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That’s Greek To Me April 29, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Music & Dance.
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A few weeks ago, we attended a Greek Glendi Festival at Saint Barbara’s Church in Sarasota.

We toured the church to learn the history of its vibrant Byzantine icons:

Byzantine art combines the classical respect for material form with the capacity of the abstract style to suggest the transcendental.  In this way it is able to present a pictorial world in which the historical and the metahistorical, the temporal and the eternal intersect.

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We gazed up at the decorous dome which revealed Christ surrounded by evangelists, prophets, and angels.

For a Virtual Tour of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, click HERE.

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Returning to the massive festival tent, we enjoyed Greek Music, Greek Folk Dancing, and Greek Food.

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The distinctive sound of the bouzouki bounced around the tent as we ate.

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Spanakopita, Tyropita, Greek Salad, Loukoumathes, and Baklava Cheesecake!

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OPA! ~> a joyous reminder to stop and celebrate life where you are.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Symphony On The Sand November 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor, Music & Dance.
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Last weekend, we went down to Coquina Beach for Symphony on the Sand.

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Despite gray overcast skies and steady drizzle, the audience enjoyed the show.

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Those who had ordered the $100 a plate dinner had to eat it with one hand while holding an umbrella over their head with the other.

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Since we hadn’t ordered dinner, we didn’t feel too crabby about the weather’s lack of cooperation.

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Especially since sunny skies tend to be rather prevalent here.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

A Change Would Do You Good November 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
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Take a minute to look around your life.

What’s working?  What needs fine tuning?  What would benefit from a complete overhaul?

* Maybe you have the perfect job, but your finances or relationships are in shambles.

* Maybe you have hobbies you enjoy, but you never find time to enjoy them.

* Maybe your life is picture perfect, except for a job that is sucking the life out of you week after week.

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

Once you know where you are, think about where you want to go.  List a few tweaks and fixes needed to move you closer to living the life of your dreams:

* Get finances in order
* Have More FUN!!!!
* Find a new job in an inspiring field
* Learn to cook healthier meals

Once you’ve identified a few items in need of fine tuning, create an action plan for making the transformation from where you are to where you want to be.

* If you choose to focus on your finances, some actions steps might be:  calculate net worth, record every expenditure for a month, set up a budget, balance the checkbook, cut up credit cards, stop buying shoes, bring lunch to work, no more take out coffee, research tips on money management, open up a savings account, start an IRA, etc.

* If you desire to have more fun, some action steps might be:  call a friend and invite them for dinner, buy a book you’ve always wanted to read, check out the paper for current shows and exhibits, sign up for a pottery class at the local community college, spend 30 minutes a day pursuing a favorite hobby, audition for the local play, go to the park and swing on the swings, limit TV time, etc.

* If you decide to focus on switching careers, some action steps might be: do an on-line search of jobs in fields of interest, update resume, attend a job fair, contact alumni services about placement assistance, etc.

IMGP3562b* If you want to learn to cook healthier meals, some action steps might be:  search recipes on line, find a cooking blog to follow, look through cookbooks for healthier recipes, research nutritional guidelines, visit a farmer’s market, create menus featuring fruits and veggies, ask friends for favorite recipes, etc.

Now that you’ve got some action steps identified, pick one and do it.  Don’t worry about which one to pick first.  Just pick one and do it.

Then pick another action step and do it.  Then another.  And another.

As you start moving from where you are to where you want to be, keep your eyes and ears open to winks, whispers, and nudges from the Universe.  If something appears on your radar screen, add it to your list of action steps:

* Call Sally and ask her for the recipe for stuffed zucchini.
* Ask George how he paid off his credit card debt.
* Call last employer and see if he’ll act as a reference.

As you focus on where you are and where you want to be, don’t worry about what you wanted out of life 20 years ago.

What do you want right NOW?

And don’t worry about what others want you to do.  What do YOU want to do?

The more we look within for guidance about what we want, the more clarity we gain about who we are.

And once we know who we are TODAY, we no longer need to analyze who we were YESTERDAY.

Step by step, the  past loosens its hold on us.

By embracing this moment, we find that we no longer need to rewrite or overcome the past to move forward in life.

All we have to do is let it go.

Aah . . . that’s better!

If you’re not actively involved in getting what you want, you don’t really want it.

Action is the antidote to dis-ease.

Festivals of India September 9, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Fun & Games, Music & Dance.
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On Saturday, we enjoyed Indian Dancing, Music, Costumes and Food in air-conditioned comfort at India Fest 2014.

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The theme of the festival focused on eight major festivals in India:

Uttarayan ~ kite flying and rooftop picnics to celebrate winter’s end
Baisakhi ~ celebrated in different ways by Sikhs, Hindus, and Buddhists
Pongal ~ celebrants greet milk boiling over with shouts of “Pongalo Pongal”
Holi ~ marking the first full moon in Spring with clouds of colored powder
Ganesh Chaturthi ~ celebrating the birth day of Lord Ganesha
Onam ~ festival of rain, flowers, and rice harvest
Navratri ~ celebrated over nine nights around harvest time in October
Diwali ~ festival of lights illuminating the country with brilliance

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After a brief history of each festival, lithe and limber dancers in elaborate and elegant costumes performed traditional dances to traditional music.

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Each dance ended amid appreciative applause.

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After the dancing and music, all performers returned to the stage for the singing of India’s national anthem.

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A bejeweled Lord Ganesh watched over the festival.

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POLICE watched over Lord Ganesh and his jewels.

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After the music and dancing, attendees wandered the food stalls and the bazaar, stopping to gape at colorful plumage.

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We  sampled Spring Rolls, Samosas, and Bhel Puri (a favorite street food in Mumbai featuring puffed rice, peanuts, tomatoes, tamarind sauce, potatoes, mint, cilantro chutney, onions, cumin, chili powder, lemon juice, chaat masala, sel, papdis, etc.).

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Before leaving we stopped for a photo op with that gorgeous peacock we spied earlier ~> his plumage matched my skirt!

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Aah . . . that’s better!

Oh, When The Cows Come Marching In July 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Music & Dance, Nature.
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An impromptu Jazz concert on a Jersey hillside for a bunch of Jerseys.

No cows were harmed in the filming of this video.

Aah . . . that’s better!

This Is Brilliant! July 11, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Happiness, Humor, Music & Dance.
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I clicked on this without expecting much in the way of entertainment value:


Aah . . . that’s better!

What did you think about the sound of that Carrot Clarinet?

Clap Along June 19, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fun & Games, Gratitude, Happiness, Music & Dance.
Tags: , , , ,

I double dog dare you to listen to this without cracking a smile:

Lion-Side-ProfileHaving faith in whatever life offers brings greater joy and engagement with less fear, hesitation, and aversion.  Accepting life’s inherent uncertainty allows [us] to experience more awe toward the mysteries of life and less concern.

~ Lama Surya Das

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related post:  Happy! (Pix / Under The Oaks)

Morocco February 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, Music & Dance, Synchronicity & Mystery.
Tags: , , , ,

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!

Wow! What A Weekend! November 12, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor, Music & Dance.
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We had tons of fun in the sun this weekend.  Here’s how the fun unfolded:

IMGP0887bOn Wednesday, we received a late breaking invitation to a birthday dinner for our 16-going-on-17 niece, Samantha.

Driving across state to join the revelry and merriment at Seasons 52 in Orlando, we heard Stevie sing “On The Edge of Seventeen.”

Perfect timing!

And then “a little ditty about Jack and Diane” which reminded us to “hang on to 16 as long as you can.”

Oops . . . too late!

We arrived early and surprised Sam by jumping out of the bushes in front of the restaurant, swords drawn.  Like pirates!

We didn’t fool her.  She knew it was us.

Dinner included Flatbread Pizza, Greek Salad, a Dynamic Duo of Hummus, and Sweet Indulgences for Dessert.

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Our waiter snapped this photo as we struggled to maintain composure (while fighting a losing battle with a sugar high).

Sam's Birthday

Tigger managed in our absence, greeting us with a HUNGRY yowl and a hairball.  On the carpet.

On Thursday, after a grueling day of doing “nothing much” (bike ride, water aerobics, grocery shopping), we attended an Open House at the South Florida Museum to launch the new equipment in its Planetarium . . . stellar!

The capabilities are absolutely amazing!  We zoomed in to Earth and flew over Anna Maria Island and our neighborhood. We rode through the canyons on Mars. We went out past the edge of the solar system, the Milky Way, to the edge of the known Universe.  

To date, only 25 planetariums in the world have these capabilities ~ much like the Universe, that number is ever expanding.

Tigger greeted us with a contented purr and a wee accident.  On the tile.

On Friday, at the annual Arts Hop, we wandered through five of the island’s fourteen galleries listening to local musicians, sipping wine, admiring the art, and nibbling on  . . . nope, not spongecake.

We noshed on imported cheese and crackers and sampled coconut shrimp with mango salsa at Sidebar, the newest gallery.


We filled cocktail plates with bruschetta, pizza, and fresh pineapple at The Studio at Gulf and Pine.

We tried Japanese Ice Cream “Bubbles” at the Shiny Fish Emporium ~ a first for us.  Mochi ice cream is a small dessert ball with rice cake (mochi) on the outside and an ice cream filling on the inside.  We tried the White Chocolate Raspberry first.  Followed in quick succession with a Chocolate chaser.

We ended our strolling repast with mini pumpkin spice cupcakes and cookies at ArtSpace.

Fun night.  And filling.  Filling and fun.

We went home and collapsed on the sofa to watch The Bourne Legacy and rest up for the rest of the weekend’s scheduled events.  Tigger joined us.

On Saturday, we stopped by the AMI Butterfly Garden Arts & Crafts Show on the island to hang out with Patchouli.  Just the right mix of sun and clouds to keep the temperatures temperate.

Did you catch the chorus?  “I don’t know how to stay, but I don’t know where we’re going.  Hold on ’cause anything is possible.”

Ring any bells?

After getting our fill of Julie and Bruce’s melodies, we swung by The Fresh Market for Taste of the Holidays, with samples of whipped potatoes, sweet potato souffle, corn souffle, stuffing, cranberry orange relish, green beans, cheese straws, pecan pie, and coffee a l’orange.

Also offered but not sampled by us ~ oven roasted turkey, spiral baked ham, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, red velvet cake.

After grabbing a few bakery items (Toscano Pano and Cheddar Rolls), we popped down to Coquina Beach for the tail end of Symphony on the Sand, arriving in time to hear the 1812 Overture.  While there, we burned off a few calories with a moonlit stroll along the Gulf, accompanied by night breezes.

After a light dinner at home, we headed inland to hear Sophie B. Hawkins  perform at the Tarpon Pointe Grill and Tiki Bar.

Sophie B. headlined the Pussycat Festival, to raise $’s for the Gulf Shore Animal League, singing songs from Tongues & Tails and Whaler . . . plus a few songs by her alter ego, Janis Joplin.

After enjoying her music for 20 years, it was great to kick back and watch Sophie perform live . . . from the comfort of our car.  We arrived late to the festival, expecting to park blocks away from the venue.  Instead, we pulled into a parking spot a stone’s throw from the stage with an unobstructed view.

What a treat!

On Sunday, we attended a matinee of the Island Players ~ Guilty Conscience, a crafty thriller by the creators of “Columbo” and “Murder She Wrote.”  At intermission, we enjoyed a few “Guilty Pleasures” ~ tea cakes and cookies.

On Monday, fun still not done, Mary Lou and Larry took us to lunch at The Waterfront ~ a delicious “thank you” for helping clean out Betty’s villa.


Today we plan to rest up for next weekend.  Which starts . . . tomorrow!

What’s that?  Weekends don’t begin on Wednesday and end on Monday?  Of course they do.  They must.  How else would we pack in all this fun?

Aah . . . that’s better!

How did you “spend” the weekend?  Are you “paying for it” this week?  :mrgreen:

Stir Life With A Slow Spoon October 23, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Music & Dance.
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When caramelizing onions, low heat with a slow spoon works best to enhance their innate sweetness.  Cranking the heat to speed up the process doesn’t work, unless you savor the flavor of burnt onions with raw centers.

Life’s like that ~ we enhance its innate sweetness when we slow down.


In a recent post, Do You Ever Slow Down?, Eric provides 3 tips on soaking up the present moment before rushing headlong into the next.  And the next.  And the next.  And the next.

Reading Eric’s post reminded me of John Lennon’s decision to stop riding the merry-go-round:

Simon & Garfunkel’s recipe for “Feeling Groovy” also came to mind ~> “slow down, you move to fast, you got to make the morning last, kicking down the cobblestones, looking for fun and feeling groovy.”

Looking for fun?

Feeling groovy?

Splash color around.

Ignore the guide lines.


Aah . . . that’s better!


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