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Three Zebras and an Ass January 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Mindfulness, Word Play.
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IMGP2754bThree zebras wandered a dirt road enjoying the day, convivial conversation alternating with companionable silence.

An enormous ass ambled over to them and began to bray.  Loudly.

The ass, delighted to have an audience for his grievances, complained about the weather, the surface of the road, the cost of carrots, his mother-in-law’s tongue, the state of the barn . . .

As the ass dumped his ponderous pile of dung at the zebras’ hooves, the zebras did their best to cheer him up.

To no avail.

No matter what the zebras said, the ass insisted that HIS view of the world was the right view of the world.

Zion smiled, “At times, we must choose between being right and being happy.”

“Poppycock!  I’m happy BECAUSE I’m right!  It just annoys me when people are rude and don’t apologize for being boorish.  Why just the other day . . .  ”

With that, the ass launched another stale tale.

Ziggy grinned, “We see the world behind our eyes.”

The ass snorted, “What utter nonsense!  I see things exactly as they are.”

Zodiac pricked up his ears, “I expect you’re right . . . most asses do see things exactly as they are.”

Satisfied, the ass ambled off in search of another audience.  As soon as he was out of sight, the zebras burst into fits of convulsive laughter.

“What an ass!”


Aah . . . that’s better!

Smile . . . For No Good Reason January 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.
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TimonA brief excerpt from Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky:

We have all experienced what it is like to be having a perfectly fine day and have a situation or crisis arise that sends us into a tailspin. It may be something small like a traffic jam making us late, or something more severe like the loss of a job. Our response can seem automatic.

Though at first it may be difficult to accept, freedom depends on recognizing that you’re not upset because of what occurred, you are upset because of how you perceive the situation.

* * * * *

Let’s imagine that you have a favorite coffeehouse that you frequent. The staff knows your name and always has a warm and friendly greeting as you walk through the door.

An extremely grumpy woman whom you have never seen before serves you this particular morning. She appears preoccupied rather than caring about you or what she is doing.  As she pours your hot coffee a good portion spills in your lap. Despite your jumping in shock, no apology follows.

Your experience is anger: both toward the waitress and the owner, Joe, for hiring such an incompetent person.

Then, a friend of yours at the next booth says, “Isn’t it great that Joe hired her!”

“Great! Are you out of your mind? She just spilled hot coffee in my lap and walked away,” you reply with your best indignant voice.

“Oh, you didn’t hear the story?” your friend whispers.

“What story?” you angrily reply, still drying off your new slacks, wondering how you will go through the day looking as though you wet your pants.

“Yeah, Joe didn’t know her from Adam. He read in the paper that her husband had died last month in a car accident. Apparently her husband’s health insurance stopped, and she was looking for another job in order to pay for her sixteen-year old son’s chemotherapy for leukemia,” your friend responds.

Now, you still have hot coffee in your crotch, but are you still angry?


The only thing that shifted was your perception and attitude.  Through discovering a reason to be compassionate, your entire experience changed.

Donald-Duck-BaseballWhen you are upset remind yourself the cause of your discomfort is your own attitude.  This is freedom.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To read more and for ordering information:  Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky

Remember:  How you relate to the issue IS the issue.

Get Off The Nail January 29, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness.
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IMGP3376bOne day, a salesman drove up to a farmhouse to ask for directions.

As he greeted the elderly gentleman sitting in the side yard, an old dog at the farmer’s feet lifted its head and let out a low moan.

When the salesman started to ask for directions, the dog lifted its head and moaned again.

As the dog moaned a third time, the salesman asked, “What’s wrong with your dog?”

The old man looked at the dog and said, “He’s lying on a nail.”

“Lying on a nail?”

“Yep.  Bothers him enough to complain about, not enough to make him move.”

Source:  e-mail from unknown author

* * * * *

How often are we like that old dog?  Staying put rather than making necessary changes?

* The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are. ~ J. Pierpoint Morgan

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

Remember to Spit Out the Seeds! January 28, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Humor, Life Balance.
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Scruffy-CatEgo concerns like fear, anger, guilt, and resentment get in the way of our happiness:

* We hang on to things for days that we could (and should) brush off in minutes, robbing ourselves of peace of mind and creating unnecessary suffering.

* We perpetuate pain, and keep it alive, by replaying our hurts over and over again.

* We overreact to minor annoyances, and share them with others, fueling negative mental states (anger, jealousy, rage, envy, greed, hatred).

* We walk around in a state of perpetual disappointment because others are not who and how we want them to be.

Instead of challenging our thought patterns and changing them, we attempt to change others ~ expecting THEM to meet OUR expectations.   When they don’t  comply, we grow discouraged, disheartened, and disappointed . . . drowning in self-created despair and dismay.

The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves. ~ Sophocles

Whenever we choose to hang on to the past, rather than letting it go, we are robbing ourselves of  the joy, peace, and happiness we could be feeling right here, right now.

The tragedy of life is not so much what we suffer, but rather what we miss. ~ Thomas Carlyle

Hardship is inevitable . . . misery is optional.

When life hands you lemons, remember to spit out the seeds . . . at the first opportunity!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Taste of Japan January 27, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
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We went to a travel lecture on Japan yesterday at the Island Library.

Paul Stonebridge, an avid world traveler who enjoys tasting “mystery meat” in market stalls on six continents and once ate a cat-sized rat in Romania, brought Japanese snacks for us to sample.  Most looked edible, if not enticing.

I spotted two suspect offerings at the far end of the table.  The gelatinous and unappealing appearance of both did nothing to spark my appetite.


A Taste of Japan

* First up, fruits . . . lychee, jackfruit, lotus root, kumquat, preserved plums, winter melon, candied melon, watermelon seeds.  None wowed the crowd.

They lacked the juiciness of a ripe peach, the sweetness of fresh pineapple, the bite of a crisp apple, the creaminess of banana, the burst of goodness from a fistful of grapes.


Lotus root (left), Jackfruit (right)


Lychee (left), candied kumquats (right)


Candied melon (left), baby eggplant (right)

* Paul brought two flavors of “Shocking Popping Candy” ~ cola and green apple.  Like Pop Rocks, the candy fizzed and sputtered a bit before melting away.  But despite its effervescent nature, it didn’t wake up my taste buds.

Neither did the sweet rice cakes which came close to being tasteless.


“Pop Rocks” (left), Sweet Rice Cakes (right)

* We sampled tasteless “Jello Shots” made with agar (seaweed) instead of gelatin.  Sweetened with lychee, the four shelf-stable colors tasted identical with no discernible flavor coming through.

The preserved plums looked promising.  My anticipation grew as I removed the outer wrapper to reveal . . . another wrapper.  I removed the inner wrapper to reveal . . . another wrapper.  When I finally reached the center, a small gooey glob of fruit presented itself.

The taste?  Not as sweet as dates or as lively as figs; decidedly . . . prunish.

Left to Right: Rice cakes, Jello shooters, Preserved Plums

* Next up . . . salty crunchy snacks.  The wasabi seaweed crackers lacked the sharp horseradish bite expected from anyone who has tried wasabi coated dried peas.  Not an unpleasant snack, but definitely not addictive.

Same goes for the shrimp and the fishy crackers.  In the bowl, they looked like snacks we might serve on Super Bowl Sunday.  On the tongue, they tasted fishy.


Clockwise from top left: Wasabi Seaweed Crackers, Fishy crackers, Winter Melon, Shrimp Crackers

* Last up . . . dark chocolate straws.  Although promising in appearance, these dipped wafers didn’t provide the sensory satisfaction sought from chocolate.


Chocolate dipped wafers, Wasabi Seaweed crackers, Shrimp crackers

* We left the suspect offerings ~ eel and jellyfish ~ stewing in their gelatinous juices for others to try.

What?  Would YOU have given them a go?  No.  I didn’t think so.


Eels (left), Jellyfish (right)

After the lecture, we walked on the bay side of the island for about 2 miles.


A few intrepid souls were in swimming.  I wasn’t tempted to get wet.


Great Blue Heron doing a “happy dance” . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever tried any of these Japanese snacks?  What did you think?

Our Companions January 26, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Joke.
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Adam and Eve said, “Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day.  Now we do not see you anymore.  We are lonesome, and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us.”

God said, “I will create a companion for you so you will know love even when you cannot see me.  No matter of how selfish or childish you behave, this new companion will accept you as you are and love you as I do.”

Pluto-HappyGod created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve.

It was a very good animal.
And God was pleased.

And the new animal was happy to be with Adam and Eve and wagged its tail.

Adam said, “Lord, I have named all the animals in the Kingdom, but I cannot think of a fitting name for this new animal.”

God said, “this new animal is a reflection of my love for you, so its name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call it DOG.”

Pluto-SnoozingDog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them.

No matter what.

Adam and Eve were comforted.
God was pleased.
Dog was content and wagged his tail.

One day, an angel came to the Lord and said, “Adam and Eve are filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and believe they are worthy of adoration.  Dog has taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well.”

God said, “I will create for them another companion who will see them as they are. This companion will remind them of their limitations and they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration.”

black-catGod created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve.

Cat would not obey Adam and Eve.  Cat hissed and scratched.  Cat reminded Adam and Eve they were not supreme beings.

Adam and Eve learned humility and were greatly improved.

God was pleased.
Dog was happy.

And cat?


Cat didn’t give a shit one way or the other.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source: e-mail from an unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Related post:  The Terrier’s Apprentice (Kate Shrewsday)

Enjoy Every Moment You Can January 25, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Mindfulness.
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Woodstock-&-Snoopy3When I had a parotid gland tumor . . . I had to wait 3 months for the surgeon I wanted because he was changing hospitals.

Due to the tumor’s proximity to facial nerves, it could not be biopsied.

Odds were in favor of it being a benign tumor, but . . .

Anyway, I decided that if I had cancer, if I was going to die, I was going to enjoy the time I had left without worrying about the future.

It worked!  Those 3 months were among the BEST months of my life.

When people asked me how I could be so HAPPY with that uncertainty hanging over my head, I said, “If I’m going to die, I’m going to enjoy this time.”

Tigger-Looking-At-His-TailOn the morning of surgery, I was chipper and happy despite the early-ness of the hour . . . even without my customary cup of coffee.

The nurses frowned, pointing out the serious nature of the coming events.

I laughed, “I know. It’s serious business, this surgery. I might die. All the more reason to enjoy the NOW.”

“We are HERE and it is NOW . . . what else is there?”

Stay positive. Imagine best case scenarios. Enjoy every moment you can.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  Hold On To Your Worry Beads (The Folia) * Could We Just Not? (The Ramblings)

The Writer’s Desk ~ Last Call January 24, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
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Wikipedia ~ Robbie Burns (in Public Domain)

Last Call for submissions to The Writer’s Desk Competition ~ A Contest Giveaway!

The contest closes tomorrow, Friday, January 25th, at noon, EST (Eastern Standard Time).

After a wee toast to Robbie Burns, I’ll review contest submissions and select a few favorites.

On Groundhog Day, I’ll post the semi-finalists and open the vote.  Mark your calendars.

If you make the finals you may ask your friends to vote for you.  And you may, of course, vote for yourself.

But only once.
No stuffing the ballot box.

Punxsutawney Phil will be watching!

For complete rules . . . CLICK HERE!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Spanakopita Pizza January 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Vegetarian Recipes.
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Last night for dinner, we enjoyed a Greek Spanakopita Pizza ~ much easier than buttering and layering phyllo pastry with fewer calories and far less fat.

The lemon juice really brightens up the flavors.


Spanakopita Pizza

1 med. onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
10 oz. Green Giant chopped spinach
1 Rustic Crust Sourdough pizza shell
1-2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
black pepper
garlic salt
2 oz. feta cheese

Sauté onion in olive oil until soft.  Defrost and drain spinach, squeezing dry.  Stir spinach into onion.

Spread spinach and onions over pizza shell.  Sprinkle with lemon juice, oregano, black pepper, and garlic salt.

Top with crumbled feta cheese.  Cook at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Aah . . . that’s better!

No Pun In Ten Did January 22, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Word Play.
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Dory-&-Marlin1.  A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess shakes her head and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion per passenger.”

2.  Two fish swim directly into a concrete wall.  One turns to the other and says . . . “Dam!”

3.  Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft.  It sank.  They didn’t realize you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

4.  A thief got stuck in wet cement . . . he became a hardened criminal.

5.  A grenade thrown into a kitchen in France results in Linoleum Blown Apart.

Mickey-OK6.  What do you call a short fortune teller who escapes from prison?  A small medium at large.

7.  What happened to the dead batteries?  They were given away free of charge.

8.  What happened to the guy who didn’t pay his exorcist?  He was repossessed.

9.  You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

10.  Roger sent ten puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh . . . no pun in ten did.

Okay . . . let’s help Roger out.  What’s your favorite pun?

Related posts:  All In A Day’s Work * Live Laugh and Learn * Virtual Reality * (Duck) Soup to Nuts * Crime Doesn’t Pay (Much) * That’s Gonna Leave A Mark

Source:  e-mail with old and new-to-me groaners (sent by Joe M.)