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Happy Birthday, Minkey! September 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, People.
40 comments

Mom turns 85 today!

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Let’s do the math:

85 years x 365 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes = 44,467,600 minutes (give or take thirty thousand minutes to account for Leap Years).

Of those 44 million minutes, mom remembers, oh, let’s say, the last 10 or 20 clearly.  The farther back she goes, the fuzzier it gets.

If I showed her this photo (taken 20 or so years ago), she’d recognize the out-of-focus faces but it wouldn’t help her to recall anything about the day.

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Her faded long-term memory makes for some interesting conversations.  She remembers she has four kids, but the nomenclature is off at times.

* One day, she wanted to talk to my brother’s wife about something.  Instead of asking for Joan by name, she asked my brother, “Do you know where your mother is?”

Doug kept a straight face and said, “Yeah.  I’m looking right at her.”  (I give him kudos for resisting the urge to reply, “Oh, mom?  She’s lost in space.”)

* Another time, my sister and her family flew from FL to CO for a visit.  Mom recognized my sister, but not my sister’s husband, Mike (who’s been in the family for 25+ years).

At one point during the visit, mom asked Mike, “Where do you live?”
Mike replied, “In Orlando.”

Mom perked up, “My daughter lives in Orlando . . . do you know her?”
Mike nodded,  “Yeah, I married her.”

Surprised, mom asked, “When?”

* Several times, mom has asked me what happened to dad.  After I fill her in on his final illness and death, she nods, “So that’s it . . . he’s dead?”

Yup.  That’s it.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MINKEY!

On the plus side, since she is seldom pulled into memories of what once was, she finds it easy to stay situated in the Present Moment.

The Eternal NOW.  The only place happiness resides.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Slytherin’ Successsssss September 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.
42 comments

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Despite his eventual fame, Harry Potter did not find a publisher straight out of the gate.

Imagine if J.K. Rowling had given up on the idea when she received rejection after rejection:

* The world would never have met Dumbledore or Dobby the House Elf.

* Or wandered the corridors of Hogwarts or Diagon Alley.

* And none of us would know how to play Quidditch.

Rowling kept pitching her story until she found a publisher who saw in her stories what readers did ~ a spellbinding read.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. ~ Jules Renard

Parting The Clouds September 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
39 comments

At first, grief is a blanket . . . a solid bank of clouds blocking the sun.

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In time, the clouds part to reveal slivers of happiness interspersed with rain.

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As blue skies expand, our grief becomes the occasional passing cloud.

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With practice, we are able to choose whether to focus on the clouds or the sky.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a moment by moment basis.

Blue Crab Bay September 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Nature, People.
32 comments

Wikipedia ~ Chesapeake Bay (in Public Domain)

A native of the Eastern Shore of Maryland got stopped by a game warden as he was leaving the bay with an ice chest full of live blue crabs and bay water.

The game warden asked the man, “Do you have a license to catch those crabs?”

“Naw, my friend, I ain’t got no license. These here are my pet crabs.”

“Pet crabs?”

“Yep. Every night I take these crabs down to the bay and let ’em swim around for a while.   Then I whistle and they jump right back into this ice chest and I take ’em home.”

“That’s a bunch of Bull!   Crabs can’t do that!”

The man looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, “It’s the truth.   I’ll show you.   It really works.”

“Okay, I’ve GOT to see this!”

The man poured the crabs into the river and stood and waited.

After several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said,  “Well?”

“Well, what?” said the man.

“When are you going to call them back?”

“Call who back?”

“The crabs!”

“WHAT crabs?”

Folks from the Eastern Shore of Maryland may not be as smart as some, but they ain’t as dumb as many.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Inspiration:  e-mail from unknown author

Love What You’ve Done With The Place September 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor.
28 comments

BFF is painting, which means that we are stepping over and around drop cloths and displaced possessions.

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Tigger doesn’t like it.  Not one little bit.  He is overflowing with reproachful glances (a/k/a “giving us the stink eye”).

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From his perspective, it’s unneeded disruption of a carefully honed routine.

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That’s too bad.

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We didn’t give him a vote.

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Even after he tried to stuff the Ballot Box.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Contest September 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Word Play, Writing & Writers.
33 comments

Stephen King, who winters in Sarasota, agreed to speak in Manatee County on January 29, 2015, at a fundraiser for the Manatee Country Library System.

As one might expect, sponsorship tickets for the event zoomed out the door.

All but one.

The Library Foundation holds a ticket for the lucky winner of Page Turner ~ A Mystery Thriller Writing Contest.  Entrants are not restricted by age, but must possess a valid Manatee County Public Library card that is in good standing.

Since I do . . . I tossed my 250 words into the pool.

* * *

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Violet’s threat hung in the air.  She pointed a gun at me, placing more pressure on the trigger than I deemed prudent.

I scanned Hal’s living room, noting the crimson stain pooling around Hal’s body.  Violet meant business.  Some other scandal hound would get the scoop on Hal’s death, and mine, unless I helped her.

I gave Violet center stage.  Like a true diva, she dove in.

“Hal called this morning. He said he had some dirt on me and invited me over. When I arrived, he suggested we discuss the situation over a glass of wine . . . in the Jacuzzi. I refused. He got ugly. When I started to leave, he called you. After hanging up, he said, Sugar, when Ketchem publishes the photos I dug up on you, your career will be on permanent standstill. I knew I had no choice.”

Violet paused.  I glanced at Hal.

Seeing the trajectory of my eyes, she gasped.  “No! No! I know what you’re thinking, Sammy. I didn’t KILL him. I agreed to meet him in the Jacuzzi and went to get a towel. I heard a gunshot, raced back here, and found him like, like . . . that. I heard a noise behind me, grabbed the gun, and turned around. There was no one there. I panicked and started tearing the place apart to find the photos. Before I found them, I heard the doorbell and you walked in.”

I exhaled.

If Violet didn’t kill Hal, she didn’t need to kill me.

Aah . . . that’s better!

General tickets will go on sale Nov. 1 and can be purchased later this year through the Manatee Performing Arts Center box office and the Manatee Library Foundation website.

 

The Fluid Nature of Communication September 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Word Play, Writing & Writers.
34 comments

What makes a word “real”?

Who decides whether “YOLO” is, in fact, a word?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Mint Juleps September 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
32 comments

Although I’ve mentioned Mint Juleps in a number of posts, I’ve never shared the recipe ~ a fact I discovered when I offered to share it with Kate Shrewsday after her recent visit to Charleston.

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Mint Julep

1 jigger (more or less) Simple Syrup with Mint
1 jigger bourbon
crushed ice

Fill a tall glass or silver julep cup with crushed ice.  Add a jigger of Simple Syrup and a jigger of bourbon.  Stir.  Ice will melt and meld with the drink.

Garnish with 2-4 large sprigs of fresh mint.  Sip, don’t gulp.

Simple Syrup

Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over 1/2 cup sugar; stir until sugar dissolves.  Stir in 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves (or, in a pinch, 1/4 c. dried mint).

Chill at least 4 hours.  Strain. Store covered in the fridge.  Makes about 3/4 cup ~ enough for 3-6 Mint Juleps.

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Aah . . . that’s better! 

The Benjamin Franklin Diet September 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
37 comments

While scouting the library stacks for inspiration, I stumbled upon an interesting diet book . . .

I added it to the stack of books in my arms, ignoring the oft quoted adage and admonition . . . “neither a borrower nor a lender be.”

At home, I settled down to learn about Ben’s diet.

* At a young age, Ben swore off meat and quaffing pints of ale so as to have more money to spend on books.

* In so doing, he noted that he felt better and had greater mental clarity after meals consisting of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

* He also noticed that he felt better when he exercised for 15 minutes before each meal.  If the weather wasn’t being cooperative, he spent his 15 minutes leaping inside the house ~ forward and back or side to side.

In addition to the fascinating narrative of Ben’s life philosophy, the author, Kelly Wright, collected and shared a number of colonial recipes for grains, soups, stews, game, and sweet fare, including:  Hasty Pudding, Dauphiny Soup, Oatcakes, Classic Colonial Bread, Hoecakes, Tavern Bread, and Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese Spread.

Inspired, I whipped up a loaf of Mrs. Wright’s Beer Bread in minutes.

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Combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup raw sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt.  Stir in a bottle (12 ounces) of beer or ale.

Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 5 loaf pan.

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Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.

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“Hunger never saw bad bread.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Delighted with the result, I followed Ben’s lead and leaped and leapt about.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

To learn more:  The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Book) * The Benjamin Franklin Diet (Website)

Let It Out . . . Let it Go September 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
34 comments

Most of us experience the occasional down day.

The sun is always shining, but sometimes it is obscured by clouds.

Just as a rainy day can be a nice change of pace, so too can a gloomy mood.

Life is enhanced by the ebb and flow of emotions.

We appreciate our sunny dispositions more after a cloudy day . . . as long as we don’t get attached to the idea of being sad.

I read a story one day about puppies that had been mistreated.   Images of the poor wee pups flooded into my brain.

The happiness felt moments earlier evaporated, replaced with overwhelming sadness.  Tears poured down my face.  I sobbed until the pain dissipated.

Pluto-RollerskatingOnce my tears stopped, I returned my attention to what I had been doing before seeing the story.

In other words, a sad thought entered my brain.  The thought made my emotions switch from happy to sad.  I allowed myself to feel that sadness.

Once I acknowledged the sadness, it left.  It moved on.

And, this is the important part, I let it go.

I did not chase after it and bring it back.  I let it go.  I did not get attached to the idea of being sad.  I let it go.

If I hadn’t read the story that morning, I wouldn’t have known about the poor puppies at all.  Nothing in my life changed from the moment before I read about them until the moment after.

I was not being called upon to save them ~ they had already been rescued.

Mickey-LoungingSo, when the sadness started to dissipate on its own, I let it go so that I could get on with my day.

And the sun shone once more.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Quote:  Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead. ~ Scottish Proverb