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Morocco February 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Music & Dance, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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Donald-DuckaWhen the same thing keeps popping up on our radar screen, we need to tune in and LISTEN.

This week, I hear the Universe whispering . . . “Morocco.”

1. Kate shared a post about her planned impromptu trip to the country where they turned back time ~ Fantasies of Heat & Dust.

Kate also shared a craft project . . . making a travel journal for the trip.

2. Freedom Village, a local retirement community, selected Morocco as its theme for February and extended an invitation to the larger community to join residents in sampling Moroccan Cuisine.

I called too late . . . and asked to be added to the “Wait List.”

3. While watching TV, we saw mention of Morocco.  The exact context of that whisper escapes me.  Perhaps it was:

Morocco ~ it’s everywhere you want to be.

4. Yesterday, on Wordless Wednesday, Sylvia shared a photo taken on the road to Marrakesh ~ Washday Blues.

Sylvia’s photo made me run to hug my washing machine.

5. With each passing reference to Morocco, the haunting melody of Al Stewart’s The Year of the Cat begins to play revealing . . . a morning from a Bogart movie in a country where they turned back time.  

The Year Of The Cat encourages me to accept what is offered without obsessing about the future and its inherent uncertainty:

If “Morocco” is the WHAT, what’s the WHY?

Well . . . I’m not sure.

That’s OK.  I’ll accept what’s being offered here and now and allow the future to unfold in its own way and time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Wow! What A Weekend! November 12, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor, Music & Dance.
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We had tons of fun in the sun this weekend.  Here’s how the fun unfolded:

IMGP0887bOn Wednesday, we received a late breaking invitation to a birthday dinner for our 16-going-on-17 niece, Samantha.

Driving across state to join the revelry and merriment at Seasons 52 in Orlando, we heard Stevie sing “On The Edge of Seventeen.”

Perfect timing!

And then “a little ditty about Jack and Diane” which reminded us to “hang on to 16 as long as you can.”

Oops . . . too late!

We arrived early and surprised Sam by jumping out of the bushes in front of the restaurant, swords drawn.  Like pirates!

We didn’t fool her.  She knew it was us.

Dinner included Flatbread Pizza, Greek Salad, a Dynamic Duo of Hummus, and Sweet Indulgences for Dessert.

Our waiter snapped this photo as we struggled to maintain composure (while fighting a losing battle with a sugar high).

Sam's Birthday

Tigger managed in our absence, greeting us with a HUNGRY yowl and a hairball.  On the carpet.

On Thursday, after a grueling day of doing “nothing much” (bike ride, water aerobics, grocery shopping), we attended an Open House at the South Florida Museum to launch the new equipment in its Planetarium . . . stellar!

The capabilities are absolutely amazing!  We zoomed in to Earth and flew over Anna Maria Island and our neighborhood. We rode through the canyons on Mars. We went out past the edge of the solar system, the Milky Way, to the edge of the known Universe.  

To date, only 25 planetariums in the world have these capabilities ~ much like the Universe, that number is ever expanding.

Tigger greeted us with a contented purr and a wee accident.  On the tile.

On Friday, at the annual Arts Hop, we wandered through five of the island’s fourteen galleries listening to local musicians, sipping wine, admiring the art, and nibbling on  . . . nope, not spongecake.

We noshed on imported cheese and crackers and sampled coconut shrimp with mango salsa at Sidebar, the newest gallery.


We filled cocktail plates with bruschetta, pizza, and fresh pineapple at The Studio at Gulf and Pine.

We tried Japanese Ice Cream “Bubbles” at the Shiny Fish Emporium ~ a first for us.  Mochi ice cream is a small dessert ball with rice cake (mochi) on the outside and an ice cream filling on the inside.  We tried the White Chocolate Raspberry first.  Followed in quick succession with a Chocolate chaser.

We ended our strolling repast with mini pumpkin spice cupcakes and cookies at ArtSpace.

Fun night.  And filling.  Filling and fun.

We went home and collapsed on the sofa to watch The Bourne Legacy and rest up for the rest of the weekend’s scheduled events.  Tigger joined us.

On Saturday, we stopped by the AMI Butterfly Garden Arts & Crafts Show on the island to hang out with Patchouli.  Just the right mix of sun and clouds to keep the temperatures temperate.

Did you catch the chorus?  “I don’t know how to stay, but I don’t know where we’re going.  Hold on ’cause anything is possible.”

Ring any bells?

After getting our fill of Julie and Bruce’s melodies, we swung by The Fresh Market for Taste of the Holidays, with samples of whipped potatoes, sweet potato souffle, corn souffle, stuffing, cranberry orange relish, green beans, cheese straws, pecan pie, and coffee a l’orange.

Also offered but not sampled by us ~ oven roasted turkey, spiral baked ham, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, red velvet cake.

After grabbing a few bakery items (Toscano Pano and Cheddar Rolls), we popped down to Coquina Beach for the tail end of Symphony on the Sand, arriving in time to hear the 1812 Overture.  While there, we burned off a few calories with a moonlit stroll along the Gulf, accompanied by night breezes.

After a light dinner at home, we headed inland to hear Sophie B. Hawkins  perform at the Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar.

Sophie B. headlined the Pussycat Festival, to raise $’s for the Gulf Shore Animal League, singing songs from Tongues & Tails and Whaler . . . plus a few songs by her alter ego, Janis Joplin.


After enjoying her music for 20 years, it was great to kick back and watch Sophie perform live . . . from the comfort of our car.  We arrived late to the festival, expecting to park blocks away from the venue.  Instead, we pulled into a parking spot a stone’s throw from the stage with an unobstructed view.

What a treat!

On Sunday, we attended a matinee of the Island Players ~ Guilty Conscience, a crafty thriller by the creators of “Columbo” and “Murder She Wrote.”  At intermission, we enjoyed a few “Guilty Pleasures” ~ tea cakes and cookies.

On Monday, fun still not done, Mary Lou and Larry took us to lunch at The Waterfront ~ a delicious “thank you” for helping clean out Betty’s villa.


Today we plan to rest up for next weekend.  Which starts . . . tomorrow!

What’s that?  Weekends don’t begin on Wednesday and end on Monday?  Of course they do.  They must.  How else would we pack in all this fun?

Aah . . . that’s better!

How did you “spend” the weekend?  Are you “paying for it” this week?  :mrgreen:

Stir Life With A Slow Spoon October 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
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When caramelizing onions, low heat with a slow spoon works best to enhance their innate sweetness.  Cranking the heat to speed up the process doesn’t work, unless you savor the flavor of burnt onions with raw centers.

Life’s like that ~ we enhance its innate sweetness when we slow down.


In a recent post, Do You Ever Slow Down?, Eric provides 3 tips on soaking up the present moment before rushing headlong into the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.

Reading Eric’s post reminded me of John Lennon’s decision to stop riding the merry-go-round:

Simon & Garfunkel’s recipe for “Feeling Groovy” also came to mind ~> “slow down, you move to fast, you got to make the morning last, kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.”

Looking for fun?

Feeling groovy?

Splash color around.

Ignore the guide lines.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Bridge Street Blues September 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Happiness, Humor, Music & Dance.
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On Saturday night, we went to Bridge Street on the island for a Blues Fest.

A small one to be sure.  And we didn’t hear any actual Blues.  But we enjoyed watching the Hoop Dancers while listening to live music on island time.

One dancer suggested I check out Beth Lavinder’s videos on youtube.  So I did.

She makes it look easy!

We didn’t spend long at the Fest.  We got distracted by bands playing at four other outdoor venues on Bridge St. ~ Island Time Bar & Grill, Blue Marlin’s Back Alley, Bridge Tender Inn, and Dive In (a real dive).

Ya, mon.  De island be hopping . . . it’s a happening place.

Except at sunset . . .


When time stands still long enough for us to catch our breath.


That’s it.  Toes in the sand.  Eyes on the sky.


Exhale.  Again.  Leave your worries sitting in the sand.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Garage Bands & Garbage Men September 21, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Music & Dance, Sustainable Living.
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When we went to Snooty’s 65th Birthday Bash, we enjoyed the sights and sounds, including a Garage Band called The Garbage Men.


The band’s members created playable instruments out of cereal boxes without topses and other found and re-purposed materials.


Their performance reminded me of something I might see on Sesame Street or Mulberry Street.  Or perhaps near a picked-over landfill in Paraguay.

Aah . . . that’s better!

I don’t know about you, but the closest I’ve come to playing a home-grown instrument was putting fresh wax paper in my Kazoo.


Can you Kazoo?

Diminishing Appetites & Metabolites September 13, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Music & Dance.
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I don’t know about you, but my appetite is not what it once was . . . which is just as well since my metabolism is also headed south, in inverse proportion to my advancing age.

In younger years, I ate an impossibly large quantity of food at times.  Perhaps that’s why I often felt like a gargantuan plodding oaf?


In recent years, both appetite and metabolism have taken a nose dive, entering into a rapid free-fall descent.

No.  My weight has NOT followed suit.  Thank you for asking.


As newlyweds, BFF and I could easily down a large pizza in a single sitting without thinking twice (or tasting it twice due to reflux).  These days, a large cheese pie lasts for several meals ~ a single slice, that’s nice.

Most times, I don’t mind.  Smaller appetites are better for our bottom line.

Last Monday, we went to Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar for Labor Day play.


On the website, someone had advertised 1/2-price appetizers.   We decided to swing by for a light lunch.

On inquiry of the bartender, our information turned out to be misinformation.


They did have a few Happy Hour specials available, but none appealed to the vegetarians in us.

After looking over the menu, we decided to split a beer and an order of fries while listening to the guitarist, Ricci D, play an eclectic mix of songs ~ from Dave Matthews to Neil Young to Crosby Stills & Nash to Matchbox 20.


Appetites sated, we wandered around Tarpon Pointe enjoying the gorgeous water views and river breezes.

It turned out to be a perfect Labor Day ~ easy on the eyes, the ears, the stomach, and our wallets.


Aah . . . that’s better!

If you’re wondering where all the people are . . . an enormous gargantuan plodding oaf ate them . . . like French fries!

Fi Fie Fo Fum!

Circle of Friends September 8, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Fun & Games, Humor, Music & Dance, Word Play.
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Wikipedia ~ Dredge

I scanned the room, wondering who had dredged the bottom of the gene pool to compile this motley mess.

Gyrating hips and hipsters occupied the dance floor.

Transfixed by the less-than-smooth moves of countless flailing limbs, I stood on the perimeter of the precipice, sipping a frozen  margarita.

Is this what social gatherings had become in my absence?

A sea of misfits twitching and twisting and twerking around in a lawful, yet lewd, display of claimed carnality?

Tiggers-R-UsIn horrified fascination, I watched writhing torsos engaged in blatant mating rituals designed to entice the preferred gender to take a gander.

Satisfied this foray was not the way to expand my circle of friends, I fled the scene ~ claiming a pert and perky pink parasol as a suitable souvenir.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Jumble Prompt:  Dredge, Occupy, Frozen, Social, Lawful, Entice . . . Circle of Friends

Related post:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Circle

Music Rocks August 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Music & Dance, Special Events.
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During summer breaks from college, I worked at the Garden State Art Center, a lively outdoor amphitheater in Holmdel, New Jersey.  I’ve written about the venue once before, recounting the time my boss threw a Birthday Bash for me:  S~U~R~P~R~I~S~E!


In case you’ve never been, the G.S.A.C. looks like its slightly larger and older twin sister, the Hollywood Bowl ~ the largest natural amphitheater in the US, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000.  Just Photoshop out the mountains.

Here are a few fun facts about the Garden State Arts Center:

About 17,500 people can occupy the amphitheater; there are 7,000 seats and the grass area can hold about 10,500 people.  Concerts are from May through September featuring 35–45 different events of many types of musical styles.

It is ranked among the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country.

That’s right . . . I worked at one of the top five most successful amphitheaters in the country!  Before I even had a college degree!  Go me!

Woodstock-&-Snoopy2During high school and college, we sat on the grassy lawn listening to Stephen Stills, Dave Mason, ELO, Chicago, the Moody Blues, Seals & Croft, Loggins & Messina, the Eagles, Hall & Oates, etc..

Nope, not Bowie.  He tended to stay in venues in the city.
Nope, not Bad Company either.

Years later, we sat in plush “inside” seating at the same venue (after its corporate-sell-out name change to the PNC Bank Arts Center) to see Sarah McLachlan.  We also enjoyed repeat performances by ELO, Chicago, and the Moody Blues far from the grassy knolls of our youth.

We sat on other lawns around the country to hear:

* Pure Prairie League (South Carolina)
* Steve Forbert (Delaware)
* John Eddie (New Jersey)
* The Dave Matthews Band (in Philly at the Mann Music Center)

Sometimes, during chilly winter months, we moved indoors, attending concerts by Bruce Hornsby, the Dixie Chicks, 10,000 Maniacs, and the Indigo Girls in small intimate settings (like Wait Chapel at Wake Forest in North Carolina).

Wikipedia ~ Wait Chapel (in Public Domain)

In larger arenas, younger versions of our current music-loving selves listened with youthful enthusiasm to Boston, Bob Seger, Little Feat, Neil Young, Little River Band, Firefall, the Grateful Dead, Starcastle, Fleetwood Mac, Queen, Stevie Nicks, Alabama, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Starship, Jackson Browne, Orleans, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Steely Dan, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Gordon Lightfoot, Journey, and Santana.

A few years ago, a much older version of me accompanied two nieces to see Natasha Bedingfield perform at Universal Studios.

Yay!  I can still clap hands with the best of them.  I hope when I’m really old and gray (like Jagger), I’ll still say:  Music rocks! :D

Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you enjoy attending outdoor concerts?  Have you ever been to the G.S.A.C. or the Hollywood Bowl?  How about the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado?

The earliest notable rock-and-roll performance at Red Rocks was by The Beatles on August 26, 1964, the only concert NOT sold out during their US-tour. 

What are your favorite music memories?

Better LATE Than Never August 3, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Gratitude, Happiness, Music & Dance.
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How’s this for inspiring?

Britain’s Got Talent: 80-year-old Janey Cutler has a wonderful singing voice, and her friends egged her on to enter the competition.

As she says in the clip . . . Better Late Than Never.  Here’s to “No Regrets.”

For Sidey’s Weekend Theme ~ Late

Sarasota Summer Circus Spectacular July 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.
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As part of my birthday celebration, we attended a matinee performance of the Sarasota Summer Circus Spectacular in the Historic Asolo Theater at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota:

An 18th-century treasure in a 21st-century venue, the Historic Asolo Theater is a work of art in its own right. The palace playhouse was created in Asolo, Italy in 1798 to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus.

In the late 1940s, the theater was dismantled and brought to the Ringling Estate in Sarasota.  In 2006, after years of painstaking restoration, America’s only 18th-century European theater was reset in the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion just inside the historic Cà d’Zan Gatehouse on the Ringling Museum estate.

The Historic Asolo Theater now functions as a performing arts venue, presenting a diverse roster of theater, music, dance, film, and lectures.

The show boasted clowns, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, and illusionists.

Opening the 2013 Spectacular, Texas Jack Fulbright, the reigning world champion of trick roping, engaged in some whip cracking fun.

We enjoyed the sleight of hand of master magician Rafael Palacis, and the aerial grace of the magnificent “Queen of the  Air,”Dolly Jacobs.

We had two favorite acts during the matinee.  First, nationally-acclaimed Silent Comedian, Robb Zeiser, drew laughter from the crowd on his own . . .


And with the able assistance of children pulled from the audience . . .


Who, upon waking that morning, had been unaware that they would wow an audience by balancing a spinning plate on the head of a spindle . . .


But you’ll have to take my word for it because, just as his miniature volunteers proved their proficiency at passing spinning plates from one to the next, an usher informed me that taking photos in the Asolo was a big naughty “no no.”

Oops.  Mea culpa.  (When I saw her headed my way, I thought she meant to chastise my slouch . . . or my failure to get a proper pedicure before appearing in public.)


The last act, Duo Romanesc, drew appreciative gasps from the audience as this dynamic and nimble duo demonstrated flexibility, strength, grace, and balance.

Ian Laidlaw and Anthony Congdon have performed as a duo hand-balancing team since middle school, when they met at the Sailor Circus in 2007. Coached by the distinguished circus performer Willie Edelston, they have also performed as part of quad and trio hand-balancing teams.

Aah . . . that’s better!


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