Monday, December 31, 2007

All Good Things Come To An End

As a farewell to 2007, I pilfered the following meme from Bleeding Espresso. Read on!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
Had a photo published in a magazine, visited
Mount Rushmore, traveled over 180,000 miles in an 18 wheeler, went sailing, rang in the New Year on Vancouver Island in Canada and navigated a blown tire on the 18-wheeler - while I was driving!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I usually don't make too many resolutions; I think about making them though!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, Mexico and Texas. Oh shit, Texas isn't another country; they just act like they are.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Time without distractions or interruptions. I have TONS of time, but it is often interrupted or filled with distractions. I'd like some "quiet time" to work on my video depicting a "day in the life" of me as a truck driver, time to develop our invention (we already have the prototype - we just want to go further with it) and time to learn a language.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
My mother's 65th birthday party and my birthday. Hers was a wonderful day; she had a great time and loved the big screen TV she got as a gift, blah, blah, blah....but really, it was all about the
food. (Shhh. Don't tell her!) and my birthday trip with my friends to The Berkshires. Lots of laughs and great memories.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
My two biggest accomplishments are: d
riving over 80,000 miles free of accidents, tickets or violations enabling me to obtain my "one year safe driving award" and paying off all my bills (although I did accrue a teensy weensy bit of debt Christmas shopping!)

9. What was your biggest failure?
No big failures, just one disappointment - too unorganized to get our act together so we could get to Europe - guess that will have to wait for 2008!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No illnesses, no injuries. I'm healthy as horse!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My laptop computer, my video camera and digital camera.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
What kind of behavoir merits celebration??

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I'm appalled by the way the majority of society acts towards others but it doesn't depress me.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Dining out and entertainment (vacations, movies, books, iTunes, etc.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Shopping for a motorcoach; even though at year end, we didn't get it.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
"Through Glass" by Stone Sour and "Who Knew" by Pink

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Happy, Fat and Rich.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Worked on my writing, kept up with my Italian lessons on tape and commented on blogs. I read a lot of them, I'm just not a commenter.

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

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With Eddie and family in Arizona.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
I fell in love with iTunes (my new obsession) and
Boris Kodjoe!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Grey's Anatomy

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope, no one new; just the
same person for the last twenty years.

24. What was the best book you read?
The Bridges Of Madison County (Robert Kincaid is a figment) and Crown Sable (which I've read in the past by re-read this year)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sara Bareilles, thanks to Starbucks free iTunes cards!

26. What did you want and get?
I didn't want anything, but I got an iTouch (which spawned my iTunes obsession), a second
camera from Eddie and my front tooth fixed; it's been chipped for over a year.

27. What did you want and not get?
A new truck and a trip to Europe.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I love movies, so can't pick just one. Here are my top three: Once, August Rush and Gone Baby Gone

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
This year I turned forty and Ed took me to The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. It was by far the best thing I've done on my birthday. It was so amazing and so interesting that I can't wait to go back.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Taking a trip alone with my brother and spending more time in snow and cold weather.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
I don't do casual very well, so working as a truck driver is challenging for me. My style was less polished this year than I would have liked it to be. In 2008, I'm going to spend more time coming up with a workable trucking style that incorporates femininity and function; and don't even think sweatpants, they never have been and never will be part of my wardrobe. Please, I'm just getting used to jeans.

32. What kept you sane?
My best friend Vicki, internet access and my phone.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Interestingly enough, I'm a celebrity magazine hound, but I don't really fancy anyone in particular. I'm very disloyal when it comes to celeb-love.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration. People need to curtail their hatred of those who are different, address the fears that are fostered by media reports and stop thinking they are superior and have more rights than any other person in this nation. We should welcome all.

35. Who did you miss?
My father; most often at night when driving alone and have a lot of time to think.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Probably Sognatrice from Bleeding Espresso. If I were a shape-shifter, I'd body snatch her and take over her life in Italy.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
I have two.
People say they want you to be honest with them, but they really don't.
2. If you lower your expectations, you won't be disappointed as often.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From Keith Urban's Song Who Wouldn't Want To Be Me?:

"And the sun is shinin'
This road keeps windin'
Through the prettiest country
From Georgia to Tennessee
And I got the one I love beside me
My troubles behind me
I'm alive and I'm free
Who wouldn't wanna be me"

Looking forward to a wonderful 2008 as I already have so many great things to look forward to! Wishing all of you the same!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Spiritual Motivation

I like all kinds of music but I typically gravitate toward R & B. I grew up in New York listening to the "city" stations and buying club music years before I was old enough to cross the velvet ropes into one. I'm also a fan of Gospel music, especially that which has a strong R & B base to it.

When I was a kid, after we went to our church (the mind numbing Catholic service) we would stop at the Italian bakery downtown and pick up pastries. While my father went into the bakery, we would wait in the car outside. Above the bakery was what we called, in those politically incorrect times, the "black church," and the name of it was The Upper Room.

Every week I would sit in that car and wish I could go to that church, that Upper Room. From street level you could hear the music and singing coming from upstairs and it just sounded close to heaven. It was loud and joyful and you know everyone inside was having a good time. Why shouldn't your praise be fun? Wasn't that the whole point of making a joyful noise unto the Lord? Instead, we had to "Sit, stand, kneel. Sit, stand, kneel." and then try to stay awake long enough to get a sip of wine. Boooooring.

Well just this week I watched the movie The Gospel. Twice. I can't say the acting is anything worth mentioning, but the music was great! Foot stomping, hand clapping and sung with such exuberance and joy, it made me want to hop the first plane to Atlanta to sit it on the churches where the movie was filmed. I'm not big on going to church but a congregation like this one could almost draw anyone in. It's like going to a concert every Sunday. Even though it showcased many actual Gospel acts, this is Hollywood, people, and because of that, the lead character was beautiful. Bee-uuu-teee-ful! I couldn't take my eyes from the screen when he was on it.

That magnetic force came in the form of Boris Kodjoe. If I can say Oh, Dear Lord right here, I am sayin' it. Loudly. If I knew of a church that combined not only this fabulous music, but a preacher that looked like Boris, you'd need a team of horses to tear me away from the altar!

As the tagline of the movie says: "See It! Live It! Spread It!"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

He Raises A Valid Point

Every December, my mother takes my oldest nephew on an "outing" for his birthday. They spend the day together going to lunch, shopping, hitting the arcade, taking in a movie, lounging in Starbucks; whatever he wants to do, my mother does. It's their special day out.

This year, when my sister-in-law dropped him off, she told him to hold on to Nana's cell phone to make sure if it rings, he can hear it or if they need to, they can get to it quickly in case anything happens.

He said, "Like what, Mom?"

My sister-in-law said, "Anything. If Nana doesn't feel good, if you need me to come get the both of you, or I don't know....if someone takes Nana."

He cocked his hip out, faced her like a teenager (even though he's only nine) with a look of confusion on his face that said what are you talking about, woman??? and in all seriousness, said:

"Mom. Let's be realistic. Who would take Nana??"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Thursday, December 27, 2007

How To Picnic Like An Italian

This week while visiting my mother in Arizona, I've been making time to go through the stuff I have stored in her shed. I'm organizing, getting rid of things and making room for more useless shit. Uh, stuff.

I came across a book called "Dad - Share Your Life With Me..." as I picked through the boxes. It's one of those books you give your parents, asking them to fill it out before they leave this earth and you realize you forget to ask them a whole bunch of stuff. This one covers things from childhood to the present, which questions ranging from "What did your father do for a living?" to "Do you have any ice skating memories to share?"

As the two year anniversary of my father's
death draws near, coming across this book was a bittersweet treat. I am so thrilled that he so thoroughly answered all the questions. I'm still reading, but so far my favorite answer is the one he wrote for this question: Share a memory about going on a picnic.

His answer was: "We would go on lots of picnics; Bear Mountain, Valley Stream on Long Island, New Jersey. But we would bring all the things we would normally have home. A big pot of gravy, chicken, salad, bread, soda, etc. BQ some hot dogs or burgers. But mostly macaroni."

This is just one example of the way food and my father's cooking has infused our life; and if my Aunt Ronni was there, forget about it, she was exactly the same way. We would go fishing in the Moriches on Long Island or up to Swan Lake in upstate New York and we'd be the only people with eggplant parmigiana sandwiches, breaded chicken cutlets, roasted red peppers, Italian bread, Capicola, fresh mozzarella, Soppresata, our favorite beverages and either a Thermos filled with espresso or the actual espresso pot to make it fresh. We were fishing with a cooler stocked like the hundreds of Italian Pork Stores that dot the East Coast, sipping espresso and munching on Biscotti.

To me, this is the way to "do" life; sharing good times and making memories with family and friends, but never being too far from a good chunk of lasagna, fresh mozzarella
(see the Mozzarella di Bufala) and a good crusty Italian bread.

And you wonder why I eat out so often and have a teensy weensy obsessive relationship with food?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Would You Like A Fried Egg With A Side Of Influenza?

This morning my mother offered to make Ed breakfast. As we were all standing around her brand new fancy griddle, watching her make her famous, butter slathered fried eggs, she sneezed. Right on the eggs.

"Mom!! You could at least turn your head and sneeze!" Her hands were busy buttering and flipping eggs, so she couldn't cover her mouth.

She looked at me and said, "What?? You eat all over the country, in places where you don't even know who is doing the cooking. What's a little family friendly sneeze??"

"Mom. It's one thing to not see the person who is sneezing on your eggs, because you can pretend stuff like that doesn't happen, but we're standing right here."

I think tomorrow I'm having cereal for breakfast; and I'll be pouring my own milk.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Merry. The Moments. The Memories.

Christmas Day, Ed (in the lead) and my brother (trailing behind) kick off the festivities by participating in a heated race on the dirt track my brother built on his property. It has jumps, berms and hairpin turns; it is not for the faint of heart.

These two ran the kids off the course and took over their mini-bikes to have a little fun of their own.

I think Ed won this race, which shows that his skills have greatly
improved over the years and he's making an easier transition from eighteen wheels to two.

Moto-cross racing on Christmas has become a tradition at my brother's house. This year, all the boys raced and did well, even though the adult participants were bogged down with creamy (spiked) eggnog. I took my usual position in the 'stands' with my camera, and documented the event.

After the big race, we made our way inside for Christmas dinner. This year, my brother and I (who do the cooking) came up with this menu:

Spinach and Cheese Puff Pastry Swirls

Mixed Green Salad with Shaved Bosc Pear, Dried Cherries, Raisins and Walnuts tossed in a Cabernet Poppyseed dressing

Caramelized Onion and Kalamata Olive Tart

Shrimp Scampi over a bed of linguini with a side of fresh Green Beans

After dinner, we unbuttoned our pants, opened our presents and contemplated dessert. Sad to say, we never made it that far; the steam was gone.

So we went home with our bellies full, our packages under our arms and the memories etched in our minds. A few months of relaxation are now in store before doing it all again.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House

“Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart... filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.” ~ Bess Streeter Aldrich

Sunday, December 23, 2007

When You Need Maternity Clothes And You're Not Pregnant, You Know It's Time For A Diet

If you read my blog even semi-regularly, you will know that I'm a plus sized woman. That's all fine and dandy on a normal day, but when it comes to shopping at certain places, I'm at wit's end.

I'm not so much bothered by the selection available, as much as I am when a store puts the plus sized section and the maternity section side by side. I'll be thumbing through the racks, moving along until I come across something that catches my eye, only to pull it out and have it be a maternity piece!

What IS that??? Just because I'm larger, does not mean I'm PREGNANT. I'm sure pregnant women can wear plus sized clothing, but plus sized women can't really wiggle into maternity clothes. I'm even more irked when the maternity item is just what I was looking for; not only is it not my size, but it has an extra yard of material in the front for the belly tent.

If I ever get to the point where I need maternity clothes and I'm not pregnant, I'll be dialing Jenny Craig so fast, my phone will burst into flames.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Divine Intervention Comes A Little Too Late

Today while I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping (Oh My God, don't even tell me how insane I am to be out the weekend before Christmas. I know; believe me, I know), I saw a bumper sticker on a car in the mall parking lot. It said:


Wow. How apropos.

I wish I had seen that at the beginning of my whirlwind shopping extravaganza instead of at the end; then is when I could have used the reminder.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Disk This

I'm not sure what these are, but I found them in an antique store, all stacked in a wooden bowl. They are made of metal and appear to be hand forged.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Love Hate Relationship

I love to give gifts, but I hate to shop.

I love to travel, but I hate to fly.

I love cold weather, but I hate cold weather clothing.

I love cookies, but I hate to bake.

I love to sleep, but I hate to make the bed.

I love to go sledding, but I hate walking up the hill.

I love to eat, but I hate to gain weight.

I love going to movies, but I hate people who talk during them.

I love shoes, but I hate having big feet.

I love to cook, but I hate to clean up.

I love to blog, but I hate when I'm a several days behind!

Monday, December 17, 2007

There's A First Time For Everything

I always do these, but it seems Ed recently got on my computer and decided to fill out a few answers of his own, so I decided to post them. I present to you Eddie's first meme:

1. Do you like cheese?
Bleu Cheese and cheddar cheese. Of course, growing up I really liked smoked cheese.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
Nope. Never done a drug in my life. EVER. And yes, that is the truth.

2. Do you own a gun?
No. Why do I need a gun when I have this Sherlock Holmes deductive reasoning?

3. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Sometimes. It depends on why I am going to see the doctor.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?
Yes I love hot dogs! The ones you grill at home are the only ones I am familiar with intimately though. I grew up on those. Oscar Meyer hot dogs.

6. What’s your favorite Christmas song?
Little Drummer Boy

7. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Cold: Orange Juice Hot: Coffee, just plain

8. Can you do push-ups?
Yes. I can do push ups. I am not telling how many though.

9. Is your bathroom clean?
I don’t do bathrooms. (We don’t have one in the truck, so it’s not really a battle as to who will be cleaning it. At home though, yes. I like shiny tile and the smell of nothing!)

10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
I don’t really wear jewelry, but I do sport cool shades.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Secret weapon? My good looks are no secret.

14. Do you have A.D.D.?
Only on Fridays

16. Middle name?

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1. I want coffee
2. I hope I find a good load today
3. How long is this stupid questionnaire?

18. Name the last 3 things you have bought?
1. A Tuna Melt
2. A Newspaper
3. Diesel Fuel

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
1. Iced Tea
2. Coffee
3. Milk

20. Current worry?
Debts! Debts! And more Debts!

21. Current hate?
I hate credit card companies!

22. Favorite place to be?
Anywhere peaceful and quiet. Preferably any untouched country setting where there are no people around.

23. How did you bring in the New Year?
With my girlfriend’s family in Arizona. I’m not really big on NYE. I watch the ball drop and that’s about it.

24. Where would you like to go?
Czech Republic

27. Do you own slippers?

28. What are you wearing?
Jean shorts. Pattern short sleeve button shirt. Shortie socks and tennis shoes. Because you never know when a tennis game will break out!

29. Do you burn or tan?
Tan on the outside and burn in the middle.

30. Favorite color?
Red, but lately blue has had way more appeal

31. Would you be a pirate?
I am a pirate.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Whatever I heard on the radio before I went into the shower.

35. What’s in your pocket right now?
Wallet. Keys. Spare change. Old movie tickets. Receipts.

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
Something I read on the internet.

37. Best bed sheets as a child?
Wow I can almost picture some sort of cartoon character, but I would have to call my Mom. She knows all of this kind of stuff.

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had?
Well aside from the internal injuries that were caused by eating a bowl of really nasty tortilla chips in Reno, NV once, I would have to say the time I fell off a fence when I was about 10 and was impaled by a nail which went into my right leg on the way down. Not much blood, but Mom was freaking out.

41. Who is your loudest friend?
No loud friends

42. Who is your most silent friend?
No Silent friends

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
Well I would hope it’s more than a crush.

45. What is your favorite book?
It depends on what kind of mood I am in I guess. At the moment, Blood and Cigarettes, by Stephen King.

46. What is your favorite candy?
Milk Chocolate Almonds.

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
I’m The Bottom, You’re The Top. My dad sang it to my Mom.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Funeral? Hmmm. I don’t really think I will care what song is played at my funeral because I will be dead, but lets say The Highway Man, by Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Chris Christofferson.

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night?
Watching a movie.

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
Can’t I just sleep a few more hours?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fashion Forward

My step-father recently flew to New York to spend the holidays with his family. My mother packed his suitcase, as usual, wrapping the fragile gifts he was taking and made sure his carry-on bag had crossword puzzles, a bottle of water and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I asked her how many suitcases he had and she said, "One. And his purse."

"His purse??"

"Yeah, you know, his purse."

"His man purse?" I asked.

"No. Nannie's purse."

"Nannie's purse???" Nannie is my late grandmother.

"He's carrying Nannie's purse??? On the plane??"

"Yeah, his purse." Now she's getting annoyed.

"Well, what do you mean, his purse?? Is it a carry-on bag, a man purse or Nannie's actual purse? Is it a woman's purse??"

"I don't know, Salena. It's just a purse."

"Yeah, but a purse that you put over your shoulder or a purse like Daddy's purse?? A man's purse, Mom, or a regular purse??" I'm frustrated that I can't get clarification. My mind is swirling with images of my step-father carrying an old ladies purse as he travels. I'm thinking, handbag? shoulder bag? what color? how many pockets?

At this point, I started laughing. "Do you know how ridiculous we sound? We're talking about an eighty-six year old man carrying a purse. Not only that, but we're talking about whether it was like the purse my father carried or like the one my grandmother carried."

I never did get a straight answer out of my mother, but I do hope the purse he did take, matched his shoes.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Just In Time For The Holidays

I was listening to the radio the other night while driving and heard a great quote; surprisingly, it came from a stand up comic.

She told the audience if they remembered anything about her performance, it should be these three things:

Love hard.
Forgive harder.
Get as happy as you can as fast as you can.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Holiday Sparkle

Two ornaments that belonged to my grandmother in her later years; she loved anything that sparkled.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Subtlety Is SO Not His Middle Name

Recently, Ed and I were sitting at a table talking to another couple when the conversation led to a topic that I just didn't want to discuss with them.

Ed usually doesn't catch it when I give him "the look" that means STOP TALKING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW, so I kick him under the table to make him shut up.

What does he do?

He looks at me and says, "Why are you kicking me???

Oh. My. God. He is so lucky I didn't kick him IN THE HEAD after that.

I of course, played it off with an Oscar worthy performance, saving face and moving on with grace. Since then, I have been training Ed in the precision and delicacy needed to maintain the secret sign language of couples.

I have my work cut out for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen

Reindeer, schmeindeer! What, they're famous because they have a song?? Feh.

Eddie and I have become temporary reindeer, veering from our normal flatbedding and instead, running trailers all over the country for UPS. We don't have to deck ourselves out in the stylish brown ensembles (gag) the UPS guys wear, but we do like to think we are also reindeer; delivering presents in the still of the night. This deal is a true team operation, which means when one person is sleeping, the other is driving. It has been leaving no time for fun stuff like blogging, hence the reason my posting have not been up to date for the past week or so.

We'll be done this week and after the new year, we'll go back to our normal trucking activities; sipping lattes, reading magazines and dining out. Ed wants to take the first two months of the year off (which is soooo conventient since his birthday is in February - hmmm) which will give me plenty of time to blog and do other stuff.

So when you hear, "What can BROWN do for you?" you will now be able to answer, "Bring Christmas presents!"

If you'll excuse me now, we have to go help out Rudolph and the fat guy in the red suit...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Listening And LOVING

I have been obsessed with the following three albums:

1. Sara Bareilles: Wow. She's just amazing. I discovered her when I picked up "Love Song" as the free tune of the day from Starbucks. I immediately downloaded the rest of the album from iTuens. LOVE it.

2. The soundtrack from the movie, Once. I heard about the movie on Heather Armstrong's Web site and when I saw it offered on the hotel in-room movies, I had to watch it. Again, I immediately downloaded the entire soundtrack from iTunes.

3. And finally, I went to see August Rush in the movies and have to say I'm a total sucker for feel-good movies that include music. Not only was it a good movie, but I loved the soundtrack. It was even better once I saw this incredible creature singing several songs in the movie (which are also on the soundtrack.) I had no idea he was so talented!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's Like Playing A Record Backwards To Hear The "Real" Meaning

This weekend while Christmas shopping, I was feeling a bit Scrooge-like; most likely prompted by the unseasonal heat and throngs of shoppers.

In the store, I passed an older woman who was looking at me the entire time I was walking toward her. I figured she caught my un-holidayish scowl, so I said as I passed her, "Ugh. I'm just feeling a little Scroogey right now." She smiled as if she knew what I was feeling.

A while later, I ran into her in the Christmas card aisle. She came up to me, touched my arm and said, "I just wanted you to know that I wasn't looking at you because I thought you were scowling or looking like Scrooge, as you said, I was looking at you because I think you're very beautiful." Well! I'll be damned.

Since I really was a little cranky from starting my day out with three hours worth of dental work, I imagined how I must have looked; like a petulant child, all hot and whiney, trailing behind my mother in the over-crowded store when I was "caught" wearing a scowl by a stranger. Then it turns out the stranger just thought I looked beautiful. How absolutely unexpected!
I thanked her sincerely and we went our seperate shopping ways.

After I thought about how nice it was to be complimented by a complete stranger (which is something I do often, so I have a fondness for it), it brought back the memory of another time when I was shopping and got a compliment; although I'm not sure the delivery was as smooth as this older womans was...

I had an armful of clothing and was looking through the dress rack for more things to try on. I kept passing the same lady, who was looking at me for periods of time I thought were a little too long. Did I have a stalker?

As I rounded the dress rack again, she came up and stopped right in front of me. I smiled and shifted to the side as if to pass her when she said, "I just wanted to tell you that I think you're extremely beautiful for a not thin person."


I laughed to myself thinking, was that a compliment? but just said "Thank you." Or maybe I said, "Uh...thank you." I'm not really sure, but I always refer to that event as the time I got the "un" compliment or the "backwards" compliment.

Honestly, I'll take 'em any way they come. I like when people are bold and say what they think, especially if they're complimenting me in the process.

Mostly though, I like the ones that I don't have to decipher.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Game You Wouldn't Want To Play If You Were Say, In The Witness Protection Program

My best friend Vicki was playing a game of twenty questions with the kids; the one that begins by asking the question, "Animal, vegetable or mineral?"

When it was Mina's turn, she added her usual flair to every little thing she's involved in by asking the question in her own unique way:

"Animal, vegetable or criminal?"

Saturday, December 08, 2007

After The Storm

Just after the storm cleared the Santa Catalina mountains. Tucson, Arizona.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Max Says To Go Placidly, As It Is Still A Beautiful World

by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Meme!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bag?
Wrapping paper!! I love to wrap presents! It’s my favorite part.

2. Real tree or artificial?

Artificial all the way! Who wants to clean up pine needles? If you miss the smell, buy a pine air freshener and hide it in the middle!

3. When do you put up your tree?

Between Thanksgiving and December 1

4. When do you take down your tree?

My mother had hers up for two full years once!! I don’t really have any specific time to take it down. Some people I know tear it down the minute the holiday is over – if they even decorate all that much in the first place!

5. Do you like eggnog?

Love it!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?

Probably the yellow wrist radio that was circle shaped - I tried to find it online, but couldn't. (Other than that, ANYTHING my Aunt Ronni bought me - she was the ultimate gift giver!!)

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

My mother has the one we’ve had since we were kids.

8. Hardest person to buy for?

My step-father and my three nephews – I hate, hate, hate to shop for boys.

9. Easiest person to buy for?


10. Worst Christmas gift you've ever received?

I can’t think of one bad gift I’ve ever gotten.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

Who emails Christmas cards???

12. Favorite Christmas movie?

Adult Movies: The Family Stone, Love Actually and The Holiday. When I was a kid: How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Frosty The Snowman and A Charlie Brown Christmas

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

Two weeks before – I’m a big procrastinator and I HATE to shop.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Probably – I just can’t remember what it was.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

The cookies that my sister-in-law makes for me – I only get them once a year and I hoard them. Christmas might be a time for sharing other things, but not these!

16. White or colored lights?


17. Favorite Christmas song?

I’ll Be Home For Christmas

18. Travel for Christmas or stay home?

I would love to be somewhere cold for Christmas, but since my family lives where it’s hot, I go there to be with them and then go somewhere cold afterwards!

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?

Of course.

20. Angel or Star on top of tree?

A star that twinkles!

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or Morning?

Christmas morning – Um, Christmas Eve is NOT Christmas!

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?

All the shit that’s for sale, the crowded stores, the traffic and having to celebrate where it’s hot.

23. What I love most about Christmas?

The lights, cold weather and the snow (if you're in the right part of the country, that is!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gifts That Keep On Giving

Whether shopping for Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or Festivus, you might want to consider a different way to spend your money this year.

Here are some other gift options; the kind that embody the true essence of giving. Consider using your money towards something that will help others, rather than buying Uncle Stan another ugly sweater that will probably end up in next year's garage sale.

Check out some of the sites below or contribute locally to a cause in your own hometown. It's like two gifts for the price of one; the one you give when you help someone in need and the one you'll get by knowing you made a difference.

Alternative Gifts: Several options on one site for different ways to give.

Bread For The World: One of the many ways we can help end world hunger.

Project Concern: Give a gift of health, hope or nutrition.

Heifer International: Baby cows for everyone! Provide a sustainable source of food and income for a lucky family.

Trees For Life: Enabling people to have a food source by providing a tree.

One Laptop Per Child: My personal favorite, since I consider my laptop a necessary appendage. Empower children in developing countries to learn.

Ten Thousand Villages: Practice fair trade by shopping here and improve the livelihood of disadvantaged people in developing nations.

Kiva: Make a loan. Change a life.

Changing The Present: Train midwives, clear land mines, feed the hungry. Your money, your choice.

Nothing But Nets: Pesky mosquitos! Help provide insecticide-treated bed netting for families in Africa and help save lives that would have been lost to Malaria.

The Arbor Day Foundation: Like to breathe? Plant a tree.

The Hunger Project: Empower men and women to end their own hunger. Although, one day with me and Eddie would teach them all they need to know!

Now don't you think these causes need your money more than the Walton family does? I do, and I will be donating to one or more of these causes in addition to a local need in my community.

This list is a good start but there are many other places to use your money. Do a search for "alternative gifts" and let me know if you find anything interesting!

Happy Shopping!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

When Pizza Is Involved, Jesus Is Always In Charge

Mina was recently talking to her father, who was at the kitchen table teasing the kids about not taking them to a classmate's birthday party that was being held at a neighborhood pizzeria.

The kids kept insisting that Mommy said they could go but their father told them he was the boss and they weren’t going.

In response to this, Mina said, “Well, Jesus is the big, BIG boss. Of everyone. Even big people. Even you, Daddy.”

See why I love this kid? For conversations precisely like this and the fact that she has been known to end the Lord's Prayer with "...and deliver us from Nemo. Amen."

After her comment, she ran into the other room to check with her mother and make sure she was right about the whole Jesus-being-the-big-boss thing.

Of course she was right, so her father stopped the teasing and they all piled in the car to get some pizza.

Thank you Jesus.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Are My Two Front Teeth

And a few other things I'm probably not going to get...

Since I have limited space in the truck, I usually don't buy or ask for a whole lot of stuff. Ed and I usually spend money doing something rather than buying something. And this year, in addition to what we will be spending on family, we plan on buying an alternative gift to help someone in another country (more on that later in the week).

But for now, let's peruse my wish list:

A Coach
wallet to match the bag I bought for my birthday.

Hidalgo stackable rings, which are just gorgeous. I'll need at least three of them.

A gift certificate of ANY amount to
Sephora. You will never hear me say no to Sephora.

In preparation for my trip to Italy, I need to start spending time with Rosetta; the Rosetta Stone
Italian Language course, that is.

My So-Called Life DVD collection (and book!): The epitome of teen angst. I was in love with Jordan Catalano LONG before Cameron Diaz even knew he existed.

And you can't watch My So-Called Life without following it up with hours of
Felicity. Ben or Noel? Noel or Ben? Oh my God, it's SUCH an agonizing decision. My head says Noel, but my loins say Ben. And how can you not have a Ben at least once in your life???

Because, on occasion, I am susceptible to infomercials, I want Lauren Hutton’s Face Disk; how could you not want fabulous when it comes in one handy compact?

Ooooh! And a
cruise around the world. This is something Ed already looked into and I figured if I could spend 24 hours a day in the cab of a truck with him, I can certainly stand being in a cabin on a ship that’s cruising the globe!

Since I’m such the traveler, I'll need a cozy
throw to keep my lap warm. ('Cause you know how laps always seem to get cold and all.) This heather grey will do the trick!

Another traveling necessity is this
tote bag, which is just unique enough to be cool but not too fuzzy that it will be mistaken for a dead animal.

And finally, for days when I feel like embracing straight hair, I'll need one of

That's about it for now, and since I recently went to the dentist and actually had my front tooth fixed, I guess the list is done. If I think of anything else, I'll be sure to add it!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Eddie Hick Runs Deep Friday

Yes, that is a toothpick dangling from my Eddie's kisser. Hick runs deep; you can take the boy out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the boy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's Not So Much Fun To Roll Out Your Best Sales Schpiel On A Mute

Eddie and I have been talking about buying a motorhome. We've looked at several in the last month and so far, we like this one, this one and this one.

These homes on wheels are amazingly gorgeous with all the bells and whistles. At one dealership, we spent at least four hours with the salesman, looking at several models and getting the scoop on all of them. The downside? Spending four hours with a salesman. Unfortunately, when you drive into a dealership, they descend upon you like vultures. Sometimes we're unable to outrun them since they often drive golf carts, causing us to be stuck with a shadow while we browse.

Today we passed a local RV Show, set up at a fairground. Ed commented that we should just comb the country for shows so we can wander around as we please and not have to even talk to a salesman.

He thought maybe if we pretended we didn't speak English, we could get out of having a salesman on our tail. He said, "Maybe we can pretend to be Russian or Romanian or something. You know, a language that's not common so we won't be forced to talk to them."

"Well, that's an idea." I said.

"Or you could just nod and smile, like people who don't understand the language often do. Whadya think? We'll just pretend we're not from around here." He was getting all excited about his plan. "So, what kind of accent do you think I should have?"

I said, "Why don't you just pretend you're mute and I'll do all the talking?"

I don't think he was too keen on that idea; he gave me mal occhio.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Kind Of Contraction That Produces A Laugh, Not A Baby

Last week I was talking to my nephew Jake, the four year old. He was doing something I thought he shouldn't be - like pulling the cat's tail - so I said something to the effect of, "Jake. Don't pull on the cat's tail!"

He said, "I amn't"

"You're what?" I replied.

"I AMN'T!" he said louder.

"OK, fine." I muttered. "Just knock off whatever it was you were doing."

I laughed to myself as I walked away, thinking he was quite
clever to come up with his own word. We're just so used to hearing the same old, same old, aren't we?

do not = don't
will not = won't
can not = can't
Is not = isn't
are not = aren't

I think there's a new word on the block people, and his name is amn't.

I am not = I amn't

Monday, November 26, 2007

Free! Gratuito! Gratis! Ummm....No Charge!

Presenting two beautiful passport covers.....for your traveling pleasure. They are leather (so they say) but don't necessarily feel like buttah. Just leather-ISH. One is black, of course, and the other is a limey green. If you don't need it for yourself, perhaps they'll make a good gift. They are brand new and have never been used; I just found other ones that I liked better and decided to get those instead.

nd I am giving them away FREE. But here's the catch:

I am looking for some Christmas gift ideas for Eddie. I know you don't know a whole lot about him, which is just fine, but I'd like to hear about what some of you get your significant others as gifts (so I can steal your ideas), or just tell me about stuff you think might be cool. The idea I like the best will "win" these passport covers (which I will mail to you free of charge - unless you live in another country and the shipping is going to be crazy high - if so, we'll tawk.)

So - e-mail your ideas to me at: and put "Passport Contest" in the subject line. You have until December 5, 2007 to submit your ideas. I will choose my favorite, let you all know who it was and then mail the passports out that weekend. Once I choose the winner, I will e-mail them to get mailing info.

I think this is going to be the first of my giveaway series. I will most likely be doing this again, giving stuff away, so keep your eyes peeled!

Good Luck!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Here's Looking At You

Eddie took this picture of his shades, reflecting an overhead tiffany style lamp in the lenses. I like that it sort of looks a pair of very interesting eyes.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Elphaba's Long Lost Sister?

Eddie created this in PhotoShop. I'm not sure I like the green skin, but I'm thinkin' I really like the green eye.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Have A Happy Thanksgiving And Choke On A Turkey Bone For Us

Yesterday, I got a lovely email just in time for the holidays!

The email wasn't signe, but came from which is the email address that belongs to Deanna Stetson Giattino (a.k.a. Deanna Giattino), the sewer rat my father used to live with before he died.

Here is that email, formatted just as it came in:

Subject: the witch of the west

Dear? saleena
I pray for you, you are a very sad jealous, demented thing, you need help not only to loose weight, but to be able to go on with your devicious scheming plan . I don't know what you want to accomplish, I hope your effort were not wasted, and that ED gets this email before you do so that he can drop you before he realizes that you used him the way you used your father and everyone else. You are a lazy sick ,parasite, whom I hope will self distruct doing us all a favor HAVE A HAPPY THANKGIVING and choke on a turkey bone for us

Here is my response:

Interesting that you should write something to me that so closely mirrors you and your life. But since you have, let's go through this line by line; as painful as that will be since it seems you have no command of the English language, spelling, or grammar. Below, I will deconstruct the e-mail I received. Your words are in bold, my responses will be just beneath them in red, so you won't get confused.

Let's begin...

Dear? saleena
First of all, my name is spelled S-A-L-E-N-A and using "Dear" is even too fake for you.

I pray for you,
You pray? Shocking. But you'd really be better off praying for yourself since you're going to need all the help you can get. Don't waste your prayers on me, I already have an angel in heaven.

you are a very sad jealous, demented thing
Jealous of what? Your spelling prowess? Your imagined superiority in life? Your pristine morals? Your home, decorated to look like a cheap, Vegas hotel room with all that trashy animal print? Your frizzy hair? Your non-existent real estate career? Your loser children? Your stripper daughter? Your luck with men? Your reputation in Goshen?

Remind me again what exactly I'm supposed to be jealous of?

you need help not only to loose weight, but to be able to go on with your devicious scheming plan.
By the way, it's "lose" not "loose."

So, should I get help losing weight so I can be thin and get a job stripping at the Olympic Garden in Las Vegas, like your skanky daughter Gena? (What does she call herself on stage these days? Is it her given name of Gena Stetson or Stetson Gena? It's one of those monikers, isn't it?) Clever stripper name. You must be so proud.

Oh, or maybe I should be thinner so I can snag a quality husband like your son Richard Stetson was - but then I'd have to worry if he was still doing drugs, or if we'd have a car to drive since he seems to wreck every one he gets behind the wheel of.

Or maybe, oh I don't know, I should be thin like your sister Doreen Tuccillo Leclerc (oh wait, she's not thin anymore, is she?) so I can lure someone else's husband (you know the guy I'm talking about) to have sex with me? Then, as a bonus, they might be able to help me with my "devicious" plan. And I assume by "devicious" you meant "devious".

Or maybe I should just take up drinking to replace all the food in my diet? Lord knows it works well for you and your relatives.

I don't know what you want to accomplish, I hope your effort were not wasted, and that ED gets this email before you do so that he can drop you before he realizes that you used him the way you used your father and everyone else.
You really shouldn't worry about Ed dropping me, he knows how to love someone unconditionally, which is probably a foreign concept for you. Too bad you won't ever know what it feels like to be loved like that.

Now, what's this about me using my father and everyone else? How exactly do you see that I used my father? I actually think YOU are the one who did that best. Should I refresh your memory on all the ways you manipulated my father and how you took advantage of his good nature?

Didn't my father help your son Richard get a car loan?  I believe Richard repeatedly missed payments on that loan, which isn't surprising. 

And didn't my father pay to have your back porch built?

And didn't my father give you over $800 every month for your bills?

And didn't my father pay for your vacations?

And didn't my father cook lavish dinners for you and your ungrateful family when he should have been with his own?

And didn't my father give you $25,000 toward the purchase of condo you wound up selling for a profit? (The one where you kept his share of the money too.  Remember that?)

You seem to forget that I have access to ALL of his credit card bills, ALL of his bank statements, and ALL of his notes. It seems most of my father's money went to you and your needs. Oh, and of course to your son, who has to live at home because he's not a "user" either, is he? He must get that trait from you.

You should really look at the log in your eye before pointing out the speck in another's. But I guess if you're praying, you would know that scripture, wouldn't you?

You are a lazy sick ,parasite, whom I hope will self distruct doing us all a favor
Lazy? Hmm....I don't believe I'm the one who has not worked for over twenty years while living off of my dead husbands' money (the two before my father). I DO have a job you know, and I've had a job since I'm thirteen years old. I have worked all of my life, much as I do now. But, come to think of it, do you work? I haven't known you to sell a house in twenty years.

I've seen you heading off to play tennis, or getting your frizz managed at the hair salon, but I've never actually known you to work. Unless you consider home-wrecking a job. You've done that well. And that pathetic little job you currently have in Goshen? I guess you need to work now because you don't have someone paying your bills anymore or giving you money every month. You let that gravy train die, remember?

As for a parasite, I don't think I could have come up with a better word. To describe you, that is. It's so accurate! Bravo. I always have a plethora of choice words reserved just for you, but parasite is a new one. I like it. Thanks. I'll make sure to add it to my list.

Of course, my opinion of you is just that, my opinion, but I would bet my last dollar (from that little thing I have called a job) that I'd be able to put together a VERY long list of others who think the same exact way about you as I do. It wouldn't be hard to find them, as people who hate you are everywhere. The Tuccillo, Stetson, and Giattino names don't have such a stellar reputation, you know.

And don't worry your frizzy little head about me self-destructing anytime soon either; I have a great family, great boyfriend, great friends, loads of talent, humor, a big heart and oh, let's not forget....all of that fat to keep me alive and sustain me through the harsh winters. I should be able to get by mighty fine on that.

HAVE A HAPPY THANKGIVING and choke on a turkey bone for us
This is the best closing of any letter I've ever seen. I actually think Hallmark should use this for a holiday card: "Have a Happy Thanksgiving And Choke On A Turkey Bone For Us" (although, they would spell Thanksgiving correctly) What a beautiful sentiment. When you care enough to send the very best and all that. It really "says" what a person is thinking, doesn't it? Contrary to what you'd prefer though, I will be having a VERY Happy Thanksgiving and since I'm such an accomplished eater, I'm sure I won't be choking on any bones.

I do suggest though, that YOU be careful not to get too drunk and wind up face down in the Figgy Pudding. That would be so embarrassing, wouldn't it? Although, you're drunk so often, I'm sure no one will even notice; they are probably used to it and will just think you're acting normal. Just stay away from the computer, you don't want to peck out any more incoherent e-mails.

In closing, although I am still very sad about my father's death and think of him every day, I must re-iterate the one thought I often have when I think of him not being here anymore:

The only good thing that has come from his passing is that he NO LONGER HAS TO SPEND ANOTHER MOMENT OF HIS LIFE WITH YOU.

And that, my dear shriveled old witch, is something that so many of us will express gratitude for on this beautiful Thanksgiving holiday.

Bon Appetit! 
a Giattino, Deanna Stetson Giattino, Richard Stetson, Gena Stetson, Doreen Tuccillo Leclerc, Janeen Leclerc Lorenzo, Deanna, Giattino, Stetson, Rich Stetson, Doreen Tuccillo, Doreen Leclerc, Daria O'Brien, Daria Tuccillo O'Brien, Whore, Sewer Rat, Black Widow, Evil, Witch, Gena Stetson Stripper, Goshen, New York, Monroe, Goshen

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Lady And Sons

Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah, Georgia

At Least He's Up Front About It

I just heard the following Mac Davis song on the radio:

Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me

Girl, you're gettin' that look in your eyes
And it's startin' to worry me
I ain't ready for no family ties
Nobody's gonna hurry me
Just keep it friendly, girl, 'cause I don't wanna leave
Don't start clingin' to me, girl, 'cause I can't breathe

Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me
Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me
'cause I'll just use you then I'll set you free
Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me

Girl, you're a hot-blooded woman-child
And it's warm where you're touchin' me
But I can tell by your tremblin' smile
You're seein' way too much in me
Girl, don't let your life get tangled up with mine
'cause I'll just leave you, I can't take no clingin' vine

How many dates do you think 'ol Mac got once girls heard the lyrics? I mean, I can understand not being ready to have a family and all, but telling the chick you're going to use her and then set her free? Hmmm.

If only girls today knew this beforehand; what an incredible timesaver that would be.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Randomly Weird

I've been tagged by one of my readers, Geggie, to participate in this meme. I love doing these things, but this one has rules; I have to tag seven other people. ACK!

Here are the rules for the meme:

1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random [?] people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

Here are my seven randomly weird facts:

1. When eating pizza, on my first slice (regardless of how many follow) I use a fork to eat all the cheese and toppings, leaving just the crust. Then I eat the crust. I always do it this way. I never deviate. First slice only, eat cheese and toppings, then eat crust.

2. I never go to bed without taking off my makeup. Ever. I don't care how late it is or where I am, I will never sleep a full night with makeup on.

3. I've always wanted to be a make-up artist. It's my dream job. I have been playing with make-up and doing makeovers for as long as I can remember. My first memory of sitting at a vanity table was when I was four years old, in my Aunt Joya's dressing area. She had a stool with a pink vinyl cushion and curly Q legs on it.

4. I hate a tucked in bed. No matter where I am, home or hotel, I absolutely MUST untuck the sheets all the way around so the top bedding is loose. Of course, if Ed is with me, I will just untuck my side, but I cannot stand to slide into a tight bed where I can't move my legs or feet. Even if the rest of me is covered, I have to have my feet out. Otherwise, I can't sleep.

5. I typically don't stress about anything. I'm never "in bed" for days, I never lose sleep, I don't worry about paying bills, I don't care about losing my job, I never worry about not having friends, I don't fret over what will happen when I get old.... I think you get the point. Everything always seems to work out.

6. I LOVE movie previews. I would even consider paying the full movie price to sit through 90 minutes of previews instead of a movie. I never arrive late to the move theatre for fear of missing the previews. I make sure I'm there in plenty of time to get my Diet Coke, Twizzlers and seat in the middle of the back row to settle in well before the previews start. Yay!

7. I like my food HOT. Soup has to burn the roof of my mouth; if I'm in a restaurant and it's not hot enough, I'll send it back. Water for tea or things like hot cocoa or cappuccino mixes, must be BOILING. My friend Vicki has one of those hot water spigots on her sink that dispense super-hot water, but it's still not hot enough for me; I put it in a pot and boil it till I see bubbles! Food has to be hot also. If it's not steaming, I don't enjoy it. Fresh out of the pan, oven, pot....HOT food.

So there are my seven random facts. I don't really do the tagging thing, but if any of you would like to play along, you can post your seven facts in comments or just do it on your own blog. I would love to read them!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eddie Goes Running Friday

Eddie modeling the fleece headband he wears when he goes running.

I guess it keeps his forehead warm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture Perfect Pilot

This picture was taken at a Pilot Travel Center on the fuel island.

Seems like someone is really doing their job well.

* I realized when I was doing some editing that I used this very same picture last year. Sorry for the repeat!