Friday, March 31, 2006

Coming Soon

From the upcoming movie, Akeelah and the Bee:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

A movie I will definitely be seeing.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Giving New Meaning To An Ambulance Chaser

You hear them first, then you see the traffic waters parting. At the very moment they speed up behind you and whiz by, you think, I wonder what happened?

Then you see someone pull out and get behind them!

Please, people; how much of a hurry do you have to be in to follow an ambulance through traffic??

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Catching Flies

I had dinner with my Aunt Vera this week and she has this picture prominently displayed on her buffet table in the dining room. It is a picture of her, with her children and my brother and I in the following order; my cousin Laina, my brother Michael, my cousin Stephen, me and my cousin Roger, with Aunt Vera in the back row.

Can't you just feel the fun in this picture??

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I couldn't take it another moment - my hair was driving me nuts, so I hacked it off. Here is the pile of evidence. Surprisingly, I still look cute.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Your Cat Is In My Garden

"I'm a married man, I wouldn't cheat on my wife."

Oh, but you'll have phone sex???

Um, hello.....that's CHEATING.

Oh, but that only happens on TV, right?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

South Of The Beijing Border

Are they serious?? What in the name of Mao Zedong do you order here? Perhaps you're in the mood for something from column one?

Taco Fried Rice
Huevo Foo Young
Menudo and Broccori
Kung Pao Burrito
Arroz Con Lo Mein
Moo Sho Refried Beans
General Tso’s Chicken Enchiladas

Don't forget to use your chopsticks and wear that sombrero; we want to make Hu Jintao and Vicente Fox proud.

If you think about it, could 1.30628 billion people be wrong??

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Look, Honey! A Grist Mill

How excited are these people to have a water powered gristmill?? No more hand grinding grain.

This is Philipsburg Manor, an 18th-century working farm with a water powered gristmill. It is located in Sleepy Hollow, New York and according to the signage at the mill, "Philipsburg Manor explores the powerful stories of commerce and slavery in the colonial North."

Can't wait to go back this summer when they open for tours!

Friday, March 24, 2006

The New York Catch And Release Program

I've been staying at my cousin's house in New York when tonight I found out that I was not the only houseguest. Seems they had a teeny tiny little guest, who was found nibbling the cookies that I could have been eating!! When that happened, we knew someone had to go - and it wasn't going to be me!

So, while three adults hovered over what we thought was a movement by a mouse, we discovered that he had gotten away. So, my cousin's boyfriend set the trap, the friendly kind that doesn't harm the rodent, and we waited. No glue traps or old fashioned mousetraps in this burb!

We went back to what we were doing when suddenly, we heard scuffling. The mouse had entered the trap! Lured by one of my paper thin Swedish ginger cookies from IKEA, he was trapped in the box. Now what to do with him?

Since my cousin didn't want to let him go just outside, for fear of him coming back, they drove the mouse to another location, approximately a mile away. Here is the evidence of the release into the countryside:

I'm thinking the mice are not only going to come back, but they will probably tell their little mice friends about this place.

I mean, where else can you go where they feed you and give you a ride home??

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Living The Dream

Mike, from Chez Bez recently left this comment on my blog:

"You are living the dream. Thanks for sharing your pics and words from the road."

His comment came at the perfect time, because yesterday while I was salivating in the cavernous IKEA store in New Jersey, I was talking with the girls about jobs, how much money people make and the measure of success.

The "general" measure of success in many people's eyes is what you have, how much you make, what you drive, where you live and often, what you look like. You're successful if you did well on a diet, got a promotion at work, live in a big house, etc.

Sometimes, I have fleeting moments of thinking that I have no successes. I don't own a house, I don't have a career, I don't have oodles of money in the bank and since I sold my car when I went on the road with Ed, I didn't even own a car!

But, my cousin came up with all this stuff she thought made me was successful. She saw successes that I didn't even recognize; and my other friend said, "Before you can determine whether you have been successful or not, you have to define what success means to you. What is your definition of success?"

I thought for a moment and realized that I was often envious of people who either didn't work or were in a job where they didn't have a structured work schedule, got to travel a lot, had money to buy whatever they wanted or needed and their time was their own to do with as they wish.

Well, guess what? I have exactly that.

Recently, I've been looking at buying property in the Nashville area. Then I will have land and eventually a home, should I ever want to give up the life I currently have. And when I do, I hope to do the other thing that I think defines success - enjoying my family and friends, cooking and entertaining and waiting on my man hand and foot.

Can't wait to start living that dream. OK, well, I'll start on that after I get back from Europe.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Take Two Caramel Lattes And Call Me In The Morning

I'm in New York, sitting in Barnes and Noble, reading a magazine and sipping a Caramel Latte when a man motioned to the chair across from me and asked if it were taken; I said "no", and he sat down.

He closed his eyes and just sat there. I figured he must have had a hard day at work since he was wearing a suit. He finally got up, looked over and announced to me that he was conducting a seminar in the Cafe in ten minutes, on how to reduce stress, and I was welcome to join.

I'm thinking, Do I look like I need a stress reduction class? I'm sitting in a big, cushy chair, reading gossip magazines, with my feet up and a caramel latte in my hand.

So I politely declined by saying, "Thanks, but I don't have stress."

In case you didn't notice.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I have a cousin who is one of those people who call the 800 numbers dedicated to customer satisfaction; the ones printed on the backs of boxes, on tubes of toothpaste or bottles of shampoo that say, "If you aren't completely satisfied with this product, call 1-800-123-4567"

Well, when she isn't, she dials.

The most recent call was made to Scott Tissue - about toilet paper. That's right, toilet paper. The current package she bought had several rolls that were shredded part way through the roll. You'd be pulling it off the roll and all of a sudden, bam! big shreddy hole in the paper, resulting in paper dust all over the bathroom and a handful of toilet paper scraps.

So, she called the line. Not only did they take her complaint with complete professionalism and didn't laugh, as I was in the background, but they sent her $13.50 in coupons. For TOILET PAPER.

The next on her hit list is Fructis Shampoo - the product "irritated" her boyfriends scalp, so she wants her money back.

And she'll 1-800-GET IT.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

How Can You Not Love This Face?

Eddie must feel as if he's been on a twenty month audition, because every single time someone new meets him, they give their feedback:

"I love him!"

"What a nice guy."


"He's so smart. I like a man who has goals."

"He fits right in."

"A keeper."

I almost expect to hear, "I recommend him for the job" or, "He's hired!"

Eddie has regular fans that actually do go that far, campaigning for him all the way, trying to get him permanently hired. He recently made rounds again, with some new people in the "meet and greet" mix and I have to report; the fervor for Eddie has been especially abundant this week.

"I have to tell you, Ed is one great guy. You can tell him I said so."

"When are you guys getting married?"

"You must have kids - they would be so cute."

and from another ardent fan,

"Don't let him get away."

Oh, I'm not letting him get away anytime soon. Little does he know I have "people" who will find him.

And, if we do get married at some point, I have a gorgeous beach house on Fire Island already reserved. Booked it on Monday.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Competition Is Stiff

As most of you might know, I'm still trying to sell my father's hot dog truck. In the process of doing this, I came across this picture of me, almost four years ago, hawking hot dogs out of my own converted hot dog truck.

I can't even tell you how hard it was to convince people in Kentucky that Sabrett hot dogs, the same brand used on the pushcarts in New York City, were realllllly special!

Don't they know about "the snap" of the casing? The famous yellow and blue umbrellas? The iconic nature of the frank?

Please. They don't know from dogs.

But then I realized, these are people who are used to chowing down on those 2 for a $1.00 hot dogs that spend hours rolling around on heated steel rods at the WalMart snack bar.

And honestly, how can you compete with that??

Friday, March 17, 2006

Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants

Apparently, my mother has figured out how to get both her grandchildren AND her cat to help her with the dishes. See what happens when you use special treats as bribery??

A fun day at Nana's is a day "helping" with cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, yardwork, etc. Hey! Wait a minute, that doesn't sound like fun.

While finishing up a quick cucumber salad (the kids love to use the slicer), this little guy wanted to go outside. My mother told him they'd have to wait until they finished up in the kitchen, to which he replied, "But Nana, outside is all my projects that I have to do."

My mother inquired as to what those projects were and he said, "I hav-a put my svette shirt on and rake with Papa." Halfway through his raking "project" he must have decided he was working too hard because he turned to my mother and said, "My project is making me svette Nana."

Isn't that the cutest? Yes, baby, slave labor DOES make you sweat. I know, I used to live there.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Riding The Rusty Rails

Some pictures I took at an old train yard in rural Pennsylvania...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Benefits Of Memory Loss

I often get blasted for my loss of memory.

I will admit, I don’t remember many things; like my best friend being at her son’s school library from 11am-3pm on a particular day, resulting in me calling her 57 times and leaving voicemail and text messages to the effect of WHERE on earth are you?? Or, my mother getting exasperated because she told me literally a million times what day my nephews birthday party is, yet I call her weekly to ask, Is it on Tuesday or Thursday?? Or Eddie rolling his eyes at me because I asked him, for the twelfth time, what state we are in, what Interstate we’re on or how many hours left till we get where we are going.

I don’t see any of this as particularly life altering to anyone involved; in the very least it’s irritating for the person repeating the information, but that’s about it. I can deal with an occasional Shit, you don’t remember anything do you?? or I just TOLD you 20 minutes ago!

I’m really not bothered by the intermittent memory loss and to be honest, I see it as a blessing most of the time; as a result, I am not encumbered with a whole lot of things that would weigh down my spirit or affect my relationships. What I mean is this; if I were to remember every slight, every hurt feeling, every wrong I think has been done to me, I probably wouldn’t be talking to anyone.

It’s not that I don’t get hurt by comments that are made, or perhaps by judgments that are assessed, but really, what do they mean? Does it mean I should not have relationships with the people who made the remarks? Are their assessments even correct? Should I throw them up over and over again, throughout the years? I don’t think so.

If someone hurts your feelings, or wrongs you in any way, either you address it as soon as you can, or you let it go. If pressed, I can definitely remember a hurt or slight and bring it up with the best of them, but usually it is only if the conversation has been led by an emotional Sherpa in that direction. Then, I am forced to recall and bring up said situation that hurt me, at which time I am usually told that I too, am throwing it up.

It’s not that I don’t have feelings about things, I just don’t see the purpose of bringing them up all the time. I know many people who bring up things that happened 8, 10, 15 years ago. People who have done for others, yet not gotten in return what they expected. And then there are those who have made what they thought was a Herculean effort, only to discover their effort was not recognized. I’ve recently come across two schools of thought on this; one has to do with currency, the other, expectations.

In the past few months, I read something that addressed the issue of currency; I don’t remember where I read it and am most likely going to wildly paraphrase, but the concept went something like this…

Suppose you are selling a TV set and your asking price is $100. The person you are selling it to wants to pay you in 100 kumquats. You’re thinking, Kumquats?? What they hell am I going to do with 100 freakin’ kumquats?? In this case, the person offering you the kumquats is giving the very best they have; because where they come from, 100 kumquats is virtually a King’s ransom and they can think of no better way to honor or pay someone than by giving them their prized kumquats.

What we have here is a problem with the equality of the currency and, at the same time, expectation. You are expected to pay with one form of currency, yet you are using another; and although your currency is quite valuable to you, it is not to the other person.

This is the very same unbalanced reciprocity that happens with emotionally charged family, friendship and romantic relationship situations; what you wind up with, is a case of not possessing and using the right emotional currency. You act, do or say something and the other person is expecting something different; therefore, not making the emotional transaction with the same form of currency.

The reason I bring up the currency/expectation thing is because of some recent events in my life. I have been re-connected with some family members as a result of my father’s passing. I am thrilled by this turn of events and will write more about it at a later date, but right now I feel as if I am in the middle of old hurts, wrongdoings and slights of others that have resurfaced and are marring what I think should be a joyous, united family. I have been told to my face, on more than one occasion that the reason I slip back into the family fold so effortlessly is because I have a poor memory. Often in the form of, Well, you forget everything that has been said or done in the past. You don't remember anything.

Wow. Shocker. Me, forget something?

Newsflash, people! The only way to get past this kind of thing, the only way to get past this kind of thing…oops, did I just repeat myself? Um, YES, I did. The only way to get PAST this, is to take a big freakin’ shovel and bury it. For good. Move forward.

There are new engagements, marriages, pregnancies, children, grandchildren, home buying, career advancements, retirements, etc. There are new reasons to find happiness in the people who are the most dear to you. Seriously? The past is gone. We cannot undo it, but we can rebuild it.

As far as my memory sucking? As far as my forgetting things that have happened in the past? I don’t forget everything. In fact, I really don’t forget most things. I just choose not to remember them in a way that will keep me from happier times. And if I don’t have the correct currency to complete the transaction, I will convert it. I will do what I can do, in the very least, to try and meet expectations. And I will talk. A lot. I want to have every exchange I participate in, go as smoothly as possible.

Why? Because I want to be rich.

Even if my memory does suck.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Stolen Zillow

I stole this word for word from another blog. Here is what he had to say about Zillow:

"This could take water cooler talk about home values to a whole new level. Check out, the latest start-up venture from Richard Barton, one of the founders of Expedia.

Submit your address, and up pops a satellite/street map showing the estimated value of your home, along with the values of every other home on your block. By viewing the house detail, you can see the sales history of the home, and the taxes.

I checked our address, and they had our 2005 taxes correct down to the dollar. Wait a second - why am I paying $300 more in taxes than either of my next door neighbors?! This site is going to be trouble.

I checked a few addresses. Most seemed about right on value, but others seemed way too low.

Here's a story about the company shaking up the Manhattan real estate scene."

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Left My Heart... San Francisco. But I will definitely be going back for it!

We really enjoyed this town and plan to visit again when we have more time to take it all in. We spent the day trying to hit all the areas we could before the rain set it. This is looking North down Hyde Street toward the bay. Oh my God, this street was steep!! It felt so weird being at such an angle in the car, looking straight down, praying that your brakes were going to hold. In the distance, you can see the island that Alcatraz sits on.
We made a quick stop at Fisherman's Wharf to people watch, view the Stellar Sea Lions and feast our eyes on all of the seafood that was available.

A quick stop in The Haight Ashbury community; what a unique area with lots of eclectic little shops, style and ingenuity, interesting people and beautiful architecture.
Here is my first attempt at capturing the famous Seven Painted Ladies, commonly referred to as "postcard row". The weather was getting a little cloudy with rain expected in the late afternoon, so my ladies are looking a bit drab under the gray skies, but I also got a shot at night with the city in the background. A little blurry without the steadiness of my tripod, but you get the idea.

Here, in the North Beach area, you can see the Transamerica Pyramid with a cool triangular building to its lower right - sort of like the Flatiron Building in New York. We headed to North Beach for a great little Italian dinner on Columbus Avenue and I took this shot just as the rain was letting up.

I'm looking forward to visiting again, hopefully in the summer to get some other pictures of this fantastic city, and I've decided to add it to my "favorite places" list.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Dancing Queen

Driving through Wyoming and listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing “Love Is Here To Stay”, Ed says to me “Why don’t we ever go dancing, baby?”

I said, "Because you don’t know how to dance."

"What? And you’re the Dancing Queen of Astoria?"

Well, at least he got the "Queen" part right.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Over 7,000 Feet Of Pristine Beauty

This picture was taken in the Sierra Nevada while traveling through Donner Pass, about two hours east of Sacremento on Interstate 80. At the time we passed through, the snow, which was expected to add up to four additional feet over the weekend, had just begun to fall. It was just breathtaking. If you enlarge the picture, you can see the flakes in the blue sky area.

Friday, March 10, 2006

It's More Expensive To Say No

Today, while waiting for my rental car, I overheard a brief conversation between two young guys who worked there. It went like this:

Young Guy #1: I have a date this weekend.

Young Guy #2: Oh yeah?

Young Guy #1: Yeah, it's going to be an all day date. I'm going to pick her up for lunch and we'll go to the movies, then later on we'll do dinner and most likely head out to a club.

Young Guy #2: Cool. Sign me up.

Young Guy #1: She has a strict "no" policy, which is really nice though 'cause I'm not used it.

Young Guy #2: Sounds like a big waste of money to me.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I Fear The Family

Has anyone seen Family Fear Factor?

Where do they find these people??

It seems the only requirement is that your mom look hot in a bathing suit and/or have fake tits.

Seriously ladies, if you are thin, but have stretch marks from the 4 kids you've had, you probably shouldn't be wearing a halter top with your low slung jeans; on NATIONAL television.

I pity the children that grow up in families that a) have moms like that and b) participate in stupid shows.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's It All About?

My friend called me two weeks ago, crying so much I could barely understand her, to tell me that she just found out that her boyfriend of over two years has been cheating on her for the last year.

This coming after they called off the wedding, broke up, reconciled, reset the wedding date and moved back in together. After he apologized for screwing up, telling her he really wanted to be with her and acting as if he was back on track. I just don't get it.

“There are two things I’ve learned in life: find someone to love and live everyday as if it were your last.”

That’s what Joe told Alfie.

I just finished watching Alfie for the second time and enjoyed it much more than the first. It’s no award winning movie; hell, no one I know even saw it, but I still recommend it. Better yet, I suggest you buy it for someone who needs to get the message of the movie.

Alfie Elkins is synonymous with every man that doesn’t know what he has until he’s lost it. A man who has charm and good looks on the outside, but not much on the inside. In the movie, Alfie flits from woman to woman, loving the fact that he has so many choices and armed with said good looks and charm, can have any one of them. What he doesn’t realize, or does but doesn’t care, is that he leaves a trail of broken hearts behind him. He knows he’s being a schmuck. He knows he’s doing the wrong thing. He knows he’s taking advantage of each woman, but he can’t help himself.

What he never seems to realize is that every relationship ends the same way; with him hurting someone and also with him letting someone go that he realizes he should have kept, or in the very least, treated better. He never means to hurt anyone. But he does.

At one point in the movie, he says “Strange. But even when you know it has to end, when it finally does, you always get that inevitable twinge; have I done the right thing?” He admits to missing the companionship and even her good looks, but as his Aunt once told him, “Looks aren’t everything." Apparently not, since the steamy, passionate relationship he just ended was with an incredibly hot woman with whom he thought had everything he ever wanted.

As justification, he said he warned them all from the beginning; always saying something along the lines of “I must advise you. I am stamped with an invisible warning. I will not commit. I will never marry.” I think on some level, at this point, he realizes that he’s the one who is damaged. He knows he is the one who has cracks in what he calls his “faux finish”.

I look at my friend and her situation and think, I can’t believe this has happened again. To another friend, another woman I know. And now, two weeks later, she doesn’t even know where her boyfriend is. Last she heard, he went to Mexico with the girl he was seeing behind her back and hasn’t even called to say he’s alive. Maybe he isn’t. But this girl didn’t deserve what she’s getting. She (and her son) don’t deserve to have been deceived for over a year by someone that she made part of her life, her heart and her home.

You see, most of the time, women know what we’ve got. We know that we won’t trade the familiar for the new because it’s all the same after a while. We usually don’t screw up a sure thing on a feeling. And usually, we try to not hurt the other person selfishly. Of course, there are exceptions, but speaking for myself and on the behalf of the friends I’ve known for many, many years, I know that is not how any of us would handle the same situation.

At the end of the movie, after Alfie has tried to reconcile with at least two of the women he’s done wrong, he finds himself considering the turn of events in his life. When he looks back on all the women he’s known, he can’t help but think about all that they’ve done for him but that he’s done nothing for them. How they looked after him, cared for him and loved him and he repaid them by never returning the favor. He used to think he had the best end of the deal.

Then he says, talking to the screen, to the person watching, “What have I got? Really? Some money in my pocket, some nice threads, fancy car at my disposal. And I'm single. Yeah, unattached, free as a bird. I don't depend on nobody and nobody depends on me. My life's my own. But I don't have peace of mind. And if you don't have that, you've got nothing. So...what's the answer? That's what I keep asking myself. What's it all about? You know what I mean?”

What is it all about?

** The lyrics to the title song, Alfie, written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach give the listener an idea of what it's about. With a music score in part performed and produced by Mick Jagger, it is definitely a soundtrack worthy of owning. And this song, sung with the incredible vocals of Joss Stone make the meaning really come to life. Here are the lyrics:

What's it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
Then I guess it's wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
What will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there's a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there's something much more,
Something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you've missed, you're nothing, Alfie.
When you walk, let your heart lead the way
And you'll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Having A Good Reason

Why do men always need a reason or have a question when you ask them to do something?

I have to go to Wal-Mart.
What for?

Well, what the hell difference does it make?

Like he is going to determine in his mind whether or not it’s really a necessary trip based on what I have to buy.

I need tampons.
Are you sure? Can’t that wait?
Uh, no.


I need saran wrap, milk and cupcake tin liners.
Why? Are you going to make cupcakes tonight?
No, but I need them.


I ran out of oatmeal honey facial cleanser.
Can’t you just use soap?
No, I can’t just use soap.
You use soap. I need my cleanser.


I’m sure if he asked me what I needed and I responded with, “condoms”, we’d be in the car, careening around turns to get to the store AND back as fast as humanly possible.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Now Where Did I Put Those Underwear??

People in Nebraska must take their underwear completely off when they go to the bathroom. How else can you explain a problem so widespread that it requires signage? I mean, if your undies are scrunched in a pile at your feet securely entwined around your ankles, how can you possibly flush them?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Maybe I Don't Need To Know Everything

Usually, when it comes to my best friend, I have to know everything. And usually, she tells me.

What's going on with the kids, how often she's having sex (a lot!!), what she did for the day, who called, what's for dinner, what she's wearing, what the girl at the bank said....

You get the idea.

But tonight while instant messaging, for some reason, I was just not prepared to hear these next few words:

Best Friend: brb

Best Friend: michael just threw up

Me: omg...why?

Me: and more importantly, why did you have to tell me??

I think the fake roast beef sandwich I just had at Arby's, with a side of too much information, was just not the best combination for me this evening.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A Cloud Of Words

Make your own Word Cloud.

* The tiny words you can't see are (in alphabetical order): air, beautiful, best, boon, break, change, conversation, dear, driving, end, flakes, flow, fun, hand, heart, laugh, lucky, miles, nail, pool, rim, school, screw, three, tire, tired, tonight, warning, weather, work, years

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Truckers And Travelers Know Good Food

According to signs that line the road on your way to the Chuck Stop on Route 41 in Gap, Pennsylvania, it's truckers and travelers who know where to find good food. Not only do they have good food, but they also posses a sense of humor; their menu lists items like "Countie Mountie", "The Good Buddy" and the "Full Blown Bear", incorporating trucker lingo for every item of food. You won't find anything that says just "cheeseburger" on this menu.

They are also real proud of their breakfast selections, since on the back of the t-shirts they sell it reads, "Our Eggs Get Laid Every Day".

Kinda makes you want to have an omelet, doesn't it?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Pssst! Wanna Buy A Hot Dog Truck?

I am trying to sell my father's hot dog wagon. I currently have it listed on craigslist, but will be putting it in the local paper, Ebay and one other website that I have been told about.

If you know anyone who might be interested, please pass the information on. Also, if you know of any free publications for me to list it in, let me know.

You can read a detailed description and see pictures of the hot dog truck and items for sale if you click here. (link was disabled after hot dog truck sold)