ESSAY

 

 

 

You Dig?

 

In the category of We Should Have Seen This Coming, it is now apparent that baby boomers are to blame for the lost generation of gardeners. Seriously. Seriously?

 

Well, seriously in Britain. Folks in their twenties, thirties and forties were never taught to garden by boomer parents according to the Royal Horticultural Society.

 

Come on. Just because boomers did not encourage their kids to play in the dirt (too many germs there), their offspring have rejected any interest in gardening. I call bullshit. My parents were not gardeners but I still jumped on the Mother Earth bandwagon in my late twenties and ended up with three zucchini mounds that produced 100 pounds of zukes per week (I may be exaggerating). It was a 20 foot by 70 foot garden with corn, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries surrounded by an eight foot fence that deer easily leaped right over for breakfast. We thought we were getting back to the land and earning self-sufficiency merit badge. No parent involvement whatsoever. They marveled over the fact that we had any interest in growing our own food but they certainly knew that it had nothing to do with any example that they set for us.

 

If millennials and GenXers really have a yen to garden, lack of parental guidance or childhood experience is not going to stop them. In fact, I would posit that all the interest in organic food and veganism would be all the encouragement these deprived folks would need to get motivated to get dirt under their fingernails and grow their own food in their own gardens. Younger generations can go online now and get 100 times more information on gardening than we had access to almost 50 years ago. Our wellworn Mother Earth News magazines were the go-to resource back then and we learned by doing and from our mistakes (3 zucchini mounds will feed a family of 30. I know that now).

 

Don’t have your own home with space for a garden? That might have been an impediment back in our day but not anymore. Community gardens are everywhere now, so you can till your own patch along with like-minded gardeners and bring home the bounty.

 

So no, we’re not taking the blame for this one. And that’s final.

 

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

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FICTION

 

 

 

Time Machine

 

For all outward appearances the TMI looks like a sophisticated virtual reality machine. You wear this clunky looking goggle-like apparatus with a wire coming off of it. Then there are the earphones to enhance the audio experience. Maybe some day it can be surgically placed right on top of our retinas, but that’s way off in the future. The one piece of technology that makes the Time Machine Input completely different from VR is the cord that goes right into the brain’s cortex to the neurons that control our sense of time.

 

If you have visions of Hot Tub Time Machine (or Hot Tub Time Machine 2 or 3), let me assure you that the TMI does not take you back in time. It’s not going to fulfill some juvenile fantasy of going back in time to be cooler than you were in high school or to erase all those embarrassing moments that all of us would like to delete from our memory bank. The TMI extends time, stretching the boundaries of time and space in a way that just a few years ago we thought would be impossible.

 

We hear people say all the time, “if only there were more than 24 hours in a day, I could get so much more done.” The amazing TMI technology makes that possible. You need more than one hour to get yourself going in the morning? TMI can add as much as 15 minutes to the basic 1 hour block of time. Repeat that setting for a full 24 hours and you pick up a net gain of 6 hours. Over a week that adds up to 42 hours, or almost 2 full extra days in your week. But that’s not all. You could gain 104 days in a year, and over a lifetime, are you ready for this, you could gain 260 months or an extra 21 years.

 

Personally, I’m not interested in extending my lifespan by 20 or more years. My goals are much more modest. I just want that extra 15 minutes when the clock is running down and I need that boost. Let me spend 15 more minutes with the one I love, or sleep for 15 more minutes in the morning, or take 15 minutes our of my day to do nothing more than contemplate my navel.

 

The choice is yours with the TMI. You decide how and when you want more time. Just remember, batteries are not included.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

 

 

 

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TRAVEL

 

 

Shells on the Move

 

It’s hard not to be curious when you notice a sea shell moving about, with legs and feelers protruding.

 

While other crustaceans scamper, bury, and hide; not hermit crabs—they are slowly dragging their appropriated spiral shell houses along—which makes them easy to get to know.

 

To be able to grow they need to change shells to bigger and better regularly. It’s their habit of trading or even stealing shells from other hermits and their gregarious nature that is so fascinating.

There’s about 500 hermit crab species world wide and many live for over 20 years. In Australia you are most likely to meet the two land based varieties: the pale brown “Aussie crab” found along the far north coastline, or the “Red Hermit crab” which is abundant on coral cays on the GBR and Coral sea.

 

Under the water, it’s a similar story. Small snails would seem to be slowly walking across the bottom, but it’s the intertidal species of Hermits, usually the hairy legged varieties that you are seeing.

 

Like their land based cousins they have a soft abdomen that is coiled in the same direction as a typical snail shell. Usually found in tidal pools but have been seen as deep as 100m. They are often close to gastropods, whose shells they use. Their enemies include seabirds, fish, octopus and other crabs.

 

For the naturalist’s within, their plodding nature makes them a wonderful target to study.

Robin Jeffries is semi retired over 50 guy from Queensland, Australia who loves cruising, diving, travel beautiful scenery, serenity, adventure, using his imagination & following his dreams. Read more about his adventures and view his fantastic photos at Cruising the Edge.

 

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ARTS

 

 

Shoulda, Shoulda

 

Woken by a feeling that it was later than it actually was and that I’d overslept (although I had nothing that had to be attended to), I came out to the kitchen in my characteristic morning auto-pilot state to pour a coffee. Last evening, after my usual cup of after-dinner Earl Grey (since we’re out of decaf I went ahead and had the usual stuff—mistake number one), I took a nap at 9:00 (mistake number two), admittedly a stupid thing to do. I can’t turn in early like some people, because whenever I do I wake up a few hours later fully refreshed. My body is pretty happy humming along on five hours of sleep and if I it meet that quota I wake up, even if it’s only two or three in the morning. Around midnight, thinking I should at least try to sleep, I took a Benadryl and went to bed to listen to Pandora while I messed about on my phone, waiting for the artificial sleepiness to overtake me. This is not an uncommon scenario. I do this more than I should, I imagine…

 

So I awoke today feeling like there was something urgent that I should do, which was a lie. There’s nothing today, except the usual run-the-dishwasher-and-make-the-bed routine. I confess my energy level is down while my Hashimoto’s fatigue level is up due to recent emotional upheavals. These things always flatten me for a week or two, but as I said in my last entry, I’ve learned to listen to my body and today it’s telling me to be lazy. Ok. Have it your way. This should be a good day to lounge on the sofa binging on Netflix, but I’m sick to death of crime and violence, the sentimental or cynical or downright disgusting crap that passes for entertainment these days, and Netflix’s “New Releases” that actually came out a decade ago. I’ve lately been watching a lot of YouTube, mostly historical  documentaries and biopics, but even that list is starting to thin out. Maybe it’s time to get an early start on Fire In The Hole Friday.

 

So it’s one of those should days. I want to be busy but my body won’t allow it so I’m stuck with trying to occupy myself with writing these thoughts and wondering what I should do when this is posted. It reminds me of a day many years ago when I was undergoing therapy for childhood abuse. My doctor put me on a course of Stelazine for 9 months just to get my chemical levels balanced (back then, we didn’t have the anti-depressants that are available now). At first she put me on 1mg to see how I’d react and I hated it. While it filled me with energy, it also made it impossible for me to move a muscle. I remember thinking that if this was what people in psychiatric institutions go through—and more, considering they were often put on massive doses of the stuff—I really felt for them. It was like being in a Porsche with a highly-tuned, race-worthy motor running, but having no wheels. I kind of feel like that today, but not as extreme. Mostly I’m just lazy and chiding myself for it. All these shoulds…

 

Being mindful of this, I post this entry telling myself that it’s perfectly fine to have a relaxing day. I am retired, after all, and there’s always tomorrow. At least there should be.

 

Look at your own list of shoulds and ask, “Says who?”


Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge,  takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Bucksnort Chronicles and SKWaller.com.

 

 

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GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

10 - 10<>

Robin Jeffries is semi retired over 50 guy from Queensland, Australia who loves cruising, diving, travel beautiful scenery, serenity, adventure, using his imagination & following his dreams. View more of his photos on flickr or at his website, Cruising the Edge.

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon    Viva Veracruz The Bucksnort Chronicles