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Virtual Reality: Battle of the Sexes February 28, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Life Balance, People.
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46 comments

Betty-Boop

When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife. – Prince Philip

The only reason they say ‘Women and children first’ is to test the strength of the lifeboats. – Jean Kerr

I’ve been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage. – Zsa Zsa Gabor

Home cooking ~> Where many a man thinks his wife is. – Jimmy Durante

3D-Cow

Men are like linoleum floors. Lay ‘em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years. – Betsy Salkind

A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. – Irina Dunn

Q. “Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”
A. “Why buy the pig if all you want is a little sausage?”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  e-mail from unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

March 2nd: I’m guest posting on L. Marie’s blog as part of her series ~ The Stanton Effect: Inspiration From A TED Talk.

Here’s the link:  The Stanton Effect:  Building to the Punchline

I Want To DO Less . . . And BE More February 17, 2015

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

IMGP1800bOne of the best tricks I’ve found to discern whether I’m on the right path for me is to envision this as the last year of my life ~ to question whether I would regret spending the next 12 months engaged in similar endeavors.

At this point, I’m happy with the flow of my days and nights, but in earlier years this simple exercise inspired big changes:

In 1997, it led to my decision to leave the practice of law, take a sabbatical, and re-enter the work force as the director of a Crisis Intervention Team, assisting victims of domestic violence to evaluate options.

In 1999, it encouraged us to shed possessions, down-size, and move out of New Jersey to a home on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay ~ still close enough to visit family while being far enough away to live our own quiet lives.

In 2008, it freed us to leave winters behind for good and move to Florida.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What would you do if your “final curtain call” lay around the next bend?

What If No One Is Watching? February 11, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness.
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62 comments

alice26thEgo likes accolades and acknowledgement for accomplishments, big and small.

For Ego, it’s not enough To Do or To Be for the Do-ness or Be-ness of it all.  Ego is convinced it doesn’t count if no one is watching.

Ego is in a perpetual state of “Look At Me!”

Hence the rise of Selfie Sticks.

It’s not the journey of writing, painting, singing, dancing, creating, or exploring that matters to Ego, it’s the applause of the audience, the roar of the crowd, the recognition from others that we matter.

A legacy left behind.

If I slam a door, and no one hears, should I slam it louder?

Hmm . . . that depends.  
Am I slamming it for me . . . or for them?

Remember George Costanza and the Tip Jar?  He didn’t toss a tip into the jar because he wanted the self-acknowledgment of having done so.  He wanted “them” to see him toss the tip into the jar.  He wanted recognition from others for his actions.  He wasn’t giving to give, he was giving to get.

When he realized “they” weren’t watching, he reached in to reclaim the tip for a “do over” and lost what he was trying to gain . . . his paisano’s approval.

Donald-Duck-BaseballWhat would you do if no one was watching?

Would you spend decades building the cathedral, the bridge, or the concert center if you retained your anonymity?

Living in the shadows in a state of obscurity?

With no one applauding your efforts?

You know you’ve found your bliss and are headed the right way when your spirit is soaring and work feels like play.

Even when no one is watching.

Aah . . . that’s better!

After enlightenment, the laundry. ~ Zen Proverb

Friendships Based On Mutual Distrust January 21, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, People.
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78 comments

IMGP3921“Offering superficial approval, passive agreement, and placating compliments is easy. Being a good friend is hard.”
~ Janna T. Writes

Yup.

When friends ask us to “be honest,” they don’t always mean it. Instead of thanking us for our honest candor, they may lash out or turn their backs on us.

That happened to me once upon a time.

A friend asked me what I thought of the guy she was dating. Everyone else (including her mother) lied to her and said he was wonderful. I told her that he seemed selfish and full of himself.

He dumped her a few months later.

At that point, everyone else (including her mother) admitted that they had NEVER liked him, that he was a complete and utter jerk, that she was better off without him, etc.

IMGP1472aAnd she was OK with their about-face.

Even though she KNEW they had intentionally lied to her, she was OK with their dishonesty.

She was NOT OK with my honesty.

She gave me the cold shoulder for YEARS, later revealing the reason why.

As I pondered her belated explanation, I decided that, if given the chance, I would not retract my words to gain her approval by lying.

Maintaining pseudo-friendships based on mutual distrust and insincere platitudes seems rather pointless.

What do you think?

Be Honest!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Kindly Be Honest

Coasting Downhill January 9, 2015

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

It’s great when we reach the point that we can say with confidence: “Who I am is who I want to be.”

Then we can coast downhill to the finish line.

Mountain-Biking

Aah . . . that’s better!

Crossing “Feed Ego” Off Our To Do Lists January 6, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Life Lessons, Spirit & Ego.
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52 comments

Woodstock-&-Snoopy2

Once upon a time . . .

I wanted to be a FAMOUS Rock Star.
I wanted to have OODLES of money.
I wanted to write a BEST SELLING NOVEL.

Et cetera.  Et cetera.  Et cetera.

I wanted to DO SOMETHING so that I would BE SOMEONE.

Then I woke up to the realization that to BE SOMEONE, I don’t have to DO anything.  I just need to . . . BE ME.

Broccoli-Mocking-StewieWhen our motivation for action arises from a desire to Feed Ego with accolades, approval, acclaim, acknowledgment, applause, admiration, etc., etc., etc., we are always worried about falling short of the bar (or flat on our face).

We are concerned about what “they” think of us.  We act (and re-act) to protect Ego’s fragile reputation.

Only Ego doesn’t really exist.

Once we see that Ego is imaginary, ego-driven motivation (i.e., the desire to impress) and self-doubt fall by the wayside.

We become more confident in the steps we’re taking.

We no longer feel the need to reach a predetermined destination, so we’re not worried about falling short of the mark.  We stop looking over our shoulders to see who’s watching.  We no longer seek external validation that we’re doing “it” right ~ whatever “it” is.

Mickey-Surfer

Fear of failure dissipates because it no longer matters whether others are impressed with us or not.

Our locus of control shifts.
We reclaim our power.
We trust ourselves again.

Et cetera.  Et cetera.  Et cetera.

Aah . . . that’s better!

When we know WHO we are . . . we know HOW to live. ~ Goethe

A Sense of Wonder January 2, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Animal Welfare, Books & Movies, Life Balance, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
42 comments

As Rachel Carson considered the impact of pesticides and DDT on the environment, she realized she did not want to undertake a writing project of that magnitude, but she knew the book needed to be written.

When every author she contacted declined to get involved, she decided to write an article, just that.

As she researched, the material grew.  She contracted to write a short book, and allocated 7 months to the project.  Two and 1/2 years later, she was still researching and hadn’t started writing.

A year before her death from cancer at the age of 56, Silent Spring was published.

The chemical companies were outraged and lambasted her.  She was called a paranoid old woman.  She was likened to Joseph McCarthy and his “witch”hunt.

It was publicity her publisher could never have afforded.

President Kennedy assigned a task force to look into the effects of DDT and other pesticides on the environment.

The EPA was born.  DDT was banned.

Rachel Carson continued to make speeches, addressing audiences about the dangers until shortly before her death in 1964.

Some authors create ripples.  Rachel Carson started a tidal wave.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?” ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Holiday Simplicity December 16, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Life Balance, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
62 comments

After reading Simplify Your Life in 1997, we stopped stressing over the holidays.  We do what we enjoy doing, and don’t do stuff that feels like a chore.  We’ve decided Less is More.

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We do not spend hours putting up a BIG tree or untangling lights.

We have a tabletop tree that we store decorated with favorite ornaments ~ many handmade. It’s good to go in about 15 minutes.

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Other decorations collected over the years (Santas, Reindeer, Elves) go from boxes to shelves in about 60 minutes.

When our nieces and nephews were tiny toddlers, I gifted Santas to them (which helped keep our decorations in check).

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Instead of shopping ’til we’re dropping, we send cheery cards and college checks to nieces and nephews, and consumables (food, wine, snacks, books) to family and friends.

BFF and I don’t exchange Christmas gifts with each other. Instead, we spend time creating experiential memories together.

Ignoring the call of the mall leaves us with time and energy to enjoy local Holiday Offerings . . . like the Candy Cane Crawl, Christmas Town at Busch Gardens, and PIZZA on Pine Avenue.

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We stopped sending Christmas Cards to everyone we’ve ever known in every place we’ve ever lived or worked (NJ, VA, SC, NC, MD, and here).

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Culling the list from 250+ people we barely remember to those we genuinely care about and want to see again is a HUGE time saver each December.

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Which gives us a chance to enjoy Choirs of Angels in Santa Hats.

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Once they get situated with their hats on straight.

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A new tradition this year ~> collecting and gathering spare change to toss into the big red buckets manned by ubiquitous bell ringers.

Together with our cheery HO~HO~HO!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What are your favorite traditions? Which ones could you do without?

My Top 5 Tips For Holiday Sanity December 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Special Events.
Tags: , , ,
43 comments

Janna wrote a post, Holiday Survival Discovery:  They Don’t Call Me Bonnie (And I Don’t Know Clyde).  After sharing her Survival Discovery, Janna asked us to share our secrets to Holiday Sanity:

Do you have any secrets (legal or not) for making it through the holidays?  I love this time of year, so I don’t usually get too stressed… but it doesn’t hurt to keep ideas on hand!

Here’s my Top 5 Tips for Holiday Sanity:

1. Live where it’s WARM so you don’t have to maneuver over or around snow banks or worry about icicles lurking overhead.

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2. Steer clear of the mall from Thanksgiving to Christmas . . . unless you just want to wander around and admire the decorations.

3. Buy most/all gifts at the Grocery Store . . . everyone needs to eat.  Focus on the 4 main food groups ~> Salty, Crunchy, Sweet, and C~H~O~C~O~L~A~T~E!

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4. Get plenty of exercise to alleviate stress and maintain balance.

5. Laugh at any insanity that slips into the mix.  It will.  That’s a given.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Bolt of Lightning December 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , , ,
88 comments

2014-11-30 13-50-44_0013Joan flipped through sales flyers for the mall, planning her attack for Black Friday.  The front door slammed with insistence.

“M-O-M!  Christmas is ruined!”

“What?”

“The mall exploded!  It got hit by lightning and a generator blew up. It’s closed until January.”

“January?”

“Yes!  Christmas is ruined!”

“Calm down . . . there’s always Cyber Monday.”

“Ugh.  I hate on-line shopping.  No pushing.  No shoving.  No lines.”

Joan smiled at her daughter.  “And worst of all . . . no food court!”

Cathy collapsed into a chair.  “I’m going to go into serious sugar withdrawal without my weekly Cinnabon!”

Tossing the flyers into recycling, Joan stood.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll think of something.”

Joan found her husband tinkering at his workbench. “Paul, the mall has closed in a puff of smoke.”

“So I heard.”

“You did?”

“Yup.  I heard Cathy’s concerns about Christmas and Cinnabons loud and clear.”

santa0001

“What are we going to do?”

“About?”

“Are you daft?  Shopping.  Gifts. Christmas.  Ringing any bells?”

Paul caught Joan’s gaze. “Let’s make hand-made gifts.”

“You have sawdust for brains.”

“Hear me out.  Instead of poring over flyers, hunting for parking spots, and lugging piles of stuff home, let’s create gifts from the heart.  I’ll make wooden trains, planes, and puzzles for the kids. And a pipe rack for your dad.”

“What about me?”

“Your friends would love your homemade fudge or toffee . . . or one of your famous Grand Marnier cakes. You could make your mom that wreath she’s wanted.”

Warming to the idea, Joan returned to the kitchen and grabbed her recipe file.

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Soon delicious aromas circulated, mingling with carols.  As fragrant cakes baked, Joan created a starfish and sand dollar wreath for her mom, scented candles for her sister, and an afghan for Cathy.

Paul spent hours in his workshop emulating Santa’s elves.  Sawdust flying.

Cathy mastered the art of the Cinnabon.

Instead of waiting for the Big Day, Joan, Paul, and Cathy delivered treats to delighted friends throughout December.

Christmas morning, Cathy served fresh home-baked Cinnabons to her parents and grandparents.

Between bites, Joan grinned at Paul, “Hey, sawdust for brains! That was some bolt of lightning.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Written for Susanna’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest.  Entries accepted through 12/12.  Complete rules and other Merry & Bright Submissions ~> HERE.

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Joan’s famous Grand Marnier Bundt Cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and mix well, about 5 minutes, with an electric mixer or whisk.  Pour into a well-greased and floured fluted Bundt pan (or 10-inch tube pan).  Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  

OPTIONAL: Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.  NOTE:  Cake Freezes well before topping.

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