Whalechaser's Musings

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

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Grass is Grass

Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? Not!

Here's to those who are happily satisfied and have chosen to look no further than their own relationships, their jobs, and their lives for greener pastures.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Way Beyond 300 Miles this Year

So now that I have spent significant hours on a rather uncomfortable bicycle seat, I broke down and got biking shorts. They were way more expensive than I expected them to be. But...the good news is that they really do make riding more pleasant.

Since I went ahead and got the shorts, I figured I should get the shirt too. Here I am all decked out in a youngsters outfit. It gives me lots of incentive to watch what I eat going forward, every 100 calories will likely show somewhere...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cornish Game Hens

One of the ‘perks’ of living here in Arkansas is that one can get chicken fresh in almost any form. So, I decided to make Cornish Game Hens on Saturday using my trusty grill with the rotisserie attachment. I love using this because once you get the birds on it; you can walk away and come back in an hour to the most succulent meal ever!

Anyway I decided to marinate the birdies with Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano and Lemon. Since I was a little short on lemon, I added some Balsamic Vinegar (it’s the acid that makes the marinades work). Then I let them soak in that for about 4 hours and then put them on the grill. I made up a rice recipe to use up some left-over rice: adding onions, garlic, peppers, Rotel tomatoes and Andouile Sausage. It was good, but too spicy for my taste. I mixed in all the veggies to help tone it down a bit.

All in all it was a delicious dinner and sadly…no leftovers. Good thing we both get enough exercise or we would be like houses!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Peeps

This article was copied from http://www.holidays.net/easter/peeps.htm
For all of us who are hopelessly addicted to these little guys.

Easter Peeps:Tasty Marshmallowy Goodness

The History of Everybody's Favorite Candy
During the Easter season, Americans will enjoy an estimated 700 million Peeps, that sweet marshmallow candy shaped like a chick or bunny. With those kinds of numbers, it's no wonder Peeps are billed as America's favorite candy.

Are you a Peeps fan? Have you ever been curious about Peeps history? Where they came from and how they developed into the ultimate Easter treat? Just read on!

Nearly a century ago, a young Russian-born man named Sam Born was living in France, where he learned the fine art of chocolate making. Sam immigrated to the United States in 1910. Seven years later, he opened a small candy shop in New York City, where he not only sold sweets, but made them, too.

As Born's operations outgrew his store, he moved his company, by then coined Just Born, out of New York City to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

That's right: Bethlehem! First, the birthplace of Easter's superstar, and then (much) later, the site of the most popular treat eaten in his honor.

In the mid 1950s, Just Born acquired another company that had invented a three-dimensional marshmallow mold that turned out Easter chicks and bunnies, called Peeps. With some fine-tuning of their assembly line and clever marketing, Born had an Easter hit on his hands.

But why was the chick and rabbit so appealing? How did those particular animals-albeit sugary ones-so quickly become adopted as the symbols for Easter?

Interestingly, Just Born was based in Pennsylvania, which was also home to America's largest community of German immigrants who are largely credited with popularizing the Easter Bunny tradition in America.

In the 19th century, German children would eagerly await the arrival of the Oschter Haws, a rabbit who delighted children on Easter morning by laying colored eggs in nests. The Germans expanded this tradition into the Easter egg basket, delivered by a hopping bunny.

While the symbolism of the Easter bunny might be rather obvious, the chick question requires one to dig a little deeper. And to ask the perennial question: Which came first? The chicken? Or the egg?

Historians have long speculated that the egg was actually a Pagan symbol of fertility and rebirth, first associated with ancient equinox festivals, whose traditions were later folded into the Christian Easter. It stands to reason, then, that the chick would be a natural byproduct of this egg-y fertility.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring has almost Sprung

We rode through the neighboring subdivisions today (still waiting for things to dry out a bit)and I found many trees flowering and bursting forth in their glorious color. This one in particular caught my eye:

My Oklahoma Redbud is 'thinking' aboout waking up...maybe next week.

Then of course how could I possibly ignore the primrose that I have right outside my front door?

It feels good to be able to ride 16 plus miles in the hilly areas around me. I was fooled by being able to do 20 miles or so in Florida...it was all flat and not too challenging physically. Now I fell like I am really getting a workout when I ride.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lake Fayetteville

Friday we tried the Lake Fayetteville Trail for the first time this year. Given that we have been trying the 'impossible' lately, I did not have any visions of grandeur or thoughts that I might actually finish it without a good deal of walking...or as Chuck says: cross training.

Surprisingly, I walked only 2 short distances and managed some technical sections quite handily. Maybe I am getting better.

Chuck managed to do almost the whole thing on wheels, I am sure he will be successful next time. Especially if I keep my bike out of his way!

Never let it be said that we don't stop and smell the roses...or daffodils as the case may be. These were blooming profusely in the woods away from any place that could possibly be conceived of as a garden!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lake Wedington Trail...then Red Lobster

We have returned from our five week trek to Florida and Georgia and have been riding short rides in and around Fayetteville for the last week or so. Today we tried the hiking/backpacking trail at Lake Wedington.

The terrain proved to be more than I could handle, but I could see younger folks really enjoying the challenge that it offers. For me the trail was too narrow, rocky and steep; I found myself walking my bike often, though not for long distances before I could ride again.

As you can see, Chuck managed to handle it much better than me.

What is nice about this kind of ride is that in one hour you can get a great workout even though the distance travelled may only be three miles or so.

We went to Red Lobster for dinner tonight. I have had a yen for lobster for over a year now and today that has been taken care of. Nothing like a steamed whole lobster. MMmmmm Good!

Chuck had one too!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thoughts on getting older

A distraught senior citizen phoned her doctor's office. "Is it true," she wanted to know, "that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?" "Yes, I'm afraid so," the doctor told her. There was a moment of silence before the senior lady replied,"I'm wondering, then, just how serious is my condition because this prescription is marked 'NO REFILLS'."
An older gentleman was on the operating table awaiting surgery and he insisted that his son, a renowned surgeon, perform the operation. As he was about to get the anesthesia, he asked to speak to his son. "Yes, Dad, what is it? ""Don't be nervous, son; do your best and just remember, if it doesn't go well, if something happens to me, your mother is going to come and live with you and your wife...."
Aging: Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.

Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me!I want people to know "why" I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.
When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
You know you are getting old when everything either dries up or leaks.

One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
First you forget names,then you forget faces. Then you forget to pull up your zipper. It's worse when you forget to pull it down.
Long ago when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft... Today, it's called golf.
Two old guys are pushing their carts around Wal-Mart when they collide. The first old guy says to the second guy, "Sorry about that. I'm looking for my wife, and I guess I wasn't paying attention to where I was going."The second old guy says,"That's OK, it's a coincidence. I'm looking for my wife, too.I can't find her and I'm getting a little desperate." The first old guy says, "Well, maybe I can help you find her.What does she look like?" " The second old guy says, "Well, she is 27 yrs old, tall, with red hair, blue eyes, long legs, and is wearing short shorts. What does your wife look like?" To which the first old guy says, "Doesn't matter, --- let's look for yours."
Lord, Keep Your arm around my shoulder, and, Your hand over my mouth!!

Monday, March 3, 2008

St Simons Island, Georgia

Monday, and our last day here in the Golden Isles area. We made good use of it by heading to St Simons Island and parking at the Fort Frederica National Monument. We walked the old fort and watched the video presented by the National Park Service.

The events that took place here were key in our history. It is likely, if the Spanish were successful in their march up the coast that we would all be speaking Spanish today instead of English. Pity that the events here go mostly unnoticed in the study of our American History.

We unloaded the bikes and rode most of the island for a total of 21 miles. The trails were all sidewalk/bike trail but flat and wonderful. Each turn brought something new to see...gorgeous houses, estates, churches or beaches. It doesn't get much better than this!

At the end of our ride we drove to the beach at a local park and read for a couple of hours, basking in the sun.
They had a plastic type runner that took you all the way to the high tide point, presumably so you didn't get in deep sand and mess up your shoes. They think of everything here!
A Camilla flower taken in one of the cemetaries on the island.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Jekyll Island, Georgia

Sunday, we departed the Jacksonville-St Augustine Area of Florida and headed for the Golden Isles of Georgia. We stayed in Brunswick (on the mainland) the cost of a motel room is vastly different here compared to either of the two barrier islands that we spent the next two days visiting. Anyway, always looking to save a little without giving up a lot, so this was pretty easy. We stayed at a Super 8, right next to a great seafood restaurant: Captain Joe’s. We had dinner there one night and the grouper was perfect and very reasonably priced, Chuck had salmon which was ok, but he probably would have enjoyed a local fish more.
We spent the afternoon cycling the entire Jekyl Island for a total of 21 miles. The trails included just about everything one could imagine: paved beachfront, sidewalk, asphalt and some mountain biking trails through the nature center sections of the island. It was all very easy since there were no hills and we saw things that you would likely see no where else. For example, they have these ‘made over’ golf carts that one can rent for cruising around the island; not as fast as a car better than a bike and a whole bunch of fun. Obviously for the well-heeled, since the rental facility was located right in front of the islands’ airport…see the plane in the background?

We rewarded ourselves with a fresh bag of Cheetos after completing the 20 plus miles in magnificent weather…as if we NEEDED a reward!

We found some idyllic beaches, rode through the nature habitat area and the historic sections.

I was intrigued with the suspension bridge that connects the island with the mainland…this must be the new version of suspension bridges since it has very little resemblance to the one that I am most familiar with: the George Washington Bridge into New York City. Here are a couple of interesting shots of it.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

St Augustine and Guana Tomolato Mantanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve

We played the tourists and visited St Augustine this morning seeing the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and the 'shooting of the cannon'. I have been here twice before and I don't remember all the rooms being open and described in such depth. Here the volunteers and one park service employee go through the motions of firing the canons.
Chuck is examining the parapets of the fort.
Soldiers getting ready for the demonstration.
Stubby cannon...but don't be fooled, this is a killer!

I enjoyed this visit because it was educational and the weather was perfect...nice and cool. I think the weather is key to being a successful tourist. If you're sweaty or there is sand in your crotch...well things have a way of going downhill from there.

We visited the Flagler College and strolled the mall street; got a delicious ice cream cone and called it quits.

We headed north for the Guana Tomolato Mantanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve and the various and sundry bike loops they have there. It was a trail that I discovered on the internet, so we were not too sure if it was going to be any good. We were pleasantly surprised.

The trails were great, few inclines but wonderful shade and great scenery at every turn. We found several places where we could park the bikes and stroll the bay beaches. The water was clean and the reserve seemed virtually empty of people. We passed some people, but few for the 9.5 miles that we travelled.

We saw 5 armadillos, but I was not able to get a clear shot of one. The beaches were divine and I know we will add this place to our list of places that we will see again when we return to this beautiful state.

I could not resist taking a picture of this beautiful weathered wood on the beach. They were actually trees, but the positions they were in make it look like large pieces of wood. Double click to see a larger view of it.
Here is Chuck on one of those desserted beaches
We were not alone...

Canning Strawberry Jam

Our final day of the Elderhostel Program allowed for a choice of options including: Home Canning,, Pine Needle Baskets, Flint Knapping, Blacksmithing, and Quilting. I opted for Home Canning; it is probably a throw back to the time I spent with my 'gram-maw' in Missouri. Anyway, it was great because there were only 3 students, which gave us a lot of hands on and one-on-one instruction.

I enjoyed the process and came away with a desire to try it myself at home...watch out everybody!

Our instructor was Ethel McDonald and not only did she teach us about jam making but she shared with us many folk stories about the area and her past. Don't know which I enjoyed more the stories or the jam. She had a story for every step of the process and it made me sorry that I couldn't get it on video tape.

Anyway, below are some of the pictures I took during the process which was no where near as hard as I thought it would be!