growled, arching his back
Winnie laughed at his antics, “Enough of that!”

She waved her wand with a “Zim Zither Zee”
Cackle’s hackles melted, “You’re THE witch for me!”


Join Susanna Hill’s 3rd Annual Halloweensie Contest ~> No tricks.  Just treats.

Related post: Halloween Drives Me Batty * Halloweensie Contest 2013 Winners! (Cackle => “Most Original Format” . . . for his Rap!)

Kirkin’ of the Tartans Service October 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor.
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We’re going to Roser Community Church on the island today . . . for a “Kirkin’ of the Tartans Service.”  Kirking, from the Scottish Gaelic word Kirk, means “church.”  In this usage, it means “blessing.”

A bagpiper and drummer will play outside before the service and we’ll enjoy a procession of clan flags as we enter the Kirk.

The service will include ancient creeds and prayers founded in Scotland and will conclude with the hymn Amazing Grace . . . with bagpipe and drum accompaniment.


Since it’s apt to be a tad warm for tartan, I’ll wear my “Touch Not The Cat Bot A Glove” broach ~ that’s the Crest Motto for Clan Mackintosh (my clan on mom’s side).  It’s also the Crest and Motto for Clan Macpherson.

To cap the festivities, everyone in the congregation will receive Scottish Shortbread as they leave the sanctuary.

Cookies have long been associated with Roser Community Church since Charles Roser funded the memorial chapel in 1913 with money made from his success in the confectionery business.  He is credited by many as the inventor of Fig Newtons.  He sold his recipe to the National Biscuit Company (NABISCO) along with his process for extruding cookie dough with jam filling.

The “Kirkin’ of the Tartans Service” is the first in a series of services reflecting the broad range of denominations represented by the congregation of Roser, a 100-year-old church, the oldest “kirk” on the island.


On Sunday, November 24th, the service will incorporate elements of the Moravian “Love Feast.”

We enjoyed Moravian services when we lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and spent hours wandering around Old Salem and Bethabara, both Moravian settlements.

Maybe they’ll pass out Moravian cookies!

Hope your day is filled with Amazing Grace . . . and “a wee bit of Scottish.”


Aah . . . that’s better!

A Little Buddha Told Me October 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.
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“In the end, only three things matter:
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go
of things not meant for you.”
~ Buddha


Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote borrowed from Judith who is soaking up Florence at the moment!

13 Unpolished Gems . . . One Stone October 25, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, Word Play.
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I always seem to have more ideas to write about than time to write ~ the more I write, the more ideas I have.

Maybe writing primes the pump and keeps ideas flowing.

In any event, given the ever-growing backlog of draft posts incubating in my cyber desk, I’ve decided to toss out 13 esoteric, eclectic, extraneous, and unpolished “hidden gems” for pondering and perusal.

Here goes nothing:

(1) There is NOTHING like looking at my TO DO list for the day and realizing that most of the items on it have already been DONE!


(2) Magazine titles make me snort.  For example: 16 Songs That EVERYONE Over The Age of 50 MUST Have.  Seriously?  There is NOTHING that everyone over the age of 50 would agree on except, perhaps, how lame lists like this really are.

And I don’t care what Supertramp says ~ do NOT take the long way home if you’re already in a hurry.


(3) People often underestimate the time it takes to get to know someone.  Even after all these years, I’m still getting acquainted with the “real me.”

(4) When you don’t know, go with the flow.  Have faith that you’ll end up where you need to be when you need to be there.

Besides, let’s say you veer off course, how are you ever gonna know?

(5) While we’re on the subject of faith, do those who believe in a personified deity picture God with eyes, ears, nose, mouth, chin, arms, legs, hands, feet?

How about a dick?  Or is picturing God with sexual organs a form of blasphemy?

(6) And what about Jesus?  Did he masturbate in his teens, succumbing to “sins of the flesh” before he knew he would be sitting on the right hand of an all-knowing all-seeing all-powerful vengeful God?  For all eternity.


(7) Ever notice how some people are addicted to the idea of being addicted? They claim their “addictions” (i.e., eating cookies and being a couch potato) are why they are fat and unhappy.  Bad habits are NOT addictions.  They are just a convenient way to abrogate responsibility for our personal health & well-being.

Care for a cookie?


(8) OMPM (One Mistake People Make) ~> Plastic Surgery for Pets.  When dogs are overweight, they do NOT need liposuction.

They need to go for a WALK!

(9) And speaking of walks, I do NOT support Walk for the Cure.  Rather than having masses of people moving from Point A to Point B to raise money, I’d rather see them planting trees, picking up trash, renovating apartments for the homeless, helping in soup kitchens, etc.

You know, raising funds by actually DOING something to improve the world.

(10) On that note, I DO support many causes . . . I just don’t let others goad me into adopting THEIR causes as my own.  In the AmeriCorps program at Salisbury University, members mentored and tutored at-risk youth. They enjoyed making a difference in the community.  And I enjoyed watching them make a difference.

What?  I supported them by being a cheerleader.  It’s not always about tossing money at problems.

(11) Which reminds me, I refuse to be manipulated by all the non-monetized awards circulating through cyber space.  If people want me to play by the rules, give acceptance speeches, nominate more bloggers, spill my guts, post the award on my sidebar, etc., etc., etc., they should attach a stipend to the award!

Yeah, baby. Show me the money!

(12) Did you hear that Facebook is claiming a trademark for the “Thumbs Up” sign?  Right!  FB came up with the “Thumbs Up” sign the same way that Al Gore dreamed up the Internet.

In their dreams!

(13) Are you getting tired of the LIKE button?  Don’t you wish WordPress would offer more creative options?  Pressing “Thought Provoking,” “Hysterically Funny,” “Awesome Photos,” and/or “Wild Applause” for this post would be way better than pressing LIKE, right?

Can you give me a Thumbs Up?

Log out of FB first, to ensure you don’t get sued for Trademark Infringement.

Aah . . . that’s better!  

Nothing like killing 13 “gems” with one stone.  If any of these thoughts SPARK YOUR SNARK, speak up.

C’mon . . . get your SNARK on!

Need tips?  Visit Kate.  Oh, wait, Kate says she lost her SNARK.  Hmm . . . I don’t buy it.  Here’s some SNARK she shared just days ago in a post about Peace and Quiet.

Need more SPARK for your SNARK?  Check out Col’s post, Wild Weekend, in which he shares a poem about tons of Hippo Poo being deposited where fish pee, eat, drink, sleep, and have sex.

Oh, he didn’t mention sex?  My bad.

Related Posts:  How Do You Fill Your Creative Tank? (Andra Watkins) * Writing Magic (Vivian Kirkfield) * Daily Prompt: Simply the Best (Modern Human Culture)

Less Stress, More Joy October 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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One of my priorities is to retain peace of mind and contentment when faced with challenges, obstacles, and S~T~R~E~S~S.

Even if it means walking out of a Lecture Gone Wrong.

Once we learn the underlying principles, we are able to tap the infinite source of peace, gratitude and love even in the midst of the stormiest seas.

Instead of floundering on the surface, tossed around by relentless waves, we dive deep and float, buoyed by gentle undulating currents of joy and harmony.

S~T~R~E~S~S disappears as soon as we remember to Let IT Go.


Instead of battling the waves crashing over our heads at the surface, we go within . . . and float.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Posts:  10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn (my fave -> #6) * Swimming Beneath The Current

Stir Life With A Slow Spoon October 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
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When caramelizing onions, low heat with a slow spoon works best to enhance their innate sweetness.  Cranking the heat to speed up the process doesn’t work, unless you savor the flavor of burnt onions with raw centers.

Life’s like that ~ we enhance its innate sweetness when we slow down.


In a recent post, Do You Ever Slow Down?, Eric provides 3 tips on soaking up the present moment before rushing headlong into the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.

Reading Eric’s post reminded me of John Lennon’s decision to stop riding the merry-go-round:

Simon & Garfunkel’s recipe for “Feeling Groovy” also came to mind ~> “slow down, you move to fast, you got to make the morning last, kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.”

Looking for fun?

Feeling groovy?

Splash color around.

Ignore the guide lines.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Sense And Nonsense October 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, People, Poetry.
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This painting seemed perfect for pairing with some light-hearted common sense advice from Robert Frost.


Forgive me my nonsense
as I forgive the nonsense of those
who think they talk sense

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more common sense from Robert Frost: Neglect & Restoration, Candid Impressions.