Sunday, February 28, 2010

Do It For Half An Hour A Day

"There is no use in trying," said Alice, "one can't believe impossible things."

"I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

~ Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sipping In Nyack
The Tink Tink Tinkle Of Recycling
Ralph’s Service Station
The Isle Of Capri

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ask A Trucker

This is a truck driver meme dedicated to subjects that affect us on the road. I would love if some of the other drivers who read my blog would also participate. Either put your answers in comments or better yet, do a post on your own blog and let us know when it's posted, so we can all stop by to read it!

1. What is your favorite Interstate to travel?I love I-95. It goes through my favorite parts of the country, the Northeast and the Southeast. It's either lush green, full of flaming fall colors, or blanketed in snow most of the way.

2. Pilot, T/A, Petro, Flying J or Love's?Pilot; cleanest bathrooms and best selection of coffee and snacks.

3. If you had to travel cross-country (East-West or West-East) would you prefer to take the Northern Route (I-80 or I-90) or the Southern Route (I-10 or I-40)?
Definitely the Northern Route - any time of year!

4. When driving, do you prefer to see the sunrise or the sunset?
Sunrise. Sunsets are okay, but I like the way the sky becomes alive with glow first thing in the morning.

5. Favorite state to drive through?
West Virginia

6. Least favorite state to drive through?

7. What do you think is the most truck friendly state?
There are many of them, especially in the South.  Of course, I think that's because twenty percent of the trucking companies are located there.

8. What do you think is the least truck friendly state?
California, hands down. No parking, too many regulations, strict DOT.

9. What is your favorite town to layover in?
New York City.  Of course there's no parking, but if you're lucky to find a spot close enough to a place where you can catch public transportation, it's great. I also love Shipshewana, Indiana and New England.

10. Las Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City?
Las Vegas.

11. Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast?I think the Atlantic Coast is more scenic, but if you want water views, the Pacific Coast drive gets you a lot closer to get water views in a lot more places.

12. Favorite type of freight to haul?Containers. Easy, no tarp, takes no time at all to load or unload. Although, the ports are always a nightmare. I don't think we've ever been to one without a screw-up or some kind of problem.

13. Favorite company/industry to haul for?
We like to haul stuff for the military. It's usually lightweight, pays well and goes to interesting locations.

14. Most annoying traffic related gripe regarding truck drivers?I don't like when I see truck drivers tailgating cars and I don't like when the don't use their turn signals.

15. Most annoying traffic related gripe regarding four wheelers?
I think there may just be too many to list. Cutting in front of me to get off an exit, not allowing me to change lanes when I've had my turn signal on for a half a mile, pulling around me to get in front of me only to go slower, pulling in front of me and tapping their brakes as if to scare me, riding so close to my ass I can't see their vehicle (only the glow if their headlights), pulling out from behind me on an entrance ramp (not patient enough to wait for us to get up to speed and merge) and the worst offenders...those who pass on the shoulder.

16. Do you drive solo or as part of a team?Team - me and Eddie!

17. What kind of truck do you have and what color is it?It's a Freightliner Coronado and it's metallic black with chrome accents.

18. How many gears does it have?

19. Does your truck have a name?No, our truck doesn't have a name but GiGi’s does!

20. Do any pets travel with you? If so, what kind and what are their names?
No, we don't have any pets, but we sure have room for one.

21. What is your favorite drive in the entire country?
My favorite route to drive in all the country is I-81 from north to south. It starts in Scranton, PA and goes through a little piece of Maryland, a little piece of West Virginia, a nice chunk of Virginia and then finally into Tennessee. In Knoxville it turns into I-40, which goes West across the state, ending in Memphis. I-40 continues at this point, and although I like Arkansas, I'd be happy to end it right there in Tennessee.

22. What state do you currently live in and were you born and raised in that state?
We currently live in Arizona, but I was born and raised in New York and Ed was born and raised in Dallas.

23. What kind of trailer do you pull?
We have a 48' aluminum flatbed trailer.

24. What is your favorite truck stop?
I love going to the Iowa 80 because they always have so much to look at; R Place in Morris, IL because they have an interesting restaurant, and I love Little America - the one in Flagstaff and the two in Wyoming; great restaurants and great gift shops!

25. What jobs did you do before you became a truck driver?
Waitress, Secretary, Nail Tech, Retail, Front Desk Clerk at a resort hotel, Concierge, Operator for the deaf, American Airlines reservations agent...

26. Have you ever been to Canada and if so, which is your favorite Province/Territory? Why?I've been to 11 of the 13 Canadian Provinces/Territories and I think I'd have to say my favorite one is Ontario. It's beautiful, there are so many lakes, the landscape is beautiful, it's got a great cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara-on-the-lake), lots of snow and the BEST of Niagara Falls (The Horseshoe Falls)!

27. What type of weather do you dislike driving in?
I don't like driving in rain at night (I don't mind it during the day) but the absolute worst has got to be fog. Scares the Bejesus out of me.

28. What do you listen to while driving? Type of music, talk shows, etc.
I either listen to music on my iPod (a mix too numerous to list) and talk shows; I flip between CNN, CNN Headline News, NPR and my new favorite, Doctor Radio.

29. Who is your favorite talk show host?Thom Hartmann of "The Thom Hartmann Show" and Tom & Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk.

30. What is your CB handle?I don't have one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Getting Our Truck Tweaked While Making New Friends And Enjoying A Free Lunch Pie*
Sunglasses Also Required Here
Windows Vista, Trucker Style
Being A Girl Again

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Why Play Fantasy Football When You Can Spend Your Time Making Lists For The Halle Experiment?

My friend Charlie e-mailed this week and brought up a topic that I've spent many hours discussing with my friends; the fantasty boyfriend. (Or girlfriend, in his case)

Apparenly, he and his buddy have a running argument they call "The Halle Berry Experiment". His friend determined that if your long term fantasy girl becomes available, your marriage vows should be temporarily suspended. His friend's wife naturally disagrees. Charlie said the conversation came up because they saw Halle at LAX and decided she was the hottest 42 year old mother ever seen in a sweatsuit without makeup. I emailed him back to tell him that I too, saw Halle Berry in Los Angeles; about ten years ago when I worked for
The Century Plaza Hotel.

I was at the Century City Shopping Center when I saw a woman that stopped me dead in my tracks; I think my mouth even might have dropped open a little. It took a few seconds for it to register, but all of a sudden it hit me. Oh my God! That's Halle Berry! I didn't want her to see me gawking, so I quickly turned but circled back around for another look. She was shoe shopping with a friend, looking through the window of the shop before going in; I then waited just outside for her to come back out so I could see her again. Another time, I saw her at an intersection on Santa Monica Boulevard while I was waiting for the light to change. It was near my apartment in West Hollywood and all I could think was, Halle Berry lives in my neighborhood! (OK, not my neighborhood, but close) And if Charlie and his buddy think Halle is hot now, at 42 years old, they should have seen her then. Oh. My. GOD.

OK, so enough about my star sighting, on to Charlie's friend's rules regarding the meeting of their fantasy woman:

1. You must declare you fantasy interest at least one year in advance.

2. It cannot be anyone you know or who you are likely to meet (like the hot neighbor).

3. Your fling can last no more than 72 hours, at which point you go back to your spouse or leave to be with your fantasy forever.

4. If you leave forever, your spouse will be understanding and encouraging.

5. You can invoke the rule no more than once per five year period.

Then he mentioned that his friend is also the man who said to his wife, "I'm a man. My job is to get in her panties. You're my wife. Your job is to stop me". Then he told Charlie, "If some guy offers you a $1M indecent proposal, take it! Get cash up front before he realizes you have $300 stuff."

I read this email to Ed and afterwards told him, "Baby...if anyone offers you a million dollars to have sex with me, I give you permission to take it. And you shouldn't feel guilty or think about me having sex with another guy. Think about the million dollars."

He said, "Have you seen Salena for a million dot com?"

"Salena for a million dot com? What's that?" I said.

"My website."

Apparently there is no need to ease Ed's guilt. He's got it all figured out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I Hope There Isn’t Going To Be A Quiz
Sunglasses Required
Golden Eye
Making A List And Checking It Twice

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Waterfront Dining

The lunch crowd at Juanito's Lunch Truck, parked just outside the Port Newark Container Terminal. It was raining but the workers did not stop coming; trucks stopping every few minutes, lining up for Juanito's goodies.

I was cooking lunch in the truck and watching them out the window, but I have to say, I probably could have made a killing selling food out of my kitchen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Best Is Yet To Come
It’s Not Just A Medicinal Oil After All
Tracy Hilltop
Calming The Flatulent Tiger

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dances With Sheepskin

So yesterday I'm driving along, chatting about Chipotle Adobo Rubbed Roast Chicken with my friend Vicki when all of a sudden, I had the urge to pee. I had been wiggling in my seat for miles, willing it to go away, but it wouldn't. And every bump in the road was making it worse. I told Vicki I had to get off the phone but that I'd call her back. I quickly hung up and scanned the horizon for a place to pull over.

There were no rest areas and I didn't know where the next truck stop was, but then I saw a billboard for Pat Garrett's Sheepskin Outlet. They had a sign that said "Truck Parking". Oh, thank God. So I pulled off the exit and into this teeny little lot. Ed was sleeping but I knew he wouldn't wake because he sleeps like a dead man, so I "made water" and then got back into the cab to back out. Well, the parking lot was small, so I thought I'd pull up to give myself more room and then back up. Before I knew it, I was stuck. Oh shit.

So I went into the sleeper and shook Ed awake saying, "Um, baby? You gotta get up."


"Well, I was trying to get out of this little parking lot by myself because I didn't want to wake you, but now I'm stuck." I said.

"What do you mean you're stuck?" he said.

What the hell does stuck mean??

"Stuck. Like, can't move. Like, I don't know. Stuck." I said. "In the snow."

He groans loudly and gets up to come out and look. This is Ed assessing the situation:

The drive tires were spinning on the ice and even though there was some bare asphalt, none of it was under the tires it needed to be under. The trailer was a little jackknifed, and the back tires of the trailer were up against a small snow bank. So we couldn't really back up. Ed went across the street and got a bucket of rock salt from the gas station people. He came back and threw salt under the tires while I rocked the truck back and forth. Nothing.

We tried to drop the trailer and drive the truck out from under it, thinking the weight of the trailer was making it hard to pull out (usually this helps, but I thought the angle of the trailer was hindering movement). Nothing. We tried to shove pieces of broken asphalt under the tires to grab. Nothing. I did not want to call a tow truck. Do you know how much a tow truck for an 18-wheeler costs?? So we kept trying. Ed is so patient. He just said, "Well, let's try something else." Didn't make me feel bad at ALL about getting stuck. Wasn't even pissed. He told me how he'd been in this same situation before and he was trying all the things he tried then. He hooked the trailer up again and told me to try low gear and rock it again. I did and got nothing.

Finally, Ed got in the truck and tried it again himself. I felt a little movement, then a little more. Before I knew it, we lurched forward and were out!! Eddie has the magic touch. I lost a mudflap in the process of backing into the snowbank, so Ed went to fix that and took the bucket of rock salt back to the lady in the store.

When he returned to the truck, he handed me this hideous thing.

"What the hell is that??" I said.

"It's a rug."

"A rug?? It looks like a potholder. What am I going to do with that?"

"Well, I don't know." he said.

"How much was it?"

"Thirty dollars." he said.

"THIRTY DOLLARS???? Holy shit. Why on earth would you spend thirty dollars on that??" I said.

"Well, the lady was nice. She gave us rock salt. I wanted to buy something."

"You couldn't buy a pack of gum?" I said.

"Well, if you don't want it, go pick out something else. I don't care."

So I went across the street and into the store to look for something else. I opened the door and immediately felt as if I'd walked into Hannibal Lecter's basement. Animal hides everywhere. And it smelled like dead....sheep? Tibetan goat? I wandered around the store looking at the sheepskin coats, vests, hats, gloves, boots, slippers and purses. Purses? I spied an ugly combination mink/who-knows-what coat priced in the thousands. I don't know how it's possible to fuck up mink, but they did. Now if I lived in a sub-zero climate, I might have purchased one of the more conservatively styled sheepskin coats, but I don't. Just looking at it all made me hot.

The woman would not give me my money back (even though Ed was in there just minutes before) and offered me a store credit (why would I want a store credit???). I knew I'd never be going back there, so I just picked something else. I wound up getting a pair of buttery soft deerskin gloves which likely, someone will be getting as a gift.

And if that someone is reading this, know that those gloves were thirty five dollars and they're really from Eddie, even though my name will be the one on the gift card.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Seat You Offer To Your Arch Enemy
The Man With The Silver Handbag
Silver Snowscape
Let Go Let Flow

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olga and Eddie Travel The Country Viking Style

Today Eddie and I were talking about getting a bigger sleeper on our truck. I know, I know, we just got this one but we're already itching to go bigger. There are several reasons, one of them being the regulations that will be put in place in the coming years that have to do with emissions, etc. The engine we currently have in our truck won't meet the new regulations. Another reason is now that we've been in it for a year, the things we had no idea we even needed are now the things we want.

And what we want, is something like our friends
Jenny and Leif have. Our sleeper is 132" long; theirs is 170". It's truly amazing. So, while talking about it we had a few questions for them; how heavy their truck is (they have a Cascadia, we have a Coronado), what's their wheel base, what did they get for their trade in, etc. I called Jenny and left a message and a few minutes later, Leif called back. After a few pleasantries, I handed the phone over to Ed so the boys could talk specs.

After he got off the phone, he told me that Leif suggested we call his salesperson up in Salt Lake City. So Ed got the number and called.

"Hi. Can I talk to Sue please?" Holding.....holding....holding.

"Hi Sue! Yes, my name is Ed and I was referred to you by Leif Erikson...he bought a truck from you."

"Gryttr! Leif and Jenny Gryttr," I hissed. "Not Erikson!"

He waved me off, made his correction and finished his conversation. When he got off the phone he looked at me with that "What??" expression.

"Oh hi. Yes, I was referred to you by Leif know, the 14th century explorer." I mimicked him in a high, singsong voice. (Leif was actually a 10th century explorer, but I didn't know that until I Googled.)

He got it. And laughed. But of course I had to continue.

"And yeah, I'd like a truck that's similar in design and perhaps color to that of the Viking ship that Leif traveled the high seas with..." Ed is so easy to goof on and he's such a good sport!

The conversation ended with Ed and I talking about all the stuff we wanted in the new truck. Who knows when it'll happen, but I'm sure it won't be for at least another year.

And when we do, Ed will call me Olga and I'll make sure we have matching Viking helmets.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They Say
Eddie Lounges In Cozumel Friday
I Think I’m Dating A Narcoleptic
Groundhog Surprise

Sunday, February 21, 2010

NCIS Investigates The Kitchen Aftermath

This is the kitchen after I'd done the dishes I used to cook dinner (pork chops with a cherimoya & pineapple chutney, glazed baby carrots and Orzo pilaf with red and green bells peppers, caramalized onion and banana chip crumble).

Notice my latest obsession, NCIS, on the TV in the background; that's Abby and McGee. They rock.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sometimes There Are FOUR Sides To A Story
Made With Pride
Coke Crushes The Competition
Tired And Mute

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Art Of A French Cooking Friend

My best friend has gone back to school. Culinary school, that is. I've known her for more than twenty years and to this day she ranks among the best cooks I know. I'd call her a chef, but some might not think that term applies to a self-taught culinary master. I do.

She has passion. A love. Unadulterated joy. For all things food. She's the only person I know who calls eggplant "gorgeous" and thinks the scents of basil and rosemary should be made into an eau du toilette. She can pick up a fig and list five fabulous things she can think of doing to it right off the top of her head. The only thing I think when I hear "Fig", is "Newton".

She calls me almost everyday with classroom updates. This week she made fresh pasta, a glorious Béchamel sauce and what she described as "the most perfect Risotta I've ever tasted." She also told me that for her entire life, she's been scrambling eggs the wrong way. Who knew there was a way?? Crack egg, whisk with fork. Apparently, that's not "the way".

And her family is loving the "practice sessions" at home. Every day the kids say, "What is it now, Mom?" I can't wait to visit so I can get in on the taste-tasting and the guinea-pig-being. It just personifies all that we are. The love that we feel for the food, the family, the friends, the learning, each other.

Also this week, I read a quote from Ina Garten, the
Barefoot Contessa. She said, "Food is not about impressing people. It's about making them feel comfortable."

To me, that's what it's all about. Gather round your friends, family and even strangers and feed them. By doing what you love, they'll undoubtedly feel comfortable. When I'm around Vicki, even when she's not beaming with pride at the "A" she got on her recent test, or spouting off the procedure for making the perfect Velouté, she makes me feel comfortable.

I wish her all the luck in the world and offer my unconditional support (OK, maybe there are a few a meal or two to take back into the truck with me) in this endeavor. And someday when I'm sitting at a table in her restaurant, writing my blog, I'll be sure to remind everyone that I "knew her when..."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Supervises Friday
Squeaky Clean
Rushing No More
My Constant Gardner

Friday, February 19, 2010

On A Need To Know Basis

Has Caller ID created an insatiable need to know everything?

Ed and I just had this conversation today when he got a call from an "Unidentifed Number". He didn't answer it. What that unidentified number did though, was prompt him to look up ways one could identify the number, typically through a computer program, before it ever even gets to your phone. What he found, in addition to an extremely difficult Linux based program to do what he was looking for, was a company who for five dollars a month will do the very same thing.

I told Ed that he could give me five dollars a month and I'd answer the calls for him. What a concept, huh? A human screening a call?

This conversation reminded me about when I once worked at a large resort hotel. I knew people in all departments and would often go hang out in the switchboard room with one of the girls up there I was friends with. She told me that she'd often get calls from people saying, "Uh, yeah...your number showed up on my Caller ID and I was wondering who called me?"

"Well, we have over a thousand employees here and over four hundred guest rooms; do you know anyone who works here or who is a guest at the hotel?" she said.


"OK...well then I'm sorry, but I can't help you." Click.

Imagine that happening several times a day. Maddening. If I were to call back a number on my Caller ID and I got a hotel, I don't think I'd be asking the hotel operator who called me. Because that's just plain stupid.

And why do you need to know who called?? If they didn't leave a message, it probably wasn't all that important. And if it was something that looked as if it might be important, like a number on there from the police department or the IRS, would you really call back? Maybe they misdialed. Maybe they decided you weren't the person they wanted. Why stir the pot?

You don't always need to know. And if you do, I'm sure you will.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong
Flying Into The Sun
Riding The Rails
Keeping Me Quiet With A Chocolate Snap

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It May Not Be EVERY Day You Learn Something New, But It's Certainly True Of THIS Day

While in California this week, Eddie and I bought one of these from a local fruit stand. I had no idea what it was, had never heard of it before and based on the description from the guy working the fruit stand, wasn't even sure I wanted to try it.

But I had to. So we bought one. Not cheap, I might add. This one piece of fruit, the size of a large orange, was $2.50. But adventure is usually worth the price, right? And what's $2.50? It's half a cup of coffee these days.

Do you have any idea what this might be? I'm thinking if you don't know, you'll never guess. I looked at it like it fell from outer space. OK, I won't keep you in suspense any longer.

It's called a Cherimoya.

Native to the Andean-highland valleys of Chile, Ecuador and Peru, the only place this fruit is grown in the United States is California. Mark Twain called it "the most delicious fruit known to men."

One exotic fruit website described it as "...a mouthwateringly delicious, sweet, creamy, subtropical fruit combining the exotic flavors of pineapple, papaya, passionfruit, banana, mango and lemon into one luscious delight..." They also had a piece of it priced at $14.99, on sale for $9.99. One piece. I guess I got a real deal on mine.

Eddie and I tasted it and agree with the decription. When you cut it open, it looks exactly as it does in that picture (not taken by me). You just scoop out the fruit with a spoon. It has an interesting texture; kinda like a ripe banana but a little firmer and kinda like a Bartlett pear but a little mushier. When looking up recipes for it on Food Network, to see if it's ever used, I only found three; this one looked pretty good.

If you're interested in knowing more about this ugly little exotic fruit, click

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dreams Of Do-It-Yourself Dolloping Come True
Rest In Peace Sweet Green Eyed Beauty
George And Ira
Zip It Up!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

ABC. Easy As 123. As Simple As Do Re Mi, ABC, 123, Baby You And Me

The ABC building in Burbank, California. What I want to know is....has anyone seen McDreamy??

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Under The Black Palm Tree
The Zoo In Stateroom 7a377
Fiori Di Como

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Missing The Day

This week, an old friend of mine called. We usually talk several times a year but some years, the phone calls come more frequently. This latest call was to see where in the country we happened to be, and if we were hitting all the snow everyone has been getting.

While we were talking, he mentioned something about life when he was single. I said, "Wasn't life back in the day so great? I really miss the day."

"I miss the day too. So much." he said. "What I miss most about that time were my friends."

"I know exactly what you mean." I said.

"Everyone just got along so well and there was such ease in our friendships."

"And things seemed so much easier. I mean, we all had jobs and boyfriends or girlfriends and were paying rent or going to school, but it was different, wasn't it?" I said. "What made it so different? I mean, do you think as you get older, the same things just don't feel the same?"

"I don't know," he said. "I do know though, that I feel sick about the responsiblity I have; the mortgage I have to pay, the bills I have and the family I'm responsible for." He sounded trapped; not by his family, but by the trappings of his life.

I love that he's always so honest with me, that he isn't afraid to say those kinds of things and he's not so prideful that he has to hide the struggle he might be having. "I imagine a lot of people feel that way, but most people would never say it. They just keep accumulating things they don't need, buy bigger houses and more stuff."

"You know," he said. "My wife likes to keep up with the Jones'. We have a five bedroom house that's huge, and there are only three of us. If it were up to me, I'd sell it and buy something smaller. We don't need that much."

A greater truth could not have been spoken. You really don't need that much. I don't know when (or if) most people come to this realization but I think in some way it's always been in me. Being on the road for the past five years has just brought it out more. There is nothing I really need outside of my basics. There is nothing material I would miss were it to be gone tomorrow; well, except for my computer files, but that's really not something material, per se, they're digital files that can't be reproduced if lost. In a way, it's like losing pictures in a house fire. Irreplaceable. The computer though? That I can replace.

When I see people holding down two or three jobs to pay their mortgage, driving a car whose payment is out of their true comfort range, or buying something they think is "better" because it's more expensive, I find myself shaking my head. It reminds me of a roommate I used to have who didn't want to buy a TV "on sale" because she thought it meant something was wrong with it; and who also bought a garbage can for her kitchen (that was going to be in a cabinet and not visible) in Bed, Bath & Beyond for $15.99 instead of getting the same plastic can in Walmart for $2.99 because she thought the Walmart one was "cheap". You're throwing garbage in it. Seriously? Priorites clearly not in order.

I think a lot of people feel pressure to create some kind of fairytale success and happiness that mirrors what their friends have, what they see on TV and in magazines and what they think will make them feel as if they've "arrived". What they don't realize is that unless they truly have an incredible income stream, a good amount in their savings and also a plan for their retirement, they are setting themselves up for more stress in their lives and a feeling of never being satisfied because they'll always want more.

It really doesn't take much to be happy. Experiences, in my opinion, are more valuable than things. A small house is cozy and manageable. A less expensive car will get you from point A to point B. Your kids don't need sneakers it takes a whole work day to pay for. If you think you deserve nice things and it makes you feel better to buy them, go for it. But one day you will look around and realize you can't take it with you and you would have made it through without.

That's why back in the day, things were simple. Often, all it took was being surrounded by good friends; the ones who put you at ease and loved you for everything you were; before the big house, fancy car or job with a title.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Shameless Self Promotion
Dwarfed By A Behemoth Of The Sea
Hudson River Solitude

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where The Bunnies Of The Desert Hang Out

A daytime shot of the backside of the Palms hotel and casino in Las Vegas. Not quite as attractive during the day, is it? Of course, the bunnies are inside.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Marion County Shirt Factory Incident
Eddie Roams The Mayan Ruins Friday
Self Service Antiques
Begin At Once

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Falling In Love With Ugly

The expression "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is well known and understood; everyone has a different idea of beauty.

Whether it’s art, music, literature or people, you just know what you like. With people, you know who you’re usually attracted to. You might have a “type”. Maybe you like redheads, maybe you go for tall guys, maybe you like quirky girls who work in tattoo shops, maybe you’re a sucker for a chubby chick with dimples; whatever your preference is, you most likely have a reason. And that person to you, is beautiful.

But what happens when you decide you like someone who is ugly? Maybe not ugly to someone else but ugly to you, according to your idea of beauty. Someone so outside of what you usually like, you question your taste and wonder what the hell is wrong with you. How can I like this person? You look at them and the only words that come to your mind are wow, they are kinda…ugly. She’s got a weird nose, his head has a freaky shape, she’s got odd toes, he’s got a grotesque scar, no manners, whatever. You can easily identify what you don’t like about them yet you still can’t tear your eyes away. When you’re away from them, they're constantly invading your thoughts. There is just “something about him/her” but you don’t know what it is. Can't put your finger on it. You’re inexplicably drawn to them in ways you never felt.

In fact, when you talk to your friends thinking one day they’re bound to meet, you say right up front, “Well, I want to warn you…he’s ugly. I mean, you’re not going to look at him and compliment me on my good taste in men. He’s just physically kind of unappealing, not that pleasant to look at….but I’m telling you girls, I just can’t get enough of him. I want to see him all the time. I see the ugly, I acknowledge it, and I just don’t care. He is the guy I want.”

I fell in love with an older man once. And an immigrant. And a thief. None of them were ugly. But I have found myself drawn to, and on the verge of, falling in love with ugly.

I think it takes a certain kind of person to love a physically ugly human. Women do it easier and more often than men. Men look beyond the exterior less frequently; if the package doesn't entice, it's perfectly acceptable to move on. Not one of their buddies would urge them to stay with the girl who has the upturned piggy nose, the acne scarred skin or the problem with her weight; there aren't too many men who root for the girl with the huge ass. Well, unless they’re Brazilian.

For me, there's a certain attraction to the imperfections; it's part intrigue and part Miss Fix-It. I tend to see the gem in the unpolished, rough, outwardly unremarkable and easily dismissible rock. It's a challenge I almost can't pass up. And frankly, I'd much rather date, marry or befriend someone beautiful on the inside rather than tolerate a sweet or visually appealing exterior and a rotten core. Lots of people SAY the inside counts but they don't always mean it.

Case in point: I once knew someone whose long term boyfriend told her that she was 95% of what he always wanted in a woman, and although he was attracted to her, needed more "chemistry". I get the chemistry thing, really I do. I think it's one of the things that allows me to love ugly, but if you're going to give up 95% to go looking for that 5%...well, I think you just don't get it.

Me? I'd take the ugly. I'll take someone whose face lights up when they see me. I am strong enough to stand up to anyone who has the nerve to say "He's not as cute as so-and-so." I know where the beauty is and I know
how to release it.

And it’s almost never on the outside.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Love Like This Can Know No Death
Peace To This House
The Sultan Of Love
It’s Even Better Than Arbor Day

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Wolf

These shirts (the entire wall of them) can be found at the Iowa 80 truck stop in Walcott, Iowa. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would want to wear a wolf (or three), bison or Indians on their shirt, especially ones that are so incredibly tasteless, but there is obviously quite a market for them since this wall is ALWAYS stocked. And it's not the only crap of its kind that they sell here; they also have women's purses, hats and jackets with the same artwork.

Some of you may be aware of the
Three Wolf Shirt phenomenon that sparked a bevy of comments on the site. Although it was all in good fun, the shirt itself is actually a big seller, so there are people out there wearing it. I believe the people who buy these must a) have a mullet, b) live in a trailer and c) watch NASCAR on a regular basis. They probably even have a favorite driver.

I don't know how long I'll be driving a truck, but I will bet my life earnings on the fact that you'll NEVER see me in one of those t-shirts. You know the I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur campaign from PETA?

Well, I'd wear wolf fur before I wore one of those.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Getting His Licks Friday
The Place Is In Ruins
Winter Shadows
The Angels Of The New York D.O.T.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Eddie As Fisherman Friday

I wanted Ed to try on this wool coat and cap because I just knew he'd exude that Maine fisherman look and I wanted a picture of it. Boy, was I right!

This is the last known picture of Ed in his beard. I've been at him for months to shave it and he kept saying he didn't want to, that he wanted it to get longer. Longer? Like ZZ Top longer?? But no matter how much I begged and pleaded, he wouldn't do it.

Then...we got a call for a load. And wouldn't you know it, one of the requirements for taking this load (since it was going to a power plant) was to have a clean shaven face; their safety department required all people to be able to fit a mask snugly to their face, against their skin. Having a beard wouldn't make that possible, so Ed had to shave it.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha... <--- My evil laugh. So he shaved most of it off, leaving just a little goatee. He is now once again SUPER cute, instead of just regular cute.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Birds And Barbells On Muscle Beach
A Girl On The Shores Of Cozumel
I’m Not Exactly Sure What You’re Proposing Here
The Blizzard Of 2006

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Flash Of Pole

My cousin is taking Sheila Kelley S Factor Pole Dance Workout classes. She's been doing it for a while now and has been keeping me in the loop about all she's learning. Hearing her enthusiasm about what she's learning led me to look up some other stuff about pole dancing on YouTube which is where I found this:

Now if that doesn't make you want to get off your ass and exercise, I don't know what will! If you were able to take your eyes off her for a second, you must have had someone waving free money in front of your face, because I was mesmerized to the very end.

Who knew a body could do that? It's sort of like watching the Olympic athletes, only better. And I totally love the song, Off With Your Head by Mz Ann Thropik; it fits this performance perfectly.

The video features Felix Cane (the dancer), who is now performing in Zumanity in Las Vegas. Eddie and I are headed there this coming cool would it be to catch this performance live?? Well, if we do, you'll certainly hear about it here!


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: They Hire ‘Em Young These Days
Setting Sail At Sunset
Happy Bee
It’s Not Unusual

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

How Is It That The Fish Don't Freeze???

Those teeny specks at the bottom right of the photo are two people pulling their little sleds across the lake as they leave their ice-fishing spot on the Echo Reservoir in Coalville, Utah.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Meal Even 300 Year Old Monks Would Love
Pull Up A Chair
Brad Blows
The Idiot And The Box

Monday, February 08, 2010

Teeny Tiny Cows Are So Delicious With A Side Of Teeny Tiny Tortellini

While in Shipshewana, Indiana I purchased a whole bunch of meat from Yoder’s Meat & Cheese Company; chicken, steak, buffalo burgers, pork chops and veal. All of their meat is farmed locally and fed with only grain and hay using no additives, fillers or chemicals. Sounded good to me! So tonight, I made this with the veal, and served it with a side of cheese and spinach tortellini...

Veal Scallopine with Madeira Wine and Porcini Mushrooms


¾ ounce dried porcinis
1 cup veal or chicken stock
1 ½ pounds veal scallopine, pounded and flattened
Freshly ground black pepper
Seasoned flour, for dredging
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c. Madeira wine
¾ cup heavy cream

1. In a small saucepan, combine dried porcinis with veal stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Remove porcinis from liquid, rinse under running water, chop finely, and set aside. Strain liquid through a fine sieve and reserve.

2. Season veal with salt and pepper on both sides and lightly dredge in seasoned flour. (Do not do this until you are ready to cook the veal.) In a skillet over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté half of the veal, cooking for 1 minute on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Transfer veal to a warm plate and set aside.

3. Sauté remaining veal in remaining oil and butter, wiping skillet clean between batches if necessary.

4. Transfer veal to warm plate and add reserved porcini mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and Madeira wine, scraping pan bottom with a wooden spoon. When Madeira has reduced by half, add reserved porcini broth , and cook for 3 minutes or until volume is reduced by half. Add heavy cream and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until sauce is thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and return veal to skillet to heat through, about 1 ½ minutes. Serve immediately with sauce spooned over the top.

5. Enjoy!

Click HERE for a printable version of the recipe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sleeping Atop Signal Hill
On The Hunt
Cash For Life
Pool Shark

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Stripping, Vitamins, And Cheesecake

1. What is the color of your toothbrush?
Pink - I just bought a new one today!

2. Name one person who made you smile today.
My youngest nephew; when asked what he wanted for his birthday (he's going to be 7), he told me he wanted a blow-torch and a jackhammer.

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
Watching TV and eating cheesecake at Chili's

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
Hard to choose, but I guess I'd say Twix. I really like Snickers, but it's WAY TOO SWEET.

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?
Yes, several times. And in addition to picking out who is the prettiest (some people DO look at their faces), I'm usually checking out their nails and outfits.

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?
"What are you listening to??"

8. What is your favorite ice cream?
Chocolate. But my favorite thing to mix into it are those thick, Bavarian pretzels.

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
Diet Coke.

10. Do you like your wallet?
Yes. Especially because it has money in it!

11. What was the last thing you ate?
A slice of the creamiest cheesecake ever with a deliciously light strawberry sauce.

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Yes. I bought three camisoles, a blouse and a pair of jeans.

13. The last sporting event you watched?
I don't ever watch sporting events but tonight I caught the last few minutes of the Superbowl only because it was on in the restaurant we ate at.

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Kettle Corn!

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to? tell her that there are not enough hours in the day to read all the fabulous food magazines that are in existence!

16. Ever go camping?
Once. That was enough.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?
Actually, yes I do!

18. Do you go to church every Sunday?
Not even close. I have better things to do on Sundays.

19. Do you have a tan?
Not anymore.

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
Well, I guess it depends on what I'm really in the mood for, but if I really have to make this choice, I would have to say "No, I do not prefer Chinese over pizza."

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw?
Almost always.

22. What did your last text message say?
Fontenal Mansion...look it up, that's where we're going!

23. What are you doing tomorrow?
Looking for a load so we can go back to work. Ed just informed me today that we've had a month off and should probably go back to work tomorrow. Drats.

24. Favorite color?
Black. I try to get away from it, but it pulls me back every time. And although I like almost all colors, black is always my favorite.

25. Look to your left; what do you see?

26. What color is your watch?
I don't wear a watch anymore, but when I did, the one I own has a stainless steel band.

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”?
Outback, Nicole Kidman, Kangaroos and the Opera House in Sydney.

28. Would you strip for money?
Why would one strip if they weren't getting paid? But yes, I think I would.

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Can't do a drive-thru in an 18-wheeler, so we usually go in.

30. What is your favorite number?
Don't have one.

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?
My mother.

32. Any plans today?
Today is over, but the only plan I had was to go to go through my clothes and get rid of what I didn't need/wear anymore and then hit Target and Barnes & Noble. Mission accomplished.

33. In how many states have you lived?
Seven: New York, Arizona, Washington, California, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee

34. Biggest annoyance right now?
The Superbowl.

35. Last song listened to?
Quisiera Ser by Alejandro Sanz. This version was done a few years ago with Destiny's Child. It's fantastic!

Watch this version if you want to see the handsome Alejandro singing alone.

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
No. Why would anyone need to?

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Flip-flops. Well, except in the winter. But are flippies even considered shoes?

39. Are you jealous of anyone?
No. I'm not generally a jealous person. Although I do occasionally covet.

40. Is anyone jealous of you?
Well, people have told me they are jealous of what I do for a living but I don't see that as actual jealousy. To me, jealousy is a hostile emotion and I think people who say this don't say it with hostility, they just mean "Boy, I'd like to do what you're doing - it sounds like fun!"

41. Do you love anyone?
I love many people.

42. Do any of your friends have children?
Almost all of my friends have children and sometimes it's a real drag.

43. What do you usually do during the day?
Hang out on the computer, watch TV, drive, eat, travel, sleep, sightsee, go to the movies...just depends on the day.

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?
Sure. But you know, so many people think saying "hate" is so wrong. I do not. If you look at this
definition, you'll see that most people can find something or someone they know that will fall into this description.

45. Do you use the word hello daily?
Not really. I think it would be weird, when on some days Ed is the only person I see or talk to, for me to say "hello" to him.

46. What color is your car?
I don't have a car. But our truck is metallic black.

47. What size wedding ring do you wear?
I don't wear a wedding ring and if I did, I wouldn't know what size my finger is.

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?
I do have a few people in my thoughts.

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?
Unfortunately, yes. It was probably the
worst experience I've ever had.

50. How did you get your worst scar?
Well, I don't have any really bad ones, but I do have two. Read about 'em here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ocean Front Crowd
2 YEARS AGO: 1 YEAR AGO: He Wouldn’t Recommend His Wife To Anyone He Knows3 YEARS AGO:
A Good Tipper Can Always Get Away With Being A Little Bossy
High School Hottie

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Spring Chicken Celebrates His Big Day

“Last week the candle factory burned down.
Everyone just stood around and sang Happy Birthday.”

~ Stephen Wright (American Comedian, Actor and Writer)

Since I don't have any baby pictures of Eddie, I'm posting my favorite picture of him for this special day. Who knew, thirty-five years ago today when Eddie was born, when I was just eight years old, that I'd be driving around the country in an 18-wheeler with this cutie-patootie?

As I type this, I'm watching him prepare a breakfast feast for himself. Yes, I know it's his birthday, but I am not a big fan of making breakfast. I do however, have a special dinner planned and a cake that I will bake for him later in the day.

So why don't you join me in wishing him a very Happy Birthday?

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Eddieeeeeee
Happy Birthday to you!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

I had this post archived because I planned to do it a while back, but now I can't remember what spurred the list, so since I'm behind a few days, I thought I'd post it now.

It's my Top Ten Favorite Movies list. I suppose this list can and will change in the future, but most of these are the ones that first come to mind:

1. Dirty Dancing
I grew up in the very area this movie took place and it’s almost like living my teen years all over again. I think it’s probably my all time favorite movie. I’m going to list within this entry, “A Walk On The Moon” – same setting in the Catskills and I love Viggo Mortensen and Diane Lane in it.

2. Dangerous Liasons
The diaologue is just spectacular.

3. Stealing Heaven

The story of Abelard and Heloise. Can’t have a stronger bond of love than they did...which was evidenced by what they did to be together.

4. The Piano

5. Life As A House

6. Primal Fear
I loved Ed Norton in this.

7. The Shawshank Redemption

8. The Notebook

I am a total sap and I LOVED this movie. It has such meaning to me.

9. The Holiday

Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz switch homes and find love. Not only would I be SO up for something like this, the casting in my opinion, was so great. Everything about this movie just makes me smile.

10. Amelie
Absolutely charming.

And since I really can't settle on just ten, I want to add a few honorable mentions: If Lucy Fell, Le Violon Rouge, Malena, Shall We Dance? (The original Japanese version), Sing, Spitfire Grill, Alfie, Billy Elliot, Shine, Babycakes (TV movie with Ricki Lake – in it, the fat chick gets the hot guy) and from way back in the day, a mini-series (which is really just a movie split up over weeks and weeks, isn't it?) that I just loved, North and South (with Patrick Swayze and Lesley-Anne Down).

Oh, what fun that was! And just so you see how different our tastes are, I asked Eddie what his top ten were and this is his list:

1. The Big Lebowski (God help me. I can't even comment. Worse? It's really his ACTUAL number one, not just the first one he thought of.)
2. Cool Hand Luke
3. Titanic
4. Aliens
5. Blazing Saddles
6. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
7. Taxi Driver
8. Full Metal Jacket
9. The Neverending Story
10. The Shawshank Redemption

And, after a little discussion (and maybe a few threats), he also admitted that he might even add The Notebook to his list.

So there you have it. Hooray for Hollywood!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Desktop Material
C’mon In
Eddie Hits The Bricks Friday
Built With The Organization Gene

Thursday, February 04, 2010

It Takes Two

It all started with this story:

A few years ago, I was chatting with a stranger in a bar. When I told him I was an economist, he said, “Ah. So… what are the Two Things about economics?”

“Huh?” I cleverly replied.

“You know, the Two Things. For every subject, there are really only two things you really need to know. Everything else is the application of those two things, or just not important.”

“Oh,” I said. “Okay, here are the Two Things about economics. One: Incentives matter. Two: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Apparently, this brief interaction has spurred a short meme that asks, "What two things does someone need to know about your job?" Since there are two of us in the truck, I'm going to give you answers from both me and Ed.

Ed's Two Things About Being A Truck Driver
1. Know how to drive.
2. Know how to use a phone.

Salena's Two Things About Being A Truck Driver
1. It's easier to drive a truck than you'd imagine, and when you do, you realize that everyone in a car is an idiot.
2. Once it gets into your blood, it's difficult to imagine doing anything else. (NOTE: Although if you did want to do something else, you will certainly have plenty of time while you're driving to think about what that something else would be.)

Check out some other answers here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Buona Sera King Louis
The Newest B & B Trend Might Not Take Off As Expected
Classic Sal

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Chillin' In Utah

Ed and I are now in Utah, where it's sunny but snowy. We plan on keeping each other warm. You'll be the first to know if we get out and do anything exciting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Taking The Peas For A Ride In A Cozy Little Shell
A Mid-Winter Pick Me Up
3 YEARS AGO: Sorry, No Post On This Day
Thank You Is Not Enough

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cribs For Corn, Not Celebrities

These metal corn cribs seem to be all over Shipshewana and the surrounding area; I love how the yellow corn looks against the snowy white landscape as you drive by. The corn on the outer edges of the crib, as you can see, has been picked at by animals and birds.

Definitely not a place you'd find a celebrity, but the birds circling overhead were certainly having the feast of a lifetime!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
LL Cool E
High Flame Toni
Forty Two Days
Thank You Is Not Enough

Monday, February 01, 2010

Finally, A Shot At Playmate Of The Month! (Sorta)

I created this magazine cover mock-up to coincide with our being named the ARI Customer Of The Month for February 2010. While we were at ARI this week, they asked us to fill out the questionnaire and told us they'd use it for February. Nice, huh?

Playboy might have T & A, but we have 132 inches and a 48 foot bed. Try to compete with that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Gets His Eyes Checked Friday
Shifting The Sun
My Daddy Is Gone