Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ten Outstanding Years

This week I received my 10 Year Safety Award - a paid 3-day cruise to the Bahamas which includes airfare, airport transfers, and the cruise itself.

I'm not going.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the gift, but I went on a 32-day cruise in 2015, and three years ago we went on this very same 3-day cruise when Ed won his 10 Year Safety Award.  Honestly, the hassle of flying from Arizona to Florida to get on a boat to go to the Bahamas for one day isn't worth it.  I've opted to take the alternative gift.

The certificate came with a letter congratulating me on my "outstanding achievement".  I'm not sure how many miles I've driven at this point, but I'm probably up around 500,000 or so.  That's a lot of pavement, baby.

Done without incident, save for a few deer strikes and a very injured bear.

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Mangiare All'aperto, Trucker Style

2014: Released To The Press
2013: In A Time When Gentlemen And Ladies Actually Existed
2012: The Great Affair 
2011: The Gaping Void Says It All
2010: Under The Tuscan Sun Within 3,000 Year Old Walls
2009: Dragged Back, Kicking And Screaming
2008: Seniors Maintain Law And Order By Way Of A Fluke Discovery
2007: Lisa Lavie Is The Angel Here
2006: Fight The Moth
2005: Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bathing Beauty

Every few weeks our steed gets a bath.  We run in the dusty Southwest and after a while the swirling tornadoes of dust dull everything on the truck.  I'm sure it's also stripping the paint as we drive, just like it carves away rock in the canyons, but there's really nothing we can do about that.

In the winter we wash more often, as the road salt does a number on everything.  But it needs to be done in the summer, too.  Dust, dirt, and bugs.  Oh. My. God.  The bugs.

It costs $77 to get the truck and trailer washed, which is about the national average.  Some places do a better job than others but when it's done, no matter where it gets washed, it always looks ten times better.

Here you see her leaving the wash bay with a smile.

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2015: Win In A Complex World
2014: Farm To Belly
2013: It's The Weekend. Kick Back And Relax.
2012: With Pleasure
2011: It’s Exhausting Imagining You In These Pants
2010: Florentine Youth
2009: What’s In A Name?
2008: Farming The Wind
2007: Eddie In The Big Little City Friday
2006: Photograph It If You Think You May Never See It Again
2005: Why???

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Driving Into The Sunset With Voices In My Head

I've written in the past about podcastsenjoy listening to while I drive.  The time passes quickly when I have something to entertain me.

Well, there are some new podcasts that have come out and I feel it's my duty to share them with you.  Here's a list of the latest ear candy on my to-listen list. 

Slate's Trumpcast
My absolute first choice must-listen-to is this podcast.  Donald Trump provides so much material, it's impossible not to have something to say about it.  In addition to Jacob Weisberg presenting crack interviews and insightful information on the most polarizing candidate of our time, John Di Domenico, Trump impersonator, reads Donald Trump's latest tweets.  It's my favorite part of the show.

How I Built This
Another winner from NPR, How I Built This is a podcast they describe as, "about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the stories behind the movements they built. Each episode is a narrative journey marked by triumphs, failures, serendipity and insight — told by the founders of some of the world's best known companies and brands. If you've ever built something from nothing, something you really care about — or even just dream about it."  It's hosted by Guy Raz, who hosts another one of my favorites, the TED Radio Hour.

This is a new one - only 8 episodes so far - but a real winner.  Found explores "personal stories of love, loss, hope, transformation, and aspiration through the lens of lost and found notes --with the power of humor and music."  After you listen to the episode, you'll want to check out the notes through the FOUND app or the website.

Code Switch
NPR knows how to crank out great podcasts.  They say, "Ever find yourself in a conversation about race and identity where you just get...stuck? Code Switch can help. We're all journalists of color, and this isn't just the work we do. It's the lives we lead. Sometimes, we'll make you laugh. Other times, you'll get uncomfortable. But we'll always be unflinchingly honest and empathetic."

More Perfect
A spinoff of another favorite podcast of mine, Radiolab, this one is super-interesting.  We are in the midst of having a new justice appointed to the Supreme Court, so it's very timely.  And appointing this justice is a big freakin' deal.  As most of us have seen, it's a country-dividing deal.  This podcast "dives into the rarefied world of the Supreme Court to explain how cases deliberated inside hallowed halls affect lives far away from the bench." It's a winner. 

Produced by Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, this podcast is "a unique collection of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. Upstanders help inspire us to be better citizens."  It's a Starbucks original series narrated by SuChin Pak.

And one I just heard about but haven't listened to yet:

Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths
This podcast examines the lives and deaths of prominent people who changed history and influenced pop culture. Each episode is focused on an historical figure and takes you on a dramatic journey through the life and ultimate tragic death of those who have had an impact on society. With the help of voice actors, we attempt to honor these individuals by bringing their stories to life. New episodes are released every Wednesday. Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media Production.

So now you have a few new entertainment options.  Happy listening! 

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Look Away, Look Away, Look Away, Dixieland

2014: Denial For Sale In New Mexico
2013: Friday Night Fright
2012: Ten Things For October
Jane’s Addiction

2010: Isolated Iesolana
2009: WWJD?
2008: Where The Angels Arrive And Depart
2007: Diamonds In The Deep Blue
2006: Everyone Is Doing It
2005: En-Gulfed Coast

Monday, October 17, 2016

Smoky Slices Of Butt

So on Friday, Ed spent more than 12 hours smoking a Boston Butt.  He approached it with military precision.  He awoke at 4:45 am, filled the smoker with pecan pellets, let it heat up for about 30 minutes, and had the butt in place by 5:30 am.

Then he spent the rest of the day doing yard work, changing the oil on the truck, organizing his side boxes, and generally keeping busy while the pork cooked.  He watched the temperature and basted the butt hourly, as was suggested by what he's read.

When he took it out of the smoker at 6 pm, we were all starving, but we had to wait another 30 minutes while it rested.  Argghhh.  It was the longest I've EVER waited for food.  I don't even like to wait on line in a restaurant.  I'll walk out if the wait is more than 20 minutes, but here we were approaching hour thirteen.

Once we unwrapped the butt and got it ready to slice, I started to calm down a little.  The outside was both gooey and crispy.  I sliced a tiny piece off and had my first bite.  A little salty - most likely from the rub - but still pretty good.  Then I just started maniacally slicing, peeps were hungry.

The pork wasn't falling apart like I thought it would be, as I was imaging a pile of pulled pork like I've ordered at restaurants, but it was tender and moist.  I served it with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots, and small dinner rolls in case anyone wanted to make a slider-sized sandwich.

We've had pork for days.  So.  Much.  Pork.  Last night I made some leftovers for Ed, sautéed it with butter, white wine, and a little barbecue sauce.  Served it over rice with mixed veggies.  He loved it.

The rest is in the freezer.

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Clouds In The State Of The Large Creek

2014: Yellow Trees, Big Sky
2013: The Negotiation
2012: Going Au Naturel
2011: A Great Idea
The Real Deal
This Should Keep You Buy For A While
Plenty Of Room For The Ladies

2007: It All Began With The Cheese
Zig Zag Wisconsin Color

2005: Made In China 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Is Purse Anxiety In The DSM?

Some girls like shoes.  Collect them.  Can never have enough pairs.  
With me, it's purses.  From an early age I've had a thing for purses.  I think I get it from my maternal grandmother, who was always on the hunt for the right bag.  It's a bit of an obsession.  From cheap to expensive, leather to pleather, parachute material to canvas.  I've had them all.  

Pockets, strap length, weight, color, material - all factors to finding just the right bag. You'd think narrowing it down would be easy.  Oh, no.  

Right now I'm carrying two - a black Kipling tote sorta like this one, and a blue lightweight faux leather crossbody bag that I pilfered from my mother.  Since I'm home so much now, I've recently started only carrying the essentials with me when I'm running around town - wallet, phone, fan, gum, pen, paper.  But if I'm going more than 10 miles from my house, the big one comes with me.

What I've realized, is that I have purse anxiety.  I must have my stuff with me.  I don't have the ability to decide which things are not as important as others. I want it all.  What if I need aspirin?  Or a bandaid?  Or duct tape?  I'm sure the weight of the purse is going to give me shoulder problems.  I probably walk lopsided as it is, favoring the shoulder that's shouldering all the weight.  And God forbid I ask Ed to get something out of my purse.  The look of horror on his face says it all.

When I went through my bag and laid out everything I carry with me, I didn't think it seemed like a lot.  The selection seems reasonable, doesn't it?  And necessary.  OK, maybe I don't need an extra expandable tote bag when I'm carrying a tote bag, but what if I go shopping and buy stuff that I need another bag for?  Like at the Farmer's Market?  I can't put peaches and strawberries in my actual purse.

I see people, mostly celebrities, running around town with just their keys and a cell phone in their hand.  


What the hell is that all about?  


What if they need something?  What if...

I don't know how they do it.  My chest is constricting just thinking about it.

Below is what I carry on a regular basis. Some things aren't shown, like tissues, or the extra grocery bags I tuck into small spaces.  Unless extreme circumstances require me to carry a small bag - like at a cocktail party, or a wedding - I almost always have all of this with me.  Sometimes more, if I'm toting around books, magazines, or my iPad.

Don't judge.

 1.  Hairspray
 2.  Tylenol
 3.  Expandable Tote Bag
 4.  Zippered bag currently being used as my wallet (money, credit cards, bills, receipts, pocket knife, etc.)
 5.  Zippered cosmetic bag (I carry enough with me to do the makeup for a drag queen stage show)
 6.  Silver zippered bag with small personal items (tampons, hand sanitizer, hand cream, bobby pins, hair ties, dental floss, antacids)
 7.  Mesh bag for change
 8.  Extra pair of silver hoops just in case I forget to wear earrings when I leave the house
 9.  Small spiral notepad and small pack of Thank You notes
10.  Post-It Notes
11.  My point-and-shoot camera that goes everywhere with me
12.  Sunglasses
13.  Paper clips and metal binder clips
14.  Extra keys to my mother's townhouse
15.  Chocolate Velamints - it's been YEARS since I've had these and recently found them at Cracker Barrel
16.  Sony earbuds
17.  Nature Valley Granola Bar
18.  Red pen, black pen, highlighter, mechanical pencil, etc.
19.  Zippered bag (gift from Marlaina, bought in Bangkok) containing Splenda
20.  Reading glasses
21.  Wet Ones bacterial wipes (I also carry baby wipes in a Ziploc bag)
22.  Mini ziploc bag with stamps, duct tape strips, misc papers and business cards collected along the way
23.  Mini ziploc bag with bandaids
24.  Hair band
25.  Gum - I usually have several kinds                

26.  Business Cards
27.  House and pickup keys.  My big rig keys are not shown.

28.  My fan.  This one is a gift from Marlaina that she purchased in Hong Kong.  I never go anywhere without.  If I had to choose between my camera and my fan, the fan would win. And since it's so big, I usually have a purse it'll fit in.  It's essential and when I'm hot, as it can be the difference between me being just bitchy or downright homicidal.

Maybe what I really need is anti-anxiety medication.  I certainly have room to carry it.

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Apple Crisp And Friends

2014: Where The Food Is Delicious And The Service Is World Class
2013: Something To Look Forward To
2012: Two More For You, Mr. President!
2011: A Thing About Things
2010: Americans Among Us
2009: Next Time I’m Buying Him Carbon Paper And White Out. And A Roll Of Stamps. And Maybe A VHS Player.
2008: Flash Flood
2007: Consider The Source When Getting Advice
2006: Perfectly Apropos For Bush’s Home State
2005: Soul 2 Soul

Friday, October 14, 2016

Prepping The Butt

Here's Ed, getting the pork butt ready for the smoker.  Upon suggestions from people who've gone before him, he rubbed the butt with mustard, then patted a spice rub over the entire piece of meat.

The pork shoulder was about 10 pounds.  We marveled at the price.  If you know how much it is to get pulled pork (or any barbequed meats) at a restaurant, or place like Dickey's, you know how much of a deal this piece of meat is.  Plus, it's going to provide many meals.

I think Ed's going to try brisket and turkey next, which might be a good plan considering Thanksgiving is coming soon.

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Strangled By The Capital Beltway

2014: Even The Deer Are Bored
2013: Happy "Columbus" Day!
2012: Not So Subtle
2011: Satan Called. He Wants His Weather Back.
2010: If Only I Looked As Good As He Does
2009: What Grandmothers Do When Their Grandchildren Grow Up
2008: The View Of The Valley And Meadow
2007: A Beautiful Dimple In The Earth
2006: Dive The Sky
2005: G-Y-M

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

This Butt Is No Joke

Ed is serious about his new smoker.  After much research and some lengthy conversations with our friend Gary (who is enjoying his smoker), Ed decided his first piece of meat was going to be a ten pound Boston Butt, also known as a Pork Shoulder.

We bought the butt at Dickman's Meat & Deli and when we got home, Ed prepared it with a basic spice rub.  I'm really looking forward to tasting the result of Ed's extensive research.

Tomorrow morning it goes in the smoker!  Come back for the flavor report!

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A Day Of Amusement On The Lake

2014:  法拉盛華埠
2013:  The Pumpkin Master
2012:  Prime Viewing
2011:  Still Flowering
Wishing I Could Trade My Feet For Wheels
And The Winner Is…
Palm In The Dirty South
Ed Makes Out With Fair Fluff Friday
Blue Light Special
Blue Collar

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Couple In Selfies

Most places we go, I'm the one taking the pictures.  Which means a lot of photos of Ed and not so many of me.  Every once in a while I remember to ask Ed to take a selfie of us - his arm is longer and can hold the camera out further than I can.

Top:  Freemason Harbor in Norfolk, VA / The sleeper of our truck / Biking in Secaucus, NJ
Middle:  Pittsburgh, PA river cruise / Amusement Park in Cedar Point, OH / Florida T/A truck stop
Bottom:  The sleeper of our truck / White Sands National Monument in NM / Mall in Tucson, AZ

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2015: From The Top
2014: If Your Name Is Tinsley, You Probably Use A Fountain Pen
2013: British Invasion
2012: Splendid Fantasy Road Trip
2011: Hard To Get Close To
2010: Lunch In Fossombrone
2009: Taking Carving To A Whole New Level
2008: Is There Enough Yellow In THIS One For Ya?
2007: I Didn’t Realize Railway Workers Were So Frisky
2006: Individuality
2005: Text Me

Monday, October 10, 2016

Twisted Monday

I LOVE soft pretzels but have never made them at home.  That changes now.

River cruises are all the rage.  It's still on the top of my list of things to do.

Garlic Roasted Potatoes.  So simple, yet so delicious.

If you love to eat, you'll understand these.

Even though I'm 49, I can't believe I am reading this.

In case you're thinking about leaving the U.S. should the unthinkable happen, here are a few suggestions.

Barcelona Regatta in Italy pictures.  Just beautiful.

And completely unrelated to anything above...
I've never been a fan of sports, and don't understand why someone would intentionally want to put themselves in harm's way.  I most certainly don't understand young people taking this kind of physical abuse.  After seeing the movie Concussion, you couldn't pay me enough to convince me to let my child play football.  Here's a New York Times article talking about the lasting impact of just a single concussion.

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2015: The Bitchy Beast Of Strijen
2014: Montana Moments
2013: Scanning Comes To A Mouth Near You
2012: Go Ahead, Judge Me
Con Los Años Que Me Quedan

2010: Ten. Ten. Ten. A Perfect Score!
2009: Lighting The Testosterone Torch
2008: Eddie Helps The Economy Friday
2007: Talk About A Thorn In Your Side
2006: My Sentiments Exactly
2005: Mason? Dixon? Line? BELOW It.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Make Your Reservation Now

Ed has taken home ownership to a whole new level, and he's been putting his many days off to good shopping.  His most recent acquisition?  

This Sawtooth Pellet Grill.  He's now added smoking meat to his long list of interests.

Over the past week, he's extolled the benefits of smoked foods.  Brisket, pork butt, steak, salmon, etc.

He's so into it - which is great, because you won't catch me within 20 feet of something that gets to 500 degrees - that I walked into the living room the other night and he was watching YouTube videos on the process.

That's when I texted my friend Kim.

"I don't know if it can get much worse. Ed is watching a YouTube video of a fat guy slicing brisket."

I have a feeling that very soon I'm going to be the fat chick slicing brisket.

Who's coming for dinner?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Every Year Is A Good Year For A Hero

2014: Peace Through Understanding
2013: Goodwill Hunting
2012: Approaching Talladega
2011: Music Sets The Stage
2010: Tacky Prevails
2009: Not As Hot As It Looks
2008: Burst
2007: Stockholm Syndrome
2006: Playing In A Dream Near You
2005: The Greatest Story Ever Told

Friday, October 07, 2016

Magic Shoes

Today is my friend Kim's birthday and we are taking her out to dinner to celebrate.  Since I actually worked this week, I wasn't able to shop.  But I only had one errand to take care of, which left me most of the day to shop for a gift.  I headed straight to Nordstrom Rack.

Success!  I found her a great pair of pants and several cute tops.  And then...I bought a pair of earrings and two pairs of shoes for myself, and a pair of shoes for my mom.  Sadly, they're not the shoes in the photo - I don't really have anywhere to wear a shoe like that right now - although I thought they were amazing.  They actually made my feet and legs look skinny.  They're clearly magical shoes.

I think I need them.  To walk around the house in.  Well, mostly to practice walking aroud the house, since I haven't worn heels for years now.  I'll probably pull a muscle or twist an ankle.  Damn this trucking job that has made me flat shoe dependent!

Since Ed was waiting in the car, I had to be quick.  I couldn't linger and walk around in all the heels.

So I'm going back tomorrow.

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Finally Fall

2014: Fruit On Main
2013: Circling The Shark
2012: Unlimited
2011: Autumn Leaves Begin To Fall
2010: I Wonder What Color The Ancient Estruscans Wore?
2009: You Ask, I’ll Answer
2008: You Can’t Hide From The Eyes Of A Truck Driver
2007: Flurry Of Ruffles
2006: A Bag Full Of Dicks
2005: Go West Young Man!! Uh, I Mean East. East.