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An Aerial Ballet January 31, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Nature, Poetry.
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Vultures lack grace
(and table manners)
when consuming carrion carcasses

But in flight
They delight

Wikipedia ~ Condor (in Public Domain)

Waltzing throught the sky
Synchronized motion
Catching currents
Flying in repose

An aerial ballet
Of the highest measure

Black swans
With kaleidoscope heads

Wikipedia ~ Condor (in Public Domain)

Bald . . .

Bold . . .

Bad to . . . the bones

An Appalachian Adventure January 30, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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Wikipedia ~ Backpacking (in Public Domain)

“Man, this pack is heavy.”

“You’re right.”

“I know I’m right.  We should have hired Sherpas.”

“Sherpas are few and far between in Georgia.”

“OK, then . . . donkeys.”

“Don’t be an ass.”

“I’ll stop being an ass if you stop being such a stubborn mule.”

“What do you mean?”

“C’mon . . . let’s toss in the towel on this boondoggle through the boondocks.”

“I’m not tossing in the towel.”

“Fine, be a mule.  So . . . how far have we gone?”

“About 7 miles.”

“That’s all?  It seems further . . . like 107.”

“Nope.  Just 7.1 miles since we set out this morning.”

“How many miles to the end of the trail?”

“From this point . . . we’ve got 2,171.2 to go.”

“I’m never gonna make it.”

“Sure you will.  Let’s play a game to make the time pass more quickly.”


Appalachian Trail Conservancy ~ About the Trail

“Here’s a fun fact . . . the elevation gain and loss on the Appalachian Trail is like hiking from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest . . .”

“You’re kidding . . . ”

” . . . and back to sea level . . . 16 times.”

“16 times?!”


“I’m never gonna make it.”

“You’ll do fine.  See if you can list all the states the trail passes through.”

“Well, it starts in Georgia and ends in Maine . . . and Maine can’t get here soon enough.”

“Two states down and 12 to go.”

“Hmm . . . North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.”

“Great.  You’re on a roll.  Don’t stop now.”

“West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania.”

“Yup.  Keep going.”

“New Jersey, New York, Connecticut.”

“Only three more.”

“Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.”

“Yay, you did it!”

“Whoopee!  How much does this pack weigh, anyway?”

“Your pack weighs 40 pounds.  Mine’s a lean, mean 37 pounds.”

“Man, that’s like carting around a small child . . . or two.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.”

“OK.  Let’s take a break and stop for lunch.”

“Great!  What have we got?”

“Power Bars, GORP, Candy Bars,  GORP, Peanut Butter, and GORP.”

“That’s it?!”

“What did you think I was going to offer you?  A fresh out of the oven pizza?”


“Hey, that’s an idea . . . let’s find the closest pizzeria.”


“OK. No pizza.  What’s GORP . . . or do I even want to know?”

GORP = Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.”

“Are you nuts?  All we’ve got to eat is fruit and nuts?  After this workout?”

“No worries, mon!  It’s high caloric Trail Mix . . . designed to keep us going and going and going.”

“What?  Like the Energizer Bunny?”

“Sure . . . hippity hopping down the trail.”

“Great.  By the way, where are we staying tonight?  And, more to the hippity  hoppity point, are we almost there yet?  I could use a bath, a massage, a hot meal, and a Sleep Number Bed.”

“Keep dreaming . . . we’re staying at a shelter.”

“With all the modern conveniences?”

“Sure . . . sort of.”

“What do you mean sort of?  Does it have running water?”

“Yup . . . the stream runs right by the shelter.”



“Sure . . . dig your own.”


“Only if there is lightning.”

“How did you rope me into this adventure again?”

“The promise of Amazing Vistas . . . ”


Aah . . . that’s better!

The Afterthought January 29, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Music & Dance, People.
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IMGP1800bCreating my Vision Board convinced me that I should add more music to my life.

So this morning as I showered, I sang.

Beautiful melodious notes washed over me as the water streamed down in steady drops from the shower head.

Suddenly, the door burst open and BFF flew into the room, “What’s wrong?!”

I smiled.  “Nothing’s wrong.  It’s all good.”

“I heard you screaming.  What were you screaming about?”

Screaming?  He thought I was screaming?

“I was NOT screaming . . . I was singing.”

“Oh.  OK.  Glad you’re okay”

IMGP1216bWith that, he turned to leave, then turned back . . .

“It sounded good.”

Why is it that I question the sincerity of that afterthought?  

Aah . . . that’s better!

What about you?  Do you sing in the shower?

The Snapping Turtle’s Lament January 28, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Nature.
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Stupid chicken!  Always going on and on about life on the other side of the road.  I can’t even tell you how many times I heard:

Why did the chicken cross the road? . . . to get to the other side.

The more I heard about “the other side,” the more convinced I became that I should make the journey and see for myself.

Stupid chicken!


Now, here I am . . . only halfway across the road and I’ve run out of steam.  It’s hot and I’m tired.  I just want this ordeal to be OVER.

From this mid-way mark, I see what waits on the other side of the road.

Not much, that’s for sure.

There’s no discernible difference from the grass I left behind ~ not enough to motivate me to keep going forward.

Whoever said, The grass is greener on the other side of the fence, is an idiot.


Hey!  Watch out where you’re going . . . stupid drivers! 


Continuing this journey to reach some pre-determined destination no longer holds any appeal for me . . . but I don’t have enough energy or stamina to turn around and retrace my steps.

I’m stuck!

Stuck in the middle of the road . . . hoping that the cars whizzing past are sporting bumper stickers that say, I Brake For Turtles.

The last thing I need is some beat up pick up truck bearing down on me with a bumper sticker that says, Turtle Soup . . . it’s what’s for dinner!

Stupid chicken!

And while we’re on the subject of chicken . . . turtle meat does NOT taste like chicken.

Turtle meat tastes like rotting fish innards.

Chicken is MUCH tastier!

So listen to those cows . . . Eat M’Or Chicken!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Stuck in Traffic January 27, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Meditation, Mindfulness.
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Oh . . . the bridge is going up.

And up . . . and up.

I’m here on the bridge.

Nothing to do but listen to music and enjoy the view.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Enjoy It All! January 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness.
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Here’s my completed Vision Board . . . turns out my “mind map” for 2012 is full of hedonistic pleasures:

But wait . . . where’s the chocolate?


Aah . . . that’s better!

Vision Boards & Mind Maps January 25, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Happiness, Magick & Mystery.
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IMGP3969Tonight, I’m heading over to AMI to create a Vision Board with the authors of Saving the Best for Last.

I’ve been thinking about making one for the “new” year.

Yesterday, while talking to Renee about her/their plans for the week, she invited me to join them for Vision Boards night.


Today, I gathered a stack of magazines to bring so we’d have plenty of ideas and inspiration to cut and paste onto our boards.

But, wait!

There’s more.

I just clicked on the Crowing Crone’s blog and found that Joss just made a Vision Board for the year.  You can see it here:  The Least Artsy!

Synchronicity . . . 1, 2, 3!

When we know WHO we are . . . we know HOW to live!

Postscript:  Sidey’s Weekend Theme . . . Synchronicity, of course!

Saving the Best for Last! January 24, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, People, Writing & Writers.
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This afternoon, I went to a book signing at Ginny and Jane E’s on the island to meet a blogging buddy, Renee Fisher (right), and her co-authors, Jean Peelen (left) and Joyce Kramer (seated).

What a blast!

Some of you may know Renee as the author of  Life in the Boomer Lane, a witty and humorous blog for “women of a certain age” . . . and for anyone else who enjoys laughing hard (even if they do need to take a quick potty break to avoid having an . . . um . . . accident).

Renee’s most recent series dealt with her good friend Susan’s exploits in the hairy scary world of on-line dating:  Sex and the Sixty (Year Old) ~ Part 1 through Part 5.  The series ended with a hue and cry from Renee’s readers for “More!” . . . and a Rebuttal from one of the men Susan dated who wanted to clear his good name.

If you haven’t yet met Renee, swing round Life in the Boomer Lane next time you’re in the mood to be amused.

Back to the book signing:

Renee, Jean, and Joyce met 17 years ago at a transformative workshop, Lifespring.

They became fast friends and have since co-authored two books together:

* Invisible No More ~ The Secret Lives of Women Over 50 (2005)

“For these three brave women, life began at 50 years of age when they made a decision to be honest about themselves.  Thankfully, they have shared their stories with us.”

~ Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique

* Saving the Best for Last ~ Creating Our Lives After 50 (2009).  From Amazon:

Due to the overwhelming response to the authors’ first book, Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50, Saving the Best For Last incorporates several new chapters, as well as an exciting interactive element throughout.   You, the reader, can not only read Renee’s, Jean’s and Joyce’s enlightening and very real experiences of aging and reinvention, you can also participate in powerful life changing individual and group exercises and processes that will forever change the way you see the years after 50.  The three authors speak candidly about many topics, including:  sexuality *  dating and mating * money * faith and spirituality * our mothers * loss * friendship.

As you, too, pass the threshold of fifty, you may discover, as these women did, that this is a moment in your life to celebrate ~ a beginning, rather than an ending.  This is a journey you will not want to miss.  Saving the Best For Last is your roadmap and your guidebook.

For more information on these amazing, FUN, talented, and vibrant ladies:  Invisible No More

Related post:  Anna Maria Island ~ The Beach.  The Beauty.  The BLTs. (Life in the Boomer Lane)

Photo Challenge ~ Simple January 23, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Blogging, Nature.
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Related posts:  Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Simple * Spirit Levels Up ~ Simple Music (Creating Reciprocity)

FREE Food and FUN for Adults January 22, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.
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Our entertainment budget is . . . limited.  As a result, we’ve become adept at finding FREE Food and FUN for Adults.

Here are a few activities we’ve enjoyed in the area at low or no cost:

1.  Grand Openings of Bars and Restaurants ~ On St. Paddy’s Day, Martiniville  opened a new Liquor Store on AMI (Anna Maria Island).  We went.  They gave us FREE green beer, souvenirs, and snacks to munch on.   When Mattison’s Riverside at the Twin Dolphins Marina re-opened under a new name, Pier 22, we attended an Open House with complimentary wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, music, and give-aways.

2.  Music Festivals on AMI ~ We’ve listened to Jazzy Jazz on Bridge Street, Bluegrass Bands on Holmes Beach, Rock Bands at Friday Fest by the AMI Pier.  We discovered a fantastic acoustic duo, Patchouli, at one show and have followed them as far south as Fisherman’s Village.

3.  The Ringling Art Museum ~ On Mondays, the Ringling Museum offers FREE admission and tours of the Art Museum.  After touring the museum, we wandered the gorgeous grounds and walked down to Ca d’Zan to admire the water views before hopping on the trolley to head back to the Gift Store.

Later in the year, we visited the Circus Museum for Smithsonian Museum Day and met Gandhi . . . a Tiger Cub.

4.  Think and Drink at the South Florida Museum ~ Once a month, the Museum and Planetarium offer a presentation.  We’ve attended discussions on the Star of BethlehemThe Naked Universe (Space, Time, Matter, and Energy), and Starfish.  Fascinating and Free.

5.  Sidewalk Astronomy ~ Instead of investing in high-powered telescopes that we would use only once in a very blue moon, we hung out with the Sidewalk Astronomy guides to see the rings on Saturn.

6.  Boat Rides and Steel Drums at Harbour Isles ~ to lure prospective buyers, the neighborhood being built across the street has offered tours of the model homes . . . tasty snacks . . . boat rides of AMI Sound . . . and even a Steel Drum Band.  In like vein, we attended a Happy Hour Open House thrown by a  custom home builder on AMI.  After touring the house, we grabbed a frosty cocktail from the Open Bar, some snacks from the hors d’oeuvre table, and sat poolside to listen to the Steel Drum Band.

Ya mon.  No woman, no cry.

7.  Gallery Openings ~ the thriving art scene at four galleries on the island (Island Gallery West, Artist’s Guild, Art League, and Gallery at Gulf and Pine) gives us a chance to sip wine, enjoy art, and . . . meet the artists.  A few weeks ago, we attended an opening at the Gallery at Gulf and Pine with food, wine, and Bluegrass by State Road 64.

8.  Art Festivals on AMI, Siesta Key, and St. Armand’s Circle ~ Art Shows and Festivals are a regular occurrence in this area.  We love to wander around the booths, admiring talent splashed across wood, canvas, and metal.  We’ve also attended Art Walks at Village of the Arts.

9.  Freedom Village ~ When/if I convince my parents to move to Florida, I’d love them to live at Freedom Village.  After expressing an interest in the retirement community, we got put on the mailing list.  We’ve enjoyed lunches,  dinners, and cocktail hours while touring the grounds, meeting the residents, and enjoying stellar entertainment.  One of the restaurants, The Tuscany, serves up first class cuisine to residents and members of the public.

10.  The Bradenton Farmer’s Market ~ on Saturday mornings, we wander the stalls, picking up produce, admiring art, sampling fresh baked bread, and  listening to a different band each week.

11.  Wedding Crashers ~ AMI is a mecca for brides due to the number of waterfront venues for ceremonies and receptions.  We have “crashed” a wedding or two by hanging around the adjacent beach listening to bands playing golden oldies. No wedding?  No problem.  The beachfront restaurants have musicians play outdoors most days of the week.

12.  Drum Circles ~ At Manatee Public Beach on Friday nights and at Siesta Key Beach on Sunday nights, the setting sun is toasted by dancing, laughing, and the primal sound of rhythmic drums.

13.  Sunsets on the Beach ~ On Wednesdays, Mike Sales plays guitar as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico.   Other nights, the Island Beach Cafe offers music from late afternoon to early evenings.  We often swing by after a walk on the beach to listen to tunes and enjoy a beachfront snack.

14.  Fireworks ~ folks around here love fireworks.  We’ve enjoyed fire works displays on the beach for the 4th of July, on New Year’s Eve at midnight, and over the bay for the 100th Anniversary of the AMI Pier.

15.  Parks and Preserves ~ We’ve enjoyed kayak tours on the Manatee River at De Soto National Memorial, wild food presentations and tours at Robinson Preserve, and T’ai Chi demonstrations in the park.

Not to mention biking and walking the trails to watch the birds and wildlife.

16.  Lectures at the Library ~ The Friends of the Island Library offer a series of lectures covering everything from Local Architecture, to Art, to Marine Life, to Travel Abroad.  Always well attended, the lectures give experts a chance to share their expertise with interested and open minds.  Most recently, we met Chuck Sidlow, a clown with Circus Sarasota and Laughter Unlimited.

17.  Book Discussion Groups ~ each month, groups meet at the Library and in our neighborhood to discuss books like The Help and Eat Pray Love.  Spirited conversations may ensue.

18.  Concert Series at local churches ~ Last night we attended a concert by Dick Hyman, Pianist, at Roser Community Church.  An incredible musician, he played lively standards including Take Five, the Maple Leaf Rag, Satin Doll, and Yesterday, plus tunes from Showboat, Porgy & Bess, and more.

Aah . . . that’s better!  

What about you?

Do you ever look through your local papers for interesting, fun, and FREE things to do in your area?   Any luck?

Related post:  Have You Seen This Movie? (Positive Parental Participation)