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The Wonderful World of C~H~E~E~S~E December 18, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
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25 comments

On Saturday, we attended a Cheese Tasting presented by The Fresh Market at the Main Library.

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We had the opportunity to try 10 cheeses from the Eight Cheese Familes:

1. Fresh Cheeses ~ Goat Log and Cilegene (fresh mozzarella)

2.  Soft Ripened/ Bloomy Rind ~ Ile de France Brie

3.  Washed Rind ~ Chaumes

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4. Pressed Uncooked ~ Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar

5. Pressed Cooked ~ Kaltbach Cave Aged Gruyere

6.  Pasta Filata (Stretched Curd) ~ Armenian String

7. Blue Veined ~ Buttermilk Blue

8. Specialty ~ Wendsleydale cranberry and Cran Le Roule

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Each table of four tasters had all cheeses within arm’s reach which enabled us to compare and contrast the tangy peppery goat log with the rich Brie with the sharp Buttermilk Blue.

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Karen LaBonte, the cheese specialist, brought Raspberry and Apricot preserves to pair with the White Cheddar and the Buttermilk Blue.  The Apricot preserves raised the Blue to stellar heights.

2014-12-13 14-46-30_0007Karen also brought a fresh Cheddar Cheese Curds for us to sample, amid squeaks.

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Following the tasting, the Manatee School for the Arts put on a short Holiday Concert.

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Giving attendees a chance to cleanse their palates with cookies and punch.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Are your favorite cheeses Mild or Sharp?  Nutty or Tangy?  Are they Stinky, Aromatic, and Pungent? Peppery, Grassy, or Musky?  Silky or Crunchy?  Citrusy, Earthy, Sweet, or Salty?  Elegant and Rich?  Or Rustic and Barn-yardy?

Candy Cane Crawl December 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
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34 comments

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On the night of the crawl, the merchants gave to me:

12 sips of cider

11 salty pretzels

10 bites of cheesecake

9 steel drum carols

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8 massage minutes

7 festive ribbons

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6 Hershey’s kisses

5 brownie bites

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4 cheese and crackers

3 candy canes

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 2 violinists playing

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And a slighty disheveled Santa

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens December 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Special Events, Travel & Leisure.
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32 comments

Last weekend, we went to Busch Gardens in Tampa to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas Town.

First stop, Stanleyville Station to ride the Christmas Express.  After boarding, it started to rain. At the conductor’s request, we debarked and huddled together in the station to watch rain drops plopping in puddles for 15 minutes until the conductor asked us to retrace our steps:

“A~L~L    A~B~O~A~R~D!”

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The rain slowed long enough for us to pull out of the station, seated on soggy rainswept seats.

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We took the tracks less traveled . . . and saw behind the scenes hardware.

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As we passed Nairobi, the rains came . . . offering passengers a soggy safari.

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Can you hear My Fair Lady?   “The rain on the plain stays mainly on the train.”

Giraffes craned long necks in our direction.

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They stood high, but not dry, under tall palms.

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I heard them chuckling at prisoners huddled in puddles on the Candy Cane Express.

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After de-boarding, we decided to dry off inside.  We opted to see a show ~ Opening Night Critters ~ featuring rescue dogs, cats, birds, plus a plucky pony, a shy skunk, and a prickly porcupine.

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After the show, we saw other animals ~ elephants, Cape Buffalo, orangutans, and tigers.

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And a kangaroo stationed outside of Walkabout Way.

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Flocks of flamingos paraded around the grounds.

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All decked out in their Christmas finery.

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Amid beautiful floral arrangements.

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We saw fields of poinsettias blanketing a zebra-drawn sleigh.

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Inside the market place, we spied zebras, elephants, and giraffes for sale.

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Ready to be adopted by collectors of all ages.

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Before leaving, we walked through Christmas Village to watch wee ones enjoying a pint sized train.

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As it circled round and round model trains completing smaller loops.

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The trains defied all attempts to capture an unblurred image.  The trees stood silent and still, awash in bright lights while displaying a spirit of cooperation.

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Throughout the park, Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes offered scents of the season.

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This one stood in a pool of white poinsettia.

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And presiding over it all . . . the Big Man himself.

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Urging visitors to “Bring Home The Coke.”  HO~HO~HO!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

We Love This LOVE Ladder November 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Fun & Games, Travel & Leisure.
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28 comments

On Saturday, we went to a Vintage Fair and Arts & Crafts Show at Seabreeze Park on Terra Ceia Island.

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Once there, we wandered the boardwalk to check out Terra Ceia Bay.

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The bay strained at its shoreline as it chopped and rolled under a stiff sea breeze.

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We turned to retrace our steps and spied something ahead to our right.

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Natives!  Hanging out in the mangroves.

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Our favorite arts & crafts item ~>  this LOVE ladder we saw at Two Little Sheep.

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Teri started her crafting business this past summer ~ this was only her 2nd craft fair.

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Contact info:  twolittlesheep@gmail.com or find Two Little Sheep on Facebook.

Aah . . . that’s better!

That’s Just Crazy! October 15, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
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30 comments

IMGP3167bWe watched a show on Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Those people are crazy.

They eat dinner at 10 pm . . . and that’s the Early Bird Special.

Even families with young children arrive at restaurants to dine at midnight.

That’s not the crazy part.

The clubs open at 2 a.m. and people dance til dawn.  Then what?  A quick yawn, shower, and off to work?

And that’s not the crazy part.

Folks there are big fans of plastic surgery ~ 1 out of 3 has had work done.

That’s not the crazy part.

IMGP3151bA high percentage of folks are receiving therapy for mental health issues.

But that’s not the crazy part.

Here’s the crazy part ~> they take their psychoanalysts on vacation with them!

How bizarre!

Maybe they bring them along to check for skeletons in the closet?

Or bats in the belfry?

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Rooftop Happy Hour October 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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51 comments

On Sunday, as we headed back to our car, I snapped this inviting bench outside a local watering hole.

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Caught up in the flow of the day, the bench caused an immediate craving for a cold adult beverage.  So we headed to the Chart House to enjoy Happy Hour under the impossibly blue sky.

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Situated on the Rooftop Deck, we ordered a trio of appetizers and two drinks.

I planned to take a photo when they arrived, but I forgot.  So instead of a gorgeous presentation like this:

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Or like this:

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Or like this:

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I snapped the last two Fried Artichoke Hearts with Lemon Basil Aioli:

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And the tail end of the plate of yummy Hummus:

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And the last few Truffled Fries and Friends (after the Friends got eaten):

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So you’ll have to take my word for it ~ they looked as good as they tasted!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Overseas Adventure Travel October 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
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32 comments

Last week at a luncheon, we met Bob and Carole who have traveled with Overseas Adventure Travel (our host for the luncheon) more than 23 times.

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They’ve been to South Africa, Tanzania, Finland, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tahiti, River Cruises in Europe, Scotland, Ireland, Turkey, Morocco, Zambia, Mexico, China, India, and the list goes on.

They had to sneak out of Egypt during an uprising and they enjoyed front row seats to a gunfight between competing drug cartels in Mexico.  They’ve ridden elephants in Thailand and been offered rides on camels and ostrich.  They’ve steered water buffalo to plow fields, reins looped about their necks.

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But the real eye opener . . .

A few years ago, Carole spent 6 weeks in a coma after being involved in a single car accident.

She ran over herself.

Not on purpose.  It was an accident.  Early in the morning.  While hunting for the release of the emergency brake.

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Some of our biggest life adventures happen in our own backyards.

And driveways.

Keep your eyes open!

Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

 

Another Fantasy Adventure October 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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39 comments

On Sunday, we traveled across town to check out model homes in The Inlets. Of the rooms we toured, this game room captured our imagination the best.

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We could have stayed here for hours playing pool inside or wandering through the sliders to cool off in the adjoining pool and soak away cares in the spa.

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Stopping between shots to admire our $1.4 million yacht parked just outside the game room.

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The tropical colors of the space soothed our lusty appetites, as did the help yourself hors d’oeurves.

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Before moving on to the next home, we wandered outside, kicked off our shoes, and climbed aboard the 3 bed 2 bath boat in the basin.

Topside, BFF allowed the breeze to ruffle his captain’s cap.

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Back inside, we took one last longing look at the pristine calm.

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Before returning to the current reality of our life.

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We are making progress.  Slow and steady progress.

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In due course we’ll reclaim our ZEN.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Out Of This World October 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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37 comments

We took a star-studded tour of the known Universe at the Planetarium on Saturday morning.

With Tom Hanks narrating, we flew out past the edges of the Milky Way via Passport to the Universe.

We saw stars!  Billions and billions of stars.  And Earth from a decidedly different perspective.

Imagine everyone you’ve ever known on that pale blue dot . . .

At the far reaches of outer space, we found a Black Hole and used it as a short cut to shoot back across the Universe, saving us millions of light years.

Back on Earth, we bumped into H.G. Wells and his Time Machine.

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It’s quite a brilliant mode of transport, allowing passengers to travel through time and space without undergoing groping and probing at TSA checkpoints.

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Just punch in the coordinates and GO!

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But it was time for lunch . . . so we’ll save that adventure for another day.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Cannonball! July 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Nature, Poetry, Travel & Leisure.
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21 comments

Brittle air asphixiates

A smothering blanket of humidity
Strangles every breath

Melting feet to pavement

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Stifling muggy heat
Chokes all thought

Escape plans evaporate

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Crisp gingerbread cookies
Reduced to a leathery crust

In a hot summer oven

*

**

* * *

* S~P~L~A~S~H! *

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Aah . . . that’s better!

How do you like to Beat the Heat in the sultry days of summer?

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