Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Are On The Biggest Boat In The Marina

This was the view just after eight this morning from the balcony of our hotel room in San Diego. There was still a little morning haze that dissipated once the sun came up.  We'll leave to board the ship just after noon.

Today is the first day of our 32-day cruise.  We leave for Hawaii late this afternoon.  We'll be at sea for five days before we hit our first island, Maui.  Then we'll spend five days in Hawaii visiting four of the eight islands.

Yesterday I posted the first photo in the Daily Rant Vacation Series of Instagram photos.  I will be posting a photo per day, and depending on the availability of internet, may also write a little blurb to go along with it.  If the internet is sketchy and I can't post, I'll make sure to have something up as soon as I hit an area with a better signal.  Please keep coming back to check.

You can follow me on Instagram and Twitter if you want to get the Instagram photo or the link to it through the tweet.

The cruise will be going to the following locations:
Maui (Lahaina)
Kauai  (Nawiliwili)
Oahu  (Honolulu)
Hawai'i - The Big Island (Kona, Hilo)

Mexico (Ensenada, Puerto Vallarta, Huatulco)
Guatemala (Puerto Quetzal)

Nicaragua (Corinto)
Costa Rica (Puerto Caldera)
Panama (Balboa, Cristobal)
Columbia (Cartagena)

If you have any suggestions for any of the cruise ports, please leave it in the comments section.

See you tomorrow!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bon Voyage!

We're packed and ready for our trip.  The kitchen sink is in the duffle bag up front.

This photo is the first of an Instagram series I'll be doing during the cruise.  So keep coming back to check for new ones.  You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

See you in a month!

Oh, and just to give you a little perspective, my friends are going to India for six weeks...

They're taking TWO bags.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Nuts And Bolts Of It

My youngest nephew welded this sculpture with the help of my brother.  It now adorns my brother's garage/man cave.  Not bad for an eleven-year-old.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ski Or Sun? Sun Won.

At the end of this two-mile hallway, is where they keep mall restrooms.
I have spent two full days in the mall.  I felt like Tom Hanks in that airport movie.  Even more so because the walk to the bathroom down this hallway felt like I was making a trip down a runway.  Why do they always put the bathrooms in a spot where when one has to pee, they have to make the longest trip of their lifetime to do it?  I hate shopping.

But it had to be done because we're going on a vacation and we needed new clothes.  

We had planned and booked a ski vacation to Whistler, British Columbia but after much consideration and 15 arguments about trying to decide exactly when we'd go, where we'd stay and what we'd do - and after I bought ski pants, everyday boots, outdoor boots, and three new jackets (two cheapie outdoor puffy types and one beautiful animal print overcoat) - we decided to scrap that whole idea.

Now we're going on a 32-night cruise through the Panama Canal.

So now I needed warm weather clothing.  It was time for me to get new stuff anyway, and what better reason to stock up on clothes than a vacation?  I bought tons, and I mean tons of new clothes.  Marlaina even convinced me to get these beautiful silk Eileen Fisher cropped pants.  I LOVE them.  They're so light, so comfortable, and I got them on sale.  I shopped for Ed too - black, beige, gray and navy slacks, shirts, ties, light sweaters for evening, casual shirts, shoes, and flip-flops.

We'll start out in San Diego, then go to four of the eight main Hawaiian islands - Maui, Kauai, the Big Island, and Oahu - where we'll visit the USS Arizona Memorial - then Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Columbia.  Needless to say, I'm pretty excited.

Hawaii is the only state Ed hasn't been to.  I visited Hawaii, and the USS Arizona, when I was a senior in high school but haven't been back to Hawaii since then.  We're going back to Maui in the Spring for ten days and were thinking about taking time to go to Honolulu, but now we don't have to because the cruise stops there for two days.  That'll give us enough time to see the memorial and visit the Waikiki area.

This is going to be a great trip.  If for nothing else, we don't have to worry about the truck - there's no chance of another Turks & Caicos disaster - because we have the truck parked at the house.  We've emptied the fridge, turned all the power off, and we have family staying at the house (with the truck key) in case anything happens or needs to be taken care of. The only thing better would be an armed guard.

Living in it.

Now it's time to pack.  Lord, help me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014:  All The Better To Cook With, My Dear
2013: I Fancy The Castle Life
2012: There Are No Prison Blues If You Have Naan
2011: Now I’m No Longer Alone
2010: Rings Of Spring
2009: Map Schmap
2008: A Willow Weeps In Arizona
2007: Double Team
2006: Turning One Million
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Still Life

A silhouette of prickly pear cactus in Saguaro National Park in Tucson. Arizona.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

There's A Black Hole In The Desert (With Truck Parking)

Photo by MacGyver
Marlaina and MacGyver have been at our house, visiting, since January 6th.  We're still eating, shopping, sitting around, movie watching, errand running, and doing a little bit of load searching.  

Tucson is a black hole for freight.  It's a hard area of the country to get out of.  There's copper, but it's heavy and cheap.  Cheap cheap.  And unless you're doing aircraft parts, government freight, or some crazy team load that has to be delivered yesterday, no one is paying.  And to deadhead somewhere else - we typically look at a radius of 500 miles or more - and then have the load cancel?  That's very undesirable.  So we sit and wait.  And that's what the NYC Truckers have been doing.

Then today they got a load.

Kind of.  There was a waiting period for the agent to call back with the load confirmation and the details.  Hours passed.  Nails were being bitten.  Lunch was eaten.  They were in limbo until they got a solid confirmation.  I took my mother to the doctor and stopped at my brother's house and when I got back to our place they said the information had come in.  They were really leaving.

We said our goodbyes before I headed back to my brother's to bring Ed a computer part he needed.  Then I ran to the store.  And just as I was turning the corner in housewares, I got a text from Marlaina to come back to the house and pick them up.  They wanted to go see the garage/man cave my brother built.  I checked out and went back to get them.

When I got home I learned they weren't going anywhere just yet.  Because as they were juuuussst getting ready to pull out of the driveway, the agent called and changed the pick-up date.  Luckily they had only moved about eight feet.

The load was on hold.

So we get 'em for one more night.  Or maybe even the weekend.

The black hole is nobody's friend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Beer Run

So many names, so many colors, so many choices.  Ale, Hard Cider, Lager, Stout.  I have no idea what any of them are, so I just buy what I'm told.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tooling Around The Old Pueblo

Mural on East 6th Street at 4th Avenue
I've been poking around trying to find some information on Tucson to see if there's anything new out there to do with my guests.  We've hit a few restaurants  - they've already been to Frank's (twice), El Charro Café, Bobo's (my first time), and the new Whole Foods.  That wasn't very exciting since we've all been to Whole Foods before, but it's also the first time I've been in the store since it was recently built.

Here are a five websites you can use to find out what's happening in the Old Pueblo.

The Tucson Weekly:  This alternative newspaper has been a Tucson staple for 30 years.  It's the first and most important publication in the town if you want movie times, concert information, cultural events locations, restaurant reviews, local news (the stuff you don't find in the regular paper), etc. You can also order a hooker or buy a used baby crib.  It's very handy.

Tucson Foodie:  This is a beautiful website.  They have everything from reviews on restaurants, bakeries, and cafes to information on CSAs, gardening and farming, and the local food movement.

Tucson in Style:  See what the locals are wearing, shop where they're buying it, and find out what else is happening in the world of Julie and Michael, the site's writers.

The Tucson Murals Project:  This is an interesting one.  I've seen many of these murals around town and I like that Jerry Peek has taken the time to highlight interesting art that often gets overlooked.

Tucson Audubon Society:  If you're into birds, check out some of the cute ones in our area.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Economic Stimulation

Marlaina and MacGyver have been spending the week with us.  They arrived on Tuesday and will be leaving sometime in the coming week.  It's been really great having them around - as we never have house guests for really any significant length of time - and it gives me the opportunity cook and entertain.

Yesterday we all went out for breakfast and then ran around town running errands.  We went to the post office, hit the bank, went to the pharmacy to pick up the vaccination medication M & M need for their upcoming trip to India - and then we bought a motorcycle.

And by "we", I mean Marlaina and MacGyver.  That's right.  We went out to mail a package and came home with a BMW touring bike.

This is what they bought.  But not just that - they added extras - plus the touring package, plus comfort, plus luxury.  Marlaina went in with specific needs and didn't leave without them.  She effectively stimulated our local economy.

They're leaving behind the iconic Italian wasp and moving to a Bavarian piece of machinery that embodies what the head of BMW Motorrad calls "sheer riding pleasure".    


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014:  The Ninety-Two Year Old Horseman

2013: Where They Store The Crop Goodies
2012: Inside The Trucker’s Studio
2011: The Next Project
2010: Why Would You Want To Be A Zero When Looking Like This Is Clearly A Plus?
2009: The Giant Dirty Bird Goes Sailing In The Four Corners
2008: Soft Core Porn
2007: Almost Fully Integrated
2006: Downtown Scenery And Deals
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Making Friends And Dinner Plans

Yesterday we had another trucking education class.  This one happens every two years.  

We're required to take it, the company is required to teach it.  I actually learned a few new things today.  Things I should have been told two years ago, but better late than never, right?

There were forty drivers in the class, old and new, and I really enjoyed meeting some of the people I didn't know.  We sat next to a great couple - so much fun, very outgoing and down to earth - who live an hour from us.  By the end of the day, we were making plans to meet up for dinner.

Another couple who we'd met at another event - a team that has over 30 years of experience - sat a few tables ahead of us.  They live about 35 miles from us.  By the end of the day, we were also making plans to meet up in the future for dinner.

We talked with several other drivers and met some of the new teams taking the class. The meeting room wasn't the greatest - an old American Legion Hall, I was hoping for a nice hotel conference room - but the company was pretty decent.

The second half of the class took place today but since it was the business part of the class, we didn't have to attend since we recently completed that portion.

And just to give an example of how nice that veteran team is...

Tonight on our way to dinner, I got a call from the wife who wanted to know why we weren't in class today.  Not because she was being nosy, but because she missed us.

It was real nice to get a phone call like that.  Our dinner double-date is in the works, and the good 'ol Silver Saddle was mentioned as the dining option.

Ed will be there with bells on.  They serve steak.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Worst Trucking Day Ever

I've never seen anything like this in person and hope I never do.

One of the trucks was carrying formic acid (not pleasant), another carrying fireworks. They both caught fire.

Bad all around.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Smart And Talented

That famous Matt Damon smile.  Photo courtesy of Google Images.
I've been a fan of Matt Damon since I first saw him in Good Will Hunting, the movie that earned him an Oscar, with a screenplay he wrote while attending Harvard.  I don't think I noticed him before that, even though I saw some of the earlier movies he made appearances in.  Here are my ten favorite Matt Movies:

1.  The Bourne Ultimatum

2.  Ocean's Thirteen

3.  The Departed - probably my favorite since it had him, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Mark Wahlberg.

4.  Ocean's Twelve

5.  The Bourne Supremacy

6.  The Bourne Identity

7.  Ocean's Eleven

8.  The Legend of Bagger Vance - love this movie.

9.  The Talented Mr. Ripley

10.  Good Will Hunting

There really isn't a movie I haven't liked him in, these are the ones I find myself watching more often since they're always on TV.

There's a new Bourne movie coming out in 2016.  I'll be seeing that one too.  And I think I'm going to give All The Pretty Horses another chance.  I only saw it once, in the movies, and deemed it the worst piece of crap at the time I saw it.  Maybe it's not as bad as I remembered.

Anyone else a Matt Damon fan? 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Cackling Is One Of The Rules

My mother and a group of her lady friends get together weekly to play Chickenfoot Dominoes.

They drink, eat, and play.

And cackle.

A lot.

I'm pretty sure if you were to look in the rule book, you'd find that cackling is required.

Because if it's not, then they're totally playing wrong.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Just A Pier

Southport, North Carolina pier jutting into the Cape Fear River.  I am having a busy week, so I've only got a picture for you.

Imagine yourself sitting on the pier, reading on your iPad, enjoying a really long blog post I wrote.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014:  Third Time Is Not A Charm

2013: A Sure Sign You're In A Truck Stop
2012: Waiting For The Bell To Ring
2011: You Don’t Need I.D. To Buy Booze If You Have One Of These In Your Pocket
2010: The Pros Slip In And Out With Ease
2009: Mine. All Mine.
2008: No, You Can’t Fly It
2007: Flying Parasols
2006: Seattle In Motion
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Our House, In The Middle Of Our Street

Our friends from Life With No Fixed Address are joining us at home again.  They'll be here tomorrow.  I sent them the above photo with an enticing email that said,

Dear Guest,

We heard you may be returning!  We'd like to remind you of all Chez Toni has to offer:

• Complimentary WiFi
• Complimentary Parking
• Unlimited Bottled Water
• Breakfast (no voucher needed)
• Seamstress Services
• Complimentary Guest Laundry
• Dinner for Two
• Car Service for Local Errands
• Private Suite with a view of "The Mountain"

We hope your plans include another visit. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Hospitably Yours,
Ed & Salena

We really enjoy having them around and are thrilled to have met and kept such great trucking friends.  We have wined, dined, and even been on vacation together.  We are looking forward to our time together in 2015, some of which we've already started planning for.

This is going to be such a great week!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: I'm Pretty Sure I Was Born With One
2013: Gettin' The Juice To Stay On The Move
2012: Light On My Feet. Literally.
2011: We Got Smashed
2010: One Provides Light, The Other Just Stands There
2009: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!
2008: C’Mon In
2007: Eddie Hits The Bricks Friday
2006: Take It As It Comes
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Buy Sandwiches

Ed and I had lunch today at one of my favorite sandwich places in Tucson, Bison Witches.  I've been coming here since it opened 20 years ago.  My friend Greg, always up on the newest places in the downtown area, dragged me with him one day and it quickly became a favorite lunch spot for us.  On Sundays they would have drink specials - I seem to remember bloody marys - so we'd take our Sunday New York Times with us, and kill some time reading and having lunch.

They have a full bar and a great menu that includes appetizers, soups, salads, and a great selection of sandwiches.  I remember the first time I went with my friend Greg and he told me to order the soup and half-sandwich.  

"Greg. Please. Do I look like the kind of girl that eats half a sandwich??"

"They're big."

"Maybe for you." Greg is a small guy, with a tiny appetite.

"Suit yourself."

So I ordered a full sandwich.  Turns out Greg was right (he loved that) and I wound up taking half a sandwich home.

Now I only order the "1/2 Sandwich & Soup Special".  You can pick any one of the soups they offer and combine it with half of any of the sandwiches they offer.  You choose the type of bread you want your sandwich on, and also a bag of chips.  

This lunch is a carb-lover's dream.  The sandwich comes on 1" thick slices of bread, and the soup is served in an individual bread bowl.  The bread comes from a local bakery.  It's delicious.  And it's only $9.75.  I remember when this same exact combination was $5.50.  That was a smokin' deal.  
The restaurant is located on 4th Avenue in the downtown area of Tucson. It's a small place, about 1,400 square feet (originally 700 square feet) and not the prettiest place you'll ever eat.  It has garish red walls and old black leather booths.  I don't think anyone goes for the decor.

It's a very eclectic neighborhood.  Expect to see street musicians, dreadlocks, tattooed individuals, homeless people, and lots and lots of students - it's just a few blocks from the University of Arizona.

If you're in town, give it a shot.  If you had it, you're out ten bucks.  If you like it, let me know!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: A Room With A View

2013: Is The Coast Clear Yet?
2012: Why So Angry, Birds?
2011: One Hand In The Air For The Empire State
2010: Hitching A Ride From The Frying Pan Into The Fire
2009: Don’t Look AT Me Like That. No, Really. Don’t. You’re Making Me Melt.
2008: A Mid-Winter Pick Me Up
2007: I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
2006: How To Get Rid Of Your Girlfriend
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Thursday, January 01, 2015

A Good Sign For 2015

Last night, on the eve of the new year, we got snow.  In the desert.  It's not as uncommon as one might think.  We live in Oro Valley, outside of the Tucson city limits, where the elevation is 2,620 feet above sea level.

The mountain you see in the photo - the Santa Catalina Mountain Range - can be seen from our living room window.  The mountain has an elevation of 9,157 feet and its highest point, Mt. Lemmon, receives 180 inches of snow annually.  In the winter it's not unusual to look out the window and see the mountain capped with snow when it's cold enough.  But getting snow on the ground at our house is rare.  If we get it, it's a light dusting and it melts quickly.  In February 2013, Tucson received 2 inches of snow, the largest snowfall in 26 years.

This morning I was up early, and although it was still dark, I could make out snow on the cactus outside my window.  I fell back to sleep and woke again at 7:30.  I wasn't ready to start my day but I did want to get pictures of the snow, so I quietly got out of bed and slipped out the back door, still in my pajamas, and walked the property taking pictures.  I wanted to make sure I got evidence of all the snow-covered cactus before the sun fully rose and melted it.

This is what our front yard looked like at that hour.

The trees were covered with snow, the delicate leaves on many of the bushes were icy and crunchy frozen, and the pads of the prickly pear cactus all had a layer of snow on them.

In this photo you'll see the jumping cholla with about an inch of snow on its stems.
And finally, the house, front yard, and the driveway where you can see a layer of snow on the truck hood.
I couldn't have asked to start the new year in a better way.  Snow and cold??  Be still my beating heart.

My friend Gary said it's a sign that all my dreams will come true this year.

I do believe he's right.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thanks, 2014. For Everything.

The year has come to a close, so here's my 2014 Year-End Meme.  

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Went to see the Newport Mansions.  Visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water - this is a man who said, "Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities."  Rode a funicular.  Went to the Arizona Biltmore resort hotel. 
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I think after all the years of answering this question, I'm just going to have to go with, "I'm not a resolution kind of gal."

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes, my Uncle Bobby died and my cousin's step-father died.  

5. What countries did you visit? 
Sadly, none.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 
Tolerance.  As the years go on, I have less, so I'm hoping I might be blessed with a little bit of it in 2015.  And I don't mean tolerance in the sense of diversity - like the acceptance of other cultures, or alternative lifestyles - I mean tolerance of stupid people.  I have a realllly hard time with that.  

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
For sure the end of January when we got stuck in the horrific ice debacle in Alabama.  I've never seen such an apocalyptic display in my life.  Our time visiting the Newport Mansions; it may not seem like such a big deal, but they were truly spectacular and I've wanted to see them for a very long time.  Doing a cross-country trek with our very good friends Marlaina and MacGyver, from Newport, Oregon to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The ceremony to officially celebrate Ed's one million safe driving miles with the company we're leased to.  And finally visiting the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota - I've been wanting to do that for years!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably snowtubing without winding up at a hospital in traction.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
Again, snowtubing.  Who gets hurt rolling off an inflated tube that sits 8" off the ground?

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
Well, I hurt my thumb pretty bad during what is now referred to as "the snowtubing incident" - it still gives me pain - and I think I had the 24-hour flu just after Thanksgiving, which resulted in me losing my voice for a good two weeks.  Ed was in heaven.  

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The FEED bags for my cousin and best friend, our membership to The Preservation Society of Newport so we could see the Newport Mansions as many times as we desire, and this hat for Ed. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My boyfriend Ed.  He has accomplished a very extensive list of goals, personal and professional, and positioned us for a prosperous future, beginning in 2015!  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 
I'm leaving this answer pretty much the same as last year:  No one's behavior ever depresses me, but I'm frequently appalled at how people act. There is just an abundance of stupidity out there and it seems I encounter it several times a week.  Stupidity and ignorance is what appalls me.  

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Probably fuel, but since that's a business expense, I don't count it.  Other monies went to retirement, food, and just traveling around.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our January 2015 vacation to very snowy and very cold location.  Right now we're looking at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
I do love almost everything I hear on the TV show Nashville, but I especially loved this one.  

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I'm pretty happy.  I'm about four pounds heavier, but it feels like twenty.  And I have way more money.  It was a good year.  A very good year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Bike riding.  We just didn't get enough in this year.  

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

20. How did you spend Christmas? 
At home in Arizona, with my mother, brother and his family, my brother's in-laws, my brother-in-law and his family, my friends at LWNFA.  All told, I cooked for seventeen people.  It was a big success!

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
When I saw him in this suit, I fell all over again.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Still into NashvilleScandalGrey's, The Bridge and Downton Abbey. This year I started watching Tyrant, and I love that too.

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

24. What was the best book you read? 
I only listened to one book this year - A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny.  

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
The soundtrack from the movie Chef.  And these two amazing young people.  

26. What did you want and get?
I got to meet The Brinsons, who are friends with Marlaina and MacGyver.  William even took a quick Instagram of us for their photo collection of guests who have visited their home.  Look at some of his photographs here.  They're insanely amazing.  

27. What did you want and not get?
The iPhone 6 and a new iPad.  But they'll be coming in January.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 47 this year and we were in Pittsburgh for the weekend.  We went to see Falling Water, rode the Duqesne Incline, went to a little local car show, took a riverboat tour, drove around the downtown area taking pictures, and admired the great view.  

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If rules and regulations we are expected to follow made sense, and the people I have to interact with in order to do my job were more....well, just read this.  

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Same answer as last year:  When you spend a majority of your day on the road, "fashion" becomes less important as time marches on.  In the truck, I like comfort, so yoga pants and tank tops or t-shirts.  When we go out to dinner, or shopping, or visiting, I have some easy flowy tops and capri pants with little leather ballerinas - black and silver are my staples.  

32. What kept you sane?
My incredible mind. 

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Roman Mars, the host and creator of the radio show 99% Invisible.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm always interested in immigration reform, education, minimum wage laws (even though I don't make minimum wage), and racial inequality.  I also think we really need to pay attention to transportation funding, we must take care of the infrastructure, especially roads and bridges.  You'd think seeing one bridge collapse would have been enough.  

35. Who did you miss?
My younger self.  I've been thinking a lot about my younger life and as I'm getting older, I'm missing that old life, and me in it.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
I think I'll leave this one up to Regina Brett.  Her wisdom is much greater than mine.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Once again, a song from the TV show Nashville.  Sung by Maisy and Lennon Stella, this song really sums up not just my year, but in just one sentence, the song tells you all you need to know:  

And my slogan for the New Year...LIBERTY.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Video Tour of 2014.  It's coming in January!  And if you missed last year's, you can see it HERE.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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