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A Hop, A Skip, & A Jump! November 13, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
31 comments

Have you heard of Bank of America’s Museums on Us program for VISA cardholders?  If you have a Bank of America VISA, you can visit participating museums for FREE the first full weekend of every month.

The first weekend in November, we decided to visit Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.  First stop, the Orchid Show.

A profusion of blooms filled the greenhouse from top to bottom.

Every where I looked, there was something to admire.

This motif would be excellent for Easter.

And how about this as a back yard water feature?  Can’t you just see Kate’s coy Koi in there?

Exiting the greenhouse, we walked through the Bonsai Forest.

And then headed to the Children’s Rainforest to monkey about.

We both loved the perpetual ebb and flow of the suspended bridge.

And had fun checking out the treehouse.

Back on terra firma, we wandered around the base of the Banyan trees.

“My, what big roots you have!”

From there, it was just a hop, skip, and a jump to the frog pavilion.

Aren’t they charmers?

And they’re ever-ready to enjoy a good game of hoop-de-hop-da-hula.

Especially Ringo!

Colorful, fun, festive . . . and they make great fly-catchers!

After completing our game of ring-around-the-frogs, we headed to O’Leary’s Tiki Bar.

Undeterred by this rude Tiki Totem with the protruding tongue, we grabbed a seat in the sand to quaff a cold one while listening to a decent guitar player who hastened to remind patrons that the more they drank, the better he would sound!

Aah . . . that’s better!

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Classic (and Classy) Cars & Cats November 5, 2018

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

A few weeks ago, we headed over to the island for Bayfest, a street festival to celebrate the return of the snowbirds from their summer hiatus.

In conjunction with the festival, we enjoyed Classic Cars and Classy Cats.

“Hey!  You’ve got a Tiger on your Tank.”

“Rave On, Raven!” (Quoth the Raven never more.)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane . . .

It’s a Car . . .

“Does this Jeep make my envy look green?”

“Hot dog!  A Hot Rod!”

And check out this golf cart, perfect for enjoying island breezes in style!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Hallow E’en Tricks & Treats! November 3, 2018

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

No trick or treaters in our neighborhood . . . so we headed over to the Costume Contest at the Chamber of Commerce on the island to check out some fun and funky looking kids.

“Want a gum ball?”

“Does this hat make my skin look green?”

“What does a mom have to do to get a little sleep?”

“Yabba Dabba Do!”

And my fave . . . the little engine that could!

From there, we headed to Longboat Key for Happy Hour at the Chart House where I ordered a Monarch Margarita with . . . blood orange!

We enjoyed two appetizers (calories once again ignored) ~> a delicious hummus trio with gluten-free plantain chips for dipping.

And a yummy spinach artichoke dip.

“Does this dip make my teeth look green?”

From there we headed to a Spooky Halloween Party on Bridge Street (with spirits aplenty).  (This shot is a bit shaky because BFF was spooked  by the holiday happenings.  Bwa Ha Ha . . .)

The Bridge Tender Inn had decorations to die for . . .

“Care for a sweet, sweetie?”

“You light up my eyes.  You give me strength to suck your blood.”

“Sure it’s a good look now, but when it rains I get damp brain . . . and let me tell you damp brain is way worse than brain freeze.”

“Chain . . . chain of fools!”

“Don’t come knocking when baby is rocking!”

“Hi!  I’m Meg Ryan after a few too many face-lifts!”

“Don’t take Fright . . . we’re just Spirits in the Night.”

“Bye, bye, sweetie.  So glad you didn’t die!”

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Bit of This & That October 23, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Mindfulness, People, Travel & Leisure.
39 comments

For a terrific article on Friendship:

Friends are honest with each other: Friends will always tell you what you need to hear, not what you want them to say. There are plenty of people in the world who will flatter you for their own purposes, but only a real friend — or an enemy — will risk your anger by telling you the truth. And being a good person yourself, you should listen to your friends and welcome what they have to say.

How to be a Good Friend, According to Cicero (an Ancient Philosopher) (Time)

For an interesting article on Master Manipulators:

“People who are trying to manipulate others are trying to control others.”

There are many different forms of manipulation, ranging from a pushy salesperson to an emotionally abusive partner—and some behaviors are easier to spot than others.

Here, experts explain the telltale signs that you could be the subject of manipulation.

How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You—And What to Do About It (Time)

For a Bunch of Hot Air, here’s a video posted by my little bro after his recent trip to the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, NM:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Strategic “Laziness” is a Good Thing! October 20, 2018

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

Next time you’re vegging out on the couch, or relaxing to the strains of Eine Klein Nachtmusik, or watching the clouds scuttle across the sky, reach around and give yourself a pat on the back . . . for being lazy!

That’s right.

Strategic “laziness” is a good thing!

Research shows that doing nothing can be just the boost you need to expand your creativity:

Laziness is a lost art. I don’t mean laziness in the sense of filling each moment with mindless distraction. I mean proper idleness, when we choose to do nothing. In a world of constant distraction, we rarely put our mental feet up. Instead, we spend our spare time bouncing between novel distractions — going from checking our email, to reading the news, to surfing Facebook, and so on — activities that often make us even more tired.

In any given moment, our attention is either focused or unfocused. Focus gets all the attention — it’s what lets us get work done, have meaningful conversations and move our lives forward. But as it turns out, research shows that unfocusing is just as powerful, albeit in different ways. While focusing makes us more productive, unfocusing makes us more creative.

Chances are you should be lazy more often. Whether it’s to give your brain a rest, dig up insightful ideas or plot future plans, sometimes the best way to make stuff happen is by doing nothing at all.

To read more:  Why Being Lazy is Actually Good For You (Time)

Aah . . . that’s better!

Mote Aquarium October 11, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
23 comments

We finally had a chance to visit the “new” river otter exhibit at Mote Aquarium on City Island in Sarasota.  We adored watching the antics of Pippi, Huck, and Jane from the 2nd floor mezzanine:

Here they are enjoying some non-stop action:

As we walked through the shark exhibit, this brave lad in the Hurricane Simulator blew us away:

We loved the decor in the 50’s diner ~ everything back then was so black & white, no shades of gray:

And check out these giant “Egyptian” Seahorses standing guard:

Perhaps they’re there to protect the flowers in the adjoining lily pad pond:

Our enjoyable, educational, and entertaining afternoon featured a surprising highlight:  a small aquarium of mesmerizing jellyfish:

Gorgeous and graceful, they were gliding up and down with gentle and perpetual undulations ~ it was rather like watching a live-action lava lamp!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Tampa Bay History Center October 9, 2018

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

For Smithsonian Museum Day, we paid a visit to Tampa Bay History Center, located on the Riverwalk in Tampa:

We enjoyed some Cuban Fare at the Columbia Restaurant:

Black Beans & Rice, Cuban Bread, Churros (with 3 dipping sauces):

After lunch, we checked out the exhibits, which focused on Cigars:

Seminole Dolls (I had one of these as a kid and gave it to one of my nieces ~ I learned it’s worth hundreds of dollars):

Audubon Artwork:

Maritime History:

Local Wildlife ~ then:

And now:

Aah . . . that’s better!

10 Unusual Florida Sites September 6, 2018

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

We’ve been to a number of these sites, but we’ve got a few more to go . . . once the oppressive summer heat and humidity lessens its hold on the peninsula.

In the meantime, I think I’ll hang out in the shade of swaying palms for a few more weeks!

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Worst Kind Of Souvenir July 21, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Health & Wellness, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
27 comments

On summer vacations, picking up a bug is the WORST kind of souvenir to bring home.

My advice?

Stick to postcards!

1789-vintage-sebring-postcard

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Devil’s Ticket & Mississippi Mud July 11, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, People, Travel & Leisure.
16 comments

A few months ago, I read a book about a fatal hand of Bridge . . . based on a true story of a wife who shot her husband while playing Bridge one night ~> The Devil’s Ticket: A Vengeful Wife, A Fatal Hand, and a New American Age.

On a related note, I thought some of you might get a kick out of this famous trick hand from the days of cardsharps on the Mississippi riverboats:

North

Spades -10 5 4 3 2
Hearts  –
Diamonds – 5 4 3 2
Clubs – 5 4 3 2

West                                                                            East

Spades –                                                                       Spades J 9 8 7 6
Hearts – 8 7 6 5 4 3 2                                                   Hearts –
Diamonds – A K Q J 10 9                                               Diamonds – 8 7 6
Clubs –                                                                         Clubs – 10 9 8 7 6

South

Spades – A K Q
Hearts – A K Q J 10 9
Diamonds –
Clubs – A K Q 3

A Diamond lead from West to Dummy/ North holds South to six tricks at a 4H contract.

A 4S bid only makes 3 tricks.
While 5C bid mades 4 tricks.

How would South make out in No Trump?

Bridge hands can be as deceiving as Mississippi Mud.
And some are even fatal!

Maybe I should stick with dominoes.

Aah . . . that’s better!