Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Isn't He Comcastic?

Last week, my mother was watching my four year old nephew Jake and as usual, any day with the him is an adventure.

He loves to watch TV; specifically commercials. Why, no one knows. But he’ll often blurt out as my mother is flipping through channels, “Leave it there, Nana! I like this one.”

So this week, while my mother was slicing tomatoes in the kitchen and he was sitting at the kitchen table waiting for her to put together some lunch, she hears him talking and turns to listen to what he’s saying.

I am Comcast.”

“What?” my mother says to him.

“I am Comcast.”

She sat down at the table next to him to watch the commercial with him.

“I am Comcast.”

Each time, he put the emphasis on a different word, similar to the commercial, which shows different people saying “I Am Comcast” to depict the diversity of the customers they reach.

"You like this commercial?" my mother asks.

"Yeah, Nana, it's one of my favorites."

When I called my brother to tell him what my mother just told me, he said that sometimes he’ll hear Jake walking through the house singing the Nationwide Insurance song. Nationwide is on your side….

This kid is Madison Avenue’s dream demographic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle. Humvees.

We picked these up at the AM General plant in Mishawaka, Indiana and hauled them to Fort Irwin, CA. They had HUNDREDS of these vehicles scattered around the facility, painted in both the desert sand color and the army greem camoflauge color.

They weigh 6 tons (12,000 pounds) each, are plated with 2" steel, have 3" glass in the windows, run on eight-cylinder diesel engines, are equipped with air conditioning inside (a new feature) and boast a fire suppression system that releases at the touch of a button, the same stuff they put in fire extinguishers, just in case there is a fire inside the vehicle. They have a cool turret on top and Ed said they can drop them from helicopters with parachutes attached so they can hit the ground running. Pretty amazing.

Everywhere we went along our two thousand mile route, people stopped and stared.
We had one guy who pulled up next to us and was taking pictures. And this was even before he saw the total cuteness of me staring out the teeny window:

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Bridges And A Cowboy

This weekend, we visited Madison County, Iowa; the birthplace of John Wayne and home to the bridges made famous in Robert James Waller’s novel, The Bridges Of Madison County.

The picture above and below are of Cedar Bridge, which graces the
cover of Waller's novel.The town of Winterset was also in the movie, as it was filmed on location, and as we drove through town, we saw several places featured in the movie. There are six bridges left today, but we only visited this one due to the size of the truck and how hard it is to maneuver small spaces.

At least now I can say I saw a bridge in Madison County; and also the birthplace of a cowboy named Marion.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

Twenty three minutes after midnight, in a hotel room in Ogallala, Nebraska, I got a craving for a crunchy chip. Since the vending machine was practically right outside our door, I decided to venture out myself, rather than asking Ed to go, which is what I normally do.

When hanging out at a hotel, I'm typically clad in a tank top, shorts and slipper socks; and since I'm lounging, I'm also braless. Well, except for the "built-in" shelf bra in the tank girls know the kind I mean.

So here I am, in the hallway, getting a Diet Coke and a bag of Doritos; a chip I don't even necessarily like, but it was the lesser of all the evils in the vending machine. I put my quarters in the slot, punch H-3, the buttons that correspond with my treat, and wait.


The chips are stuck in the coil. Just one edge of the bag, but still stuck. So I give the machine a little jiggle. Nothing.

I bang the heel of my hand on the glass. Nothing.

I pull the machine slightly forward and give it a little shake. Nothing.

Since it's so late, I don't want to make too much noise, but I want my chips, dammit. I shake the machine more violently now. Still nothing. There is no way I'm walking all the way down to the front desk braless, in socks and with unshaven legs to ask for my seventy-five cents back.

So I go back to the room and get Ed, knowing that he's going to give me the evil eye and not want to get out of bed where he was cozily watching TV, to go into the hallway and help me. I tell him my chips are stuck and I need him to shake the machine. Surprisingly, he agrees.

We decide that if we put another seventy-five cents in the machine and choose the bag of chips one row over, they will graze my bag on the way out of their row and help mine to fall from the evil grip of the vending machine. Great idea, but it doesn't work. Because guess what? That bag gets stuck too.

So now I'm down a $1.50 and I still have no freakin' Doritos. Ed starts shaking the machine; lightly at first, gently back and forth and then with a bit more force, pulling it away from the wall, leaning it so far forward that I can no longer see the items through the glass. I'm still worried about the noise, looking around to make sure no one sees or hears us and found the coast still clear.

Oh, did I mention that Ed is in his underwear? Yup. No shirt, no shoes, no socks; just checkered boxer shorts and wild, pre-sleep hair.

The noise was getting louder and I was on the verge of giving up, when one bag dropped! Another quick look around, more banging and shaking and the other bag drops. Just as we turn to go back to the room, we see the front desk clerk peering down the hallway at us. We pretend we don't see him and scurry back to the room with our loot.

I laughed to myself when I imagined the scene that poor kid witnessed; two out of shape truck drivers, in their underwear, shaking food out of the vending machine at midnight.

If it were not for my fabulous new lipgloss, it might have been a very ugly scene.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Eddie Fresh From A Nap Friday

Fresh from a nap. Isn't he cute when he wakes up??
** Have I posted this photo before? I am old now, I don't remember. If so, let me know and I'll pull a fresh one out of the Eddie vault. Thanks!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

California Burning With Need

Watching the coverage of the California fires on CNN this week, got me thinking. As I listened to people being interviewed at the scene of the fires, I was continuously surprised by how many of them didn’t want to leave their homes. They just refused to go; they wanted to stay and protect their belongings.

Their belongings?? Seeing how devastating the flames were, how it engulfed such a large area and how it was spreading at such a high rate of speed, I think I would have asked a few questions of those future displaced people. Questions like, are you out of your mind? You want to risk your life to save a HOUSE?? A house. And things?? Stuff? Items which, for the most part, can be replaced? I have never been in a fire, and I hope I never am, and I do understand the loss of possessions which often represent a life and an identity can be devastating, but I don’t think more devastating than losing life itself.

It made me ask myself what my most treasured possession is and what I would save from a fire. What would I choose to take? Do I even have a treasured possession? How hard would my choice be? Do I take pictures? My grandfather’s guitar? My father’s ring? My mother’s wedding dress? My baby book? My journals, which include my diaries from grade school?

Man, oh man, I just don’t know. The thing about my life now, is this: Everything I need on a daily basis is with me in the truck, so if I had to save something from the truck, it would probably be my computer. Other than that, there isn't anything else in the truck that I would miss if it went up in a fiery ball of flames.

As for the stuff that’s not in the truck, depending on how much time I have, I think I would definitely try to take my grandfather’s guitar and as many photo albums as I could carry. Other stuff could really be replaced, and most of my digital photos have been backed up, but childhood photos and those that lay out my family history in living color (or black and white as it were) are the ones that I’d would really like to have.

I have been very fortunate to have never been in a situation like the people in California are; living in shelters and with family or friends, watching their neighborhood and watching their homes being destroyed. I do hope in some small way, they can learn a valuable lesson from this; realizing that things really don’t matter, people do.

And I wouldn’t care one iota about the stuff flaming before my very eyes, because I would know then, as I do now, is that I have everything I already need.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lisa Lavie Is The Angel Here

I stumbled across this video by Lisa Lavie on YouTube and I'm totally in LOVE with this song.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eddie In The Big Little City Friday

You can't see him, but he's here, with me, in the biggest little city in the world!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Diamonds In The Deep Blue

This picture has not been tampered with in any way; it's exactly how the water looked, when I peered over a cliff into Crater Lake.

It was sparkling like diamonds. Ed noticed a huge school of fish beneath the water and we think that might have caused the sparkle; the sun relflecting off their scales. It was just a spectacular sight.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It All Began With The Cheese

Do you like cheese?
Do I like cheese?? This is my home page. I LOVE cheese. Not like, LOVE. In a very obscene way, I think. I’m actually considering changing my name to “Danish Blue." Oh, and when I came across this truck, I just had to get a picture!

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

Do you own a gun?
No. Never owned one, never will. No need.

Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Not usually; what is there to be nervous about?

What do you think of hot dogs?
I’m a fan. But they have to be a certain kind. Sabrett, the famous New York dogs, are my favorite. I like ‘em thin and not made of turkey. My father owned a hot dog cart for 16 years in New York and I owned one of my own, hawking dogs when I lived in Kentucky. I do believe I was the Weenie Queen.

What’s your favorite Christmas song?
I have three: Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire, I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas and I'll Be Home For Christmas

What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
If I'm in the mood for a cold drink, it's chocolate milk or an iced latte. If I want a little heat, a caramel latte or hot tea.

Can you do push-ups?
I have trouble SITTING up, let alone PUSHING up. Please.

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 Clorox!)

What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?
Currently, my big silver hoops.

What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
Showing interest in them. Works every single time.

Do you have A.D.D.?
Not officially, but I do grow bored very easily.

What is your middle name?
I do not have a middle name.

Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
I have to pee, I really want a Caramel Latte and I still have a freakin’ headache

Name the last 3 things you have bought:
This Coach bag (in British Tan); foundation, concealer and powder from Clinique; and books: This one, this one and this one.

Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
Iced Lattes, Caffeine Free Diet Coke and General Foods International Italian Cappuccino coffee drink mix

Current worry?
I don’t have any current worries.

Current hate?
Deanna Giattino; The evil, drunken, lying, conniving, vile, heartless, money driven, Black Widow, whore cunt who let my father die. Of course, that's just my opinion. If you know her, feel free to add your own adjectives.

Favorite place to be?
At my friend Vicki’s kitchen table; talking, laughing and eating.

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

Where would you like to go?
Italy, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Croatia

Do you own slippers?
No. I wear socks with those nubbies on the bottom.

What are you wearing?
Jeans, black top with a band of black sequins under the bust (no, not disco style sequins, "elegant casual" kind of sequins. LOL) and flip flops encrusted with fake black rhinestones, silver hoops and my two new rings – one on each hand!

Do you burn or tan?

Favorite color?
Black, typically. But I am a big fan of champagne beige and beachy neutrals. My favorite color changes depending on the item, but if I had to choose only one color, it would have to be black.

Would you be a pirate?
Nah. Not really into the high seas thing – unless I’m on a luxury liner.

What songs do you sing in the shower?

What’s in your pocket right now?
Nothing. I don’t use pockets.

Last thing that made you laugh?
The movie I watched last night – “Something’s Gotta Give.”

Best bed sheets as a child?
Who remembers their bedsheets?? Although, I do remember that my brother had a cool set of race car sheets. Clearly, my mother didn't love me.

Worst injury you’ve ever had?
I broke my collar bone in a school bus accident; second day of 8th grade. I milked that injury for WEEKS.

Who is your loudest friend?
Vicki. Hands down.

Who is your most silent friend?
Lynn. She’s very reserved.

Does someone have a crush on you?
Yes, I believe someone does.

What is your favorite book?
Kinda hard to answer, but two books I have loved from my past are Crown Sable by Janice Young Brooks and Thurston House by Danielle Steel

What is your favorite candy?
Chocolate covered cherries (LIQUID centers, not the disgusting cream ones)

What song do/did you want played at your wedding?
I’ve never been married and at present, I have no idea what song I’d pick.

What song do you want played at your funeral?
My Way by Frank Sinatra

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

What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
How long it was going to take between the time I woke Ed up, to the time he actually got out of bed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Quite Uneducated, If You Ask Me

The second one is supposed to read "Reefers"; said with a long "e" sound. In the trucking industry, this refers to a refrigerated unit. Since the product in a refrigerated truck always needs to stay at cool temperatures, the reefer runs continously, even if the truck is off.

That third one is supposed to read "No Horns"; just in case you, along with Ed, were thinking it said something else.

But the one that really caught my eye is the last one. This underscores the lack of quality education in our country and the fact that some people just don't care.

It's one thing to make a spelling error, but to have the sign printed with the wrong spelling?

C'mon, people. Let's give a little shit, huh?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Consider The Source When Getting Advice

"Fitness is a journey, not a destination. It must be continued for the rest of your life." ~ Dr. Kenneth Cooper

That quote was found on the back of a bag of Lay's potato chips. Baked Lays, but potato chips nonetheless.

Ed and I have been talking about incorporating a walk into our day - DAILY. We agreed to start with five minutes just to formally add exercise to our day. I know five minutes doesn't sound like a lot, but it's a start, so keep your guffaws to yourself.

This morning though, I refused to do my five minutes. I had other things to do. OK, so I had nothing to do. I just didn't feel like doing it at that moment. I had my orange and my breakfast bar and told myself I'd do it later in the day. Ed, on the other hand, went for TEN minutes without me and then came back to have his little diet lunch: canned tuna and vegies, with a side of Baked Lay's and two Fig Newtons.

While he was eating, he pointed out the quote on the side of the bag; clearly to make his point about exercise, and I think to make me feel a little guilty for not going. Whatever.

I know exercise is vital and now that I'm freakin' forty, I absolutely HAVE to do it, but I still gotta tell you; I don't think a fitness quote on the side of a potato chip bag makes a very convincing argument.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Beautiful Dimple In The Earth

This is a partial view of Crater Lake in Southern Oregon. Located one hundred miles east of the Pacific Ocean, this lake was created 7,700 years ago by a violent volcanic explosion. It is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1,943 feet, and the seventh deepest lake in the world.

The water in the lake is almost pure, relatively free of any sediments, algae, pesticides and pollution; because of that, it absorbs all the colors of the spectrum except the blues, which is the reason it appears as blue as it does. There are over four and a half trillion gallons of it!

The weather was gorgeous, there was snow on the mountain tops and the wildlife was active. We can now check another "must see" off our list.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where In The World Are You Carmen Sandiego?

This morning, as I lay beneath the cushy down comforter, in a freezing cold hotel room in Idaho, I was jarred out of sleep by the ringing of my cell phone.

"Are you okay???" The tone is frantic.

It's my mother.

Big surprise, right?

"Yeah, I'm fine." I answered. "Why?"

"Where's Eddie??" she probes, panic in her voice.

"Picking up the load. Why?" I ask again.

"Oh, thank God," she sighs. "So then you're both okay."

"Yeah, Mom, we're fine. What's up?"

"Well, there's a fifteen truck pile-up in L.A.; they're all on fire, in a tunnel, the highway is closed, one person is missing and and all the traffic is backed up for miles. I saw a white truck and thought..."

"Ma. Slow down. We're in Idaho."

"Idaho?? I thought you said you were going to L.A." she asks, confused.

"Yeah, Mom. On Monday."

She laughed at herself, as she usually does, then quickly relays the information to my step-father, who was waiting on the news of where we were. They were both relieved to hear we were okay.

This isn't the first time she's called, concern in her voice, after watching some catastrophe on the news but as is often the case, she either has the wrong day, the wrong state or the idea that we're involved in something that would be completely unrealistic for us; like a bobsledding accident.

She either needs to get a calendar to note our itinerary, or a map so she'll know which states are next to each other and not get all wigged out for nothing.

And why doesn't she ever call us when she hears on TV that someone won Powerball??

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Didn't Realize Railway Workers Were So Frisky

Seen on the side of a Union Pacific Railroad train car. Citrus Heights, California.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scared Into Anorexia

Every truck stop has a scale in the bathroom; the kind that gives your weight and lucky numbers all at once.

The scale is almost always wrong, off by as much as ten or more pounds, but on occassion you'll get a good one and it'll get close to what you know is your real weight so you can have somewhat of an idea as to whether or not you need to cut back on the lattes.

This weekend I came across one of those scales; I put in my quarter, stood very still (as they request on the screen) and waited for my weight to register. It takes a few minutes and many blinky lights before it displays your weight...

511.6 pounds.

WHAT???? I can handle five or ten pounds off, but hundreds????? I stood there looking at the screen in such a daze, that I forgot to jot down my lucky numbers. Shit, who needs lucky numbers when you can enter yourself in a livestock auction??

I immediately decided I wanted my money back, so I went to the counter and spoke to the shift manager. I approached her with a serious face, asking "Are you the manager??"

"Yeesss." she answered hesitantly, most likely anticipating the verbal assault she usually has to endure from cranky truckers.

"Well," I said "I know I'm a big girl and all, but I just used the bathroom scale and it told me I weighed 511.6 pounds. I'm kinda thinkin' I want my quarter back."

She immediately laughed, stated she will put an "out of order" sign on it right away and before she walked off, opened the register and handed me my quarter.

Lately, I've been putting off the start of my diet and exercise plan by coming up with some very good and very creative excuses. Lame, I admit, but perfectly adequate stall devices as far as I'm concerned. But, after this scare, I'm definitely starting tomorrow.

From this point on, it's Saltines, diet coke and cigarettes for me!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stockholm Syndrome

I have a cousin who is a television producer in Hollywood. Among his many talents, his current specialty seems to be reality shows and he's had a hand in several of them; Temptation Island, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance, The Bachelor, Top Design, Hell's Kitchen and most recently, Kitchen Nightmares.

His name is Seven.

Today, my mother and I were talking about his new show and how we like to wait till the end, to see his name in the credits. This time was different though, since he decided to include his real name, with Seven in quotes between it; kinda like John "The Duke" Wayne.

I asked my mother, since she's in touch with my Aunt and perhaps the subject came up, why he decided to include his real name on this particular show. She didn't seem to know, but went on to say, "Well, I wonder if people know how to pronounce his name? Isn't there a Swedish way to say his name?"

"Swedish??" I asked.

"Yeah, isn't his name the same in Swedish?"

"Oh my God, Mom. That's Sven, not Seven. SVEN."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Greeting Fair Lovers For Over Fifty Years

Big Tex, the official ambassador for the State Fair of Texas, was standing tall in Big Tex circle, watching and welcoming everyone to the more than three week extravaganza taking place in the heart of Dallas.

Fletcher's Famous Corny Dogs, Fried Lattes (SOOOO yummy!), Cotton Candy, Frito Pie and Chocolate Covered Cheesecake on-a-stick is only the beginning of the ass widening treats available on every corner.

We saw the Human Cannonball, painted faces, award winning canned preserves, livestock, a sand sculpture and pig races!! It was about a million degrees in Dallas, with humidity levels around 250%, but Ed seems to like to torture me by taking me to outdoor amusement venues in his home state when the mercury level is at its highest. And to think, just this morning he told me how much he loved me. Actions, baby. ACTIONS speak louder than words.

Overall, we had a great time people watching, taking pictures and eating; and now that I've seen Big Tex, I can die happy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

N Is For Nanny. Oh, And Negligent.


Not the grandmotherly kind, but the babysitting kind.

What is UP with people who have nannies??? I just don't understand it. I guess I can see if you're part of the super-rich set and that's just how it's done, but I'm talking about regular people. WHY does the average person need a nanny??

I know there are all sorts of reasons, things like "I can't get anything done with the kids around." or "She's such a help when I'm busy with work." or "I just dont' have time to do ___________." Fill in that blank with just about anything, but no matter what that blank contains, I can't imagine a reason that isn't lame.

If you don't have time to tend to your OWN children, perhaps you shouldn't have had children in the first place. And if you can't juggle a husband, a household, a job and a kid, maybe you're not the kind of person who can handle so many things, so you should just stick with one or two of those responsibilities.

Why would you want someone else to spend all of those precious growing moments with your children while you do something else? I understand a lot of households these days need two incomes, but if you add the cost of a nanny to the expenses that already obviously exceed what you can afford, since both people need to work just to cover them, how is that a savings? If you can't afford to have a child and stay home with it, I don't think you're ready for one. It's bad enough people have kids and put them in daycare while they go to work, but to hire another person to do the things YOU are supposed to be doing, what's the point of being a mother at all?

A mother should stay home with their children. There are exceptions, of course, since there are so many single mothers out there and obviously if you find yourself in that predicament, you may have no choice. But if you are part of a two parent household and you are both out of the house, and the nanny is home with your kids, then you aren't really being parents. I have several friends and family members who juggle two and three kids in addition to everything else they do. And at least one of those couples has the means to afford a nanny but they don't want someone else raising their kids.

There are thousands of mothers who juggle husbands and partners, homes, kids and even work without any additional help. A mother should mother, and in order for her to do that, she needs to be home with her children.

Hiring a nanny, in my opinion, screams you are inept. With a capital "I."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Layers Of History

I loved the architectural element of this piece, found on the front of an old house I came across. I love the peeling paint and how it makes me imagine what it might have looked like when it was new.

This might just turn into a week of pictures, as I recently went on a girls weekend away and was able to take quite a few in the days I was away. More on that later...