Sunday, August 02, 2015

Working My Fingers To The Bone...Between Naps

I'm exhausted today.

We've been home for 13 days so far and the last two have felt like the worst weekend of childhood, the kind where your parents have an endless list of chores for you to complete.

We are getting stuff together for a rummage sale my Mom's friend is having, so we've been helping to fill crates with books, garbage bags with soft items (clothes, blankets, pillows), and boxes with everything else.  Then we haul everything to a central location where it's going to be picked up by people from the organization it's going to.  Ed's been our Sanitation Engineer so he throws away everything we deem trash. Most of my work has been inside the house which is good since there's air conditioning. It's still way too hot outside for me to cross the threshold to the outside world.

Today was my busiest day. I went to a linen store closeout sale with my mom, hit the grocery store, did three loads of laundry, and made two giant lasagnas.

Next week is my mother's birthday and she requested lasagna for her poker chickenfoot game. I made one for her and froze it, and the other we'll use for tonight's dinner with the leftovers being frozen for us to bring in the truck. Last week I made a huge vat of chicken soup and froze some of that too. I'd do more but the freezer in the truck isn't big enough to stock that much food. That might have to go on our future sleeper wishlist.

Tonight I'm going to have a big cup of tea and ice cream.

Yes, definitely ice cream.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The Queen Of Pizza

2013: Narrowly Protected
2012: My Life Purpose In A Cookie
2011: Hay There! And Over There, And Over There…
2010: See That Shiny Reflective Thing Over There? It’s Called A Mirror. Meer. Or.
2009: There Was A Burrito Bowl Calling My Name
2008: The Charmed Life
2007: Flowing History
2006: Doors Opening And Closing
2005: No Cal

Saturday, August 01, 2015

I'll See You And Raise You

My mother and her friends play Chickenfoot every Saturday. The size of the group ranges from five to eight women. Sometimes, there's 10.  They've played on a small round four-seater table, an oblong one that seats six comfortably, and the formal dining room table that seats up to 14. None are perfect, and all we keep hearing is how my mother wants a big round table.

So today after hearing more about the table size while the ladies were playing, Ed and I went online. New tables were anywhere from $80 to $400, depending on the quality. We turned to Craigslist, a site I rarely use. I don't like the format of the search, I dislike that a lot of people don't put photos, and the idea of going to someone's house to pick up a used item doesn't appeal to me.  

Until we found a round table for $20.

It was on the other side of town, but $20.

It'd take an hour round trip to get it, but $20.

I texted the guy immediately.

He had two photos in the ad. It was one of those big banquet tables, 60" round, folding legs. The kind they use at hotels and convention centers. And when we got there we saw the letters TCC printed on the bottom - Tucson Convention Center - so, there you go.

We handed the guy our $20 bill, loaded it into the sleeper of the truck, and headed back to the house.

When Ed rolled it into the kitchen the women squealed in unison. My mother was so excited, you'd think we just bought her a gold leafed Italian luxury dining set.  OK, that set is hideous, but you know what I mean.

She did clasp her hands and exclaim, "God is so good to me!"

To which Ed replied, "So are Ed and Salena."

'Cause you know, God doesn't carry cash and probably doesn't have a pickup truck to go get the goods.

We scooted all the ladies away from the old table, carried it outside, set up the new table - making some adjustments on the folding legs - and then scooted them all back.  They actually cheered and clapped. Clapped, like we were performance art.

They immediately got back to clicking dominoes, talking loud, and laughing louder. Sitting in that circle they already look like they're in the middle of a poker game. Next thing you know, they'll be playing for money.

The only thing they're missing are the green visors and sleeve garters.    




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: A Job For A Four-Star General

2013: Colorful Nights, Rainy Days
2012: These Coco Girls Are Not Reading Rare Books
2011: Imagine What These Bird Droppings Look Like
2010: Is It Just The Girlie Bits That Make Us The Cry-Baby Sex?
2009: Who Would Have Thought Cheese And Tarheels Were Such A Perfect Complement?
2008: First Friday Fill-In. Say THAT Five Times Fast!
2007: Another Year Of Life In The Pink
2006: Can You Hear My Happiness?
2005: Alis Volat Propiis

Friday, July 31, 2015

One, Two, Three, Boom! You're In The Bronx

I've seen these videos several times now and every time I do it takes me to the Bronx. These are my people.  To this day they're like this. And so many of the words used are exclusive to that area, I don't hear them in other parts of the country.  Yes, it's a comedy sketch, but it feels so much like home.









~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: A Beautiful Time Capsule

2013: I'm Giving Up Trucking And Going Into Clothing Design
2012: Wynning Diamonds
2011: Donuts From Heaven
2010: Captain Of The Most Expensive Fried Seafood This Side Of Arthur Treacher’s
2009: Eddie Acts Like A Monkey Friday
2008: I Might Like It If There Were Some Balling Involved
2007: Very Large Cheek Pouches Come In Handy When Traveling
2006: The French Are So Romance Savvy
2005: Wyoming Clean Air Act 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Check Out These Links Before The Big One Hits

Photo:  Peden + Munk
The really big one is closer than you think.  One thing I know for sure is that I won't be living anywhere near it when it happens.

Handy information about oil.  The cooking kind, not the Exxon kind.


Ever wonder how Sbarro got its name?  Now you can know.  See the history behind the Sbarro name (and others) here.

I learned sewing, macrame, crafting, and other forms of old-fashioned Home Ec 101 skills early in life and they've come in handy ever since.

As I've traveled and read more about where I'd like to travel, I often come across places that are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  This article tells you which countries have the greatest number of them.

I've never actually seen a Pirelli Calendar, apparently I don't have the right friends or connections to get my hands on one.  But now there's the Pirelli book, easy enough for us lesser mortals to get our hands on.

We were in Southern Italy in 2010 - Sorrento, Pompeii, Amalfi - but we didn't go to Naples.  As much as I'd like to visit, maybe we're not missing much.  Except the pizza.

I've seen 20 of these movies and they do inspire you to want to see other places in the world.

SO many great cities!

Ed's favorite dessert is banana pudding.  This recipe takes it to a whole new level.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014:  In Six Months, They'll Know Right Where To Put It

2012: Me And The Thunder
2011: Her Cup Overfloweth With Idiocy
2010: Dear Arizona,
2009: Come Sit In Our Cab For A Spel And Let Us Take You On The Road!
2008: How Well Do You Know Your Stringed Instruments?
2007: Meat. The Old Fashioned Way.
2006: Kicking The Hell Out Of Texas
2005: Look, Mary!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kitchen Troubadour

I'm really enjoying digging through old photo albums this week. Especially when I come across photos like this one.

I wrote about my Grandfather yesterday, and a few years ago when we went to the Guitar Heroes show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He was a guitar guy. Him with a guitar in his hand is probably the earliest memory I have of any of my grandparents.

It's a good one.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The Earth Is 75% Water. Grab A Fork.

2013: Reflection On The Island
2012: Sprinkled
2011: Prized Good Luck Piece
2010: Summer In The City
2009: I Should Get A Job Working The Pole At A Boy Scout Camp
2008: The Flavor Of Life
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Again??? But You Just Got Off The Phone With Her!
2005: A Cow’s Opinion

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Selfie In 53


My grandfather was a welder by trade but his hobbies included carpentry, model trains, auto repair, and photography.


This is a mirror selfie - like so many people do today - taken in 1953 with one of his Rolleicord cameras.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Storm Warning

2013: Another Home Run By Big Ed
2012: A Window On New Mexico
2011: My Man Makes A Mad Meal
2010: Less Is Not More In All Cases
2009: Grain Gone By
2008: The Absolute Beauty Of It
2007: Not Only Did He Pray, He Posed
2006: Camera Phone Coolness
2005: Life Is A Salt Shaker

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Best Shopping Trip Ever

Ed and I finally dragged my mother to the La-Z-Boy store and got her to buy a new recliner. We'd been to the store ourselves to find her a chair, but she really needed to sit in it herself and see which one she liked. My mother is 5'4" tall, I'm 5'8" and Ed is 6'1".  We all have different needs in a chair and although we had favorites, the ones we liked might not suit her.

I've gotta tell you, recliner shopping is the best kind of shopping there is.  You sit in the most comfortable chairs on earth, one after the other after the other, to decide which you like best. And while you're comparing features and discussing fabrics with the salesperson, you're still sitting in a La-Z-Boy. It's the most relaxing retail outing I've ever had.

There are only a few shopping experiences that top this.  Shopping online at home, in your underwear.  Or, cake tasting for a wedding.  I've never done the latter but I think it's probably pretty damn good, eating cake samples all afternoon.

So, my mother walked away with a brand new chair to be delivered in a few days, and I didn't have to traipse around the mall removing and replacing my clothes while bitching about how hot it is. I like chair shopping so much better.

And no one I know has ever uttered "Does this chair make me look fat?" when trying a recliner on for size.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014:  Laying Down The Hot Mix

2013: Yes You Is
2012: Window Shopping In The East Village
2011: Waiting For Someone To Service Me
2010: Rockin’ Rockaholic Haul
2009: Just Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner
2008: In This Case, R & R Means Recumbent And Recuperation
2007: Posthumously Famous In The World Of Cheap Lodging
2006: What Better Reason To Dine Out?
2005: Hudson Valley Summer

Friday, July 24, 2015

Te Voglio Bene


This song is called Caruso.  It was written by Lucio Dalla for Enrico Caruso, the famous Italian operatic tenor.

Every time I hear it, I'm haunted by it for days.  
I have been trying to learn the words and I'm coming along.  I want to be able to sing it perfectly. No reason really, other than to just be able to sing along to the words and not mumble through the ones I don't know. I listen to a lot of music when I drive and I like to belt 'em out.  

In the meantime, I'll let the beautiful Lara Fabian sing it to you.  I like her version better than Pavarotti's or even Lucio Dalla's, which you can hear in this video, which was filmed at the Vesuvio Hotel in Naples, where Enrico Caruso died in 1921.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Dry Like An Oven
2013: I Saw And I Said
2012: Juicy Driving Treat
2011: Reckless In Rome
2010: Back And Forth, Back And Forth, Back And Forth…
2009: Eddie Enters A Copper Mine Friday
2008: Oshkosh B’Gosh!
2007: Queen Of The 21st Century
2006: Sketchbook
2005: A Queen’s Life

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

These Little Piggies Went To Market

Yesterday Ed and I ventured to Downtown Tucson hit the 5 Points Market & Restaurant for brunch. It's a place I'd been wanting to try for a long time so I'm glad we were in the area.
We had just dropped the truck off at the shop and as expected, Ed was hungry.  There was a cute little shop next door to this place but Ed wouldn't let me peek in until he had food.  He said I could "shop all I wanted" after he ate. Famous last words. 
We chose a table and was greeted with a carafe of ice water, and menus. I loved the wood tables and I liked their version of a sugar bowl - a tiny quarter pint canning jar with just the band on it and a little spoon sticking out. 
They had some fresh baked items on the counter, one of which I knew I'd be going home with - a cardamom shortbread cookie with crushed pistachios around the edges. I made a good choice because it was delicious. Cardamom...yum.
This is the rear of store, the market part.  They had lots little condiments and jellies, local products, hot sauces, unique canned items.  And also fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, and cold beverages.

I love the exposed brick wall and this rustic wood table that sat ten. All the artwork was for sale.
The menu had some really good choices but we quickly came to a decision.  Ed chose the Huevos Rancheros.  Of course, he loves spicy.  The dish was described as Local Fresh Corn Tortillas, Pinto Beans, Over Medium Eggs, Sharp White Chesddar, House Ranchero Sauce, Pico de Gallo, Avocado, and Cilantro-Serrano Pesto.

It was DEElicious!  Believe or not, I've never even tried Huevos Rancheros, for some reason it never appealed to me, maybe it was the pinto beans. But the corn tortillas, the egg, and the spicy sauce was amazing.  I'd give this a try.

I had the Breakfast Toast, Toasted Heritage Red Fife Grain Bread with Pesto Chevre, Over Medium Eggs, House Chianti Jelly, Fresh Greens, and Cilantro. I had the waitress explain the construction of the dish - eggs on top? Chevre, where? Jelly not on the toast? And what were the greens - a salad with my breakfast?

I was skeptical but the Red Fife Grain bread intrigued me, and I love Chevre on anything. This was a meal that would totally appeal to my friend Marlaina. I had to have it.  Boy, did I make the right choice. It was truly amazing.  The toast was spread with the pesto chevre and the egg on top warmed it just enough, and the Chianti jelly on the top was liquidy and sweet, more like a balsamic glaze than a jelly.  And since it was later in the morning, so more brunch than breakfast, the salad made total sense and it was fresh and delicious.

We ordered a three-slice bacon side to split - thick and meaty - coffee, and freshly squeezed orange juice. We left extremely satisfied.

We'll definitely be going back, next time for lunch.  I'm already having a hard time deciding between the Pork Torta Sandwich or the Ham & Camembert.  
We look forward to our next visit.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Just Another View From The Road

2013: Polly Needs More Than A Cracker. Polly Needs A Roll Cage.
2012: Hats Off To Tits And Ass
2011: Approaching Chi-Town
2010: Paneful Outlook
2009: Gray County Silhouette
2008: This Little Piggy Went To Market
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: The Heat Bog
2005: Five

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Heroes And Legends In South Tucson

This small park is located in the Barrio Historico section of Tucson at the point of South Stone Avenue and South Russell Avenue. It's dedicated to Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker, labor leaders, and civil rights activist.  He was a native of Yuma, Arizona.

It's more of a patch of decorative rock with a tree, water fountain and a bench, than it is a park, but it's got an interesting focal point - a giant mural that takes up the entire wall of the building on the south end.  It was painted by
 artist Melchor Ramirez who is known for painting the heroes and legends of the Aztec and Maya. 

He's included names and dates of well-known human rights activists. From left to right: 
Leo TolstoyMahatma GandhiCesar Chavez, and the Aztec goddess representing female power, Tonan.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: A Decade Of Love, Travel, And Monkey Business

2013: Thirty-Thousand Square Feet Of Stuff To Spend Money On
2012: Truckin’ With Ed
2011: Way Better Than Seven Years In Tibet
2010: His Charm And Understated Humor Is Totally Contagious
2009: The Creature Comforts Of Home
2008: Checklist
2007: Happy As A Clam
2006: Two Things
2005: Good For Licking

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blue And Yellow Make Green

Heading into a storm in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  The sky was black to the left, with lightning strikes coming through the clouds.  On the right, an endless field of sunflowers.  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: An Instagram Glimpse Of Interstate 64

2013: More Fun Than Mr. Potato Head
2012: Triage
2011: They Claim To Have The Most Sky
2010: No Escape
2009: Help Wanted. Must Have Own Cassock.
2008: It’s All An Illuuuuusion
2007: Tipping Point
2006: Snap Decision To A Healthier Life
2005: Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Get Down With Oscar


I'm not a sci-fi fan, but one of Ed's movie choices last night was Ex Machina, and I actually liked it.  The scene above was my favorite in the movie.  I LOVE the song and I love Oscar Isaac - have you seen him in A Most Violent Year?

The video loops the scene over and over because it's a long song, but it's still good. I have absolutely no problem watching Oscar's moves for seven and a half minutes.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Embrace The Heat Of Miami

2013: Oh, To Be A Kid
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Jack & Jill Went Up A Hill To Fetch Some Aircraft Parts
2010: Live Longer. Live Better. And Be Sure To Have A Devil Dog Once In A While.
2009: How Can You Not Be In Love With The Man Who Invented Kisses?
2008: And We Wonder Why We’re The Fattest Nation On Earth
2007: Star Gazing
2006: Only A Southerner
2005: Do You Take Wolfgang Winkelmeyer To Be Your Lawful Wedded Husband?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sooners Have Always Been Takers

Over the weekend we ran out of fuel.

While parked in a truck stop.

I know, I know.  It sounds ridiculous.  Let me explain.

We'd been sitting for three days waiting on a load. I decided I was going to make some lunch and while I was in the middle of cooking it, the generator died.  Everything died. The TV went black, the stove shut off, and the air conditioner stopped blowing cold air. This was going to be a problem.

This occasionally happens when we run too many gadgets and appliances off the generator. The circuit gets overloaded and it trips a breaker. It's an easy fix and Ed usually has things up and running in seconds. I didn't expect it to happen since I was only using the stove, so I turned to Ed and said, "What the hell?"

He got up and checked the voltage, pressed a few buttons, nothing.  We tried to restart the generator but it just chugged and chugged, didn't start. Nothing. 
Then he tried the truck. It turned over but didn't start. He tried it a few more times, but nothing was working. The fuel gauge said we had 1/4 tank of fuel. So why were we getting nothing?

We were two truck-lengths (about 160 feet) from the fuel pumps, so I suggested to Ed that he roll back and steer into the fuel island, backwards. But because we had no air pressure, our brakes couldn't be released.  And if we couldn't release the brakes, we couldn't move the truck. And because he couldn't start the truck, we couldn't build the air needed to release the brakes.  So my master plan of rolling backwards was effectively thwarted. We were parked on a hill, nose up. The generator was running non-stop for three days, which of course uses fuel, but we still should have had plenty.  

Ed was able to prime the fuel pump and get the truck started and running long enough to disengage the brakes so the truck would roll backwards, getting us out of the parking spot. But as soon he backed out, the truck died again.  So he primed the fuel pump again, which involves all kinds of shit I don't know or care about - lifting the hood, opening the fuel filter, filling it with fuel, putting the cap back on the filter, closing the hood and then priming the pump - if you know what that means, you know what was being done. Bottom line, it's a hassle.

Meanwhile, inside the sleeper, the temperature was rising.  The interior of the sleeper was now at 94 degrees. I was dying, but also smart enough to know not to complain because Ed was the one outside in the blistering Oklahoma heat trying to get the goddamned truck moving.  When I peeked out I saw sweat pouring down his face, and him blinking the stinging drips from his eyes. He finally g
ot the truck started and began to move toward the fuel island, but it died again, this time blocking five fuel lanes. Wonderful.

Luckily, I spied a small flatbed tow-truck used to tow cars in the fuel lane next to us and suggested Ed ask the guy to pull us forward into the fuel island.  We were now literally 30 feet from the pump. We had enough air built up now to keep the brakes disengaged long enough for the truck to roll freely into the fuel lane once the tow truck pulled us forward. So Ed asked the driver, he said yes, and Ed hooked one end of the chain to the front of our truck and the other end to the back of the tow-truck.  It worked beautifully. And since we weren't loaded, we were easily pulled into the fuel island.

Once there, Ed primed the fuel pump again, and filled the fuel tanks to a record level of 250 gallons! The tanks were dry as a bone. And we now know that when the fuel gauge reads 1/4 tank, it's time to refuel. Which reminds me of something my grandfather always said, "Never go anywhere with less than a half tank of gas in the car".


The most disappointing part of the whole experience is that the guy in the tow truck took $20 to pull us 30 feet.  Granted, Ed said the fatal words of "I can pay you", to which the guy responded, "Twenty bucks oughta do it."

Granted, we didn't have to call a tow company, which would have cost us significantly more than 20 dollars, but I think the human thing to do would have been for him to decline Ed's offer of payment and just say, "No problem, I got it."

We were in Oklahoma, for christsake.  What happened to good 'ol Okie country boy kindness? The guy didn't even really do anything. Ed did all the chaining. All the guy did was get in his truck and drive forward 30 feet.

I got a flat tire once in Arizona.  I was on the way to my friend Kim's house to use the pool at her neighborhood. It was the middle of summer and it was ungodly hot. This little old Mexican man stopped to help me.  He opened the truck to get the spare and realized it was also flat. He said he'd take it to the gas station to air it up. I didn't know what my options were, so I said okay and waited with my car for him to return.  Worst case scenario, I'd be out a flat spare.  He returned about 15 minutes later with the spare tire all aired up and ready to go and put it on my car.

He then proceeded to change my tire. In the blazing midday Arizona sun. When he was done, I offered him money. He refused. I insisted. He adamantly refused again, saying it was no problem, he was happy to help. Then he left.

That is what the Oklahoma guy should have done. It would have been the right, neighborly, and kind thing to do.

I'm very disappointed in you, Oklahoma. You had a chance to shine and you blew it. 




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: The Original Walking Dead

2013: Hey! It's A Million Degrees Outside. Wanna Help Me Move?
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Things Are Going Just Swimmingly
2010: A Real Truck Driver Meets A Real Housewife
2009: Stars Glowing, Wine Flowing, Sax Blowing
2008: Western Ed Friday
2007: Salena Kandinsky
2006: Bam! Traumatized.
2005: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Friday, July 17, 2015

Not Your Average Meme

I love questions like these, ones that make you think.  Here's the original link from Oprah.com.

1. What questions should I be asking myself?
At first I thought asking yourself what you should be asking yourself was redundant. It isn't. Without this question, you wouldn't ask any others, so it gets top billing. It creates an alert, thoughtful mind state, ideal for ferreting out the information you most need in every situation. Ask it frequently.

2.  Is this what I want to be doing?
This very moment is, always, the only moment in which you can make changes. Knowing which changes are best for you comes, always, from assessing what you feel. Ask yourself many times every day if you like what you're doing. If the answer is no, start noticing what you'd prefer. Thus begins the revolution.

3.  Why worry?
 These two words, considered sincerely, can radically reconfigure the landscape of your mind. Worry rarely leads to positive action; it's just painful, useless fear about hypothetical events, which scuttles happiness rather than ensuring it. Some psychologists say that by focusing on gratitude, we can shut down the part of the brain that worries. It actually works!

4.  Why do I like {cupcakes} more than I like {people}?
Feel free to switch out the words in brackets: You may like TV more than exercise, or bad boys more than nice guys, or burglary more than reading. Whatever the particulars, every woman has something she likes more than the somethings she's supposed to like. But forcing "virtues"—trying to like people more than cupcakes—drives us to vices that offer false freedom from oppression. Stop trying to like the things you don't like, and many vices will disappear on their own.

5.  How do I want the world to be different because I lived in it?
 Your existence is already a factor in world history—now, what sort of factor do you want it to be? Maybe you know you're here to create worldwide prosperity, a beautiful family, or one really excellent bagel. If your impressions are more vague, keep asking this question. Eventually you'll glimpse clearer outlines of your destiny. Live by design, not by accident.

6.  How do I want to be different because I lived in this world?
In small ways or large, your life will change the world—and in small ways or large, the world will change you. What experiences do you want to have during your brief sojourn here? Make a list. Make a vision board. Make a promise. This won't control your future, but it will shape it.

7.  Are {vegans} better people?
Again, it doesn't have to be vegans; the brackets are for you to fill in. Substitute the virtue squad that makes you feel worst about yourself, the one you'll never have the discipline to join, whether it's ultra-marathoners or mothers who never raise their voices. Whatever group you're asking about, the answer to this question is no.

8.  What is my body telling me?
As I often say, my mind is a two-bit whore—by which I mean that my self-justifying brain, like any self-justifying brain, will happily absorb beliefs based on biases, ego gratification, magical thinking or just plain error. The body knows better. It's a wise, capable creature. It recoils from what's bad for us, and leans into what's good. Let it.

9.  How much junk could a chic chick chuck if a chic chick could chuck junk?
I believe this question was originally posed by Lao Tzu, who also wrote, "To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something." Face it: You'd be better off without some of your relationships, many of your possessions, and most of your thoughts. Chuck your chic-chick junk, chic chick. Enlightenment awaits.

10.  What’s so funny?
Adults tend to put this question to children in a homicidal-sounding snarl, which is probably why as you grew up, your laughter rate dropped from 400 times a day (for toddlers) to the grown-up daily average of 15. Regain your youth by laughing at every possible situation. Then, please, tell us what's funny—about everyday life, about human nature, even about pain and fear. We'll pay you anything.

11.  Where am I wrong?
This might well be the most powerful question on our list—as Socrates believed, we gain our first measure of intelligence when we first admit our own ignorance. Your ego wants you to avoid noticing where you may have bad information or unworkable ideas. But you'll gain far more capability and respect by asking where you're wrong than by insisting you're right.

12.  What potential memories am I bartering, and is the profit worth the price?
I once read a story about a world where people sold memories the way we can sell plasma. The protagonist was an addict who'd pawned many memories for drugs but had sworn never to sell his memory of falling in love. His addiction won. Afterward he was unaware of his loss, lacking the memory he'd sold. But for the reader, the trade-off was ghastly to contemplate. Every time you choose social acceptance over your heart's desires, or financial gain over ethics, or your comfort zone over the adventure you were born to experience, you're making a similar deal. Don't.

13.  Am I the only one struggling not to {fart} during {yoga}?
I felt profoundly liberated when this issue was raised on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update." Not everyone does yoga, but SNL reminded me that everyone dreads committing some sort of gaffe. Substitute your greatest shame-fear: crying at work, belching in church, throwing up on the prime minister of Japan. Then know you aren't alone. Everyone worries about such faux pas, and many have committed them (well, maybe not the throwing up on PMs). Accepting this is a bold step toward mental health and a just society.

14.  What do I love to practice?
Some psychologists believe that no one is born with any particular talent and that all skill is gained through practice. Studies have shown that masters are simply people who've practiced a skill intensely for 10,000 hours or more. That requires loving—not liking,loving—what you do. If you really want to excel, go where you're passionate enough to practice.

15.  Where could I work less and achieve more?
To maximize time spent practicing your passions, minimize everything else. These days you can find machines or human helpers to assist with almost anything. Author Timothy Ferriss "batches" job tasks into his famous "four-hour workweek." My client Cindy has an e-mail ghostwriter. Another client, Angela, hired an assistant in the Philippines who flawlessly tracks her schedule and her investments. Get creative with available resources to find more time in your life and life in your time.

16.  How can I keep myself absolutely safe?
Ask this question just to remind yourself of the answer: You can't. Life is inherently uncertain. The way to cope with that reality is not to control and avoid your way into a rigid little demi-life, but to develop courage. Doing what you long to do, despite fear, will accomplish this.

17.  Where should I break the rules?
If everyone kept all the rules, we'd still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery and public hangings. The way humans become humane is by assessing from the heart, rather than the rule book, where the justice of a situation lies. Sometimes you have to break the rules around you to keep the rules within you.

18.  So say I lived in that fabulous house in Tuscany, with untold wealth, a gorgeous, adoring mate, and a full staff of servants…then what?
We can get so obsessed with acquiring fabulous lives that we forget to live. When my clients ask themselves this question, they almost always discover that their "perfect life" pastimes are already available. Sharing joy with loved ones, spending time in nature, finding inner peace, writing your novel, plotting revenge—you can do all these things right now. Begin!


19.  Are my thoughts hurting or healing?
Your situation may endanger your life and limbs, but only your thoughts can endanger your happiness. Telling yourself a miserable mental story about your circumstances creates suffering. Telling yourself a more positive and grateful story, studies show, increases happiness. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, choose thoughts that knit your heart together, rather than tear it apart.

20.  Really truly:  Is this what I want to be doing?
It's been several seconds since you asked this. Ask it again. Not to make yourself petulant or frustrated—just to see if it's possible to choose anything, and I mean any little thing, that would make your present experience more delightful. Thus continues the revolution.



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2014: Marine Transport

Thursday, July 16, 2015

If It Won't Fit, Don't Commit!

About every 3 hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train. Around 500 collisions per year involve trucks or tractor-trailers.

Driving our truck over train tracks always makes me a bit apprehensive, even if I see a clear track for miles. I always think a train is going to appear out of nowhere. I never get too close to the crossing gates and as soon as I see the coast is clear, I get over those tracks as quickly as possible. Let me tell you, getting 80 feet of vehicle over tracks is a little nerve-racking!

I found this information online which encompasses information for commercial motor vehicle operators.  It's a little easier to read than the FMCSA regulation format. 


The FMCSA's railroad grade crossing rules for
commercial motor vehicles are very specific depending on what type of commercial vehicle you're driving or what kind of cargo you're carrying. And the thing I always do, regardless of what I'm carrying, is to make sure not to shift gears while I'm crossing the tracks. I take no chances. 

You shouldn't either.




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2014: The Breast Tour He's Ever Been On

2013: Joisey Tomatoes And More
2012: A Very Gradual Climb
2011: Out With The Old, In With The New
2010: Urban Rest Area
2009: Within Striking Distance
2008: An Island Of COWS, Lobsters, And Girls In Imaginary Prairie Dresses
2007: Freakin’ Ewww!
2006: And People Say All The Good Ones Are Taken
2005: Ahhhhh, Bahston

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Chippin' It

A wood-chipping machine adding to the pile of wood chips at the Port of Wilmington.   The wood chips are made into wood pellets that will be exported to Europe.

Southern Yellow Pine grown in North Carolina is a desirable material around the globe for the manufacture of medium density fiber board (MDF) and flooring products.  The ports in the South exported almost three million tons of wood pellets in 2013.



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2014: Dreaming Of A Craftier Life
2013: A Surprise In The Park
2012: A Little Red Water Never Killed Anyone
2011: Instantly Sexy
2010: Natural Light In Waterloo
2009: So, What Brings You To My Neck Of The Blogospher?
2008: Eternity Is Going To Be SO. MUCH. FUN.
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: That Eddie Guy
2005: Pee Bum Head