Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

But wait...there's got to be a party

Oh boy...So many cakes....so little time!

And here's to the group that made it all possible. Thanks a bunch!

Today is

my last official day of work. I have decided to retire early; much earlier than most and occasionally the idea of it has scared me. For the first time (in a long time) my days will be unstructured and that in and of itself can be quite intimidating.

I think the trick to retiring is that you understand that first, you are still alive. You have only decided not to spend your time working at a job anymore, there are still many things to do, to pass the day. The difference now is that you have to decide how to spend it; it is not preordained for you. Here is where the trouble may start. The true nature of your personality begins to blossom when you have all this time and can spend it as you choose. How generous can you be with yourself? Can you spend a day watching a cloud or caterpillar move across your vision, without feeling guilty about it? At the end of the day did you come to grips with anything that has puzzled you about life? Or will you start right away on those projects that you never had time for when you worked? Will you be bored instantly and sleep the day away; putting off for tomorrow thoughts and decisions involving more structured time management?

I suppose the answer to this burning question is: all of the above. I will give myself the time and space needed to comfortably move into this new life style. I will get a haircut to start with and then maybe a little shopping for a few items that have been on my list but not imperative to get. I do have a long trip planned, so shopping will be very productive (Productivity: this is a trait that does not die easily). Time is perhaps the best gift I can receive, since with time I can dream and imagine; try and discard; allow and grow. Yes, I think this is what retirement should be about: giving yourself what you need to grow and get to know the real you. The one you haven’t known since childhood.

Welcome back.

Ellen Rossopoulos
July 31, 2007

The paper and then the moon

I went to get the paper this morning at 6:15 and saw the moon in the western sky.

Then got this in my email from daily dharma...there is a connection here.

One day the Buddha held up a flower in front of an audience of 1,250 monks and nuns. He did not say anything for quite a long time. The audience was perfectly silent. Everyone seemed to be thinking hard, trying to see the meaning behind the Buddha's gesture. Then, suddenly, the Buddha smiled. He smiled because someone in the audience smiled at him and at the flower. . . . To me the meaning is quite simple. When someone holds up a flower and shows it to you, he wants you to see it. If you keep thinking, you miss the flower. The person who was not thinking, who was just himself, was able to encounter the flower in depth, and he smiled. That is the problem of life. If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.
--Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The corner philosophy

Ok, I am now on a mission to 'curve' every corner that I can in an effort to make lawn mowing just a little easier.
I've discovered some work techniques that are pretty useful, from other specialties that are surprising.
For example, one should use the sport of boxing when pacing the flow of work on a really hot day. These guys box for 2 or 3 minutes and rest for 2 or 3 minutes. I find it very useful to keep the stamina at a functional level, work 10 and rest 5.

It is better to shop for what you need the day before so you have it all at hand first thing in the morning while the weather is still tolerable. By the time I got this stuff home and unloaded I was ready to call it a day at 8:45AM! (I still have at least 2 more corners to do, so I will definately keep this one in mind going forward.)

Finally, don't forget to take your shoes off BEFORE your go in the house, or you'll have a whole other project to keep you busy!

A forwarded email...

Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote

when asked to share her "beauty tips."

It was read at her funeral years later.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness...

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone...

People,even more than things, have to be restored,

renewed, revived, reclaimed,and redeemed;

never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,

you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older,you will discover that you have two hands;

one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

and for my own additions...
the more you focus on others, the better you feel, look and function.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The trouble with riding mowers

is, you can't get in the corners.

Then, it is REALLY hard to get the old stuff out of there.

But when you do , it looks so much better.

All this because I got, yet, another flat tire and couldn't go biking this morning. Wound up buying plants instead and got the flat fixed on the way home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Monday night cooking on Friday

Tonight turned out to be a special cooking night. Mayumi wanted to make minestrone and since it takes longer than our usual fare, we decided to make it on a night where there were no classes the following day.

Of course, I was multi-tasking...watering my lawn on the installment plan, got my buddy John Deere to water very thoroughly for me and then started cooking.

Start with a blend of olive oil and butter, and have all your vegetable ingredients ready. Put in the onions, garlic and celery to soften; add the broth, carrots and potatoes to soften,then add the green beans, napa cabbage and squash

simmer till almost cooked then add the canalini beans and the ditalini pasta.

The rest is history. Sprinkle parmasan cheese at the end along with parsley and basil.

Make a few slices of garlic toasted bread to 'kick it up a notch!'

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Blessed Woman Has and Knows...


enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...


something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content to leave behind....

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...

a feeling of control over her destiny...

how to fall in love without losing herself..

how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship...

when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...

where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. .
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...

What she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Putting in a new patio next door

My neighbor, who loves to do little projects around the house, has finally outdone himself this time! He claims he was putting in a patio in the back yard. Don't know if he ever got this in his back yard; further, I have not seen his wife since he started this project.

Just kidding about the wife, she is very much alive and well. I have not seen the patio though...
Talk about boys and their toys!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bull Shoals State Park

We got to Mountain Home just in time for the T-bucket convention that was to start for the weekend. Stayed in a motel for this one too since the weather was typically hot and humid Friday as well.
Bull Shoals Park is built around a dam that provides electricity for the area and recently has become a key recreation place known as the trout fishing capital of the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ozark Folk Center

This is a very unique State Park. Designed to demonstrate a bygone culture and era. All the people that were demonstrating the crafts: Candlemaking, quilting, basketry, coopering, one room school house, blacksmithing, lathe-working, woodworkng, weaving, pottery, live country music, broom making, furniture making, print shop and cooking were very knowledgeable and fun to talk with.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Little Rock and Clinton Library

Wednesday we decided to go on to Little Rock and see the Clinton Library but before that we saw the Big Dam Bike Trail, some of it anyway, the part we didn't see was either under water from all the recent rainfall or not yet built. So we only did 7 miles of biking before going to the Clinton Library.
There were so many interesting things to see there I was torn in deciding what to post so here are my choices (Chuck has posted entirely different shots from the same building)

I got a shot of the Chinese Calligraphy and several swords that were gifted to the Clinton's while they were in office

I couldn't pass up the chance to get a picture of these saxophones that
Bill had received as gifts and certainly played and had some fun with.

One of my memories from my school days was the question how did you spend your summer vacation or what do you want to be when you grow up. I see Hillary had to deal with it as well. Maybe I got this memorialized before she becomes president! Click the picture to see what she wrote.

This last one was hanging on the wall in the motel room. Such a nice story depicting the general attitude of true Arkansans. We have met some truly wonderful folks on this trip.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

on to DeGray Lake Resort

We walked around the lodge at DeGray Lake Resort, it was the best. The lake was beautiful and the lodge perfectly sited and landscaped. We had buffet dinner there and everything was very tasty

We went riding along side the lake and I managed to get this picture while riding and twisting around...not bad huh?

This is a picture I got of the lake while horseback riding, it was so serene and delightful. What a great place to spend a few days.
The July weather finally caught us here though, the night was hot and sticky...I guess this would be way more enjoyable in the Spring or Fall.
We rode our bikes for 7 miles or so, up to the levee and through all the other campsites and down on another peninsula jutting into the lake. It was all very enjoyable.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Camping at Lake Ouachita

We had Chicken Noodle soup for dinner..not real 'camp food' but it sure hit the spot. Was I ever embarassed when Chuck had to tell me to add water to it...some chef I am!

On the end of the peninsula we had some really great views! The trade off for no privacy, sites were very close together.

Chuck is obviously way ahead of me on keeping up with his blog..

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My first camp-out

We finally went camping. Here are the tent and the camp chairs

Once we got the equipment all set up, we went for a bike ride around the camping areas and then watched a glorious sunset. It is a very nice way to get familiar with nature, once again.

It was like a miracle to have such cooperating weather here in Lake Dardenelle State Park, Arkansas in the middle of July!

Gelato and more

After our trip to the Farmer's Market and a 7.5 mile bike ride in Pea Ridge National Military Park we walked the University of Arkansas campus

and then strolled the downtown section of Fayetteville and found Scarpino's and had the best Gelato in town!

Here is chuck spending some quality time with KC Bird...they both seem to be enjoying it!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

A Happy Saturday Fayetteville Farmer's Market

An early visit to the farmer's Market on the Square had variety enough for everyone...

Someone saving a soul

Someone playing some 'soul'

Food for the soul

Flowers for the soul

May Peace Prevail on Earth...floating 4 ton sculpture

it was perfect

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I visited friends this weekend and it turned into a "food-gasm". Katie, the daughter of my friend coined the word and it fit perfectly. Every time we had an inch of space in our bellies, we found a way to fill it up!