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“We Are Number . . . THREE!” February 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Travel & Leisure.
30 comments

We have two newspapers on the island ~ The Islander and The AMI Sun.

This week, both featured articles on Anna Maria Island’s standing in the TripAdvisor’s list of Top Ten Island Destinations in the U.S.

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We are number 3!!!

Here’s the complete list: 1. Marco Island, Fla.; 2. Chincoteague Island, Va.; 3. Anna Maria Island, Fla.; 4. San Juan Island, Wash.; 5. Maui, Hawaii; 6. Kauai, Hawaii; 7. Island of Hawaii, Hawaii; 8. Nantucket, Mass.; 9. Hilton Head, S.C.; 10. Key West, Fla.

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C’mon down . . . your table is waiting for you.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Behind The Clouds February 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Nature.
26 comments

Bunnies always make me smile.  As do tiny tots, especially when they laugh.

Sometimes the smallest thing reminds us that the world is ripe for picking:

* a fragrant orange entices our taste buds

* a songbird’s trill resonates at our core

* a blank sheet of paper invites insights

“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.” ~ Charles Dickens

Pulled into the Now by our senses, we remember . . .

The sun is always shining somewhere behind the clouds.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Seven Wonders of the World (Grannymar)

Image:  Wikipedia ~ Peter Rabbit (in Public Domain)

Breathing Life Into Characters February 26, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
22 comments

Tim Dorsey knows how to breathe life into his characters.

In a single paragraph, he describes 7 characters using brief sketches, allowing readers to flesh in the rest:

* Major Fletcher ~ steady leader with blond hair, a close shave, and a square dependable jaw

* Lee Barnes ~ a crusty and foul-mouthed veteran with hangover stubble and a footlocker of vintage Playboys

* Milton “Bananas” Foster ~ a highly excitable yet gifted mechanical wizard

* Marilyn Sebastian ~ a plucky aerial reconnaissance officer, as tough as any man, but every bit a woman

* Pepe Miguelito ~ a forlorn youth with pencil mustaches and unending girl troubles

* “Tiny” Baxter ~ a massive country boy from Oklahoma with simple but strong values

* William Honeycutt ~ a former bantamweight champion

Dorsey provides enough detail to bring his characters to life . . . without beating them to death.

Sometimes a skeletal outline or quick sketch connects us to a character faster than too many extraneous details.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Explanations (Candid Impressions) * Two Writers Debate: Pantsing vs. Plotting (Eric John Baker) * The End is Never the End (Grannymar)

Anything We Want February 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People, Poetry, Word Play.
24 comments

FlyWe can be anything we want
Anything at all

We can tower over the trees
Or play it small

We don’t need a degree
To be an astronaut
And fly to the moon

Imagineer wanted . . . no experience necessary

Huey,-Dewey-And-LouieA quest!
A quest!

Climb aboard that mighty steed
What experience do we need
To soar in the clouds

Lifted by our inner composer
Fed by our inner artist

Unfettered by Ego, we have no anchor in the past

Mickey-OKWith no masks to block our view
We are as we are

Free to be
Anything we want

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Few Good Quotes February 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.
40 comments

Donald-Duck-Diving Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams  contains a plethora of fantastic quotes.

Here are a few favorites:

1.  Do or do not.  There is no try. ~ Yoda

2.  It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. ~ Sally Kempton

3.  Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed. ~ Michael Pritchard

4.  Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function. ~ Garrison Keillor

5.  Only two things are infinite ~ the universe and human stupidity.  And I’m not sure about the former. ~ Albert Einstein

Donald-Duck-Baseball6.  The ancestor of every action is a thought. ~ Emerson

7.  Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny. ~ Kin Hubbard

8.  Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another. ~ Madonna

9.  The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse. ~ Jules Renard

10.  Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Their tastes may not be the same.  ~ George Bernard Shaw

11.  Never keep up with the Joneses.  Drag them down to your level.  It’s cheaper. ~ Quentin Crisp

12.  I always wanted to be somebody.  I should have been more specific. ~ Lily Tomlin

Donald-Director13.  How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward. ~ Spanish Proverb

14.  Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired. ~ Jules Renard

15.  The sun will set without thy assistance. ~ The Talmud

16.  A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to leave alone. ~ Thoreau

17.  There is only one success ~ to be able to spend your life in your own way. ~ Christopher Morley

18.  What is money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do. ~ Bob Dylan

19.  There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~ Gandhi

Donald-Duck-Painting20.  A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. ~ Abraham Maslow

21.  When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

22.  He deserves Paradise who makes his companions laugh. ~ The Koran

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Double “A Ha!” Moment February 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
40 comments

Mickey-OKYears ago, I cracked open a fortune cookie and pulled out a fortune:

“You will live a happy and peaceful life.”

Yes! 

I taped it to the top of my alarm clock where I would see it each morning as I smacked the Snooze Button into submission at the false start to another “peaceful day.”

Flash forward more than a dozen years . . .

This week, as I pondered the goal-setting advice in Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams, I had an epiphany ~ a double “a ha!” moment:

1.   I want a happy and peaceful life.  Contrary to evidence to the contrary, my desire for peace and quiet reflection is NOT holding me back from achieving my Dream(s) . . . my desire for peace IS my Dream!

2.  I am living my Dream.  When I act as captain of my ship, I am happy, peaceful, calm, relaxed, here, now, etc.  My life has balance.  It is only when I allow others to “steer my ship” that the waters get a bit choppy.

As I skimmed through exercises, advice, and a plethora of great quotes, I found this nugget on p. 457 of Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts:

To fulfill our Dream, we need only examine our life and do two things:

1.  More of what works.
2.  Less of what doesn’t.

Exactly!

So, I’ve decided to “clear the decks.”  Anything that “doesn’t work” will be tossed overboard. Excepting the cat, of course.  Unnecessary ballast drags us down faster than a bloated anchor no matter how much wind fills our sails.   We travel best when we travel light.  

Once the extraneous has been cleared away, I’ll load the hull with more of what “does work” ~ laughter, joy, peace, calm awareness, compassion, kindness, exercise (walking, biking, swimming), inspirational books & movies (and blogs!), good food, chocolate, music, writing, simplicity, time for reflection and meditation, and anything else that sparks an interest.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Lack of motivation (to “get off our buts”) may stem from fear, guilt, anger, unworthiness, laziness, etc.  Or our lack of motivation might mean we are content where and how and who we are.

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired . . . move when restless.

Related Post:  Is It Really Important? (Awakening to Awareness)

Lawyer Joke # 3,479,153 (c) February 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke.
30 comments

Wikipedia ~ Court Jester (in Public Domain)

In a recent trend, lawyers are replacing rats as laboratory research animals.

There are 3 main reasons:

1. They are plentiful.

2.  Lab assistants don’t get attached to them.

3.  There are some things that rats just won’t do.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  Do It!  Let’s Get Off Our Buts by Peter McWilliams

In Tune With No Time February 21, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature, Poetry.
24 comments

Tigger2bSwift swallows arrived one morning
Intent on breakfast

With quick dips and swift soars
They swallowed prey

Tigger craned his neck
To and fro
Watching swallows come and go
Diving, diving, high to low

Quick turns
U-turns
No rhythm, no rhyme

Swift swallows flying
In tune with No Time

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever watched a cloud of Swifts or Swallows engaged in an aerial feeding frenzy?

Dizzying, isn’t it?

Morocco February 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
34 comments

Donald-DuckaWhen the same thing keeps popping up on our radar screen, we need to tune in and LISTEN.

This week, I hear the Universe whispering . . . “Morocco.”

1. Kate shared a post about her planned impromptu trip to the country where they turned back time ~ Fantasies of Heat & Dust.

Kate also shared a craft project . . . making a travel journal for the trip.

2. Freedom Village, a local retirement community, selected Morocco as its theme for February and extended an invitation to the larger community to join residents in sampling Moroccan Cuisine.

I called too late . . . and asked to be added to the “Wait List.”

3. While watching TV, we saw mention of Morocco.  The exact context of that whisper escapes me.  Perhaps it was:

Morocco ~ it’s everywhere you want to be.

4. Yesterday, on Wordless Wednesday, Sylvia shared a photo taken on the road to Marrakesh ~ Washday Blues.

Sylvia’s photo made me run to hug my washing machine.

5. With each passing reference to Morocco, the haunting melody of Al Stewart’s The Year of the Cat begins to play revealing . . . a morning from a Bogart movie in a country where they turned back time.  

The Year Of The Cat encourages me to accept what is offered without obsessing about the future and its inherent uncertainty:

If “Morocco” is the WHAT, what’s the WHY?

Well . . . I’m not sure.

That’s OK.  I’ll accept what’s being offered here and now and allow the future to unfold in its own way and time.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Fruit of Friendship February 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Life Balance, People.
24 comments

Tiggers-R-UsFriendship is a fluid concept, changing as we change.

At its most basic, I would define friendship as a “mutually rewarding relationship” ~ a give and take, fueled by reciprocity and generosity.

Friendships blossom in comfortable silences and shared smiles.

Friends don’t all offer us the same thing.  We may have different friends for different reasons (and seasons):

* Some lighten our load when we’ve had enough.
* Others make us laugh.
* Some offer a shoulder to cry on and bring us soup when we’re sick.
* Others tease us and remind us not to take ourselves too seriously.
* Some are trusted confidantes.
* Others share our love of art, music, dance, books.

The occasional few do ALL those things (and more).  These keepers, like Hobbes, become our BFFs ~ Best Friends Forever.

Friendships ripen over time, developing depth of character with age.  They improve our journey, no matter the length of the road.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Thoughts on Friendship (Lisa A. Kramer)