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Posts tagged ‘Aruba’

People Make the Difference: Inside Your Own Life

Time, circumstance and preferences change our holiday agendas. What we do, where we go (or stay), and who we spend the season with reflects our current take on life.




Purdue U. friend Paul.

“I’m in a better place than a year ago. Thanks to prostrate scare, I’ve simplified. I retired as dean, and took a part-time teaching post. My wife and I moved back to southern Indiana. We’re within three hours of all of our children and grandchildren. We downsized to a 1,950 square feet English-style villa, from a 3,800-plus square feet, two-story Georgian with five acres to care for.”


Arizonan family friend.

“I’m ready to let someone else run this business. I don’t need to be in charge any more. I want to take my son and grandsons to the mountains, and fish…”


Aruban pilot pal.

“…leaving the destructive winds was the start of a new life. I sold the tourist charter plane service. I moved back to Columbia, and work with my cousins. At their family coffee plantation. We’ve always gotten along like brothers…”


Former PPG manufacturer’s rep.

“I asked for a smaller region. I had to move over 2,000 miles to get one. My wife and I were able to cut our expenses nearly a third. We were ready for a change of scenery. Relaxed life. More time…”


Painter friend Alex.

He first sent a Scrooge answer.

“The year’s been tough. I’m not in a good place. Nothing’s going right…”


Five minutes later his follow-up:

“Spinal surgery was a success. The doctors say that my son will be walking again by the middle of 2018. His wife, my daughter-in-law, has been able to return to full-time at work. My wife: she’s decorating everything in sight this Christmas…”


Southern Indiana cousin.

“Bob, I finally got it when my nephew asked, ‘Are you gonna be here next May to see me get my degree?’ I called my doctor…got my meds figured out… put myself on that Mediterranean-DASH diet…already lost fourteen pounds…”


Paleontology expert on Silver Lake region, CA.

“I look at my life as a history in the making. Not better than yesterday, or last year. Merely on track…”


My sister, always honest and creative.

“Bob? Who cares? When I get through the day, that’s doing better than when I got up in the morning, and went out the door…”


And me?

“Definitely, a no. 9 in the works. Books on course. Moving forward. Painting life in its right place. New hard drive installed; old one on its way to an expert to try to retrieve some special files… And two double batches of those Archway-like powdered sugar-coated Pecan balls, on the cooling racks.”



Have a blessed and safe holiday week. And thanks from “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Protecting and Preserving Nature’s Surfaces: Aruba

On the rocky, northerly cliffs of Aruba grows thousands of cacti. In one particular spot – a small patch –grows one or two samples of every species of cactus (Cactaceae), now indigenous to the island.


The relatively isolated patch is protected. By the “natives” themselves.


Traditional artists set their easels nearby. They sketch and paint views of the ocean, wildlife, and plants. A growing number of artists are returning to the craft of making their own paints and dyes. With special permission, a small group of them extract the pigment colors from the plants located around that tiny patch of cacti. Never within the patch.


Native–native artists use that small patch of cacti as a reference or guide to the species that are available for tapping on the island, for those pigments. Artists, crafters, writers, photographers, naturalists, etc. use it also for inspiration and subject material.


Hoteliers, developers and wealthy individuals with super deep pockets have tried, for many decades, to get hold of that entire “neighborhood.” But protected lands are protected lands. Particularly, on islands where land is so limited.


Some investors have joined preservationists to limit how much plant life – cacti – can be tapped, or harvested, for dye pigmentation. Similar steps have been taken in every state of the United States – out of dire necessity.


Some local governments, such as in Central Florida, have turned the “cause” of land preservation into a major arm of their “job description.” Committing large caches of taxpayer dollars to the purchase, protection and preservation of large parcels of land. Some of these land parcels are still a part of old family ranches.


In the “islands” – all of them, that’s been an on-going battle for centuries. Families, whose lineages can be traced to the earliest of inhabitants, fight to hold onto their roots. Literally!


That’s the case with that small patch of cacti, and its “neighborhood,” atop that northerly cliff of Aruba. That’s the case with the members of the family that own and cling to that parcel, as though their lives depend on it.


On January 31st of this year, I met a member of that Aruba family. She was participating in the Authors’ Symposium, held at the Veteran’s Memorial Library, in St. Cloud, Florida. The author splits her writing time between South Florida and Aruba. She subsidizes her writing income, by freelancing as a photographer in global hospitality marketing.


The covers on her last two novels feature background illustrations of cacti from her family land in Aruba. The sub-plot in both of those novels touches upon the battle to preserve the precious patches of cacti on Aruba.


Toward that end, one hundred percent of the sales from those two novels, and related activities, goes to help pay legal costs to fight for her family’s land. Their roots. Their cacti!

Protecting and preserving our lands are important tasks. And, everyone can help.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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