Fred the Frog Meets An Alligator

I thought I would drop you a quick note about the last adventure Fred had on our recent trip down South to Florida. Now, normally, I would like to invite Fred to say a few words as well, but he was in no mood to talk to me or anybody else about his recent adventure

The reason he was doing this was because on our walk, we saw a huge pond, a beautiful pond surrounded by lovely plants and flowering lily pad plants around the edge.

Fred Meets An Alligator

And Fred, being a frog, just loved the idea of a pond because he really likes to swim (you know he’s a championship swimmer and really good at it). He was so excited, he jumped off my shoulder where he often sits on our walks. After all, he’s a frog and can’t keep up with me when I’m walking so he pretends he gets his exercise on “our” walks.

Fred was so excited, he yelled at me, “Look! There’s a log. I’m going to walk right out there and check how deep the pond is. I need a deep pond for my diving and underwater exploring.” He rambled on for a moment while he looked at the log and pond. And then he jumped off my shoulder down into the grass at the edge of the pond

I took a look at the log and quietly said, “Fred, don’t do this.” My voice was soft but I tried to make it clear I didn’t think his swimming was a good idea. “Take a really good look around here before you walk out…”

“I can see better from that log,” he said. And, he jumped onto the log.

But it wasn’t a log. I could see that but he couldn’t.

He jumped over what looked like a bump on the log to reach the water.

“Fred,” I said. “Turn around and be careful,” I said in a voice that was soft but demanding. You know how your parents talk when they don’t want you to do something but they said it softly when they’re mad, “Don’t do that!” Well, that was my voice.

“Don’t go swimming,” I said in my soft, angry voice. “Just get back here.”

“Fred, get back here right now!” I said in my softest, angriest voice.

Fred just looked at me, “What?” he said. And he stood up on his back legs, put his hands on his hips, tilted his head and said, “What?”

“Fred,” I said, “Get back here.” Fred turned around and looked at me.

“No,” said Fred. “This is a great log, I’m going to go swimming. And stomped his foot.”

But at the same time as he stomped his foot, the bumps on the log changed. The bumps were really eyes and they opened to stare at whoever was stomping right in front of them.

Then Fred’s eyes got really, really big too. And he started tip-toeing towards me, but it was too late.

The eyes belonged to an alligator. And Fred had never met an alligator before and didn’t know what it was. All he knew was these two big yellow eyes were staring right at him.

The alligator flipped its nose.

And Fred went sailing into the air. Straight up above the alligator. Fred was waving his arms and kicking his feet but there was nothing to grab on to or nothing to kick against. He was high above the alligator floating in the air and then he began to fall.

The alligator opened its mouth.

Fred was falling right towards the alligator, his eyes bulged out and he opened his mouth to scream.

I thought this was the end. My best friend was about to be eaten by an alligator and I didn’t know what I could do. I couldn’t fight an alligator, they’re bigger than I am and all I could think of was Fred was about to be alligator food.

Fred was falling and I think that alligator was thinking, “Breakfast!”

The alligator’s mouth was fully open, it was huge and the teeth were big and white and each one was about the size of Fred.

It looked like Fred was going to be the Alligator’s breakfast for sure and there was nothing I could do.

Just as Fred was about to land in the alligator’s mouth and be cut in half for breakfast, he shoved out his big strong feet. One foot landed on the top of the alligator’s mouth. The other foot landed on the bottom of the alligators mouth.

Now, the alligator tried to close its mouth but Fred has such strong legs, he fought that alligator and stopped him from closing and making him breakfast. Fred’s super strong legs fought that alligator’s bite.

The alligator was really much bigger than Fred and slowly but surely its mouth began to close. Fred was losing the fight and it looked like he was about to become alligator breakfast. Slowly but surely the alligator pushed Fred’s legs together. Because, after all an alligator is a lot bigger than a frog and even the strongest legs couldn’t fight off an alligator’s mouth.

I watched Fred and I could see how hard he was working. His mouth was all scrunched up, his eyes were half-closed and his legs were shaking as he fought that alligator.

And the alligator’s mouth began closing really fast and…

Bam!

Fred shot up as he took a big Fred jump.

Fred didn’t jump straight up. He jumped towards the shore and landed right behind the alligator’s eyes. He jumped again and landed on its back.

The alligator spun around.

Fred jumped again and landed on its tail. And then he jumped off the alligator’s tail onto the ground. But having reached the land, he didn’t stop jumping but kept right on as he went by me, kept on jumping as he reached the path and didn’t stop jumping as he headed for home. He left me standing on the bank of the pond.

I looked down at the alligator.

And the alligator looked up at me.

Before that alligator could even think about making me his breakfast, I turned and ran after Fred.

And that’s how Fred met an alligator. He never went walking with me again on that trip.

But that didn’t stop him from getting into trouble. You should have seen what happened when he tried to climb a coconut tree.

But that’s a story for another day.

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Site Reorganization snafu

A quick note to tell you this site is undergoing a major shift in content and organization.

Like a lot of things – I thought it would be faster and easier than it really is. 😉

At the moment (Sept 29) I’m working to restructure the back end of the site and getting some initial stories here to make it all work.

If you’re on the newsletter update list, I’ll let you know when it’s presentable and working.

Thanks for your patience.

Doug

Introducing Doug 5.0

Eighteen months ago, my better half told me I was retired. Note this wasn’t a question or a request, it was a “demand bid” and there wasn’t an alternative.  

I’ve spent that time trying to decide what “being retired” meant to me – a writer/storyteller/creator. I even filled several notebooks with thoughts, rants and whining.

But all those hand-written words, (aided by several bottles of ink for my fountain pens and an entire sack of coffee beans) solidified the other day into something I’m calling Doug-Five-Point-Zero or Doug 5.0   Let me answer a few questions to get us started.

Where Did Doug 5.0 Come From?

I split my life into different stages:

  • Infant  1.0
  • Toddler  2.0
  • Youth  3.0
  • Adult 4.0
  • Senior 5.0

Objectives

So these notes report on the things I discover and/or experience – as a creator of a “certain age.”

Will they be useful to you if you’re not a senior?  

  • Let me ask if you intend to be one some day? If the answer to that is “yes,” you might want to stick around.  
  • Got parents?  This may help. 
  • And who really knows – being older may not be a handicap to explaining things of interest to other ages. 🙂

Other Topics?

Yes, I’ll continue to write about other topics as well.

I”m updating a rather large chunk of the posts on this site as well as getting it ready for some other book projects I’m working on.

Random Thoughts On Being Retired

I don’t identify as “senior”. I’m healthy, active and curious. I still move heavy stones around as I build dry stone walls as a hobby so I’m not yet doddering around the garden.  

But yes, the knees and ankles complain when the weather changes and on those mornings, I do feel each and every year. (An active athletic life left some injuries behind.)

And yes, my age does qualify me for senior’s discounts. 

And yes, I’m still trying to adjust to this label (not sure I ever will.) 

My brain seems to function as well as it ever did – in some ways even better – but we’ll talk about how senior’s brains differ from younger folks brains in upcoming notes.

Building Dry stone walls for our garden – this one contains 50 tons of stone.

Will I research topics for readers on being retired or otherwise?

Sure, if it interests me. You can suggest topics by using the contact-me form here.

Other Topics?

l continue writing about other issues as well and you can see those in the menu.

What else am I doing moving forward?  

All of my creative projects are clearly being evaluated again this simple criteria: “Hell yeah or no.”

One fiction pen name has already been nuked and no longer exists.

Several projects have been deleted from my “maybe project list.”  There’s nothing new about this, my project list is as much a work in progress as I am.

As I said, it’s a work in progress (damn, do seniors repeat themselves?) 🙂

All the best

Doug

p.s. you can get updates when I post something new by clicking here

Goodbye Facebook

Dear Facebook

I’ve done my best, I truly have. 

  • You wanted good notes–I gave them.
  • You wanted memes–I created them. 
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Links
  • Interaction

I did them all. I followed your dictated trends. And I grew a garden author page to 5000 likes and 5000 followers. (Yes, 10,000 gardeners!) But you’ve claimed those readers as your own, so you can advertise to them.

You’ve made it clear you’ll only share my posts with 300-ish of those folks. (Yes, 300 out of 10,000.)

  • If I want to give more readers free garden information, I have to pay you.
  • If I tell them how to grow a plant, I have to pay you.
  • I have to pay you to give away free advice. Seriously?

There’s no win-win here so it’s goodbye Facebook

It’s a win-lose.

Yes, I know a lot of readers think this is just fine because they prefer Facebook over other options. But here’s the thing, moving forward I’ll treat Facebook as it wants to be treated – as an advertising function.

Note it’s better for me to advertise on Amazon where my books are sold (one click to a sale) then on Facebook (where it’s two clicks to a sale.) 

You may ask, “How can I go against the advice of thousands of marketers and say Goodbye Facebook?”

1) I hate being exploited.
2) Amazon ads work better to help me sell books.
3) Facebook is not one of my top-3 traffic sources.
4) I’m making a big project–my best and last garden in the real world – so I’m taking the time to do that.
5) I no longer GAF. I’m retired so I can write what I want, share what I want, and follow whatever online direction I want. I’m doing that.
6) Readers can make the same decision. They can subscribe to my garden updates or not – their choice.

Postscripts

WordPress has a feature to post my gardening notes on DougGreensGarden to Facebook. I’ve deleted it.

If readers prefer Facebook to my newsletter, website and they don’t purchase my e-books–they are not really a “true” fan of mine. (They are a Facebook fan.)

It is absolutely wonderful how liberating this is.

Yeah, being retired means I have time. Time to create an awesome garden and I can share it in any way I want regardless of how others behave or what Facebook wants.

Stay tuned: I believe my inner curmudgeon has finally slipped the “surly bonds of earth” and both my gardener and writer self are delighted.

Doug

p.s.  And finally, if you want updates to this blog, click here

9 Rules For A Creative Life

1) Don’t expect any rule to last forever. (Stuff happens, people change and the world changes around you)

2) Change in inevitable. (see Rule number 1)

3) You can’t follow a trend and expect to create successfully. (Trends end)

4) Lead or be led. Be the trend.

5) Just because you’re leading doesn’t mean everyone (or anyone) will follow.

6) You might be on a dead end but you won’t know until you gloriously arrive.

7) Cut your losses! Accept them. Move on.

8) When you master one technology or delivery system or creative platform, another more popular and useful one will emerge.

9) Your dedication to creativity will be tested by yourself, others and current systems.

I started writing some of these down as an exercise in my own creative life. I had already written a series of notes to my daughter Elizabeth but I need to update these for myself. I was/am looking for the next project that would turn on my creative juices. I note these are not carved in stone and may be (will be) modified on an ongoing basis.

I’ll get back to you about this as it develops.

Want updates when I post? Click here

The Last Year Of A Minister’s Career

One of the things I noticed in my churchgoing time was a delightful change in the tone and content of the sermons during the last year of a minister’s career.

Understanding their time of delivering sermons was coming to an end seemed to bring out the best in them (imho) as they said exactly what they’d always wanted to say.

They didn’t have to worry about being fired (they were about to leave anyway). They didn’t have to worry about upsetting the congregation with their opinions and Mrs. Whatshername couldn’t do anything about their opinions. They didn’t have to stick to the list of “official sermons” or they could modify them to their heart’s content. This last year was the last kick at the can and the closer to the end, the better and more honest the words.

I note every church has a Mrs. Whatshername and if you go to church you can easily identify this individual. If you can’t – it might be you. But I digress.

That last year was the time I really paid attention in church (admit it, your mind wanders too) 😉

So What’s The Last Year Of A Minister’s Career Got To Do With Anything

I’ve adopted the idea this is my last year of writing before I retire.

To be honest, it may or may not be. But if I treat the words and ideas as if they were the last time I could say them… well…. I’m going to enjoy myself a whole lot more.

And for the record, I’m already retired or as retired as a writer ever gets.

I’m Now Writing For Me.

I’m not writing for Google rankings or using SEO (search engine optimization) techniques, I’m just writing the words that come out the ends of my fingers.

And from one morning to the next, I no longer know which words will decide to rise to the challenge. Or, even if they’ll come out. Or whether I’ll publish them.

It’s like having twenty years of writing ahead of me but with each day being my last.

The Questions

Two questions spring to my mind: 1) Why I didn’t do this sooner?

And, 2) whether you have the same problem and haven’t broken out of it yet as well?

or 3) have I misidentified what happens in the last year of a minister’s career?

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