jump to navigation

The Cat & The Caterpillar January 19, 2020

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Meditation, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
26 comments

When I got to the fork, I saw a giant mushroom.  On it perched a Hookah Smoking Caterpillar.

“Hmm . . . curious and curiouser.”

From a floating smile, the Cheshire Cat emerged.

I asked the Cat and the Caterpillar, “Which way should I go?”

The Cat just grinned.

With that, the Caterpillar sat and started to chat, rather randomly at first and then with increasing clarity and wisdom:

Happiness is not waiting for us at the end of the road ~ it’s found here and now, by enjoying each step along the way!

“A good traveler has no set plans and is not intent on arriving.” ~ Lao Tzu

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

I decided I was already exactly where I needed to be . . . so I sat to chat.

With the Cat and the Caterpillar.

And that was that.

I never reached the bend in the road.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have Bar Will Travel November 11, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure.
26 comments

At a recent Harbour Isles event, the BAR arrived on four wheels!

What’s better than a traveling bar?

How about a traveling pizza oven?

Aah . . . that is better!

Giants, Dragons, & Unicorns November 5, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Magick & Mystery, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
26 comments

After our aborted first attempt, we fit in a visit to the Bishop Museum to see Giants, Dragons, & Unicorns (The World of Mythic Creatures).

The exhibit features unique cultural objects (art, jewelry, masks, puppets) which highlight the similarities and differences in the ways people around the globe envision and depict mythic creatures.

As we wandered through the exhibit, we learned about Sea Monsters, Griffins, Unicorns, and Dragons . . . oh, my!

Giants, Dragons, & Unicorns (The World of Mythic Creatures) shared theories and research highlighting how misidentification, speculation, fear, and imagination spawned the creation of a myriad of mythic creatures.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to meet this guy in a dark alley . . . even if he has misplaced his dentures!

While at the museum, we also visited the Mosaic Backyard Universe where kids can run, jump, climb, and blast off into space in a cardboard rocket!

But first . . . here’s a Unicorn for Tippy Gnu:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Switching Gears November 3, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, Travel & Leisure.
24 comments

Yesterday morning, we planned to go to the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature.  In addition to the Mosaic Backyard Universe (opened this fall), we wanted to enjoy a special exhibit from  the American Museum of Natural History in NYC ~ Giants, Dragons, & Unicorns (The World of Mythic Creatures).

After touring the museum, we planned to visit the Bradenton Farmer’s Market to get some fresh local produce.

Of course, life is what happens when we’re busy making plans.

Just before leaving, I checked the museum’s website to confirm the time it opened . . . and learned that it was closed all day in preparation for a fundraising gala that evening.

OK.  Plan B.  We’ll go to the Farmer’s Market, get some produce, stash it in the car, and then enjoy a walk along the Riverwalk.

When we arrived at the Farmer’s Market, our favorite farmer wasn’t there. Greens On The Go was a No-Go.  We walked from end to end of the market without making a purchase because the produce didn’t look appealing.  Or local.  Instead of small farmers selling their current harvest, the vendors looked like they grew everything under the sun . . . a sign that they didn’t grow anything at all.

So we enjoyed our walk along the Riverwalk, made a couple of pit stops for provisions at Panera and Fresh Market, and returned home for lunch.

After lunch, I looked through the island papers and saw:

The Sandblast sandsculpting contest will be 9 am – 1 pm, Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach.

BFF and I agreed to head over there for a pre-sunset stroll to see the sculptures.  When we arrived at the Manatee Public Beach, 4000 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach at 5:30, we saw No Sculptures.  Not one.

If you’re feeling gypped too, type “Sandblast” into the search widget (upper right) to see past sculptures, like this one:

OK.  Plan B.  We drive up island to the Art & Culture Walk on Pine Avenue to see the featured artwork at the AMI Historic Museum and a sprinkling of area stores ~ Three Island Monkeys (featuring the work of the Florida Audubon Photographer of the Year, RJ Wiley), Emerson’s Studio, AMI Accommodations and the Flip Flop Gift Shop.

2015-03-04 14-22-06_0022

Since the event ended at 6 pm, and we didn’t arrive until 5:45, our quick tour of the paintings and photographs was more “whirlwind walk” than “studied stroll.”  That’s OK:

Do What You Can With What You Have Where You Are.

Heading home, I thought it would be nice to stop in and pay G & W (two nonagenarian friends) a visit.  I reached for my flip phone to give G a call and see if the timing was convenient.  Oops.  No Phone.  How inconvenient.

Ok.  Plan B.  We decided to chance it, arriving at G’s door just as she’d started dinner preparations.  Imperfect timing.  Nonetheless, she invited us in for a quick visit and a few laughs.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Nationwide Scam on Airbnb? November 1, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in People, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

If you or your family & friends use Airbnb when you travel, you might want to read this article before making your next reservation:

I Accidentally Uncovered A Nationwide Scam on Airbnb (Vice)

The author, Allie Conti, investigated and reported on a potential Airbnb scam involving a number of “fake hosts” in multiple cities.

During her investigation, she received no satisfactory answers from Airbnb to her questions about its verification procedure to guard against scammers.

Aah . . . Be Wary!

Note to Self:  One more reason to stay home.

Wake Up! September 10, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, People, Travel & Leisure.
32 comments

Did you hear about the guy driving on the Massachusetts Pike, with a passenger on board, while both appeared to be sound asleep?

Yup.  It happened yesterday.

The couple were in a self driving car and . . . (wait for it!) . . . Massachusetts State Police told WBZ-TV there’s technically no law against falling asleep behind the wheel of a self-driving car.

Say what?!

Just think of the benefit of a self-driving car to people who want to drive while:

(a) applying make-up; (b) shaving; (c) texting;
(d) eating; (e) surfing the web; (f) having sex;
(g) reading a newspaper; (h) painting; or
(i) catching some ZZZ’s.

Time for a nap.  Guess I’ll take a drive.

Aah . . . that’s scary!

To read more:  TESLA Driver Asleep on the Mass Pike (CBS Boston) * Destined to Fall: Auto Safety Expert Calls for Oversight (CBS Boston)

F.N.  In a statement included in the second article, Tesla said the system reminds drivers to keep their hands on the wheel.

“Many of these videos appear to be dangerous pranks or hoaxes,” a Tesla spokesperson said. “Our driver-monitoring system repeatedly reminds drivers to remain engaged and prohibits the use of Autopilot when warnings are ignored. At highway speeds, drivers typically receive warnings every 30 seconds or less if their hands aren’t detected on the wheel. Tesla owners have driven billions of miles using Autopilot, and data from our quarterly Vehicle Safety Report indicates that drivers using Autopilot experience fewer accidents than those operating without assistance.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Flygskam & Tagskryt August 7, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Sustainable Living, Travel & Leisure.
44 comments

Spurred by global warming, more and more travelers are spurning plane travel to ride the rails.  The savings in carbon emissions is considerable:

This is the season of flygskam, or “flight shame.” You don’t have to be Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist who recently announced plans to sail to New York in August, to recognize that a growing number of Europeans eager to reduce their carbon footprint are opting to limit air travel in favor of more environmentally-friendly means of transportation.

Significant enough that even airlines are taking note, flygskam–and its counterpart tagskryt, or train-bragging—is encouraging both European governments and private rail companies to consider investing in the return of long-distance night trains. But the revival of a form of transport that has long seemed consigned to the pages of Agatha Christie novels poses significant obstacles of its own.

Flygskam as a concept started in Sweden and is now taking off in the states:

The idea that acting responsibly entails flying less is even spreading to the United States. A jet propulsion scientist at NASA started No Fly Climate Sci in 2017 as a platform for earth scientists who wanted to make public commitments to reducing their carbon footprints. Kim Cobb was one of the scientists to sign up.

A few years ago, [Cobb’s] research into the large-scale destruction of reefs prompted the professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech University to examine her own carbon footprint a few years ago. “I was gobsmacked at how large a portion—85%—was locked in from flying, mostly for professional meetings and conferences, and, some for field research. As a scientist, I couldn’t unsee those numbers.”

In 2018, Cobb managed to cut her flight miles by 75%, going from an average of 125,000-plus a year, to 25,000 or 30,000.

To read more:

In Europe, the Movement to Give Up Air Travel Is Taking Off. Could the U.S. Be Next?

Aah . . . that’s better!

Roadside Rest Shelters Rock! August 5, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
27 comments

Before the arrival of McDonald’s drive thrus, parents often packed picnics to take on road trips (in case the natives in the back seat got restless or hungry).

To keep said natives occupied en route, parents assigned them the task of finding a suitable stopping point for lunch.  The task, thinly disguised as a game (complete with coveted prize) went like this:

“First one to spot a shaded picnic spot for lunch gets an extra cookie for dessert!”

Noses glued to the windows, kids scanned the horizon for a picnic spot that would score them an extra cookie.

And bragging rights!

* * *

Since a 2007 cross-country trip, Ryann Ford has been documenting historic roadside rest shelters with amazing vistas and views:

Roadside Rest Shelters: Destinations All Their Own

For a few more great shots of rest stops:

Attraction:  Retro Roadside Rest Shelters

I don’t know about you, but I think Ryann deserves an extra cookie for capturing these iconic images!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Don’t Be Jerky! June 27, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure, Vegetarian Recipes.
28 comments

We spent very little time in the town of Helen, other than quaffing beers to quench our thirst at creekside taverns while tubers floated past.

We did check out this unique storage facility with tubes stacked floor to ceiling beside life jackets and leashes.

Back on the Main Street, we saw some Jerky signs.

Imagine having to choose between Deer, Elk, Buffalo, and Boar.  Hmmm . . .

Or Goat, Gator, Python, and Alpaca.

Decisions.  Decisions.

I know!  ~> Make mine pretzels & beer!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Pretzels & Picnics . . . & Pics! June 19, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
33 comments

We just returned from a fabulous trip to the GA mountains to celebrate our 35th Anniversary.

We made a quick pitstop in Atlanta on the way up to enjoy Happy Hour at Marlow’s Tavern with our oldest nephew who’s in school at GA Tech.  He flew out the following day for two weeks in China.

Once settled into our hotel in Helen (a Bavarian village that is the 3rd most visited town in GA ~ behind Atlanta and Savannah), we spent time hiking to waterfalls ~ Anna Ruby Falls (easy), Duke Creek Falls (challenging).

We drank German beer and noshed on Bavarian pretzels (and other German treats) beside the Chattahoochee River while watching countless tubers float by.

We picked three venues with riverside seating ~ The Troll Tavern, the Hofbrauhaus, and Cafe International.

Imagine if you took a chug every time a tuber floated by on the hootch ~> Down the Hootch!  No, wait!  Down the Hatch!

We enjoyed mountain vistas from atop Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in Georgia at 4784 feet.  From the lookout station, we could see four states ~ Georgia, NC, SC, and Tennessee.

The ranger said that on a clear day you can see forever!

We drove mountainous country roads, switching into low gear when necessary.

S~L~O~W~D~O~W~N

We had picnics by Smith Creek at Anna Ruby Falls, and at a covered bridge in Sautee Nacoochee, after stopping for sandwiches and Farmer’s Cheese at the Old Sautee Store.

We visited Willow Pottery, Nora’s Grist Mill, Betty’s Country Store, Jumping Goat Coffee, and an enormous antique barn with 3 floors packed to the rafters with “treasures.”  Talk about Stuff!!!

After the hike to Duke Creek Falls, we walked a Nature Trail in Nacoochee Village.  Our tired calves and leg muscles only balked for a moment, but they barked later ~> Nope!  No Way!  I am NOT climbing those stairs!

A highlight:  Tuesday morning, on the way to Duke Creek Falls . . . we saw a bear crossing the road just ahead of our car.

Of course, we rolled down the window to ask him why.

His bear-to-the-bones reply:  “To Get To The Other Side!”

Aah . . . it’s good to be HOME!