Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Place For Pajama Pants, Motor Oil, And Christmas Lights

After an evening of laundry, Ed and I visited Benny's, a local store that's been around in the Newport, Rhode Island area for over 92 years.

They've got a little bit of everything for home and auto, just like the sign says.  You can buy Christmas lights, toys, car mats, home cleaning supplies, concrete, pajama bottoms, Patriots gear, paint, and a whole lot more.

The even have commercials!

2010: The Frozen Tundra
2009: Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work
2008: What’s Next, Reporting Your Maid In The Middle Of Her Dusting The Living Room Tsochkes?
2007: Fashion Forwards
2006: Swimming Po
2005: Just Call Me Rosa

Monday, December 15, 2014

Good Morning, Newport

The sun rising as we approached Newport, Rhode Island on the Claiborne Pell Bridge.  I took this with the iPhone - sometimes they come out great, sometimes they come out a little fuzzy like this - but I love a sunrise and still thought it was decent enough to share.

We deliver to Newport four to five times a year for the same customer.  Last time we were here we toured all the mansions.  This time, we're hoping to see the three that are decorated for Christmas - The Breakers, The Elms, and Marble House.

Enjoy the morning!  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: One Very Happy Sloth
2012: Overnight In Ohio
2011: If It Ain’t Sweet, It Ain’t Southern Made
2010: Portland Bound
2009: Dear Blog Santa
2008: The Trees Help Guide The Way
2007: Just In Time For The Holidays
2006: Eddie Leans On A Barrio Door Friday
2005: Glowing Reminders

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Crack O' Dawn

As the sun was rising, we were getting ready to pull out of the driveway at home.  After being off for a week we are going back to work for a few days before we call it a year.

Have a great weekend!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Oh No You Didn't

2012: Nothing Is More Memorable Than A Day At The Lake
2011: The Champion Of Our Cause, The Protector Of Our Dreams
2010: Shuttin’ Down The Operation
2009: Rolling Out The Holiday Films
2008: No Rig Too Big
2007: Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen
2006: Untitled
2005: Unawarrior

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Two Full Weeks Of Shopping Left

Christmas is two weeks away.  And I know there are people out there just like me who a) still has shopping to do or b) haven't even started yet.  What??  What kind of person waits until two weeks before Christmas to start shopping??  Yeah, umm, I don't know anyone like that

But in case you are one of those people, I've put together a list of things I think might fit perfectly under someone's tree.  Or wherever or however you do your holiday.

I am obsessed with Leather Duffels.  I don't have one, don't know exactly why I need one, but I really want one.  I know it's masculine and all, but I just know one day it will be worn and beautiful and that's when I'll appreciate that I got it way back when I didn't have anywhere to go.

Le Creuset Dutch Oven. If you can't lift a 50 pound bag of concrete, forget it, this isn't the pot for you.  But if you love indestructible kitchenware, bring it on.  Your kitchen needs this.  MY kitchen needs this.  And I want a bright color - yellow, orange or Caribbean blue.

What about the gift that keeps on giving?  A monthly gift club type of thing.  They have everything from beer, to cheese, to jelly, to coffee, to popcorn, to cheesecake!

Decorative pillows.  They always go unnoticed.  You crunch 'em up and shove them behind your neck, stack them to watch TV, use them everyday and don't even notice.  Why not have some beautiful ones?  Or ones with fun quotes?  Or beads sewn on them?  Ever body needs a pillow.

Foodie stuff.  Cookbooks. A trip to Sur La Table.  A few items from Williams-Sonoma.  Or maybe even a gift card to the hottest restaurant in town.

Girly stuff for your gal.  Makeup and handbags and shoes and a nice pair of leather gloves and maybe even some jewelry.

Manly man stuff for your guy.  Work boots, a great flannel shirt (I love a man in flannel), a good watch, fishing or hunting or camping gear, gadgets, a brand new camera.

And last, but not least, i
f you don't want to buy a physical gift, buy an experience.  This is one of my favorite categories.

Send your parents on a walking tour of Chicago.

Buy your nephews a day on a race track.

Treat your favorite couple to a hot air balloon ride.

Send your grandparents to a play.

Buy tickets to your brother's favorite band.

Hopefully it'll be something they'll never forget.  And if they don't like it, you won't have to stand in line to return it, they can just re-gift it to someone else.  Either way, someone will be happy.

Now get shopping!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Team Daily Rant Makes A Pitstop In Florida

2012: An Apple A Day
2011: California Sunshine
2010: A Star (Or Two) Is Born
2009: Modern Road Warriors And Their Weapons 
2008: Holsteins On Display
2007: Listening And LOVING
2006: Unfortunately Synonymous
2005: The Gays Are The Ritziest

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chocolate Covered Memory

Growing up in New York, the Entenmann's brand was the cake of choice to have with coffee.

Someone always had the New York Style Crumb Cake in their house - that seemed to be a staple for our family - and if they didn't have that, they had the All Butter Load pound cake.  Although the NY Style Crumb was good, I'm not really a fan of powdered sugar so I would occasionally buy the All Butter French Crumb Cake, the regular Crumb Coffee Cake (a favorite of Frank Sinatra!), or the Ultimate Crumb Cake.  ALL are delicious.

Oh, and we always called the product Entamans, leaving out that middle "en" sound.  I still say it that way.

My ultimate favorite - the Entenmann's I'd only get when I slept over my grandparents' house - were the Classic Rich Frosted Donuts pictured above.  One of those donuts and a glass of milk would end our evening.  For some reason, we never had these at home, so it was a special little event, my Nanny, Poppy, and I sitting at the table having milk and donuts.

I'd give my left pinkie for that moment again.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I Found A Few Gifts To Flip For

2012: Barely Surviving
2011: In And Out In A Peachy Keen Flash
2010: Yo, I’m All Over The Place!
2009: Morning On The Willamette
2008: Stupidity Threat Level: Orange*
2007: It’s Like Playing A Record Backwards To Hear The “Real” Meaning
2006: In The Desert, The Clouds Look Like Cotton Candy
2005: Chinky By The Ramada

Monday, December 08, 2014

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Sunday Elixirs

This week I've experienced the phlegm of a ninety-year-old, the hacking cough of a veteran smoker, the nose-blowing of a snotty toddler, and the alternating chills and night sweats of a person stricken with some bizarre unknown disease.  Oh, and so. much. fatigue.  

I'm on day seven.

I haven't slept a wink all week because the coughing keeps me up most of the night.  I've been using DayQuil although I can't be sure it's working because when one annoying thing lets up another takes over.  When we got home I bought NyQuil so I knew I'd at least get some sleep.

We're not allowed to have NyQuil in the truck because it has alcohol in it, as if someone is going to drink the entire 12 ounce bottle in an attempt to go on a bender for the weekend.  It's barely palatable in the adult dose of two tablespoons, I can't imagine anyone thinking someone would actually drink this shit to get drunk.  But it does seem to help a bit more with the coughing and it definitely makes me tired.

I don't know how long this is going to last, but I know during this next phase I'm going to smell like a menthol cough drop because I'm covering myself in Vicks VapoRub.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Getting Robbed On The Way OUT Of New York

2012: Not Everyone Learns In The Same Manner
Just Another Day In New York

2010: Practicing For The Retirement Home
2009: United Parcel Servant
2008: Whizzing Through Dallas
2007: Eddie With The Luscious Kisser Friday
2006: ’Tis The Season To Be Tweety
2005: Cat Fiiiiiight!!!

Friday, December 05, 2014

Cascade Of Reading Material

We're usually away from home for weeks at a time, and during that time our mail is collected by my mother.  She scans anything important but just throws everything else in a bin and we go through it when we get back to town.

We got back home today.  And we had TONS of mail.

I actually love going through mail.  The first thing I do is throw away all the obvious junk mail, then I go through the credit card stuff and anything that has identifying information on it and put in in a pile that needs to be shredded.  Between Ed and I, we always have a huge shred pile.  

The last thing I do is separate catalogs and magazines.  My magazines are stacked in order of favorites and organized by month, of course.  And then I go through the catalogs - I love them and get a lot of them.

But I have to say the cruise companies are getting a little crazy.  In the eleven weeks we've been gone, I've received 24 catalogs - 11 from Viking River Cruises and 13 from Oceania Cruises.

Granted, I asked to receive literature.  We've been talking about river cruises for years and recently started planning one with our friends.  But I didn't know that meant I was going to receive a catalog a week.  And the thing is, they're all offering essentially the same thing.  Sure, there are "end of the year" cruise specials, but bombarding me with catalogs isn't going to help me make a decision in choosing a cruise.

By the time I'm done sorting through the catalogs, the special offers will be expired.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Easy Money

2012: Keeping Tabs On The Industry
2011: Trucker Love Notes

2010: We Need A Little Christmas Right This Very Minute
2009: Sorting Out The Details
2008: Eddie On A Cliff Friday
2007: Christmas Meme!
2006: ”O” My God
2005: Five Already???

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Collecting America

A Black Americana doll found at The Antique Man shop in Baltimore. 

This shop had a lot of what's called Black Americana or Black Memorabilia, both of which are collectible. They had several cases with many items grouped together, but I also found pieces hidden among other items.

I find many of these items and their history to be very interesting.  A quick Google search didn't turn up what I expected.  I found this article from 26 years ago, printed in the New York Times, but other than that, nothing really significant caught my eye.  And nothing really recent.

These type of antiques are very collectible, many of this genre being bought by celebrities from what I've read.  There are also a lot of fakes out there.  Here are some tips from the Antiques Roadshow page that might be helpful if you're interested in collecting.  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Approaching Flag
2012: He Didn't Even Need Duct Tape
2011: The Epitome Of Desolation

2010: Eddie Lobster On The Brain, Listening Skills Disengaged Friday
2009: Privacy Issues
2008: It’s Crazy That I’m Crazy For Keanu
2007: Gifts That Keep On Giving
2006: Classic Las Vegas
2005: Off With Their Heads!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


We found a fun little shop in Baltimore called The Antique Man.  It was great, SO much to look at! Rooms filled with old hats and jewelry and furniture and dolls and glassware and gadgets and memorabilia.  

I really enjoyed weaving through the aisles touching furniture that looked like it came from my grandmother's house in the Bronx.  Peering into the glass cases that held hundreds of tiny vintage items.  The thing that impressed Ed and I the most?  The fact that the place was so clean.  No dust anywhere.  Which is an incredible accomplishment for a shop like this.  

This is definitely a place that needs to be visited more than once.  There's no way to see everything in one visit and they accept new items all the time, so their inventory changes.  
Next time maybe I'll even buy something!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Bidding Adieu
2012: Rushing To The Mine 
2011: Ari-Snowna
2010: It’s In The Air
2009: Wish List
2008: He Must Have Learned It From TV
2007: When Pizza Is Involved, Jesus Is Always In Charge
2006: Sexier Than The Rockettes
2005: $3.99 A Minute

Monday, December 01, 2014

Drink And A Movie?

This weekend Ed and I went to the movies to see The Theory of Everything. We really enjoyed the film and Eddie Redmayne did a spectacular job portraying Stephen Hawking.

While waiting in the lobby before the movie, I saw a girl walk by with a drink that looked like a frozen margarita. When I turned around to see where she came from, I noticed that the snack bar had a bar bar.

WTF??  A bar in a movie theater? I know this is trending over the last few years - movie theaters with upscale food and drink - but this was the first time I'd been in a facility that had a bar.  

This takes dinner-and-a-movie to a whole new level.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Leaving The Blue Skies Behind

2012: One Special Request
2011: Body Language
2010: Move Along, Not Much To Read Here
2009: My Favorite Geek Scores Two Bargains In One Day
2008: Your Beating Heart
2007: All I Want For Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth
2006: Eddie Opens An Eye In Vegas Friday
2005: You’re Giving Me Agida

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Breakfast Served All Day

Yesterday we hit Jimmy's Restaurant in the Fell's Point neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.  After a very late morning breakfast, we spent the rest of the afternoon roaming the area shops.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: A Peek At Mission Learning

2012: Pretty Yung Ting
2011: How To Get Kids To Eat Vegetables
2010: Back In The Saddle
2009: Logging Lots Of Miles
2008: Apples, Fudge And Homemade Jam
2007: Eddie Hick Runs Deep Friday
2006: If You Can’t Make It To France
2005: I’m Sleeping With Someone New

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ready For The Himalayas

Ed finally found a hat that suits him.  And one that covers his ears!

We found it at Christmas Village, a German Christmas Market, at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was 27 degrees last night and the first vendor we came to was the Felt N Wool booth. They sold handcrafted felt items - hats, purses, hair bands, wallets - and wool sweaters, gloves, and hats made in Nepal.

The hat is all wool, lined with fleece.  I think it looks great, and more importantly, he actually likes it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: The Lady In 7A

2012: No, Not Harry Potter. GRACE Potter.
UPSide Down
2010: Gucci, Gucci, Gu
2009: Big Trucks + TV = Big Truck TV
2008: Insane In The Holiday Brain
2007: Umbrella-ella-ella-ella
2006: Dress Code
2005: And It Begins…

Friday, November 28, 2014

Making Magic With Dough

Ed found a really great pizza place today just about three miles east of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore.  We ran a few errands and then decided to head out for a bite to eat.  Pizza was on our mind.  He found Matthew's Pizzeria, a pizza joint that's been around since 1943.

It's located on Eastern Avenue in Baltimore just a couple of miles from The Broadway Diner and not far from the truckstop near the Dundalk Marine Terminal.  We had a car so it was easy to get to - no truck parking here - but since it's so close to where we could take a truck, I'd definitely cab it over.  
Matthew's serves up individual pies in your choice of 8" or 10", a fact immediately pointed out to us by our waitress Amanda, who showed us two plate sizes to give us a proper visual.  She was beyond friendly.  She asked if we'd ever been there before and when we said no, launched an "everything you need to know about pizza" speech.  She covered sizes, types, customer favorites, etc.  She was super-friendly and extremely attentive.

In describing the pizza, she said that although they offer thin crust, they're know for their thick crust.  I said, "Like Sicilian?" because I love Sicilian Pizza, but she said "No, more like pan pizza."

My heart sank a little.  Because pan pizza to me is synonymous with Pizza Hut.  But, the awards and reviews for this place were like none I'd ever seen, and they were all glowing. They'd been voted Baltimore's Best Pizza over 70 times, made it onto the USA Today 51 Great Pizza Parlors list, and even Zagat said it was a great buy and that the pizza would blow you away.  It did.

Ed had 4 Seasons Pie, which had hand grated mozzarella, artichoke hearts, black olives, anchovies, mushrooms, and prosciuttini.  Except he asked them to leave off the anchovies.  Because eww.
I had the 3 Cheese Pie, which had hand grated mozzarella, imported reggianito and ricotta cheese.  I've never had ricotta on a pizza before.  What the hell kind of Italian am I??  It was amaaaaazing.
The cheese was so delicious, with great meltiness and stretch - yeah, that's a thing.  Ever have mozzarella on pizza that's grainy?  It's disgusting.  This was clearly quality cheese.  Even the ricotta had the flavor I knew growing up, and my father bought only the best, so I know ricotta.  And the sauce was perfect.  I'm so glad I took home leftovers.

They have a good selection of pies and will even make one with toppings of your choice.  They have a Crab Pie that the waitress said was popular - I just couldn't do crab on pie - and their Original has tomato sauce, but no cheese.  I could totally get into that one.

This is a place we'd definitely go back to and one I'd recommend to anyone traveling in the area - it's a straight shot, less than two miles from I-95.  And if you're at the truck stop, it's absolutely worth the cab fare.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I'm Sure He Was Delicious
2012: Drowning My Sorrows In Mountain Dew
2011: Red Hair At Night, Truckers Delight. Red Hair At Morning, Truckers Warning.

2010: Rok New York
2009: South Dakota Sky
2008: Nutty Friday
2007: It’s Not So Much Fun To Roll Out Your Best Sales Schpiel On A Mute
2006: Forced Happiness
2005: Firestarter

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: somewhere on the internet
Ed and I are spending Thanksgiving on the cold, snowy East coast.  My friend is going to meet us for a trucker style Thanksgiving buffet, and I'm looking forward to a good meal and lots of laughs.  The best part?  I don't have to cook a thing, and I don't have to do dishes.

Hope you're all having a great Thanksgiving wherever you may be!

And I truly hope none of you are eating Turducken

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Football Eyes In A Pear Head
2012: Snack Attack
2011: Last Full Day Of Freedom
2010: Keyed Up
2009: The Ultimate Mrs.
2008: Happy Thanksgiving
2007: The Kind Of Contraction That Produces A Laugh, Not A Baby
2006: Wanderlust Officially Approved
2005: The Eye Of The Beholder

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'd Like A Parking Spot For Two Please

The photo above was taken last week at a T/A in Pennsylvania.  Those yellow stanchions represent reserved pay parking spots for truckers.

There are 32 of them.  THIRTY-TWO.  At one truck stop.

The paid parking thing has become more popular over the last few years, and the reserved parking thing - where truckers can call ahead and reserve a parking spot - is even more recent than that.

I'm not a fan.  And it doesn't seem like too many drivers at this truck stop are either, because there are at least 32 of them who aren't opening their wallets.

Even though we never have a problem finding parking, there are nights when we pull into a lot where parking is scarce or non-existent.  If that's the case, we move on.  But it really bugs me to see a lot where the only open spots are pay spots.  And they sit unused all night.  
Ed says for the 18 years he's been out here, there have always been (and still are) truck stops where you have to pay to park.  But the "payment" came in the form of spending money at their facility.  Buying fuel, spending money in the restaurant or C-Store, getting service on the truck in the shop - if you met their minimum, you could park for free. 

In this blog post, the author makes some really good points about why parking shouldn't be free, that it's the cost of doing business.  But when he says, "I can't think of another mode of transport that gets a similar handout for their operational expenses.  Airlines pay airports all sorts of fees for landing and take-offs and tarmac fees for parking, etc."  my first thought was that although they may be paying tarmac parking fees, I'm pretty confident it's not the pilot of that aircraft who is footing the bill.

There have been a few new truck stops built where he says there haven't been - trying to illustrate that new truck parking spots are not being created - but overall I can see his point that there's more money to be made by putting some other kind of business in or by charging drivers to park than by hoping they'll come into the store to buy a bag of Doritos.

Right now it may not be such a big deal because it's a small percentage of parking spots, but I do think we're going to see more of it.  With the new Hours of Service and EOBRs on the verge of possibly becoming mandatory, drivers are going to have to know they have parking available to them before their clock runs out, and right now there's no way to guarantee a parking spot anywhere unless you arrive long before the witching hour when spots start disappearing.

Paid reserved parking may become the norm 
- because more and more people are using it, are thinking about using it, or are going to be forced to use it - and if that's the case, I see a parking accessorial fee in my future.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Desire A Snack Eaten Off An Owl Plate

2012: Pulpy Plumes
2011: Saturday Slow Down

2010: Let The Crazy Begin
2009: For Everything Thy Goodness Sends
2008: A Look On The Inside
2007: Free! Gratuito! Gratis! Ummm…No Charge!
2006: Life Giver vs. Indian Giver
2005: The Spaghetti Thanks You

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Sign Ignored

One of the many low clearance signs in New York that is just all kinds of wrong.  This one is located on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE/I-278) in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn.

For a more in-depth look at this issue, read my friend Marlaina's extremely well-written post about it.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: One Woman, Ten Looks

2012: Came For The Dog, Wound Up With A Beefy Italian
2011: The Master Carver
2010: Waiting For The Good Stuff
2009: Getting Some Bird A Day Ahead Of The Crowd
2008: The Only Reason Men Do Things Is Because Their Wives MAKE Them
2007: Here’s Looking At You
2006: Just Outside The Door
2005: Trying To Mask The Boredom