Friday, August 31, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Known to most as Ed, some as Eddie, and to my nephews; "The Ed Man"
2. How long have you been together?
3. How long dated?
We dated for six months before I threw all caution to the wind, quit my job and went on the road with him.
4. How old is your man?
He’s a spring chicken; younger than me by 8 years. Woo Hoo!
5. Who eats more?
Um, I think we go neck and neck on this one, unfortunately.
6. Who said "I love you" first?
I did, by mistake. Then he did, on purpose.
7. Who is taller?
He towers a full 4” above me.
8. Who sings better?
Of course I think I do, but in actuality, he’s got a much better voice.
9. Who is smarter?
Well, I’m a girl, so statistically, I am. But he has his moments.
10. Whose temper is worse?
He has no temper. And when he does get mad, I can’t tell anyway. Must have something to do with southerners not using the word “fuck.”
11. Who does the laundry?
I do. The only thing he contributes in the laundry area are dirty clothes and the quarters for the machine.
12..Who does the dishes?
We have no dishes; those are reserved for the highly skilled dishwashers in restaurants around the country.
13. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
The only "right" side of the bed is the one closest to the air conditioner. And whatever side that is, is my side. Eddie gets whatever side is left.
14. Who pays the bills?
We don't have any bills, but Eddie pays for everything else.
15. Who has bigger feet?
Well, I wear a woman's size 12, which translates to a man’s size 10. Eddie is a men's size 12, so I guess he has bigger feet.
16. Who has longer hair?
I have longer hair, but Eddie has the hair I want; thick and curly!
17. Who is better with the computer?
Eddie is better technically, but I can usually hold my own with the Geek Squad.
18. Who mows the lawn?
If I had a lawn, the lawn boy would be mowing it.
19. Who cooks dinner?
Whoever happens to be working at the restaurant du jour.
20. Who drives when you are together?
We are a TEAM. There is no “I” in team. We both drive.
21. Who pays when you go out?
The boy ALWAYS pays.
22. Who is most stubborn?
That would be Ed. Hands down.
23. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong?
I’m never wrong, but if I am, I will say. Ed? Another story.
24. Whose parents do you see the most?
25. Who kissed who first?
I kissed Eddie first. I just couldn’t wait.
26. Who asked who out?
Eddie asked me out.
27. Who is more sensitive?
Hard to say. I guess different things bother each of us, but I wouldn’t call either of us “sensitive.’
28. Who has more friends?
Me, of course!
29. Who has more siblings?
Well, Eddie has three half-siblings and I have three step-siblings and one natural sibling – so I guess I win!
30. Who wears the pants in the family?
Eddie does; but I like him better without pants.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Phoenix was murderous, but California is a good thirty degrees cooler and there is no need to travel with an EMT, so I'm happy. This week, we've been to a whole host of interesting places. Take a look:
Gilroy, CA (Where garlic is celebrated!)
Le Mars, IA
Orange City, IA (A Dutch settlement which boasts a fabulous Tulip festival!!)
San Jose, CA
Sante Fe, NM
Next week: Back to the East Coast!
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
We're in Phoenix right now, and second to Yuma, it's a place you never, ever want to visit. Actually, I am inclined to rule out the entire Southwest; unless you visit between October and February. There are a few months that are bearable, but the mercury starts to rise once March comes rolling in, and it's all up on the temperature guage from there.
I'm not very fond of the winter months either, to be honest, but I'm giving those of you who have a desire to visit a time frame in which you are not likely to spontaneously combust or spend a good part of your vacation in the hospital. If you want to spend Thanksgiving in shorts and a tank top, come on out! Personally, I like my "autumn" and "winter" holidays to actually FEEL that way; which explains why I don't visit here very often.
Usually I will say, "Oh, we had a load to pick up here or there." or "We just got done unloading the truck." and by we, it is widely known that I mean Ed. There are occassions where I will help load or unload, but the conditions have to be near perfect for that to happen, and today, conditions were not favorable at all, so Eddie had to work alone.
Yes, that is the actual temperature. I offered to help, but Ed said I wouldn't last a minute out there. And he's right, I would have probably wound up in the hospital. Even HE said he was getting dizzy from the heat. He took several breaks, coming inside to cool off and drink water, but his face stayed fire engine red the entire time. And he was pulsating. I think he was cooking; being baked alive under the Arizona sun.
I do have one thing to say about people who claim it's a dry heat. They are FUCKED. IN. THE. HEAD.
Well, maybe I don't have just one thing to say about them. They are DELUSIONAL. In need of MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES. Have seriously DAMAGED brain matter. The fact that they can actual say those words, without smirking? tells me they have something wrong with them. You hear it all the time. "Oh, it's so much better than when I lived in XYZ, where we had heat and humidity. Here, we have a dry heat. You barely feel it."
BULLSHIT. CRAP. MULLARKY. POPPYCOCK. LIES.
You people are LYING. You are the George Bush's of the Southwest. You tell lies you don't even know you are telling and you've told them so often, you actually start to believe it. You can be on fire and you would still be telling the guy sitting next to you that heat without humidity is the prefereable kind. You have just proven that you can lie when the heat is on and do it with a smile on your face.
And I have to say, smile taken into consideration; it's not a pretty sight.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Bob's Drive Inn calls their sandwich a "Tavern" and we each had one, along with a shared order of cheeseballs. Now, I've always known a cheeseball to be a person who acts corny, wears tacky clothing or makes inappropriate comments at precisely the wrong moment; but not in Iowa. In Iowa, a cheeseball is actually a cheese ball. Battered and fried. And how can one go wrong with fried cheese? Exactly.
After our introduction to loosemeats and balls o' cheese, we sauntered across the street to the Ice Cream Capital of the World's visitor center and museum; home of Blue Bunny ice cream. We had a nice little tour, learning the history of ice cream, the creation of the Blue Bunny name and how more ice cream is produced in LeMars, Iowa than in any other city in the world.
Now that's a scoop!
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
One of the reasons they need so many of these happy little giants are for people like my mother; she eats sunflower seeds by the thousands and may be the very reason the industry is doing so well.
My youngest nephew calls them "sun seeds," which is a great description for this field, which looks as if someone actually did plant the sun in it.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Fargo, ND (The best ribs on earth are at the Space Aliens Grill & Bar in Fargo!)
Idaho Falls, ID
Las Vegas, NV (What happens here stays here.)
San Diego, CA
St. George, UT
Winnipeg, MB (Another beautiful Canadian city)
Not sure where we're going next, but I'll be sure to let you know!
Saturday, August 18, 2007
In addition to that, I just bought a new camera with a 4GB memory card (omg, I can take like 1200 pictures at one time!!), a camcorder, and I'm seriously contemplating a Blackberry or Treo device, since I like to have all my contacts in one place and it's time for me to replace my cell phone anyway.
With all these modern amenities that are for the most part essential for life anywhere, let alone on the road, there isn't much we can't do in our truck. We have a TV, DVD player, printer/scanner/copier, fax capabilities, refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot, two Palms, a GPS, Bluetooth headsets, XM Radio, multiple telephone earpieces and our CB. Is it any wonder why Ed has our truck wired with a security system worthy of the Pentagon? I swear one of these days I'm going to trip a wire and wind up in jail! I may love all the gadgets, but I can't claim I know how to operate all of them!
Yet, with all these creature comforts, we still try to find ways to streamline our operation. Just the other day, Ed was talking about installing a pulley system to utilize the space at the very top of the truck, by creating a dumbwaiter of sorts for storage; fill the trays/boxes with the stuff that needs to be stored, press a button and voilà, everything is automatically lifted out of immediate view.
He concluded his presentation (all talking and hand waving, no video or sketches, thank God) and tried to close the sale by saying "It'll make your life easier."
"If my life were any easier" I said, "I'd be an infant."
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
2. Name someone with the same birthday as you:
My childhood babysitter
3. Favorite fruit?
4. For or against same sex marriage?
5. Are you allergic to anything?
Yes, but I'm not sure what it is
6. Are you bisexual?
7. Have you ever slept in someone else's clothes?
8. How many U.S. states have you been to?
All Fifty of them!
9. How many of the U.S. states have you lived in?
Six (NY, TN, KY, AZ, CA, WA)
10. Have you ever lived outside the U.S?
11. Name something physical you like about yourself.
12. Something non-physical you like about yourself?
I’m a good conversationalist
13. Do you have any pets?
14. What is your dream car?
I've always wanted a Corvette
15. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Europe (Italy, Romania, Hungary and Czech Republic are on the top of my list)
16. Are you bipolar?
No. Yes!! No!! Uh huh. Seriously....No
17. What dream car do you want your husband/wife to drive?
I guess a Bentley with a driver would be nice
18. Where would you want to go on a first date?
Go pick up a latte and go for a drive
19. Would you date the person who sent this to you?
If I were a guy, sure
20. Has anyone ever sang or performed for you personally?
21. Ever been kissed under fireworks?
22. Do you like President Bush?
Worst President Ever
23. Have you ever bungee jumped?
24. Have you ever white water rafted?
25. Has anyone 5 years older than you ever hit on you?
All the time
26. Are you racist?
27. What song are you listening to right now?
I Got Money Now - Pink (GREAT GREAT CD!!!!!!)
28. What's your favorite song at the moment?
Who Knew, Long Way To Happy, Dear Mr. President, Nobody Knows and I Got Money Now by Pink. Did I mention it was a GREAT CD???
29. What was the last movie you watched?
Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls
30. Where was the last place you went besides your workplace or house?
31. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
32. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?
33. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Height, Build - I like tall, big guys
35. What do you usually order from Starbucks?
Venti Caramel Latte, Extra Hot, Extra Foam
36. Say something totally random about yourself?
My hair is rockin’ this week
37. Do you have an iPod?
No, but I do have an MP3 player
38. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity?
Yes, several times
39. Do you have freckles?
Some from the sun
40. Are you comfortable with your height?
Yes, and always wished I were taller
41. Do you love someone right now?
42. How tall are you?
43. Do you speak any other language other than English?
44. Have you ever ridden in a limo?
45. Has anyone you were really close to you passed away?
46. Do you watch TV?
48. What's something that really annoys you?
There isn’t much that doesn’t annoy me, but my top peeves are poor customer service, incompetence, not returning phone calls, being late and poor manners
49. What are some things you really like?
Cold weather, Dining out, Traveling, Air conditioning, Reading, Canada, Cold weather, Being with Vicki and Talking on the phone
50. Do you like Michael Jackson?
I did when I was younger
52. Do you know how to pump gas?
Yes, but avoid doing it whenever possible
53. What do you drive?
A 1997 Freightliner FLD 120
54. What's the latest you have ever stayed out?
55. Have you ever thought that you were honestly going to die?
56. Were you ever rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?
57. Have you ever been dared to do something you didn't want to do?
58. What's your favorite state to live in?
So far, it’s been Tennessee but I like any place that is green and has four seasons – the colder, the better
59. What color is your hair?
60. What color are your eyes?
61. Do you have any special talents?
Like juggling? No. But I am good at many other things
62. Favorite alcoholic drink?
63. Favorite city?
I LOVE Nashville and I also like San Francisco, Boston and Washington DC
64. Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull?
65. If you were working on a pirate ship, what would you most likely be?
66. Who do you live with?
67. Last thing you watched on tv?
My new Discovery Channel Store HD-DVD, Discovery Atlas: Italy Revealed
68. Do you wear glasses or contacts?
69. Have you ever taken a roadtrip?
My life is a roadtrip
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
To get to the drop off location, we had to snake through a live munitions area on the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range, on a single lane road designed for dune buggies and humvees. The wind was blowing so steadily at this point, it had created a sandstorm which was impossible to penetrate with headlights. After about ten miles, we came to a crossroads lit up with stadium like brightness by four free-standing generator driven lights and were able to determine whether we were actually still on the road before being plunged into darkness once again. About ten minutes later, we came to clearing ablaze with the same lights, bustling with activity as truck after truck unloaded their steel fencing.
While waiting to unload, we watched the Mexican trucks in the distance, their lights glowing on Highway 2 in Sonora, just two miles away on the other side of the border. As we sat there looking at the steel posts in the ground, spaced about two feet apart, I joked with Ed about how I could just picture some Mexican guys standing in the openings, taunting the Border Patrol with "nah nah nah nah nah nah. Fence, schmence!"
Honestly, the job of building that fence has got to be a miserable one; and slow, apparently. According to a recent newspaper article, as of June, they have only built 13 miles of fence. Gee, only 357 more miles to go. And once that is up, there will still be 1,630 miles of unfenced border. Way to waste money, guys. Thanks.
An article written by John Barry of speakout.com aptly summed up the crux of the whole fence situation saying, "it makes American citizens feel protected, and gets people elected, without actually stopping the flow of migrant workers." Precisely. Which makes articles like this one a fairly realistic possibility in the future.
That said, I was joking with Ed about how ironic it would be if, after we dropped off our fencing, a Mexican slipped through the steel posts and made a run for our trailer; stowing away on the back or underneath, undetected by us in the inky night and subsequently being hauled across the military range, past the Border Patrol agents and into town, where he would blend seamlessly with the other Mexicans that already live there.
Ed, being a guy, had a whole scenario worked out as to how he would actually do it; part James Bond, part McGyver. The funniest thing about his whole imagined scenario? The name he gave the wily immigrant attempting to be the first Mexican James Bond.
Double Oh Siete.
Monday, August 13, 2007
1. Go to your kitchen and pre-heat your oven to 475.
2. While waiting for the oven to heat up, get a lamp that uses a 150 watt bulb.
3. Put the lamp on your kitchen counter, close to the oven, plugged in and ready to use.
4. Remove the lampshade.
5. When oven is pre-heated, turn on the lamp and let the bulb heat up.
6. When the bulb is nice and hot, hold the lamp in your right hand and place your left hand on the oven door handle. Don't wear oven mitts; it will ruin the authenticity of the experience.
7. Get as close to the oven door as you can and bring the lamp as close to your face as you can. Look directly into the 150 watt bulb.
8. At the moment you think your eyeballs are going to dry up and burn out of your head, when you can't see anything but hot spots and you think you're going blind, OPEN the oven door.
9. The heat coming from the oven door might throw you back a foot or two (don't drop the lamp!) and your head will snap back instinctively from the rush of hot air. The heat coming out of the oven might singe your facial hair. Don't worry, you can pencil in eyebrows if needed. Or not; Whoopie Goldberg doesn't have any and it hasn't stopped her. You won't be able to close your eyes because the fluid that lubricates your eyeballs has dried up. You panic, thinking you're going to be stuck looking like Marty Feldman for the rest of your life.
10. Close the oven door. Switch off the lamp. Get yourself a cold beverage. You are done.
You have just experienced what it's like to visit Yuma, Arizona and if you did the experiment as outlined above, you won't ever have to set foot there. If you do, make sure you wear asbestos shoes, as the asphalt will melt your flip flops and leave the soles of your sneakers gummy and soft.
Here you will find the filthy lies the visitor's bureau tells of "pleasant desert sunshine" and "temperate summers."
Don't believe a word of it.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
While doing that all important work this week, our itinerary included the following places:
Madison, WI (Behold the power of cheese!)
St. Louis, MO
Tucson, AZ (SO INCREDIBLY HOT, you can smell your flesh burning in the sun)
Heading to Canada next! Can't wait for the drop in temperature!
Saturday, August 11, 2007
chopped roma tomatoes and blue cheese
Now we'll never be able to tear her away from Law and Order.
Friday, August 10, 2007
There are so many things that people use as ways to measure the successes and events in their lives: jobs, marriages, health, wealth, children, grandchildren, parents, friends, family, births, deaths, etc. I believe my mother has been fortunate enough to have had many things in her life that would be measured favorably by anyone’s yardstick.
So what milestones and yardsticks does she have to measure her good life?
Well, at a very young age, my mother honed her exquisite skills of caring; she was a mother long before she had children of her own. As the oldest of four girls, she was often given the responsibility to take care of her sisters. They were all at different times her shadow, her charges, her worries, her projects, her little helpers, her stars. Each had their own special qualities and each, to this day, hold such importance in her heart that they can never be erased or replaced even though many miles separate them. Her heart still beats for each one of them and I know until her last day, she will consider each of them an integral part of her being; I hear it in her voice when she talks about them and know they will always be her little sisters, no matter how old they all get.
She was also fortunate to have had two wonderful parents. Living modestly and caring for four young girls, the home was filled with my grandfather’s guitar playing, the girls' singing, my grandmother sewing, all of them learning how to cook. She often quotes my grandfather (just yesterday I got to hear one of his eccentric anecdotal quotes) when trying to make a point or give reason for how something is “just so” because Poppy said it. As for my grandmother, she gave much of herself and often didn’t express or heed her own feelings, but was able to spend the last of her days with my mother as her confidant, lunch date, Targets shopping buddy (that’s how Nanny said the name of the store - with an "s" on the end) and armchair traveling companion.
Who can stand one man in a lifetime? My mother. Who can stand two? Yup, mother again. Two husbands; different as night and day. The current one, who she has been married to for twenty-seven years, was quite taken with her when they met. He charmed her, dated her, married her, took care of her, annoyed her and loved her. Still to this day, he calls her the smartest and most beautiful woman he knows. He often states that out loud, adding “anyone who doesn’t see it, has something wrong with them” but typically throws in a few colorful words to describe those people. The first husband was my father; the handsome high school love who was a smooth, entertaining, talented cook who always gave more than he had, filled the home with friends, family and music and who loved his “Tabby” as he called her, until the day he died. He also came with a wonderful family; how many people do you know who not only like, but love their in-laws??
Her next great accomplishment (her words, not mine) are her children. That’s right; me and Michael. I was the first and Michael came a year later and since the day of our births, she’s been our biggest fan. The one who has been there for us through everything. The one who sucked the watermelon pit out of Michael’s nose (no, I did not put it there) and fished through my poop for days to find the pinky ring I swallowed. Now that’s love. Thank God we no longer shove things up our noses or swallow items that don’t belong in our mouths. I guess when a mother says “don’t put that in your mouth, you’ll swallow it!”, one should listen.
Then we grew up. And surprisingly, she’s still our biggest fan. And proud?? All you have to do is listen to her speak. Michael, the responsible one, has traveled the path of success his entire life. Everything he touches becomes better. From when he was young, he was industrious and “just like Poppy” as my mother used to say; able to both swing a hammer or spin a wrench with the greatest of ease. He’s not only a husband, father, homeowner and successful business owner; he’s her SON. He might not think anyone is looking or noticing, but when she talks about him, her whole being glows with pride about all he is and all he's done. Her voice is filled with resolute admiration. He can build a dog house and she’d look upon it as the modern day Taj Mahal (yes, he really is that good). Michael takes up a good part of that yardstick.
Me? I’m the generous, mouthy, opinionated nomad. Never content with the mundane, I’ve always been a bit of a dabbler. Always employed, but over a lifetime, probably in nineteen different jobs/careers/callings/vocations. When my mother told me I didn’t “have the luxury" to sit on my ass and wait for the job I really wanted, I sat; and I got the job I wanted. And she of course, was thrilled. When I came home from work one day to tell her I was quitting my job to move to Kentucky by the end of the week; she supported me. A few years later, when I again came home from work and told her I was quitting my job to go on the road with Ed (again, by the end of the week), she supported me. Support doesn’t always mean “in agreement with” but I knew that if I did it, she’d be behind me. And she was. If you think Michael built the Taj Majal, after listening to her talk about me, you’d come away thinking I was the female Sir Edmund Hillary; driving North America with the same aplomb in which he scaled Mt. Everest. So I think I’m probably a good part of the yardstick too.
In addition to her great children (modest, aren’t I?) she includes my Eddie as part of her life; loving him completely for his kind words, gentle ways and superior Scrabble skills. But the one who really has us beat is my sister-in-law, who just yesterday my mother described as “Spectacular," "Beautiful” and “Looking like she was ready to model on a runway.” Oh, and did I mention she was the one who gave my mother her life’s greatest joy? Three grandsons.
Fuggedaboutit! They knock Michael and I off the yardstick completely. That was a big milestone, becoming a grandmother. Three times, no less. My uterus could shrivel up and blow away for all she cares. She’s got grandchildren. (Thanks Pam, for saving my uterus!) Not a day goes by that my mother doesn’t have a story about one of them. The oldest gently corrects her because she’s not savvy in the ways of skateboarding, PlayStation and some other "kid" things, the middle one likes his free time in her art room and the youngest has decided that because he gets to shovel, rake, make mud and do construction work in Nana’s back yard, that his new favorite word is “debris.”
So I’d say at sixty-five, she has a lot to be thankful for. She has passed many milestones during the journey of her life and has a yardstick that seemingly goes on forever, which she doesn’t even really need, to measure all the blessings that have been bestowed upon her.
So Mommy, after the party is over and presents unwrapped, and you close the day on your 65th year, know that you are entertaining, sought after, needed, wanted, admired, cherished, emulated and most of all, loved. I believe I can speak for us all when I say that you add immeasurable joy to our lives and not a moment would be the same were you not to be in it.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I can't even imagine being stuck in a 630 foot tall steel oven with hundreds of summer tourists. Besides, school starts soon and those dreaded vacationers and their children will be off the roads.
Now that's freedom.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The Navy Master Chief in charge allowed me to take a few pictures and as usual, the events that we usually only see on TV are so different when seen in person. It has such incredible impact when you see something like this up close.
There are still several people missing and it looks as if finding them alive is no longer a possibility, so let us remember to keep these people and their families in our thoughts and prayers.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Monday, August 06, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
The list this week adds a few places that make New England proud:
Kittery, ME (which included a visit to The Kittery Outlets and dinner at Robert's Maine Grill where I had one of my favorite seafood dishes; baked scallops!!)
New Castle, NH
Next week: The ungodly heat of the American Southwest.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The Spicket River Falls was first harnessed for water power in 1709. The present granite block dam was built in 1870 and 1880. Semi-spherical holes were carved in the top and bottom of each stone and cannon balls were inserted in the holes for reinforcement. The wood frame Mill No. 5 (ca 1840) sitting by the dam is the second oldest building in the Methuen Company complex. This is also the site of Methuen's first textile mill (1812-14, burned in 1818). In 1987, the Methuen Falls Hydroelectric Company began generating power here once again.