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Florida Scenes August 19, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor.

A crowded Palma Sola Causeway serves as control central for the annual Bottle Boat Regatta.

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Boats float using recycled 2-liter plastic soda bottles as flotation devices.  Unless they don’t, float.

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Cows seldom enter.  They’re not interested in rowing boats or “bragging rights.”

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Downing grass and chewing cud from first light to last light consumes them.  Makes sense . . .

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Even if stomach #1 is stuffed to overflowing, they’ve got other tummies on “stand-by.”

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Florida’s fields of green and grain alternate with miles and miles of shoreline.

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Gator sightings are common along the banks.  In fact, you can almost bank on it.  (Less common are Crocs wearing Crocs.)



Hear rustling in the reeds?  Get ready to *snap* that shot.


Idle Gators love to smile and say, “Let Go My Leg-o!”

Everglades 1_1

Aah . . . that’s better!

MASHterFULL MASHterPIECES! August 13, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink.

Art Center Sarasota invited us to MASHterPIECES ~ an event co-sponsored by Goodwill.  Participating artists upcycled art purchased from Goodwill, putting their own spin on it.

Other galleries displayed original pieces in all manner of mediums.

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Having a glass of wine or other adult beverage in hand enhances the Art Viewing experience for us.

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As does nibbling on nibbles.

At MASHterPIECES, the caterer set up a MASHterFUL Mashed Potato Bar.

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With all the fixings!

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We soaked up some delightful art with a side of smashed tatties.

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With all the fixings!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

How do you like your potatoes?  In the jacket . . . or out?

A Safari @ Lowry Park Zoo June 4, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Art & Photography, Travel & Leisure.

Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa is a family friendly place with animals, rides, educational shows, and splash fountains for kids.

“I kid, you not.”

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We went a few weeks ago to talk with the animals.

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First stop, the Safari Explorer to ride through the Savannah.

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We saw giraffes and zebras.

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Rhinos and elephants.

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Turtles and tortoises.

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We saw curious critters.

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And others more standoffish and aloof.

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We saw animals napping.

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And eating.

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Or waiting to be fed.

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“Lettuce lets us help ourselves.”

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We walked the Florida Boardwalk and saw otters, bears, and deer.

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And sunbathing reptiles.

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Decorated for Zoominations, pathways overflowed with colorful balloon elephants.

Some large.

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Some small.

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All guarded by lions.

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The Blessing for Fortune and Safety

These elephants and their lion guards represent a world of peace and harmony which we wish to express to you all!

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We saw Dragons and Peacocks.

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Flowers and Fish.

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And more.

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As soon as we got home, we showered.  We felt a bit “gamey” after hanging around animals all day.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Calm Self-Awareness May 27, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

Many folks think that MORE achievement will bring them MORE money to buy MORE things which they believe will bring them MORE happiness.

Often they are disappointed as they tick the boxes and find that they are MORE stressed and LESS happy.

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Be honest with yourself. The world is not honest with you. The world loves hypocrisy. When you are honest with yourself you find the road to inner peace.

~ Paramahansa Yogananda

When we’re tapped into our authentic self / our inner artist, we’re in tune with a “higher vibration” that allows life to flow.

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Remaining mindful of our thoughts (to make sure they don’t lead us down the wrong road) pays dividends ~> think of all the time and energy we save by not driving around endless loops, taking divergent detours, and/or getting stuck watching tedious replays.

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Calm self-awareness allows the Tao to surface and illuminate our journey as the path unfolds before us.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Related Post:  Be Honest With Yourself (The Middle Ground)

Stuff By Us December 30, 2014

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

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.



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.

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.


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


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

Think Pink

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)

Hues of Green and Blue December 26, 2014

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

Florida has been our home for the past 6 years.


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



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

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To beach . . .


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.


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


Along with the occasional burst of red.

santa on the beach

Aah . . . that’s better!

What colors predominate in your daily vistas?

Not A Charlie Brown Christmas Tree December 24, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, People.

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!

Performance Art Open To Interpretation December 5, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Life Balance.

The Ringling Museum invited us to watch Li Wei in action:

Bring your own camera and prepare to be shocked by Li Wei’s unexpected stunning performance! Li Wei is coming to The Ringling Museum to offer a fresh take on his conceptual photography in front of Ca’ d’Zan and behind the Museum of Art Courtyard. Li’s work often features gravity-defying activities mixing performance and installation, with photography. 

We went, expecting to see something like this:

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Instead, we arrived to see this:

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Suspended from steel cables, Chinese Artist Li Wei hung in the air.

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Dragon head in front and kite tail streaming behind.

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The audience watched, wondering why Wei needed an audience.

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The cables and cranes were doing all the heavy lifting. Li Wei was just hanging around, setting off an occasional flare to emit pink dragon smoke into the air.

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Bored, the audience wandered off, in search of acrobatic fare and flair.


We went with them.

Aah . . . that’s better!


Sea Hut’s Crab Trap December 1, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor.

After exploring Terra Ceia Island, both the Arts & Crafts Show and the Madira Bickel Indian Mound, we decided to stop for a light lunch at the Sea Hut.

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We sat outside on a small deck with a big boat peering over our shoulders.

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Each table held a water glass to catch cracker wrappers from blowing away.

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A bright blue awning overhead acted as understudy for missing blue skies.

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The Sea Hut’s indoor decor included this toothsome totem.

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And another totem with a more malevolent expression.

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Back at the table, our Honey Puppies arrived in a cloud of powdered sugar.

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To keep our blood sugar on an even keel, we also ordered black beans & rice.

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Food tucked in to happy tummies, another toothsome grin appeared.

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On the way back to the car, we met up with Sideshow Bob in the parking lot.

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Aah . . . that’s better!


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