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Cocktails and Crew April 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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35 comments

Last week, we attended a cocktail party hosted by the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast at the Bay Preserve on Little Sarasota Bay in Osprey.

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The Conservation Foundation’s mission ~> “protecting the bays, beaches, barrier islands and watersheds of Florida’s Gulf Coast.”

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Before the drinks started flowing, we watched local middle schoolers wading into the waters for crew practice.

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Ready . . .  Set . . . Heave Ho!

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Over it goes.

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And they’re off.

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While the kids rowed, rowed, rowed their boats . . .

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Instructors scooted around in motor boats, barking orders.

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We wandered out on the dock and found a school of friendly fish.

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Bellying up to an all-you-can-eat buffet.

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The sun made its descent before the crew teams called it a day.

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The guest of honor, Rand Wentworth, President of the Land Trust Alliance, regaled us with tales of early conservationists, including Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt.

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At last, time for some Jack Daniels and Ginger Ale.

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 Aah . . . that’s better!

Sneak Peek at Neal Preserve April 8, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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35 comments

Our neighborhood is a bird sanctuary surrounded by 3 nature preserves ~ Robinson, Perico, and Neal.  Avian visitors include egrets, heron, pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, ibis, ducks, geese, vultures, and roseate spoonbills.

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Robinson Preserve opened in 2008 with walking and biking trails, a picnic area, kayak launch, playground, visitor’s center, viewing tower, and lots of wildlife ~ including several nesting pairs of bald eagles.

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Perico Preserve, still under construction, will be a bird rookery for nesting parents and baby birds.  “No Dogs Allowed.”

Reflections

Neal Preserve, located just to the west of our neighborhood, is scheduled to open tomorrow.  A few weeks ago, we had a chance to take a sneak peek.

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We walked along the elevated boardwalk and climbed the viewing tower.

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We saw fluffy cotton and cacti growing wild, 2000-year-old conch shells lining pathways, and palms swaying overhead.

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We enjoyed stories shared by the resident archeologist about two ancient burial mounds (300 B.C. – 100 A.D.) found on the grounds.

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And admired a trio of skeletons acting sentry over the ancient mounds.

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We didn’t see even the whisper of a ghost.  Maybe next time.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

The Mad Hatter April 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Nature, People, Poetry.
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20 comments
220px-Alice_par_John_Tenniel_27

Wikipedia ~ Alice in Wonderland (in Public Domain)

Trained to restrain
Our joys and triumphs
We share instead
Our sorrow and pain

Wings clipped, lights low
We diffuse our truth
To broadcast tales
Of worry and woe

Who created these social norms and mores we blithely follow?

The Mad Hatter?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Our Deepest Fear

 

Exterior Design April 6, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, Poetry.
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30 comments

Nature bathes our senses in reds, pinks, purples, and greens ~ all the colors of the rainbow offered up with tantalizing tastes and textures, aromatic fragrances, and soothing sounds that speak to our spirit, like the cry of a gull above the crash of the waves.

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Primary shades demonstrate both restraint and zeal ~ an unparalleled zest for living:

* Red geraniums, strawberries, tomatoes, and cardinals
* Yellow daisies, sunflowers, lemons, and bananas
* Bluebirds, blueberries, and cloud streaked skies

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Secondary shades add nuance to nature’s palette, drawing us outward and inward simultaneously:

* Fragrant oranges bursting with flavor tickle our taste buds
* Green grasses tickle the soles of our feet
* Purple evening skies beckon us to linger longer under the moon’s rays

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Nature’s sights and sounds delight and inspire us to tread softly on this precious planet, while savoring all that it offers.

We hug its offerings to our hearts and souls, taking clippings and cuttings to brighten our interior decor and sustain us through hectic days.

Mother Nature . . . this bud’s for you!

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Even in the stillness, the cosmos swirls. Even when silence reigns, we hear its heartbeat.

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Do Not Disturb April 4, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Art & Photography, Nature, Poetry.
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20 comments

Dragonfly rested
Wings folded
Still

Do not disturb

Desires ignored
Outstretched wings
Flight

How you perturb

Dragonfly settled
Wings framed
Anew

Kicked to the curb!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Artwork available at Roderick MacIver Arts.  The beauty of Rod’s art lies in his ability NOT to control all aspects of the water ~ he allows it latitude to do its thing while he does his. The result speaks for itself.

Bait For The Beast April 3, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Humor, Nature, People.
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44 comments

Wikipedia ~ Trophy Wife (in Public Domain)

A few days ago, I saw a bizarre commercial for a dating service.

Which one, I couldn’t say.

The ad featured 10 “hopefuls,” all skewed in the same direction.

All women.

With long flowing tresses.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long blond hair.

Long brunette hair.

Long brunette hair.

Long blond hair.

Long black hair.

 Long blond hair.

Wikipedia ~ Beauty and the Beast (in Public Domain)

None of them looked like they needed a dating service to help them troll for men.

Each had “Trophy Wife” stamped across her forehead.

I’m certain the site isn’t looking for dates for these prom queens . . .

No, I expect it’s looking for men “of a certain age” eager to hop aboard the dating express.

These beauties are bait for the beast.

Let’s hope the beast doesn’t have a heart attack while taking the bait out for a test drive.

Vroom . . . vroom . . .

Wikipedia ~ Beauty and the Beast (in Public Domain)

Perhaps, just to be on the safe side, the beast should start slow, by sitting down to a “getting to know you” dinner.

Whatever will they talk about?

Watching the ad made me wonder whether the marketing moguls are correct in their assumptions:

* Do 7 out of 10 beasts prefer blondes?

* Are beasts partial to long locks?

* Is Goldilocks more apt to get the gold?

* Is everyone in the target audience searching for Rapunzel?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Shades of Misanthropy March 17, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature, Poetry.
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22 comments

Sample_Picture08Perhaps my philosophy
Includes shades of misanthropy

A cynicism born of man’s endless fascination
With devastation and decimation

All in the name of progress

Each step forward erodes the foundation
Of natural creation

What is a cathedral or skyscraper, however high
Compared with a mountain peak ‘neath a clouded sky?

What is electric generation and digital manipulation
Compared with starlight, moonbeams, and fireflies?

In auditoriums, applause and accolades
Distributed to the chosen few
Like manna to man
Erode our view
Of what makes life worth living

Outside the skies ebb and flow
from night to day

While we remain asleep at the switch

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Post: The People who Make A Difference (Good Time Stories) * Red Mountain (Janna T. Writes)

“The reason men are so anxious to see themselves, instead of being content to be themselves, is that they do not really believe in their own existence.” ~ Thomas Merton, A Search for Solitude: Pursuing the Monk’s True Life

One Stitch At A Time March 12, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, People, Poetry.
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35 comments

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Day dawns, sun sets, time passes

Man imagines

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Birds soar, cats stalk, fish swim

Man creates

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A tapestry woven one stitch at a time

Aah . . . that’s better!

Reflections on a Still Pond March 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature.
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29 comments

alice26thAn arrogant man, who felt that no one could teach him anything, visited a Zen master for tea.  

The Zen master poured the tea until it overflowed the cup, and still he continued to pour.  

The arrogant man cried, “Master, stop!  Why do you keep pouring? The cup is full.”

The master replied, “You too are full of your opinions and judgments about the world.  You must empty yourself of the past, to receive the present.”

* * *

When we let go of automatic responses and live in the here and now, we uncover the joy and happiness within.

Rather than allowing past experiences to dictate our re-actions to new events, we begin to view life with alert curiosity.

Like a water-wheel filling and emptying its buckets as it turns, we empty out who we were to become more fully who we are meant to be.

No man steps into the same river twice ~ for it is not the same river and he is not the same man. ~ Heraclitus

* * *

IMGP2584bLife is a constant flow of comings and goings ~ Every day shapes our lives as running water shapes a stone.

Nothing lasts forever ~ Soft flowing streams erode the hardest boulders.

It does not happen in an instant ~ A bucket is filled drop by drop.  

We cannot force it ~ Pushing the river won’t alter its flow.  Shaking our fist at the sky won’t stop the rain.

That’s OK ~ Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass . . . it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.   ~ Vivian Greene

A still pond provides a clearer reflection.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Oh, Poo! March 7, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
39 comments

Grumpy gusLast week, I reached down to pick up one of Tigger’s treats from the carpet.

The small brown pellet did not have the expected resistance.  It felt “squishy.”

I tossed the “partially digested treat” (yes, that’s what I’m calling it) into the trash and washed my hands.

Vigorously.

I didn’t consider tasting the pellet . . . that’s just not my cup of tea.

In stark contrast, some people (perhaps those with more cents than sense) pay through the nose for coffee beans passed through the bowels of beasties:

Civet Droppings

Elephant Dung

* Panda Poo

Aha!  Now this photo makes sense!

I first heard of Kopi Luwak coffee (collected from the excrement of the civet, a catlike mammal in Southeast Asia) while watching The Bucket List.

Edward Cole (Jack Nicholson) extolled the virtues of this expensive excreted “reclaimed” brew. His traveling companion, Carter Chambers (Morgan Freeman), poo pooed the idea.

I’m firmly in the Freeman camp:

(1) Asian Palm Civets are caged captives, treated like poop for their poo.
(2) I’ve never been curious to try anything emitted from an elephant’s butt.
(3) The idea of ingesting “digested coffee beans” gives me indigestion.

People, places, and things have the value that we assign to them.

The-Pink-PantherTo some, a Picasso is just a painting, a diamond is just a pretty rock, and a piece of shit is just a piece of shit.

Count me in that crowd.

I’m not paying $200 for a cup of organic Panda Poo Tea.

Aah . . . that’s better!

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