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Chalk Art January 31, 2014

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

Last fall, Sarasota held a Chalk Art Festival with participating artists from around the Globe.

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The theme had a military bent . . . with m&m’s providing sweet relief.

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Lady Liberty shed some light on things.

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One artist focused his time and talents on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK.

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Leaving the festival, we noticed more Street Art . . . of a more permanent kind.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever been to a Chalk Art Festival?  What did you think?

AMI History Trivia January 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Travel & Leisure.
17 comments

At a lecture at the library, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society shared Island History Trivia with us.

The Anna Maria Beach Company, established in 1910, built a pier for passengers coming from Tampa on the ferry.

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After debarking, the day trippers wandered down Pine Avenue to the beach, to enjoy sunning on the sand and splashing in the Gulf of Mexico.

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If they didn’t behave, they ended the day in the Slammer.

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At lecture’s end, we played Jeopardy.  Two of us got all answers correct.  Our names went into a hat.  My name got selected as the winner!

The prize . . .

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Much preferable to wearing something like this . . .

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Aah . . . that’s better! 

 

Feeding the Beach January 29, 2014

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

This winter, the beaches on Anna Maria Island are being re-nourished by sand dredged from the Gulf of Mexico.

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Engineers are feeding the beach using enormous pieces of equipment and massive pipes to dredge, suction, and sift piles of sand.

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Bulldozers move in to push and shove the sifted and shifted sand into position once ashore.

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BFF and I went out to inspect the progress.  They are moving right along.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Now for some really amazing nature shots . . . check out the Winners of the Nature Conservancy Photo Contest.  They are GORGEOUS!

No Regrets January 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Gratitude, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
21 comments

IMGP4187Barb heard a knock on the door and looked up.

David, hat in hand, stood framed in the doorway.

“David!  Come in . . . it’s so good to see you.”

He hung back.  “I figured you’d never want to see me again.”

“I do want to see you.  Very much.  Please come in.”

He looked at Barb and frowned, “This is all my fault.  You’re stuck in here because of me.  If I hadn’t dropped you . . . ”

“It was an accident.”

“You make it sound like I spilled a glass of milk.”  He nodded at the chart at the foot of the bed. “What do the doctor’s say?

“Well . . . the psychiatrist is frustrated.  He’s waiting for me to be angry.  Or sad.  Or angry.  Angry would make him happy.  He wants me to grieve.  To rail against fate.”

“Why don’t you?”

“Besides the fact that I’m getting a kick out of doing the unexpected?”

“Yeah, besides that.”

“I don’t know.  I’m just not angry.  The psychiatrist is sure I’m in denial.  He scowls when I smile and shakes his head when I laugh and tell him about my day.  He scribbles madly on my chart when I say anything positive.”

“So you’re driving him crazy.”

Barb grinned. “Yes.  And I take great pleasure and pride in that.”

“Maybe you are in denial.  Maybe it just hasn’t caught up to you yet.”

“Maybe.  But I don’t think so.  I think I’m in a state of acceptance.  At peace with the “what is.”  Any day could be my last.  If this is my last day, why would I want to spend it crying over spilled milk?”

“This is NOT spilled milk, Barb.  You’re paralyzed from the waist down.  I ruined your life.  Forever.”

Barb reached out and touched the back of David’s hand, “No, you didn’t.”

“How can you say that?”

“Easy.  Even in a wheelchair, I’m not as crippled as those who allow emotional scars to eat them alive.  People like that walk through life without seeing the good.  They are blind to the present moment.  Being paralyzed may keep me from walking, but it’s not going to blind me to the wonder and delights of life.”

“I just want those 5 minutes back.  If I hadn’t been showing off . . . ”

“Let it go, David.  I forgive you.  Forgive yourself.  Let go of the guilt.  Let go of regret.  You’re my best friend.  I don’t want you to destroy your life.”

“You mean like I destroyed yours?”

“Shall I be honest?”

“Yes.  Give it to me.  I can take it.”

“I would not choose to be in a wheelchair.  But I don’t get a choice in that right now.  It is the “what is.”  How I relate to that issue is the issue.  I can crawl into a ball and cry . . . or I can look for opportunities to laugh and smile.  I can hang on to anger . . . or I can embrace peace.  I can choose to be sad . . . or choose to be happy.   I choose happy.”

Barb reached out again and covered David’s hand with hers.  “I want you to do the same.  For me.  Be happy.  Live life with no regrets.  Find whatever joy you can.  Don’t take life for granted.  Life is good, but life is short.  Bad things happen.  Laugh when you can.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Is happiness an inside job?  Are we buoyed up or dragged down by the thoughts we choose to think?

Is Barb right?  Does hanging on to pain, regret, guilt, fear, anger, and sadness weigh us down more than losing the ability to walk?

Quote to Ponder:  How refreshing the whinny of a pack horse fully unloaded! ~ Classic Haiku

Just Cause January 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, People.
34 comments

Wikipedia ~ Lawyer

“I don’t care what the judge said.  No way am I going to convict him.  He and his family have been through enough already.”

Charlie grabbed the pitcher and poured a glass of water, sloshing some over the side of the glass.

Swiping the water off the conference table with his hand, he continued, “I would do exactly the same thing if anyone did that to my wife.  That animal deserved to die.”

Joe jumped in.  “Even if the guy deserved it, that’s not a defense.  We can’t continue to exist as a civilized society if everyone who has a gripe against someone takes the law into his own hands . . . ”

“A gripe?!” said Allison.  “Give me a break!  That fucker raped and tortured the defendant’s wife for hours while the defendant was forced to watch.  As long as animals like that are roaming the streets, we cannot claim to be civilized.  Sam did what any decent husband would have done.   Not Guilty.”

“We can’t do that,” Steve said.  “We took an oath.  We agreed to follow the law.  You heard the judge.  We have no choice.  He’s guilty.”

“Yeah, I heard him . . . and you heard me,” said Charlie.  “I am NOT going to convict him of murder.  I don’t care if we sit in this room deliberating for the next 12 months.  You will NEVER get me to change my mind.  That fucker, as Allison put it so well, deserved to die.  That’s a sufficient defense for me.  I vote to let Sam walk out of here a free man.”

Other jurors sounded in on one side of the debate or the other.  Then Sue turned the tables by asking, “What about the psychiatric testimony?”

“What about it?”

“Well, the psychiatrist said that people can *snap* with less provocation than this, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Well, if Sam *snapped* that’s temporary insanity.  We could find him not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.”

“We could . . . except that Sam testified that he knew what he was doing, he knew that it was against the law, and he did it any way.”

“Yeah, Sam didn’t leave us much wiggle room.  It’s almost like he wants us to find him guilty.”

“You’ve got a point.  Maybe he feels guilty about mowing the guy down with his car as the bastard left church.”

Cal snickered, “Perfect timing for a hypocrite like that.”

“Wait.  Back up.  Didn’t the judge say we could accept or reject ANY of the testimony?”

“He sure did.”

“Even undisputed testimony?”

“Yup.  Hey . . . I see where you’re going.  If we reject Sam’s testimony that he understood what he was doing, we can conclude that he was temporarily insane at the time of the accident.”

“Exactly!  He’s not a psychiatrist . . . what does he know?”

Joe looked around the room, “You’re all determined to let this guy walk?”

Everyone nodded, except Steve.

Joe nodded in Steve’s direction, “What say you?”

“I’m not sure.  The judge expects us to find him Guilty based on the law he gave us.  But . . . ”

* * *

The Courtroom stood at silent attention as the jurors filed into the jury box.

Barney O’Grady sat at the prosecutor’s table chewing on a pencil.  Sam Williams, the defendant, stared down at his hands.   His attorney, Jack Riley, attempted to read the jurors faces.

Several jurors glanced Sam’s way.  Usually a good sign.  Not always.

After the preliminaries, the Judge looked at the foreman, “Has the jury reached a verdict?”

“We have, Your Honor.”

“What say you?”

“We, the jury, find the defendant Not Guilty.”

“So say you all?”

“So say us all.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

What say you?  Did the defendant have “Just Cause” to do what he did?  Did the Jury?

One Potato . . . Two Potato January 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Less IS More, Vegetarian Recipes.
46 comments

IMGP3283bIn our recent effort to shift to a more whole food plant based diet (and lessen our reliance on C~H~E~E~S~E), we’ve put our Slow Cooker to good use this week ~ making Split Pea Soup, Vegetarian Chili, Vegetable Soup with Farro, and . . .

Yesterday, I realized I had 4 onions and 3 pounds of spuds screaming for attention.

I peeled and diced the potatoes and sliced the onions and tossed them in the slow cooker with diced carrot and celery.

I left the slow cooker to do its thing while I flipped through recipes to find a few to suit the spudsy base.  

I selected three ~ a veritable potage à trois!

* Potato Curry
* Tattie Soup
* Hash Browns / Home Fries

Once the potatoes and onions were cooked, I reserved 2/3 of the base for the soup and hash browns, then added a bag of peas, some cooked brown rice, 2 tbsp. of curry powder, and 2 cups of vegetable broth to the slow cooker and set it to simmer, low and slow.

I served the fragrant and hearty Potato Curry for dinner last night with a sprinkling of peanuts and raisins on top.  Yummy!

Today (a chilly day), Tattie Soup will be a hit for lunch and a breeze to fix: heat 4 cups of vegetable broth, add cooked potatoes, onions, carrots, and celery.  Bring the mixture to a simmer. Smash the tatties with a hand masher.  Done!

While the soup is heating, we’ll fry up some home fries for the side.

And we’re not the only ones groaning with delight.  Our freezer is a happy camper, stocked with assorted ready-to-go meals on its shelves ~ pea soup, baked ziti, veggie-farro soup, vegetarian chili, potato curry, and tattie soup.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

Snakes, Sharks, and Lawyers January 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke.
18 comments

Wikipedia ~ Lawyer

And now a few good lawyer jokes.

Wait!  Not “good lawyer” jokes ~> good jokes about lawyers:

1.  A man asked a lawyer what his fee was.
“It’s $100 for three questions,” he replied.

“Outrageous!  Isn’t that awfully high?”
“Yes.  Now, what’s your third question?”

2.  Why does New Jersey have the most toxic waste dumps and California have the most lawyers?

New Jersey had first choice.

3.  How can you tell the difference between a dead snake and a dead lawyer lying in the road?

There are skid marks in front of the snake.

4.  How many lawyers would it take to fill up the Grand Canyon?

Not enough, but it’d be a start.

5.  How can you tell when lawyers are lying.

Their lips are moving.

6.  How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

Three.  One to climb the ladder, one to shake it, and one to sue the ladder company.

7.  Why are lawyers’ graves dug to twenty feet rather than the traditional six feet?

Because deep down, lawyers are really good.

Mickey-Surfer8.  How did a lawyer swim unmolested through shark-infested waters to safety while all the other passengers from the sinking ship were eaten?

Professional courtesy.

9.  A lawyer woke up from an operation to have his left leg amputated only to find a mistake had been made.  His right leg was missing.

“Hey, Doc!” he screamed.  “What happened?”

“Sorry, I screwed up, but we’re going back in right now and take the other leg off.”

“I’ll sue you for everything you have!”

“Forget it,” the doctor said.  “When I get through with you , you won’t have a leg to stand on.”

Mickey-OK10.  Knock Knock.
Who’s there?

Boo.
Boo who?

Don’t cry . . . it’s only a joke!

Aah . . . that’s better!  

Related posts:  My Favorite Lawyer Joke (circa 1770) * Killing Time ~ Building Tunnels to Nowhere * A Talking Frog & Other Engineering Jokes

What Lives Would YOU Like To Live? January 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.
36 comments

Donald-Duck-DivingSome people maintain a single-minded focus from birth to death.  They plunge into a field of endeavor, become specialists, and never look back ~ not concerned about what they might be missing.

Others take a different approach.

We can choose to live multiple lives . . . even if we are not schizophrenics with multiple personalities.

Mickey-SurferSometimes we live multiple lives in sequential order ~ moving from one career to the next on a continual path.

Other times, we engage in simultaneous lives ~ splitting our time between various pursuits.

Let’s say you have 13 lives competing for attention and you’d like to live them all . . . in this lifetime:

Musician ~ Writer ~ Cook ~ Singer ~ Traveler ~ Boater/Sailer ~ Disc Jockey ~ Artist ~ Entrepreneur ~ Host ~ Fitness Guru ~ Lecturer ~ Lawyer

*  Which of these lives can you devote yourself to this year?  Next year?

*  Which can you enjoy for 60 minutes or less a day?

*  Which can you do on weekends or while on vacation?

*  Which lives can be combined with others to create a custom career?

Opening a coffee house might satisfy the desire to be an entrepreneur AND the desire to host social gatherings.

Mickey-Ta-DaaaJack might utilize his talents as musician, singer, or disc jockey to provide entertainment in the evening.

Jill might engage her inner artist to decorate the walls or use a back room to lead Zumba, Yoga, Tai Chi, or Meditation Classes.

Renee might offer lectures on stress reduction or provide vegetarian cooking demonstrations on weekend afternoons.

Colin might choose a boating, sailing, or cruising vacation . . . or even lead group excursions through the Scottish Highlands or Greek Isles once or twice a year.

Instead of choosing to become master of ONE thing, Jack might survive and thrive by being a Jack of all trades.

With Jill, Renee, and Colin tumbling happily ever after.

Aah . . . that’s better!  

Does the idea of living multiple lives hold any appeal?  What lives would you like to live?

Related reading:  I Could Do Anything . . . If Only I Knew What It Was

Illustration: Wikipedia ~ Jack & Jill (in Public Domain)

Are You A Scanner? January 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.
44 comments

Donald-Duck-BaseballScanners want to taste everything.

They’re adaptable, flexible, lightning fast learners who are curious about anything and everything they don’t already understand.

They enjoy learning about new things and translating the information to share with others.

As a result of these interests, they are excellent teachers, communicators, and educators.

Are you a Scanner?

Do you know someone who is?

Related reading:  Refuse to Choose ~ Use All Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life of Your Dreams

Triple A To The Rescue! January 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Happiness, Health & Wellness.
12 comments

Woodstock-&-SnoopyWhen your car breaks down, it’s Triple A to the rescue.  If your life bogs down, you can also turn to AAA for help:

Action Alleviates Anxiety

Sometimes a small change has a tremendous impact on our mental outlook:

* Exercise is a great stress buster.  Go for a brisk walk.  Boost your heart rate while lowering your stress and anxiety levels.

* Take the dog and/or kids to the park or playground.  Play tag, dodge ball, or monkey in the middle.  Get on with it.  Live Life Now.

* Offer to take nursing home residents in wheelchairs for outings around the neighborhood.  Walk dogs at the local shelter.  Volunteering two hours per week can reduce stress and provide other feel good benefits.

* Join a tai chi or yoga group in the park.  Meditative movements help melt anxiety.  Sunshine is a mood booster.

* Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff ~ Swap out one negative thought a day for a more positive thought.

* Catch up with friends.  Peel an orange.  Read a book.  Don’t let life slip through your fingers.  

* Be mindful.  Pay attention.  Awake and aware, we walk, pause, listen, reflect, know, and see the world anew ~ bright, fragrant, alive.

Life is a tapestry of textures.  Enjoy it!  Make your life come true.

Aah . . . that’s better!