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Champ Jaxon May 13, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Music & Dance, People.
13 comments

Champ Jaxon has been playing guitar for a couple of years and has gained a degree of proficiency rarely seen in pre-teens.

He’s already appeared on stage with the Marshall Tucker Band and on national television on the Ellen Degeneres show.

He doesn’t know where he’s going . . . but he’s knows where he was grown:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Biking Makes Me Feel Young! May 11, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Nature.
17 comments

It’s National Bike Month.

What a great opportunity to pump up your tires, kick up your kickstand, and hit the road.

Biking is good for your health and good for the planet.  It’s also good for your wallet ~> no need to head to the filling station, saving big bucks!

Since moving to Florida, I ride most days because: (1) Florida is warm year-round; (2) Florida is flat as a pancake; and (3) hopping on my bike to ride up to the clubhouse or around the neighborhood makes me feel like a kid again:

WHEEEE!!!!!

Do you still bike?  If so, share a bike tale or trail in the comments.

If not, want some incentive to get biking this month?  Here’s a score card to play Bike Month Bingo:

To learn more, visit the League of American Bicyclists at bikeleague.org

Aah . . . that’s better!

Friendships May 9, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, People.
28 comments

I read an article by Julie Beck in The Atlantic this weekend that got me thinking:

How Friendships Change Over Time.

The author addressed how our childhood friendships evolve as we head off to college, graduate, get married, have kids, start work, move across the country, care for parents, etc.

Increased responsibilities and demands on our time coupled with the lack of contiguity often mean that friendships, even longstanding friendships, fade.

We no longer see our companions on a daily basis to hang out, listen to records, play Frisbee, pop popcorn, and chat about anything and everything.

Instead, we make plans to get together . . . in two weeks time.

Friendships, like ships, diverge as we chart our life course.

Years ago, we “stayed in touch” with our compadres with annual missives at Yuletide which recounted the highlights (or low lights) of the year.  Now, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, we are able keep tabs on each other year round . . . without ever really connecting:

If you never see your friends in person, you’re not really sharing experiences so much as just keeping each other updated on your separate lives. It becomes a relationship based on storytelling rather than shared living—not bad, just not the same.

Via social media, we give our followers a “heads up” on the happenings in our life and they give us a “thumbs up” to acknowledge that they saw what we said.

But is that enough to maintain ties?

Probably not.

Friendships based solely on storytelling aren’t apt to have the same depth and dimension as those based on getting together on a regular basis to do something . . . together.

“If we only have the Facebook tie, that’s probably a friendship that’s in greater jeopardy of not surviving into the future,” Ledbetter says.

* * *

Social media makes it possible to maintain more friendships, but more shallowly. And it can also keep relationships on life support that would (and maybe should) otherwise have died out.

Oh, for the days when we “hung out” with our friends every day.

Not in chat rooms, but in person.

Without having to “tidy up” first.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

The Casements & Mala Compra March 27, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Life Balance, People, Travel & Leisure.
18 comments

After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we drove up A1A from Port Orange to Ormond Beach.

In Ormond, we toured The Casements ~ John D. Rockefeller’s winter home in Ormond Beach.

The Casements, named for the large hand-cut casement windows that adorn the mansion, has been beautifully restored to function as the Cultural Center for the City of Ormond Beach, Florida. Set on the shore of the Halifax River, and just two blocks from the Atlantic Ocean, the late John D. Rockefeller’s winter home is known as “The Jewel of Ormond Beach.” The Casements has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a Florida Heritage Site.

Our tour guide informed us that John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in America and the world’s first billionaire, told his doctor that he wanted to live to be 100.

His doctor recommended that he winter in Florida or Egypt.

Following his doctor’s advice, Rockefeller wintered in Florida and made it to age 97, playing golf every day well into his 90’s!

Mr. Rockefeller and his Butler

Located on the eastern bank of the Halifax River, John D. Rockefeller purchased [The Casements] in 1918 and lived in the house during the winters until his death in 1937 at the age of ninety-seven. While a resident of Ormond Beach, “Neighbor John,” as he preferred to be called, enjoyed taking part in community activities: playing golf, participating in the sing-along at the Ormond Hotel each Sunday, and entertaining friends such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone.

After the tour, we continued north on A1A, stopping to have a picnic (in the car) while overlooking the Atlantic Ocean amid drizzling rain and fog.

Quite atmospheric, no?

After lunch, we checked out the ruins of the Mala Compra Plantation.

In the early 19th century, the plantation was home to Joseph Hernandez, who served as everything from a brigadier general in the U.S. Army to a committee member who helped select Tallahassee as the state capital. The site is part of Bing’s Landing, an eight-acre county park that also includes a boat launch, fishing pier, and picnic and playground facilities.

Flagler County pursued archaeological grants to study the physical evidence of Hernandez’ plantation, and then more grants to create a permanent display at the site.

“Normally when archaeologists dig, they take the artifacts and then cover the site back up,” says Sisco Deen, the archive curator for the Flagler County Historical Society. “With this one, we got the artifacts, but they left the dig.”

Today, visitors can walk on an elevated boardwalk around the perimeter of the plantation remains and read interpretive displays that explain the site’s historical and cultural value.

The archeological site is protected with a roof overhead to preserve the site including the old coquina well.

Located on the Halifax, Mala Compra (which translates to “Bad Bargain”) has excellent views.

And some crazy vines!

Just made for swinging!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse March 23, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

Mid-afternoon, we checked into our sparkling clean room in Port Orange.

After admiring the love birds, we headed across the Halifax River to climb the tallest lighthouse in Florida.

Step back in time and climb 175 feet of fun in the Florida sun at the Ponce Inlet Light Station and Museum! Constructed in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse has guided mariners along the Florida coast for more than 130 years. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998, this world-famous lighthouse museum is conveniently located ten miles south of Daytona on the World’s Most Famous Beach and offers a treasure trove of experiences for young and old alike. Not to be missed, a visit to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is guaranteed to take your Florida vacation to new heights of adventure!

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is tall . . . with a lot of steps.  In fact, if you want to be exact, the lighthouse boasts 213 steps from the ground level to the viewing platform.

Like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going and going.

But we made it!

After a challenging climb, we stepped outside to enjoy the view from the top.

 

Can you imagine climbing that sucker every day to tend the lens?  Yowsa!

A lighthouse keeper needed good knees, good hips, a good eye and plenty of stamina!

On the steep circular descent, my knees felt a bit rubbery!  But we made it back to terra firma without mishap ~ no slips, trips, or falls!

Aah . . . that’s better!

You can take a VIRTUAL TOUR of the museum grounds without climbing 213 steps:

Click on the on-screen arrows to navigate your way around the light station’s historic keeper dwellings as well as our many modern museum exhibits. And if you see our lighthouse keeper, just click on him to hear what he has to say.

The Port of Mount Dora March 21, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Life Balance, Travel & Leisure.
20 comments

The first stop on our recent road trip?  The quaint lakeside town of Mount Dora, located just northeast of Orlando and all things Disney.

Founded in 1880, Mount Dora is known for its small-town southern charm. It has many antique shops in the downtown area. The downtown area overlooks Lake Dora.

The town’s name was officially changed to Mount Dora to reflect the fact that the settlement rests upon a plateau 184 feet above sea level – an unusual feature in Florida.

Since it was past time for a repast, we picnicked on the shores of Lake Dora with the port’s lighthouse standing guard in the distance.

After lunch, we strolled around town to see the sights and see what all the crowing is about.

Ranked as Florida’s #1 small town to retire to by USA Today, Mount Dora is a popular place to live. Due to its central location, retirees from Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and other areas throughout Florida and the U.S. come to Mount Dora for its great attractions and relaxed atmosphere.

After a stop at Allyson A’s Bake Shop for dessert (mmm . . . good cookies!), we returned to Lake Dora to check out the lighthouse, one of three freshwater lighthouses in Florida..

Next time, we are going to enjoy a picnic on this picnic table sized chair!

Aah . . . Mount Dora!

We Took A Trip March 20, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

Most of the time, I’m happy to be HERE at home.

Whatever wanderlust I experienced as a youth has fled the scene, departed the premises, vacated my psyche.

But, even homebodies like us enjoy the occasional quick trip as a pleasant interlude to our daily routines.

So we took a short (two day) road trip to the East Coast of Florida.

Although our original plans included driving as far north as St. Augustine, we never made it due to heavy rain, threatened tornados, and our incredibly flexible itinerary.

No matter:

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

We’ll see St. Augustine some other time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

When was your last road trip? Have you traveled much since Covid arrived on the scene?  Do you prefer loose itineraries or plans that are “set in stone”?

 

Weightless by Marconi Union January 27, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness.
20 comments

Need a break?  Check out this video by Marconi Union.

Weightless has been shown to reduce stress by 65% (according to people who study and measure such things).

Aah . . . that’s better!

For more ways to de-stress:  7 Ways to De-Stress When You Can’t Go Outside (Harvard Business Review)

In a nutshell:  Move.  Laugh.  Breathe.  Journal.  Meditate.  Blow Bubbles.  Go with the Flow (cooking, painting, singing, playing in the sandbox, ironing sheets).  And . . . Listen to Music.  Like Weightless.

May Thanks Be Given January 9, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
22 comments

A few quotes to switch on the light, illuminate the recesses, and reframe our perspective:

* It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.  It is what you think about. ~ Dale Carnegie

* The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past  better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. ~ Marcel Pagnol

* The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller

One last parting thought:

May we stay resolved to each breath,
each act, each moment being enjoyed,
and may thanks be given,
regardless of the setbacks.

~ Jim O’Connor (Issue 13, HERON DANCE)

Here’s to enjoying the journey as each moment unfolds into the next.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Happy Bloody Mary Day! January 1, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
18 comments

We enjoyed a night in last night watching two uplifting and inspiring movies ~ The Bucket and The Exception.  One set during World War I and the other set during World War II.

We’re a complicated bunch, but most of us (not Himmler, not Hitler) sparkle and shine from time to time.

We paused the second movie at midnight to tune into Times Square for the final countdown:

3 – 2 – 1 . . . Happy New Year!

We stayed up far too late and got up far too early so we won’t be crossing many things off our To Do Lists today.

Instead, we’ll enjoy coffee and croissants before heading to the beach for a walk and then on to the pier to toast the New Year with a $1 Bloody Mary (or two).  Cheers!

Here’s to 2022!

Hope your year is more UP than DOWN.

Aah . . . that’s better!