Whalechaser's Musings

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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year--One and All

After serious & cautious consideration... your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2011

It was a very hard decision to make... So try not to screw it up!!!

My Wish for You in 2011

May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy

May the problems you had, forget your home address!

In simple words ..............

May 2011 be the best year of your life!!!

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wildlife at Lake Fayetteville

The weather has taken a turn for the warmer, so I took advantage of it and went for a stroll at Lake Fayetteville. Usually I see NO wildlife and a couple of birds. Today was different!

I was walking along, daydreaming and enjoying the solitude when I heard rustling. I mean a LOT of rustling. So I figured, even I, (who rarely can find any half-way concealed critters) could see this one. I mean, it was a lot of noise. So I looked and looked. In the trees, around the bushes and I wasn't finding anything. The noise got louder so I looked across the path and then I saw the armadillo! He was standing right next to me! It waited for me to dig in my pocket, grab my cell phone, turn it on, get the camera part working and take the shot. Very patient I must say! I think this was my first armadillo here at the lake.

Then, just a quarter of a mile further....ANOTHER one!

Well, it was just a critter bonanza! I sure enjoyed seeing them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last Minute Gift Wrapping Ideas...

This is best viewed by watching the video first and then clicking the cute things exploding link.
Merry Christmas one and all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Take a look at this, if you've ever wondered about stuff...

I found this on my facebook page and was fascinated for the full 21 minutes!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Truffles for Christmas

This year I decided to try something new for Christmas. Instead of cookies, which I have been doing for the last several years, I have ventured out and made (for the very first time) truffles. These are little mounds of the most decadent chocolate one can possibly imagine dusted in some powdery/flaky stuff that makes them just too much to resist. I have always purchased them from some exclusive candy shoppe and paid plenty for them. I have NEVER found them in a store where I thought the price was anything close to affordable. So they have always been a rare treat...until now.

I have discovered that they are incredibly easy to make and not so expensive at all. So below is a photo series of my latest batch of truffles...Grand Marnier rolled in toasted coconut.

(I made these for a friend who recently underwent some nasty surgery..all is well, and she is dabbing the chocolate from her cheeks and looking for the last shreds of coconut as I write this)

The Recipe:

Makes about 17 pieces
6 ounces of good chocolate.

( I used Ghirardelli 60% Cacao, but 70% works too, even semisweet bits that you use for chocolate chip cookies work! )

2 Tablespoons of sweet (unsalted butter)

3 Tablespoons heavy cream (add 1 Tablespoon...if you are NOT using a liquor flavoring.)

1 Tablespoon Grand Marnier

Something soft and flaky to roll the truffles in...toasted coconut, powdered dutch cocoa, ground walnuts...go ahead, use your imagination!

Here you can see I have set my scale to zero with an empty measuring cup and added the chocolate to correctly measure 6 ounces. There are 3 tablespoons of heavy cream in that tiny measuring vessel, the butter is ready to go as well as the liquor.

I thought I was pretty creative making this double boiler...I used my smallest old metal mixing bowl because it has a little metal ring, which I have twist tied to the handle of my pot--so when I stir the chocolate the liner pot will not turn. In the pot under the mixing bowl is about a cup of water which has been brought to a slow boil...no real high heat needed here. It scares the chocolate!

See the chocolate wants to melt...not too quickly

ah almost there, a few lumps..soon you we see that magnificent deep shiny brown sheen...

All melted and now stir in, gently the butter

Then the cream...here is where we want to see that sheen I mentioned earlier...stir gently

See? it's coming, it started in the middle...just a little thicker and oh so shiny

ah...perfection. How long does all this take you may be asking...about 3 minutes...or less. When you get that nice sheen, you can add the tablespoon of liquor. Don't try to add too much of any liquid or you will end up with sauce instead of a semi-firm chocolate.

I put the melted concoction in a clean soup bowl and covered it with a plastic wrap. Then it goes in the fridge for about 2 to 4 hour to set up. It should be pretty solid and give gently to a finger prod. Then take it out and let it sit for twenty minutes or so. It makes it much easier to work with. Using a teaspoon, curl up a few small pieces into a lump about the size of...well a truffle! Roll it lightly in your palms to form it and then roll gently in flaky coconut (or whatever you have chosen)

Place the finished product on a parchment or waxed paper tray, when all done, cover them and put them in the fridge so they can firm up again. Munch to your heart's delight or give them away!

I made Coconut ones because that is what my friend indicated was her favorite. But I made one ginger one for me...so I could test the batch before I gave it away.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

So this is Cataract Surgery

Yesterday I went in for cataract surgery. They do one eye at a time and they started with the left one. They promised that I would be able to see the same day. That is true but I really can't see details very well.

You would think with that great big pupil, I'd be able to see everything, but no. Stuff was very cloudy the first day and now that I am into my second day, it has gotten better but I would not think about driving just yet. I can almost feel it getting better by the minute but then I get bouts of scratchiness and discomfort. I can sense that when it is all healed that I will be seeing better than I did before with my glasses.

Wow, look at those circles...I think I need more sleep!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Favorite Dalai Lama Prayer

I have been attending Buddhist meditation sessions on and off for the last seven or eight years. Through that time I have gradually learned a little bit about patience, compassion and love for all sentient beings. There is one prayer that we recite to close our session that has had a tremendous impact on me. Why? Well, from the very beginning when I would read it aloud, I would get so choked up that I had to stop and listen to the others in the group finish it. Often I would visualize these things actually occurring and I just could not go on. Then over time, I was actually able to read it aloud.

Even now, after having read it hundreds of times, I still feel it affecting me in very loving ways. Just read it, let it take you to a very nice place...

Dedication Prayer
by His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama

May all beings everywhere
plagued by sufferings of body and mind,
obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
by virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
with a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms,
and the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
the hungry find food.
May the thirsty find water
and delicious drink

May the poor find wealth,
those weak with sorrow find joy.
May the forlorn find hope
constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
and bountiful harvests.
May all medicines be effective
and wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world
may they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
and those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
and may people everywhere think of benefiting each other.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A New Discovery

Today was a whirlwind of activity, running here and there, trying to fit in all the meetings prior to a doctors appointment at one. The meetings all went well and on time, I actually had a few extra minutes to spend with a friend who also had a few extra minutes. Then it was on to the appointments and finally finished at 2:15.

No small wonder I was hungry...breakfast was lots of hours ago. But what to eat? I wanted to get in a quick bike ride since the 60ish weather will soon be a thing of the past...but I'm hungry.

Scanning the fridge I saw a loaf of home-made bread, I remembered a fresh jar of extra crunchy peanut butter in the pantry and was willing to settle for that on toast..but wait. There is an old jar of some kind of jelly, I'll use that up.

I sliced the bread, stuck it in the toaster and retrieved the jelly; a cherry-ameretto jelly from Colorado. Must have been in there for ages! Ugh...it is almost crystallized, so I popped it in the microwave for 10 seconds.
The toast was ready so I slathered it with crunchy peanut butter and was about to spread the jelly but then I noticed that it was now a liquid. So I poured it over the peanut buttered toast. OMG!!!

It was wonderful! Try heating your jelly and pouring it on your sandwich! You will not be disappointed. If done correctly, you may need a knife and fork.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Official

Thanksgiving is now behind us and Christmas is just around the corner...
So here is a little something to put you in the mood. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cold Snap!!!

The last few days have brought severe weather changes around here, too much for me to keep up with for my backyard wildlife. I guess I didn't think it would be flooding and then freezing in a matter of hours. Many have suffered and sadly...many have died. I am trying to make things a little better for these folks though
First, I looked out on Thursday morning to see about a hundred worms on my patio. They were there because we had so much rain that they we drowning in the grass! It was cold but not freezing, so I gathered them up and

gently put them on this dish so I could replace them to the grass before it gets so cold they will freeze to death. It seemed to work...they had several hours before the temperatures plummeted to the twenties

These sparrows seem to be complaining to me...what was the point of getting a heated bird bath IF YOU DON'T PLUG IT IN??????? They don't know about the complications of three way plugs into two-way timers. I will get it fixed though. After much trying with several extension cords I think all I really need is an outdoor timer. That should have a three-way plug...which is what I need on both ends.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Eye Buy

A couple of weeks ago I was watching Dr OZ and as always I came away with something useful. I mean REALLY useful; that is for those of us who wear glasses. He was pushing this website that makes eyeglasses and interestingly enough it is named Eye Buy Direct , Com. I quickly jotted down the URL and kept watching.

I was not really ready for an eye exam (so I thought) since my last one was only about 14 months ago, but I got to thinking about the savings and after going to the website a few times, decided to get the exam and my new prescription so I could get lots and lots of new glasses for really cheap! I did my homework by making sure I got all the measurement information I needed from my optometrist so the glasses I selected would be right for me. In particular...something they call the pupiary distance...that is the distance between your pupils. This is easily obtained when you get your exam.

I did have a little difficulty getting the right length for the side pieces of the glasses and if I had it to do over again, I would probably call them before I placed my order, just to be sure I get the right stuff.

So anyway I thought I would show you the comparison of what I got the last time when I went to a National eyeglass chain and what I got when I ordered from EyeBuyDirect.com.

Take a look:

From the national chain I got one pair of sunglasses and one pair of progressive lenses. Standard quality. No, wait, the sunglasses fell apart and they charged me $35 to get them replaced, since I was within a year of purchase. They need adjustment at least once a year, that is free since I bought them there. Price for the package: $ 452.00

From EyeBuyDirect: I got one pair of reading glasses, one pair of progressive lenses and clip-on sunglasses for them. I had to go to a local eyeglass store to have them adjusted properly; I went to a new place that did not charge me for either of the new glasses shown above, nor for adjusting the sunglasses that I purchased from the national chain a year or so ago.
Price for the package: $127.00

Oh, I forgot to add...each pair of glasses arrived in its own little box, with a rigid eyeglass case and wrapped in an eyeglass cleaner cloth. Those cloths are a few bucks each at the local National chain store.

Now for the bad news...
In getting my eyes examined it was discovered that the cataract condition I have is a rather fast moving one; something they call posterior subcapsular cataracts. In English it means that very soon I will need cataract surgery or I will no longer be able to drive at night. This was quite a shock for me since the first mention of these was last year, I felt pretty sure I could make it till I was old enough to have medicare help me pay for it. That will not happen. I am seeing an eye surgeon in a couple of weeks to put the plan in place.

Wouldn't you know it, I find this great eyeglass place and after I have the surgery, I won't need them anymore....HA!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Elephant Sanctuary

One of the Blogs that I follow Bailey's Buddy posted something about an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. That same day I saw a new article showing that the woman who founded the sanctuary had been fired and efforts were being made to stop the relationship that had formed between the woman, the elephant and the dog. Yes, that's right...the dog. Watch this (hopefully BEFORE you have seen the news)

Now, here's the news

For some reason the video that I posted earlier cannot be viewed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Prohibition and More

During my trip on the Katy Trail we were fortunate enough to stop in Augusta, Missouri and listen to a presentation by Anita Mallinckrodt, Ph.D, the town's Historian (among many other things!).

We listened to a delightful presentation about the Prohibition and how it affected the little town of Augusta; how the Revenuers ascended on the town and discovered alcohol being sold in several establishments!!! She then told the story of how all the townspeople rose to the occasion, modified their ways and managed to survive this most interesting period of American History. She has written a book entitled: According to the Law and it has been released this week. I am sure it will be very interesting and enjoyable. Anyone who may be interested in obtaining a copy, please email me.

Then we toured the building and discovered a old wooden box with drawers and a functional lid (see below) It was the record keeping system for the local General Store during the early years of the 1900's

Since I spent the majority of my life in accounting, I find this fascinating because, if one were to look closely at these little slips of paper, you would find everything, every little thing that they purchased...which would indicate the kind of life they lived back then. There was a system for credit as well, which showed the struggle a lot of people went through and how the merchants helped them to make it through the hard times. All very interesting stuff! I think Anita may be working on yet another book!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Katy Trail -- Sedalia to St Charles

I signed up with Road Scholar to do a biking program on the Katy Trail in Missouri. Mind you most of the folks that were in my group were older than me and I just turned 60something. Anyway, we met in St Charles, got some idea about the week's itinerary and then shuttled to Sedalia, Missouri, mile marker 229. That is a city that is about 30 miles east of Kansas City, Missouri. We stayed in a motel that night and the next day (my birthday) we began our trek across Missouri on the converted railroad line...now a biking trail, the longest in the rails to trails program in the United States. Our destination was St Charles, Missouri (just outside of St Louis).

We stopped in a McDonalds along the way and I got this shot from one of the pictures they had on the wall. I thought it was appropriate as a starting shot for this entry.

Here we are getting ready to start the trip from the parking lot of our hotel in Sedalia. We had the sag wagon stopping at various points along the way; anyone who felt they could not go further on the bike could load it and ride the van. Only one person did that because she had a biking accident. All the others managed to ride the entire trip as planned.

I had been practicing every day making sure I got at least 10 miles in, often I would do 15 or 20 miles. I tried to make sure I was in shape for this trip, but I think I was a little light on the miles. The first day we went 37 miles; that was more than my very best day of 36. The trail had at least three long sections of uphill (not severe, but still) which were enough to make me realize that this was going to be a challenging week.

We stayed in Boonville the second night, mile marker 191.8 and had dinner at the Isle of Capri Casino. I got this shot from the trail the following morning.

I behaved myself at the buffet and then got a little naughty with the slots.

They treated me well and I ended up $45 to the good. I appreciated the generosity and accepted it as a birthday present for my good behaviour.

We headed out first thing in the morning on Tuesday because we knew we had a 52 miles day ahead of us. Lordy, the last three miles were the longest miles I have ever done. The muscles between my shoulders felt like someone stuck a knife in them. I could not turn my head even an inch. I was seriously considering walking the last mile or two, but we were already running late and I was the last one in the group still on the trail; somehow I managed to finish the 52 miles but I was really glad I brought Advil with me. That helped a lot; the following day I found doing a series of stretching exercises for my neck and shoulders I could prevent the severe pain from recurring.

We stayed the third night in North Jefferson; mile marker 143.2. On Wednesday we headed out and continued to Hermann at mile marker 100.8. We stayed at the Harbor House and we did a tour of the Stone Hill Winery before having dinner there as well. It was a perfect setting, the foliage was turning gold and brown and the rows of grapes were mesmerising.

All in all it could almost make one forget the pains of the day. The German wursts dinner was delicious and everyone seemed to enjoy the mood.

The most spectacular bluffs were found in the Rocheport section of the trail; they seemed to go on and on..bluffs on one side, the Missouri River on the other. We were never at a loss for something gorgeous to look at
Like this beautiful weathered barn
They took what appeared to be the ends of a caboose and created this make-believe piano at the depot in Sedalia, I pretended to be a great pianist...see how I have those keys jumping?

Have you ever seen the scene in the desert where cars are half-buried vertically? Well, this appears to be Missouri's version of the same thing, but with boats.
A little wild life on the trail. The snake I saw was too quick for a picture.
The last day, I rode straight through and checked in to the hotel, then went searching for lunch and found it at an outside cafe. They had a special soup 'n half sandwich. Since I was starving, I had the baked potato soup and a turkey BLT...I think it was the best meal I had all week. So delicious!

One of the "fru-fru" shops in Old Town St. Charles...it really is quite picturesque

Here is a shot of the sag wagon and my speedometer showing the trip mileage at 200.69 miles.

My dusty old bike happy to be at the end of the line in St Charles, mile marker 39.5.

Augusta was such a special stop that I will be making a separate posting about it, since it has nothing to do with biking!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pre-Birthday Fun

Last week I visited with my cousin and her family for a day before I started my week-long trek across Missouri on the Katy Trail. I try never to visit with them without bringing some munchies. This time it was bags and bags of cookies; there were thumbprints, cherry/butter cookies, chocolate butter cookies, Chinese Chews (which seem to be the hands down favorite among the group), oatmeal date cookies and finally a light as air chocolate ball cookie covered in walnuts. The biggest challenge for me was not to have any prior to my starting the trip. I knew if I started eating them before I got there, the pickins' would be slim. I was very proud of myself. I had NONE!

So after coming up with that great array of cookies I later found out that Darline's favorite cookie is peanut butter....back to the drawing board! Even though I did not have her favorite, it looked like everyone was enjoying the bounty!

Then it was on to Harrah's for a seafood buffet. Man o man that was fabulous. They had steamed crab legs and Hong Kong crab legs; big fat and juicy and as much as you wanted...just can't beat it. But since crab legs don't make for a very exciting photo, I thought I would show some of the desserts that we could choose from
Here Darline found a peanut butter cheesecake that seemed to satisfy that craving...
I was torn between the lemon meringue and the little fruit tarts...so I had them all!
Sissy had gelato and little key lime tartlets
Then it was on for a little slot fun. I took this as an omen for my success for the evening...

$20.90 isn't huge, but it's better than nothing!

I'll be back

I've been away on a strenuous trip for a week. Almost recuperated and will post a few interesting things soon...Stay tuned!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oklahoma Execution

Yesterday was probably one of the most interesting days of my life. It isn't often one can say that. Of course, it didn't "just happen", it was the result of a series of events, but it was a result that I didn't see coming.

Several weeks ago while attending a meditation class, the Buddhist monk who was leading the class mentioned that he would need a ride to Oklahoma to attend the execution of a prisoner on death row. It happened to be during the week on a day that I was available, so I volunteered. My intent was to help the monk so he could help the man die in a compassionate way. As the day drew closer I had to submit identification information to the people at the prison, this was so I could enter the grounds. I was told that I would not be allowed to witness the process. Good enough, I was just there to help the monk.

So, in the morning I was surprised to receive a call from the monk, saying we should leave earlier than we had originally planned because of administrative issues. So leave early we did. Along the way the monk was telling me that he was informed that he would probably not be able to see the prisoner nor attend the execution. He was disturbed because he had to miss several classes that he teaches at the University of Arkansas in order to do this. We both felt as if we were going through an unnecessary sacrifice; not being able provide the compassion either of us had envisioned. We got to Mcalester at two in the afternoon; the execution was to take place at six. It seemed like a lot of extra time for paperwork, but I was happy to oblige. We killed a little time by having some snacks and a coffee at the local Denney's.

We arrived at the Maximum Security state prison at 2:45, after being approved by the guard at the gate, we parked and entered the building. Walking up the stairs I began to feel very uncomfortable. Our ID's were taken at the front desk and we waited for further instruction. It came quickly. We were in the wrong building. I was glad to leave this one but wasn't all that anxious to get to the next. So we followed the signs and went to the building with the name they gave us...wrong again. The third stop proved to be successful. It was an old converted hospital that was being used by the prison system. Our ID's were taken again and they led us both to a waiting area. Gee, it looks like I will be attending. I pulled out a puzzle and tried to busy myself but found I wasn't able to concentrate on it. Then the Warden came in the room and informed me that if I had asked earlier, they could have made space for me. But now it is too late and I will have to leave. I knew I wasn't going to attend the process, but I thought there would be a place they would let me sit. Well, there was: my car. A little stunned, I asked where the local library was, got directions and headed out. The monk, however, would be attending the execution.

I drove around town for a while and cleared my head, found the library and proceeded to enjoy six magazines that I am too cheap to subscribe to. That worked very nicely. I lost myself in Oprah, Traveler Magazine and a new one for me Discover (had a fabulous article about poker) and others that escape my memory right now. I was surprised when I checked my watch and found it to be 5:20. The whole thing would be over in less than an hour.

People started coming out of the prison at 6:17. Most were dressed very formally in business suits and women in dresses and business suits. I did not expect to find dignity here. The Monk was among these folks and I watched as he went to each person at their car and spoke with them, shook their hand and was obviously being supportive. He got in the car at 6:25. I asked him if he was alright. He was. I waited for him to say anything about the experience.

He said he had come to visit with the prisoner back in early October to teach him about love, tolerance and compassion towards those people who want him dead. The prisoner was a converted Buddhist and accepted the teachings; meditated on them during his remaining days and said that he was ready to die today. The monk then lead a chanting prayer for a good rebirth and that he should become a disciple of Matuya Buddha.

All of the monks and the prisoner joined in chanting the mantra of compassion, "om mani padme hum" during the execution. There was a microphone placed above the prisoners head and he continued to chant until the life passed out of him.

Our mission was accomplished and the day ended on a good note. Not only was the prisoner able to attain true compassion and die peacefully, but his family was also touched by the compassion and love demonstrated in the end.

It wasn't until I got home did I find out from a news article that the prisoner was charged with the murder of a fisherman in a failed robbery attempt. The accused still maintained his innocence, saying his wife committed the murder.

Note: (there is a saying that all men on death row are innocent)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Today I am playing chauffeur for a very delicate mission. I did not think it would affect me, but I find I am feeling torn between two thoughts. One very positive and one very negative. I will focus on the positive one; that being a really good thing for a sorry soul. The negative, that it exists at all.
Today I am driving a monk to attend an execution.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You Gotta Love Technology

Wow, today has turned out to be quite amazing for me.

During my first 21 years I counted it out once and discovered that I had moved 19 times. 19 TIMES!!!!! Well as a result of that I learned how to move. I also learned that when you move that often it is really hard to have any friends. At one point I did live in the same city for about five years; not in the same place but the same city. That allowed me to have a friend. That was when I was finishing up grade school and starting high school.

And then it was all over...I moved far enough that the friendship ended. Sure we tried writing letters to each other, but we were kids and I guess letters just don't cut it. When I realized that we had really lost touch I tried everything I could think of to try and find her, but without success. So there was always this empty space where my friend should have been. I always hoped I would somehow find her...don't ask how, I think I was looking for divine intervention here.

As the years rolled by I would look in phone books where ever I happened to be living hoping that I might stumble upon her name. No. The old addresses that I had were useless and so I had to accept the loss of my best friend.

Then came technology, I have Googled her name countless times...nothing. Then a couple of months ago I got a spam email from Classmates. I went there and searched for her. I found a name that might have been her; I sent an email, but heard nothing back. Weird. Today I tried searching for her in Facebook (it is a pretty popular site) and hoped that something might turn up. I wasn't expecting anything since I had already done this several times over the last couple of years. But TODAY, I found her!!!!

Can you believe it? 50 years later we found each other again! We are so surprised that it really is a kind of a miracle. Technology, you gotta love it!

Friday, October 1, 2010


As we all get a little older, we occasionally think about what changes we will have to make to accommodate our ever increasing short-comings. Stuff happens and we just have to deal with it. Fortunately, I am very physically fit and I like to think mentally stable, so these thoughts are just vague hints of future concerns or at least that's what they have been. Until today.

Things were moving along quite normally, I went and did some volunteer work and stopped at an Aldi's on the way home. I was thinking about baking some cookies and wanted to get some butter. Aldi's is the kind of store that you have to enter without preconceived notions...you buy what they sell...at really good prices. They may or may not have what you actually need. So, I got dark chocolate bars, bags and bags of diced dates (needed for the cookies), evaporated milk (for the possible pumpkin pie I will make in November) cans and cans of crushed tomatoes (the big ones for spaghetti sauce) and on and on. Yes, I did get butter.

Once home I started putting the stuff away, when I got to the cans of tomatoes I noticed that the shelf space was very crowded and things needed to shift a little. Okay, with a swipe of my left hand I moved the peanut butter and other stuff and simultaneously placed the first can. The peanut butter fell to the floor (thankfully it was a plastic container) and as I was placing the second can I bent down to pick up the peanut butter. That's when the second can whacked me in the back of the head...almost hard enough to knock me out. The can fell about three feet and is twenty-eight ounces. Math was never my forte but let me tell you, A pound and a half of can falling three feet to the back of your head REALLY HURTS!

I was stunned for a few minutes (well, maybe a minute) just holding the back of my head. The lump was growing very quickly. Then I finally decided I should try to move; yes, I can do that, so since I am right next to the freezer, I opened it and grabbed a bag of Trader Joe's Roasted peppers and onions and gingerly dropped it (to loosen the contents) then placed it on the back of my head. It helped but not enough. It took several hours for the pain to stop, but it did. Now it only hurts when I prod it...so, yes, I don't do that!

So I am left thinking to myself...am I the only one who could knock themselves out and have no one know about it? This is really serious...(when you stop laughing!!) My bird was useless through the entire ordeal. Until I make better arrangements I guess I will have to rearrange my pantry...put all the light stuff up top and all the heavy stuff on the bottom shelf. Then...watch out feet!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tibetan Sand Mandela here in Fayetteville

Sunday afternoon I attended the opening ceremony for the creation of a sand mandela at the University of Arkansas, in the Anne Kittrell room of the Student Union. Generally, a sand mandela is a Tibetan tradition of monks creating and subsequently destroying a mandela made of colored sand...grain by grain. It is meant to depict the transitory nature of material life.
Creating it is a lot of concentrated effort requiring many hours of tedious attention; the end result is always beautiful and then it is gone. Yes, it is a lot like life.

The Mystical Arts of Tibet are creating the mandela and they also will be performing and chanting at the Peace ceremony on Thursday. I have tried to link to their website, but all connections result in "bad link"...I will try again later, so check back.

Here are some shots I got at the opening ceremony; I am hoping to also attend the closing ceremony where I may get some shots of the finished (but un-destroyed) mandela.

The opening ceremony which included throat singing, chanting and music.

Once the festivities were complete...it was on to the job at hand. Here the monk is fastidiously making the pattern for the mandela.

This is a sample of the completed pattern that is used in preparing the mandela.

Here are the tools that the monks will use.

Here is the colored sand that will be the mandela.

Oh, the best news of all is that this particular mandela is being prepared in anticipation of the Dalai Lama visit, which should take place on May 11, 2011. Very exciting.