Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Year, Another 365 Days

As a farewell to 2007, I pilfered a meme from Bleeding Espresso. I'm doing it again this year. Read on!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Eddie and I took a cruise and went snorkeling in Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico. Traveled to the maritime provinces of Canada, including Newfoundland! Had to evacuate the city I was in for two hurricanes (Gustav and Ike). Voted for and GOT the President I was hoping for! And finally, ended the year putting a deposit down on a brand spanking new truck – the one we’ve been wanting for several years now!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I kept only one of them and I guess I'll make more for the new year. I can't promise I'll keep 'em though.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My cousin and his wife gave birth to a GORGEOUS baby girl named Julianna Rose (such the girlie name!) and my other cousin and her husband gave birth to the happiest little boy I've ever seen, Jason Robert.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, Mexico and Honduras.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Once again, I'd like time alone without distractions or interruptions.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Can't be anything other than the election of Barack Obama on
November 4th. A day I will never forget.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I didn't have any big achievements this year.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not organizing my writings in the capacity I was hoping and not keeping up with the damn scanning of our receipts!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just this stupid pulled muscle or whatever the hell it was. Which is still bothering me, by the way!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The best thing I bought was my new cell phone, but the best thing Eddie bought me was my Kindle!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm not really sure who celebrates behavior other than a parent, but I guess Barack Obama held his tongue pretty well during his Presidential campaign against Senator Have-You-Heard-I-Was-A-POW-My-Friends and Governer I-Can-See-Russia-From-My-Front-Porch. I don't think I would have been able to be as restrained. I'm sure I would have been heard mumbling idiot! under my breath more than once during those last few months; something every news channel definitely would have covered.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I'd have to say the racist, hateful behavoir of the people standing in line for the Republican presidential rallies. Have you SEEN the video of those people?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same place as always: dining out, vacations and entertainment (which includes movies, books, iTunes, Kindle downloads, etc.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I don't get three "really's" kind of excited about anything, but shopping for a house was fun.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
2008 was THE YEAR of Sugarland, so any of their songs will bring me back.

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

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

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 2008?
No one new on the romance front since I have my Eddie, but I have continued my love affair with cheese.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I didn't watch enough TV this year to have any favorites.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope, no one new.

24. What was the best book you read?
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and Such A Pretty Fat; Bright Lights, Big Ass; and Bitter is the new Black, all by Jen Lancaster

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Adele. She's just fantastic.

26. What did you want and get?
A Kindle, snow and several new purses.

27. What did you want and not get?
That damned trip to Europe!

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Probably the one I just saw; Yes Man with Jim Carrey. Laughed at almost every line!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 41 this year and didn't do anything special on my birthday.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Same as last year: 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 2008?
Three words: Velour Track Suits

32. What kept you sane?
My best friend.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Barack Obama. I can't get enough.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
This year I was up in arms about almost everything. Election year, you know.

35. Who did you miss?
My father. As always, mostly at night when I have driving think time.
My best friend. I didn't see her nearly as much this year as I did last.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Hands DOWN it has to be Hedon and Stace from The Highway Hags. They don't know it yet, but I am SO stalking them this year.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

Once again, I have two:
1. Some people will never change.
2. Time passes anyway. Don't put off doing anything.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
This comes from one of my favorite groups, Sugarland. The song is called Settlin’ and can be found on their "Enjoy The Ride" album.

“I ain't settlin'
For just getting by
I've had enough so-so
For the rest of my life
Tired of shooting too low
So raise the bar high
'Just enough', ain't enough this time
I ain't settlin' for anything less than everything”

Next year I plan on adopting my brother's slogan for the year: Shine In Oh Nine!

Don't settle for anything less than everything, my friends. Shine on!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Have Wet Saw, Will Travel

My brother owns his own company. If you asked him what he does, he’d probably say “I’m a tile guy.”

He’s more than a “tile guy”. He’s a tile genius. A master. An arteeest.

He’s been in business for over twenty years (a span in which I’ve probably had about twenty jobs), one that he built from nothing, scratch. He works by referral only and has never in twenty years had the need to advertise. Getting an appointment for him to do your home is like requesting an audience with the Pope; except you have to pay him and you don't get the papal blessing. Come to think of it, getting in to see the Pope might be easier.

My brother's work has been published in several coffee table books and several magazines. His typical client is the multi-million dollar custom homeowner. It's not uncommon for people to have upwards of $60,000 in tile alone for a job, and that's just for materials. Surprisingly, none of this has gone to his head. He's still down to earth, funny and normal.

With the exception of a company whose showroom he tiled out in California, he rarely travels for a job. He has enough work close to home and doesn't like to leave his family.

In order to get him to travel, you have to pay him. Handsomely. Well, unless you’re family. And he likes you.

Just before Christmas, my brother spent ten days in upstate New York tiling the new home of my cousin and his wife. The home is in the process of being built and is both huge and gorgeous. It's not quite finished yet, but with my brother’s tile installation, they'll be as close to these multi-million dollar homes as they can get, without forking over a small fortune for the "tile guy". Sometimes it pays to have family connections; and I mean that in the so not mafia kind of way.

Braving the cold and intermittent snow, my brother showed up for work ready to get down to business; he had an ad hoc crew just waiting to be told what to do. The benefit of being part of an Italian family are the great meals waiting for you at the end of a hard work day and the ocassional eggplant parmigiana sandwich being brought to the job site by your doting aunt. Who cares about the cold when homemade food is being delivered?? The job went off without a hitch and my brother made it back home in time to play Santa for my three nephews. One would never know he was such a jet-setting contractor.

These photos are not from my cousin's home, but from another house my brother and his crew worked on. It's a 7,000 square foot house located in Oro Valley, Arizona, complete with a view of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Any surface where you see tile or stone, be it floors, walls, countertops, shower stalls, etc., my brother did.

In addition, my brother's best friend of over twenty years will often work with him, as he did on this house. He’s a metal specialist and in this home you can see his work in the kitchen (the first photo, where he did the ten foot long double arch light fixture over the island and the nine foot tall iron hood above the stove), the powder room (the second photo, where he did all the iron work over the windows and the sconces on the mirrors and the fourth photo, where he built the vanity and the wall sconces that hang above it) and at the front entry (where he built the iron and glass front door that stands over twelve feet high!).

This home has so many unique elements to it, sitting atop a three acre lot overlooking the mountains. Although it's a tremendous space, with everything in it feeling oversized (the master bathroom alone is 450 square feet. That's bigger than some NYC apartments!) it feels cozy and warm.

You can click on the photos to enlarge them and if you reaalllly like what you see, I might be able to find a way to get "the tile guy" to your place.

I've got connections.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Well, it would be looking a lot like Christmas, but since video didn't cooperate when I originally wanted to post it, I missed the deadline for the big day. So let's just pretend this is a gift that came late in the mail. Woo Hoo! Christmas again! What fun.

This scenery thrills me to the core. I'm never happier than when I'm seeing snow! And since I saw lots of it during our last run, I'd like to show you what Christmas looks like from the windshield of a big rig as Eddie drives us through the
Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California.

We were listening to the "all Christmas, all the time" music on XM Radio which is why you can hear Johnny Mathis in the background. And if you listen closely, you can even hear the "whine" of the engine.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Queen Of Copper

This is me about 12 years ago taking the Queen Mine Tour in Bisbee, Arizona. I do believe I was the cutest miner on that thar train.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Don't Eat Gefilte Fish But We Do Like The Multi-Cultural Birthdays

This week we celebrated my nephew's birthday. My mother was in the grocery store picking up a few last minute items when she passed by the mylar balloons. The word "Happy" caught her eye, as did the bright blue and silver colors on the balloon. She decided to get it to tie to the back of my nephew's chair when they came over for his birthday dinner.

When she got in the car and began to back out of her parking spot, the balloon floated into her field of vision and she saw what it actually said on it; Happy Chanukah. Here's where I might want to bring a little something to your attention: We're not Jewish.

She sat there for a minute thinking. Who will even notice what the balloon says? and then, well, Salena will definitely notice (that's for sure) and following that, I'm sure she'll probably even blog about it (right again) and finally, the kids will probably make fun of me (she knows my brother and I all too well).

So she went back into the store and told the woman at customer service that she wanted her $2.99 back because she got the wrong balloon. The woman didn't understand what she was talking about because the Chanukah balloon she held in her hand was free, she said, and she shouldn't have been charged anything for it.

"What do you mean free?" my mother said.

"Well, they're free. Chanukah is over, so we're giving them away."

She told my mother to go over to the balloon department and pick any Happy Birthday balloon she wanted since she had already paid for it. My mother did just that and brought both balloons home for the party and tied them both to my nephew's chair.

The birthday dinner went over well, we all had a really nice night. My mom made a w
onderful dinner, a homemade cake (with ten glowing candles!) and the gifts everyone brought went over big with the guest of honor.

I can't wait to see what she has in store for his Bar Mitzvah.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Angelic Eddie Friday

He's such a good guy, that occassionally, he's surrounded by an eerie, angelic glow.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Meal Of Delicious Cheesy Goodness And A Day Of Good Delicious Cheeriness

Well, I have good news; today was a huge success. My gifts went over swimmingly, which is good for the kids since that means they won't be getting coal next year.

More importantly, the lasagna my sister-in-law made was DEEEEEEE-LICIOUS!!! This photo isn't the best I've taken of food (I
photograph a lot of food) but I didn't have a lot of time to set up the shot before my brother started cutting pieces to pass around. And for that, I'm glad. I didn't want to wait ONE second longer for my share. I even took a piece home for lunch tomorrow!

It was a fabulous day with good food, lots of laughs and great memories. Now I'm going to sleep with visions of sugarplums (and my piece of lasagna in the fridge) in my head.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Team Finally Takes A Rest

We are finally done with the 2008 No Fun UPS Run. Three weeks of driving/sleeping/eating/driving/sleeping/eating/driving/sleeping/eating; all to deliver packages for the Christmas holiday. The truck never shuts down, the wheels almost never stop rolling and when they do, the stops are always brief. All this, and we don't even get to wear those fetching brown uniforms.

I have heard enough talk radio for the last three weeks to last me all of next year. As a result, I hate most of the show hosts except for Thom Hartmann (brilliant man) and Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks. Of couuuurrrrse. (if you listen to his show, you know how the "of course" sounds)

I have eaten more fast food in the last three weeks then I care to think about (or admit) since we had no time to stop for any delicious Italian or even a juicy little steak.

I did have several latte opportunities, but none of them came with enough time to comb through stacks of magazines, which is usually how I like to enjoy my steamy beverage.

The one thing I can't complain about is the weather. It was icily cold, with snow and an occasional patch of ice. Now typically I don't love driving on ice or in freezing rain, but bring on the snow and the COLD. The cold was THE. BEST. PART. of the entire run. We hit many areas, but Oregon, Northern California, Chicago, Philly, Virginia and northern New Mexico provided the best cold and the most snow sightings. I despise the southwest, but in the northern part of those states this time of year, it's cold, so I like it.

We are now ready to take a few days off and rest. All my shopping was done before we left and I wrapped all my gifts, so all I have to do is go home tonight, wake up tomorrow and haul everything to my brother's house for the festive opening of presents and my sister-in-law's ROCKIN' lasagna. For a white girl, she knows how to wield a mean lasagna and I can't wait to sink my teeth into a piece (or two)! I'm already starving.

My nephews will hopefully be thrilled with the unique gifts Eddie and I got this year, some of them from as far away as Newfoundland! If they're not happy with my purchases, next year they get coal from West Virginia.

It's late, it's Christmas Eve and if I hurry, I think I can make it home before Santa gets there.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Text Me

Every once in a while I post text messages that were sent and received on my phone. Often, as I go along, I erase certain messages and leave others, so when I go back and read them they either don't make sense or just plain crack me up. Here are some of my recent ones:

Or maybe rural West Virginia.

I love, love, LOVE Kentucky!

U can come back now.

Shit is everywhere. Do NOT come out.

Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad.

How many years have you been a sheriff?

Is it against the law to call a cop an asshole?

Did you see the Jungle room?

I'm only home for 25 days before then which is soooo nuts.

Yes and FUCK YES!

We are having a blast but the Elvis/Graceland thing, eh!

We've wasted 30 minutes here. WTF???

3. Ouch. Headed to the city. TTYL. Ciao!

Hell yeah, they DO! I LOVE them.

How do you catch a unique rabbit? Unique up on it. How do you catch a tame rabbit? The tame way.

OK, all done.

In front of Starbucks.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. Javelina And The Carb Encounter

My mother was walking through her house when her outside motion detector light went on. When she looked out, she saw a Javelina.

In the telling of the story to me, she explained how first there was just one, then two, then all of a sudden, seven. She and my stepfather threw out some bread for them to eat because they were "concerned" they didn't have enough to eat. Since when are desert animals carb junkies?

Anyway, she went on to tell me, "They were really big ones. At first I saw a medium baby, a big guy and his wife."

"His wife??" I said. "Javelina get married?"

"Well, you know what I mean - the mother, father and the baby. It must have been his wife, because they were with each other. And of course, they had a baby."

Oh riiight. The baby. And I'm sure Javelina don't have babies out of wedlock.

"OK, Mom...what I'm saying is that you called it "his wife" as if they get married."

"Well," she said in an exasperated tone, "you know what I mean. They were together."

So here's a picture of the medium baby, the big one and his wife; along with the rest of his extended family. Or maybe they're just his friends, following him around the neighborhood looking for carbs.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eddie's Adoring/Bored Girlfriend Friday

Eddie took this picture of me with his camera phone. I was either very bored or very entranced by what he was saying. Since I don't remember this day, I guess I'll have to go with whichever one he thinks it is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Raindrops On Roses And Whiskers On Kittens

Here are some of my favorite things:

1. The cold side of the pillow. Ahhh, how I love to flip it and flip it and flip it; each time getting a fresh, new, cold place to rest my cheek.

2. That Aha! moment when I figure out the word in the crossword puzzle I was having trouble with. Sometimes this happens while I'm driving and not even actively doing the puzzle anymore - it'll all of a sudden come to me. Also, I often do a crossword puzzle on the phone with my mother. She gives me the clues to the ones she can't get and I give her the answers. Fun!

3. A southern accent. Most times I can be sucked in by that beautiful honey drenched drawl. My favorite is Paula Deen with all her darlin's and sweetheart's and y'alls (plus she puts butter in everything). I'm also easily sucked in by listening to the slow, easy manner in which
Matthew McConaughey speaks; although he could not speak at all and I'd be sucked in. When I don't like it is when the southern accent is spewing something ignorant or racist; then it's just plain 'ol redneck.

4. Cold, crisp air. I love how it assaults my nose, the purity of it almost hurting my nostrils. I don't think it actually even has a scent, but I think you know what I mean; it just smells clean.

5. Untouched snow. Clinging to delicate branches, weighing them down, flake by flake. Even more of a treat for the eyes are when the delicate branches are covered in a layer of twinkly ice, glistening in the sun and reaching far from their trunk to hover precariously over the pristine, untouched snow.

6. The satisfied feeling of a scratched itch. Ahhhhh. Better yet, if someone is scratching it for you.

7. My brother's "laugh till his eyes tear up" laugh. I don't even have to be in his presence to know he's laughing so hard he's almost crying; I can hear it.

8. The smell of Drakkar Noir. Always has been, always will be one of my favorite male scents. And oh how it brings me back.

9. The memory of me, spitting Big Mac lettuce all over the steering wheel of my Chevy Monte Carlo (first car) because my best friend made me laugh SO hard. We were stalking a guy together, and on the way to his house, pulled over to get a bite to eat. We sat in the parking lot down the block from the stalkee's house, eating our Mickey D's and laughing like we were getting paid to do it. High-jinks like this make one hungry and goofy.

10. Sitting on the stoop at 1628 Seddon Street, the house I lived in after I was born and where my grandparents lived until the end of their lives. I can see the silvery grey pebbles of the stone in the steps and the silver aluminum railing down each side. You could watch the whole neighborhood go by from these steps. Those are the days when people actually talked to their neighbors and walking the streets of the Bronx were safe.

11. The sound of the ice cream man. No matter what neighborhood we were in, you could hear him coming from blocks away. At the first sound of the music, we'd run inside and get our money, ready to buy a Bomb Pop or a
Toasted Almond. Choosing from the visual menu on the side of the truck was almost as much fun as eating the ice cream itself.

12. The scent of lemon-verbena; most often, in a candle, but recently I found the same scent in
Oscar Blandi's dry shampoo. Fresh!

13. Coming around the bend on Interstate 64/77 in Charleston, West Virginia and seeing the stunningly BEAUTIFUL gold dome of the
capitol building. Takes my breath every time. Here's a better picture of the gold dome.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bite Sized Yummy Goodness

A bag of Chips Ahoy on the dashboard; these and a cup of tea kept me company for the lonely, snowy ride across the country while Eddie snored the night away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What's Next, Reporting Your Maid In The Middle Of Her Dusting The Living Room Tsochkes?

Do we really need the average moron getting in on border security?

When a reporter can sneak over the border in under six minutes undetected, I'd say border security has enough trouble doing their job with trained agents; there's really no need to include the less-than-competent masses.

Besides, I thought we already determined that
Homeland Security was a "reality" destined for cancellation.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Trees Help Guide The Way

The view from the windshield while driving through Lassen Volcanic National Park, Northern California. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll post a video of this area too.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Be Wary Of Women Wearing Skull Panties

These are my cousin's panties drying on a windowsill of a hotel in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Four of us were there for a "Girls Weekend" away; sorta makes it seem like things got a little wild, doesn't it?

The photo was taken by her and I don't need to tell you that boring girls don't wear skull panties.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Southwest Sunset

The sun setting over McDowell Road in Avondale, Arizona.

My postings may be a little light this coming week since we're still doing the UPS run which allows for very little time on the internet. Expect skimpy text content and less than stellar photos.

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Rig Too Big

IMBD lists the plot of this movie as, "A mother and daughter who run a brothel for truckers fight back when the Mafia tries to take over their operation."

Since I've only been out here for four years, I can only speak of my experience, and I have never, ever, EVER seen any "working girl" who look like the women in this movie poster. If any of you drivers out there with more miles under your belt want to weigh in, please do!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stupidity Threat Level: Orange*

Ed and I laughed out loud simultaneously when we were watching TV and saw the promo for a new show.

It's called Homeland Security USA.

Oh my God. You've got to be kidding me. Are these people serious?? This is this the best they can do? Isn't it enough that the Department of Homeland Security itself is a running joke?

Boy, won't all the sheeple be happy; they'll have another piece of crap to watch.

* For those of you not familiar with the Garanimals system that Homeland Security uses to identify their threat levels, Orange is "high". Be afraid....very afraid. Especially of this TV show.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ain't Nuthin' But A Lizard Pimp

Just before Thanksgiving, I bought a black velour track suit.

No, I'm not a ninety year old Jew from New York currently wintering in Florida. What?? Have you SEEN them? All I need is a pair of gold sneakers and I could pass for one, you know.

Anyway, back to the track suit. It's simple, stylish, and comfy; and for me, since I'm anti-sloppy sweats, the perfect alternative. It does have a faux diamond zipper-pull, so there's a little extra shine to match my earrings.

The first time I wore it, I got compliments, which was a good sign. The second time I wore it, I got a little bold and went shopping in it, looking for a similar one. No luck. The store I originally bought it in didn't seem to be carrying it anymore and the ones that I did find just looked cheesy and I don't know, baggy. But I did come across another sweet little find. A silvery purple velour track suit jacket. No pants. Not an ensemble. Just a jacket. And I loved it.

It had ruching on the pockets and sleeves and complemented my hair color. Yes, girls do consider purchasing items that compliment their hair color. So I bought it. I recently wore it paired with a black spaghetti strap tank and the black velour pants. I thought it added just the right pop of color. After all, the black pants, black tank, black jacket might have been a bit too overwhelming.

WELL. It was only when I spied myself in a full length mirror did I realize...

All that velvety velour? A little too dressy for a truck driver. What with my platform flip-flops, my new gold hoops and my faux snakeskin bag, I looked less like a truck driver and more like a pimp.

All I needed was a large fedora trimmed in a feather boa and a couple of nasty ho's and I'd be all ready to set up shop. Needless to say, I'll be getting rid of the purple jacket. I plan on giving it to my mother.

She's a lot closer to a ninety year old Jew than I am and no one would ever mistake her for a pimp.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Whizzing Through Dallas

Photo caught while hanging out the window as Eddie drove through Dallas. Reunion tower can be seen on the right side of the picture.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Out Of This World Outport Life

Icebergs, whales, lighthouses and old fashioned fishing villages. That's what you'll find in Twillingate, Newfoundland. A former outport that was once only accessible by boat, can now be reached via a causeway that connects it to the mainland.
Twillingate is in the heart of iceberg alley, where icebergs from Greenland travel through Notre Dame Bay as they head south, melting along the way. It was one of these icebergs that the Titanic struck in 1912, resulting in one of the most famous maritime disasters on record.

Today, although population is dwindling, Twillingate is still one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Canada.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Eddie On A Cliff Friday

Eddie standing on the edge of a cliff named Devil's Cove Head, in Notre Dame Bay located in Twillingate, Newfoundland.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's Crazy That I'm Crazy For Keanu

While getting my nails done this week, the salon TV was playing the movie "The Lake House". I got sucked in.

I happen to like this movie (I'm all about the cheesy romance movie) but every time I see Keanu Reeves' face on the screen, my first thought is Oh God, Keanu. He's such a bad actor. But then I sit through each and every moment of the movie and at the end, wind up sighing and in a breathy voice saying, I love Keanu.

Here are my Keanu favorites:

1. The Lake House
2. A Walk In The Clouds
3. The Replacements
4. Something's Gotta Give
5. Sweet November
6. Point Break

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

He Must Have Learned It From TV

I've decided I have an extremely low tolerance for television. My biggest pet peeve is turning it on the moment you enter the room. After being at my parent's house for Thanksgiving, I realized that their television is ALWAYS on. ALWAYS. Well, except when they sleep, of course. I also realized that I just can't stand the sound of it. Even if I were to go in the other room, and their house isn't all that small, I just can't get away from it.

We used to have a television in our truck but we took it out. We never ever watched it. And I liked it that way. Sure, in the beginning it was hard not being able to get a signal to watch the shows I wanted to see, but that all faded. I realized I could live without it. The only thing I really love to watch is Grey's Anatomy and I can get that online and watch it at my leisure.

The only other time I can't get away from the television is in a hotel room. The first thing Ed does when he walks in, is turn it on. Sometimes he'll go in and get the room while I stay in the truck and get our overnight bag ready. This is essential, especially in the summertime when he turns the A/C on before I get to the room so the room is always on its way to a beautiful icy 65 before I get there. The other thing he does is turn on the television. That I can do without. I turn it off immediately upon my entry and try to distract him from watching it by offering other things for him to do; reading, computer, a good Scrabble game....sometimes my tactics work, other times, I sit there miserably being forced to watch things like the Sci-Fi channel, the X-Men movie or whatever other crap that happens to be on, usually stuff that numbs my mind by just the sheer sound of it.

I'm not above watching television. I just like to watch what I like to watch. Duh. I will most likely never get Ed to sit through hours of my choices, but I try. He will watch the Food Network to a certain extent and I can sometimes get him to watch What Not To Wear, but I have to be tricky.

Being tricky takes too much planning and effort, so I'll just instruct him to be vigilant about the mute button and lower the volume at times when they movie is showing a chase scene, a blow up scene, a drill sargeant screaming orders scene, or any other loud noises that may upset my manufactured hotel room serenity. If you met me, you'd never think I'd need these times of silence since I talk loud and a lot, but even I need a break from my own voice.

I don't know how Ed does it all day long. He must be some sort of saint. Or, oh my God....perish the though...he's ignoring me! Is that a special mutant power he learned from watching X-Men on TV??

Monday, December 01, 2008

Your Beating Heart

A friend of mine recently had a large riff within her family regarding the handling of her father's body after his death. The family, without her knowledge, decided to donate his entire body to science. She, finding this out when she arrived at his memorial service and didn't see a body, blew a gasket.

Because the family decided to donate the body, the cremation was to be free. And because the donation was free, the body went into the system without any way to immediately identify it. Her dad was lost. She called all over town, every hospital, local funeral homes and a cremation facility as far as 120 miles away. She was frantic.

She finally located the body, pissing off her family in the process and had her father moved to a facility where he would remain until his body was cremated as he wanted. She didn't really have a problem with the organ donation part, but being the closest one in the family to her father, she knew what he wanted and it wasn't to be donated to science.

When my father died and I found out that he wanted to be cremated, I had no problem with it, even though I had no idea prior to his death that it's what he wanted. Only when I saw his scribbling of "cremate me and then sauté me with a little garlic and olive oil" written in his hand on the envelope that contained his will, did I know it was his own wish. Perhaps an odd way to joke about one's remains, but nonetheless, his wishes.

I already know I want to donate my body to science and I've indicated this wish in the appropriate place on my driver's license. I believe I've mentioned it to my family several times also but if that's not enough, I guess they can read it here. I want to be able to give someone life, sight, extra time in this world, whatever. If they want to examine the caramel latte in my belly or pull my fingernails out one by one to help come up with a cure for something, I'm all for it.

I have an aunt who only wants to be an organ donors if she can have a say as to where her organs go; not wanting to give a second life to a petty criminal or worse, a pedophile. I don't really think that's our choice to make. I think it's selfish to not donate at all based on the fact that you won't be able to give your organs to who you want. You're dead. Don't you think it's time to stop being a control freak?

What do you think?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Insane In The Holiday Brain

It has only just begun - those dreadful days leading up to the holiday. And by saying dreadful, I'm being nice. And the reason I'm being that nice? Because if I wasn't, I'd have to stab myself in the eye. Why the eye? Because that would impair my vision enough that I would not be able to shop on a Saturday. Who the EFF shops on a Saturday??? Crazy people, that's who.

Dear. Mother. Of. God. Doesn't everyone know the economy is in the toilet?? STOP shopping, people. Go home. Save your money. Make crafty presents this year. And get the hell out of my way!! I don't have time to make crafty presents.

And...because I'm once again participating in the UPS Run With The Devil, I barely have time to shop at all. Again this year, Ed and I will help UPS deliver their packages. Three weeks of drive/sleep/drive/sleep/drive/sleep; this is not at ALL our usual routine. Where is the time for a latte? How am I going to have a leisurely lunch at Chipotle? What if I need an emergency mani/pedi??

It's not happening. We leave on December 3rd and return home on December 25th. Uh, yeah, Christmas Day. So this year I have to have ALL of my shopping done before I leave on Wednesday morning; wrapped and ready to be put under the tree. Oh, no pressure at all.

Did I mention I hate shopping? Stores on the day after the day after Thanksgiving (otherwise known as Black Friday) are just as horrible to shop in as they are on that day. The madness has just begun. My main concentration will be my three nephews, who just happen to be the three hardest people to buy for. And to make it worse, one of them has a birthday a few days after Christmas, so I have to shop for that too. My head hurts.

If your gift doesn't make it on time this year, cut me some slack; you might get it by July.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nutty Friday

On Friday I often post a photo of my favorite nut, Eddie, but today I opted for my second favorite nut, the pistachio. They were adorning the holiday table and I liked the limey green color peeking out!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I so wish I could take credit for this picture of our holiday table. But since I didn't take it, I can't claim it. It's another one taken by my nephew and I think it's a pretty good shot.

I guess I can say he's only interested in photography because of me, so I suppose I can take a little bit of the credit!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Only Reason Men Do Things Is Because Their Wives MAKE Them

My step-father recently went to the eye doctor for a check-up and while in the examining room, the doctor asked him what was going on. My step-father told him that he'd been having some issues with double vision and not being able to see too clearly.

"And how long has this been going on?" the doctor asked.

"A while..." my step-father hesitated.

The doctor commented on how long it had been since his last saw him and said, "So what made you come in for this visit?"

" wife made the appointment because she caught me driving with one eye."

Is this what it takes to get a man to go see a doctor once in a great while??? If it were up to him, he wouldn't have gone in until he woke up blind.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pssst! The Fish Are In The Water. Check The Water.

The great egret is a tall white heron that has a long graceful neck, long black legs and black feet. Its long pointed bill is yellow. Like the great blue heron, it uses a "stand and wait" method of catching fish. It wades in shallow water till it finds the right spot to wait for its meal to swim by, then it stabs it with its sharp bill.

During breeding time the great egret has beautiful lacy white plumes on its back and tail. Unfortunately, these feathers are what almost caused the bird to become extinct. Before it was protected by law, the great egret was hunted and killed for those lovely white plumes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Part of the EPCOT fireworks grand finale. It's the best I could do without a tri-pod.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Price Fun?

Two hundred seventy two dollars and fifty three cents. That's $272.53 for those who have trouble turning words into numbers. That's what it cost for us to spend eight and a half hours at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park; and two thirds of that price was just to park and walk through the gate! Pricey yes, but that was not the reason I had for not wanting to go. If you know me at all, you will probably have guessed that I was anticipating hating this adventure.

First, it's in Florida. And what does Florida have? That's right, lots of sun. And what does lots of sun produce? Right again, lots of heat. And heat can be the deciding factor in whether I'm going to hate something or not. Want me at your wedding? Don't have it in June. Think I'll attend your kids graduation? Not likely, if it's outdoors. Considering inviting me for a day of "laying out" by the pool? Think again.

So the mere fact that EPCOT is in Florida meant this "adventure" was already inching its way over to the Never Gonna Happen column. Add to the heat factor the other main component of Disney World, kids, and the chances of me wanting to be there exponentially decrease. I was not about to sit in the truck by myself though, so I gave in and decided to join Ed. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a really nice day (and by nice I mean, not too hot) and the parking lot was barely full (which meant not too many kids) This might not be so bad, I thought as I climbed out of the truck.

Truth be told, I really enjoyed it. We started out by taking the Mission Space ride which is housed in the iconic EPCOT globe (seen above at night). It was very interesting; nice and slow (no crazy twists and turns to make me queasy), fun, informative and ended in an area where we could show you what Eddie and I looked like while in space and then what I looked like right after I landed!

Once you get into the interior of the park, there is a lake in the middle surrounded by Pavillions from various countries; Canada (which we skipped since we were just in the REAL Canada), China (where we had dinner), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Of course, if you've been to EPCOT you know the deal, but it's nice to see each Pavillion staffed with native speakers of that country, many of who come just to work and go to school here in the US. We watched a movie called "Reflections of China" which was shown on a screen that circled the room and then saw the film "Impressions de France", which we enjoyed so much we went back to watch it a second time!

We had Bavarian pretzels in Germany, Chinese food in China and pastries and coffee in France; all without leaving the country. The evening ended with one of the most amazing fireworks shows I have ever seen....I will post a photo tomorrow.

Next we tackle The Magic Kingdom!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eddie Lost In Space Friday

Click here to see Ed being abducted by aliens.

I think he deserves an Oscar.

Or at least a

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Duck, Duck, Drake

I captured this colorful little Mallard in Orlando, Florida.

* A male Mallard is called a drake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bracing For A World Of Mouse Ears

Since we're delivering a load to Orlando, Ed wants to take me to Walt Disney World. Kids, lines, sun, kids...let's say I'm not too thrilled about the idea.

I'm truly hoping it's not a repeat of the
worst day of my life.

Check back for details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Foxy Furry Little Friend

So we're sitting in the truck at a truckstop up in Maine when Ed says, "Look! A fox!" and I'm all like, "I am looking pretty good today, aren't I?" and he's all like, "No, a real fox!"

Um, I think I was slightly offended. But when I got over it, I saw this little guy trotting up to our truck:

I don't know how well he did with his wandering since his eyes seem to be closed but maybe he just came out of his fox den and is squinting because he forgot his little foxy sunglasses.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Connecting Over The Mystic River

The Tobin Memorial Bridge (also known as the Mystic River Bridge) is the main structure over the Mystic River, connecting the Charlestown and Chelsea sections of Boston.

The view was spectacular because it was cold out and when it's cold, the skies are extremely clear, so every light twinkled and every color was more intense. The pictures look better in the smaller format since they are kinda blurry when enlarged; I guess that's what happens when you take pictures from a moving truck!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Color Me Casual

My friend Vicki, who in the last two years has broken out of her tomboy shell, has encouraged me to introduce some color to my wardrobe. I have, for the twenty years of our friendship, always favored black and neutral colors. On occassion, I will throw in a fuschia or red, maybe even a funky print here or there, but primarily I stick with darker shades.

My mother has always wanted me to wear color also. She's the "artistic" type and has always dressed like a Puerto Rican on vacation; colors, prints and florals, very often in the same outfit. I don't think she even owns anything that's black.

I will often say "I do wear color!" when challenged on it, but then I look at my closet or my stack of V-neck t-shirts and see several shades of black, eggplant, burgundy and white; rarely a color in the mix. So today I went shopping and this is what I tried on:

Would you say I was spinning that color wheel like a drunk woman?? I didn't buy anything, but the yellow jacket was actually my favorite. It was a stretch denim (the stretch was kind of cool, I haven't seen that much movement ever in a denim jacket) and the buttons, which looked like rivets, were actually snaps. I liked that too. The ruffly tank on the right (which was a deep teal with tiny goldenrod and white flowers) looked really great with the yellow jacket.

I've been looking more at how other women dress and have been trying to get some ideas for how I can incorporate dressing down (in a stylish way) into my life since my profession really requires me to embrace all things casual. I'm not really good with the casual look, so putting something together that looks good is hard for me. I think I owned one pair of jeans when I met Ed and I have had a really hard time adjusting my wardrobe for this lifestyle. I don't do sweats and I'm not a jeans and sweater type of person.

That whole layering thing seems to be really popular - the long tee sticking out of the other tee sticking out of the sweater which sticks out of the jacket, topped with a scarf casually slung around the neck. Ugh. Layers can be a real problem for me as I HATE to be hot. As it was, I seemed to be the only person in Newfoundland who was sweating.

We'll have to see how this color thing works out and what I do for my wardrobe in the next few months. I plan on getting rid of everything I have and starting over with all new stuff for January, so maybe I'll stay away from the black and try to get into more actual outfits that incorporate some color. It's been suggested that I try more button down shirts, maybe some fitted jackets and dark wash, bootleg jeans. If that doesn't work, I'll be the only driver on the road wearing velour track suits with the satin stripe up the side.

With big hoop earrings and flip-flops, of course!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Going The Way Of Astatine*

This label was found on the bottom of the ice bucket in my hotel room. Can you see what's unusual about it?

* Astatine is the rarest naturally-occurring element, with the total amount in Earth's crust estimated to be less than 1 oz (28 g) at any given time. This amounts to less than one teaspoon of the element. Guinness World Records has dubbed the element the rarest on Earth, stating: "Only around 0.9 oz (25 g) of the element astatine (At) occurring naturally".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eddie Working In Paradise Friday

Eddie, as he prepares to unload the pipe we delivered to Paradise, Newfoundland. He's such a happy worker!

~ Special birthday greetings to my step-father who turns 87 today!! ~

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Showing Its True Colors, Even On The Cloudiest Day

The sun didn't really shine the entire time we were in Newfoundland; the sky was extrememly overcast and there was a mist of rain covering the city. The sun went down at 4:30 pm. Newfoundland is in a time zone that is a half hour later than Atlantic Time and an hour and a half later than Eastern Time, so by 3:00 pm in New York, it was pitch black in St. John's. This is the harbor in St. John's, Newfoundland on the one day there was actually enough light to take a picture:

The houses are SO colorful and even as you leave the harbor, the houses are just as unique, perched like bright little bits of confetti on the hill.

It's kind of hard to get a "feel" for the color since the pictures are so blah, but every house is painted a different color; even the roofs are painted, often in a color other than that on the home. As I mentioned in a previous post, St. John's is the oldest English-founded settlement in North America, first sailed into by Italian explorer, John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) in 1497.

And Water Street, the main drag, is the oldest street in North America and I
stood on it! (OK, so it wasn't really that big a deal to stand there, but I did. In the rain.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

O Canada!

Here are some reasons I just LOVE Canada:

1. First and foremost, the obvious: It's cold.

2. Signage in both French and English. It's like a road trip and a lesson all in one!

3. Poutine. A whole new kind of comfort food; delicious even without the cheese curds.

4. The Maple Leaf. It's everywhere and I love it. I especially like how they incorporate it in McDonald's golden arches:

5. Moose. Newfoundland has approximately 125,000 - 150,000 moose on the island making it hard to believe we didn't see one during our entire trip!

6. The Canadians seem to love us as far as I can tell since they're all so very nice.

7. More importantly, they LOVE Obama. That's not in question at all - you don't even have to ask them, they'll just tell you straight out!

8. When you're in the Province of Nova Scotia, they have signs in both English and Gaelic, which is something I've never seen anywhere before. If it weren't for the english translation, we'd be screwed. Have you ever tried to read anything in Gaelic???

9. The cold water from the tap is freezing cold; not like water in Arizona where it comes out of the tap feeling like bath water.

10. The food labels/descriptions are also in English and French. My favorites are Pamplemousse Rose Jus (Red Grapefruit Juice), Poulet McCroquette (Chicken McNuggets) and Sucre (Sugar).

11. The McLobster Sandwich (or as they like to say in French, Sandwich McHomard), available only in the Maritime Provices. I've never eaten one, but I like the idea that it exists.

12. All the water! Oceans, lakes, ponds, inlets, goes on and on. It seems like Alberta is the only province that doesn't have all that much water, but they have the Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Park, so I will give them a teeny pass. I prefer the eastern part of the country (same as my preferences in the US) and I think Ontario and Quebec are my favorites, with Nova Scotia coming in third. Oh, the choices!

I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them at the moment. Overall though, I LOVE Canada, O Canada!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sometimes The Nights Just Fly By

The moon in New Brunswick, caught between the trees as we whizzed down the Trans Canada Highway (TCH).