Monday, August 31, 2009

Plenty Of Places To Roam, No Place To Park It

Trucking has many advantages; money, travel, beautiful women. Oh wait, those are the rock stars.

We do have the advantages of making great money and exploring places all over the country, and sometimes you do get to travel with a beautiful person, and we even see rock stars up close because they stop at the same truckstops we do to get fuel and load up on snacks.

Those are just a few pros of trucking, but with one of those advantages, the travel one, comes a huge con.


As you might imagine, it's not an easy task to park a seventy-three foot vehicle. I say with pride that Ed could back into a thimble if he had to, and can get this truck into spots one would never imagine because he's that talented. You know...if you build it, they will come and all that...if there's a spot, Ed can park in it. The problem is finding that spot.

We have a few favorites that usually work all over the country; Home Depot is a good example. Because we're a flatbed we look like we belong, for all they know we could be delivering there, so we often don't have any trouble. If we're empty and plan to be there for a few days, I usually go in and speak to the manager. They always seem to react favorably. I like to think it's because I'm cute, but then again...maybe not. I usually start with saying something like, "I drive an 18-wheeler and I was wondering if it would be okay if we park in your lot..." which is where they interrupt and say, "You drive an 18-wheeler?" We chat a while about life on the road and a laugh, giggle and head-tilt later, I have a parking spot.

Strip malls are hard as they have limited space, but again, Eddie will find the one teeny corner that's not occupied and squeeze us into it. Target, Best Buy, movie theaters...they are usually petty easy to navigate since they have big parking lots, and grocery stores are always a good place since they obviously have to get the big trucks in there for food deliveries.

And WalMart. As everyone knows, they are all over this country; not so much in the downtown city areas, but definitely all around them and small towns have them by the boatload. It's easy to shop there because as is their evil plan, you can get everything from motor oil to Tampax in one place. And who better to sell cheap Chinese crap to than people who don't want to schlep all over town to get everything on their shopping list? Especially if you're in an 18-wheeler. Some of them make it challenging with height barriers at every entrance which don't allow a truck over thirteen feet to get through, but we sneak around the back or the side, usually parking near the automotive department. And there's always a truck entrance; someone has to deliver their goods.

Other places we like are big mall parking lots but they often have rent-a-cops that will hunt you down and kill you if they see you there. If there are no signs prohibiting trucks, we will risk it. The upscale malls are the hardest because they have lots of security and they always seem to have elaborate landscaping that make it hard to get in; strategically placed boulders, flower beds and trees. That's where Ed comes in. I don't think I've ever seen him tear up a flower bed and I've certainly never seen him hit a rock, so if we can park and get into the mall without being seen, it's possible to be home free. Staying the night is another story though. Not surprisingly, they become very un-friendly to the 'ol trucking community. I guess they don't remember that trucks bring the
Good Stuff.

Oh, they'll let this 40 year old
piece of crap park anywhere, but our fancy, shiny new rig? No way. Because you know how those truckers are, leaving pee bottles and trash everywhere. And let's not forget the hookers that follow them around like groupies. Puhleeeze. I think you can take one look at our truck and be pretty sure we're not going to be chucking pee bottles out our window or requiring the services of a lot lizard.

It's frustrating for sure, especially when we do want to go to a mall or Barnes & Noble. We spend plenty of money in these places. We support these businesses all over the country. We bring them the goods they sell. And I honestly wish they'd just cut us a little slack. Unfortunately, the old adage about one bad apple spoiling the whole bunch rings true in trucking too, I guess.

I write this as I sit in a Home Depot parking lot, a place I've been for four days. Haven't heard a peep from anyone at this "RV Park".
They even let us fill the truck with water from their garden department. Since they've been so nice, I'll make sure not to chuck our pee bottles out the window, but that stream of soapy water that's trickling from the bottom of my truck?

That'd be me, washing the trucker stank off my body.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Popping Good Time
E Vac You A She Own!!
Eddie Steals A Bite Friday

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Magnificent Place To Wait For A Train

When we came across this building during our exploration of Detroit this weekend, it stopped me dead in my tracks. Ed was driving and I begged him to circle back and drive past it. I wasn't planning on getting out of the truck, but I just had to see it closer up.

As we approached, my mind was racing. What is it? What was it? It was palatial. Right away it reminded me of the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It loomed. It looked like a grand hotel. At the very top it had letters placed on each window divider that spelled out, "Save The Depot".

After Googling, I found that it was the Michigan Central Depot. You have to check out that link; there are some fantastic pictures of not only this, but other forgotten buildings in Detroit. You can read even more about the Depot here.

We come across a lot of abandoned places around the country and I can't help thinking about what they were like in their heyday and I'm always a little sad to know they're no longer part of a community. Letting a place like this deteriorate is such a crime. With WalMarts and strip malls being built on every corner, making this entire country look the same town after town, it's really a shame that someone, anyone doesn't step in to bring a place like this back to its glory.

I know it takes money but there are a lot of people out there with just the kind of money needed to do it. Instead, it becomes a place for vandals and thieves. What was once a place of bustling activity, a meeting place for many, a crossroads of a city if you will, just gets tossed away. Pity.

I took several more pictures than what I posted here, but I only got exterior shots since the place was fenced off and didn't look too safe for explorers. But you can take a look at
this and see many other shots of the interior as people worked to clean it up.

I think I want to live there. There's plenty of room to park a truck...


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37 Going On 20
The Hills Are Alive…Or Are They?
Old Blue Eyes Was Right When He Said It Was A Very Good Year

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scenes From Motor City

While driving through Detroit this week, we saw the following sights. Lots of run down buildings, boarded up and covered in grafitti...

A man in the middle of the road riding a bike and selling fresh roasted peanuts...

The GM building smack in the middle of downtown...

And the 24-foot bronze fist of boxer Joe Louis...

It was very overcast and dreary with rain on the way but the mood seemed to fit the landscape....well, until you get to Grosse Pointe that is. That's where the scenery changes from drastic to fantastic; palatial homes, lake views, manicured lawns, paths lined with flowers and a landscaping crew at ever corner.

Night and day, just miles apart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Due Amici Designs
You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough
What A Grape Idea!
Eddie Mad Hatter Friday

Friday, August 28, 2009

Eddie The Cicada Whisperer Friday

Eddie came rushing into the truck one night, "Give me your camera! Quick!" I handed it to him and watched him go out the back door without a word. You'll have to turn up the volume so you don't miss the best part, but this is what he came back with:

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Hurricane Equality
If You’re Going To Rescue Me, Bring Sandwiches
Me And My Man
Maybe We Should Sell Our Truck And Buy An Airboat

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Them's Fighting Words!

I have never, in my five years of being on the road, ever seen a sign as menacing as this:

And do you know WHERE that sign was seen?

Right here in front of the United Auto Workers Local 900 building. The UAW 900 represents workers at the Ford Wayne Assembly, ISA Stamping and Michigan Truck Plants located in Wayne, Michigan.

They seem to be taking the "buy American" thing pretty far; they do know what's going on in the South, right?

I sure hope they don't find out we're planning on
getting a Smart Car.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ghost Town

Ford Motor Company Michigan Truck Body Plant. Wayne, Michigan. This place was like a ghost town. Hulking, barren buildings with just a few workers scattered throughout. For the size of the facility, you'd think there would have been more activity.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Red Texas Sunrise
Heading South With One Wayward Goose
I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
Second Only To Feet

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Not Just In The Granny Lane Anymore

Have you seen the little FastLane Hires button over there on the right? The one directly below my mugshot?

Well if you click on it, you will be taken to a magical place dedicated to "moving people, moving careers".

FastLane Hires is a brand new web site dedicated to Transportation & Infrastructure jobs. They're so hot, even
took notice!

I first heard about the endeavor of Lori Gale, FastLane's CEO, when she posted a request on LinkedIn; she was looking for photos from industry events and also wanted to attract more professionals and young people to the transportation industry.

Photos? I have photos up the wazoo, people! And attracting more people to this industry? Easy Peasy! So I wrote her. I sent a link to my blog and photos and also gushed about how much I loved the trucking industry and would be more than happy to tell people about it. A job where I essentially get paid to travel? No brainer.

Her initial response was, "OK, Salena. I don't know you but I adore you!"

How can I not adore someone who adored me first? Mutual adoration was now in play. Excellent.

With that, we set up a meeting and via speaker phone, I spoke to her and several of her colleagues about becoming a small part of what they are trying to do - attract people to the industry. And not just the trucking industry. Oh, no....these people take on the entire transportation industry and the jobs that support it. Think trains, planes and automobiles, in addition to jobs on the high seas!

Because I love what I do and would shout it from the rooftops (although that would be a bit dangerous from my rooftop), we talked about how I can help in letting people know exactly what there is to love about a job like this.

One of the first ways they thought I'd be suited to help would be for me to be a mentor in their network of industry volunteers. The program is still in the developmental stage but at some point, I hope to be an inspiration to someone who is new to the job market or to show someone who may be thinking about a new career, that truck driving can be more than they ever imagined. Who knew I'd hang up my office attire of skirts and high heels to do this?

In addition, The Daily Rant (in the FastLane!) has its own little section on their web site; if you check out their Community page, you will notice that I have a small but prominent badge in the sidebar that links people directly to my blog. How fantastic is that??

I'm in the Fast Lane!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Where Pretty Resides
The Sweet Sight Of Summer
You Oughta Be In Pictures
Oh Brother!

Monday, August 24, 2009

From Pablo Neruda To Mother Goose

When Magnetic Poetry first came out, I ran right to Barnes & Noble to buy a kit for myself. For years, my fridge sported some of the most beautiful and most bizarre prose one has ever seen. Friends and family would leave their mark to be found by me, sometimes days later. It was always a surprise and I almost always liked what I discovered.

I had fun remembering those days by creating the poem above. You should try it for yourself; click
here to make one of your own! And feel free to share your creation in the comments section. Or, if you post it on your blog, leave me the link so I can come read it!

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Almost Too Beautiful To Eat On
Sweatin’ Eddie Friday
Steel City Glow
Bravo, Bravo

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'll Start Working On That Sarcasm Font Right Away

My cousin sent me this via email and although I've already posted it on Facebook, I thought I'd post it here too. It's just too funny to keep to myself:

1. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

4. That's enough, Nickelback.

5. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

6. The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

7. Do you remember when you were a kid; playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There were no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

8. There is a great need for sarcasm font.

9. I think everyone has a movie that they love so much; it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

10. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

11. I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

12. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

13. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

14. A recent study has shown that playing beer pong contributes to the spread of mono and the flu. Yeah, if you suck at it.

15. Was learning cursive really necessary?

16. LOL has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

17. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

18. Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a Scantron test is absolutely petrifying.

19. My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.

20. Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

21. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

22. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent a dick from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

23. Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

24. What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

25. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

26. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

27. I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

28. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

29. I would like to officially coin the phrase 'catching the swine flu' to be used as a way to make fun of a friend for hooking up with an overweight woman. Example: "Dave caught the swine flu last night."

30. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

31. Bad decisions make good stories.

32. Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

33. Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

34. If Carmen Sandiego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

35. Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? Like I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem....

36. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

37. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

38. There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

39. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

40. "Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

41. I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

42. I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

43. When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

44. I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

45. Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

46. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

47. I think that if, years down the road when I'm trying to have a kid, I find out that I'm sterile, most of my disappointment will stem from the fact that I was not aware of my condition in college.

48. Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

49. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, hitting the G-spot, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet my ass everyone can find and push the Snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time every time...

50. My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

51. It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

52. I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

53. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lites than Kay.

54. The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

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False Security
Protecting The Posies
Asking Too Much
Slotsa Money

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Storage In The Storm

After spending a week in Connecticut, we are heading south! We're still on the east coast though, so we're hitting a lot of rain and dreariness from Hurricane Bill along the way.

Here's a shot of the Devon Self Storage tower, surrounded by storm clouds as we passed through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Devil Horse In The Louisiana Wetlands
Not Sloppy. No Joe. Just Bob And His Loosemeats Residing In The Ice Cream Capital Of The World.
Playing With Your Money But Not Really SPENDING It
Glamour Puss

Friday, August 21, 2009

Eddie Embraces The Rules Friday

Ed hanging out (or loitering, if you will) on the Mystic River Bridge in Mystic, Connecticut.

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They Have A MAGAZINE???
Planting The Sun
Training Day
Cannonball Run

Thursday, August 20, 2009

One More Reason I Love The Highway Hags

I can't think of anything better to say today than this:

Ashton Kutcher’s Health Care Plan

Go read it and be sure to leave them some comment love.

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1 YEAR AGO: Boathouse On The Gulf
Canada Is Bubblicious
You Know You’re In A Hotel That Doesn’t Have A Star Rating…
It’s A Dry Heat

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They Should Put This Scent In A Candle. I'd Have One Lit In My House Every Night!

Italian Sausage & Peppers

2 packages Sweet Italian Sausage (I use the Johnsonville brand from WalMart because I can find them all over the country)
3 Large Green Peppers (You can use Green, Red, Orange, Yellow….whatever…but the greens are usually the cheapest)
2 Large Sweet Onions
1 cup Tomato Sauce or small can of tomato paste
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper


1. Slice the peppers and onions and set aside. Coat the bottom of a very large, deep pot with olive oil, add the peppers and onions and a half cup of water, then cover and cook on a medium-high heat. You want to reduce the size of the peppers and onions; they will take up the whole pot when you first put them in but you want to get them cooked down a bit. Stir when needed to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and then when they look like they are reducing in size, take the lid off but keep cooking. Your house will start smelling good about now.

2. While they are cooking, in a large frying pan, start browning your sausage links. Two packages contain ten links, so just put them in with a teeny bit of olive oil so they don’t stick but not too much because they produce their own grease. Brown both sides, lower the heat and let the sausage sit so the juices settle. Then, slice the sausage (either regular slices or on a diagonal) and put them back in the pan. They will be a little pink on the inside and will keep cooking while you do the next step.

3. I like a little red color to my sausage and peppers, so I use a cup of tomato sauce (I usually use whatever was put aside from the pasta we ate earlier in the week) or if we didn’t have any pasta, I use a can of tomato paste. Stir that into the pepper and onion mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Next, throw all of your sausage into the pepper and onion mixture. Since everything will be essentially cooked at this point, I usually keep it on the stove for another hour at least, just to make sure all the flavors join together nicely. In my opinion, the longer it cooks, the better it is. And, the better it will smell!

5. When done, you can serve this on Italian bread, club rolls or as I did this evening, over Barilla's Mezzi Rigatoni (or your choice of pasta). Delicious!!

Click HERE for a printable version of the recipe.

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After All
I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
Who My Baby Daddy?
South Siiiide Education

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Flash Dancing Through Summer

Here I am, the summer of my sixteenth year, in the living room of our summer house. It was the year after the movie Flashdance was released and every t-shirt and sweatshirt I owned had been cut up to reflect the trend that was still going strong; a trend my mother was hoping would end soon because she just couldn't understand why one would want to cut up a "perfectly good" shirt.

Not only was I sporting a tan, but also the requisite eighties perm. At that time, perms were "in" and since my hair was not curly, getting a perm was the only way to achieve it. Big, high, curly, hairsprayed hair. Hair gel, a diffuser and lots of Aussie Sprunch Spray were the tools of the trade and the only way to get "crunchy" curls.

My step-father owned lake property a mile away that we'd walk to every day and I'm guessing (from the shiny skin and no makeup) I was either on my way to or coming back from there. We'd hang out at the lake all day then come home late in the afternoon to get ready for "work" at the family restaurant.

That summer I was probably working in the kitchen, bussing tables or working the dessert room. On occassion I'd wait tables, but because I was too young to serve alcohol I didn't do that too often. When I was utilized in that capacity (if we were super busy or someone called in sick), one of the other waitresses would have to go to the bar to pick up my drinks and serve my table.

The summer of '84 was probably the best summer of my life for so many reasons; my cousins Ro and Jules, the lake, the boys and working at the restaurant contributed most to the memories that will forever be etched in my mind.

What A Feeling!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Another Day, Another 32 Things About Me
A Bottle And A Nap Would Be Nice
Because You Never Know When You’re Going To Need A Roman Candle
Thank A Trucker

Monday, August 17, 2009

Better Than A Five Dollar Foot Long

I found this little $5.00 Indian at one of my favorite stores in Mystic, CT. It's a unique little boutique called WhyEverNot.

They have fantastic stuff; wind chimes, soaps, jewelry, housewares, clothing, wrapping paper, ribbon, and glass suncatchers like
these that I photographed last time I was there. For a boutique, their prices are incredibly reasonable.

The don't have a web site (for shame!) but if you happen to be in Mystic, you can visit WhyEverNot at 17 West Main Street. It's totally worth it!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Isn’t This Grate??
Eddie Gives Me That Smoldering Look Friday
Bringing The Good Stuff
The Road To Sin City

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How Can I Tread On You When I Can't Even Turn Around?

General Dynamics Electric Boat is a shipyard in Groton, Connecticut that's a customer we work with quite often. It's a place responsible for submarine design and engineering and submarine assembly, testing and delivery. When you enter the main gate, the security offers make you sign in, give you a badge and ask you to leave your cell phones, cameras and any other recording devices with them.

Taking pictures at the plant is strictly prohibited; there are signs everywhere on the fences surrounding the facility stating that you can be imprisoned for espionage under the US Code, Title 18, Chapter 37 if you do, so I don't have any pictures for you, but you can see plenty here.

The place I was allowed to take pictures at was the Submarine Force Library & Museum:

Eddie and I went there yesterday to tour the museum, check out the subs and take a tour of the USS Nautilus, the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine.

In addition to hundreds of artifacts and pictures, getting to go inside the submarine was the coolest part. To see the cramped quarters of a submarine up close was really something, it's completely different than seeing it in the movies or in a book.

The stairways are tiny, the hallways are narrow and the sleeping quarters...oh my God, the sleeping quarters looked like bunk beds for children. My step-brother was in the Navy for years and I can't imagine him being on that boat for months on end in those tight quarters!

And I thought the two of us existing in the truck 24/7 was hard!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Popping Good Time
2 YEARS AGO: Touching Down For A Quick Rest Break
3 YEARS AGO: Follow Your Heart
4 YEARS AGO: All About The Benjamins

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Field That Looks Perfect For Wrasslin'...If It Weren't For The Sign

My father always pronounced the word wrestle, like rassle. We had wrasslin' matches when we were kids, not wrestling matches. So when I saw this, even though happened to be in Texas (and we're die-hard New Yorkers), it reminded me of him.

And I love whenever I see a little reminder of my

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Come Visit Me In Italy!
Asked And Answered
Can You Hear Me Now?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eddie Hauls Laundry The White Trash Way Friday

Here you will see Eddie with our cart full of laundry at a very brightly lit 24-hour laundromat in Corpus Christi, Texas. Because we couldn't fit the truck in the small laundromat parking lot, we had to park across the street at the Lowe's. And because we had two huge, military seabag sized laundry bags full of laundry to do, Ed hauled it all across the street in one of their shopping carts.

You can imagine how "Queen of White Trash" I felt while I held the door open for him as he wheeled the cart in. The place was a bazillion degrees, so I was not looking forward to doing all that laundry, but since I was wearing the last decent outfit I had, there was no choice.

I loaded five machines and got everything started so I could read my book. Twenty minutes later, the washing machines cycled off. Well, except for one. The digital display said "11", indicating it had eleven minutes left to the cycle. I wondered why that one hadn't finished since they all went in at the same time, but I figure I must have miscalculated and started to put the clothes from the other machines into the dryers. After I unloaded the four machines, I went back to get the other clothes.

The machine was still stuck on 11 and I watched as the water poured in, cycled once to the right, paused, then cycled back to the left. I jiggled the handle, pressed all the buttons, and kicked it, but it didn't move. It just kept rinsing and spinning.

There was an emergency number on the wall to call, but it didn't have the area code listed, so I asked someone in the laundromat. He gave me a number, but it had too many digits. I gave him a puzzled look and then he corrected himself, saying "Oops. That's the zip code. The area code is 613". So I pounched in the number and left a message for "Matt", the guy whose voicemail I got. "Hi. I'm sitting at your laundromat on Williams in Corpus and my clothes are stuck in one of your machines. The rinse cycle has been on for forty minutes now and the digital display hasn't moved. I can't stop it and I can't get the door open. Please call me back at Thank you."

I waited and waited but never got a call back. I texted Ed, who was in the truck, to come back over because he had to help me get my clothes out of the machine. I had a feeling the guy gave me the wrong area code, and since I hadn't gotten a call back yet, I asked Ed to give me the correct one. He texted back, "361". Great. So the first time, I called some guy to tell him I was sitting in his laundromat watching my trapped clothes spin around in the washing machine. Which okay, is a mistake, but geez, you'd think the guy would at least have called me back to tell me I had the wrong number. Especially since I told him I was sitting there waiting for his call.

I then dialed the correct number and got an answering service who took my information and told me the owner would be over to help me out. So I sat and waited. The guy finally showed up and cut the power to the machine, resetting it so it would go back on and finish the cycle. At this point, my clothes had been rinsing for over an hour. In all of my life, I've never had my clothes get trapped in a washing machine. Guess I can't say that anymore.

As we were folding the clothes and finishing up, Ed and I laughed about the message I left for "Matt" about me sitting in his laundromat, watching my spinning clothes that were being held hostage by his machine. It was very late when we did our laundry, so undoubtebly I woke someone up; I'm sure he was looking at his phone thinking, who the hell is calling me at this hour? I almost called him back when he hadn't responded but you know when you get that feeling that someone gave you the wrong information, so you double check it? Glad I did. I could have left two stupid messages.

Only later when I was able to get on the computer to look it up, did I find out that the area code I called belonged to someone in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Looks like that makes my little blunder international. Pretty funny, eh?

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Sun Setting Over Lake Pontchartrain
Sanchez. Pedro Sanchez.
Remembering Those In Heaven
The Line Of Gold Thread

Thursday, August 13, 2009

She Sells Seashells By The Seashore

I found this beautiful seashell in Port Arthur, Texas, placed it on a silky pile of sand, and then accessorized it with some grass from Meridian, Mississippi before taking its picture.

It's really beautiful in person, with beautiful blues and grays and I thought dressing it up a bit would make it look prettier than just placing it on my kitchen counter and taking a picture of it. And despite the blog title, it is not for sale.

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Shopping At WalMart Is The Closest Some Of Us Will Ever Get To China
Giving Indians A Bad Name
Six Flags Of Horror Fly Over Texas
Snake River

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alligators Are Not A Girl's Best Friend

Eddie decided today that he wanted to go on another one of his ”nature walks”; this one in Port Arthur, Texas. We stopped at an abandoned park area, one that had clearly seen massive destruction from a hurricane. The building was destroyed, the parking lot concrete heaved up in chunks and debris was everywhere. But it seems it was part of a wildlife preserve and it had a long boardwalk that Ed (of course) wanted to explore. So, we explored.

We parked the truck next to the main building and set off on foot. Oh wait...let me show you. See that red arrow? The one pointing at the building? That's where the truck is parked. Notice how I'm not there, how I'm over HERE taking the picture? Yeah. It was that fucking far.

We walked all that way to look for wildlife. We saw lots of birds...

Many insects and crab carcasses; some intact...

Some picked apart, obviousy part of someone's tasty meal...

But the thing that really got me was this next picture. The one I took after Ed said, "Look! Alligator prints!" Oh wait...before I continue...look back at that first picture and refresh your memory about how far we were from the truck. Not just far, but fucking far, remember??

So yeah, back to the alligator prints. Check this out - you might have to enlarge the picture to see it more clearly - just below the water line, do you see the footprint (clawprint?) on the left? It looks like a little claw. .....footprint on the right....
And the long, trail in between the two prints....the swipe in the mud? The tail trail!!!! The alligator tail! As we looked out onto the swampy area, you could see a much longer tail trail between the prints. The prints looked fresh. I determined he must have been close and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

And by fast, I mean, taking my sweat drenched head and sticky clothing and hightailing it back to the truck before my Crocs flip-flop clad feet were eaten by a croc.

When am I going to learn that I don't want to venture into nature with Ed? Why can't he want to take nature walks here??

Monday, August 10, 2009

There's More To The Woman With The Mona Lisa Smile Than Meets The Eye

Today is my mother's birthday. This is a picture of her when she was 42, the same age I'll be next month. I love this picture of her. Her shiny black hair with the shock of silver on the one side, her dark brown eyes that seem to be looking right at you, just you, and those cheekbones. I have those cheekbones too....somewhere.

My mother is the source of so many laughs and the stories involving her are just endless. You can read many of them by clicking on that link, but since I haven't finished categorizing my blog, there are so many more tucked away in the archives.

The older she gets, the better the stories are. I want to publicly thank her for unintentionally providing such endless inspiration and I'll be looking forward to another year chock full of blog fodder. I'm guessing we can probably start collecting that material as early as, say, today.

Happy Birthday Mommy!!

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Blond Bombshell Birthday
Milestones And Yardsticks: How To Measure A Good Life
The Roaring Twenties

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Flipping It At The Bird

Another day where Ed is in his glory. This time, he's windsurfing at Bird Island Basin on the Laguna Madre in Corpus Christi, Texas. First, he drags his board and sail into water; ankle deep and as warm as that special pee spot in the pool...
Then he raises the sail. This is a big deal, because just moments from the sail raise...
He's UP! Up and surfing across the Madre with the afternoon sun at his back, creating a beautiful silhouette.
This is a shot of him earlier in the day, hauling ass through the water. The wind was fierce and kept him busy for hours.
Oh, how I enjoyed those hours.

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Eddie Flippin’ Friday
Hope Collapses
You Do The Math
14,410 Feet Of Beauty

Friday, August 07, 2009

Eddie Mails A Package In His Dorfman

Ed trying to be incognito at the Corpus Christi post office, sporting his beat up Dorfman Pacific hat.

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Shower Jam
Golden Arches
The Land Of Fruits, Nuts And Flakes
Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sweeter Words Have Never Been Spoken

"In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless."
- Eric Ravussin, Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.

That excerpt is from an article I recently read in the latest issue (08/17/09) of Time magazine titled, "Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin" by John Cloud.

I guess hearing those words from a prominent exercise researcher means more than hearing it from me. I've been saying this very thing for years but I didn't get quoted in Time magazine. Granted, I'm not skinny, but apparently I've saved myself from spending hours on the dreadmill, years on the StairMaster and hundreds of dollars on gym memberships. The article went on to say, "In short, it's what you eat, not how hard you try to work it off, that matters in losing weight."
I proved this very point a few years ago when I did an eight week weight loss challenge with a few friends of mine. My friend "Gwen" was fiercely competetive. She was determined to lose the most weight and I know for sure she thought she'd be the one to collect the money we had all been pooling together for the winner; four hundred dollars worth of money.

She worked out five days a week, hired a power-lifter to teach her how to do squats and crunches, dead lifts and cardio. She did extra cardio at home when she wasn't at the gym and pushed herself until she was so red in the face, sweat pouring down her neck, that I thought she was going to have a stroke.

I commented to another friend of mine that I was so surprised that she wasn't kicking ass in the contest because she worked out more than anyone, as far as I knew. I even stayed at her house for a few weeks and knew she wasn't indulging in treats she shouldn't be having; not in front of me anyway.

But she lost. Not the weight, the contest. At the end of eight weeks, I lost twenty pounds, she lost eight and I had an extra four hundred dollars in my pocket.

The way I lost weight was to decrease my caloric intake. I didn't want to exercise. Hated to exercise. I would rather do without, food-wise, than to sweat on a treadmill for an hour. I think it bothered Gwen that she was working probably three times as hard and not getting anywhere. She always had some excuse as to why she wasn't losing. She was retaining water, or drinking sports drinks that had sugars she didn't realize it had, or muscle weighed more than fat and she must have been bulking up, or she was sick, or her sinuses were bothering her or she pulled a muscle and couldn't work out as hard. Every time she weighed in and didn't lose, there was a reason for it. Nevermind that she was busting her ass with her power lifter friend. Her muscles must have weighed as much as the barbell he was lifting because as my pounds melted off, hers stayed the same. Bummer.

As the article stated, and as I've read in several places recently, it seems they are finding out that working out stimulates your appetite and because of that, people who work out tend to eat more. They think they can "reward" themselves because they sweated like swines in their spinning class. I do believe some exercise is beneficial and offers some health benefits, like maybe loosening up your joints so things like elbows, knees and hips don't ache; but the article also stated, "You should exercise to improve your health, but be warned, fiery spurts of vigorous energy could lead to weight gain." Hmmm.

And my very favorite part of the article, which brings me such glee as I can continue to sit on my ass, because it's so efficient at burning calories, was this passage:

"According to calculations published in the journals Obesity Research by a Columbia University team...a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns. Which means that after you work out hard enough to convert, say, 10 lbs. of fat to muscle - a major achievement - you would be able to eat only an extra 40 calories per day, about the amount in a teaspoon of butter, before beginning to gain weight. Good luck with that."

In conclusion, I may not be thin today or anytime soon, but I'll tell you right now that I am not willing to join the workout nation on their treadmills and stairmasters, in their step-aerobic and spinning classes and during their crunch and sit-up counting sessions just so I can have what amounts to three-quarters of an Oreo cookie.

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More Proof I Ate At A Sushi Place
North Sally Port
Holy Cow!