Monday, January 21, 2019

Smooth Operator

Today Ed used our new Vitamix to make his very first smoothie - Liquid Gold.

Made with golden beets, grapes, lemon juice, and pumpkin seeds, the flavor was, umm, interesting.

Honestly?  It tasted like dirt.

But with a slight beet flavor.

I don't know what I expected.  Beets are root vegetables.  They grow up surrounded by dirt.  They're earthy.

On the second sip, it wasn't so bad. I'd say it's an acquired taste.  It could have used a little more sweetness for my liking, but you'd probably get used to it after a while.  

You can get the recipe here if you're interested in trying it.

Tomorrow a Cucumber Cranberry smoothie is on the menu.

I feel healthier just typing that sentence.

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The Road To A New Beginning

2017: We The People
2016: Two Old Ladies And A Truck
2015: Leaving San Diego In A Lavender Glow
2014: Thin And Crispy. Just How I Like 'Em
2013: Amber Jack
2012: Adding A Poodle To The Mix
2011: If…
2010: How The West Was Fun
2009: Pecking Order
2008: The Sympathy Train Stopped Dead In Its Tracks
2007: Shalom
2006: A.D.I.D.A.S.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

That Famous Smile

The Mona Lisa, known as Monna Lisa or La Gioconda in Italian and La Joconde in French, has been hanging in the Louvre museum in Paris since 1797.

Believed to have been painted between 1503 and 1506, it's been described as "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world".  It's also one of the most valuable paintings in the world, having an insurance valuation worth nearly $820 million dollars in 2018. 

When we located the room the Mona Lisa was supposed to be in, I wasn't even sure we were in the right place.  I didn't see anything.  The room was crowded and the painting didn't jump out at me as I expected it would.  I actually thought it would have its own area, with no other paintings around.  People weren't lined up to see her, they were just sort of milling about.  Then I spotted her on the far wall.
Once I knew where she was, I made my way to the front to get as close as I could.  The painting was so much smaller than I expected.   I wanted to get as close as I could.  I'd heard it was a small painting, but I wasn't prepared for its size.  It's less than three feet high by two feet wide.  Smaller than a poster!

I squeeze my way in and got right up to the barrier in front.  No one can get closer than a few feet.  There was a guy in front of me who didn't move for a very long time.  A young guy, he just kept looking at her.  And everyone had their phones out.  

According to Wikipedia, "The title of the painting, which is known in English as Mona Lisa, comes from a description by Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari, who wrote, "Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife." 

in Italian is a polite form of address originating as "ma donna" – similar to "Ma’am", "Madam", or "my lady" in English. This became "madonna", and its contraction "mona". The title of the painting, though traditionally spelled "Mona" (as used by Vasari), is also commonly spelled in modern Italian as Monna Lisa ("mona" being a vulgarity in some Italian dialects), but this is rare in English.

Since we're in the age of Instagram and Facebook and Twitter and well, cell phones, we had to get a selfie of us with the painting.  Proof we were really there, in the same room as a masterpiece.  And who says that art and selfies can't mix?

It's really quite amazing to see a work of art so famous, one that we've known about our entire lives, one that's known all over the world.  Even though there are many famous pieces of art in this museum and others, when you get to see them, in person, it just feels special.
I've never had a work of art that I had to see.  But since we were going to be in Paris, I knew I had to see this one.  Prior to the trip, I never thought about seeing it, never talked about seeing it, never put it on any kind of list, let alone a bucket list.  But now that I've been there, I think I'm going to have to make a list just so I can check this off.

I can now say I've seen the most famous smile.

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2018: Southern Italian Bottega
2017: 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!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

You Won't Believe Your Ears

A piano in one of the music rooms at Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Cabinet museum in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany. 
The museum is a showcase of approximately 350 self-playing, mechanical music instruments spanning three centuries.  

People used these musical cabinets to entertain their guests.  Some are very rare, some are extremely large, and some are small music boxes you might remember as a kid, the kind you wind up to hear the music.  

It's not just player pianos, like the one seen in the photo above, it's so much more. My favorite was the one with the violins.  It was made my Ludwig Hupfeld.  
I didn't get any real usable video but you can see some of the mechanical instruments in videos other people have taken here, here, and the violin one here.

It's a wonderful way to spend an hour.  You'll feel like a kid again, discovering something new and standing in wide-eyed wonder at the complex configurations that make these machines work and produce music.  It's amazing.

And once you're done listening to the musical contraptions, you must head out into the town for their famous Rüdesheimer Kaffee.

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It's All About The Hat

2017: Stanley Steemer Gets Your Home Cleaner
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!  

Friday, January 18, 2019

University's Main Drag

The view of University Boulevard from the top floor of Gentle Ben's Brewery in Tucson, a block from the main gate of the University of Arizona.

We met friends here for a run, a bite, and a few drinks. 

They ran, we ate and drank.

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Meat Sticks Don't Make The List

2017: Blue By You
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!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Rock Solid Saint

A statue of St. Kilian in Würzburg, Germany.

St. Kilian was an Irish missionary bishop and the Apostle of Franconia.  He's also one of the patron saints for those who suffer from rheumatism. 

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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!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Iron Wildcat

Wilbur T. Wildcat, who turned 59 in 2018, is the mascot for the University of Arizona in Tucson. 

Around town, and espcially in the campus area, you'll see his likeness everywhere!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~2018: The Early Bird And All That
2017: The Early Bird Gets The Education
2016: Love On 4th
2015: Distorted Delicious Beauties
2014: The Cockroach Cowboy
2013: Slap 'Em Right Up Here, Ma'am
2012: A Documentary In My Head
2011: Weeding Out The Assholes
2010: Does It Fall Under Some Kind Of Secret Guy Code?
2009: Over 140 Million Years In The Making
2008: If “G” Means Good, Then “I” Must Mean Incompetent
2007: Ft. Lauderdale Storm
2006: You Don’t Need Makeup Or Starbucks
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Gilded Tourist Attraction

In Budapest, from the top of Castle Hill on the Buda side of the Danube River, we have a view of the Hungarian Parliament Building that sits on the Pest side.  The third largest Parliament building in the world, it's a notable landmark of Hungary and a popular tourist destination in Budapest. 

The interior is quite spectacular.  There are gold ceilings.  GOLD.  It was decorated using more than 88 pounds of 22 to 23-carat gold, including rare gold leaves.
I've shown you the exterior at night, and during the day.  You've seen the Main Hall and the Assembly Hall.  And now you'll see some of the details.

Like the Moorish designed windows.  
The leaf patterned door jambs covered and surrounded in gold and colorful patterns on the walls.
The leaded windows that look across the Danube to Castle Hill in Buda.
The old-fashioned light switch plates.
More gold ceilings, this one with artwork.
Arches, gold, pink marble, red carpet.
Another example of the Moorish architectural style.
One of the rooms you pass through going near the grand main hall and the area where they keep the Crown of St. Stephen, the Holy Crown of Hungary.  

The columns are decorated with figures of regular people - farmers, peasants, shopkeepers, etc. - to remind the lawmakers, as they walk through the room, who they work for.
It's a beautiful building and one of the best attractions we visited in Budapest.  CNN Travel did a recent piece about it - with some video - which you can see HERE.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Budapest, don't miss this tour!


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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! 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Safety Check

When we're loaded, we're required to check the securement of the load every 150 miles.  Well, the rules are to check at the time of loading, check within the first 50 miles, check at any change of duty status, and check every 150 miles or 3 hours, whichever comes first.  We've got lots of rules to follow, these are just some of the ones pertaining to cargo securement.

We usually stop at a rest area or truck stop to do our checks.  It's also an opportunity to get out to get some air and stretch our legs (not always the most pleasant in inclement weather, though).  When we get out, we do a general walk-around.  We're looking at the securement devices, checking the load to make sure it hasn't shifted and just giving everything a basic once-over.  We make sure our lights are working, all the boxes are secure, placards (if being used) are in place, nothing is broken or damaged.  

Anyone carrying hazardous materials, also has to do a tire check - you wouldn't want someone hauling gasoline or corrosive materials driving around on bald or damaged tires, would you?  It's one of the many tasks one is responsible for while operating a commercial motor vehicle.  It's a great way to maintain a safe operation on the road.  

And that's something everyone should be happy about, isn't it?

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Cactus And The Catalinas

2017: Teaching People How To Unite
2016: Shining A Light
2015: Tooling Around The Old Pueblo
2014: Next Blog, Please
2013: My Mother Never Fried Chicken Like This
2012: Shocking
2011: Awesome All-Star
2010: Have Pots And Pans, Will Travel
2009: This One Contains A Young Rider
2008: When She’s Not Sleeping, She Tries To Look Purty
2007: Eddie McSteamy Friday
2006: Pepparkakor Cat
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

See You On The Flip Side

Parked side-by-side all week, our friends Marlaina and MacG will be leaving today.

Normally I'd feel bad that they're leaving to go back to work and we're staying home to lounge around, but this time they're not going back to work, they're leaving to go on yet another vacation (without us!).

So we'll just say, b
on voyage and see you soon!

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Let Your Love Light The Sky

2017: Step One, Neutralize
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! 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

A Ruined Medieval Castle Overlooks An Abbey

Dürnstein Abbey (Stift Dürnstein), the former Augustinian Monastery of Dürnstein, sits on the Danube River.  Its blue tower is the landmark of the Wachau Valley in Austria.  

On the hill above the above the abbey, you can see the ruins of the 
Dürnstein Castle (Burgruine Dürnstein). 

The castle is known for being one of the places where King Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart), returning from the Third Crusade, was imprisoned after being captured near Vienna by Duke Leopold V of Austria, from December 1192 until his extradition to Emperor Henry VI in March 1193.

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Grand Architecture And Strict Discipline

2017: Setting Moon
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! 

Monday, January 07, 2019

It's A Sunny Side Up Morning

Our friends Marlaina and MacG are staying with us this week, until Wednesday, and every morning while I'm eating my Greek yogurt with strawberries and granola, Marlaina is whipping up some kind of egg concoction like this for the boys.  Ed is getting spoiled.

This breakfast consisted of two sunny-side up eggs - from chickens that run free on the range and get massages and mani-pedis before they lay them - over a lightly tossed green salad, chunks of pork loin from last night's dinner, all piled up on a piece of Dave's Killer Bread, toasted.

Look at that gorgeous orange yolk!

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A Ruined Morning

2017: A Burst Of Design
2016: El Niño 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!