Whalechaser's Musings

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Grillin'

Yesterday we picked up a boned leg of lamb while at Costco, so of course I had to cook it on the new grill.
It turned out pretty good. What I really like about the grill is that the house doesn't get all smelly from the cooking but the food is always great!

Here it is all marinated up with olive oil, garlic, rosemary and lemon

Done in practically no time!

Really easy to slice when there is no bone in the middle.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

On the Prowl...

Our little princess, M&M,

was on the scent of a trail of 'something' this morning. She started out on the dining room table (missed that shot!) then across the chair and on to the window sill; all the while looking up at something in the direction of the china cabinet.

Then it was down to the floor to another chair for a different approach.

Whatever it was that caught her attention, was pretty intense, since she kept at it.

She edged her way on to the ledge of the china cabinet and kept looking up.

Finally, Chuck came down and knew exactly what she was after...

Her brand new "cat" fishing pole! What fun.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Buona Restaurant in Itasca, Illinois

Thursday afternoon Chuck, Linda, 'mom' and I went to a really great restaurant Buona in Itasca. It started out as a mom and pop eatery and has blossomed into quite a nice local chain of terrific Italian food. The selection runs the gamut from pasta dishes, great salads, hero sandwiches and more. the only thing I don't like about it is that there are so many choices that one feels really bad just getting one!

They have several sample displays of the specialties and I just couldn't resist...once you double click on the shots below you will begin to understand my dilemma!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Crayfish in Deer Grove

We met with Len and Patti and Dave for a hike in Deer Grove. There was a threat of thunderstorms and we thought we would be better on foot than on bikes. As we were making our way trough the paved loops in Deer Grove we happened upon, of all things, a crayfish (We call them crawdaddies in Missouri)right in the middle of the path.

Crayfish, also called crawfish or crawdad, are closely related to the lobster. More than half of the more than 500 species occur in North America, particularly Kentucky (Mammoth Cave) and Louisiana in the Mississippi basin. Crayfish also live in Europe, New Zealand, East Asia and throughout the world, including the Tristan da Cunha Islands. Nearly all live in freshwater, although a few survive in salt water. Crayfish are characterised by a joined head and thorax, or midsection, and a segmented body, which is sandy yellow, green, or dark brown in colour. The head has a sharp snout, and the eyes are on movable stalks. Crayfish are usually about 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.

Len saved the little fellow by bringing him over to the nearby pond of water. Then almost in unison the rest of us said...Gee I hope he wasn't on his way to the other side of the path to get together with his wife and family. Must have taken him days to get to the middle of the path!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Grill...Great Meal!

When we were biking in the Van Patten Woods area the other day, we also stopped by Lowes to pick up a really nice BBQ Grill and rotisserie. fortunately the grill comes fully assembled; we only had to put the rotisserie accessory together (it really should be more simple than it turned out to be)

Anyway, we bid adieu to the old one, and christened the new one today.

I grilled some Vidallia onions and two pork tenderloins. Both were delicious; I could go on and on, but in this case...the pictures really do speak for themselves!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Elgin to South Elgin Fox River Trail

We met Patti and Dave and Marlene and Len and biked the Elgin to South Elgin Fox River Trail today, for a total of 21 miles. The terrain was varied. At the start it was mostly flat, but we came to a spur that took us across the river to Tyler Creek Park which was mostly rolling hills; when we returned to the main trail and discovered beautiful flowers in profusion

Later we passed the downtown section of Elgin we came to an area that we affectionately called the roller coaster since it went for about two miles and was all up and down. For those who could get enough momentum on the downs...the ups were pretty easy. The rest of us had to peddle like mad. The weather could not have been any better at 72 degrees and overcast; so not too hot or cold.

This is the start of that section heading south

Once we got going we saw how high the river was and agreed that a few more days of rain will create a bit of havoc, since it is about as high as it can get before flooding into the houses that abut the riverbanks.

When we skirted the Elgin Symphony Orchestra building we saw that most of the bike trail was under water and headed for higher ground and the streets where necessary.

We topped off the trip with a meal at one of my favorite restaurants: Benedicts. I had the Boca Benedict platter. this is eggs Benedict with a dash of guacamole, fresh spinach, tomato wheels with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. The combination of flavors was divine. I also ordered a side of their delicious bacon and shared it with Chuck. Guzzled about three cups of great coffee and I was set for the rest of the day.

But now that is is getting a little later that blueberry pie from yesterday is calling my name

Pet Owners Day

What if…just for once we could declare a pet owners day and do a little role reversal?

Had enough of your pets slacking off all day while you're slaving away in your cubicle?

Well take today off and send those freeloaders out to work in your place.

So while you're snuggling under the covers all day, let those slackers see what its like in the real world.

Who's your daddy now Fluffy ?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Swans and Blueberry Pie

I filled today with a bunch of different stuff. Rode the millennium trail and local streets of Wauconda for 10 miles.
Found a pair of mating swans along side the trail in a water detention area...now just waiting for the babies!

Joined the local gym and completed one (short) circuit! Hoping tomorrow I can walk and talk at the same time.
And made a nice looking blueberry pie. Blueberries imported from local Arkansas farms!

Enough for one day.

How Many Cannibals...?

How many cannibals could your body feed?
Created by OnePlusYou

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

McHeny Prairie Bicycle Tail

We took advantage of the first warm-ish day for our first long ride of the season here in Chicagoland. Starting at Panera's for a quick lunch...here is Patti holding a table for us.

We chose this trail because it is the only one that is 'high and dry' and mostly paved. The area has been inundated with rain and snow lately and if you are not on pavement, you are not riding!

Since the trees are still without leaves, I saw this neat looking tree house along the trail in someones backyard.

We rode a full 20 miles and it felt terrific to be out again. Of course at the halfway point we had to reward ourselves for our accomplishments!

God in the Post Office

(Thanks for this great story, Melissa.)

There is a God in the Post Office

This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a beautiful soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.

I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her. You will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.

Love, Meredith.

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith hand addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven. That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith , 'in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,
Abbey arrived safely in heaven.

Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


This is TRUE according to snopes

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Source of Disharmony

Imagine walking along a sidewalk with your arms full of groceries, and someone roughly bumps into you so that you fall and your groceries are strewn over the ground.

As you rise up from the puddle of broken eggs and tomato juice, you are ready to shout, “You idiot! What’s wrong with you? Are you blind?” But just before you can catch your breath to speak, you see that the person who bumped you is actually blind.

He, too, is sprawled in the spilled groceries, and your anger vanishes in an instant, to be replaced by sympathetic concern: “Are you hurt? Can I help you up?"

Our situation is like that. When we clearly realize that the source of disharmony and misery in the world is ignorance, we can open the door of wisdom and compassion. Then we are in a position to heal ourselves and others.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New Wine for Seniors

California vintners, in the Napa Valley area, which primarily
produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines,

have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic.
It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to
make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as...



Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dumb Laws in ...

These are real laws in Arkansas

The Arkansas River can rise no higher than to the Main Street bridge in Little Rock. ( Good thing this was in effect this past month!)

A law provides that school teachers who bob their hair will not get a raise.

A man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month.

Oral sex is considered to be sodomy.

Alligators may not be kept in bathtubs.

And in specific cities the farce continues...


It is illegal to kill “any living creature”.

Little Rock
Honking one’s car horn at a sandwich shop after 9 PM is against the law.

No one may “suddenly start or stop" their car at a McDonald’s.

Dogs may not bark after 6 PM.

Flirtation between men and women on the streets of Little Rock may result in a 30-day jail term.

It is unlawful to walk one’s cow down Main Street after 1:00 PM on Sunday.

Illinois seems to have their share too!


All businesses entering into contracts with the city must sift through their records and report any business they had dealing with slaves during the era of slavery.

Law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

It is illegal to give a dog whiskey.

It is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe’s neck.

Kites may not be flown within the city limits.

In the Pullman area, it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb.

Some of the outlying suburbs of Chicago continue the absurdity:

Crystal Lake
If one wishes to plant new sod in his or her yard in the summer months, that person may not use the city’s water to water it.

Des Plaines
Wheelbarrows with For-Sale signs may not be chained to trees.


Bowling is forbidden.

It is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire.

Shrimp and Linguini with Mayumi

It's been a long time since Mayumi and I have had a cooking evening together and we did a fine job of compiling a delicious but simple meal in no time flat.

She sliced the garlic...she has a way of making them uniformly paper thin which makes the dish so much better!

So the ingredients, as shown, are

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon

4 or more thinly sliced garlic cloves

1 lb of thin spaghetti or angel hair (or whatever you prefer) and 1 cup of pasta cooking water

1 lb of raw shrimp (shell-less)

1/4 c of chopped parsley (preferrably Italian flat leaf)

put it together like this

put the pasta on to cook, when it is 3 -4 minutes from being done,

heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, heat through until softened (do not brown)

then add the lemon and juice and shrimp cook for 2 to 4 minutes until it is translucent

then drain the pasta hold at least one cup of cooking liquid.

add the pasta and toss all the ingredients along with the parsley, add the cooking liquid until there is enough liquid to keep the dish moist, to your liking.

portion out to 4 dishes, add parmasaen cheese if you like (I do) pour a glass of wine (if you are of age) and enjoy!

Here is Mayumi and her sister celebrating a special birthday in her native kimono in Japan last year.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tartan Day

Celebrate Scottish culture on the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath (1320).

Arbroath or Aberbrothock (Scottish Gaelic: Obair Bhrothaig which translates literally as 'at the mouth of the Brothock') is a former royal burgh and the largest town in the council area of Angus in Scotland, and has a population of 22,785. It lies on the North Sea coast, around 17miles (27.4 km) north-east of Dundee and 51 miles (82.1 km) south of Aberdeen.

Its history begins, like nearby Dundee, with the Picts in the Iron Age, and remained a small village until 1178 AD, when King William the Lion founded an abbey, which was completed in 1233.

During the medieval period, the Abbey fell into disuse and eventually disrepair, with the lead from the roof rumoured to have been used in the manufacture of bullets for the civil wars during the reign of King James VI.

During the Industrial Revolution the jute industry caused Arbroath to expand in the manner of Dundee. A new harbour was built in 1839 and by the 1900s, Arbroath had become one of the larger fishing ports in Scotland and continues to be known as the home of the Arboath Smokie.
The town is notable as the home of the Declaration of Arbroath, the statement of Scottish independence signed by the nobility in the 14th century.

The town's ancient ruined abbey is central to the story of the declaration and remains a key tourist attraction for Scotland. Arbroath was the birthplace of postal reformist James Chalmers and David Dunbar Buick, founder of Buick and inventor of the overhead valve engine. Arbroath is also well known both at home and overseas as home to 45 Commando of the Royal Marines.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The NEW Farmers' Market - Fayetteville, Arkansas

The Fayetteville Farmers' Market is an open-air, producers-only market that operates from 7am to 1pm around the Fayetteville downtown square on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from the first Saturday of April through the last Saturday before Thanksgiving. (It is open Saturdays only in November.) While garden fresh produce and plants are the mainstay, high quality crafts also abound. Recently, locally grown processed food items have been added the market.

Fayetteville Farmers' Market is operated by the Rural Mountain Producers Exchange, Inc. All produce, dairy products, meat and crafts originate in a four-county local area. The market features four markets per week in season and comprises more than 90 vendor/growers. The market hosts several events each year, including Salsa Fest, Ozarks Iron Chef and the Harvest Festival.

The powers that be have been working diligently to totally upgrade the plantings and the plant able spaces in and around the Square. They are not done yet but, clearly, when they are, the square will be a very special and unique place here in northwest Arkansas.

Today was opening day, and while the construction is not yet completed, the vendors were there in full force with a myriad of herbs, flowers, crafts and home-made jams. There were musicians on every corner and the weather was a cool and clear 41 degrees. All in all a great day for an opening.

Here are some shots I took as I made the 'rounds' around the square. Double click for larger images.