Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Day To Shine

The photo above of my mother was taken just after I was born (1967) while my mother was still in the hospital but getting ready to go home.  She was 25 years old.

The two photos below are from Mother's Day 1969, taken at my grandparents' house in the Bronx.  First one, my mother and I.  Second one, me and my brother.



Happy Mother's Day to one of the best!



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: Over The Adventurous Land

2016: Un Ping├╝ino Prepares For The Ride Of His Life
2015: Cash Only Seafood
2014: Exactly
2013: Cottage Industry
2012: The Whole World
2011: Weekend Retreat
2010: I Might Even Give It An Academy Award
2009: Two Poles, One Man, No Fish
2008: When You Don’t Have Time To Make More Than One Trip
2007: A Mother Of A Mother
2006: Could You Love William Perry?
2005: Herding The Blogger Sheep

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Blooms!

I wrote a post earlier this week about the blossoms on the saguaro cacti in our yard.  Well, I was up early enough to get a picture of the flowers blooming!

They bloom at night, according to what I read.  And when I got home later in the day, the flowers had all closed up, so I'm glad I thought to get this shot early in the day.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: Looking Good Before The Pounce

2016: Rollin' The Dice
2015: The Pond Is A Lot Smaller Than You Think
2014: You Can't Sleep Here But You Can Get A Fruit And Veg Fix
2013: Mommy And Me Kickin' It At The Yacht Club
2012: Dinner At The Diner
2011: My Guitar Hero
2010: The Competition Is Getting Fierce
2009: A Little Smooch Makes Everything Taste Better
2008: The Greatest Spectacle In Racing
2007: Jalapenos Basking In The California Sunshine
2006: Millions Of Miles Of Knowledge
2005: Midnight Snack

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Running Through Oil Fields

We've been going back and forth across the southwest for weeks.  I'm either driving in the dark or greeting the day.  There never seems to be more than three cars on the road at a time, until I get to the oilfields of west Texas.

Then I usually hit "traffic".  Mostly men, almost always in a pickup truck, starting their day just before the sun breaks the horizon.  It starts in Monahans and picks up as I travel east through Odessa, Midland, and Big Spring.  It starts to taper off around Sweetwater.  Once I hit Abilene it's quiet again and the traffic dies down until I hit the outskirts of Fort Worth. 

I prefer the eastern half of Texas with its trees and grass, but every time I drive through the Permian Basin and see names like Schlumberger, Occidental, Chevron, Exxon, and Halliburton to name a few, I'm reminded about what's going on in this part of the country. 

The pump jacks are always going.  The oil is always flowing.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
Famous Desert Singers

2016: Work In Progress
2015: Music City Drive-By
2014: I'll Meet You At Sue's
2013: And Then The Rains Came
2012: When You Need To Point Out Which One Is Herb
2011: A Road Diverged In The Wood And I Lived To Tell About It
2010: I’m A Researchin’ Fool
2009: The Closest I’ll Ever Come
2008: Who Is He Kidding?
2007: The Captain Of My Vessel
2006: Baking Is Fun!
2005: Sticks And Stones

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Evoking The American Southwest

The saguaro cacti in our yard have begun to get buds and blooms!

I like how this site describes the blooms:  "The simple, creamy-white blossoms open from green buds atop the cactus's trunk and branch stems; a blooming saguaro looks as if some giant hand had lifted up the plant and dipped the stem tips in pale, flowering frosting. The flowers open at night and last one day only, fading and closing the following afternoon to be replaced by others from late April through early June. During the flowers' short life, they provide food for bees, bats and doves, who in turn pollinate the flowers."

This big one - one of two 20-footers - stands guard next to our driveway.

I've seen a few white blossoms this week, including some that have fallen off, littering the path near the driveway.  These are two in our front yard.
 Here's a closer look at the buds that will eventually open and become flowers, looking like this.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
The Dusty Monk

2016: Welding 101
2015: Tower Of Sheer Evil
2014: Bird Shadows
2013: Bike Shopping Part Deux
2012: Well Worth The Mess
2011: Reading Time
2010: A Mother Of A Flood
2009: Hail To The Driver
2008: Eddie Shows His Good Side Friday
2007: Go Bananas!!
2006: Shmuley Says
2005: Fangboner

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Red Dragon And His Friends

Ed, John, Mike, and Tony
This weekend we spent the evening with our neighbors, drinking wine, eating snacks, and playing darts.  I haven't played darts in over....well, never, I don't think! 

Our neighbor (second from left) is Welsh, and in addition to getting a crash course in the history of Wales, we get to learn little snippets of the language.  Above the dartboard are the words "Y Ddraig Goch", which means The Red Dragon in Welsh.


Hwyl!




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
The Common Folk

2016: Happy Mother's Day!
2015: There Are Vacation Links In This One
2014: Remains In A Gold Field
2013: In The Shadow Of Al
2012: Uphill Semi-Battle
2011: Happy Mother’s Day!
2010: Back On The Road And Sleeping Like A Baby
2009: Peeping Ed Friday
2008: It’s Obvious Where My Sense Of Style Comes From
2007: End Of Season Snow
2006: At Least She Isn’t In The Cubicle Next To YOU
2005: Mother Lode

Monday, May 07, 2018

Hangin' With This Chick For Thirteen Years

Baby chicks at Atwoods Ranch & Home
So today marks the thirteenth year of this blog.  THIRTEEN YEARS, people.  Happy Blog Birthday to me!  With the exception of the first two months, May and June 2005, I have written a post for every single day. I have written over 4,720 posts and included over 3,080 photos I have taken.

The last two years have been much more challenging because for 19 months we've been on a dedicated run which didn't allow any variety in our travels.  I've tried to find interesting things in Tucson, where I live, to fill the days.  I've posted many pictures of cactus, of the birds in my yard, and of the mountain everyone on my side of town talks about.  There have been sunsets of the southwest, restaurant reviews, and recipes.  I've written about my husband, my mother, my brother, and my friends.  I've gotten behind and had to catch up by posting all the happenings in a week, in one sitting.


It's like having a second job that's harder than my first job.

I have been putting a lot of thought into changing things up.  I considered closing down the blog completely, and still may do that, but I haven't had a chance to formulate a new plan yet.  We were going to take another dedicated route starting this month, and that worried me because the stress of having to write daily when there's nothing going on is just too much for me.  It's really hard.  I got some feedback from family and friends - some people said to wrap it up, but more people said to keep it going.  I'm not sure what the right path will be.

I've also been doing research about blogging.  As you might imagine, there are a million things out there on how to do it, why to do it, when to do it, etc.  Some people say daily blogging is too much, others think it's worth their time.  Some people have advertising that relies on daily blogging, others blog about current events (which to be current, usually means it must be daily).  There are many sites that claim blogging less frequently has brought more traffic to their site.  Other sites say people are overwhelmed with so much content in their RSS feeds, that the daily bloggers often get cut from the morning reading list of those people.

This is an emotional decision for me.  I have put a lot of time into this endeavor.  It started out just as a way to keep in touch with family and friends and turned into having readers all over the world.  And not just readers, but friends.  It's pretty amazing to meet someone in person who only knows you through words on a screen.  I love that I've had those opportunities.  I feel obligated to continue to provide something.

I was thinking that blogging once a week will allow me to formulate better posts.  Although many people have told me they love my pictures (when I get lucky enough to get something good), I feel guilty when I just post a photo and don't write anything to go with it.  And honestly, some days I have nothing to write, and those photos become fillers.  You don't hate me, right?

My idea was to start this thirteenth year, today, with a modified name ("The Rant" instead of "The Daily Rant") and a plan for a new posting schedule.  Once a week, twice a week, I'm not sure.  I do like offering past year's posts at the bottom of each day in case people wanted to delve into the archives,  and if I were to discontinue blogging daily, that would go away.  Of course, the archives are always available in the sidebar, but they wouldn't be right there for the clicking.

My head hurts.

I'm going to be very busy this week and since I haven't made an official announcement about the posting schedule, I will probably keep the daily thing for a while.  But, I will be working on changing that at some point.

Readers do have the ability to receive posts in their mailbox when they are posted.  You can sign up for that in the sidebar where it says "Subscribe To Me!".  And whether I post daily or weekly, you'll get the newest post via email so you don't miss a thing.

There may be things.  


If you feel compelled to give me your opinion, I will welcome any comments, suggestions, or criticism.  What do you like?  What do you not like?  Is there something specific I should focus on?  Whatever you think.  Let me know.  You can leave your input in the comments section or email me at salenalettera@gmail.com.

In the meantime, I'm going to keep marching on.  And if you're still with me, many thanks for sticking around for so long.  I'm thinking maybe this thirteenth year will be a lucky one.  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
Twelve Years Of Flitting Around

2016: The Magnificent Eleven
2015: My Baby Is Ten Years Old
2014: A Contented Living
2013: Eight Takes The Cake
2012: Seven Years And Still Ranting
2011: Don’t Worry, Daily Rant. I’m On Your Six
2010: So This Is What Niche Feels Like
2009: The Sum Of Its Parts
2008: Look At Me, I’m Three!!
2007: A Trucking Style Birthday Celebration
2006: A Perfectly Uninteresting Event
2005: The Day The Blog Began

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Watch Like A Hawk

I've been trying to get a picture of this guy for weeks.  I see him swooping around every once in a while but I can never see where he lands.  A few weeks ago, my mother and I were sitting in my living room talking and watching the birds do their thing outside when he swooped down and picked up a dove right in front of us, and took off with him clutched in his claws!

I know when he's lurking because all the other birds and rodents scatter.  I just now watched him fly by the window - I saw his giant shadow just as all the other birds took off.  Then he came back and landed on the edge of the birdbath. 

He's a red-tailed hawk and he's huge! 

I was able to get this picture because he spent a lot of time on the birdbath.  He was sipping, dipping, preening.  Ed just filled it, so the water was fresh.  He had the place to himself since he scared everything else away.  I took the picture through the window - because I don't go outside when the temperature breaks the 70-degree mark - and I love that I can see his speckled breast.  When he flies, his red tail is visible. 

He's kinda beautiful when he soars through the air.  I just hope he doesn't nail me in the back of the head and knock me over like one of these hawks did to my mother last year.

At least I don't have to worry about him flying off with me.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
Folk Parking

2016: Flashback Friday
2015: Rise
2014: Freshly Dusted
2013: Sockless Monday
2012: Extra Virgin
2011: Eddie Makes An Appearance
2010: Watt A Work Of Art – Part Three
2009: The Clouds And Trees Line Up For Bed
2008: The Shimmer Of The Sea
2007: Indian Gallery
2006: Geography Test
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, May 04, 2018

Family Heirlooms

The produce at Sprouts is always so beautiful.  On my last trip, I snapped this picture of heirloom tomatoes.  Here's a little information about these tomatoes.  

And here are a few recipes for these beauties, courtesy of Martha Stewart.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: You Can Put A Saddle On These Things
2016: SASsy But Comfortable
2015: ¡Holy Guacamole!
2014: Twisted Sifter Sifted My Photo From The Web
2013: Mine Is Easy To Spot
2012: Oh, For The Love Of Food
2011: Blintzes On Broadway
2010: Watt A Work Of Art – Part One
2009: Salena Javier Barcelona
2008: Road To Bangor
2007: Horton Hatches A Plaza
2006: Crack Whores For Everyone!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Opposite

This photo, taken in northeastern New Mexico, shows the exact opposite of the scenery in yesterday's post.  This is wide open nothingness and some people love it.  A friend of mine commented that yesterday's type of scenery makes him feel claustrophobic, and I can see why he thinks that. 

Claustrophobic isn't a good feeling.  But neither is despair.  When I look at the scenery above, I feel such a desperate sadness.  And I always think, who lives here??  And, why?  
I've seen a LOT of this country over the past thirteen years and I love that we can be in 
Arkansas one day and New Mexico the next. Or drive from New York to Los Angeles in a little over 48 hours. I definitely have my favorite spots throughout the country and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to see the places I'm not a fan of too because that allows me to know the places I'll never need to visit again. This is one of them.

I don't think I'll be able to squash the trucking/travel bug completely, but I know we'll eventually be working less over the coming years.  The freedom of the open road has such an incredible pull, it's hard to think about not being out here anymore.

I better start planting the RV bug in Ed's ear.  That's a vacation style I can get used to.  


  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
Big Hairy Domination Of North America

2016: Hot Pipes
2015: Go Fly A Kite. No, Really.
2014: Hats Off To....Well, Hats
2013: 10 Albums That Never Get Old
2012: The Rest Of Us
2011: Change Of Plans. Another Lazy Day Is In Order.
2010: First R2-D2 And C-3PO And Now, Ed’s Phone
2009: Droppings Might Be Too Delicate A Word
2008: Eddie’s Bedtime Snack Friday
2007: Activities I Need To Participate In
2006: Unwarranted Annoyance
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Sensory Pleasure

I love traveling on roads that look like this.  It's all about the lush greenery for me.  Grass and trees and flowers.  This photo was taken in central Arkansas on one of the secondary roads we took on our way to pick up a load.

I live in the Southwest but I'm not at all a fan of the scenery there.  In fact, I prefer the entire eastern half of the country over the western half. East of the Mississippi River, really.

There are a few places west of the Mississippi, like Arkansas and Louisiana and the very eastern part of Texas that are acceptable, but I wouldn't lose sleep leaving those states out.  And sure there are pretty pockets of mountains and stream and wide open spaces out west, but mostly, it's brown and depressing to me.  I intensely dislike any desert-like landscape bathed in neutral tones or flat plains where there's nothing to see for miles but dead grass, shrubs, or cactus. 

But the scenery in a place like this, with tons of trees and the density of green (or in the fall, the colors of changing leaves) is what I love to look at.  I can drive these roads all day long.  My eyes transmit this beauty straight into the center of my being and it fills me with joy.

We'll soon be doing another dedicated run through the southwest.  I'm not happy about it, but I'm going to try to be positive about some of the perks it offers.  I'm definitely going to miss the opportunity to see trees like this, the ocean like we just saw in North Carolina, and in a few months, the fall foliage and snow that will be coming.

There may be a few changes coming to the blog also.  As soon as I've decided what I'm doing, I'll let you know.

In the meantime, Happy May Day! and have a great week!!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2017: 
Advanced Rock Climbing

2016: Moist, Crispy, Sticky, And Sweet
2015: Victory On The York River
2014The Siren Song Of Spring
2013: No Pets. No Beards.

2012: Dykes On Bikes