Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out With The Old

As another year comes to a close, it's time for another year end meme. Grab a cup of cocoa and read on...

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Bought a
big sleeper truck, watched the inauguration of the first African-American President in history, put the lights out in an entire town, saw a rattlesnake up close and in person, fell in love with an older woman, visited the Oregon Coast, saw some beautiful gulls, found Kandee, spent ten days in Key West, posted the funniest video I've made to date, and cooked in a truck (which was sometimes moving).

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't recall officially making any resolutions. That means I'm off the hook, right? As for this year, I guess Eddie and I are going to try to eat better and get some exercise in. Arrrggggh!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin and his wife had twins - a
boy and a girl and my other cousin had her third child, a boy!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Nothing outside the United States. Oh, so sad.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Time with my best friend; maybe a girls weekend or a visit to her house for a week. (Maybe I have to resort to picking a fight so Eddie will drop me off at her house without any prodding.)

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 20th - the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Well, it's not my personal achievement, but buying our truck was a pretty big deal since we'd been working toward it for a few years. My personal achievement was probably making some really great contacts through social networking sites, which led to my writing for this
site and opened up a few other doors that may prove to be very promising in the future.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't really see too many things as failures and I don't get too upset if things don't work out; I just move on to the next thing. I guess I could say I'm not too thrilled that I didn't get around to categorizing all of my blog posts, but I don't really consider it a failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A sprained my ankle and a bruised hip when I tripped and fell into the sleeper in January, and a very sort throat I endured during the UPS run - I sounded like Brenda Vaccaro for a week!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I can't recall anything great that I bought for myself this year, but I did get my three nephews slingshots and pocket knives for Christmas; which they LOVED but will probably not see again until the day they graduate college.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Eddie, because duh, he lives with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 300 days of the year in a space the size of a large walk-in closet. And, the people of the United States for electing Obama...guess they're not as stupid as I normally think they are.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I'm always appalled by most of the talking heads on FOX news, but Professional Lunatic Glenn Beck's behavior has got to be the worst. Rage much?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mini-vacations, entertainment and the new truck.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Showing off the new truck (and the pantry in it!)

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
"I Dreamed A Dream" sung by
Susan Boyle and ”Come On Get Higher” by Matt Nathanson (even though I like Sugarland's version of the song better).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Not happier or sadder, but definitely fatter and a little richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read. I have lots of books on my Kindle that I just haven't gotten to.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my brother's house in Arizona with his family and in-laws, my mother and step-father and my Eddie!

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Yes. With Glee. Oh, and Nathan Fillion from

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Duh. Gleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! Glee. Glee. GLEE!!!! If you haven't seen it, you can catch up on all the episodes
here. Modern Family and Castle are after that.

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?
There are two and they were AMAZING. The Elegant Gathering Of White Snows and Dancing Naked At Dawn, both by
Kris Radish.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The cast of Glee and my cousin's old high school friend,
Jude Hankins.

26. What did you want and get?
The President I voted for, a trip for my birthday, time in the Northeast to see Fall Foliage and gift cards to Ulta for Christmas.

27. What did you want and not get?
A trip with my best friend and a vacation in the snow.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Religulous, hands down. I know it came out last year, but I just saw it this year. The Proposal was cute, Confessions of A Shopaholic...I can't think of any others. There are some I'd like to see but it's going to have to be on video.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 42 this year and to celebrate, we spent ten days in Key West, Florida.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I had more time in the snow.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

32. What kept you sane?
Phone calls to my best friend and my iPod.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I am still IN LOVE with Barack and Michelle Obama, but I'm also a little bit in love with
Kandee Johnson too.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration - I'm very pro-immigration and it annoys me that most of the people who are anti-immigration seem to veil their racism with concerns for "national security". Yeah, whatever. Your fake patriotism is pathetic.

35. Who did you miss?
It seems I always only miss my father. But lately, I also miss my youth. :)

36. Who was the best new person you met?
The guys at
at ARI who made our sleeper and Leif and Jenny Gryttr who also have a big truck like ours (bigger actually); they're awesome!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
This isn't something I just learned, but it was so prevalent in this past year, I have to put it at the top of the valuable life lessons list. I learned that no matter how hard you try or how much effort you put in, you
can’t get people to keep in touch with you if they don't want to. In addition to that, you also can't get people to be the way you'd like them to be, specifically family.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I can't seem to get the Susan Boyle story and song out of my mind and I'm not sure that the lyrics "sum up" my year, but they are ones that I know by heart and often find myself singing:

"I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted"

And my slogan for the new year...Zen In Ten!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Another Year, Another 365 Days
All Good Things Come To An End
The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
Suicidal Firewood

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon

It was reported today that tomorrow night there will be a blue moon; the first one on New Year's Eve in nineteen years. You won't see one again (on New Year's Eve, that is) for another nineteen years.

I wonder what's going to happen tomorrow that I'll be able to later say only "happens in a blue moon".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Have Wet Saw, Will Travel
Spiritual Motivation
Who Needs Paint Chips When You Can Just Use An Old Flag For Inspiration?
The Promised Land

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Day The Music Lived

Eddie? Buddy Holly with a beard? Eddie? Buddy Holly with a beard? I'm so confuuuuused.

Ed sweet-talked the girl at the movie theater to give him a pair of 3-D glasses, even though he told her he wasn't planning on going to a 3-D movie. He just wanted the glasses. Maybe it was the beard that made her cave. Or, it could have been the plaid.

I think he should wear them all the time. I do have a question though....since we live in a 3-D world, if you wear 3-D glasses all the time, do you experience everything in 6-D?

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
He Raises A Valid Point
Eddie In Stripes Friday
Customer Service Vigilante

Monday, December 28, 2009

You WILL Think Of God

This is the cross located on Interstate-40 in Groom, Texas. You can see from over it twenty miles away. At night, it's lit from all sides. When you first see it, you think, what the hell is that?, especially at night, since the lights cast a weird glow that projects up to the sky. It's really small when you first notice it and gets bigger and bigger as you approach. Kind of menacing, really.

website claims millions a year pass by and that they have 1,000 visitors a day. I don't know when all these people are visiting because I've been through there at ALL times of the day and have never seen anyone there.

It's just outside of Amarillo, which apparently is a very "Godly" place also since that's where the Jesus Christ Is Lord
Travel Center is located. I kid you not.

There's no way you're gettin' through here without being evangelized.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Queen Of Copper
Eddie Wears His Christmas Present Friday
The Only Way I Can Tolerate Arizona
I’ve Got Lips

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Meet Me In St. Louis...If You Can Find It

There is just no way to get a clear picture of the Gateway Arch while driving by; not only is there a bridge that you can't stop on, but the road is so pitted and bumpy, even if you drove by at ten miles an hour, there's just no way. For night photos, you need a tri-pod, plain and simple.

But I happen to like blurry pictures; I've taken
many. So here's one more to add to the bunch.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

An Appetizer With Heart

Since my brother was hosting Christmas Dinner at his house and was responsible for the main meal, several appetizers and dessert, I was asked to bring Stuffed Artichokes. My father used to make these often and as with everything else he did, they were fabulous. So with that on my side, I thought I'd tackle them for my appetizer contribution. I didn't use his recipe, but I was very happy with the way they turned out. Since I had twelve artichokes, I just doubled the recipe.

Stuffed Artichokes

6 artichokes
1 lemon, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons crab boil
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped oregano leaves
1 1/2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Cut the stems from the artichokes to leave a neat, flat base. Lay each artichoke on its side, and cut away the upper third with a sharp knife. With kitchen shears, remove the prickly leaf tips from each remaining leaf. Rub the cut sides and bottom with a lemon slice, squeezing lemon juice onto the cut areas and set aside.

3. Place the prepared artichokes, lemon slices, crab boil and bay leaves in the boiling water and simmer, partially covered, until the bottom is tender and can be pierced with a sharp knife and an outer leaf pulls out easily, about 25 minutes.
I used the Zatarain's Shrimp & Crab Boil. It comes in a bag, like a satchet, that you just throw in the water. I've never used anything like this, but I got this recipe from Emeril and he uses this kind of thing frequently in his cooking, so I figured it had to be good.

I used a huge pot that we had from the restaurant my step-father used to own. As you can see from the picture above, it's more than twice the size of the 5 quart dutch oven. This is my favorite photo of the group. I love how beautiful the artichokes look, all green and gorgeous as they float among the lemon slices.

4. Heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. To the onion pan, add the garlic and oregano and continue to cook for thirty seconds.

I tried to get a picture of this step, but it didn't make a really great shot because the steam kept fogging up my lens. This part's easy though, since you're just mixing in the rest of the ingredients for the stuffing.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the bread crumbs, lemon zest, Parmesan, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Mix well and adjust seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Drain the artichokes upside down in a colander.

7. When the artichokes are cool enough to handle, press the leaves gently back so that the artichoke opens to reveal the inner choke and prickly leaves. 8. Pull out the cone of undeveloped white leaves and gently scrape out the choke with a spoon so as not to damage the heart. Gently pull the leaves outward from the center until the leaves open slightly.

9. Fill the artichoke cavities with bread stuffing, and pack a little bit into the space between the leaves.

These artichokes were huge, so I actually had to make more stuffing to make sure I got enough in the outer leaves. Look at that gorgeous little artichoke heart.

10. Place the artichokes in an earthenware baking dish and drizzle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

11. Pour 1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the dish and place in oven. Bake until the artichokes are golden brown and the bread crumbs develop a nice crust, about 10 to 15 minutes.

12. Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle some grated Parmesan. Serve with additional lemon wedges.

The only thing left to do is enjoy! And because you eat this appetizer leaf by leaf, the deliciousness seems to last forever.

HERE for a printable version of the recipe.

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Angelic Eddie Friday
Would You Like A Fried Egg With A Side Of Influenza?
The Best Gift Of All

Friday, December 25, 2009

Commanding Attention Once Again

My brother's living room after the unwrapping frenzy. I think I actually heard the tree let out a sigh of relief; the activity had died down and it was once again the focal point in the room. Merry Christmas, revelers.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Holiday Theft Is On The Rise...Right In Your Own Neighborhood!!

Yesterday I was out ALL day doing more Christmas shopping. I usually do hit the stores last minute, but this year I had more to finish up than usual.

At the same time the last minute shopping is going on, the collections for the local charity is also happening. We put what we want to donate on the curb and the truck comes around to pick it up; usually within a day. On my way out of the house for the third time in the day, I passed by a house down the street that had some great stuff on their curb. Really great stuff. Didn't even look like it needed to be disposed of.

Initially when I had seen it, I stopped to look at it thinking "oooh, that's cool" but then saw the sign on it that it was for the charity pickup. When I got back to the house, I told my mother about the two great items I saw and she said, "Well, just take them."

"I can't take them, Ma." I said.

"Sure you can. It's not like they're going to see you. They're in the house."

"Ma. The stuff is right in front of their house. Of course they'll see me!" I answered.

"Well, they're giving it away anyway." she said.

"Yeah, to a CHARITY." Emphasis on the word charity.

"Well, it's just one thing. They'll never know."

"Mom, I can't really believe that you're telling me to steal from a charity. At Christmastime, no less. What's wrong with you??"

She laughed at the ridiculousness of her suggestion and said again in a volume she didn't think I'd hear, "But they'd never know. You could be a charity."

"But I'm not. It's cool stuff, but I don't need it. I'd consider taking it if it were trash day, but not on charity day. That's all I need is for St. Vincent de Paul to catch me taking their stuff. Two days before Christmas. No thanks."

So I drove by a few more times, still coveting their great trash, but resisted stopping. By the time I got home, it was gone.

That turned out to be a good thing, because I think the cover of darkness may have been a little too much for me to resist.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Team Finally Takes A Rest
The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House
The Only Visible Flames Came From The Candles On The Altar
Tonight’s The Night, People

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

~ Oren Arnold, Texas newspaperman and writer

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The End Is Not Just Near, It's Here!!

We are minutes away from the end of our UPS run. Hooray!!

We were originally to do 23,747 miles, which began on November 27th. Two days ago, they changed our route. We were supposed to do Phoenix, AZ to Hodgkins, IL to Rockford, IL and then back to Phoenix, AZ to end our trip. They revised that trip to be Phoenix, AZ to Hodgkins, IL to Oak Grove, WI to Louisville, KY and then back to Phoenix, AZ. That added 410 miles to our trip, which is fine because more miles means more money, but now our grand total for the UPS run will be 24,157 miles.

As we were driving the leg from Wisconsin to Louisville, I was thinking, This year has been really weird. Every location we went to, our trailer was ready. We didn't get behind at all. We had lots of lead time on many of the legs due to everything going smoothly. I might even say this year was easy. But this change-up to Louisville....I have a feeling they're not even going to have a trailer for us.

We got to Louisville, where it was snowing, checked in at the UPS yard and parked in our designated spot. I looked around and saw many other contracted drivers there (like us, people who didn't actually work for UPS), all lined up waiting for their trailers and trip information.

It wasn't ten minutes later that Ed found out that we didn't have a trailer to take back to Phoenix, which means we'd be bob-tailing (driving without a trailer) the entire way. Woo-Hoo!! I was so excited. That meant no check calls, no schedule, no nothing. Just a leisurely drive back home. So that's what we did; we sadly said goodbye to the snow in Louisville (wish I could have stayed to enjoy it) and headed out to Phoenix, 1,717 miles away.

Ed said it was the longest trip he'd ever bob-tailed and also mentioned that he didn't really feel like he was "doing anything" because he didn't have a trailer, not even an empty one, to deliver anywhere. I felt free as the wind and unencumbered.

We are now home and ready to begin some last minute shopping, then we'll move on to the last minute wrapping, and then we'll have two days of rest before the big Christmas Day event at my brother's house. I'm SO looking forward to it!! (I have my fingers crossed that my sister-in-law is making her amazing lasagna....pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease)

One more year of UPS done to perfection, and in the words of Ed, "We didn't have to chain up once!"

Which, for all you non-truckers, means that he didn't have to put any snow chains on the tires. At all. All season. He's verrrry happy about that. I might even tell him it's his Christmas present. What?? Aren't people supposed to be happy when they get stuff they like??

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Keeping The Mountain On The Right Side Of The Fence
Divine Intervention Comes A Little Too Late
General Delivery
Frumpy To Nicole

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Barn Man

Meet Ernest Lee Breger, known by everyone as "Butch" but also affectionately called "The Barn Man". Butch has been around these parts of Oklahoma most of his life. Born in Seattle, but raised locally, he knew the barn when it was in a state of disrepair, before it's beautiful dome glistened in the sun as it does today. He was around during the entire restoration and has entertained the thousands of visitors that make the famous Route 66 trip across America.

He's an artist and a storyteller who in addition to throwing in a few personal tidbits, concentrated primarily on recounting stories relating to the barn. He told us of his father being in the military and how because of that he got to travel around a bit before settling in Oklahoma, how the original owners of the barn, the Odor's, got teased from the locals because of their odd name and how Luke Robinson took the restoration of the barn into his own hands and with the help of local retirees, restored the barn over four years for only $65,000.00 - which was a real bargain considering the estimates they had initially gotten hovered around $165,000.00!!

His rickety handwriting covers everything in the gift shop, from signs displaying prices to handmade wooden plaques to descriptions of what you're actually looking at, like this picture of him hanging out one of the barn windows.
The next picture, which is the bottom part of the sign above, tells you something he's already mentioned in the first ten minutes of talking to him; the books and movies he's been in. He's appeared in the book Route 66: The Mother Road by Michael Wallis (page 112, as you can see) and three movies; Route 66: Return to the Road with Martin Milner, Route 66: An American Odyssey and Route 66 – A Road To Remember. He wasn't aware of the barn being filmed in the movie Elizabethtown, but maybe that's because he never made a personal appearance in that flick!He walked the entire circumference of the barn with us, pointing out old farm equipment, pictures of the barn's original owner and builder, and an entire wall displaying pictures of round barns from all over the country and the world. Apparently, a round barn is not all that unusual, and this one is certainly not the first, but this round barn is the only one in the United States that sits directly on Route 66, making this architectural masterpiece one of the most popular attractions along the way and one that becomes an iconic piece of American history by mere location.

In this picture, on the wall to the left of the Route 66 map, you will see a collage of photographs:
Butch has collected these photographs from people all over the world who send them in to add to his collection. According to his account, he believes he's found all of the round barns in the country and whenever he hears of a new one, or someone brings it to his attention, he sends a letter requesting more information on it and a picture. Then the picture goes up on the wall.

Some of the earliest round barns were made by the Quakers. Butch said, "They made 'em round so the Devil couldn't corner you." Makes sense. He also told us that although many barn dances were held in the Arcadia barn, they never held any square dances.

Wait for it....

...because you can't hold a square dance in a round barn! You're killing me here, Butch.

I shopped around a bit, bought a few postcards, a piece of
Rose Rock and a book about the history of the barn. I asked him to sign the book for me, which he readily did.

When he handed the book back to me, he said, "You know, I've signed over four thousand books in my time...."

I'm certainly glad he was up to signing one more. Now I feel like I have a little piece of history and having the signature of "The Barn Man" makes it feel a bit more authentic.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Text Me
Eddie Gets Impatient Friday
If You Have Note, Then It’s Perfectly Okay To Commit Credit Card Fraud
Limo Scene

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Over The Hill And Over The Top

The photo above is a picture of the gift shop that now occupies the lower level of The Round Barn. The walls are lined with hand drawn pictures, most done by Ernest Lee "Butch" Breger, a local man who lives nearby. He also mans the gift shop and entertains the sightseers with pictures and stories; first hand accounts, since he was there when the barn was restored. He's the one who put together this wall, with pictures of the barn's restoration displayed in chronological order. More about him later...

From a book put out by the Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society:

"In the heart of Arcadia, Oklahoma, on historical Route 66, stand the Round Barn. It was built in 1898 by a very innovative educator and farmer, William Odor.

Mr. Odor cleared the land wtih the aid of his oxen and used the native Burr Oak trees, taken from the edges of Deep Fork River, in the construction of the barn. The wood was sawed on the site, then soaked in the river water so it would bend and conform to the perfect round shape of the walls. Mules were then used to haul the damp lumber to the site of the barn.

Despite the critics who proclaimed that the barn could not be built, William Odor persevered. When finished, the Round Barn was an architectural wonder."

The barn was sold in the mid 1940's to Frank and Katy Vrana. In 1988, their heirs donated the barn to the Arcadia Historical and Preservation Sociey. The organization was formed by Luke and Anna Robinson and Beverly White to save the barn from ruin, as everyone believe it was an important part of Oklahoma's history.

Luke Robinson was a self-taught carpenter. The book states, "Robinson grew up practical and self-reliant on a cotton farm until his family gave it up in the 1920's. At the age of twelve he set up a shop in his father's garage to teach himself woodworking skills. He carried out jobs for the Works Progress Administration, assembled gliders for the military, and then became a self-employed carpenter, specializing in cabinetry and house restoration."

Apparently, being such a skilled carpenter is the reason he became fascinated with the barn, which is Oklahoma's only true round barn. From what I learned, many are octagonal or hexagonal, not truly round. This barn has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.

The barn is sixty feet in diameter, with a dome that peaks forty-three feet above the ground. Luke Robinson was in his seventies when he tackled the restoration, mostly with other retirees from the local area; they called themselves the "Over-the-Hill Gang".

One local woman said she remembers rounding the bend where the barn sits and seeing Luke working on top of the dome with some of his "volunteers" helping him out. She'd look at them, take their ages into consideration and then mutter, "Oh, dear Lord..."

Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to Butch.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mr. & Mrs. Javelina And The Carb Encounter
Disk This
Ghostly Landmark
Shopping In Hell

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In The Round

I recently re-watched the movie Elizabethtown. I've seen it two or three times now and love it every time, in exactly the same way. My favorite part is the road trip the main character, Drew, goes on, guided by the book that his love interest, Claire, made for him.

In scrapbook fashion she created an album for him, with mix CD's burned with music to coincide with each mile of his drive, and included clippings and information on places for him to stop along the way. She instructed him to take in every aspect of this cross-country trip that he was supposed to have taken with his father, who had recently passed away. He was now making the drive with the urn of his father's ashes in the passenger seat. At various locations along the way, he spread out his ashes. It was to be a mind-expanding journey of self-discovery; not only across the country, but across the depth of his soul.

Anyway....that was just a teeny bit of background so I could tell you this: During that road trip, Drew drives by The Round Barn of Arcadia, located in Arcadia, Oklahoma on Historical Route 66. When I saw it, I jumped up and immediately did a Google search for it. And when I did, I realized it was only ten miles north of Oklahoma City and I-44, which I would be traveling on. I didn't know if they had truck parking, but I wanted to see it, so I took the detour. When I got there, not only did they have parking, but there was a spot right across the street from the barn, waiting just for me.

More on The Round Barn of Arcadia tomorrow...

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Eddie’s Adoring/Bored Girlfriend Friday
Lux Perpetua
The Lesser Known King Of Romance
Wow. What Beautiful Gums You Have.

Friday, December 18, 2009

They're Always Touching Their Hammers

My phone rang one night this week and suprise, surprise, my sister-in-law was on the other end. She was out Christmas shopping and needed a few ideas and a couple of sizes confirmed. I was shocked she was out at night. She never goes out at night.

"How did you get out of the house?" I asked her, jokingly.

"I put dinner on the table and told Mike and the boys I was heading out." she answered.

"Wow. That's a rare thing, huh?" I said.

"Yes, it is. Usually I'm in my pajamas by now, but Mike said he isn't doing any shopping this year, so it's all up to me." She sounded overwhelmed.

Later that night, I was recounting the story to my mother and told her about how my sister-in-law had all this last minute stuff to do. My mother snorted in that wise, I've-been-a-wife-for-over-thirty-years-I-know-exactly-how-she-feels kind of way and said, "Tell me about it."

"Yeah," I said. "And Michael isn't doing any shopping this year."

My mother said, "Guys usually don't. In the thirty years I've been with Frank, I don't think he's ever gone Christmas shopping. They don't shop like women do anyway; women have to look at everything, touch everything."

"I know." I said.

"Men don't shop like that. If a guy needs a hammer, they go into Home Depot, they buy a hammer and they leave. They don't go touching all the hammers."

Well, thank God for that. If they did, they'd be there all day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Raindrops On Roses And Whiskers On Kittens
Love Hate Relationship
Full Service

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wet And Woodsy

Today I stopped to take some pictures at a rest area in Wolf Creek, Oregon and got this little mushroom cluster. The ground was saturated, squishing under each step I took. The leaves of everything were wet and the air smelled like pine.

Usually we see snow at this time of year up here but the only snow has been on the higher elevation mountains, the rest of our route seems to have just gotten rain, which is better for us, since that means Ed doesn't have to put on the snow chains.

Driving through here makes me have fleeting thoughts about building a log cabin in the woods and become all outdoorsy. Not that I would ever do anything remotely outdoorsy, which is why it's a fleeting thought, but the smell of the pine and the visual lushness is enough to send me there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bite Sized Yummy Goodness
There’s A Time For Everything
Colors Of The Barrio
Puss In Breasts

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work

While driving through California and Oregon this week, I saw signs along the highway saying "Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work" with completion dates for the work currently being done on the very road I was traveling on.

One of those times, I saw them erecting the actual sign. There was a state DOT truck and four workers in orange vests dropping 4 x 4's in the ground, with the sign nearby waiting to be attached.

I wondered to myself, how many tax dollars were at work to print those signs and pay for that crew to be out there to put up a sign to tell people their tax dollars were hard at work. Wouldn't it just be better to fix the road so they could see their tax dollars hard at work? Is the sign really necessary?

When I told my mother about it, she said "Well, people need pictures and words. Like when you go to McDonald's; the kid can't ring up your order without touching the button with the picture of a Big Mac on it and he certainly can't give you change without looking at the screen to tell him how much he's supposed to be giving you."

As my friend Gil once said, regarding another subject but that also applies here, "That's the mentality of our countrywomen and countrymen."

So true.

And since this post doesn't have any pictures, I'm guessing there's no chance of them reading it and getting offended.

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What’s Next, Reporting Your Maid In The Middle Of Her Dusting The Living Room Tsochkes?
Fashion Forward
Swimming Po
Just Call Me Rosa

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dear Blog Santa

So. I've been thinking....(uh oh, here it comes)

Usually I only release my Christmas Wish List to my mother and Ed (which I still plan on doing) and only tell friends and family members what I want if they ask. I've even blogged my list in the past. This year, I might even do a Dream List; the one I'd make if funds were unlimited and circumstances were ideal. Then I started thinking about what I wanted from the blogosphere, and I figured there must be a Blog Santa out there somewhere, granting the wishes of blogger boys and girls everywhere.

So I decided I'd write him. Then it dawned on me that Blog Santa can't possibly grant the wishes of all the blogger boys and girls; I mean, if you were to consider the sheer number of blogs out there, it's obvious he can't possibly read all of them. What if he misses mine because some Elf distracted him with some nonsense question about how many Wii's they had to make this year? Taking that into consideration, I thought I'd call on the people who mean the most to me and my blog.

YOU. My readers.

So I am going to ask for one thing for Christmas from all of you. What I would really like for Christmas, in addition to all of you to keep reading and loving me (or hating me, which is fine, as long as you keep reading), is to share my blog. My Christmas wish is to have more readers.

So if you will, please pass on my blog address, which is now to as many people as you can. If it's just one person, that's fine. If you want to bombard all your friends and family with my link, that's even better. But please share me. Share what I do. Tell someone about me. Hell, tell them anything you want about me, as long as you make them promise (and you can withold their present until they swear to abide by your wishes if you think it will help) that they will give reading my blog a shot.

If you have a favorite post or something that made you laugh, share that one. If you want to show them my Flickr pictures, send them
here. If you want to show off my truck (I always do), send them this post. Or if you think Eddie is the real star here, urge them to read all about him.

And if all else fails, reel them in with the menagerie of everything that is...

See? I'm starting small with the Dear Blog Santa requests. So small, I'm not even telling him about it yet. You are my first point of contact. Blog Elfs, if you will.

And we all know that it's the elves who do all the work. Now, go on now....

Make Santa proud.

PS: Oh my God! Thank you! Thank you SO much!! It's just want I wanted! It's beautiful! And it fits! How did you know?? You shouldn't have. That's me saying those and every other thing one says when they REALLY get what they want for Christmas.......kisses and candy canes to all of you!!

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The Trees Help Guide The Way
Just In Time For The Holidays
Eddie Leans On A Barrio Door Friday
Glowing Reminder

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Rainy Rainbow

A little bit of rain (no snow over the mountain pass, which is good!) produced a rainbow that formed a perfect arch over Mount Shasta in northern California. I snapped the pic in between windsheild wiper swipes, which accounts for the raindrop splotched photo!

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Be Wary Of Women Wearing Skull Panties
Holiday Sparkle
Arizona Sunset
Before And After The Chops

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Hideous Thief Exposed

A day shot of the Las Vegas strip. The tall building on the very right is the Stratosphere; way at the other end, which you can't see because it's so hazy, is the Luxor.

At least at night, when this behemoth monster of a town takes your money, it gives you something pretty to look at in return; lights, showgirls, fountain shows, etc. But when you lose money here during the day you just feel dirty and creepy and degenerate.

Although I have to say, for the amount of whining I've heard about the economy, it seems the people in these casinos haven't heard a word of it yet. Because they're still plugging their money into those machines.

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Southwest Sunset
Subtlety Is SO Not His Middle Name
Bridging Chicago
Oxymoronic Holiday

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rolling Out The Holiday Films

There are many Christmas themed movies, but I'm not really a fan of the ones that everyone always seems to list; A Christmas Carol, Home Alone, A Christmas Story, or God forbid, Elf. I know Elf has huge fans, but I'm definitely not one of them. It's almost as bad as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

I love romantic holiday movies, the more modern ones, and two classics from my childhood. These three are my top "modern" choices:

The Holiday: This is probably one of my favorite movies. I just love the whole idea of switching houses, being in another country, finding love. I don't know which I love more; the home exchange idea or the fact that the love interest is Jude Law. Probably the latter.

The Family Stone: I love everything about this movie. The family, the relationships, the way one brother falls in love with the other brother's girl and it all works out. I want to be at their Christmas table.

Love Actually: Actually, I just love anything with Hugh Grant. He's charming and funny and likeable and even cute in that English sort of way. This is an all around feel good movie in my opinion.

And these two are my favorite childhood "classics", no explanation necessary:

A Charlie Brown Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

This one fits a holiday movie in the unconventional sense:

Surviving Christmas: Just funny.

And this last one just because it's filmed during winter and Ben Affleck looks really cute in it:

Reindeer Games

What are some of your favorite holiday flicks?

EDIT: Thanks to a comment left by Amber, I absolutely must also add Serendipity to my list. How could I have forgotten Serendipity??? I totally LOVE that movie. I love the whole idea of it....the search for the book, the connection that was meant to be, the longing and thinking year after year, bookstore after bookstore, of that one person that you met that one time, who was the one for you. And you knew it. And you let it go. Ugh. And unlike Amber, I actually LOVE John Cusack. This very well may be my second favorite on the list, after The Holiday. It could even be first, i think. Anyway...thanks Amber!

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No Rig Too Big
Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen

Friday, December 11, 2009

Modern Road Warriors And Their Weapons

This year I've done all my Christmas shopping while on the road. I think I might actually also be wrapping presents in the truck.

My favorite gift, I think, is going to be the bow and arrow I got for my oldest nephew. I told my brother I wanted to get him archery lessons, but then wound up seeing a cool bow and arrow at
Cabela’s (what a great store!) so I picked up that too.

When Ed and I hauled all the packages into the sleeper, I said to him, "What are we going to do about the bow and arrow?"

"What do you mean?" he said.

"Well, what if we get stopped by the DOT? Are they going to have a problem with it?"

"Nah, I don't think so. We'll just put it up in one of the cabinets.." he said.

"OK." I answered, figuring he knows better than I do.

All I could think of was getting stopped by a DOT officer and being asked, "Um, excuse me ma'am, but do you have any weapons in the truck?"

"Ummmm.....just a bow and arrow."

And I'd hope when he got done laughing at the image of a warrior out of the wild west, he'd reconsider giving me any kind of citation.

I mean, much of a threat can I be with a bow made for a ten year old and two crappy arrows??

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1 YEAR AGO: Race To The Head
Listening And Loving
Unfortunately Synonymous
The Gays Are The Ritziest

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The First Snow I've Seen This Season

And it was in Arizona, of all places!! In the past day, they got dumped on with snow, so it was very white and very fresh.

Here is a view of Flagstaff, Arizona with the
San Francisco Peaks in the background, which is the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona, at an elevation of 12, 633 feet.

I just love that white stuff!!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas In OKC

As I've mentioned now, ad nauseum, we don't have a whole lot of time to stop for anything. So I bring you my photographs of Christmas light displays taken while on the move. They are all from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, visible from I-40 as you cruise through town.

This first one is a concrete mixer truck, completely covered with lights and showcased on a spinning pedestal:

This next one is probably my favorite; it's a line of spindly trees, each branch completely covered with tiny lights, that completely encircle a business complex. The effect in person is truly gorgeous; it's my favorite type of light display, when they cover trees so all you see is the outline:

And the last most fantastic display of lights, was from the Christmas In The Park display in Yukon, just outside of OKC at City Park and Chisolm Trail Park. The event features more than 1 million lights and 150 artistic displays. It's SO fantastic! We couldn't drive through it in the truck but we did drive entirely around the block and saw it from all sides. Of course, since we were moving at all times (there was nowhere for a truck to pull over) I had to take my pictures while on the go:

So although blurry, I think you get the point. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

PS: If you squint your eyes, they don't look quite so blurry. :)

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Ain’t Nuthin’ But A Lizard Pimp
After The Storm
Border Town
Easily Amused

Monday, December 07, 2009

United Parcel Servant

While on this UPS run, we don't have a lot of time to screw around. Just stopping for fuel can take anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes, so we do everything we can to make sure we maximize our stopping time. If we're stopping for fuel, we'll also fill the water tanks, mail our trip sheets or pop into the store to get anything we might have forgotten when shopping. Sometimes we're just in the mood for a snack we don't have in the truck or maybe instead of cooking, we decide to go to Wendy's or some other fast food joint. Whatever it is, it all has to be done at the same time.

UPS is very particular about their pick-up and delivery times. If they say your delivery time is 6:17 a.m., they mean 6:17 a.m. You have to call if you're going to be even fifteen minutes late. And each leg of the trip doesn't allow for a whole lot of dilly-dally time. F
or instance, the first leg of this last trip was 1,770 miles. They give us thirty-three hours to do that in. We do fifty-eight miles per hour. Do the math.

So other than stopping for fuel, the only thing that takes time are bathroom breaks. Now of course it's not a problem for the person not driving since we have a bathroom in the truck, and Ed, well he can go for an ungodly amount of time before he has to use the facilities. Me? I have to pee all the time, so when I'm driving, I have to time my stops.

The other night when I was driving, I heard a noise coming from the back of the sleeper; Ed was up and moving around, so I bellowed for him. He came up front and I asked if he would get me something to drink. He came back with a half-filled drink container of fruit punch flavored Crystal Light. I looked at him and said, "Uh, can you fill it up?"

He said, "Can't you just drink this?"

"No, I want a full container, because you're going to go back to sleep and then I'll have nothing." I said.

"Yeah, but then you're going to have to pee and we don't have time to stop." he said.

"Well, if you don't fill it, I'm going to have to stop anyway and do it myself, which is going to waste even more time. And, wait...what are you saying? You're denying me a beverage because I might have to pee??" I said.

He reluctantly filled the drink bottle and handed it back to me. Then I think I heard him mutter something under his breath.

I swear I heard him say, Vhat? You're thirsty? You vill get some vater vhen you get to your destination, fräulein. Now drive!!

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Whizzing Through Dallas
Eddie With The Luscious Kisser Friday
’Tis The Season To Be Tweety
Cat Fiiiiiight!!!