Under da sea….

Now, if only we could find the peanut butter fish...

Now, if only we could find the peanut butter fish…

My awesome blogging buddy, Jaybird, reminded me that I’d relate my funny (at least to me) “Jellyfish Tale” after we were done with the A to Z Challenge. Well, April is over and so is the Challenge so, I guess this is as good a time as any to relate this short…..but comedic….story.

I must have been about seven…maybe eight…years old and we were living on the Naval Base in Pensacola, Florida. As we often did on the weekends, we took a trip to the beach. I can still remember the white sands and blue-green waters of the Gulf…it was a great beach.

On this particular day, though, as we made our way to find a spot to lay out our towels and umbrella, I noticed a lot of people up by the lifeguard stands. Many were rubbing ointment or some such on their legs and arms. I even saw a couple of grown men crying.


The reason, we found out , was due to an unusually large jellyfish infestation that had moved in and the guards were cautioning everyone who was going into the water to be careful. While I was a bit worried, I still decided to risk it and head into the water. My mom, of course, tried to make me sit on the beach, but my dad was all “Ah, let the boy go in the water…he’ll be o.k…”, so that’s what I did.

The ocean was pretty clear, so I figured I could see any crafty jellyfish trying to sneak up on me and I was pretty vigilant. The more the time went on, the more I figured I was safe and things were going to be o.k….no jellyfish were coming for me this day….so I began to run and swim around a bit more.

I forget, exactly, what I was doing, but as I stood in the water…about knee high…I felt something slowly wrap around my leg. I looked down and, sure enough, saw a clear jellyfish wrapping itself around my leg. Of course, the first thing I did was scream bloody murder and take off towards the beach. I kid you not when I say I was almost running on top of the water. Whatever happened I did NOT want to get stung, so I had to get this thing off of me!

Like a shot, I took off and got to the beach….still screaming “Get it off me, get it off me!!”…all the while picturing those grown men crying from the sting that I knew was coming for me. I ran towards my parents while my mom was running towards me. I then noticed my dad start to laugh.

Here I was, about to get the worst sting of my life. A sting that brought grown men to their knees…..and he’s standing there laughing!

It was about then that I looked down and noticed it wasn’t a jellyfish at all, but a plastic bag that had been floating in the water.

Of course, I laugh about it now….but, back then, it was no laughing matter. I was madder than a hornet, but thankful it wasn’t a real jellyfish all the same.

My parents still think this is a pretty funny “Mark” story, second only to the “Mark, the Puppy, and the Leash” tale that I’ll save for another day. ūüėÄ

Until next time….


Rain, rain…go…somewhere…

What a view...

What a view…


It’s been a pretty dreary past few days down here in “sunny” Florida. Off and on (mostly ‘on’) rain with quite a bit of cloud cover. ¬†The only upside to the weather down here is that it doesn’t stick around for too long….at least, most of the time.¬†

So, the other day we took another of our famous ‘beach walks’ down at the site of our wedding, South Beach (not the South Beach..we also have one here in Vero), and I snapped a few pics. I figured since I had them on my phone, I might as well share them. Seems like a good a time as any and, since the rain has been putting me in a semi-funkified state…

O.k…I really only took two pictures….one is above…and here’s the other…..





What’s the old adage about ‘if you don’t have anything to talk about, the weather always makes for a good topic’?¬†

Yeah, this is one of those posts.


Until next time….


Sometimes, it’s the little things….

Listen to these cartoon fruits and veggies!

Listen to these cartoon fruits and veggies!


For many of us…at least I know it’s true in my case…it’s tough to gear our minds toward eating “healthy”. I used to be of the mindset that eating healthy meant paying more at the store and, actually, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

Now, if you’re buying things like ¬†“Smart Start” or “Healthy Choice” meals then, yes, it does start running into some money…because you’re paying for¬†convenience. Usually, convenience always costs money. While those sort of meals are great for portion control and helping count calories the process of freezing them also cuts down on the nutrients you could be getting if the meals were freshly made.

We’ve been finding that a weekly trip down to your local produce place not only saves us a lot of money at the ¬†grocery store, it also is giving us more health benefits via juicing and adding fresh vegetables to our meals. Fresh is always better than frozen…just ask any Eskimo.

Something else we’ve been pretty diligent at doing…..drinking water. I’m not a huge fan of tap water and I think it’s silly buying bottled water (for many reasons), so we invested in a Brita filtration pitcher. I’d much rather spend the money on replacement filters than bottled tap water.

Great idea!

Great idea!


The best part about this whole process, so far, is that I haven’t touched a coke or soft drink product in over a month. For me, that’s HUGE! I used to be, at least, a three Coke a day guy but, since we’ve been juicing it’s been nothing but water. O.k, I’ll admit…I did have a sweet tea when we went out to eat the other night, but things like that have been few and far between. I’m also attributing the lack of soft drinks to my losing and keeping off five pounds this past month.

That’s quite the motivator, I have to say.


Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?


If you’re looking for some motivation to quit drinking soda, here are a few “other” uses for Coke:

  • Washing your hair with Coke can help fade a dye that’s too dark.
  • Bug spray. It not only attracts bugs, but spraying them with the stuff kills them dead….like Raid.
  • A temporary fix for upset stomach and heartburn.
  • Added to a compost heap, it helps boost microorganisms.
  • Stain remover from clothes.
  • A cleaner for pots, pans, and toilets.
  • Coke can remove gum from hair…just pour it on and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Temporary relief for bee stings, mosquito bites, and jellyfish stings.
  • Window cleaner
  • Bolt loosener
  • Rust ¬†eater

So, in case you’re not seeing the big picture here……Coke (and soft drinks in general) are highly acidic. Not something I want to be ingesting. I mean, I wouldn’t drink battery acid….would you?

Eating healthy, or at least paying more attention to what we’re putting into our bodies, drinking more water, juicing for micronutrients…things like these are small steps into a bigger world of getting healthy and into better shape.

The older I get, I guess the more cognizant I become of taking better care of myself. The next big hurdle to tackle, so to speak, is…


More on that as it develops, so…


Until next time…





Just a little A to Z…

Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

Wanted to give a little update on my A to Z Blogging Challenge.

We’re all in the home stretch and, to be honest, it’s showing.

At least with me.

I’m slipping on visiting my ‘usuals’ and have, pretty much, given up on trying to check out any new blogs. To my credit, though, I have visited about 40 new folks during this month, so that’s not too bad….especially for this being my first year taking the challenge.

Anywho, yesterday was “V” for Vindicator and today was “W” for The Whizzer. Check ’em out!


Until next time….



Peace and quiet…sort of…

I like quiet...

I like quiet…


Not much going on here at the Means Ranch (still). The wife went south (literally) with her sister to celebrate her birthday (the sister) and brainstorm some business ideas, as they’re having some issues with the state of Florida.¬†

That left me in a quiet house with some writing, editing, and blogging. 

Sometimes it was too quiet, so I was forced to turn on the t.v. to help alleviate the lack of sound. 

As a lot of you probably know…at least anyone who knows me, even just a little bit…I’m not a big fan of what passes for “programming” these days, so I started checking out what Netflix had to offer.

Surprisingly enough, there were quite a few things that caught my eye. It looks like the Cartoon Network has opened their vaults and Netflix is now offering some of my old favorites such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Dexter’s Lab, Batman Beyond, and¬†Samurai¬†Jack.

All great blasts from the past and, while I was scrolling through, I also checked out Netflix’s original programming….House of Cards and Lilyhammer.


Lil Steven in the house!

Lil Steven and friend (on top of his head) in the house!

I’m five episodes into Lilyhammer and I’m really liking it. I never saw Lil Steven Van Zandt (that’s how I still think of him) in The Sopranos,¬†but I think he does a bang up job as Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano. Lilyhammer is just the right blend of ‘wise guy drama’ and ‘fish out of water comedy’ entertainment. ¬†There’s been a bit of ‘colorful’ language, but nowhere near a Sopranos quantity of the stuff.¬†

If I didn’t know it was from Netflix, I’d think it was from a major cable network.

I also watched the first episode of House of Cards and, while it didn’t grab my attention like Lilyhammer did, it was still a pretty solid show and, well, anything with Kevin Spacey in it can’t be all bad. I’ll be getting into that more once I get caught up with Lilyhammer.¬†

Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

We were off Sunday, and boy did I need it, but yesterday and today the A to Z Blogging challenge is still in full effect. 

Yesterday was “S”, for Starfire and today was a wild west double dose of “T” with Thunderbird and the Texas Twister.

Check ’em out!


Until next time….



The Alphabet Challenge…

It's no April Fool's joke...

It’s no April Fool’s joke…

O.k, I’ll admit it.

I wasn’t really prepared.

Oh sure, I had a theme and a post planned for each day of the month (except Sundays) and I thought I was ready.

I wasn’t…..

I’m talking about those little snippets at the bottom of every post I’ve done here, this April….all pertaining to the A To Z Blogging Challenge.

It was started as a dare, about four years ago, by some bloggers looking to do something different. The “blog hop” is a pretty standard thing that a lot of bloggers take part in. You write about a certain theme or subject, visit other people doing the same, leave comments, find new blogs to follow, gain new followers, etc., etc.

This is a blog hop on steroids.

The main gist is to blog every day of the week, except for Sundays, for twenty-six days with each day representing a letter of the alphabet. The first day of April is “A”, the second is “B”, third is “C”, etc.

Now, since I already blog every day of the week as a writing exercise, I figured this would be a breeze. Then I came to realize something……it’s not the posting that’s hard….it’s trying to visit all those blogs is the real challenge.

Starting off, there were over 1700 people signed up and I already follow over one hundred blogs…most taking part in the challenge.

Another aspect of the challenge is to visit new blogs that you’ve never seen before, in hopes of finding new, cool, blogs and, hopefully, gaining some new followers in the process.

The first week, I tried to read and comment on all my ‘usuals’ as most people do. I wound up averaging around sixty comments a day on my posts. ¬†Granted, I visited A LOT of blogs and left some comments, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that pace up.

As expected, the second week saw things fall off a bit, but I was still averaging around 40-50 comments on my posts. Now, I’m the type who likes to respond to comments because, well, I feel that if someone has taken the time to read (or even skim) what I’ve written and leave a little comment then, the least I could do, is reply to their efforts.

It was beginning to get too much, though.

I began spending way too much time going through my ‘process’ and decided to scale it back just a bit. I’ve been trying to alternate through my “regulars”, hitting some one day, then others the next and then trying to check out at least five new blogs every day or every other day. A couple of days, I’ve had to forego reply to comments left for me, but I still try to keep up on that aspect.

At first, I had about two or three posts written in advance while still trying to post here on my usual Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday schedule. Now, I’m to the point where I’m writing the post on the day it’s “due”…which is o.k, it’s still keeping me in practice and keeping within the spirit of my ‘blogging schedule’ I had set up back in January.

Even though it has been a challenge….it’s still been a lot of fun and I’ve met a bunch of great new blogging buddies to follow. So far, I’ve picked up about thirty new followers and that’s always fun, too.

Would I say it’s been worth it?


Will I do it again next year?

Absolutely…..though, I’ll be more prepared!


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

For today’s update:

My theme is “Obscure Comic Book¬†¬†Heroes”

Yesterday was “Q” for Quasar and today was “R” for Razorback.


Until next time….


A Quick Quickie….

Well, what are you waiting for??

Well, what are you waiting for??


Not too much going on this week…still chugging though the A to Z Blogging Challenge and I don’t mind saying, it’s been a bit challenging, at least from a ‘trying to keep up’ standpoint. Still trying to eat healthy and juice, at least, one fruit and one veggie a day….still plugging along in a lot of areas.

Earlier today my wife and I, along with her sister, took a trip ‘downtown’….which, in a town as small as Vero Beach, isn’t all that far to go….to the local ‘juice bar’. Sad to say, I wasn’t impressed. I got a strawberry and banana smoothie that seemed like it was more ice block then anything else. My wife got some sort of veggie smoothie that tasted like it had sugar in it….not, at all, what I was expecting from something that had kale in it. My sister-in-law had the best tasting thing of the three of us. It was a chocolate thing, which I’m still not sure exactly what was in it. Regardless, though, it was good.

Overall, not a place I’d frequent…especially when we’re making a way better juice and smoothie product at home…for a lot less.


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

Quick update on my A to Z Blogging Challenge:

Yesterday was “O” for Oracle and today was “P” for Puck….check ’em out!


Until next time…..

Thoughts and prayers…



I’m sure we’ve all heard by now, at least those of us who don’t have our heads stuck in the sand, about the terrible tragedy that happened during yesterday’s Boston Marathon.

These type of things always have me asking myself “Why?” and “Who does this sort of thing?”

While eventually I think we’ll find out the “why?” I also think, in this stage of our development as a nation, we all know whom the “who?” may be. Right now it’s just a matter of determining which ‘who’ it is, in this case.

First and foremost, I think it’s of the utmost importance to not jump to conclusions¬†…..regardless of where you may lean, politically.

Do you hear that Chris Matthews? 

How about we wait and see where the evidence leads us before we start hanging people?


Regardless, my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this horrible, cowardly, tragedy.


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

 For some upbeat news,  my A to Z Blogging Challenge update:

Yesterday was “M” for Miss America and today was “N” for Nova….check ’em out! ūüôā


Until next time…

Re-rebooting, again…

Makes sense to me...

Makes sense to me…


Last week, I was talking about our “juice fast’ and how I thought we were doing it wrong by not eating. Doing a bit more research, I’ve found that we were, ¬†indeed, doing it correctly (as a commenter also mentioned) and that there are a few ‘reboots‘ that tell you to eat…but not the one we were trying.

Tomorrow, we’re giving it another go and starting another five day ‘juice fast’/detox. We took a trip down to our local produce place and stocked up….we’re ready to go.

Plenty of juicing and water as we try to give our systems another jump start on the road to getting healthy.


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!

A to Z Blogging Challenge update:

Yesterday was “K” for Kid Flash and today was “L” for The Liberty Legion. Check ’em out! We take a break tomorrow and it should give me time to get a jump on next week’s posts.


Until next time…


…don’t know when I’ll be back again….

...and back again.

…and back again.

In my previous post, I mentioned my wife and sister heading up to Jersey to attend their aunt’s funeral. Originally, they were staying until Monday, because it was cheaper than trying to fly back during the weekend.

Well, since then, there’s been a huge kerfluffle ¬†(thank you state of Florida!)¬†with their business and she feels she needs to head back down to help take care of things. So, after her aunt’s funeral, she’ll be flying back tomorrow night …which is good, because the cat misses her.

O.k, o.k…I do too! ūüôā


Challenge accepted!

Challenge accepted!


For my A to Z Blogging Challenge update:


Wednesday was “I” for Iron Fist and today was “J” for Jack T. Chance. ¬†Check ’em out!


Until next time…