Sunday, January 31, 2010


I could drive around the backroads all day long. And by driving, I mean Ed driving and me taking pictures. Here are a few things we came across while out and about. A barn with a pretty pastel roof and a cross that was wired to light up at night...

Another classic red barn, which when placed next to the navy blue towers on the left, created a very patriotic theme...
The biggest horse I've ever seen up close. If his muscles were any indication, he was clearly used for pulling plows. He let me get close enough to touch him...
And take pictures of his gigantic hooves, which were the size of my head!
In addition to snapping a picture of him chowing down on the handful of hay I fed him...
And then this, which may be a common sight to the locals, but I've never seen this many buggies at one time on the road.
It was like an Amish convoy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

As Seen On TV

Yesterday Ed and I had lunch at the South Side Soda Shop in Goshen, Indiana. I heard about it through my friend over at MennoGirl, who used to live in Goshen and gave me the scoop on the place. Only after I looked it up did I find out it was featured on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, hosted by my best friend's fantasty boyfriend, Guy Fieri.

It had a great retro atmoshphere and the main part of the diner, where we sat, still had the original soda fountain counter that was installed back in 1940's. We were waited on by Nicole, the daughter of the diner owners. She was extremely friendly and as one would expect, knew the diner history inside and out. And although she must have repeated those very same words a bazillion times, she made us feel as if it were the first time she said them.

We thought the food was very good, evidenced by the fact that we ate like bovines. We started with a cup of soup; Ed had the snapping turtle soup (yes, there was real turtle in it!) and I had the famous chili, which has been voted Michiana's best chili seven times! Both were delish. With my chili, I asked for a piece of their homemade Swedish Limpa bread (because it was a bread I'd never heard of). It's a light, sweet rye bread that has a touch of orange rind in it. I could have eaten a loaf!

For our meal, I had the Philly Cheese Steak in the photo below, with a side of their spiral fries. The fries were phenomenal. Made from fresh potatoes, they tasted as if I made them in my own kitchen. And my only complaint with the sandwich was that it could have used a bit more cheese and steak; the bread-to-filling ratio was a bit too high.

Ed ordered the Philly Chili, which is their award winning chili served over egg noodles, topped with onions, sour cream and cheese and served in an old-fashioned soda glass. I don't have a picture of this one because it came out too blurry, but just envision a very tall meal in a glass.

We didn't think we had any room for dessert, but then Nicole sauntered over with the pie tray; a tray she had to carry with two hands! It would have been rude to say no, so we eyeballed them all and then made our choices. Ed had the Chocolate Towne, which was like a big chocolate chip cookie baked into pie form. She warmed it and served it to him with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It tasted as good as it looks!

I had a piece of Key Lime Pie. I have to say, it rivaled the Key Lime Pie I had in Key West; quite a feat. It was so fresh and just tangy and limey enough for me. As much as I liked the whipped cream, because it was real, I could have done with less whip and more lime. Not a complaint, mind you, just a preference.

Overall, it was a great place to have lunch and I'd not only go back, but I'd definitely recommend it to others. And we are both SO excited that we finally got to dine at a place that was on Guy Fieri's show. Every time we watch an episode we say, "We've gotta go there!"
Now I have to go buy the book so we can start checking off Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives around the country.

I smell a new blog category...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Polishing His Chrome Friday
Traveling With Your Cat
Getting Wet In The Next County
Down With O.P.P.

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'll Have The Tootsie Rolls And The Butterfinger And The Lollipop And The Gummi Bears And The Hershey Kisses And The Snickers Bar And The M&M's And...

As of today, we've been in Shipshewana for a week. Normally, I'd be pulling my hair out having to be at a shop for this long, but the difference here is, these people know what they're doing. Unlike some other places we've been. I've stolen the photo above from the ARI web site so you see exactly where we've been spending our nights; it's the building with the truck exiting their driveway.

We initially came to have some warranty work done but all of a sudden, everything Ed had in his head for the last year, exploded into words and tumbled into the ears of the service manager. Ed was like a kid in a candy store.

So what was supposed to be touch-ups and minor fixes, turned into...another set of steps
for the other side of the catwalk so we could access the back door from either side; having the truck plumbed so we could hook up to a water source when in an RV park; adding docking lights to the airfoil on the back of the sleeper so they shine down on the trailer, allowing Ed to have better visibility when loading or working on the trailer; re-routing the exhaust pipe for the generator from coming out the side of the sleeper to coming out at the back; moving the airlines that typically hang on the "pogo stick" from the back of the catwalk to underneath the truck so they come out at the back bumper, rendering the air lines virtually invisible; outfitting the trailer for the new air lines and adding a quick disconnect; adding a grease deflector underneath the catwalk so grease and road filth doesn't spray up onto our back door, and finally, putting the new flooring in the cab.

To see where we've spent the week, I'm also stealing this video from the ARI web site, originally shown on The History Channel, so you can get an i
dea of the work area that we sneak in and out of when we're bothering the talent as they work.

Other than that, not much else is going on. The snowfall has been delightful and we'll probably be here over the weekend again before going back to work on Monday. Being here has totally upset my sleeping schedule; when I rise to the sound of horses hooves clip-clopping outside my window, indicating that the Amish are also up, you know it's early. And since I'm a night owl, these early mornings have been doing me in.

I need the weekend to nap.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Meals On Wheels
Mercury Dropping
James Cameron For $79.99 A Night
The Town That Big Tobacco Built

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I'm Floored!!

So, since we were at ARI getting some other stuff done on the truck, Ed and I decided to also have the flooring installed that we've been talking about.

When the truck was brand new the carpet up front was beautiful. But as time went on and feet of certain people (Ed) stepped on it, it began to get dirty to the point where cleaning was useless, so we decided to replace it.

With THIS:
Now isn't that beautiful?? Easier to clean and nice and neat. They also put a little stainless steel sqaure under the gas pedal, so it won't rub on my beautiful new flooring.

These guys at ARI are genius.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Two Worlds Collide
Girl Crush
Silly Boys
It’s Nowhere Near Mexico, Y’all

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Practically Perfect Circle

This octagonal barn located on County Road 250 North in Shipshewana, Indiana was built by Menno S. Yoder in 1908. Yoder had hoped to sell the design of this 12-sided concrete barn to farmers.

He was not a success at that, but the barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only one of its kind. Its historic significance is one of architecture and engineering and it's the only polygonal barn in Indiana that is constructed of a material other than wood.

From a form created by the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, who documented property of historical significance is this: "Along with the evolution of the science of agriculture and the corresponding improvements in farming practices, innovations have occurred in farm buildings that have aided farmers. One such innovation was the round/polygonal barn. With 219 round and polygonal barns being built in the state from 1874 to 1936, Indiana may deserve the distinction of having more round and polygonal barns than any other state in the Union."

And according to Orson Squire Fowler, of Fishkill, New York who began a campaign in the 1850's to inform people of the virtues of octagonal buildings, he felt "...the beauty and versatility of the form would transcend to every aspect of the built environment..." He proclaimed that "the circle was nature's perfection and the octagon approached the perfection of the circle in a practical way."

Not only was today a perfectly crisp day, but the sun was out long enough (before the snow came) to allow me to get this shot. And thank you Mr. Amish Man for driving by at the most opportune moment.

The name painted on the barn, Brown Swiss Dairy, refers to a kind of cow. According to the Brown Swiss Association, "Brown Swiss cattle are noted for their dairy strength, and outstanding feet and legs....the cattle enjoy a reputation for their longevity, and ability to produce large volumes of milk and reproduce longer than cattle of other breeds...the milk of the Brown Swiss cow is coveted by cheese makers. Brown Swiss breeders benefit from the best fat-to-protein ratio of any of the dairy breeds for production of most cheeses. For this reason, many times Brown Swiss producers receive more for 100 pounds of their milk than milk producers of other breeds."

How now brown cow...

Got milk?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My Frozen Kentucky Home
On Tour And Collecting Paper As We Go
Finding Your Way
Trivia From The First Tsar Of Russia

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Well, Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit!

And if you're gonna do it, you better use that beautiful 'ol butter knife that you see leanin' up against that 'ol Ball jar.

I bought one of these this past weekend while shopping at
Das Dutchman Essenhaus Amish Style Restaurant in Middlebury, Indiana.

They had the most fabulous display of Whetstone Woodenware I've seen yet. I first discovered these beautiful utensils in Shipshewana and when I saw them, found it impossible not to fondle them. All of them. I just had to touch.

They are handmade and sooo smooth I found myself running my hand all around the edges of each item, looking for a rough spot. There are none. They're just beautiful. I love them all; the wooden spoons, the ladles, the scoops and the dippers.

The biscuit cutters make me want to bake fluffy, homemade biscuits. And if I do bake biscuits, you know what that means, don't you?

You won't have to butter my butt.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I Even Have Time To Go On Strike
Teaching Them Young
You Gotta Be In It To Win It
Cinema Stupido

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting The Red Out, One Barn At A Time

As everyone knows, Indiana was a battleground state in the race for the Presidency. And, as everyone knows, Barack Obama won that state. While driving the backroads of Goshen, Indiana this weekend, we came across this barn. On the side it says, Obama '08 - '16.

It's so nice to see these simple farm folk making such good decisions.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
How A Four Year Old Can Make You Feel Like Crap For Trying To Get Out Of Doing Yard Work
Florida Fro
Hail To The McGriddle Gods

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Plump With Fat Quarters

This is just a fraction of the gorgeous quilting supply area of the fabric section in Yoder Department Store in Shipshewana, Indiana. It was busting at the seams with thousands of yards of fabric in luscious colors and patterns. There were fat quarters everywhere.

It makes me want to get rid of necessities like food and clothes to make room for my sewing machine in the truck. My mother's friend Doris (who makes some of the most amazing quilts I've ever seen) would probably go broke if she were in this place.

This is just another reason to love the Amish of Shipshewana. Every time I'm here, I'm struck by the simple lifestyle of the Amish and Mennonite people, and as crazy as it sounds, sometimes I envision a life of quilting and riding around in buggies.

Those bonnets though, are another story.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Eddie Out With The Old, In With The New Friday
2 YEARS AGO: You Can Get Them At Home Depot??
3 YEARS AGO: There Are Never Enough Hours In The Day To Do Anything When You Have A Baby
4 YEARS AGO: Tequila Sunrise

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Err Erudes Them

Yesterday's post prompted my niece (she actually my "step-niece" to my mother's remarriage) to send me this photo she snapped while walking around Boise, Idaho with her husband.

She said she felt really bad for laughing at the sign and kept asking her husband if they should go in and tell the owners of the restaurant the mistake they made on the sign. Ultimately, she was too embarrassed and resorted to taking a picture instead.

I think I'm rearry happy that she didn't terr them. How erse can people get a good raugh while strorring arong the streets of Boise?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Sorry, no post for this date.
When You Just Can’t Decide Between Dinner And Breakfast
Purple Industrial Skies

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eating Crud Is So Much Tastier Than Eating Crow

Last night, Ed and I had Chinese food for dinner. I knew I'd probably get an eggroll, wonton soup and some fried rice. It was the entree I couldn't decide on.
Should I go with #3, the Vegetable Ensemble, or #6, the Bean Crud with Chinese Mushrooms?

Decisions, decisions. (I went with #3)

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1 YEAR AGO: Chihuly In The Trees
2 YEARS AGO: Is It Really SO Hard??
3 YEARS AGO: Snowball In Hell
4 YEARS AGO: The Southern Family Tree

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How The West Was Fun

Brian, Ro, Eddie and I doing our best to look like couples on vacation together. Don't we look like we're having fun? This picture was taken in St. Augustine, Florida in March 2005.

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Pecking Order
The Sympathy Train Stopped Dead In Its Tracks

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Not A Pretty Sight

I was cleaning out some of my computer files last week when I came across one of the newsletters I used to write when I first went on the road with Ed; I didn't have a blog, so I created a newsletter to send my family and friends. The following is from the original newsletter post I wrote in March 2005, which details a small portion of my trip to Florida to visit my cousin and her boyfriend.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
So, what was the highlight of my time in St. Augustine, you ask? My trip to the emergency room. First, let’s remember the stunning beauty I really am. You may not think stunning now, but just wait.

Before scrolling down, know that the following pictures are of a graphic nature and may not be suitable for children. If you have a weak heart, have been known to faint at the site of abnormalities or cannot handle the oddities of the medical world, stop reading now.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2005 I experienced a teeny allergic reaction to something I ate. I don’t know what could have caused it, since I only had some soup and a Caesar Salad for lunch….oh, and four hot wings, a bite of Ed’s burger and a few onion rings stolen from his plate. Along with my usual Diet Coke and lemon, that was a normal meal. I had a similar allergic reaction about three years ago that I attributed to the ingestion of berries (straw, blue, black….) and I’ve been staying away from them ever since.

But once we got home from lunch, my chest started to feel weird and my right eye started to puff up a little. Since I've had this happen before, I was not immediately worried. I decided that I'd take some Benadryl as I had in the past and we’d continue on with our plans to hit the outlet malls.

As the group of us continued to drive to the outlet mall in St. Augustine (after all, there was shopping to be done) I was sitting in the back seat, becoming a blow fish as each minute went by. Still, I was stoic and not worried. Ed, my cousin Ro and her boyfriend Brian were all convinced I should go to the hospital. Meanwhile, I was saying, “No, don’t worry about it. Ro, you really wanted to go to the Yankee Candle outlet, I don’t want to mess up the plan.” Far be it for me to put a kibosh on the fun.

They kept insisting we go to the hospital and only when my throat began to close up and my voice got all pinched off and tight, did I think perhaps they were right. Then, my pesky right nasal passage had mysteriously stopped working (probably because my right eye swelling was getting in the way). When I lost the use of that little air intake channel, I figured I only had a portion of my throat and barely a left nostril for air; maybe it was time to hit the ‘ol ER.

Here are the first pictures of my allergic reaction, taken when we first got into the emergency room, as I was waiting to be called into Triage. (sorry for the crappy quality)

I thought I should smile for the second picture. Makes a big difference, huh??

I started swelling more as I sat there; cheeks, chin and neck were getting puffier by the minute. My face felt twice its normal size. The Benadryl I usually took didn't seem to work as well as it had in the past. When I told the nurses I took 75 mg of Benadryl, they glanced at each other and one of them said "I'm surprised you're still standing". Usually 50 mg of Benadryl knocks me out, but this time it didn't seem to take hold that quickly. When I got to the ER, they gave me an IV with even more Benadryl, in additoin to Prednisone and an anti-inflammatory.

This next shot shows how I look with lip liner and lipstick. I mean, when you finally have lips like Angelina Jolie, you have to experiment, no?

Prior to putting on the lip liner, the most GORGEOUS doctor came in to tend to me. I joked about showing him my driver’s license picture so he could see what I really looked like. He was extremely cute, but SEVERLY lacking in personality. The jokes did not go over very well with him. Besides, he was married and Ed was sitting nearby, so I couldn't really offer him up a tasting of my juicy Angelina lips.

Finally, here I am in my new "Jackie O" sunglasses so I could get out of there unnoticed…since I was in Florida among the beautiful people perhaps everyone would just think I was coming from a collagen lip injection or that I was swollen from a "procedure".

I am feeling better now. I'm less puffy, but still not back to normal. My nose is still wide and under my eyes are puffy. My lips went down but I no longer look like Melanie Griffith OR Angelina Jolie. Damn it!! But, at least I am not the hideous creature I was just a few days ago.
So, $120 later, I walked away with some steroids and a prescription for an EpiPen just in case this happens on the road and I'm not near a hospital. I can’t wait to see the bill from the hospital that I’ll be getting in the mail; I surely don’t think that the vacation is going to be worth THAT money.

After my little ordeal, I was tired, hungry and a little cranky so we promptly drove to Outback for a nice juicy steak. I figured it couldn’t get much worse, so I ordered another Caesar Salad. After all, I did have my EpiPen now.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So here we are five years later, and I've never had to use that Epi-Pen. I still have it, but I'm sure it's not any good. I've never before and never after, had a reaction quite this bad. I have had a few incidents with swollen eyes and a couple of mini throat swellings, but for the most part, it seems to have gone away. I can usually tell when it's coming on, I get a little warning. Ed is also well aware of the issue just in case something happens so quickly it renders me speechless.

Although, I'm not sure that'll happen because even with my restricted airway and big lips, I was still able to talk.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
Lighting To Do Laundry By
The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spreading The Word

After spending a week at Fyda Freightliner in Columbus, Ohio - for an electrical problem we've been having since we bought the truck in 2009 - only to be told, "We can't find anything wrong with your truck", you might say I'm not very happy. And anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows what a stickler I am for good, if not exemplary, customer service.

We have dealt with everyone from the salesman we bought the truck from (who was useless from the get-go, which should have been the first red flag), to the service manager, to the General Manager Gary Tiffan (useless), and finally even the dealership owner, Tim Fyda.

Ed is easygoing and gives everyone the benefit of the doubt.  I don't.  First, we spent as much money to buy this thing as some people spend on a house, and since they sell this truck, they should probably know how to work on it.  THAT is their job.

When it got to a point where I couldn't take it anymore, I spoke to the General Manager, Gary Tiffan.  After much back and forth, he said to me, "I don't know what you want me to do."


"I want you to fix the truck.  That's what I want you to do." I said.  

Are you fucking kidding me??  I can't even believe he uttered those words, essentially throwing his hands up in the air.  And Tim Fyda, the guy with his name on the door, wasn't much better.  Funny thing is, they have these plaques displayed in the lobby area, customer service awards recognizing them for their excellent customer service.  The majority of them are over a decade old, many are even older than that.  I'd like to know whose ass they had to kiss, or what organization they gave money to, or which executive they took out to lunch in order to receive them.  Because it's certainly not truck owners who are filling their mailbox with letters of praise.

I will never recommend these people to anyone.  I will never buy another truck from them.  And I will warn anyone who crosses my path, whether they're in the trucking industry or not, of their business practices.  They may cater to fleets, who largely use Freightliner trucks, but they certainly don't give a shit about the individual truck owner.

Remember the old adage, "A happy customer tells one friend, an unhappy customer tells everybody"?

I do.

And thanks to a readership of tens of thousands of people, the world wide web, blogs, online forums, trucking industry websites, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social networking sites out there, "everybody" truly means everybody.

And we all know how much I like to talk.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He Had A Dream. Tomorrow We See It Come True.
Who Do You Know?
South Beach Blue
Jawl Spake Anglesh??

Monday, January 18, 2010

This Time Losing The Wallet Really Means Losing The Wallet

Yesterday, I lost my wallet.

I can say that calmly because today, I found my wallet. It was miles from where it should have been and I have no idea how it happened.

We had been out all day; Starbucks, lunch, Barnes and Noble, Target,
Marcella’s Italian Kitchen for dinner (new place for us - mental note made about how delish! it was) and then a late night stop at the self-service section of the post office. By the time we got back to the hotel room that night, it was after nine.

I performed my nightly routine of getting into comfy clothes and then went to my purse to get my wallet so I could file the receipts from the day, but my wallet wasn't there. I looked all over the room, emptied out my (little) purse, went back down to the car to check under the seats and even drove back to the post office (in my pajamas!) to check there.

I couldn't imagine where I left it because the only time I had my money out was at Barnes and Noble to pay for my latte, and I was pretty confident I didn't leave it there. I know the table we sat at was bare when we left because I cleaned up our coffee cups and put the magazines away, leaving nothing behind. I didn't pay for anything at Target, so I couldn't imagine I left it there and I didn't pay for anything at the restaurant either, so that was out too.

The only place still open when I called around was the restaurant. They put me on hold and went to look for it where we were seated but came up empty handed. Ed went back down to the car to look again and was gone for a very long time. I figured he had gone to check the post office again but he actually drove all the way back to the Target, which was more than fifteen miles away in one direction. When he got back, he informed me that they wouldn't let him in the store since they'd already closed the doors and the kid who spoke to him through the glass couldn't check the Lost & Found anyway, since it was locked in the manager's office.

Ed actually freaked out more than I did. I was thinking well, what can I do? If it's gone, it's gone. And he was thinking otherwise. First he said I'd have to go back to motor vehicle to get my CDL and then wait for it to be mailed to the house. Then I'd have to go get my TWIC card again, paying for a replacement and wait for that to be mailed. Then I'd have to get a copy of my DOT Physical, possibly paying for that too and then wait to get a new health card. Then I'd have to cancel all my credit cards (which, because of Christmas, were ALL in my wallet) and wait for the new ones to be mailed to the house. Oh My God, he was making my head hurt!

Even when I told him that I'd never, in my adult life, misplaced or lost a wallet or anything of any importance, that I don't even think I've ever lost a set of keys, it didn't matter; he still went on and on about how I should be more careful (ya think?) and to make sure to always put my wallet back after I pay (oh, really?) and that maybe I should carry my wallet in my pocket (Yeah, whatever. That'll NEVER happen) or maybe even put my CDL in my pocket (another thing that'll never happen).

I was never worried about someone stealing my identity and I really didn't give a rat's ass about my credit cards. I mean really, it was now after midnight on a Sunday in Ohio. Where was this supposed thief going to go other than the twenty-four hour Walmart?? I think the thing that bothered me most was that I'd have to take a new picture. I love the photo that's currently on my license, there's no telling with a new one. At the moment though, I just needed to go to bed and get some rest before I resumed the search in the morning. And, I couldn't listen to Ed any longer.

Turns out the first phone call I made in the morning (to Target) was the only one I had to make. They had it locked up and when I went to get it, not a penny had been disturbed. I immediately sent Ed a text message so he could breathe a little easier. Disaster averted.

This whole wallet sitaution reminded me of something that happened almost fifteen years ago that makes still me laugh everytime I think about it. Way back when, my friend Greg and I were chit-chatting on the phone about a date he recently went on. I asked all the usual questions; how was it? where'd you go? what'd you do? dinner? coffee? what kind of date was it?, etc. After some grilling, he said that they wound up not going anywhere at all. Wha? Of course, I asked why. He told me that after his date showed up and they left his apartment for the restaurant, he realized he didn't have his wallet. He thought he lost it but when they drove back to his place to look for it, he realized it wasn't actually lost, he had just left it at home.

So there they were, alone in his apartment....

One thing led to another and they never left the apartment again that night. They decided not to go out but instead, ordered in and then had sex for the rest of the evening! After that incident, "having sex" was forever referred to as "losing the wallet". My friends and I congratulated Greg on his sly ploy and ingenious way of luring someone back to his place under the guise of "losing" his wallet.

To this day, if I'm talking to him or any of my friends from that time period and they are talking about a guy or girl they like or are dating, when the question of sex comes up, someone will inevitably say something to the effect of "Are you going to lose the wallet tonight?" or if it's someone new, "Have you lost the wallet yet?"

I love having special codes like that. I've had many through my life and thinking about them now brings back such great memories. Ed and I even have a few we use when we want to talk about something in public that we normally wouldn't be able to.

Now that this story has come to light, I'm sure Ed won't be so cranky next time I lose the wallet. And because I'm never going to carry my wallet in my pocket, Ed can sleep peacefully knowing it'll never get lost anywhere else but wherever he'll be; hopefully close by to help me find it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Marley & Me
Eddie Gets Handy Friday
The Perfect Neapolitan Slice
The King Of The Flying Salmon

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rings Of Spring

Not only does Meijer have my favorite cottage cheese of all time, they also had what are now my new favorite earrings. And they were on sale for THREE dollars! Cute, cheap and they look like spring!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Map Schmap
A Willow Weeps In Arizona
Double Team
Turning One Million

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hood Ornament

Another photo of the Jeep we rented this week; I like how the bare tree is reflecing on the water beaded hood.

Can you tell how boring this week in Ohio has been?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dublin Is Incredibly Corny

Ed and I were driving around Dublin, Ohio where we've been staying, when we came across this:
When we first saw it from a distance, we looked at each other and said, "What the ??" Upon closer inspection, we realized they were giant ears of corn.

It's been overcast and rainy, so I didn't get a picture as nice as
this one, but I did get one. Also, I didn't get out of the car, so I don't have any fancy schmancy angles that don't include the traffic light.

It's no Mount Rushmore, but I have to say, it's one of the more interesting displays I've ever seen. Of course, I haven't been to Cawker City, Kansas yet to see that giant ball of string.

One can dream.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Welcome To Snowhio
When Big Hair And Denim Were King
Open 24 Hours
Lucky One Eye

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Does It Fall Under Some Kind Of Secret Guy Code?

The other day I was explaining to Ed why I was returning the mascara I just got. I'm sure he didn't care, but I told him anyway, sort of like when reads to me from geek magazines. I felt he should know why I was taking it back, since he bought it for me. The reason? It just didn't fulfill its promise.

I originally decided to buy this particular mascara because of the color, blackest blue. I'd been looking for a mascara that had a little bit of navy in it and when I found it in Target, I was thrilled. I wasn't thrilled it cost $17.00, but because it promised to deliver a "unique push-up effect that lifts and coats each lash to thick, curled, voluminous perfection" and "lashes look so luscious they'll look like falsies" with a "carbon-black pigment used to give an intense black hue to lashes," I figured it was well worth the price.

So here I was, babbling to Ed about the mascara, how it went on weird and that I didn't like the brush; how some mascaras are thin and runny while others are thick and goopy; how the brush on the mascara wand makes a big difference, as some are skinny with short bristles and others are fat and football shaped. How I thought I was actually going to see the blue in the blue-blackness of it, but it didn't seem all that blue at all.

Then I stopped mid-sentence and asked, "Do guys have a thing like this - where they go on an endless search for the perfect....I don't know...just the right....the know...thing. The best whatever it is that guys use often? I'm not talking about hair products or cosmetic things, I'm talking about stuff that you are always looking for the best of. Do you have something like that?"


No thought. No consideration. Just no.

"No?" I said. "How do you not have anything? I mean, I have several things that I'm on an endless search for; mascara, the perfect purse, a great fitting bra, just to name a few. I don't care where I go or how much it costs, I'm always looking for these things. Even if I have one a little bit like it already at home. You're telling me guys have nothing??"

It must be a girl thing because I've had endless email conversations with my cousin about mascara, my best friend about toothpaste and my grandmother (before she died) about the perfect handbag. They all search, just like I do. And all of these people actually have an opinion about the items and know the differences, no matter how slight. I don't think I could ever be like the "regular guy" who would just pick out any old mascara because they're all the same, as Ed would say.

I bet most guys could tell me the difference between that Jeep up there and any other car on the road if I were to say, "Eh, they're all the same."

So there. There is a thing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Over 140 Million Years In The Making
If “G” Means Good, Then “I” Must Mean Incompetent
Ft. Lauderdale Storm
You Don’t Need Makeup Or Starbucks

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Crunching The Numbers

This month marks one year that we've been in the new truck. At the end of each year, Ed does all of our expense calculations to see where we're at and how much, if anything, we'll be owing the IRS.

The savings we have realized with the new truck, when comparing 2008 to 2009, are quite impressive. The numbers below are comprised of some of our biggest out of pocket expenses; diesel fuel, repairs, hotels, parts, meals, truck payments (which we didn't have with the old truck), and groceries. See for yourself how beneficial it has been having a new truck with a large custom sleeper. Both are based on driving 150,000 miles per year.

OLD TRUCK: 1997 Freightliner with a 48" Condo Sleeper
TAX YEAR: 2008
TOTAL: $153,315.19

NEW TRUCK: 2007 Freightliner Coronado with ARI 132" Sleeper
TAX YEAR: 2009
TOTAL: $114,589.23


Almost $39,000!! SAVED. And that's with a truck payment!

But that's not our only savings. Ed determined that we probably saved over $100,000.00 because of the other benefits that come along with being a truck driver and owning a new truck. For example...

- We get a meal per diem from the government. If you don't use it toward meals, you get to keep it.
- The truck is under warranty, so any repair costs are covered.
- Truck payments are 100% deductible, which results in a substantial tax savings.

The other plus is that once we tire of this truck, it still has value. We can sell it and make enough to buy another like it. The value it loses is equal to what it has saved us, so in essence, we break even. We'd never be able to get that kind of return on the old truck.

In addition, we also own our own trailer, which means we don't have to share any money the trailer makes with anyone. You see, the way it works with the company we're leased to is that they get a small percentage of the revenue on the equipment; by owning the trailer outright, they get none of it. And the benefit of their contacts and connections for the freight far outweighs the small percentage they get from the truck. It's totally win-win.

The Neat Receipts program we use to track our expenses has been a godsend. We use it to track our every expense. Every receipt we get, we scan, whether it's for a pack of gum or a $200.00 PM (preventive maintenance).

I've never in my life been so aware of where my every dollar and cent goes. It really gives you complete control of knowing how you spend your money. Of course, crunching the numbers isn't as fun when Ed sees what we've spent at Dunkin' Donuts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Looking Grand At The Grand Canyon
Overshadowing Government
Miami International
Did You Check The Solenoid?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have Pots And Pans, Will Travel

This is our home away from our home away from home. Since our truck, the original home away from home, is in the Fyda Freightliner shop for the bazillionth time for something that should have been fixed the first time, Ed and I are stranded in a hotel in snowy Ohio. I think after this whole ordeal is done, I might be doing a post about how satisfying the customer is probably in your best interest if you are a service provider. To say I'm not happy would be a gross understatement.

Instead of getting a regular hotel room, this time we decided to stay at one of those extended stay places with a kitchen. It's a little messy because we hauled everything out of the truck into the room late last night, but as you can see, it's quite roomy. I'm standing in the kitchen taking the picture, while Ed lounges on the couch.

It's not the most beautifully decorated room, but it has a pretty spacious living room and an equally big bedroom; one that can be closed off by an actual door. Two TV's, a large closet area and a giant bathroom complete the suite. And it's a corner room, which is always bigger, with three large windows giving us a great view of the local snow covered neighborhood.

Tucked next to a residential neighborhood across the street is a Walmart, which we actually walked to today, and The Mall at Tuttle Crossing is also within walking distance. We probably have at least a week here, so I'm sure I'll be hitting the mall, in addition to the local Barnes & Noble.

It was my idea to get a suite with a kitchen, which now when I think about it, seems to indicate I was not in my right mind. I could have had a little vacation from cooking had I not tried to be so practical. I really don't mind the cooking part, but since our room is right next to the balcony that opens to the large atrium in the lobby, I hope I don't cause a stir when the scent from my Sausage & Peppers starts wafting down to the front desk!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Why Would You Want To Be A Zero When Looking Like This Is Clearly A Plus?

V magazine recently caused a bit of a stir in the fashion world by putting someone other than a skeleton in their magazine, deeming the January issue their "size issue" and featuring plus-sized models. “Big, little, pint-size, plus-size — every body is beautiful. And this issue is out to prove it,” V editor Stephen Gan said.

Photographer Sølve Sundsbø took the
pictures featured in the magazine. I can't decide on which one I like the best, but if I were to choose a dream body, it would probably be the second brunette in the group picture; the girl in the black bra and jeans.

The Today Show did a piece on it. I didn't realize being plus-sized was so newsworthy. It's as if they're shocked to see someone who isn't a stick figure in a magazine. And forget about when they put a fat chick on the cover of a magazine, which V also did when they decided to release the issue with two different covers, one with Gabourey Sidibe and one with Dakota Fanning. I'm surprised that didn't make it onto CNN.

My other favorite piece from V is this. It shows size zero model Jacquelyn Jablonski on the left and size twelve model Crystal Renn on the right. Both are wearing the same exact outfit. I've never been a fan of skinny, so my choice for who looks better is definitely Crystal Renn, who as a model doesn't seem to have ever taken a bad
photo. Some girls live to be a size four, but if I were ever to make it waaaay down to a size twelve, I'd feel just like a super-model myself.
The photographer obviously enjoyed this assignment. He said, “I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us.”

Narrow interpretation is right. Since we're everywhere, it would be nice to not be limited to a special edition of a magazine known for pushing the envelope. Right now it's apparent that size still matters, but maybe someday it won't be such an issue.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: The Giant Dirty Bird Goes Sailing In The Four Corners
Soft Core Porn
Almost Fully Integrated
Downtown Scenery And Deals

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Maybe There's A Reason Ed Never Lets Me Out Of The Truck

Ed and I were watching Satellite TV last night and saw a promo for a show called Disappeared. After watching the commercial I said, "That's got to be terrible, having a family member missing and having no idea where they are."

"It's never people like us." he said.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Well, think about you ever see some big burly guy missing? Or a girl your size?"

"Excuse me! Someone could abduct me, you know." I said.

"Yeah, but it's not likely."

"Not likely" because I rarely leave the truck to give them the opportunity to take me, not "not likely" because someone out there doesn't want a great find like me.

Big (no pun intended) difference.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: One Thousand Four Hundred Forty Minutes A Day
2 YEARS AGO: Napolitos
3 YEARS AGO: The Story Of The Uppity Barista: Otherwise Known As A Texan Gittin’ Above His Raisin’
4 YEARS AGO: Rock, Paper, Eddie

Saturday, January 09, 2010

7am In Beantown

The outer edge of the Boston financial district. We delivered elevator parts to the building the sun is shining on, the one with the big red crane.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Taking A Moment To Enjoy Nature Friday
Pull Up A Chair
Brad Blows
Expressly American

Friday, January 08, 2010

Miss Me Like It's Forever

Every Friday night, my mother has my three nephews (her grandsons) over for dinner. She usually sends me an email telling me about their visit and about all the things they talk about when sitting at the dinner table. She is always thrilled to see them and she always has great stories when they leave.

With the holidays and all, it's been while since she's seen them and when they got there, it was obvious they were happy to see her too. She wrote, "The hugs I got from them when they came in, lasted a minute and were tight and happy ones." After the hugs were over, the middle one said "Nana I missed you like it was forever".

Then she said to them, "I hope you always come to visit me, even when you're old enough to drive a car." and again the middle one piped up and said, "I didn't forget. I'm going to take you to Walmart, Nana." What a sweet boy!

My favorite part of the whole recap of her night with them was the phrase, "I missed you like it was forever."

Boy, don't I know what that feels like. And forever is way too long to miss anyone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Speak Already!
On The Hunt
Cash For Life
Nice Melons

Thursday, January 07, 2010

A Mirage Of Sorts

Since our truck only has a forty gallon water tank, we sometimes run out in the most inconvenient places; like the inner harbor of a city that barely has enough room for a truck, let alone a truckstop. Sometimes we get water from a nearby Home Depot or a business that has a spigot we can use. Once, we went to a local firehouse; they always have water.

In this photo, Eddie checks a nearby potable water source. It didn't work, so we had to move onto Plan B, which did pan out, but since he was so close to the water's edge, and on a snowy and slippery edge, I thought I'd take a quick shot of him just in case he lost his footing and wound up in the harbor.

Where he'd have plenty of water.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Clouds Aflame
When You Get One Like This, Don’t Let Him Get Away
A Good Tipper Can Always Get Away With Being A Little Bossy
Like Day And Night In Utah

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Pros Slip In And Out With Ease

When we got to the Northeast, Ed said "When I drive in this part of the country, I feel as if my driving skills have been validated, that my being able to navigate these metropolitan areas is recognition that I'm truly a professional driver."

"You are." Big smile.

"Well," he said, "not too many people like coming to this area, but I've never had any problems."

Neither have I. I grew up in New York and have been all over the tri-state area (New York/New Jersey/Connecticut) by the time I was eighteen years old, so driving around here is not a challenge for me. Driving in snow is not a challenge for me. Navigating traffic, whether it be in New York City or Boston is not a challenge for me.

In a car.

In a truck, it's a completely different story. Not that I have any fear or trepidation driving in this area, as we do it often, and I've driven in New York City, Boston and up and down I-95 more times than I can count now. The roads are tight, the traffic moves fast, and the drivers, although quick to jet around you and get out of your way, are also quick to jet around you and well, get in your way.

A lot of truck drivers don't like coming to the Northeast. In fact, many of the recruiting magazines which contain advertisements from companies looking for new hires will include the promise of "No NYC" and "No Northeast". Apparently, it's a big selling point. Chickens. That's okay though, we'll take it. Sometimes it even pays more to come up here. I don't mind coming back home and getting paid more to do it.

Even though I haven't been driving as many years as Ed has, I still feel the same pride being able to navigate the streets of the big cities (and small towns) of this country.

Even if it does mean greasing the sides of the truck with butter to slip through the traffic and cars parked on the side streets with the greatest of ease.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Mine. All Mine.
No, You Can’t Fly It
Flying Parasols
Seattle In Motion

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

One Provides Light, The Other Just Stands There

A Saguaro peeks out behind a lamppost just around the corner from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!
C’mon In
Eddie Hits The Bricks Friday
Take It As It Comes

Monday, January 04, 2010

Hitching A Ride From The Frying Pan Into The Fire

Out on the road I see a lot of vagabonds. Perhaps they're travelers. Maybe they're wanderers. Most likely, they're homeless. Because if you're not homeless, why would you be sitting on an interstate on-ramp looking like you haven't had a shower in days (maybe weeks) with three duffel bags and a cardboard sign?

You clearly don't have a car. You probably don't have any money (or you'd rent a car). You obviously don't have any friends or you'd likely have someone to drive you somewhere. And it seems the only thing that matters at the moment is to get to a place other than where you are.

Today I saw one of these guys, sitting on the on-ramp in Barstow, California. He had a sign that read, "Needles, CA". It's only 150 miles between Barstow and Needles. And unless he has friends or family there (who obviously couldn't drive the two and a half hours to come get him), I can't imagine why he'd want to go to Needles; Barstow is bad enough, and Needles I'd venture to say, is worse.

What I'd like to know is, what is he going to do in Needles that he couldn't do in Barstow?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Don’t Look At Me Like That. No, Really. Don’t. You’re Making Me Melt.
Eddie Gets Way Too Close Friday
I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You
How To Get Rid Of Your Girlfriend