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Homemade Cards and FOXY Gifts December 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Humor, Special Events, Word Play.
Tags: , , , , ,
43 comments

I’m a frugal Scot at heart.

The idea of paying Hallmark $4 (or more) for a piece of card stock with a few uninspired impersonal words printed on it seems the opposite of frugal.

So, time permitting, I flex my creativity chakra and make cards from scratch ~ like this 30th Anniversary Booklet that BFF is holding:

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Decisions . . . Decisions . . .

The booklet goes on for pages and pages about ways to celebrate our 30th ~ including going on a safari to watch a Zebra chasing a Lion:

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“I  K~E~E~E~L~L  You!”

This year, one of our nieces turned 18.  She wants a pet fox “one day.”  We decided to get her something FOXY for her birthday.

Here’s the card I created to go with the present:

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I had no problem finding illustrations for the card.

Who knew that you could find so many FOXY items for sale?  From hats to scarves to mittens to socks!

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From t-shirts to earrings to stuffed animals to night lights.

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That FOXY Night Light gave me a Bright Idea!

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I’m sure you’re wondering what we got her for her birthday.  Here’s a hint:

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And here’s the FOXY reveal:

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Yes . . . it’s a horse.

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But I think it’s FOXY!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Bolt of Lightning December 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , , ,
88 comments

2014-11-30 13-50-44_0013Joan flipped through sales flyers for the mall, planning her attack for Black Friday.  The front door slammed with insistence.

“M-O-M!  Christmas is ruined!”

“What?”

“The mall exploded!  It got hit by lightning and a generator blew up. It’s closed until January.”

“January?”

“Yes!  Christmas is ruined!”

“Calm down . . . there’s always Cyber Monday.”

“Ugh.  I hate on-line shopping.  No pushing.  No shoving.  No lines.”

Joan smiled at her daughter.  “And worst of all . . . no food court!”

Cathy collapsed into a chair.  “I’m going to go into serious sugar withdrawal without my weekly Cinnabon!”

Tossing the flyers into recycling, Joan stood.  “Don’t worry.  We’ll think of something.”

Joan found her husband tinkering at his workbench. “Paul, the mall has closed in a puff of smoke.”

“So I heard.”

“You did?”

“Yup.  I heard Cathy’s concerns about Christmas and Cinnabons loud and clear.”

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“What are we going to do?”

“About?”

“Are you daft?  Shopping.  Gifts. Christmas.  Ringing any bells?”

Paul caught Joan’s gaze. “Let’s make hand-made gifts.”

“You have sawdust for brains.”

“Hear me out.  Instead of poring over flyers, hunting for parking spots, and lugging piles of stuff home, let’s create gifts from the heart.  I’ll make wooden trains, planes, and puzzles for the kids. And a pipe rack for your dad.”

“What about me?”

“Your friends would love your homemade fudge or toffee . . . or one of your famous Grand Marnier cakes. You could make your mom that wreath she’s wanted.”

Warming to the idea, Joan returned to the kitchen and grabbed her recipe file.

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Soon delicious aromas circulated, mingling with carols.  As fragrant cakes baked, Joan created a starfish and sand dollar wreath for her mom, scented candles for her sister, and an afghan for Cathy.

Paul spent hours in his workshop emulating Santa’s elves.  Sawdust flying.

Cathy mastered the art of the Cinnabon.

Instead of waiting for the Big Day, Joan, Paul, and Cathy delivered treats to delighted friends throughout December.

Christmas morning, Cathy served fresh home-baked Cinnabons to her parents and grandparents.

Between bites, Joan grinned at Paul, “Hey, sawdust for brains! That was some bolt of lightning.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Written for Susanna’s 4th Annual Holiday Contest.  Entries accepted through 12/12.  Complete rules and other Merry & Bright Submissions ~> HERE.

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Joan’s famous Grand Marnier Bundt Cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine all ingredients and mix well, about 5 minutes, with an electric mixer or whisk.  Pour into a well-greased and floured fluted Bundt pan (or 10-inch tube pan).  Bake in pre-heated 325 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  

OPTIONAL: Drizzle with Grand Marnier glaze or sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.  NOTE:  Cake Freezes well before topping.

I Am December 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, Life Balance.
Tags: , , , , ,
46 comments

Tom Shadyak, director of Ace Ventura, Bruce Almighty, Evan Almighty, Liar Liar, Patch Adams, and other films sustained a broken arm and a concussion in a biking accident in 2007.

Despondent over the side effects of the concussion, he thought about death and, from there, began to ask what he wanted to share with the world before he died.

From those questions, he chose his next project.

In I AM, Shadyac asks some of today’s most profound thinkers, two questions:

* What’s wrong with our world?
* What can we do about it?

Several interviews touched upon the view that excess consumption and consumerism is a form of mental illness resulting from social conditioning which values competition more than cooperation.

In order to simplify his life, Tom sold his 17,000 square foot mansion and moved to a mobile home park in Malibu.

He rides a bike to work.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Speaking of I Am ~> today I Am over at Lively Twist as part of Timi’s series Did We Do Any Learning [3].

You may also be interested in Learning [1] and/or Learning [2].

Gentlemen . . . Rev Yer Engines! December 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Humor, Joke.
Tags: , ,
36 comments

Woodstock-&-SnoopyA car mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a car when he spotted a well-known cardiologist waiting for the service manager.

The mechanic shouted across the garage, “Hey Doc, want to take a look at this?”

The cardiologist walked over to where the mechanic was working.

The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag, and said, “So, Doc, look at this engine. I opened its heart, took the valves out, repaired or replaced anything damaged, and then put everything back in.  When I finished, it worked just like new. So how is it that I make $30,000 a year and you make $800,000 when you and I are doing basically the same work?”

Woodstock-&-Snoopy3The cardiologist smiled at the mechanic before saying, “Try doing it with the engine running.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

E-mail from unknown author (sent by Granny1947)

Performance Art Open To Interpretation December 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Life Balance, Special Events.
Tags: , , , , ,
34 comments

The Ringling Museum invited us to watch Li Wei in action:

Bring your own camera and prepare to be shocked by Li Wei’s unexpected stunning performance! Li Wei is coming to The Ringling Museum to offer a fresh take on his conceptual photography in front of Ca’ d’Zan and behind the Museum of Art Courtyard. Li’s work often features gravity-defying activities mixing performance and installation, with photography. 

We went, expecting to see something like this:

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Instead, we arrived to see this:

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Suspended from steel cables, Chinese Artist Li Wei hung in the air.

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Dragon head in front and kite tail streaming behind.

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The audience watched, wondering why Wei needed an audience.

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The cables and cranes were doing all the heavy lifting. Li Wei was just hanging around, setting off an occasional flare to emit pink dragon smoke into the air.

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Bored, the audience wandered off, in search of acrobatic fare and flair.

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We went with them.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Giving Thanks To Promote Giving December 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Humor, Mindfulness, People.
Tags: , , , ,
36 comments

devious-hobbesMy e-mail box has been FLOODED with four types of messages this past week:

* Black Friday Sales Flyers
* Cyber Monday Sales Flyers
* Thanks Giving Thanksgiving Missives from Non-Profits
* “Giving Tuesday” pleas . . . please!

Black Friday Sales have overflowed the banks of traditional brick and mortar storefronts to infiltrate automobile advertisements, performing arts centers, and even the Smithsonian Museum.  Most are dispatched without whetting my appetite to Buy More.

The same goes for most of the Cyber Monday Sales Flyers.

That’s the great thing about cyber trash . . . No Residue.

Most Thanks Giving Missives received on Thanksgiving seem designed with manipulation in mind.

The-Pink-PantherAlma maters, non-profits, restaurants, charities, and businesses give thanks for past giving (encouraging us to bask in the glow of their “sincere” appreciation for past support) before asking us (in almost the same cyber breath) to reach into our piggy banks, wallets, and IRA’s to provide them with continued support.

Maybe it’s just me being cynical, but I tend to question the sincerity of Thanks given with a plea for me to Give More.

Especially when it’s followed up with “Giving Tuesday” pleas to “please give!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  I Hate This Time of Year Rant (Crowing Crone Joss)

No Mailing Lists! December 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Home & Garden, Humor, People.
Tags: , , ,
36 comments

devious-hobbesThe moment we stepped into the Sarasota Home and Garden Show, a travel company minion accosted us.

The spokesperson shoved an entry form and a pen into my hand.

“Fill this out for a chance to win a Lowe’s Gift Card.”

Donald-Duck-BaseballI glanced at the form and saw blanks for name, address, phone number, e-mail, birth date, income bracket, children, pets, requested last meal, etc.

I started to hand the form back.  Blank.

He pointed to signs all over the table:

NO MAILING LISTS.

I looked back at the form wondering why they wanted so much information if they didn’t plan to use it.

Evil QueenNoting my reticence, he said all they needed was my name, address, phone number, birth date, and signed consent so they could call me when we won.

I glanced down at the signed consent portion of the form and started reading.

He interrupted my endeavor to “interpret” the language for me.

The-Pink-PantherQuestions swirled through my mind:  Why would a travel company give away a Lowe’s Gift Card?

Why did they need so much information just to contact the winner?

Why was I still standing here talking to Barker Bob?

I placed the blank entry form and pen on the table and turned away, ignoring their continued pleas for me to Enter & Win.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Someone asked about the falling snow.  To activate on your WordPress blog:

Dashboard ~> Settings ~> General . . . scroll down and click the box that says “Show falling snow on my blog until January 4th.”

The Perfect Writer’s Retreat December 2, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Writing & Writers.
Tags: , , , ,
56 comments

While cruising around Terra Ceia Island, we stumbled across the perfect writer’s retreat.

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Situated on a corner lot, the house overlooks the banks of Terra Ceia Bay.

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Imagine writing at a desk in that turret, underneath the weathered vane.

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Gazing out at blue skies, serenaded by sea breezes and wandering muse.

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Of course, if we moved, we’d miss our neighbors . . . like Ichabod Ibis.

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As well as Ida, Iago, Irene, Igor, Igraine, Ike, Ignatius, Ian, and Icarus.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Sea Hut’s Crab Trap December 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor.
Tags: , , , , ,
35 comments

After exploring Terra Ceia Island, both the Arts & Crafts Show and the Madira Bickel Indian Mound, we decided to stop for a light lunch at the Sea Hut.

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We sat outside on a small deck with a big boat peering over our shoulders.

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Each table held a water glass to catch cracker wrappers from blowing away.

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A bright blue awning overhead acted as understudy for missing blue skies.

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The Sea Hut’s indoor decor included this toothsome totem.

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And another totem with a more malevolent expression.

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Back at the table, our Honey Puppies arrived in a cloud of powdered sugar.

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To keep our blood sugar on an even keel, we also ordered black beans & rice.

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Food tucked in to happy tummies, another toothsome grin appeared.

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On the way back to the car, we met up with Sideshow Bob in the parking lot.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Madira Bickel Archeological Site November 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Nature, People.
Tags: , , , ,
33 comments

After admiring the Love Ladder at the Arts & Crafts Show, we continued exploring Terra Ceia Island with a stop at the Madira Bickel Archeological Site.

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Indigenous occupation of the site dates back 2,000 years.

The picnic table is of more recent vintage.

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The site is not named for the Native Americans who lived there.

It’s named for Madira Bickel who purchased the land and donated it to the state in 1948.

Money talks.

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Signs do provide some history about Native American Life for visitors.

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The park added shell stairways for easy access to the top of the mound.

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Crowning the mound, trees stand tall, decked in garlands of Spanish Moss.

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The moss, an epiphyte or “air plant,” absorbs water and nutrients (especially calcium) from ambient air and rainfall.

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Since we are not able to absorb nutrients from air, we decided our next stop should be LUNCH.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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