Friday, January 20, 2017

Smile Because It Happened

(BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
I think Dr. Suess has been credited with the cheesy quote, "Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened!"

But it seems very fitting for today, the day Barack and Michelle Obama leave the White House after eight years of serving as our President and First Lady.


This couple, and what they've brought to the White House, the country, and the world, over the past eight years, has been more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.  Our President was funny.  He had great taste in music.  He told jokes.  He was smart.  Wicked smart.  He read books, lots of them.  Michelle was cool, and fit, and stylish.  SO stylish.  She could rock a designer dress one night, and a J.Crew cardigan and flats the next day. Both of them brought joy.  They smiled.  They have displayed class and grace, kindness and humor, and also overwhelming restraint.  They rose above, time and again.  I am certain they will go down in the history as one of the greatest first couples the United States has ever seen.  And I'm so thrilled that I got to see this piece of history unfold before my eyes.

They've said their goodbyes, and Barack Obama has left us with a directive, in part saying, "This has been the privilege of my life, and I know I speak for Michelle as well. We look forward to continuing this journey with all of you. I promise you I will be right there with you."

Today they leave this part of their journey to step back into civilian life.  Next on their agenda is a much-needed, much-deserved vacation.

They will be sorely missed.  But I will smile because it happened.





~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: A Sea Of Blue
2015: We Are On The Biggest Boat In The Marina
2014: The Only Thing I Haven't Done
2013: United Tails
2012: I Grew Up In The O.C. Too
2011: Snowy Arrival
2010: Not A Pretty Sight
2009: Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
2008: Lighting To Do Laundry By
2007: The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
2006: Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Stanley Steemer Gets Your Home Cleaner

I often find myself singing jingles to commercials.  Especially catchy ones.  

The Stanley Steemer commercial is one of them.  Even though their commercial and song ran through my head, I thought they only did carpet...until I got a flyer in the mail.  I was so happy to hear they steam tile and grout, too.

I had planned on doing it myself, renting a steam cleaner from Home Depot.  I didn't want to do it - because I really don't like to work that hard (that's a whole other post) - but Ed was going to help and we thought the two of us could knock it out quickly.


Until we talked to the guy in Home Depot about how the machine worked.   He told us it takes 30 minutes for the water in the steamer to heat up.  Then you only have about 20 minutes of steaming.  Then you have to wait 15 minutes for the steamer to cool down before you can refill it with water.  Then you have to wait 30 minutes for the water to heat up again.

Are you kidding me??

Ed said we'd rent two machines and alternate them, one would be heating up while the other one was steaming, but I had already lost interest.  Entirely too much work.  Renting two machines would cost more, plus my time (which is worth even more than that), just didn't seem to be such a great bargain anymore.

I called Stanley Steemer and the girl I spoke to gave me an estimate over the phone.  I really just wanted the two bathrooms and the kitchen done since those were the worst. The price she quoted was about the same as the two machines we'd have to rent.  No brainer.

They came out that day.  And while they were there, Ed asked that the give us an estimate for the entire house.  Turned out to be so affordable, we had them do the whole thing.  The water is super hot, they pressure is unequaled, they use a special cleaning solution, and best of all...I didn't have to do it.

The photo above shows the area off the kitchen.  The difference is amazing.  And the bathrooms and high traffic areas are unbelievable.  I didn't think they were so bad until I saw them steam cleaned.

I am never deep cleaning a floor again.  I have money and a phone.

1-800-STEEMER!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: Cat Nemesis

2015: Bon Voyage!
2014: All This Entertainment For Less Than The Cost Of A Restaurant Entree
2013: Ten Things I Hate About Flying
2012: Teeth Or Another European Vacation? Ooooh, It’s A Real Toss Up.
2011: Not So Wacky After All
2010: Spreading The Word
2009: He Had A Dream. Tomorrow We See It Come True.
2008: Who Do You Know?
2007: South Beach Blue
2006: Jawl Spake Anglesh??
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blue By You

Our friend Gary visited this past weekend and we took him to meet my mother and her constant companion, Blue.

Blue took to Gary right away (he's a cat person) and settled in for a nap in the crook of his arm.  He took this picture of her while she was snoozing.

Another friend of mine, when I mentioned my struggle for content because of this dedicated run we're on not providing the trucking-across-the-country access, said, "Please don't post another cat photo.  I haven't been able to bring myself to say it, but since you brought it up.  Don't.  Ever.  Again."

It cracked me up because I know she's not really a cat (or pets, in general) person, but I do respect where she's coming from.  But hey, I've already confessed to having very little to blog about lately, and I'm working on changing that, but in the meantime, a girl needs a post.

This is the internet, people.  It exists for cat photos.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: 
Fierce

2015: The Nuts And Bolts Of It
2014: Gorgeous, Rich, And Rugged. And That's Just The Bag.
2013: Back To Basics
2012: I Can Think Of Better Ways To Spend Hump Day
2011: Can I Appoint Myself The Baroness Of Cattle?
2010: This Time Losing The Wallet Really Means Losing The Wallet
2009: Marley & Me
2008: Eddie Gets Handy Friday
2007: The Perfect Neapolitan Slice
2006: The King Of The Flying Salmon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The De Facto Logo Of Brooklyn

The Kentile Floors sign that graces the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, New York.

I took this drive-by photo in 2010 because I love seeing old signage around the country. Every once in a while I get lucky and capture something that turns out to be iconic, which I find out by doing a little research.

The sign was erected in 1949, stood 8 stories high, and was once lit in purple neon.  This article in Slate says, "According to the Municipal Art Society of New York, the Kentile factory employed more than 400 people during the 1960s.  But many of the floor tiles that it once proudly marketed to post-war suburbanites as being "a dream to clean" contained asbestos, a fact that later (after the company had left Brooklyn) led to its bankruptcy and closure."

From The Brownstone Detectives:

"As the salvos are fired across the broadsides of those who would tear down Brooklyn’s famous Kentile Floors sign, few know the history behind the company, its founder, and its legacy.


Kentile was a revolutionary floor covering that was easy to install and extremely resistant to fire.  The asphalt tiles were primarily composed using an asbestos filler which today is no longer legal, due to the knowledge we currently have of the harmful effects of asbestos on our bodies.

But Kentile was a start-up in the late 19th century in Brooklyn that made its inventor rich and many, many housewives much, much happier in their kitchens.


IN THE BEGINNING

In 1898, Arthur Kennedy founded Kentile in Brooklyn. Kentiles were “large durable tiles made of a range of materials that were available in dozens of colors and patterns.” Kentile Flooring was primarily marketed in Brooklyn and the surrounding region back then, but eventually, as they became popular, spread their availability throughout the country.

By 1949, they began producing an asphalt based tile and, as an industry leader, their stock skyrocketed. Although they had their competitors, such companies as Armstrong, Congoleum-Nairin and Montgomery, Kentile offered a consumer-install option that was attractive to the DIY-er.

By the ’50s and ’60s, Kentile Floors had become one of America’s largest manufacturers of super-resilient floor tile, and it was a national tile distributor. The Kentile factory at Second Avenue in Gowanus – where the Kentile Floors sign is currently being removed – employed more than 400 people at its peak in the 1960s.

The company’s futures waned though by the 1980s when its products’s strongest feature – asbestos – was found to contain cancer-causing carcinogens. As Kentile removed asbestos from their products, the lawsuits piled up, and by by 1992 they had filed for bankruptcy. A few years later Kentile production ended altogether."

The sign was taken down in 2014 and relocated nearby.


I love finding stuff like this!  It's what has made my time traveling around the country so attractive.  Interesting tidbits of history make this job so worth it.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: There Is Poetry In Change

2015: Ski Or Sun? Sun Won.
2014: All The Better To Cook With, My Dear
2013: I Fancy The Castle Life
2012: There Are No Prison Blues If You Have Naan
2011: Now I’m No Longer Alone
2010: Rings Of Spring
2009: Map Schmap
2008: A Willow Weeps In Arizona
2007: Double Team
2006: Turning One Million
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Descansos

This is one of the many roadside shrines - or descansos, as they're called in Spanish - we see throughout the country.  This type, with more color, multiple candles, flowers, personal objects, seem to be very prevalent in areas with a large Hispanic population.

I'm planning on writing more about these memorials in the future, because traveling the highways for almost thirteen years now, they've always been of interest to me.

Thanks to my friend Gary Goulette for another great photo.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: Please Come Back!

2015: Still Life
2014: Sunset Cycling
2013: Pit Stop At Home
2012: Adding A Few More Wheels To The Big Rig
2011: Again And Again And Again
2010: Hood Ornament
2009: Eddie Out Of Control Friday
2008: My Boyfriend Simon Is Back In Town
2007: A Little Taste Of Miami Beach
2006: Ooooohhhhhh, Jabra!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Low Ceiling In The Desert

Today was a great day - rainy, overcast, and freezing.

Our friend Gary had a load that delivered in Phoenix yesterday and because he was so close, decided to rent a car to come down and spend the day with us.

He took this photo from the front porch of our house.  The Santa Catalina mountains were obscured by cloud cover, but it's still a pretty nice view.

Thanks for the great shot, Gar!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: An Original Recycler

2015: There's A Black Hole In The Desert (With Truck Parking)
2014: Strength In Numbers
2013: Woman Cannot Live On Bread Alone
2012: Why Milk Is ALWAYS At The Top Of My Shopping List
2011: Fun For Sale
2010: Dublin Is Incredibly Corny
2009: Welcome To Snowhio
2008: When Big Hair And Denim Were King
2007: Open 24 Hours
2006: Lucky One Eye
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Promoting International Cooperation

Many truck drivers have a Hazardous Materials Endorsement on their CDL (Commercial Driver License).  Some companies won't hire you without one.  Our company, whether we haul HazMat or not, requires us to have the endorsement.

In order to get the endorsement, a driver has to undergo a background check - the requirement is a result of the U.S. PATRIOT Act (Public Law 107-56, Section 1012), the Safe Explosives Act (Public Law 107-296, Section 1121-1123), ARS § 28-3103(A)(2) and 49 CFR 1572 - and take a test every three years if you're employed by a company that transports hazardous materials.  That's a federal regulation.

We do our testing every two years to coincide with other classes we're required to take, which works out great because it means we're in a classroom every two years instead of every year.

So, can we transport Ammonium Nitrate based fertilizer (UN 2067) and Compressed Gas (UN 3304) together, in the same vehicle?  Well, that's the kind of thing we need to know.  The stack of books in the photo, and the HazMat segregation table will give us that answer.

Think back to high school chemistry class experiments, with all those beakers and eye droppers and Bunsen burners.  Remember the screw-ups that happened because you were paying more attention to the cute guy one lab table over than to what you were supposed to be doing?  Well, those little mishaps are waaaay more serious when you're transporting barrels, not beakers.

You don't have to worry about me, I'm a good student and don't make a move unless I'm sure it's legal and I'm not going to wind up as human barbecue on the side of the road. That's is what's called, "taking your job seriously".

I just hope the other drivers we share the road with feel the same way.  And pay as much attention in class as I do!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: Truly A Man Of Leisure

2015: Beer Run
2014: Field Two
2013: We Are A Very Rich, Blessed, Lucky, Fortunate Lot Aren't We?
2012: Passion Creates Pure Art
2011: Reflecting On The Day
2010: Crunching The Numbers
2009: Looking Grand At The Grand Canyon
2008: Overshadowing Government
2007: Miami International
2006: Did You Check The Solenoid?
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Loaded

Flashback to the flatbed days.  I'm sure Ed is happy he no longer has to strap and tarp in the cold and snow.  With the Conestoga, all he does now is slide the curtain open, watch the load, secure the freight, slide the curtain closed.  On the other end, the process is reversed.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: 
Sprouting The Good Stuff

2015: Economic Stimulation
2014: The Ninety-Two Year Old Horseman
2013: Where They Store The Crop Goodies
2012: Inside The Trucker’s Studio
2011: The Next Project
2010: Why Would You Want To Be A Zero When Looking Like This Is Clearly A Plus?
2009: The Giant Dirty Bird Goes Sailing In The Four Corners
2008: Soft Core Porn
2007: Almost Fully Integrated
2006: Downtown Scenery And Deals
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 09, 2017

Step One, Neutralize

If you've been reading for a while, you know we've been doing work on our house.  The first thing I wanted, was to have the place freshly painted.  We're going to be renovating, but the big tear out probably won't happen until the end of the year.  Ed thinks before that, but I'm a bit more realistic.

We bought the house from my mother.  My mother loves color.  The kitchen was yellow, the dining room and living room were a light teal, the guest room was gray, the office was lavender, and the master bedroom was lime green.  LIME GREEN, people.

I don't do lime green walls.  Accent colors, yes.  Fruit, absolutely.  I'd even rock lime green Tieks.

But I cannot sleep in a lime green bedroom.

So we chose to have the entire interior painted Benjamin Moore's Swiss Coffee White. They describe the color as "The color is part of the Off-White Color collection.  Inherently sophisticated and endlessly versatile, the Off-White collection offers subtle nuances of whites that suit tranquil, serene environments as well as creates color-enhancing accents for dynamic spaces."

That's what I like, a tranquil and serene environment.  Now if only I can nail down the inherently sophisticated part.

This is just the first step, neutralizing the space so we have a blank slate to add our own imprint - temporarily - until we truly transform it with the complete renovation.  I'm happy with the outcome.

The next step will be having the tile floors steam cleaned.

It's finally coming along.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: 
Penetrating Gaze

2015: Worst Trucking Day Ever
2014: Books Are So Much More Interesting Than Guns
2013: Contemplating Broccoli Cheddar
2012: I’m Totally Contemplating Thievery
2011: Some People Are Just Fucking Nuts
2010: 7am In Beantown
2009: Eddie Taking A Moment To Enjoy Nature Friday
2008: Pull Up A Chair
2007: Brad Blows
2006: Expressly American
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Setting Moon

One of my favorite views is a simultaneous sunrise and moonset.  That little white dot on the horizon is the moon setting in the west, as the sun rises behind us in the east.

It's very cool watching the day begin, seeing the moon high in the sky at night and then as morning comes, get lower and lower until it dips below the horizon to hide until its next appearance.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: 
Happy Fucking New Year

2015: Smart And Talented
2014: Who?
2013: Doing A Complete 180
2012: Apple Is My Life. I’m Living It To The Core.
2011: Men (And One Little Man) At Work
2010: Miss Me Like It’s Forever
2009: Speak Already!
2008: On The Hunt
2007: Cash For Life
2006: Nice Melons
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!
 

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A Burst Of Design

Photo by GMK
I love this photo of my brother, working on a project at Carpenter Avenue Classics.

Take a look at the website, share with your family and friends - really, 
anyone who loves cars, and gets excited by vintage - I want to get as many eyeballs on this as possible.

Thanks in advance for helping us introduce my creative baby brother (okay, so he's only one year younger than me...whatever) to the world.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: El NiƱo Hits The Old Pueblo

2015: Cackling Is One Of The Rules
2014: Ugatz
2013: All The Better To See You With My Dear 
2012: Gratuitous Cute Dog Photo
2011: How To Kill Bees
2010: A Mirage Of Sorts
2009: Clouds Aflame
2008: When You Get One Like This, Don’t Let Him Get Away
2007: A Good Tipper Can Always Get Away With Being A Little Bossy
2006: Like Day And Night In Utah
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, January 06, 2017

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...

Snoopy is not the only one to have writer's block.

I just can't seem to get my act together.  I am not a "writer" writer.  I don't write books or long magazine pieces.  I write blog posts.  Some of them I've done over the years are really good.  I love them.  My mother loves them.  People other than my mother love them.  

But it's damn hard coming up with something to say every. single. day.

The trucking has all but dried up over the past nine months.  Yeah, we're still doing it, but as I've mentioned in previous posts, not country-wide.  So that limits my ability to bring you anything from out there on the road.

So as I catch up on posts over the next week, you're going to have to deal with a lot of fluff and filler. I'll post some pictures - I'll even go back in my photo archives to find stuff - I'll do some link posts (which I happen to like because it puts all the stuff I come across in one post), I'll update you on the stuff happening with our house (we're having the interior painted), and I'll eventually get to the explanation about what my plan for the future of this blog is.

I will be formally asking for your help with ideas, but since you know it's coming, if you have any blog post ideas, send them to me at salenalettera@gmail.com.  I'll read and respond to every email.

Now let's get to the fluff.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: 
Prep Work

2015: Just A Pier
2014: Third Time Is Not A Charm
2013: A Sure Sign You're In A Truck Stop
2012: Waiting For The Bell To Ring
2011: You Don’t Need I.D. To Buy Booze If You Have One Of These In Your Pocket
2010: The Pros Slip In And Out With Ease
2009: Mine. All Mine.
2008: No, You Can’t Fly It
2007: Flying Parasols
2006: Seattle In Motion
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!