…as the lovely saying goes.  Happy adages aside, today just  happens to be World Smile Day www.worldsmileday.com.  And it’s a Friday…even more reason to smile.

So like the Chuang Yen Monastery Buddha pictured here, at least for today, laugh, be happy, and keep a smile on your face!

Smiling creates good karma!

Smiling creates good karma!

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I recently spent several days in and around Tucson, Arizona.  The weather every day was a hot, sunny, and dry +/- 105 degrees F.  When I got back to New York and deplaned at JFK, it felt like a boxing glove punched me in the face when I felt the 80 degree F with 86% humidity air.  It felt A LOT hotter!  I love the warm, even hot, weather.  But high humidity…not so much!  Give me that dry heat any day.

Saguaro Cactus as seen along the road in Tucson, Arizona

Saguaro Cactus as seen along the road in Tucson, Arizona

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Clouds usually make for more interesting and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The American Southwest is not typically a cloudy place, though. So when clouds are around during very dry spells, those clouds are usually not the moisture-bearing kind.  Instead, they can be the very damaging and life-threatening smoke clouds caused by a raging fire.

The clouds in this June 18, 2013, Sedona, Arizona, sunset photo were caused by the Doce Fire which started two days earlier on June 16 in Prescott, Arizona. Later in the month, the more well-known and devastating Yarnell Hill Fire, also in Prescott, went on to kill 19 elite firefighters.

Prescott fire clouds seen at sunset over Sedona, Arizona, June 18, 2013

Prescott fire clouds seen at sunset over Sedona, Arizona, June 18, 2013

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Proving once again that it’s wise to keep a camera close at hand, this lovely dragonfly appeared next to me as I was enjoying an outdoor lunch. Serendipity for sure. I learned later that this beautiful creature also has so much symbolism attached to it. I suppose that comes with the territory of being so visually striking. This link has some interesting information about the  meaning and symbolism of the dragonfly http://www.dragonfly-site.com/meaning-symbolize.html

A compelling sight.  A dragonfly seen in Sedona, AZ, its colors matching the beautiful red rock of the area.

A compelling sight. A dragonfly seen in Sedona, AZ, its colors matching the beautiful red rock of the area.

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When Katharine Andriotis is not enjoying an alfresco lunch next to a dragonfly, she’s busy photographing for companies on-site for use in corporate communications and public relations.

Happy Birthday 1040!

April 15, 2013

Has it only been 100 years since Americans have been filing the 1040 federal tax form?  Seems a lot longer!  When the 1040 form was “born” in 1913, it was only one page and only a mere 3% of the population was required to pay federal taxes.  Today, the 1040 form is a bit more elaborate, and 54% of us have to add to the coffers of the United States Treasury.

Although such percentages as well as tax rates have varied over the years, as the adage goes, two things in life are certain.  And you already know what those two things are!

"You have to pay your partner!" as an accountant of mine used to always say

“You have to pay your partner!”
as an accountant of mine used to always say

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By land…

In the middle of nowhere - dry. The road to nowhere has been found, as pictured here in a scene from somewhere in the American Southwest.

In the middle of nowhere – dry.
The road to nowhere has been found, as pictured here in a scene from somewhere in the American Southwest.

And by sea…

In the middle of nowhere - wet. Sun setting behind dark clouds somewhere over the Atlantic ocean.

In the middle of nowhere – wet.
Sun setting behind dark clouds somewhere over the Atlantic ocean.

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The Rule of Three

March 12, 2013

The Three Stooges, Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There’s a principle in writing known as the rule of three, whereby things which come in threes are more effective, more satisfying, and funnier. Below, a graphic example of the principle at work!

Three Traveling Women getting advice at the Information Booth in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Three Traveling Women getting advice at the Information Booth in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Meet the Gift Shop

March 5, 2013

Of course, the rest of the zoo is the real star http://www.bronxzoo.com, but what a great gift shop!  Didn’t see any actual beetles (or Beatles) though.

All of them are barefoot.  Surely a hidden message!

All of them are barefoot. Surely a hidden message!

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Possibly one of the most frequently asked questions in the history of womankind. And here I not only found one, I found a royal one! I suppose that’s true of all the “thrones” at Kensington Palace.

Royal Restrooms at Kensington Palace, London, England

Royal Restrooms at Kensington Palace, London, England

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A Friendly Warning

February 20, 2013

Using humor to prevent theft, a convenience store offers fair warning amidst the sundries. Whether or not the message led to less shoplifting is unknown. But it certainly led to something extremely valuable–lots of smiles and laughter!

Thieves beware the prize that awaits you.

Thieves beware the prize that awaits you.

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