Sunday, October 30, 2005


Yesterday, Vicki and I went to our first photo shoot event at a Fall Festival hosted by Crossroads Pet Professionals in Brentwood, TN. We were Pet Photographers for the day! Well....Vicki was the pet photographer for the day.

I dealt with the pet owners; helping them decide which was the best photo for framing and then placing their order. The picture above, of Sassy, is just one of the many tongue wagging subjects that Vicki photographed.

We provided the owners with a choice of 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 prints and also the option to have the photo of their dog made into custom note cards, provided by our company, Due Amici Designs.

The day was a great success! We had a lot of fun, met many people, provided a service which everyone was MORE than thrilled with and lined our pockets with a nice chunk of doggy dough. I might have to quit trucking and do this full time!

We already have requests to return and do a photo shoot with a Christmas theme. So if you're in the area, give us a call and meet us in Brentwood for a picture perfect keepsake!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Half Nekkid Thursday Virgin

I love this picture. The drops of water on the well toned golden shoulder against the shimmering turquoise water almost makes me wish summer were still here. I thought this was a perfect shot to use for my first Half Nekkid Thursday post.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I've seen lots of great colors this week. Here's what fall looks like on the road at 65 miles an hour:
In addition to this blur, was the vague memory of a dream I had last night. I dreamt that Kenny Chesney met me and wanted to date me. Then, this morning on my way to the shower, there was a Kenny Chesney song playing on the radio! Do you think that's a sign? I don't even think he's cute, so I have no idea where the dream came from. But it's Kenny Chesney, people. He had me at Hello.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Clothing Identification 101

Yesterday, Eddie and I were sitting in the truck, watching the rain and relaxing before picking up our next load. He had unloaded in the rain, so his sweatshirt was soaking wet. He had taken it off and hung it in the truck.

I looked up and saw his sweatshirt dangling from a bungee cord.

“WHAT is that??” I said.

“A t-shirt.”

I said, “It’s not a t-shirt. It’s a sweatshirt. What you have on is a TEE shirt.”

I sarcastically added, “Do we need to have a lesson in Clothing Identification 101??”

Then I reached up to my clothing cubby hole and pulled out a pair of silky, white panties. I held them up, in full panty form and said to him, “What are these??”

He said with a smirk, “A parachute?”

I wanted to rap him right in the mouth but instead, I looked over at him and just roared with laughter. Yes, I know what he said wasn’t nice and he since never makes comments like that he will likely be forgiven, but the uncharacteristically quick comeback laced with the SO not Ed wit was just very funny to me.

And to think, this comment coming on the heels of the one from my friend Vicki, less than two weeks ago; she was doing laundry, standing at the kitchen table folding clothes, when she held up a pair of my panties and said “How is it that a person of your size can fit into underwear so small??”


Monday, October 24, 2005

Fall Into Winter

Yesterday, while driving through Indiana, I was enjoying the fall colors and the cold, crisp air. Fall is my favorite time of year and Indiana is a feast for the eyes. This is a very typical scene dotting the landscape of Indiana. The sky was getting dark as a storm was approaching and since it was late afternoon, you can see the sun creating shadows on the barn and the silos. I let out a big sigh, so happy that we were FINALLY done with the heat of summer and settling right into cool, colorful Fall.Then while driving through the GORGEOUS hills of West Virginia, I looked up to see SNOW accumulating on the windshield. It was very wet, as you can see, from mixing with the rain. Looking out the window to the rolling hills, I saw the trees and grass dusted with a very even, very solid albeit light, covering of snow! SNOW, I say. In October.
I don't mind the smattering of flakes, rain and light snow accumulation, really I don't. But I also don't want to miss out on ONE minute of Fall. ANY kind of cool weather is welcome after the heat of the summer, but I'm not ready to give up the Fall Glory just yet.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Beautiful Enough To Lick

I SOOOO wish I could take credit for this picture but alas, I cannot. This was taken by my best friend, Vicki. She has such a great eye. In the future, we will be adding this photo to the many others used on our note cards. You can see the current collection of photos used, at Due Amici Designs .

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Shaved Aluminum

I found these aluminum shavings at a jobsite in Peabody, MA where we picked up some machinery. They came from some sort of molding machine that created aluminum parts. The shavings were spewed out of the machine, all the excess that was shaved off, tumbling into a pile of little silver curls. Each piece was approximately 2" long by 1" high. I thought they looked very cool, so I took a close up shot to really highlight the details.

Which do you like better, the color or the black and white?

Friday, October 21, 2005

The Big Five Oh!

OK, I know this isn't the prettiest map and it doesn't really thrill me that all the states are red...Man, wouldn't that be a nightmare?...but South Dakota was the last piece I needed to complete my puzzle and I was there today! I have now been to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Most I've been to more than once and plan on continuing to explore every nook and cranny that I can. If only I could turn my traveling into a rump shakin' money maker. Does anyone have any ideas??

As you might have read, I've also had a chance to get to quite a bit of Canada. Here are the Canadian Provinces I've been to: Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Everyone should go to Canada at least once in their life. It's a beautiful country. Now I have to start working on my European map!

Create your own personalized map of the USA, Canada or Europe at World 66

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Abandoned But Not Forgotten

I used to live in Kentucky. I also owned a hot dog cart. Everyday I would pass this barn, located on US 41 between Hopkinsville, KY and Oak Grove, KY where my hot dog truck spot was. Kentucky is a beautiful state and this barn was just one of the things that made me fall more in love with the place.

I loved this barn. I saw it in the morning light and bathed in the glow of the setting sun. At any time, any angle, any weather, this barn was beautiful. There was something about it that I just loved. I called it mine, as in "Look, there's my barn!"

Now that I'm on the road all the time, I look at all things abandoned. I see houses, cars, silos, barns, apartment buildings, schools, even entire towns. I like to look at them and wonder what they were like in their day. Who lived there? What happened to the people? Why would someone let a car like that rust? Didn't they know someday it would be a classic? Why is that beautiful old home falling apart? If I lived here, I would fix it up.

The best places are the old back roads in the South. Those areas seem the most history filled to me. I imagine a woman hanging clothing on the line or a man working in the field. I wonder what the teacher was like in the tiny schoolhouse that is now covered in vines. Did anyone own a moonshine still behind that old house? You know, far back in the woods, over the rock wall and behind the twisted old tree.

I like coming across an old grocery store or gas station. The fuel pumps are rusty and have big flip numbers on them, weeds growing up around them. Old cars, farm equipment, school buses. Signs advertising all kinds of old time products; RC Cola, Moon Pies and Fanta.

It makes me want to explore. I've always been drawn to these places. My brother and I used to ride our bikes "around the mountain" to an old school house. We imagined Little House On The Prairie, right there in our neck of the woods. I still want to explore but now I want to capture the moment with my camera.

Most of the time, I miss a good picture because well, we're traveling at 60 miles an hour. Since we're in an 18-wheeler, I can't just turn to Eddie and say, "Pull over!". I mean, I have said that but he usually looks at me like I'm smokin' the pipe. Sometimes I try to do the best I can while moving.

I feel very lucky to be able to experience this country the way I do. I like being able to see a little piece of historic America. I like knowing what people are talking about when they say they are from Sweet Home, Louisiana or Tontitown, Arkansas or even Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Some people don't even know where Oklahoma is.

I've suddenly become interested in history, the subject I would eschew in high school. Now, with the internet at my very fingertips, I can look up something the moment I see it. I can explore the country with my eyes, my mind and my body.

These places may be abandoned, but they will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


When a person is in a public restroom stall, most likely staring down at a bowl filled with approximately five GALLONS of water...

WHY do they put their cigarette out on the toilet seat?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

En-Gulfed Coast

Eddie and I have been on the Gulf Coast for the past couple of days, driving between Mobile, AL and Beaumont, TX. All along Interstate 10 there are signs of destruction everywhere. Trees bent and shattered like toothpicks, roof tops missing, broken glass slicing at the wind, boats thrown up against the shores like toys thrown aside by a petulant child. Homes and churches destroyed, mobile homes with holes blown through them and everything from farm equipment to tractor trailers blown on their side. This is dowtown Gulfport, MS looking like a war zone. Bricks and glass all over, building insulation, gnarled sheet metal...
Battered Golden Arches...
An ominous message for the looters...
No Belgian waffles today...
Another building in Gulfport...

These billboards lined I-10 on the way out of Lake Charles, LA to Beaumont, TX. Their messages had been blown off in the wind and it looks as though they are bowing to the setting sun. Most of the signs in the area looked like this, although these got away easy as their base had not been twisted into a heap of metal. Watching this on the news just doesn't have the same effect. Seeing the devastation in person has a much greater impact. I'm happy that Ed and I donated money but sad knowing that it wasn't nearly enough.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Made In China

The Chinese* are taking over. They supply us with everything from keychains to t-shirts. Soccer balls to sunglasses. Politically, they own a large interest in our country and little by little, are gaining more ground. Most people don't pay attention to what is going on between our little SuperPower and the vast Republic of China. No matter. It will all become crystal clear somewhere oh, in the Year Of The Rooster. But the most underhanded, flying below the radar way they are infiltrating our society is in a place no one would give a second thought to. The Chinese Buffet.

Seriously. Think about it. They need us to be docile and not fight back when they execute their grand invasion. But we're a fiesty bunch, us Americans. Their plan is to disable every American attracted to the "Over 130 Items Daily" buffet selections by fattening them up first. People come, they eat, they leave. Repeat weekly.

Eventually, we'll be so fat from our overindulgence of moo shu pork and crab rangoons, that we won't be able to move our fat asses off the couch when they come to take over. We'll reach for our remotes to see what's happening on the news, only to find Ziang Yung Chin speaking a mile a minute with three words scrolling by beneath him, telling us in English what he is saying. We want to get off the couch and protest, but we can't. We are paralyzed by the MSG.

If you watch the people who eat at the Golden Dragon, Golden Palace, Golden Lotus or whatever the buffet in your town is called, you will see all walks of life; black and white, rich and poor, young and old. Oh, and the Jews. Let's not forget the Jews, as Chinese is the food of their people. The most dangerous though, are the pregnant women. What, with the Chinese food getting to two people for the price of one? Brilliant. Chinese food going from the blood of the mother to the blood of the fetus. Don't be surprised if their first words are, Pork Lo Mein, Please.

Think about it. As someone I know says, "Anything is possible." I know it sounds far fetched, but as we continue to buy cheap clothes, trinkets, electronics, novelties, cheap tools, household items, appliances, DVD's, CD's and all other domestic products, INCLUDING food at the Chinese Buffet, we are setting ourselves up for a takeover. One we most likely won't even be coherent for since we'll be in a General Tso's Chicken induced coma.

Welcome to the United States of China.

* If you are Chinese or a fan of the Chinese, know that I am not racist or prejudiced, so please don't email me with comments regarding this post. As Jon Armstrong says: Comments that suck will be deleted. Don't suck. Besides, you should be happy that you are taking over the country and that you can offer the public 27 varieties of chicken and shrimp.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Soul 2 Soul

soul mate
One of two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view, or sensitivity.

This is how the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it. One line. One. For what many people think is an act that only happens when the planets align and the Universe is in perfect order. But I know that can't possibly be true because I found my soul mate at a ski lodge. And believe me, nothing was in ANY kind of order, let alone perfect.

I didn't have to read, Date...or Soul Mate? How To Know If Someone Is Worth Pursuing In Two Dates Or Less to know that I had found the one. And it didn't even take two dates, I knew in one afternoon.

An afternoon spent putting together manuals for the lift operators at a ski resort. Between photocopying, stapling and binding, we were reprimanded more times than both could count and threatened with being put in different departments if we didn't straighten up our act. I knew at that very moment, she was the one.

Who says your soul mate has to be a romantic partner? Who says they have to be of the opposite sex? Because mine isn't. Mine is my best friend Victor, Victoria. OK, that's another post. Seriously though, I believe my soul mate is Vicki. We share a knowledge of each other that is so great, it can only be contributed to the fact that either we were seperated at birth or that we were cloned. I prefer to think we just share a brain.

I think I have always known that, on some level, she was part of my soul. Many times I wished she was Victor instead of Victoria, because we all know how hard it is to find a man with the same qualities as your best friend. But instead, I got to have the men AND my best friend. Pretty good deal.

Last night when she dropped me off to meet Eddie, we hugged for a long time and I didn't want to leave. I was going back on the road with him for another week before heading back to her house. We said our goodbyes, hugged and I got in the truck to leave.

I was settling myself in the truck and watching her pull out of the parking lot when, before her tail lights even faded into the distance, my phone beeped. It was a text message that said, I miss you! What the flock?? I was barely gone.

But it was the other half of my brain talking. The central core of our connection. The perfect embodiment of friendship.

It was my best friend Vicki. My Soul Mate.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Today, Vicki and I were driving to downtown to Nashville Tent and Awning to pick up some tarps that Eddie was having repaired. As we got off the exit, trying to find the place, this was our conversation:

Me: So we go through the light?

Vicki: Yeah, we got through the light and make a left. This is where I go to the G-Y-N.

I was thinking, Why does she go all the way down here to go to the gym?? And, WHY is she spelling gym??

Me: What??

Vicki: This is where I go to my GYN. You know, OB? GYN? My OB-GYN!

Me: Ohhhhhh. I thought you said GYM. And I was thinking, why the hell are you spelling gym??

We laughed all the way past the GYM/GYN to the tarp place.

Either I need a hearing aid or I have to sign myself up for a Hooked-On-Phonics class!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Love's Language

From my favorite poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox:
Love's Language

How does Love speak?
In the faint flush upon the telltale cheek,
And in the pallor that succeeds it; by
The quivering lid of an averted eye--
The smile that proves the parent to a sigh
Thus does Love speak.

How does Love speak?
By the uneven heart-throbs, and the freak
Of bounding pulses that stand still and ache,
While new emotions, like strange barges, make
Along vein-channels their disturbing course;
Still as the dawn, and with the dawn's swift force--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the avoidance of that which we seek--
The sudden silence and reserve when near--
The eye that glistens with an unshed tear--
The joy that seems the counterpart of fear,
As the alarme'd heart leaps in the breast,
And knows, and names, and greets its godlike guest--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the proud spirit suddenly grown meek--
The haughty heart grown humble; in the tender
And unnamed light that floods the world with splendor;
In the resemblance which the fond eyes trace
In all fair things to one belove'd face;
In the shy touch of hands that thrill and tremble;
In looks and lips that can no more dissemble--
Thus doth Love speak.

How does Love speak?
In the wild words that uttered seem so weak
They shrink ashamed to silence; in the fire
Glance strikes with glance, swift flashing high and higher,
Like lightnings that precede the mighty storm;
In the deep, soulful stillness; in the warm,
Impassioned tide that sweeps through throbbing veins,
Between the shores of keen delights and pains;
In the embrace where madness melts in bliss,
And in the convulsive rapture of a kiss--
Thus does Love speak.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blue Collar

Here is a poem I wrote when I was in my late teens.


When I was a little girl, one of the first things that ever caught my eye was the blouse with the plain blue collar. How I loved it so.

I liked having it near me, whether hanging in the closet, draped over my chair or in a heap on the floor. It was a security blanket, if you will.

As I grew, it was always there. It was vibrant and fun, comfortable and strong. No matter how often it had been through the wringer, it always came out in one piece. The makeup of its fabric was sturdy and strong. It was with me through illness and health, parties and special occasions. It was even there for my first job interview and silently cheering for me when I got the job.

When I was a young woman, my eyes were always open and looking for the blue collar. I saw others with blouses of similar fashion and they always turned my head. They were solid, looked good and were natural. They never tried to be something they were not. Some tried to dress up by using fancy beading and silk but none intrigued me as much as the plain blue collar.

I have passed many on the street, in fancy cars and living in spiffy homes. Some have been to Europe and the Caribbean, or have traveled the world, but mine has always stayed close to home, never straying very far from the neighborhood.

Many want the blouse with the plain blue collar but think that they will look better with a fancy collar adorned with silk or velvet, beads and lace. What it really comes down to is just a fancy cover up for the genuine article.

As for myself, I will always gravitate back to the weather beaten, old comfy blue collar that I know best, the one that has been on fishing trips, riding in pick up trucks and fixing old cars. The one that makes me feel pretty and loved and protected and grounded. The one that, when draped over my body, symbolizes childhood memories, great accomplishments and love.

Therefore, I will always be drawn to the blouse with the plain blue collar.


Do you know what the blue collar represents?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Text Me

Recent text messages I have received:

That is normal. All guys like it though.

Still awake?


How about you sugar dumplings?

Doing well. Still watching the Twilight Zone.

Not yet. I am still hunting down perforated blades.

You will bail out the butt squeezer? No one will be your friend though. Are you sure you could live with that?

I think there is. In Indiana.

What if I get my picture taken and end up in the paper as a serial...

OK. But people will look at me funny.

The hand says "Hi"


Love U 2.

Better than cold tuna.

OK. Good night, baby.

It is cold here in the meat locker.

Yeah, well I guess you like weirdos then.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Am I The Only One Who Noticed This??

When I lived in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, I would walk by this spot everyday on my way to work. WHO let this slip by??

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Last night, I'm in the living room on the computer and Mina comes running in with a DVD in her hand. It's "The Greatest Story Ever Told". The story about Jesus.

Waving it in the air, Mina says in a sassy tone, "We're watching this tonight."

I say, "No, we're not."

"Uh Huh! Daddy said we could."

I said, "I don't care what Daddy said, we're not watching it."

She looks at me and huffs before she said in an incredulous tone, "What?? You don't like Jesus???"

Her face was so serious, not believing how I didn't want to watch a movie about Jesus. "I love Jesus, Mina, I just don't want to watch the movie."

Exasperated and disgusted she says, "Why not?? He died on the cross for us, you know!"

"Of course I know that, Mina." What I wanted to say was Look kid. I haven't been to church since I was like, ten, and the only thing I know about Jesus is what your mother tells me. Now buzz off!

She rolls her eyes and stomps off. On her way out of the room, she looks over her shoulder at me and says "Well, we're going to watch it tomorrow. So you'll just HAVE to."

She's like this all the time. Smart, sassy, funny and talkative. About anything. She has opinions on everything from milk to dance moves.

If you ever had a conversation with this child, you'd know that The Greatest Story Ever Told, comes out of her mouth. Every. Single. Day.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Go West Young Man!! Uh, I mean East. East.

“I think we’re going the wrong way.” Ed says about thirty minutes into our trip.

“What? How do you know we’re going the wrong way?”

“Well, the mile marker numbers are getting smaller and they should be getting bigger.”

“Well, let me plug in the GPS and I’ll check.” So I plug in the GPS and bring up the map and there we are, the little blinking automobile on the GPS map, going the wrong way.

“Yup, we’re going the wrong way. How does that happen??? We just drove 45 minutes heading West and we should be going East.”

“I don’t know, maybe I was tired last night.”

“Tired?? We just slept for 12 hours, how can you possibly be tired? And what does last night have to do with it? It’s the MORNING now and you still went the wrong way.”

“I don’t know. Sometimes that just happens. I make a mental note at night when I get off the exit, remembering which way I turned before we stopped and then I just go the opposite way the next morning. I guess I didn’t remember it.”

Perhaps next time he should make that mental note in my brain instead.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Swingin' Good Times

This picture represents what life is like in my best friend's house - swingin' fun - ALL the time!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Sleeping Beauty

This is what Mina looks like after spending a day with her mother and I, running all over town. When the singing stops, you can bet she's dozing off in the car seat. I wish my hair looked this good when I was sleeping.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Mina Clarkson

...I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly. i'll do what it takes till I touch the sky. And I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change and break away.....

...Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time. I'm so moving on, yeah yeah. Thanks to you, now I get what I want...

...Here I am, once again. I'm torn into pieces. Can't deny it, can't pretend, just thought you were the one. Broken up, deep inside. But you won't get to see the tears I cry, behind these hazel eyes...

...Because of you, I never stray too far from the sidewalk. Because of you, I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt...

I did it. I bought the Kelly Clarkson CD. It's fabulous and Mina and I have been singing every word of it for the past two days.

She is amazing. She knows almost every word to the first four songs. She watches my mouth as I sing and says each word as I'm forming it. She bops her head at the right moment and even does a little shoulder shrug while cocking her head to one side as she belts out the chorus.

I am astounded by this child's ability to pick up not only the words, but the tune and the beat. She has incredible timing and comes in just when she's supposed to. She's right on cue.

Singing is not her only talent. Today, I joined her at her ballet class. She was standing on toes so pointed, I thought she had on toe shoes. She knows every position and her grace is undeniable. She looked over at me after almost every move with a huge smile and eyebrows high, as if she was saying "Did you see that?" I did.

I think this week might be dedicated to Mina. I can't focus on anything else while around her, so most likely, she will be the topic until I leave here.

I just hope she remembers me when she's on tour. I really want backstage passes.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lipgloss And Cocoa Puffs

I am having the best time this week. I've been at Vicki's since Friday and hanging out with her and the kids has been so much fun, as usual. The best part though, is being with Mina. She is the most charming child I've ever been around. She will be five years old in two months but sometimes, I feel like I'm talking to a TWENTY five year old.

Her and I share a passion for makeup, hair accessories, diet coke and cocoa puffs. From the moment I walked through the door, she wanted lipgloss. Yesterday, we were at the mall and she comes running up behind me.

Mina: Miss Salena! Ah need some more lipgloss. (she has a southern accent - which adds to the charm)

Me: Why?

Mina: Because Ah don't have anymore on.

Me: Why?

Mina: It slipped off.

It slipped off? It slipped off?? What is it with this child? I had to laugh and then, I had to give her more lipgloss. I can't have her roaming the mall without being picture perfect.

Right now, we are sitting side by side. Me, on the desktop computer and her on my laptop. She's "writing" a letter to someone, even though most of it looks like this: msrepd dsjaec dweordaf jdpeiqew qwerpoiuy dgdsl waxcv.

It doesn't look like much, but I'm sure it says, "Miss Salena? Can Ah have some more lipgloss?"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Vicki Bin Laden

I am renaming my best friend. She will now be known as Vicki Bin Laden. Why, you ask?

Because today, she went back and forth from her son's school at least fifty-six times! First, she took Michael to school, then she came to meet Ed and I to pick me up. Then, she took me and Mina back to the house, and drove back to the school to work at the school library. At 12:30, she came back home for a bite to eat. After filling her belly, she went back to the school to finish the afternoon in the library. At 2 pm, she came home again to say hello and hang out until she had to go back and pick Michael up at 3 pm. Insanity, I tell you! And this is a slow day.

On any given day, she can be found running errands. Taking the kids to school, picking them up, going to Kroger, stopping by Target, running into the post office for a quick minute, making a deposit at the bank and taking the kids to ball practice and dance. She uses enough gas everyday to single-handedly support the exportation of oil from any small mideastern country.

Vicki Bin Laden. Remember the name and get ouf of her way if you see her.