Wednesday, April 30, 2008
"Uh, I guess." I am not a big fan of God stories, which is why she usually asks.
"Well, you know how my knee has been hurting lately, which has just made me sort of cranky, and that I have that dental cleaning appointment that I don't want to go to, right?" she said.
"Yeah, you told me about the dentist appointment."
"I was just dreading going. I am in no mood to have a cleaning. Plus, my knee is killing me." Why her knee hurting has anything to do with the dentist appointment is still not clear to me.
She continued to say, "Well, I had just said, 'Please, God, don't make me have to go to this appointment' when the phone rang and it was Elizabeth from the dentist's office telling me that their machine was down and they couldn't do my procedure! How wonderful is our Lord that he answers all our prayers??"
"So you're telling me that God exists because your dentist appointment was cancelled??" I said.
"Well you can see he just hears our voice and answers our prayers."
"Mom. Do you think you can use your prayers for something more substantial than cancelling your dental appointments? I mean, like maybe asking for World Peace or a cure for cancer? Or even to allow Ed and I to win one of the many state lotteries we play, or having him take away my craving for Entenmann's chocolate donuts? Something that can't be done with a phone call? You could have just cancelled your appointment yourself, you didn't need to waste a prayer to God to do it."
"Well..." she said.
"Well, nothing. Let's work on using those prayers more wisely, Mom."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Amaranth (Amaranthus): Ancient seed cultivated by Aztecs for its supernatural powers. Seeds are packed with proteins and amino acids to help add luster and shine to hair.
How could I not want shiny, lustrous hair that could possibly have supernatural powers?? I'm not exactly sure what supernatural hair is supposed to do, but if it works I think next on my list of products to try will be the yummy combination of the Buckwheat Buffing Soap and Whole Wheat Lotion.
Monday, April 28, 2008
She answered the call and as I leaned in, I heard my step-father on the other end. He was out of breath and babbling, but we couldn't understand what he was saying over the high pitched siren in the background.
"What the hell is that noise??" my mother said.
"I set the alarm off at Mike's house!" he yelled.
My brother lives in a mini-fortress. First, you have to get through a gated front drive which is accessed by code or remote control. Then, you have to pass through an alarmed barrier to enter the house and pool area. I think he's even trained the indigenous scorpions to strike on command. So, when my step-father entered the property (he used his code to get in the main gate) and then the house, setting the alarm off by mistake, we knew the police would be arriving any minute. My brother walked him through the process to shut the alarm, but we all rushed home,hoping to beat the cops there.
Though we were less than a mile away, when we arrived, the police car was already there, parked outside the gate. The car was empty, but as we got closer to the house, we saw the officer stalking the front door. We found out later that he climbed over the wall to get onto the property. Impressive for two reasons; one, because it's not all that easy to get over the wall and two, he didn't look to be in good enough shape to be scaling them.
We piled out of two cars (there were about twelve of us) and headed into the house, leaving my sister-in-law to prove to the cop that she actually lived there. When the cop asked her to produce her driver's license to prove who she was, she explained that she didn't have it; she had left it in the house.
I'm not sure which is worse at this point; my step-father allegedly breaking into her house, or her driving right up to the cop without her driver's license.
Best part of all? My step-father sitting in the living room, watching TV and eating apple pie, oblivious to the fact that he almost wound up face-down on the pavement, hands cuffed behind his back and sharing the backseat of a squad car with my sister-in-law.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I was listening to a recap of the Pennyslvania primary and the commentator was saying how many regions of rural Pennsylvania, being predominately white and blue collar, would cast a vote for Hillary or even John McCain before ever casting their vote for a black man. It still amazes me when I hear outright racist comments or even thinly veiled racist comments coming out of someone's mouth.
Some people are shocked by this, thinking we've come "so far" in regard to racism and that making a comment like this portrays those in question in a poor light. As it should. I, for one, am not shocked by this comment. I do not think we've come all that far at all in this country. In fact, I happen to agree with the comments that Barack Obama made about people being bitter and clinging to their guns and religion.
Maybe people are rankled because Senator Obama spoke the truth. A lot of people live shitty lives. That's the truth. One only has to travel through some of the many poor, rural, industrial or inner city areas to see that. Disgusting living conditions, run down housing, cars that look as if they can't make it across the street let alone across town to a job, kids hanging out in playgrounds with broken swings and drug dealers around the corner. It may not be in your neighborhood, but know that it's out definitely out there.
These already shitty lives are made even more unbearable when bogged down by the high cost of living, the high price of gas, the high price of education and in many areas, the stress of losing a job without another one in sight on the horizon. Why wouldn't you cling to a constant in your life? Why wouldn't you do something you can share with people going through the very same thing as you? Why wouldn't you bond with friends or family either at church or by doing something like going on a hunting trip to bring some joy to your life?
It's not at all elitist to make that observation. To me, it displays someone who is very in touch with exactly what is going on in this country. Even if that person is black. Well, technically, half black. But everyone seems to forget about that.
This week, I had the extreme displeasure of traveling through Texas from Amarillo to Lubbock, south on Interstate 27, right down the middle of what is known as the Texas Panhandle. As with most of Texas, there was not much to see. Two hours of absolutely nothing. In addition to Texas having the ability to immediately depress me, several thoughts bounced around my brain; I wonder if the suicide rate is higher in Texas than the rest of the country? I could die right here, in the middle of the highway and never be discovered. WHY would anyone want to live here? Is that a hotel? What could possibly be the appeal for anyone to visit?
As I crossed into Swisher County I drove through Happy, Texas, which is perhaps the most ill-conceived name for a town smack dab in the middle of a most unhappy place, before coming into the town of Tulia. When I saw the sign, I thought, what a pretty name for a town. I wonder if it's pronounced Too-lee-ah or Tool-ya. Hmm.
I read that some people consider the southern border of Swisher County to be the southern border of the panhandle region, while others consider the panhandle to extend all the way down to Lubbock. It's kind of handy that the state of Texas has a handle, as it makes it easier to grab on to and huck right out the window.
Little did I know though, that the town with the pretty name had such a ugly story to tell. Apparently the story had been reported in the national media, but since I can't read everything, I guess I missed it. And as much as I'd like to think that this country has made progress with situations of this nature, I am brought back into reality with stories like this, which tell me we really have not progressed at all. It's shameful.
A movie about this incident, starring Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton, is currently in production and is supposed to be out this year. Maybe shedding some light on the what happened will bring awareness to so many people who don't know the story, like I didn't.
As it says at the end of the linked article, "...at the time of the Governor's pardons...thirty-eight people dad cumulatively spent over 70 years wrongly imprisoned in Texas jails and prisons...it is a telling commentary on deep rooted defects in this country’s judicial process that the legal lynching of the pardoned Tulia defendants will never be officially condemned by a court in this country. Yet the three ringleaders that orchestrated their wrongful convictions walk the streets as if they were respectable folks."
Chalk this up as one more reason for me to dislike Texas. As it stands right now, it seems the only good thing to come out of Texas so far is my Eddie.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Not quite as famous as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but it leans nonetheless; on purpose, so I'm told.
You can find this relic of Route 66 on the north side of Interstate 40 in the town of Groom, Texas. It's also the home of the largest cross in the northern hemisphere, but the water tower is way more interesting and in my opinion, a greater photo opportunity.
Monday, April 21, 2008
When he saw this window, he told Ed, "The earth is sending the paper to the folder."
Ed scrunched up his face, looked at me and mouthed, the earth is sending the paper to the folder?
The earth is sending the paper to the folder.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
"Tall??" I said, thinking that was an odd description to throw in.
"Oh yes. She towers over me." my mother said.
"Ma, everyone towers over you."
"Yeah, Mom, they do. So I'd say you can't be a very good judge of who is tall considering you're not all that giant yourself."
"Oh, well I didn't think I was such a shrimp." she said.
"Well, you are." I said. "You're a jumbo shrimp, but you're still a shrimp."
Saturday, April 19, 2008
I love passing the arch at night, specifically when it's very late and there is not another soul on the road. It's so much easier to stare at the beauty of the arch when you don't have to watch what four other lanes of traffic are doing. Tonight, the moon was bright, its luminescence dancing in the Mississippi river with the rest of the city lights. The arch was lit up and its brushed stainless steel gleamed from the very same moonglow.
When entering certain cities, there are several ways to pass through. Sometimes, we just stay right on the interstate, other times we take the loop around. It really depends on the time of day and the traffic situation. I like to plow straight through, as I don't mind the traffic, but Ed likes to go around. Sometimes figuring out the route can be confusing if not familiar with the area. I often rely on our GPS (we use the Tom Tom program on our PalmPilot, and fondly refer to it as "Tommy"), Ed relies on his experience; he's been through these cities literally thousands of times over the past twelve years.
Tonight before he climbed into bed, he said to me, "Wake me up when you get to St. Louis. Don't listen to what Tommy says, I want to make sure you go the right way. And don't take the loop. Take 70 straight through." Hmm. This was something different, letting me go through the city.
I usually just read the signs. I mean, it's not hard to figure out how to get through the city; I've been through here hundreds of times myself and I'm not an idiot. But, I do what he said and woke him up when I was approaching St. Louis.
"Baby! Wake up, I'm in St. Louis. Do I go 55 or 70?" I said to him.
"Do the speed limit." he answered. He sounded groggy.
"What?? No! Do I go 55 or 70???" I'm talking about which interstate to take, he's talking about how fast he thinks I should be going. Typical.
"Just DO the speed limit!" he repeated.
"Are you freakin' retarded?? You need to answer me NOW, I'm coming into the city. 55 or 70?"
"OK, fine. Since you're not telling me, I'm going the way I want to go!"
Silence. He must have gone back to sleep. Which is fine, because he's never very lucid when he's tired anyway.
The thing is, 55 and 70 are the same road for a bit, as it crosses over the river. I don't remember these things about every city in the country, I just wing it when I get there. Once I saw the signs saying 55 to 70, I knew I was going the right way, and I knew I had to cross the river to get to Illinois, so there was a big 'ol clue.
It's clear I don't need Tommy or Sleepy Head Ed to give me directions, and if it weren't for my wanting to take a good long look at the Arch, I could have done it with my eyes closed.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
The new ones we got him are made of some super bendy high tech material that no matter what you do, you can't break them, which is good since my nephews love to take them off his face and twist them backwards into a circle.
It's a good thing Ed can't see what they're doing.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I made the mistake of reading the article to Ed.
Now he won't stop fixing my hair and grooming my eyebrows.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
That Ed finds it still amazing is interesting to me, given that he's been doing this for over twelve years. I am still amazed by almost everything I see out here and this is one aspet of the job that I love most and one that still boggles my mind; how much ground we cover in a matter of days or hours. It's sort of like the first time I discovered how the fax machine works. Nowadays, it's no big deal, but back in the eighties, when I got my first fax from Japan, I was totally freaked out that a person put a piece of paper in a machine in Japan and it came out of a machine right in front of me in New York. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?
OK, back to trucking. So, in addition to the miles we drive, we get to haul a lot of interesting freight. The company we lease our truck to has one of the largest military contracts in the industry, so we've done all kinds of military stuff, from taking temporary housing units up to Alaska to delivering submarine components to naval bases up and down the East coast.
We don't have any dedicated runs, so we never go back and forth along the same route but we have hauled for particular shippers many times, taking their items to different parts of the country. And we get to haul a lot intersting freight too, everything from honey bees to Humvees.
We also do a lot of aircraft parts. Last year, we hauled a five million dollar engine up to Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada for their Maple Flag 40 event. The Canadian Air Force Maple Flag Exercise is modeled after the United States Air Force Red Flag Exercise which is conducted at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada. Below you'll see the casing they typically ship jet engines in:
A few months ago, we had seven of these containers on our truck. Two of them were large like this one, but others were smaller and odd sized. All were empty.
We were in Virginia and as we often do, pulled into a mall parking lot to hit one of the adjacent restaurants for dinner. Malls always have a lot of parking, which is necessary for us to easily get the truck in and out and this place, the Short Pump Town Center, was an especially nice place. As we were pulling in and preparing to park, a lady in an SUV was sort of circling our truck. We saw her drive around twice, looking at us. We figured she was intriqued by the freight, since people often are when they see something unusual.
The second time she came around, I happened to catch her eye and she gave me the little "roll your window down" hand signal. So I did. She looked up at me and said, "Can I help you?" I thought that was sort of weird and out of place since I figured she wasn't "in charge" of the mall, so I just said, "Uh...no thank you." and rolled up my window. I figured she must have thought we were lost or something.
But she continued to watch us and I had the feeling she had more to say, so I rolled my window down again. And in all seriousness, she said, "Are you guys terrorists??"
Of course, I figured I didn't hear her right. And in the split seconds before I answered her, a few things went through my mind. The first two things I thought to say were, "If we were terrorists, do you really think we would tell you?" and "How many terrorists do you think stop at a mall with high end stores like Nordstrom's and Neiman-Marcus, to shop and get a bite to eat before they blow the place to smithereens?"
Of course I was pleasant with my answer, saying something to the tune of "No, no, no. These are just old empty containers." but what I was thinking was, "Are you kidding me, lady??" Did she actually think we, me with my MAC Lipgloss slicked lips and Ed with his twinkly blue eyes, were terrorists?? And that we chose her mall to leave our bomb laden truck at?
Seriously, can a person be that delusional? This is exactly what the fear farmers, those who plant seeds of fear in your head, want you to believe. That every person can be a terrorist. That every person who looks different than them is up to no good. Lord only knows who she might have called had I been wearing a turban; you know, the kind that are de rigueur for terrorists.
This kind of paranoia is just unbelievable to me. We travel this country more than three hundred days a year, in and out of military bases, airports and container ports. Crossing borders and traveling on ferries. Picking up and delivering in every major city in the country. And we have never once even seen something that would raise suspicion.
This woman, asking that question, reminds me of how people are insulated in their own little communities and don't have the opportunity to really see or experience what is happening in the whole of the country. They hear words like "terrorist activity" or "terror cell" or "security breach" and get all flipped out. They rely on programs like Fox News for their information, an organization that spins stories out of control by ratcheting up the terror factor in every newscast.
Next time you see terrorists going out to dinner, don't ask them if they are terrorists, especially if you're repeating something you heard on the news; it makes you sound dumb.
And terrorists love to eat dumb people for dinner.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
In the past few months, we have been trying to find a way to have a smaller vehicle on the truck with us. Comments like, "Wouldn't it be cool to just have the car, right there, whenever we needed it?" were bounced around with questions like, "How much does it weigh?" and "Can we fit it on the trailer and still haul our normal freight?"
That conversation led to us researching the Smart Cars that are now out on the market. These compact little gems are 8.8 feet long and 5.1 feet wide. The company claims two, six-foot-two people can sit comfortably side by side with plenty of shoulder room to spare.
That's all fine and dandy if you are a six-foot-two, one hundred and eighty pound beanpole, but what if you are packing a small spare tire; one that doesn't come with the car? Can two chubby people sit comfortably side by side??
If you're too large for the car, do you spill out of the open window like a busty woman in a shirt that's too small to hold her endowments? Do you have to suck in your gut to close the door like you do when you lie down to zip up those jeans that are a bit too snug? And how secure can you feel in a car that skims over your body like a pair of Isotoner gloves?
I don't have these answers, as I've never seen one let alone driven one. It's a great idea and I'm sure it will go over big in areas with limited parking or for those who just need to zip around town.
But I'll tell you something right now; in a country that harbors more obese people than any other on earth, I don't think they're going to have much luck with the female demographic if you have to ask your partner, "Honey, does this car make me look fat?" before you pull out of the driveway.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This morning I took my mother bra shopping. To buy her a bra.
I would venture to say that most women can identify with the horror that is bra shopping. Whether you wear an A cup or a DD, most of the time it's akin to having a tooth pulled, and if given the choice, I think I'd rather have a tooth pulled.
To make my bra shopping experience easier, I have narrowed my bra of choice down to a particular size and style and rarely deviate from the one that fits and looks the best. I buy several colors and rotate them often so they don't get lonely, but I'm not the kind of woman to have ten different styles in my drawer at once.
Most bras in a good store, seem to run between thirty-two dollars and sixty-five dollars, which can really add up once you start stocking your inventory. Victoria's Secret really has some racket considering you're buying something most people won't even see. And if you think guys care about lingerie; after it winds up on the floor, ask them to describe it for you. I bet you nine out of ten guys couldn't tell you the color, let alone if it had lace, flowers or beaded straps.
But if you do have the kind of guy who cares that much about lingerie, send him the La Perla site, where he can find bras that sell for up to $280.00 each. Yes, just for the bra. I don't even think La Perla even makes a 42DD, so even if Ed wanted to spend almost three hundred dollars on a bra for me, he couldn't. Damn.
If you're buying said lingerie to "feel good about yourself" then I suppose you likely have more issues than can be addressed her. And if you need to feel good by wearing something that costs more than a car payment, then you probably should be sailing the Aegean Sea on your yacht instead of reading my blog.
That aside, I was not in La Perla with my mother, I was at the local mall looking at bras. She never knows what size she is and always buys something too big. And she has a long list of requirements. Nothing lacy cause it itches. No seams across the cup. Nothing sheer. Should have wide straps. Doesn't like push-ups. Nothing water filled or demi-cut. She wants comfort without underwire. I'm a big underwire fan, as it lends shape and support, but for her, I try to find a sling that has no underwire, yet still creates a pleasing silhouette. I take eight bras into the dressing room.
My mother has a bit of arthitis, so the repetitive snapping and unsnapping of the bras is a little hard on her hands. Twice a day to get dressed in the morning and undressed at night is fine, but sixteen times in the span of twenty minutes is too much, so I offer to help. BIG mistake. There is no choice but to start giving orders.
"Put your arms through here."
"No. No. No. Lean forward and tuck them in."
"Lift them up, Mom, UP."
I can't honestly say anyone would like to hear "lift them up" when it has to do with putting their breasts in a bra.
"Now adjust them. Push them in. Make cleavage. Straighten the nipple. What are you doing??"
"I'll be right back with another style."
"Stop clacking your tongue."
She's obviously annoyed now with all the fuss and the back and forth.
"Stand up and let me tighten the strap."
She's lucky I didn't tighten the strap around her neck. It was like shopping with a petulant five year old who plops defiantly on their ass in the middle of the grocery store every time you yank their arm and tell them to stand up. Bra shopping for myself is bad enough, but this was a million times worse.
We finally walked out with two acceptable bras, meeting Ed just outside the store. His cheery, "So, how'd it go??" was immediately squashed by my I don't want to talk about it look.
I made it to forty years old without ever having to take my mother bra shopping; do you think two new bras can last her another forty?
I can only hope.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
I snapped a few pictures, thinking boy, she's really being cooperative when all of a sudden, she violently flapped her wings and took off, scaring the crap out of me.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
Saturday, April 05, 2008
We all know about airbrushing and PhotoShop, but it's rare that we get to see the "before" photos. At the top of the site, click on PORTFOLIO. Once in the portfolio, you will see two rows of thumbnails. Click on each one to see the celebrity before and after shots. The first shot you see will be the "after" shot, but if you hover your arrow over the photo, you'll see the "before" shot.
Now Halle Berry doesn't need much help, but click on the picture to the right of Halle and check out Brittany Murphy. Man, oh, man! She's got some luggage under her eyes that was so obviously whisked away with the airbrushing tool. Also, the texture of her skin was dramatically changed. In other shots, they made Kelly Clarkson's face and ass thinner, and they took a little fat roll off Beyonce's mid-section. No wonder young girls have eating disorders and no self-esteem.
Now I love beauty just as much as the next person; maybe even more, since I'm such a makeup hound and have a history of dressing up since I was a child. I can be seen here sporting my mother's gypsy wig when I was three and a half years old and in the next photo, borrowing her sequined clutch at four and a half.
Luckily, I have always had pretty flawless skin, especially in my teens and twenties. And actually, it stayed that way until my late thirties and only in the past few years have I noticed a change. Hence, the recent dermatologist appointment. I thought it might be good to take extra special care of it since my old skin is now over forty years old. I might have wasted my time.
Perhaps I could have saved the $130.00 I gave the dermatologist and just had Eddie work his PhotoShop magic on me!
Friday, April 04, 2008
Thursday, April 03, 2008
I went to the dentist and got my tooth fixed, then to the dermotologist for a facial. I got a manicure and pedicure (flip flop season is here!), got all our paperwork out of storage to get organized for taxes, went to Verizon for our new cellphones, registered to vote (Obama '08!!!) and...got my DOT physical, which was due.
During the DOT physical, they do everything to make sure you are healthy enough to drive; you know, checking things like eyesight and motor skills. They checked my blood pressure (perfect at 120/80), my hearing (like a bat), my eyesight (like an eagle), my coordination and reflexes (all normal), my spine and my balance (like a gymnast on a balance beam) and most important of all, administered a pee test.
While waiting in the examination room, the nurse came in, looked at me strangely and said, "Have you been having any trouble peeing?"
"Trouble? No. But I have been peeing a lot. Like freakin' crazy." I said.
"Well, that's because you have a urinary tract infection." she said.
"Really??? Noooo. How can that be? I don't feel anything. It doesn't hurt. I'm not in pain. I'm just peeing a lot. What's the deal?"
"It's from the infection." she said. "but it's nothing to worry about. We'll give you an antibiotic and it'll be gone in a week."
Great. That was easy. I had been wondering about the frequent urination. I know this is probably TMI for some of you, but I did wonder if something was wrong. Sometimes it would wake me up in the middle of the night, or I'd have to pee SO bad, Ed would have to pull over to get me to a bathroom and then I'd pee just enough to fill a thimble. WTF?
Since it runs in my family, I thought I might have diabetes since frequent urination is a symptom. But I had none of the other symptoms, so I was perplexed.
When I heard my diagnosis, I was actually happy. When she left the room, Ed said to me, "Wow. That's great. It's only a urinary infection."
"Why is that great?" I wanted to know.
"Well, at least it's not diabetes."
Good point. I guess as one ages, the lesser of the medical afflictions are the more preferred ones to have.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Anyway...his blog has turned into a little spot to talk about the happenings in his life in upstate New York. My favorite parts of the blog are seeing his new work, catching a glimpse of his ALWAYS smiling wife, Cheryl and getting a little "Maya Fix" - his beautiful grandbaby who is also always smiling! Check out Maya Louise's HUGE brown eyes and creamy cafe au lait complexion. Oh, how I envy that child!
When you're done at the blog, check out the Louise's Daughter web site where you can view their show schedule and catch them around the East Coast if you're in the area.
More of their unique art can be found through the pictures on Don's Flickr site. Go look and lose yourself in the color. Check out the wooden quilt - it's my favorite!! Well, that and my other favorite - the five ballerinas!