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Out With The OLD . . . In With The NOW December 31, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Happiness, Mindfulness.
43 comments

IMGP1800bMy “resolution/goal/plan/intent” for 2015 is simple . . . let go of the “OLD” to make room for the “NOW.”

More specifically:

* Remain awake and aware.
* Stay focused on THIS moment.
* Enjoy the journey.
* Be patient. Allow the path to unfold.
* Be Here Now.

Midnight tonight (New Year’s Eve) signals  the transition from OLD to NEW in venues all around the world.

It’s an arbitrary calendar event, much like Christmas, but one shrouded in tradition, folklore, and celebration.

Since moving to Florida, BFF and I no longer celebrate the arrival of the New Year by sitting on the couch to watch revelers in Times Square watch a big ball descend a long pole amid a cacophonous chorus of horns, whistles, bells, drums, fanflukers, and sardineous screams of  3!  … get off my foot … 2! … stop pushing! …  1! …  Happy New Year!!!

Weather permitting, we greet the New Year on the beach with fireworks screaming overhead at midnight.

A few years ago, we watched a show on New Year’s traditions around the world.  Our ears perked up and  stomachs growled with delight when the host mentioned that eating chocolate on New Year’s Eve will improve one’s “luck” in the New Year.

Chocolate?  Yes, please.

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We have an ample supply of chocolate at the ready . . . which we plan to inhale before heading out to the fireworks.

And again on our return.

Just for good measure.

Aah . . . that’s better!

How do you “ring in” the New Year?  Alone or With Friends?   In or Out?  Awake and Aware?  Sound Asleep?  Sleepwalking?  Sober? Intoxicated?

Mickey-OKHowever you choose to celebrate . . . Be Happy!

Our mood at midnight (as well as the type of food we eat) tends to follow us into the New Year.

Enjoy a smorgasbord of gustatory pleasures and your heart’s delight tonight . . . for tomorrow we die-et!

Stuff By Us December 30, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, People.
46 comments

Don’t get the wrong idea . . . we don’t spend all our time sitting on our hands waiting for others to gift stuff to us.  Sometimes we make it!

In high school, I hooked this rug (which gives you an inkling of where I wanted to live).

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BFF made this bookcase which we use as a table in the front hall.

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I cross-stitched this small sampler which hangs in the kitchen.

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BFF made a second bookcase for my office.

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I cross-stitched this large sampler which may be adopted out soon.

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Or not.  We’ll see.

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Here’s a built better by BFF bench that sits by the front door.

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Two more benches we used as coffee tables are patiently waiting in the closet to be repurposed.

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I sewed the button Christmas tree next to this copper teapot.

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We didn’t make this bench . . . but it’s the first antique we purchased after we got married.

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This Scottish seaman’s trunk is 400 years old.  It stores all my Santas and Christmas decorations “out of season.

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I painted this Whimsical WELCOME.

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And this little patchwork Christmas tree (next to the Santa).

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One year, I painted 12 Santas as gifts and kept one in a blue coat holding a wreath (far right).

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I decorated 13 of these trees one year to give as gifts.  I kept one.

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And last (and least) I painted the Christmas tree in a thimble stand that keeps my Christmas Critters company in front of a few more favorite heirlooms and keepsakes . . . BOOKS!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Do you have heirlooms that you enjoy all year and others that emerge only at the holidays?

Related posts:  Making Your Dreams Come True * What Have You Created Lately? * Why Do We Keep Stuff? * When Pigs Fly * Adults Have All The Fun . . . NOT! * Sense and Nonsense * My Rogues Gallery * My Blue Period

Keepsakes From Nieces, Nephews, Friends December 29, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Home & Garden, People.
25 comments

Over the years, we’ve received arts and crafts projects from nieces, nephews, and friends which we pull out and enjoy every Christmas.

Here’s “My First Santa,” carved by Earl E. Dix in 1994, next to a Christmas Tree with working lights crafted by Jane Nast, circa 1986.

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Jane Nast’s angels and wreaths adorn our “big” tree which sits on the Tilt Top Table made by dad.  My sister-in-law Laura cross-stitched the tree skirt.  The blue scarf belonged to Great Aunt Edie.

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Long before we moved to Florida, our niece Sarah presented us with a trio of alligators and a beady eyed snake.

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Her older sister Emily gave us a stocking to hang by the chimney with care.  Since we don’t have a chimney, we hang it on the hutch.

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Jessica, who just hosted us for Thanksgiving, did this adorable needlepoint of a cat eyeing a canary.

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Andrew presented us with a hand-print reindeer (in the basket on the bottom shelf of this refinished table from Vermont).

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Knowing my love of zebras, Sarah painted me one with a purple sun.

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A talented illustrator, Jan Philpott, painted Ziggy the Zebra for me.

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She also painted this “Think Pink” beach scene for us.

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Mike Jenkins sketched this caricature of me in college.

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And Nicki Gioseffi gave us this gift from the heart.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  A Family Heirloom (Grannymar)

Heirlooms & Keepsakes ~ Mom & Dad December 28, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, People.
20 comments

My parents loved to give homemade and hand-crafted gifts.  I own a number of treasured heirlooms and keepsakes from dad’s workbench and mom’s sewing room.

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My dad made this Williamsburg reproduction tilt-top table which lived in their living room until he passed away.

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He also made this bedside table for us.

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He refinished this antique candle box from Vermont.

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At my request, mom and dad restored this rocking chair that had belonged to Great Aunt Edie.  Dad wielded the paint brush.  Mom re-cushioned it.

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My Great Aunt Lucy started this quilt before her death in 1962; mom finished it in 1986.

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Dad built this quilt rack to display the antique quilt that covered a spare bed in his childhood bedroom.

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They adopted this tin coffee pot from Vermont after uncovering it in my grandfather’s attic.

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Dad used this box as a boy.  Now it houses my recipes, under lock and key.

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I use dad’s boyhood tool chest to store old letters and keepsakes.

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Mom made me a tea cozy to keep my tea cozy.

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Dad refinished this antique harvest table from his dad’s attic.

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Checkers anyone?

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Dad made this Christmas Tree shelf unit for me one Christmas.

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So that I would have a place to display some of my smaller Santas.

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He also made me this Christmas tree out of dowels.

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A close up.

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When I asked dad to make me this reindeer, he wasn’t sure he had the right tools to carve.  As you can see . . . he had the right stuff.

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Dad made this Amish reproduction saltbox for me one Christmas.

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The saltbox is perfect for holding our Christmas CD’s . . . Fa La La La La La La La La!

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Another year, he made this rack to display towels embroidered by mom.

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Another joint effort ~ mom embroidered this duck and dad made the frame.

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Dad made this holder for jelly, jam, or marmalade for me after I admired the one he made for mom.  The jars came filled with cocktail onions for his daily martini.

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This was mom’s childhood desk.  Dad resurrected it for our use when we were younger.

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An inside peek.

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Mom made this Santa.  Great Aunt Edie made Lulu.

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Lulu lived with mom and dad until dad passed away.  I adopted her.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Related posts:  A Family Heirloom (Grannymar)

Things I’ve Re-Learned This Year December 27, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Mindfulness, People, Spirit & Ego.
24 comments

Life lessons aren’t mastered in a single bold stroke.  We learn, we practice, we forget, we remember, we re-learn.

Here are a few key notes I re-learned this year:

1.  Like a bottomless well, Ego’s desire for applause, accolades, approval, acknowledgement, acclaim, awards, and recognition is never satiated.

2.  When we stroke Ego, it purrs.  When we stop, it snarls.

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3.  People want us to do what they want us to do when they want us to do it. They are affronted when we don’t.

4.  When people ask us to “be honest” . . . they don’t always mean it.

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5.  It’s silly to buy another pair of shoes because we want an Ego Boost from others when they see us rocking our new ruby slippers.

6.  In many ways, we are at the mercy of the tides.  Life ebbs and flows.  Joy comes and goes.  Sorrow is hard to avoid.

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7.  Even if we’re not convinced that “everything happens for a reason,” taking time to look for “silver linings” helps us deal with passing clouds.

8.  When we aren’t wedded to a set destination, we enjoy the journey (and its inevitable detours) more.

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9.  If we are enjoying the journey, we win.  No matter where the wind blows us.

Aah . . . that’s better! 

For Life Lessons by other writers, check out Timi’s series on Lively Twist:  Did We Do Any Learning? [1]  Learning [2]  Learning [3]  Learning [4]  Learning [5]

Hues of Green and Blue December 26, 2014

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

Florida has been our home for the past 6 years.

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We appreciate its sunshine, warm sand, and gorgeous birds.

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We enjoy the greens and blues of its tropical landscape, from bay . . .

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To beach . . .

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We admire its palette even when its greens are in need of a trim.

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Due to decks and docks succumbing to climbing vegetation.

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In its preserves, waterways mirror the blue expanse of sky.

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As grasses whistle and sing while dancing in the afternoon breeze.

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Swaying palms reach majestic heights.

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Offering welcome shade from summer’s sweltering sun.

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But all is not green and blue.  Shades of pink proliferate.

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Along with the occasional burst of red.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

What colors predominate in your daily vistas?

The Enduring Gifts of The Season December 25, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
12 comments

 Peace on Earth. 

Goodwill towards Man.

May we share the Peace, Hope, Love, Light, and Joy of this Festive Season, whether (and however) we celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or the Winter Solstice!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Not A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree December 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, People.
40 comments

This is amazing to watch ~ a woodworking project that will come in handy if the needles fall off your tree before Christmas arrives.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  This Is Brilliant!

Celebrate Good Times December 23, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness.
38 comments

We cannot do everything.

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If we try, we become fragmented, splintered, overextended, stressed out, etc.

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And we don’t enjoy any of it.

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Sometimes, LESS is MORE.

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Especially when making memories.

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For a tangible remind of good times, here’s a Holiday Wreath idea to consider.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Back to the Bush at Busch December 22, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Travel & Leisure.
28 comments

On a sunny Sunday, we went back to Busch Gardens to wander around the Edge of Africa.

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On the way we spied some American Alligators emulating Nile Crocodiles.

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This cheetah slowed down enough to let me capture his spots.

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We saw giraffes feeding at elevated stations.

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With flamingos pausing and reflecting in the foreground.

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The expanse of blue sunny skies framed the scene better than the rain on the plain puddling into the train on our first visit.

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I don’t know where the zebras hang out.  We didn’t see any.

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We did bump into one of BFF’s cousins.  “My what L~O~N~G arms you have, Gus!”

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Overhead, roller coasters screamed along twisted rails.

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While brave riders flailed their arms with glee.

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We saw a few bizarre sights in the bazaar.

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And also some intriguing portals.

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And lanterns ensconced in the branches like ensnared parachutes.

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Or tiny UFO’s for Pod People.

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This meerkat sentry was on high alert.

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Perhaps due to the proximity of a pride of lions.

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Elephants loitered about, swinging their trunks.

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As they laughed out loud at inside jokes!

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Flamingos strutted their stuff in shades of pink and peach.

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While this tiger topiary unsheathed its claws.

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And bared its teeth!

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Shops dotted the landscape, bedecked in “bling.”

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And poinsettias added festive cheer to this zebra drawn sleigh filled with elves.

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Flower filled boats drifted through the lagoon keeping time with a festive holiday tune.

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Beside a tree blanketed in a sea of poinsettia.

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Aah . . . that’s better!