Monday, January 16, 2023

A Walk Through History


Another shot down Calle de Toledo, as a man walks away from Plaza Mayor in Madrid. 

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2022: Sorry, no post on this day.
2021: Sorry, no post on this day.
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
Reflecting Miltenburg
2018: Ed And The Ladies
2017: Descansos
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, 2023

In The Heart Of The Baroque City


Plaza Mayor is a major public square in the heart of Madrid.  It was built between 1580 and 1619 and was once the center of Old Madrid.  It was originally called the Plaza del Arrabal and was used as the main market in town.  Over the years, Plaza Mayor has hosted a multitude of events, from bullfights and soccer games to trials of the Inquisition and executions.

The statue that stands in the middle of the plaza is that of Felipe II, the King of Spain from 1598 to 1621.

This is the façade of the 
Casa de la Panadería (Bakery House).  According to the information I found online, "Casa de la Panadería, or the Bakery, was designed to house the Bakers' Guild. This organization held a lot of power, being able to control the price of grain. This gave them great political and economic power, influence, and importance."  Because they controlled the price of grain, they also controlled the price of bread, making it affordable for even the poorest of the city's citizens. If you look closely, you can see the frescoes painted on the front of the building, as mentioned in the Wikipedia link.

This is the view from Plaza Mayor looking down Calle de Toledo.  The two towers in the distance belong to Real Congregación de San Isidro de Madrid (Royal Congregation of San Isidro of Madrid), also known as the Collegiate Church of San Isidore.  Wikipedia says, "It is named after and holds the remains of the patron saint of Madrid, Isidore the Laborer, and his wife Santa María de la Cabeza. It has held the status of a Basilica church for centuries."

This is a close-up of the balconies of the apartments that look out upon Calle de Toledo.  I love the colors of the tiles, the plants, and the wrought iron against the ochre-colored building.

Looking up from the street at the warm yellow hue of the buildings against the pale blue of the sky.  Very pretty.

On this building, I loved the turquoise shutters and wrought-iron balconies against the terra cotta-colored building.  There is a lot to look at in the neighborhoods surrounding Plaza Mayor.

Another view down Calle de Toledo, with Ed standing in the foreground.  This was a very picturesque street with all the apartments, shops, and restaurants.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Campo Wind
2021: Sorry, no post on this day.
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
2019: Rock Solid Saint
2018: Rainforest Adventures
2017: Low Ceiling In The Desert
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, 2023

Getting The Lay Of The Land

When Ed and I went to Paris in 2018, we did one of their Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tours.  The tour uses a double-decker bus and takes you all over the city.  They provide you with a set of ear buds that plugs into the seat back and narrates the tour (in multiple languages) as you travel through the city.  

The thing I liked about this tour in Paris was that we were able to see the entire city and all of the tourist (and non-tourist) hotspots in a way that we never would have been able to on our own in the three days we were there.  We went through neighborhoods that weren't even on our radar, got to see sites we hadn't planned on visiting, and found vantage points for photos we didn't even know existed.  And because you can hop on and hop off at any of the stops, you can get off and explore the area, then get back on when the bus comes through later in the day.  And the views from the top tier of the bus are fantastic!

So, while we were in Madrid, we did one of theirs.  It was very cold and although the bus has an open top roof, when we first got on they had the roof closed.  It wasn't crowded, likely because it's January and there aren't as many tourists that time of year.  And I'd rather it be cold than hot - I couldn't imagine doing this bus tour in the height of summer sitting on the top deck with the sun beating down on my head.  No, thank you.  You can still see everything easily, as the windows on the bus are not only big, but they open, so you can put the window down if you'd rather not take a photo through the glass.
As the day started to warm up a little, they opened the roof.  As you can see, we're in our puffy coats, so it was still cold with the wind and cold air circulating, but I prefer to think of it as "refreshing".  
I take a lot of photos of buildings (or the tops of them, at least), landmarks, people on the street, architectural elements.  And I really like how it gives me a sense of the city and how it's laid out.  Here are a few shots I took from the bus:

This is the Iglesia de la Concepción Real de Calatrava (Church of the Royal Conception of Calatrava), a Catholic Church.  The origins of this convent date back to 1623, when the nuns of the Military Order of Calatrava moved to Madrid from Almonazid de Zorita, a municipality located in the province of Guadalajara, Castile-La Mancha, Spain.  The rose window at the top center depicts the Calatrava Cross, the emblem of the Order of Calatrava.
Thsi is Julia, a 39-foot sculpture by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa, located in Plaza de Colón.  Plensa said the sculpture is intended to represent tenderness and silence, and that he hopes it will serve as a mirror to help recover a sense of serenity in society.
This is the Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain).  It is a major public library, the largest in Spain, and one of the largest in the world.
These are a few street lamps along the Paseo del Prado, one of the main boulevards in Madrid.
This is the Real Basílica de San Francisco el Grande (Royal Basilica of Saint Francis the Great), a Roman Catholic Church in Central Madrid.  The Basilica’s dome is the largest in Spain and the fourth largest in Europe.
This is the Puerta de Toledo (Toledo Gate).  Construction on the gate began in 1812, but it wasn't completed until 1827.  It's built from granite and Colmenar stone and was erected to commemorate the arrival of King Ferdinand VII to Madrid.  
I recommend these bus tours to anyone who is traveling to a new city.  I think it's a great thing to do on the first day you're there, it's relaxing because you're being driven around - so maybe a good way to recover if you're experiencing jet lag - and an easy way to see a new city.  In addition to the ear buds they provide for the audio tour, they usually give you a map of the tour route so you can mark off things you want to see during your visit.  It's a wonderful way to get the lay of the land.  

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2022: Sorry, no post on this day.
2021: Sorry, no post on this day.

Friday, January 13, 2023

A Third Of The Golden Triangle


Today we visited the Museo del Prado.  According to Wikipedia, "It is widely considered to house one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th century, based on the former Spanish royal collection, and the single best collection of Spanish art.  

Founded as a museum of paintings and sculptures in 1819, it also contains important collections of other types of works. The Prado Museum is one of the most visited sites in the world and is considered one of the greatest art museums in the world. The numerous works by Francisco Goya, the single most extensively represented artist, as well as by Hieronymus Bosch, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and Diego Velázquez, are some of the highlights of the collection.”

We saw works by all of those artists except for Bosch, and many others.

The photo above and the next three photos are the Tabletop of don Rodrigo Calderon, circa 1600.  It is made of alabaster, lapis lazuli, Africano marble, white marble, and polychrome marble.  Isn't it spectacular??

The Prado's website says about the table's supports, "The table is supported by four bronze lions, three of them commissioned by Velazquez in Italy in 1651, as were those used for the Tabletop of Philip II. The fourth lion of this table is a bronze copy made in 2004 to replace the damaged lead one made in 1837, which in turn replaced the original damaged in the fire at the Alcazar in 1734."

Look at this gorgeous detail.  
This oil painting done by El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), is one of his earliest works painted in Spain, circa 1580.  It is called The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest.  
The painting was one of six.  From the Prado's website:  "This bust-length portrait entered the royal collections as a donation by the widow of the Duke of Arco, gentleman in-waiting, Equerry and Master of the Horse to Philip V. In his recreational estate at El Pardo, De Arco possessed a group of six portraits of gentlemen by El Greco whose provenance is now unknown. This group would come to constitute the principal holdings of portraits by the artist now in the Museo del Prado.

The present canvas is one of the earliest works by El Greco painted in Spain, and the most distinctive of the six. The sitter, who is aged around 30, is dressed according to Spanish fashion of the late 1570s, with a narrow, white ruff that reaches up behind his ears and frames his head. Standing out against his tight-fitting, black silk doublet is his right hand, resting on his breast, and the gilded hilt of his sword.

The way that the left arm is bent suggests that he is holding and presenting the sheathed weapon with his left hand, which is invisible to the viewer. The figure is outlined against a plain background of a pearly grey tone modulated by the reddish-brown of the preparatory layer beneath, which is visible on the surface. Thanks to the fact that it was displayed at an early date in the Museo del Prado, the painting became one of El Greco’s most celebrated works. The inclusion of the costly sword, the solemn and rhetorical gesture of the right hand, which is not common in secular works by the artist although fairly frequent in his religious compositions, the half-hidden medallion that he wears, and above all, the direct relationship established between sitter and viewer, have made this figure an iconic image of the Castilian and by extension the Spanish knight.

The enormous interest that the painting has aroused in art and literature explains the wide variety of resulting interpretations and identifications, although all of these focus on the sitter’s status as a quintessential Spanish aristocrat, resulting in the somewhat clichéd opinions that have accompanied the painting throughout most of the 20th century in which the sitter is seen as a knightly Christian, melancholy and austere, and a haughty representative of his class and time. At one point it was thought that the painting could be a self-portrait as the gesture of the hand was taken to be a proud statement of self-affirmation by El Greco. Specific names have been proposed for the sitter, including Miguel de Cervantes and Philip II’s secretary Antonio Pérez.

Without doubt, the most convincing suggestion has connected this figure with the Second Marquis of Montemayor, Juan de Silva y de Ribera, a contemporary of El Greco who was appointed military commander of the Alcázar in Toledo by Philip II and Chief Notary to the Crown, a position that would explain the solemn gesture of the hand, depicted in the act of taking an oath. Whatever the case, Portrait of a Gentleman with his Hand on his Breast is an excellent example of portraiture of its date, with formal parallels to be found in the type of court portrait introduced by the Habsburgs with their notably simple depictions of the sitters, represented frontally and strongly illuminated against a plain background. Comparable examples are also to be found in Italian Renaissance painting, particularly of the Venetian school, with which El Greco’s technique and composition can most aptly be associated. Such parallels include the gesture of the hand, which is a rhetorical device of great expressivity that helps to convey the sitter’s inner character and which is also to be found in other Venetian and Central European portraits. With or without these parallels, El Greco was fully able to imbue this portrait with a remarkable formal tension between the visible and the hidden."

This one is called, Octagonal Still Life with Bunches of Grapes, and was painted by Juan de Espinosa in 1646. I loved the octagon-shaped frame of this painting and the colors really appealed to me.  I'd hang this in my house.
I took a photo of this painting primarily to send to my cousin, who runs the hot air balloon company owned by her boyfriend. 

This is called Ascent of a Montgolfier Balloon in Aranjuez.  It was painted by Antonio Carnicero circa 1784.

The image shows French balloon pilot Charles Bouclé’s experiment in the gardens of the Royal Seat at Aranjuez on June 5, 1784, during the final years of Charles III’s reign. It was Spain’s first manned balloon flight and it ended in an accident, as the daring pilot was injured when he failed to successfully control the apparatus’s descent.

The Prado Museum houses a permanent collection of art featuring over 5,000 drawings, more than 2,000 works of art, 700 sculptures, and over 1,000 medals and coins.

We only went for about five hours and I only snapped a few covert (or so I thought) photos before getting caught.  These are the ones I got.  

It's definitely a must-see in the city.  Next time, we'll do the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza.  These make up the Big Three in Madrid's "Golden Triangle of Art".  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2022: Sorry, no post on this day.
I Roll
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
2019: Gilded Tourist Attraction
2018: Dining Up North
2017: Promoting International Cooperation
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! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Bienvenido A España!

And we're off to Spain!

Our first trip of the year and our first time to Spain.  I think I'm going to make this a tradition - Europe on the New Year!  This is a great way to start 2023.

We flew into Madrid, will be visiting Valencia, and then flying out of Barcelona.  We took a night flight out of Arizona because we thought it would be good to sleep in the evening like we usually do.  It began, as usual, with food, food, food.  Starting at the lounge in the airport.  

Shortly after we got settled in our pods (see the photo above of the pods in front of me), they served champagne and brought around the dinner menu.
Because I ate at the lounge, I opted for the salad, cheese plate, and dessert.  Of course!  It was delicious and light enough to have before sleeping.

Little did I know I wasn't going to be doing much sleeping.  Although the lighting, as seen below, was conducive to sleeping, the temperature was not.  It was SO hot in the plane, even Ed complained - which is unusual.  And if you don't know me after almost 18 years of writing this blog, that I don't like to be hot, let me tell you - I was NOT happy.  In general, sleeping quarters should be cool.  I like it frigid, but I would have settled for cool.  We did mention it to the flight attendants and they said they adjusted the temperature, but it didn't change. 

I did get a few winks of sleep because I obviously fell off due to sheer exhaustion from being awake all day and most of the night, but I wasn't happy.  Disappointing.  But at least I was miserable in business class and not coach.  I probably would have been arrested when we landed in London if I had to spend a hot night in coach.
Before I knew it, they were coming around with the breakfast menu.
Let me just say - I'm not really a big fan of English-style sausage for breakfast.  We were on British Airways and typically the airline serves the food of the country it represents.  Which reminds me...Turkish Airlines food was delicious!

That said, it's a very nice breakfast.  Nice portion, a good way to begin the day.  After the ten-hour flight from Arizona, we would change planes at London Heathrow and then have another two and a half hours to Madrid.
The change of planes at Heathrow was a little harrowing.  We had about an hour and a half layover, but a lot of that time was sucked up by misdirection and confusion.  We haven't done a lot of foreign travel and it always takes a minute to figure out where you're supposed to go, and we'd never been through London before so relied on the British Airways people to help us with our connection.  Turned out to be a mistake not verifying the first person's information with another person to make sure we were doing the right thing.  So after being directed to a line and standing there for almost 30 minutes, only to get to the counter and be told we had to go somewhere else, we were a little frustrated. 

So we headed to the next location which was a bajillion football fields away from where we started.  I didn't think the walking was going to end.  I was hot, cranky, and unhappy about having to drag my luggage behind me.  I was cursing myself for packing so much.  Even though it was a carry-on, it was like pulling a toddler behind you with one arm.  Like, a three-year-old.  Then we had to stand in line for a shuttle that we didn't think would ever arrive, and then take that from one terminal to another.  Then walk another football field to our gate.  Look, I am always generally very happy to be doing most of the travel stuff we do, but I just don't like all the walking.  WTH?

This is the area just outside of customs in Madrid airport.  It was about 6:30 pm when we arrived but the airport was deserted.  And for a few minutes, we couldn't figure out how to get out of this area to get to the transportation area.  
We didn't check any luggage, but here's a photo of the baggage claim area.  Very modern.  Very cool.  We were finally on our way to the hotel
This is one of the streets I snapped a picture of from the taxi on our way to the hotel.  Our hotel was in the Barrio de las Letras (the Literary District), in Central Madrid, so is close to everything we wanted to see and do.  The Museo del Prado (Prado Museum) was first on our list.
As I said, this was our first time in Spain, and we were looking forward to seeing the sights, and Beating tapas, paellas, Jamón, and churros!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2022: Sorry, no post on this day.

2021: Sorry, no post on this day.
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
Moto Cop
2018: ¡Salud!
2017: Eddie On Ice
2016: My God, This Reminds Me Of Why I Love Adele
2015: Making Friends And Dinner Plans
2014: It's So EXHAUSTing Being Right All The Time
2013: A Marriage Of Two Loves
2012: I Love A Man Wearing A Damn Good-Looking Workboot
2011: MMXI At Full Throttle
2010: Maybe There’s A Reason Ed Never Lets Me Out Of The Truck
2009: Napolitos
2008: Pull Up A Chair
2007: The Story Of The Uppity Barista: Otherwise Known As A Texan Gittin’ Above His Raisin’
2006: Rock, Paper, Eddie
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 01, 2023

The Queen Of The Tulsa Skyline

In December, we went to Texas for Ed's mom's funeral.  We were there for a little over two weeks.  We visited with family and friends - some friends of his dad's that his dad hadn't seen in over 20 years.  On one of the trips, we went to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit Ed's Uncle Davis.  He's an interesting character, very smart, an author of twelve books, and always has an upbeat outlook on everything.

So while there, we drove around and looked at some of the Art Deco buildings Tulsa is famous for.  Mostly, we just drove around so I could photograph the exteriors, but I was able to go into one of them.

At 427 South Boston Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma you’ll find the Philtower Building. Built in 1928, it was designed by prominent architect Edward Buehler Delk and financed by oilman Waite Phillips.

The building represents Gothic Revival architecture, has 24 floors, and is 323 feet tall. The interior of the entrance lobby is spectacular, as you can see in these photos.

From the banquettes to the elevator banks to the gorgeous ceiling!! Construction cost $2.5 million dollars. In 1928!! That would be the equivalent of $43.5 million dollars today! 

I love that mail chute.  And look at this ceiling detail.
The elevator banks have the initials WP on them, for Waite Phillips, the man who paid for the building to be constructed.
Even the elevator buttons are Art Deco-y.
I love the ornate details.  Imaging working in this building every day?  It's gorgeous. 
View looking toward the front door of the building.
More gorgeous ceiling work.
During the oil boom years, Philtower was often called the Queen of Tulsa’s Skyline.

Click HERE to see more information about the building.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2022: Sorry, no post on this day.
2021: Sorry, no post on this day.
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
Blue Skies Ahead
2018: Happy 2018, Y'all!
2017: 2017 Is Looking Up
2016: Good Morning, 2016!
2015: A Good Sign For 2015
2014: Good Luck And Prosperity Is On The Way
2013: As Pure As The Driven Snow
2012: Quiet On The Set
2011: I’d Rather Get A Little Taste Of Mark Ruffalo Than Eat Swiss Chard
2010: Two Very Different Ideas Of Fun
2009: Caution: New Year Ahead!
2008: Fresh Dreams. Clean Slate. High Hopes. New You.
2007: Two Thousand Seven
2006: Happy New Year!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ending The Year Intentionally Unemployed

Intentionally unemployed.  That kind of sums up 2022 for us.  

This year, we barely worked.  We did a few loads at the beginning of the year, but then on July 4th we came home from our last load and haven't gone back to work yet.  Looks like it'll be February 2023 before we get behind the wheel again.  I hope I remember how to drive the rig!

We spent a lot of time with our parents - Ed's mom and dad, and my mother.  We took them to dinner and doctor appointments and visited them in their homes often.  We had our hands full for several months with a few of their health issues.  I was joking with anyone who would listen, about how Ed and I don't have children but now we have three kids over the age of eighty.  Parenthood is exhausting.

I didn't keep up with much news this year, so other than the famous people who died -  a Pope, Pelé, Barbara Walters (Baba Wawa if you're old enough to remember), Angela Lansbury, Bob Saget, Gallagher, Vivienne Westwood, the Queen, Meatloaf, Loretta Lynn, Naomi Judd, James Caan, and many others - I really didn't know what was going on in the world outside of what Ed would fill me in on.  

So, it's the end of the year and although we've had six months off, I kinda feel as if we've squandered some time.  We did get to spend quality time with our parents and that's a plus, and we got a few things done on the house that we needed to take care of, so that can get checked off our list, but in typical American fashion, I always feel like I should have done more.  Oh, well.  It's now time to start a new year.  Gotta get on with it.

So here's what happened in 2022: 

1. What did you do in 2022 that you’d never done before?

I shot a gun at a shooting range.  Boy oh boy.  It was way harder than it looks on TV.  You see them whipping around guns, waving them in the air, shooting at people who are running and speeding away in cars.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  First, guns are heavy.  Did you know that?  And it's hard enough to just stand there and aim at shit, let alone run while you're doing it.  And, really, they're not all that fun.  I totally don't get the appeal - especially standing in the dirt shooting at a paper target.  I'll probably never touch another gun in my life.  Not my thing.

We got Covid.  We made it through the worst, with everyone around us getting it, and we thought we'd just keep skating through without getting it.  But got us!

I turned fifty-five and feel pretty good about it.  I mean, it's not like I have a choice as time is just marching on but I've never had a problem with aging.  And according to well, everyone, I don't look fifty-five. So that makes me feel a lot better.

Detroit Style Pizza from Transplant Pizza in Tucson, Arizona

We had Detroit Style Pizza.  I've never heard of such a thing, not even when I was in Detroit.  I guess because I didn't know it existed, I didn't go looking for it.  But there's a place that opened here in Tucson that serves only this style of pizza.  It's good, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.  

I did a free trial with a hearing aid company because I'm finding it hard to hear certain words people say, especially Ed because of the tone of his voice, so I thought I'd test them out.  It did improve my hearing so that might be a thing for the future.

We went to Palm Springs for the first time.  We were invited to see our neighbor's son play at the local casino there - he's a drummer in a band (that's him in the photo!)  that specializes in music from the twenties, thirties, and forties. His girlfriend, Natalie Hanna Mendoza, is the lead singer.   She's beautiful and talented and put on a fabulous show.

I really loved Palm Springs.  I always wondered why people would go there, to a town in the middle of a blistering hot desert, but the Mid-Century Modern architecture alone is worth a visit.  We've passed the exit many, many times - there's a truck stop right where you'd get off I-10 to go into Palm Springs - and we never ventured the five miles to check it out.  I'm glad we did and I love forward to going back.  Oh, and we took my mom.  She loved it so much she's still talking about it!

We moved Ed's parents again - from one assisted living facility to another.  I have not packed and unpacked so much in my entire life.  It's really inspired me to start looking at what I've accumulated in my house and think about getting rid of it now.  Before I have to pack it.

I had the pleasure of watching my husband receive the most prestigious award given out by the company we are leased to - the Landstar Roadstar Award.  He was nominated in 2021 but they were unable to have the ceremony because of Covid, so they got everyone together in 2022 at the Rosen Shingle Creek resort in Florida to honor the award winners.  I was so proud watching him accept the award, knowing what it meant to him and knowing what it said to the other drivers in that room - that he's the best of the best. 

The resort was tremendous.  It was at least a mile from our room to the wing with the meeting rooms, so we thought we'd save time just putting him in the white shirt, tie, and jacket for the meeting and then he'd be ready to get his headshot done afterwards.  For the headshot, he only needed to look professional from the waist up.  He did get a few looks as he walked the halls, with one guy hollering out, "Business on top, fun on the bottom!"  He was also a big hit at the meeting for the Roadstar inductees, where the Vice President of Operations called him out and asked him to stand, telling the room when he did, "Now this is how you do resort casual!"  Overall, it was a really great event.

Another first this year was when we were approached by a photographer at a rest area in Kansas who asked if he could take our photo.  He was doing a series on truck drivers.  Of course we obliged.  You'll see one of the photos in that link and another further down in this post.  

We went to the miniature museum in Tucson - something I've always wanted to do and thought it would be fun to take Ed for his birthday.  Turns out it was essentially a dollhouse museum.  He was not amused.  

I made Maple Walnut Scones that were amaaaazing.  I like scones because they're not super sweet.  And they're a little on the dry side, which I like.  These were delicious and I loved the maple flavor and the addition of nuts.  Nuts make so many baked goods so much better!

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I make multiple mid-year resolutions, not just at the start of the new year. I make ‘em and break ‘em. I should just eliminate this question and replace it with “Did you have any new aches or pains this year?”  That question will always have an answer!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not close to me, but two distant cousins had babies - one had a boy and one had a girl, whose name is Wren.  Cool little baby bird name.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Sadly, yes. My mother-in-law, Dixie,  Dixie passed away on December 10th.  

5. What countries did you visit?

Canada.  Three times!  Twice to Victoria, British Columbia, and once to Nova Scotia.  I love the Eastern side of Canada. 

6. What would you like to have in 2023 that you lacked in 2022? 

More travel!  We will be starting the year with a 3-week trip to Spain, and later in the year hope to do England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.  In between, I'd like to hit a beach to get a tan and do some weekend trips somewhere around the country.  

7. What dates from 2022 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

Well, for sure December 10, 2022 - the day my mother-in-law died.  It was heartbreaking seeing my husband, my father-in-law, and my sister-in-law absorb the news.  My sister-in-law was visiting Tucson at the time my mother-in-law died because we had just moved Ed's parents to a new assisted living facility and she wanted to visit with her mom.  I'm glad I was there with them - having gone through losing my father and my stepfather, I had an idea of what they were feeling and I hope I was able to offer some support and understanding.  

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Working out with a trainer. It's SO hard.

Years and years ago, when I was in my late twenties, my brother's friend owned a gym and hooked me up with a "trainer".  I don't remember much about that short-lived experience, because nothing he did really kicked my ass.  The only thing I came away with was his Counting Crows August and Everything After cassette.  Yes, cassette tape.  The "training" didn't stick, but that album is still one of my favorites. 

But this new trainer guy... Hol.  Eee.  Crap.  I committed to working out with him three times a week for an hour each session, and let me tell you - he uses every single MINUTE of that hour.  On my first day, I could barely walk down the stairs to my car.  He made me do body weight squats - squatting with my own body weight.  If you're not aware, I'm fat.  I weigh a lot.  And it's a lot to squat that shit.  I purchased twelve more sessions.  I hope I can stay alive until to use all of them.  Keep your fingers crossed.  

Photo of Ed and I taken by Jason Dailey

9. What was your biggest failure?

This is such a job interview question.  And I never knew how to answer it in job interviews, either.  I just Googled failure and read, "Failure is defined as a lack of success or the inability to meet an expectation."  I think part of the problem why I can't recognize failures is because I don't really set goals.  I've never been good at that.  I guess I think about what I want and try to achieve it, but if I don't, I don't consider it a failure.  I just try again or change course.  I guess the only thing I consider a failure, is my lifelong inability to lose weight - mostly big amounts of weight.  Even when I think I'm all gung-ho and ready to forge ahead and have a "this time it's going to work!" attitude, it never has.  I can't do it.  So that's probably always going to be on my "failure" list if I had to make one.  And again, this year, even though I had months and months and months at home, off from work, I didn't do a damn thing to work toward that goal.  WTF?  Time to try again I guess.  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Nothing serious, but I did smash my big toe and tore half of the nail off. That hurt like hell. Then, last month I sliced into the tip of my finger with the super sharp ceramic knives my brother bought me for my birthday. In all of my 55 years, I’ve never almost cut off the tip of a finger while cooking. Never. I still don't have any feeling in the tip of my finger.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I didn’t buy anything really significant, but the things I did buy I am really lovin’ - this nude lipgloss (which happens to be on sale now!  I'm going to have to stock up!), this robe (in the Navy floral), these Rockport sandals (the comfiest sandal I’ve ever owned!), and these Bose headphones

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. Completely worthy of being selected Time's Person of the Year.  I've watched a few interviews with him and I totally love this guy.  Truly a man looking out for his people.  More leaders should follow his example.

And on a lighter note, the corn kid.  How can you not celebrate this happy little kid?  "And when I tried it with butter, everything changed."  Same.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

The United States Supreme Court when they revoked a woman's constitutional right to abortion, giving the power back to the states to make decisions for women's reproductive rights.  Do you know how many states are just reveling in having this power?  How many states are run by backwards assholes who want to take women's rights back to the time when we didn't have any?  We've gotta keep the power out of those hands. 

14. Where did most of your money go? 

Outside of regular expenses….Amazon. WTF?  Jeff Bezos has turned me into an addict.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our trip to Spain.  I've been researching for months and once the tickets were booked, I was stoked!  I'm excited to add another country to my list and am looking forward to visiting Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, and locales in between!

16. What song will always remind you of 2022?

A song one of The Voice contestants did - Bodie’s rendition of I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) originally done by The Proclaimers. I despise that song. Have always hated it. But Bodie Man, Bodie did that song in such an amazing way, changing the arrangement, and making it sound like a beautiful new song. Wonderful. No longer an earworm. And really, every song Bodie sang on The Voice was.  Spend some time on YouTube getting to know him.  He's amazing.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Generally happy, still fat, and doing well with the money. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read.  I actually picked up a book this year and started to read it but never finished.  I really get so sucked into the internet that I have completely shunned books.  But I want to be a reader again, I really do, even if it's an e-reader.  Although, nothing beats the feeling of a real book in your hands, amiright?  

Ed's new cooking technique is sous vide. These are the steaks
he prepped wtih garlic, fresh rosemary, salt, and pepper. 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Eat.  Oh my lord, we did a lot of eating this year.  Cooking at home, yes, but also a lot of restaurants.  And we always overeat at restaurants.  This year I'd like to spend less time going out to bullshit restaurants and save the nights out for special places that serve really great food.  In Tucson, that'll definitely limit our dining-out options.    

20. How did you spend Christmas?

Well, since we were in Texas for the funeral of Ed's mother, we stayed to spend the holiday with his family.  Ed's mother's ex-husband's wife (figure that out!) hosted the Christmas Day meal.  We were ten in all, had a really great meal together, opened presents (they bought us GREAT gifts!), and played games.  It was a lot of fun and we had some real laughs.  It was a very enjoyable day and lifted all of our spirits. 

We spent two weeks in Texas and Oklahoma, visiting Ed's family and old friends of his Dad's.  We had a great time and made some wonderful memories.  I'm glad I was able to be part of it.

The lobby of the Philtower Building in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

21. Did you fall in love in 2022?

Yes. With this guy.  Oh, and more realistically, with Sugar Bowl Bakery's Mini Palmiers.  That trainer is going to have to up his game. 

22. What was your favorite TV program?

It's impossible to pick just one, so here are my favorites: Yellowstone, again.  The third season of Emily in Paris, and the third volume of Taco Chronicles.  Oh, how I love Taco Chronicles.  And, Stanley Tucci in Stanley Tucci:  Searching For Italy.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No one I can think of.

24. What was the best book you read?

The biography of my neighbor's Welsh father.  He wrote a small book for his children, to pass on to his two boys and he allowed us to read it.  It was so well written and interesting, and it really gave me insight as to why my neighbor is the way he is - his father instilled so many good qualities in him and it shows.  It was surprisingly enjoyable.

Mural in Tucson, Arizona

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Well, it's not really a discovery, but while cooking I've been listening to a lot of opera.  Some of my favorites right now are Nessun Dorma - I've heard several versions, but I love this one by Paul Potts because of how he stuns them during the audition, L'amour est un oiseau rebelle,and Con Te Partirò.  I'm a total newbie in this genre, so I'll be listening to more to see if it's a fit for me.  It's certainly inspiring while cooking!

26. What did you want and get?

I can't think of anything.

27. What did you want and not get?

I wanted to get through another year without getting Covid, but that didn't happen.  At the end of August, my father-in-law tested positive for Covid.  Ed got it next, and finally, me.  Because we're vaxxed and boosted, the symptoms were very mild but I was hoping we'd skate by without ever getting it.  Damn!   I also wanted a pair of silver ballerina flats but didn't get them.  No biggie, there's always next year.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Really good movies are hard to find.  There's a lot of crap out there, I know, I watch quite a bit of it.  I should add "favorite series" to this question because now with Netflix and Amazon Prime, everyone is into watching them.  Here are a few I watched this year and liked:  The Swimmers, The Outlaws, The Outfit, and my favorite of the year, The Empress.

Marilyn Monroe's former home in Palm Springs, California

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I went to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with family and friends and I turned 55 this year.  Double nickel, baby!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I had organized my family room and worked on refinishing my dining room table.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2022?

Black.  I mean, really, that's it.  I have veered slightly from all-black in the past few years - very slightly - but I think I'm going back to it.  I need a uniform.  I need to wear basically the same, comfortable thing, every day.  I follow this woman on Instagram and I'm kinda digging her fashion vibe.  I'm not about the minimalist rubber jewelry and bangles she wears, but I definitely like the floaty, lightweight, avant-garde dresses she wears.  Everything is comfortable.  She's petite (unlike me), and smaller than me, so some of the stuff she wears does not come in my size.  But I'm going to start looking for voluminous dresses that have some interesting detail to them and maybe go with that look in the new year.  And of course, there will be a lot of black. 

32. What kept you sane?


33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Dylan Mulvaney - funny, smart, upbeat.  We need more people like Dylan in the world. 

And, Blake Lively - really just for this dress. She wore this dress to the Met Gala dress was to invoke the patina on the Statue of Liberty.  It was spectacular.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I haven't really been involved in politics this year as I have in past years.  I think being home so much kept me isolated as I don't like to watch the news on TV when I'm home.  I used to listen to the news a lot when I was driving but we hardly drove this year, so no barrage of news stories in my ears.  I still have my issues that I support and which are important to me, but this year I didn't get too hot about anything.  

35. Who did you miss?

The 20-year-old me.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

My neighbor's cousin Tara and her husband, Al.  SUCH fun people!   

The Fairmont Empress hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2022.

Develop healthy habits when you're young.  Well, I used to have healthy habits growing up.  My mother never allowed junk food in the house, no soda, no Kool-Aid like the other kids, no packaged snacks, no sugary cereal, no Twinkies or snack foods. No potato chips.  Dinners made from whole foods - often from our garden - and never a jarred pasta sauce or soup.  If you were thirsty, drink water.  If you were hungry, eat an apple. 

But somewhere along the way I drastically veered from that.  Once I started driving, I could go to fast food places with my friends.  I ate the snacks I was never allowed to have.  I indulged in foods that made rare appearances in our house.  And although I do cook from scratch and eat a lot of vegetables and lean meats and things that are good for me, I also eat out at restaurants and have my fair share of fast food.  Now that I'm getting older and not only unable to lose weight, but feeling kinda shitty on some days, I realize that I probably need to get back to the healthy habits I had when I was a kid.  

Author Michael Pollan said, "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."  That's pretty good advice.  I will once again try to follow that advice.  Who knows, 2023 might just be the year I get this shit right.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 

"Lovin' him a little more each day...."

He's the kind of guy that would say

"Hey baby let's getaway, let's go someplace, huh"Well, I don't care
He's the kind of guy that you give your everythingAnd trust your heart, share all of your love 'til death do you partI wanna be what he wants when he wants itAnd whenever he needs itAnd when he's lonesome and feelin' love starvedI'll be there to feed him
I'm lovin' him a little bit more each dayHe turns me right on when I hear him say(Hey, baby, let's getaway, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care(Hey, baby, let's getaway, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care
I wanna be what he wants when he wants itAnd whenever he needs itAnd when he's lonesome and feelin' love-starvedI'll be there to feed himLovin' him a little bit more each dayIt turns me right on when I hear him say
Well, I don't care(Hey, baby, let's getaway, let's go somewhere far)(Baby, can we?)Well, I don't care
Look at my heart floating away(Daydreaming) Thinking of you (daydreaming)Thinking of you (daydreaming, daydreaming)

And my slogan for the New Year...

Taken from CoreBarreFit Co-Founder, Fred DeVito:

If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.

I'll be looking for some challenges this year!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: Change Often In 2022

2020: The Miserable Hike
2019: How 2019 Fell Through The Cracks
2018: Galloping Into 2019
2017: 2017 Saw A Snowstorm, A Penitentiary, And A Wedding
2016: 2016 Has Ended And It's Time To Breathe Again
2015: The Sun Sets On 2015
2014: Thanks, 2014. For Everything.
2013: I Am Gonna OWN You, 2014!
2012: Wrapping Up A Year Of Making My Own Sunshine
2011: Later, 2011!
2010: That’s A Wrap!
2009: Out With The Old
2008: Another Year, Another 365 Days
2007: All Good Things Come To An End
2006: The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
2005: Suicidal Firewood