Whalechaser's Musings

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Redneck Fire Alarm!

Thanks again to Darline.

This falls into that Oh My Gosh! category...

Winter Driving Tips

Thanks to Darline for these; hope you find at least one of these useful!

Here are some helpful hints that could make your winters easier to deal with ..

Keep your headlights clear with car wax! ......

Just wipe ordinary car wax on your headlights.

It contains special water repellents that will prevent that messy mixture from accumulating on your lights - lasts 6 weeks.

Squeak-proof your wipers with rubbing alcohol!....

Wipe the wipers with a cloth saturated with rubbing alcohol or ammonia.

This one trick can make badly streaking & squeaking wipers change to near perfect silence & clarity.

Ice-proof your windows with vinegar!....

Frost on it's way? Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water & spritz it on all your windows at night.

In the morning, they'll be clear of icy mess.

Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water---preventing water from freezing!

Prevent car doors from freezing shut with cooking spray!.....

Spritz cooking oil on the rubber seals around car doors & rub it in with a paper towel.

The cooking spray prevents water from melting into the rubber.

Fog-proof your windshield with shaving cream!...... .

Spray some shaving cream on the inside of your windshield & wipe if off with paper towels.

Shaving cream has many of the same ingredients found in commercial defoggers.

De-ice your lock in seconds with hand sanitizer!.. ...

Just put some hand sanitizer gel on the key & the lock & the problems solved!

Monday, December 21, 2009

More Birdie

As promised, here are some of the latest pictures of the new birdie. He/She is getting to be much more at ease and comfortable in the new surroundings. I can even get him out of the cage (sometimes) without too much ado, to sit on my shoulder. He is also chirping a little bit in the afternoons. Yes, I think this is going to be ok.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

E mails

Do you ever get put of by the subject line in E-mails?

Well, I don't know about you, but getting an e-mail entitled:

Get rid of those pesky nose hairs

Just doesn't do it for me!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Baby Birdie

I have been looking forward to getting another bird since October but I wanted to get it from this really good pet store in Illinois. So today was the day. I really did not have too many to pick from but this one that I settled on looks like he (she) will be just fine. Now if I can only get it to calm down a little. It is very nervous in the new surroundings...I am hoping that will all be better in a few days.

This pet store is so good, they follow up on the purchase of birds by requesting that the bird be brought back for weekly weigh-ins and general evaluations. Just another way of making sure that the new relationship gets off on the right foot.

I'll update this topic as the days go by so we can track his (her?) progress.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Silent Monks do the Hallelujah Chorus

Ok, I've been teased enough about some of my spiritual searchings. Here's a really good rendition of the Silent Monks doing a standard Christmas song

Thanks to Jeannine for this one!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Eureka Springs Art Show

It was a beautiful day last Saturday and I thought I would enjoy the drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to see the Art Show that was being held at the convention center there. It was the first such show I'd attended since moving here, so I had no preconceived ideas about it.

It turned out to be what I would call an upper end crafts show, since most everything there was made by the vendors displaying the goods. Some of them were quite good and all were unique and worthy of being shown. There were no two tables displaying the very same stuff (as often happens at these shows) so I got to enjoy all of it. Sadly, not all the pictures I took came out so my paltry array below will have to suffice. There were many other good looking displays but my picture taking ability that day was off somehow. I guess I will have to wait until next year and hope for a steadier hand..

This work was done by a local Fayetteville craftsman: Primitive Influence Glass Studio featuring hand blown and sculpted art glass. It was all unique and very well made...I had difficulty deciding on which one to buy. They were all alluring.

This was perhaps the most interesting table. All of the items were natural and hand-hewn by Native American, Stone Akin I was drooling over several of these....maybe next year.

Not only did this vendor have wonderful hand made flutes, she also had small flutes that sounded like birds chirping. I thought it was very soothing to listen to, but knew I would be unable to replicate the sounds I heard. I have been to stands like this before. The vendors all make it look so easy and you buy one only to hear flat honking when you get it home! At least that has been my luck.

This was another of my favorite tables. All of the items on display were made of wood; some quite exotic and others just your basic oak, pine and maple. The designs were top notch and if you are ever in St Louis, Missouri maybe you should look him up ZRJ designs I am sure you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Thanks to Melissa...

A woman was having a passionate affair with an Irish inspector from a
pest-control company. One afternoon they were carrying on in the
bedroom together when her husband arrived home unexpectedly.

'Quick,' said the woman to the lover, 'into the closet!' and she
pushed him in the closet, stark naked.

The husband, however, became suspicious and after a search of the
bedroom discovered the man in the closet..

'Who are you?' he asked him.

'I'm an inspector from Bugs-B-Gone,' said the exterminator.

'What are you doing in there?' the husband asked.

'I'm investigating a complaint about an infestation of moths,' the man

'And where are your clothes?' asked the husband.

The man looked down at himself and said, 'Those... little bastards!'..

Sunday, November 29, 2009

FBI's 10 Most Wanted

For most of my life I can remember seeing the list of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 10 most wanted list in the post office. Every time I would go for stamps or to send off a package, I'd while away the waiting time by looking at the grungy pictures and imagine the gross crimes that these people had committed. I'd also secretly shake a little at just the thought of running into any of these creeps. Maybe this added to my aversion of visiting the post office, I don't know. I do know that going to the post office was always up there on my own list of things I really hated to do. Yup, right there along with cleaning the bathroom bowl, defrosting the fridge, cleaning the oven and root canals.

Lately when I go to the post office I don't seem to have that downer depressed feeling that I used to get. I think the reason for that has been answered in this news article that I saw today. Post offices no longer want the Most Wanted. According to Richard Watkins, postal spokesman for the Mid-America district, "most of the nation's 34,000 post offices took the posters off the walls several years ago. We decided to take them down and keep them in binders behind the counter. People have to ask to see them."

Well, thank goodness for that. Now we can all breathe a little easier; we don't have to look at the worst criminals of present time when we buy our stamps. How very thoughtful of those folks at the post office. But wait...what's this?

Mr. Watkins goes on to say "the walls are prime product display space now. A retail standardization policy issued in 1999 and updated in 2005, has prettied up post offices, making them more uniform and attractive -- the better to move merchandise."

It is "the Wal-Marting of post offices across America" according to Ron Pry. The post office now-a-days is filled with vivid red signs and wildly colored envelopes, track lights beaming on posters of Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse...Where will it end?

I guess if we want to see America's 10 Most Wanted we will have to go to the FBI website, ask to see the book at the post office or perhaps just search for them on the Internet. But if we want hard sell designer stamps....well, I can tell you where to go!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Lights of the Ozarks

One of the really cool things about living in Fayetteville, is seeing the annual Lights of the Ozarks display at the town square and this year is no exception! They have used mostly LED lights this year so the overall expense will be less and less. That's always a good thing. I got these shots on Thanksgiving Eve; thinking that the place would not be too crowded...I was right.

What amazes me is that they offer live camel rides, live carriage rides and live pony rides in a space that hardly seems large enough to handle it. They have them so arranged that no ride is interfering with the others; pretty good given the layout.

OK, enough of my jabbering...here are the shots

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vegas Baby

I have just about recovered from my whirlwind trip to Las Vegas. I met my cousin at the airport in Vegas and we proceeded to indulge in sensory overload for the next three days! It was such fun showing her stuff that was beyond description. She kept wondering what I meant by sensory overload...but by the time we headed for our return flights..she knew exactly what I meant! It is just too much stuff all at once. Fun to do and good when it's over!

Here are some shots that I got while there
I got this one while walking through the Forum shops of Caesar's Palace...the spiral staircase is an escalator...I have never seen an escalator that could curve around the way this did. It is truly amazing!

our room at the Rio Hotel...pillow-top beds and feather comforters...who could want for more?

We saw the Liberace Museum with its 21 pianos, many cars and many more glittery outfits. It is a place I always wanted to visit and finally got to! It was well worth the effort to see the detail of his costumes...mostly hand done and way more detailed and elegant than any of Elvis'. They were really over the top!

I caught a couple of the Blue Man Group hanging out in the atrium of the Venetian. I thought it was very nice of them to pose with me!

Did my cousin have a good time? Yeah....I think so!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Some Things I ike to Do

Ok, I will admit it...the basis for the post has been stolen and modified from several others that I follow. I think it is a good idea though. Find five things that you like to do, see, experience or cherish, I think you are getting the gist of it. Here are five things that really give me a oneness feeling (I think that translates into makes me feel good!)

1. Looking up from the kitchen window to see a bluebird check out the new nest box I hung on the opposite fence just for her! She keeps checking and checking..I wonder should I furnish the thing...you know install electricity and running water?

2.Looking up into the clear sky as evening approaches and drinking in the blue...the blue that is medium dark blue for only up to five minutes and stars begin to appear.

3. Finding a voicemail on the phone that I never heard ring and hearing..."Hi...this is your cousin from...."

4.Watching a movie that with a good story line and a lot of compassion that has that one scene that seems to speak only to me and confirms that life is indeed a good thing.

5.Finding a surprise I love you card in the mailbox!

Ok...now it's your turn.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good Luck Mr Gorsky















I don't know if any of this is true, but it is funny nevertheless.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hidden Diversity Trail, Hobbs Conservation Area

The weather promised to be spectacular today and I decided that I was going to take a nice bike ride. Not around the neighborhood as usual, but somewhere that I could enjoy the area without being disturbed by traffic. Since I have been hiking Lake Fayetteville, I decided to go and check out the Hidden Diversity Trail located in the Hobbs Conservation Area located very near to the War Eagle Mill. I needed something different.

It takes about an hour to get there from where I live and the back roads were pretty empty; I enjoyed the drive. Surprisingly, I found the side road (Townsend Ridge Road) off of Highway 12 very easily and the access road, while not paved, was very well maintained, as you can see in the photo below
This access road is 2 miles long before you arrive at the parking area for the Townsend parking area trail access. I was not going very fast but it sure seemed a lot longer than 2 miles. Finally, after a curve I arrived at the parking lot.

I took this photo of a fellow and his horse, there were several other groups of folks in some stage of saddling up. This is truly a multi use trail, horses, bikers and hikers there was evidence of all three as I found the section for car-biker parking.At the end of the parking lot is the sign for the trail, also there is a weather proof sign-in sheet. this is a very good thing to use. If you go out on the trail and for what ever reason don't make it back, the rangers can know that you are there (somewhere) and can locate you and assist if necessary at the end of the day. It is important to also sign out once you are done with the trail use. This area also has a newly build comfort station.
I got copies of the maps of the various trails and hopped on my bike and headed into the forest. As you can see the trails are narrow and very leaf covered. This is not a problem if you find yourself on the top of a ridgeline, but it is definately a challenge going up and down the numerous switchbacks that I found on the trail. The leaves make it difficult to gain traction and hide lots of little challenges like roots, branches and rocks. You have to stay alert for these trails or you'll find yourself ditched.

The trails here are quite challenging and somehow I managed to take the wrong trail at the first juncture. I thought I had selected the War Eagle Trail which loops for about 3 miles but I actually selected the longest trail available at that point...the Little Clifty Creek Loop (this trail is nine miles long I did not know that at the time). By the time I realized that the trail I was on was not the one I wanted it was too late to turn back.

It got a bit scary after I was on the trail for an hour and a half and had no idea of how much longer it would be before I got back to the starting point. What compounded the problem is that I was running into switchback after switchback, all tedious uphills, covered with leaves and I was too tired to try to ride them. The trail is very narrow trying to walk while pushing the bike was very difficult.

My energy was fading fast. It got to the point where I could go maybe fifty or a hundred feet and needed to stop and rest. Water was starting to run low, no energy and no idea of what was still ahead of me. Several people (all 30 years younger than me) passed me coming from the other direction. I finally asked a very trim and athletic young lady how much further to the Townsend parking area. She looked ahead, then looked at her watch...I knew I was in trouble now! She said forty minutes.

I felt pretty good about that. I was heading downhill and was hoping there would be a lot more of that to come, but no. There was a lot of uphill, gravel covered with leaves which was just too much for me to try to pedal on. More walking, pushing and resting. I kept thinking; forty minutes for her...what will it be for me? It seemed about a mile of this uphill drudge before I got to a ridge line again and riding was at least possible. Not fast, mind, just possible. More ups and downs and for the most part I was able to handle them, but I was tired and sure wanted to get back to the car.

It was now about thirty minutes since I passed the young lady and there was nothing that resembles the parking area. At least I was beginning to think I may actually make it back before dark. I had been on the trail for a little over two hours. I stopped and checked the map one more time and realized that there was still a pretty good distance to go. It would not have been so bad if it weren't for the up and down switchbacks, but there were so many and it sapped all my strength.

I made a little more distance and noticed that the trail was taking a turn to the right. Ah, this must be the last turn in the loop and now I am heading back to the lot! Wow, it felt good, but I still saw many switchbacks in front of me. I took a look to the left and noticed a gravel road. Hum, could this be the access road I drove in on? Oh...Please!

I took a good look and decided that it was. I picked up my bike and walked through the brush for about a hundred feet or so and pedaled happily the last two miles on this road. It was not totally flat, there were some ups and downs but nothing like the switchbacks.

I made it back to the car in a total of two and a half hours and only two sips of water left in the jug. Glad I had the good sense to bring some energy gels and bars with me. I felt good that I was able to do this trail but am not looking forward to doing again any time soon. I still don't know how I missed the three mile loop that I originally wanted. I am very grateful that I saw the road from the trail and was able to use it. I honestly don't think I could have stayed on the trail and done all the switchbacks that would have been required to get back to the car. My energy level at that point just wasn't there.

Making Progress

The fellows working for the DPW or Parks and Rec department in Fayetteville have been doing a great job on this more difficult section of the trail around Lake Fayetteville. This area would flood when the humidity got over 88%, so permanently solving the problem is taking a bit of time..but it looks as though this solution is going to last. See the latest photos of the progress below

This is just after crossing the creek on the old wooden copperhead creek bridge...the guys totally ignored me! I still can't get over the fact that this kind of construction goes on well into December...in New Jersey things would have already come to a complete standstill.
This is approaching the creek from a clockwise direction. See they have the footings in place. If you click the picture you can see the action on the other side.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cheese Filled Ravioli

It is amazing what a few ingredients can do. Here I used only flour, eggs and salt for the pasta. I used ricotta, parmasean, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper for the filling. That's it. It was superb! I still have the other half of the pasta. tomorow I willmake up a meat filling and see how that goes. Man this stuff is good!

Some Italian Women are Tough


An elderly Italian man lay dying in his bed. While suffering the agonies of impending death, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite ravioli wafting up the stairs.

He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed.
Gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs.

When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen, where if not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for there, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were hundreds of his favorite ravioli.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of love from his wife of sixty years, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man?

He threw himself towards the table, landing on his knees in a crumpled posture. His parched lips parted, the wondrous taste of the ravioli was already in his mouth.

With a trembling hand he reached up to the edge of the table, when suddenly he was smacked with a wooden spoon by his wife who said:

"Va fanculo!"
"Questi sono per il funerale."
(Translation - *%$^#!&* off - these are for the funeral!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good Story

I love a good joke that can make me laugh out loud all by myself!

A couple was invited to a swanky costume party. The Mrs. Got a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone.

He being a devoted husband protested, but she argued and said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed and there was no need for his good time being spoiled by not going.

So he took his costume and away he went. The wife, after sleeping soundly for about an hour, awakened without pain and, as it was still early, decided to go the party.

Since her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have some fun by watching her husband to see how he acted when she was not with him.

She joined the party and soon spotted her husband cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice woman he could, and copping a little feel here and a little kiss there.

His wife sidled up to him and being a rather seductive babe herself, he left his current partner high and dry and devoted his time to the new babe that had just arrived. She let him go as far as he wished ,naturally, since he was her husband.
Finally, he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed.

So off they went to one of the cars and had a quickie.

Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, put the costume away and got into bed, wondering what kind of explanation he would make for his behavior.
She was sitting up reading when he came in, and she asked what kind of a time he had. He said: "Oh, the same old thing. You know I never have a good time when you're not there."

- "Did you dance much ?"

- "I'll tell you, I never even danced one dance. When I got there, I met Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we went into the den and played poker all evening. But you're not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to...."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Italian Braided Bread

This one was pretty simple. On day one make a Biga by putting 1 cup of water, 2 cups of flour (8.5oz) and 1/4 teaspoon yeast in a bowl, mix it up and cover. Leave it alone for 12 to 14 hours.

Then add 1/2 cup water, and mix until smooth; then add 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour (8.5 to 10.5 oz) 2 teaspoons of yeast and 1.5 teaspoons of salt; mix it altogether until it forms a mass.

Knead on a floured board for about 5 minutes. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover. Leave at room temperature for about 1.5 hours. Every half hour, turn it gently and tuck under in a kind of gentle knead.

Divide the dough into three equal pieces and roll into 18 inch ropes. Braid the ropes and set the braid on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover it and let it rise for about 1.5 hours. Brush it lightly with egg white wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place in a preheated 425 degree oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes.

When golden brown, remove, let cool on a rack and enjoy.

The crust of this bread was very good and the texture sturdy. it is great with butter or toasted or dipping into gravy. Good all purpose bread.

Here are the shots I took while putting it together:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Well...it Was Just Unexpected!

Around the time I turned fifty, I got an invitation in the mail from AARP. I didn't mind it too much, since I knew along with age came those all important "SENIOR DISCOUNTS". I actually liked it.

Time passed and it wasn't long before I was collecting Social Security...this too I looked at as a blessing and sort of a reward for 'getting to where I am today'.


Well this is just too much! How did they find my address????? And what do they mean by a personal mobility assessment????? HAH!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daydreaming With Ordinary Things

When I sit alone at the table, I sometimes find I drift off into a kind of reverie. It lasts only for a moment or two and when I return, I find I invariably blink once or twice and wonder what just happened. Maybe it was something like this:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lake Fayetteville continuing construction update

Here is the best shot of abundant color that I got from my walk through the trail today, pretty nice with that blue background

Only a few days have gone by since my last post on this, but I thought I'd update the progress being made on the trail extension. The section around the Copperhead Bridge is starting to take form as you can see from the following photos

Here I was walking in a clockwise direction and am approaching the Copperhead Bridge. They have moved the truck to this side of the bridge and added lots of gravel and stone. I think they are preparing for a new bridge that will parallel the old wooden one.

Here is the Copperhead bridge. I was standing exactly in front of the truck shown in the earlier picture

This is taken just after crossing the bridge..you will note that the truck (which was here just days ago) has been replaced by a bunch of new equipment. Also, in the background where the trees with color are is where you can make a little left turn and pick up the original single-track bike trail again.
This is looking back over the bridge to where they have moved the truck.

Here is the original mountain bike single track trail.

Just before I got to the parking lot, I discovered a bunch of grown men playing with these cute remote controlled rock-climbing cars. Well, I guess playing is not the right phrase! It looked like there was a course all laid out and a REAL competition was being held. There was NO levity while I was watching.
If you double click you will see the car trying to climb the huge rock in front of the center man. I don't think he was successful. The green and orange bumps outline the course. Amazing!