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She’s Got The Knack May 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Humor, People, Writing & Writers.
6 comments

Cindy’s posts on The Only Cin are magical, mystical, and marvelous . . . they always seem as if she wrote them just for me.

She didn’t.

The comments she receives from other faithful fans make it clear that we all  feel the same affinity with her carefully crafted words.

Cindy’s post, The House At Morgan Bay, reminded me of a book I haven’t thought about in years:  Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle.  

Curious, I searched and found it still available on Amazon.com ~ rather amazing for a book of just over 100 poems first published in 1967! 

An excerpt, How to Eat a Poem” by Eve Merriam, may be tantalizing enough to cause you to search out the volume for your own library:

Don’t be polite
Bite in.
Pick it up with your fingers and lick the juice that may run down your chin.
It is ready and ripe now, whenever you are.

In an entirely different way, Cindy’s post, Theft, resonated ~ making me wonder (not for the first time) why we feel embarrassed when others borrow books, CD’s, clothes, or money from us . . . and, then, promptly and conveniently “forget” to return the borrowed items to their rightful owner.

Once, during a party, a casual acquaintance wandered over and started to admire our CD collection by pulling CD’s off the shelf at a rapid rate. 

Turning to me, he asked, in all seriousness, if he could borrow 30-40 CD’s (in one fell swoop) to take home and record. 

Once bitten, twice shy.  

Knowing how likely it was that we would never see the borrowed CD’s again ~ no matter how often we managed to scrounge up enough “courage” to politely ask when they would be returned ~ I responded:

Sure.  You may borrow them one at a time.  As soon as you return one, you may make your next selection.   

He never asked again.

Maybe I embarrassed him.

Although we’ve never met, and live half a world away, I’m convinced that Cindy and I share the same muse . . . 

Fortunately, Cindy puts her to better use than I do.

Insipid Tomatoes? Make Bruschetta! May 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.
2 comments

IMGP4091Summertime harvests fill our kitchens with fresh green beans, corn on the cob, and vine ripened tomatoes bursting with juicy, fragrant deliciousness.

Tomatoes so good that they can stand alone, with no doctoring what-so-ever!

Tomatoes good enough to eat . . . as is . . . fresh from the vine.

Sadly, not all tomatoes reach that state of culinary perfection.

Tomatoes harvested before they are ready to fall off the vines into our waiting mouths taste more like chemically ripened cardboard than actual tomatoes.

All too often, the tomatoes we bring home look good enough to eat . . . but taste flat, uninspired, and insipid.

IMGP3193bHere’s my 911 for insipid tomatoes . . . make a topping for Bruschetta!

Chop the sorry excuse for tomatoes into a small dice ~ any kind of tomato will work, including plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or grape tomatoes.

In a large bowl, combine the diced tomatoes with:

* a peeled and seeded cucumber, diced

* some diced celery

* a cubanelle pepper, chopped fine

Add 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp. fresh basil, a couple sprinkles of crushed red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of seasoned salt, and some freshly ground black pepper.

Stir to combine.  After chilling, adjust seasonings to taste ~ adding more garlic, basil, red pepper, salt, and/or black pepper.

Serve with Bruschetta (toasted or grilled rounds of Italian bread, brushed with a bit of olive oil).

Other vehicles to get your doctored up tomatoes into your waiting mouth:  crackers, Melba toast, tortilla chips, or fritos.

Enjoy!

And, next summer, remember to GYOT ~ Grow Your Own Tomatoes!

Related posts:  Ten Ways to Fiber Up Your Diet * Yummy Hummus * A Trip To The Farmer’s MarketTiny Green Thumbs Workshop * Join a C.S.A. * Health Benefits From Greening Your Life * No Impact Man: Gradual Change

The Memorial Day Parade May 31, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Travel & Leisure.
4 comments

A parade of people, cars, and bikes
Moving at a snail’s pace
Floated single file down the wide avenue

Waving hands and excited gasps
Kept time to music filling the air

Convertibles with tops down
Made sudden stops and starts 
Along the congested parade route

Dressed in the uniform of the day
Participants carrying munitions and supplies 
Marched past parked cars on crowded shoulders

Baking in the sun, unified in purpose
The virtual army trudged forward

Juggling chairs, coolers and umbrellas
With grit and determination

A single file march to the sea
For Memorial Day at the beach

Related post:  Everyone’s free (to wear sunscreen)

Existential Angst May 30, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Poetry, Word Play.
2 comments

Why? . . . To Be Happy

But what if we’re not?  What then?

Existential Angst.

Related posts:  Quickly Quotable #10 (My Literary Quest)Progress, Not Perfection * The ABC’s of Happiness Spiritual Milestones

A Trip to the Farmer’s Market May 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Sustainable Living, Vegetarian Recipes.
4 comments

Since our CSA membership ended for the season last Saturday, we headed to the Bradenton Farmer’s Market this morning (last day of the season) to see how far a $20 investment in our local economy would take us.

Answer:  a long, long way!

Here’s what we got for $20: 1 head of crisp iceberg lettuce * 2 green peppers * 1 red pepper * 3 ears of just picked corn *  4 cubanelle peppers * 4 ripe tomatoes * 1 seedless watermelon * 1 cantaloupe * 1 pineapple * 1.5 pounds of green beans * 1 quart of hydroponic grape tomatoes * 1 head of celery * 1 quart of plum tomatoes * 1 bunch of Swiss chard

IMGP3614b

What a haul!

As soon as we got home, I cut up the watermelon and the cantaloupe ~ filling six 6-cup containers with juicy chunks of red and orange melon ready for noshing at a moments notice.

The rinds went into the compost bin.

After a quick rinse, I sautéed the Swiss chard with olive oil, crushed red pepper, and garlic salt, then stirred in a box of Near East Brown Rice Pilaf (following package directions) to make a yummy vegetarian casserole to toss into the freezer for later this week.

I sliced one of the locally grown tomatoes to make a PBLT on whole wheat toast for lunch.

What’s a PBLT?

Peanut butter, lettuce and tomato ~ the PB is salty and crunchy (like bacon) and marries well with the LT.

The result: my favorite summer sandwich.

BFF made himself a grilled “Panini” with Vermont cheddar cheese, sliced tomato, and slivers of red cubanelle pepper.

Since the melon wasn’t chilled yet ~ we enjoyed a juicy Valencia orange with our sandwiches.

For dinner tonight:

Pasta Primavera (angel hair pasta and herbs with sautéed zucchini, summer squash, carrots, and onions), corn on the cob, steamed green beans, and chilled melon.

What a wonderful kick off to Memorial Day weekend!

Plus, when we open the refrigerator, it looks like a Farm Stand moved in ~ with lots of healthy anti-oxidants, vitamins, and fiber in all colors of the rainbow . . . all thanks to our hard-working local farmers, with some help from Mother Nature.

Vegetables . . . it’s what’s for dinner!

Related posts:  Tiny Green Thumbs Workshop * Join a C.S.A. * Health Benefits From Greening Your Life * No Impact Man: Gradual Change

Don’t Wait To Get Hit By A Bus May 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness.
6 comments

The Universe often knows better than us what we need . . . and leads us gently in that direction.

If we ignore our Spiritual impulses, nudges become pushes, and pushes become shoves.  

When we don’t focus on changes that are long overdue, Spirit can be as insistent as a toddler experiencing the “terrible twos.”

The good news:

1) Spirit only shoves us in front of the proverbial bus as a last resort ~ and only if it is in our best interest.

2) When we hit rock bottom . . . there is no place to go but UP.

Quote:  Sometimes you’ve got to let everything go – purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything – whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you’ll find that when you’re free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.  ~ Tina Turner

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  A Beacon In The Dark * Winks, Whispers, and NudgesSail Without Fear

The Power Of Awesome! May 29, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness.
2 comments

I’ve added a new blog to my blogroll ~ 1000 Awesome Things

Neil Pasricha started his blog in June 2008 to focus on positives . . . when life seemed filled with  negatives.

Now, his blog has millions of admirers and he’s got a book to brag about as well!

To Buy The Book:

The Book of Awesome  (Amazon)

To Join The Countdown:

The Top 1000

More information about the Author:

Neil Pasricha never imagined that writing about the smell of gasoline, thinking it’s Thursday when it’s really Friday, or wearing underwear just out of the dryer would amount to anything.

A self-described “average guy” with a typical 9-to-5 job in the suburbs, Neil started his blog 1000 Awesome Things, as a small reminder — in a world of rising sea levels, global conflict, and a troubled economy — of the free, easy little joys that make life sweet.

He certainly didn’t anticipate that his site would gain a readership of millions of people, win two Webby Awards (“the Internet’s highest honor” according to The New York Times), be named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites, or become a place where people from around the world would come to celebrate the simple pleasures of daily life.

#786 Getting recognized for doing something you love  . . . PRICELESS!!!

Book and blog = awesome reminders of the power of positive thinking + the power of NOW!

Related posts:  We See The World Behind Our EyesGood Vibrations * The Pursuit of Happiness * The ABC’s of Happiness * Brave New Adventures * Happiness ~ Check it Out * The Last Lecture * Attack of the Killer ANTS

Something To SMILE About May 28, 2010

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

When Olivia Bouler (age 11) learned about the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, she went right to work . . . armed with her creativity, her compassion, and a few art supplies:

Young Artist Helps Gulf Wildlife One Drawing at a Time

Olivia (who can be found on Facebook) is giving bird drawings to people who donate to wildlife recovery efforts in the Gulf through non-profits, including the Sierra Club, Audubon, the Nature Conservancy, and the National Wildlife Federation.

How do you spell awesome?

O-L-I-V-I-A!

To hook up with Olivia on Facebook:  Save the Gulf: Olivia’s Bird Illustrations

No rules.  Just write!

Related posts:  Go Solar with . . . eSolar! * Green America * Political QuotesBig Oil, Big Lies:  Thanks, BP!  * Political Actions vs. Campaign Promises

More Good News! May 28, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Sustainable Living.
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Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glenn, NY is offering refuge to the animals abused at the Conklin Dairy farm in Ohio:

Farm Sanctuary Offers Rescue and Refuge for Animals Victimized in Ohio Dairy Farm Cruelty Case

“Thousands of people are calling for Conklin Dairy Farm to be shut down and the animals removed,” said Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary. “We have received countless calls from people all across the country expressing outrage upon viewing this video, and calling not only for prosecution of those individuals involved in these abusive acts, but also the rescue and refuge of the animals on this farm. We are equipped to provide protection for abused farm animals and we have expressed our willingness to help with local authorities.”

“Throughout our many years caring for abused dairy cows and calves, we’ve seen firsthand the severe toll such abuse takes on these sensitive, gentle beings,” said Susie Coston, national shelter director for Farm Sanctuary. “Fortunately, we’ve also seen how resilient their broken bodies and spirits can be when given proper rehabilitative care and treated with kindness and respect for the first time in their lives. On behalf of our 230,000 members and supporters, and the scores of outraged citizens we’ve been hearing from who have taken up our cause to end cruelty to farm animals after seeing this video, we hope to see justice and a safe refuge for the animals on Conklin’s farm.”

I don’t know about you . . . but this is MOO-SIC to my ears!

Related posts:  Got Milk?  Toss It Out!Freedom * Go HSUS!  * All The Gory DetailsTop Ten List ~ Vegetarian

Pedal Power May 28, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Poetry, Word Play.
2 comments

I entered Sierra Club’s contest to Win A Breezer Uptown 8 bicycle. 

My Haiku didn’t win me a new bike but it was fun to write:

Coast pristine coastlines
Unmarred by tar-feathered friends
Biking is a breeze

No rules.  Just write!