Friday, April 30, 2010

Young, Poor, Footloose And Fancy-Free

Yesterday, Eddie and I had lunch at Nino’s Italian Restaurant in the Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach, CA. I had read about it online and it was only a few miles from our hideout, so we thought we'd try it. It had been around since 1958, so how bad could it be? We were the only ones there when we walked in; understandably, since it was later than the regular lunch hour. We were greeted immediately and shown to a table. We were sitting for only a few minutes before we heard an old lady screaming from the back, "I need dog food! Don't forget to pick up dog food! What??" That's when she was shushed by a man who appeared to be part of the family. He then apologized to us for the disruption.

I wasn't offended at all, as it immediately took me back to the days in my own family's restaurant. That late hour, between lunch and dinner (we didn't serve lunch, but there was always someone in the restaurant prepping for the upcoming evening's meals) was a time when there was usually only family and staff milling around.

Inevitably, someone would yell something from the kitchen or the back room, thinking they were the only ones in the place. And anyone who was sitting at the "family table" (every family restaurant has one - usually in the corner, either by the cash register, in the corner of the lounge or near the kitchen) would yell an answer back. And as in this case, they owner didn't think anyone was there, because who in their right mind has lunch at 1:45 in the afternoon? I turned to look just in time to see the woman take her seat at the family table, next to her husband, the restaurant's owner.

When you first walk in, you're struck by all the chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. The drop ceiling is made from a large open lattice, which gives the impression of a trellis for grapes. It in fact looked just like the structure in my grandparents backyard in the Bronx, where grapes actually did crawl all over it and were delicious enough to eat.

The dining room was dimly lit (but not dark) and had green leather booths and chairs and the requisite red checkered tablecloths. There were paintings of Italy on the walls and in the other dining areas, pictures of the family and signed pictures from celebrities. This place was old.
We sat and perused the menu. We decided on some Sauteed Fresh Mushrooms as an appetizer. They were made with lots of garlic, a little bit of chopped onions and some sauce I can't identify, but I thought I detected Worcestershire sauce but I can't be certain because I didn't ask.

For lunch, Ed had the Mostaccioli Michelle; mostaccioli pasta baked in the oven with chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, meatballs, tomato sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. It looked good, but I didn't ask for a bite because I was busy with my own food.

I had the Stuffed Eggplant Parmigiana; fresh eggplant stuffed with meatballs, mushrooms and ricotta cheese with a side of spaghetti. I can almost never pass up eggplant and really liked the taste of it. I wasn't in love with the flavor of their sauce but the dish did give me an idea of something to make in the truck. With summer coming and eggplants being in season, I think I'll be making more of it myself.

My favorite part of the whole restaurant decor were these grape lamps that hovered over each wall table. I wanted to rip them right off and put them in my purse. They were purple ones and amber ones and there was even a similar amber colored chandelier of grapes hanging above our head. Isn't this a beautiful lamp? I want one for the truck.

I think the reason I loved the glass grapes so much is because they reminded me of my grandmother. Nanny had a bowl full of glass grapes displayed in her kitchen and I loved them. I knew I should have snagged those when I had the chance! All I would've had to do was ask; as the first born grandchild, I usually got anything I asked for (in the very non-spoiled sort of way).
My favorite part of the whole experience was their story, from how they met to when they bought the restaurant, which was featured in a framed article on the wall inside the front entry of the restaurant. You can read it HERE.
This picture was taken from that article. Aren't they a handsome couple?Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography, Pioneer Woman Home & Garden, Pioneer Woman, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, P-Dub, PW, Pioneer Woman Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen,,, thetastykitchen, the tasty kitchen, pioneerwoman2006, yahoo
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Badass Badlands
Proof That God Exists
Spring In The Desert
Date Like You’re Not Still In 8th Grade

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Three Hundred And Fifty Foot Long Dream

We decided to drive as close to the Hollywood Sign as we could get. We knew you weren't allowed to walk up to it or get close enough to touch it, but we read about a route that takes you up into the hill right near it and that's what we did.
We started on Franklin Avenue in Hollywood and then turned onto Beachwood Drive heading north. You can see the sign directly in front once you're facing this direction. As you travel further north, you get even closer to it. Eddie got this shot as he hung out the passenger side of the car... And I took this one from behind the wheel. I stopped right in the middle of the block because I has seen someone else do the same thing - they must be used to it around here!
As we drove up Beachwood, we turned onto Ledgwood and continued up the very windy road. If you could only see the houses built hanging off the edges of the hill. My only question there is why?? In a land of earthquakes, you really want three-quarters of your house suspended over the side of a hill? On stilts??
After Ledgewood, we turned onto Deronda Drive and got as close as we possibly could. There was a gate that prevented us from going any further and the drive up was very harrowing; skinny, narrow roads with people coming at us from the other direction going just a wee bit too fast.
I stood in the driveway of the house on the left to get the picture above and then zoomed in a little to get the one below. Now that's close!!

From what I read on Wikipedia, from the ground, the contours of the hills give the sign its well-known "wavy" appearance but when observed at a comparable altitude, the letters appear straight-across. And they do actually look different from different vantage points.

Check out the twenty-four hour
webcams where you can look at the sign and you can see the sign looking back at you!

* Pictures are a little blah because it was a bit hazy day we visited.

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Dillinger The Horror Hog
Supernatural Hair
They Must Have Been On Sale
Shadows Of The Setting Sun

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ed Blows A 750

Today Eddie and I went to get our DOT Physicals. If you hold a CDL, every two years you have to pass a Department of Transportation Physical Exam.

They assess your hearing and eyesight, check your urine (for sugars, protein, blood, etc.), take your blood pressure and pulse rates, and give you a visual once over to make sure you don't have any physical problems.

The list of what they check for is extensive: tremors, cataracts, retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, middle ear disease, perforated eardrums, abnormal respiratory rate, deformities likely to interfere with breathing or swallowing, enlarged heart, murmurs, dyspnea, cyanosis, abnormal pulse, enlarged liver or spleen, hernia, varicose veins, limps, deformities, edema, loss of leg, foot, toe, arm, hand, fingers (these are easy ones to spot), whether or not you can maintain a grip on the steering wheel, mobility and strength in your lower limbs to operate foot pedals properly, impaired equilibrium, signs of alcoholism or drug abuse, ataxia and the
reflex some dude named Babinski discovered.

We both passed with flying colors but Ed had to use the
Peak Flow Meter to check his speed of expiration. Apparently, his expiratory flow is excellent since he blew a steady 750 and one 800. The doctor was impressed. Watch the fascinating video for yourself!

Riveting, wasn't it?

Well, we're good to go for another two years, so as they say in Italian, A Buona Salute! (To Good Health)

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Another Reason I Love The Great Indoors
We Think The Only Thing Worth Stealing From The House Would Have Been The Fresh Baked Apple Pie
Not Nearly As Appealing As Gnocchi
Working The Yard

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Boys Town, Old Digs, And A Non-Working Number

California. Where legs are long, lean and tan....on the boys!

I'm not sure I love visiting a neighborhood where the boys have nicer legs than I do, but if you're in West Hollywood, it's bound to happen. It's impossible to concentrate on just one thing since there is so much to look at. I wonder if the rate of rear-end collisions is higher on this small strip of Santa Monica Boulevard than in other areas, what with all the rubbernecking going on. This picture totally sums up West Hollywood to me.
This section of Santa Monica Boulevard, from La Cienega Boulevard to Robertson Boulevard, is known as "Boys Town" and is among the most popular gay neighborhoods in the world.
It's full of colorful restaurants and unique shops; as colorful and unique as its people.
Every Sunday, the Here Lounge hosts SIZE, the longest-running, largest promotion in gay Los Angeles. According to the Here website, "For the past 6 years, SIZE has packed the boys in each afternoon and brought in DJs from around the world. SIZE is a staple of gay LA for good reason – it delivers a crowd of sexy, friendly guys every Sunday, as well as amazing DJs and surprise performances, all without a cover charge. SIZE highlights the best in local talent as well as the big-name DJs from around the country (and around the world.) Surprise (and promoted) performances happen all the time at SIZE, from vocalists to dance troupes to performance artists."

The place was packed. Boys everywhere!! There was music wafting through the air, shirtless men dancing on elevated platforms, and laughter being carried by the breeze.

We also found out (too late) that nearby is a place called Millions of Milkshakes, and it's supposedly a celebrity hotspot. If only we knew! I love milkshakes!

When I lived in California, I also lived in West Hollywood.  Less than a block north of Melrose, about a mile and a half from this vibrant neighborhood. I rented a room from an old Jewish woman named Flo Berman who used to joke that West Hollywood was half gay, half Jew. The gays are easy to spot.  The Jews, not so much. Although Flo fit right in - she wore silver sneakers, vibrant colors, and the wildest costume jewelry I'd ever seen.

I took Ed by the apartment where I lived. The neighborhood was much nicer than I remembered but the apartment, although surrounded by other cute buildings, was a little blah: The other thing we decided to do when we were in the area, was to check out the address my cousin Seven had given me a few years ago. He moved to California long after I had left, but I was surprised to find out that he lived in West Hollywood also - just a mile and a half from where I had been!

As far as I knew, he hadn't changed addresses, so how could we not drive by when we were so close? What a surprise it would be! We were playing out scenarios in our heads as we passed the streets approaching the address where his building would be.  Should we just go up and knock? Call first? Drive by a few times? Leave a note?

Well, it turns out we didn't have to do any of that. Because THIS is where the address took us to:

That's right!! A freakin' mailbox store. He gave me the address to a mailbox store. Who gives out an address without oh, I don't know, mentioning that it's not where they actually live?? Weird.

Now I know what it's like to be the recipient of the fake telephone number at a bar. You know, the one you tuck it away in your purse or back pocket, vowing to call when you get up the courage, and then when you do, you get a recording that the number has been disconnected or is "not in service at this time".

Good thing I didn't come bearing gifts.  Ed and I would have been sitting on the steps of Mailboxes PMB drinking a bottle of wine and eating a box of pastries.

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She Needs To Wear A Bell
I Hate When He Does That
The Toes Of Summer Are Peeking Out

Monday, April 26, 2010

There Ain't No Rodeo On This Rodeo

Ed and I have spent the last ten days in the Los Angeles area. During that time, we had our truck fixed while staying at a nice resort hotel for a few days and then spent some time sightseeing. This week I'll be highlighting some of the places we've been.

First on the list is Beverly Hills and Century City. We hit Rodeo Drive first; three short blocks lined with palm trees and beautiful shops. Since it was late in the day on Sunday, everything was closed, so we just drove through and gawked.

I spied Chanel, a shop I went into almost fifteen years ago when I lived in this area for a very short time. My Aunt wore Chanel No.5 perfume and I was determined to get her something from Chanel on Rodeo Drive; a t-shirt or maybe a trinket, anything from this Rodeo Drive shop. Little did I know they didn't have t-shirts for tourists. Uh, so yeah, I walked out empty handed.
Don't count on seeing any cowboys perusing the shops on this Rodeo (it's pronounced Ro-Day-Oh) and if you do spy any western wear, it's likely to be studded with rhinestones.

At the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive sits the famous Beverly Wilshire hotel...

Less than two miles away, on Avenue of The Stars you will find the place of my short lived employment; the Century Plaza hotel, where a a president actually stayed in the Presidential Suite (I had the pleasure of touring when I worked there and can attest to the fact that it's very luxurious). The hotel has been featured in several movies and can be seen in many episodes of Beverly Hills 90210.

Right around the corner is 20th Century Fox Studios, the studio that produced such memorable films as The Grapes of Wrath, The Sound of Music, Hello Dolly, Star Wars and Titanic.

It was a short jaunt around a few blocks but it provided me with several pictures and a few memories and I thank the obscenely rich for that.Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography, Pioneer Woman Home & Garden, Pioneer Woman, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, P-Dub, PW, Pioneer Woman Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen,,, thetastykitchen, the tasty kitchen,
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Covering All The Bases
Ed Fantasizes Out Loud
Better Late Than Never
The Last Best Chance

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Capitol Idea

A silhouette of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, California; just north of the Hollywood and Vine intersection.

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Blooming Where The Sun Don’t Shine
Eddie Wakes Up Smiling Friday
Gnocchi From The Gods
Blurry Super Hero

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ultima Lavada 9:00 PM

After a great lunch at
Cielito Lindo Restaurant in El Monte, California, I went kicking and screaming to a nearby laundromat to do my bazillion loads of laundry.

They had a new machine there that I hadn't seen before and I had a question, but the attendant didn't speak any English. Good thing doing laundry isn't brain surgery, as I figured it out on my own.

Ultima Lavada; Last Wash. Oh, how I wish it was my last wash.

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Eddie Touches Up The Old Girl Friday
The Morning Sun Greets Guadalupe
Starting Soon. No, Really.
This Mary Doesn’t Go To Pre-School

Friday, April 23, 2010

122 Years And Counting

Home of C.W. Harvey, early Whittier developer. Built in 1888.Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography, Pioneer Woman Home & Garden, Pioneer Woman, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, P-Dub, PW, Pioneer Woman Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen,,, thetastykitchen, the tasty kitchen,
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Sixteen Days Old
Racism Comes With A Convenient Handle
Evening Tide
Glittering Pasties And Swinging Tassles

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Visitor Number 933 To Room 525

Yesterday morning, around 6:45 am, I woke up to a guttural noise. At first, I thought it was a dream. I didn't feel awake. You know when you hear a sound in your half-sleep state and just drift back off? Well, that's what I did.

Then I heard it again. It was loud. Close. I left the sliding door on the balcony open the night before because it was nice and cool and I wanted the fresh, cold air wafting in to sleep by and my first thought was, oh my God, there's a bobcat in my room. Then I remebered I was on the fifth floor and the guest rooms started several floors above the main building, so really, it was equivalent to being on the tenth floor. No bobcats are getting in on the tenth freakin' floor.

So I just craned my neck and listened again, trying to determine the direction from which it was coming. Oh. My. God. Right next to the nightstand! Here is the source of the noise:

A pigeon! Not a ferocious bobcat. A pigeon. Just strutting around my hotel room. I wasn't sure if it was a dove or a pigeon at first, with all the cooing. But duh, those colors just scream pigeon! And he was just walked in from the balcony like he freakin' owned the place. He seemed very comfortable around people, which a lot of pigeons are, since they are used to being around them so much. I didn't approach him or touch him since I was still laying in bed watching him walk around the room, but I thought about it. He eventually walked back out to the balcony and flew off. I must have fallen back to sleep because a little bit later, I heard the loud cooing again and opened my eyes to find him once again in my room.

I was both inquisitive and thrilled to see the pigeon - my grandfather raised pigeons when I was a child in New York and we had a pigeon coop on our property full of different types of pigeons; several of them were homing pigeons that looked just like this one. I had a favorite homing pigeon, who was white, and both my brother and I loved being in the pigeon coop; mostly because Poppy built it for us. We were the only grandchildren in the family who had such a large piece of property and the place where my grandfather spent much of his time. He loved building and tinkering and my mother gave him free reign.

My grandparents lived in the Bronx and we lived 90 miles north in the Catskill Mountain area. My grandfather would often take one or two of our pigeons home with him, attach a message to their leg, and then set them free in the Bronx to fly home to us, where their coop was. This is why I was so excited to see that the pigeon was banded. He didn't have a message on his leg, but he did have a band. You can see it in the video. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I did contact the American Racing Pigeon Union to see if they could provide some information. I'm just curious about whether he belongs to someone. What if this little guy landed here on his way across country? What if he got sidetracked by this pretty hotel balcony? Or maybe he was local. If so, did he come here often?

The funny thing is, every time we see a pigeon, my mother says it's my grandfather showing up in our lives. After I saw the pigeon and then woke up Ed to make him look, I said to him "You know what this means, right?"

"Yeah, yeah." Ed said. "Your grandfather is here."Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography, Pioneer Woman Home & Garden, Pioneer Woman, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, P-Dub, PW, Pioneer Woman Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen,,, thetastykitchen, the tasty kitchen,,
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1 YEAR AGO: Makes A Nice Desktop
Leaning Tower Of Texas
It Should Be Called “Thimble Shot”
Southern Hideaway

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Let's Hope This Industrious City Can Get Our Truck Fixed

Yesterday, we had to bring the truck into the shop. Over the weekend, Ed noticed he was having trouble opening the hood smoothly and upon further investigation, noticed that the hinge on the hood was cracked. Forged metal, just cracked in half. It was so bad, that where the hinge was broken, it created so much pressure that it cracked the fiberglass beneath the grill.

We contacted a local Freightliner to see if they could take us in and work on it. They said yes, so we headed on over there. They looked over the truck, ordered the part and told us it would be in today. In addition, we contacted the clowns in Ohio who have been trying to fix the electrical problem for over a year now and had them ship the inverter here to California so they can do everything at once. I'd rather not have to go back to Fyda; I'm so aggravated with them that I don't even think I'd be able to speak without spitting fire.

Because the truck is in the shop, Eddie and I needed an alternate mode of transportation and a place to stay. So we rented a car, headed to get some Thai food for lunch and then made our hotel reservations.

For the next few nights, we'll be staying at
The Pacific Palms Resort and Conference Center in City of Industry, California.

Here is our room:
The louvre doors slide open to the balcony which has an amazing view.

It was dreary and overcast yesterday and very cold; at one point, it was forty-nine degrees. Of all the sunny California days, we got an overcast one. And tomorrow is supposed to rain all day and be in the fifties. I love cold weather, so it won't bother me too much but overcast rainy days don't make for good photos.

It wasn't raining this morning when I took the following pictures from the balcony. To the left, the City of Industry...
This center view looks out over the golf course and the city of La Puente and in the distance, the San Gabriel Mountains...
And to the right, more of La Puente and in the distance, West Covina.

If we played golf and the weather was better, this place would be ideal, but I think tomorrow is going to consist of lounging around and maybe doing some laundry. We'll check in on the truck when we head out for lunch, but other than waiting for them to finish up, there's not much else we have planned. I like the idea of staying in a hotel though, because sitting at an actual desk makes me more inclined to do the stuff I'm always saying I have no time to do in the truck. When I'm in the truck, I'm easily distracted. I find myself watching TV or wondering what Ed's doing or worrying about getting enough sleep so I'll be able to drive. Here, I don't seem to do that as much.

Thankfully, everything being done on the truck is under warranty, so the repairs won't cost us anything, but let's keep our fingers crossed that they get this taken care of quickly and we don't wind up being here any longer than we have to.

If we are, I might have to start singing rain-rain-go-away-come-back-another-day-Salena-and-Eddie-want-to-play...
Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman,, Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography, Pioneer Woman Home & Garden, Pioneer Woman, Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, P-Dub, PW, Pioneer Woman Homeschooling, Tasty Kitchen,,, thetastykitchen, the tasty kitchen,,
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Free Range Horns And Humps
The Earth Is Sending The Paper To The Folder
Some People Are SAD; I Am Not One Of Them
The Pressure

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Different Kind Of Dumpster Diving

While stuck in California, Ed and I went to Ralph's (local grocery store) to pick up a few things for the truck. As we were walking in, I turned toward the Clorox Wipes dispenser to clean off my hands and the handle of my grocery cart. As I got closer, something shiny caught my eye.

Right next to the dispenser, I saw this silver tote bag sitting on top of the garbage can:

It was one of those cans with a flat silver lid that has a little hole in the top. Because the hole was so small, only one little corner of the bag was stuffed in it.

I lifted it slowly thinking, did someone intend to throw this away? And then I looked at it to see if there was any schmutz on it. I didn't see anything gross, it had no damage and there was a tag on it that said "Designed exlusively for Bloomingdale's". Under that, was the name Helen Barr, Barr & Barr New York. I looked around, but saw no one. It was late, after eleven, and there were barely any people in the store, let alone the parking lot.

So I took it.

It's not leather but it's stitched well and it's lined. I totally feel like I scored; it's a perfect match for my silver shoes. And I didn't even have to risk smelling like rotten produce to get it.
Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, Ladd Drummond, Ree, Ladd, Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, P-Dub. PW

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Federal Glow
My Mother Is An Oxymoron
The Restroom Shell Game
An Eye For Fashion…And Other Things

Monday, April 19, 2010

Incredibly Average, Yet Heroic If Necessary

Exactly one month ago, on March 19th, I got an email from a guy named Kendall who had stumbled across my blog and wanted some information about trucking.

It seems, for over a year now, he and his fiance Michelle had been tossing around the idea of being OTR truckers. They're both pretty young, only twenty-three years old, but have been together already for four years. They had received mixed messages about the industry and although they didn't want to put their money into something that might flop, they were both very aware that any business had its risks. They are both college educated (Michelle has a BS in Psychology and he works for a high tech communications company) and since Kendall had the foresight to invest in real esate when he was younger, they had enough money put aside to allow them to indulge in this adventure.

I responded to his email with one of my own,
probably longer than he anticipated getting, and spilled all of my thoughts about trucking. Ed made sure that I didn't make it sound too rosy and insisted I include some of the situations company drivers have to deal with, to give them an accurate depiction of what they'd be getting into. Since Ed had been a company driver in the past, I included whatever he told me to, hopefully giving them a little from both sides.

After that intial email, I started corresponding with Kendall's fiance, Michelle. We've been sharing quite a bit about each other and that feeling I have when I just know that I like someone, was immediate. She's down to earth, kind, positive and smart. And y'all know how much I like smart people! Fast forward to last week...I got an email from Michelle telling me that they made a decision to go to trucking school and would be staring on May 12th!! Their class meets Monday through Friday, from 8 to 4:30. They'll be done on June 30th.

I'm so excited for them and just know that with their attitudes and the way they get along with each other, this will be a great adventure for them. They are already doing CDL practice tests and Kendall even has them practicing backing in a local mall parking by using a trailer on the back of his pickup truck. He's already pretty good at it and Michelle is getting the hang of which way to turn the wheel to put your trailer where you want it to go.

Michelle told me she was planning on starting her own blog to keep her friends and family apprised of what they were doing and I suggested she start now, to document their time in training also. And she did.

So now I will introduce you to Plum Trucker. Please visit her blog and be sure to follow her too. I'm doing it already and looking forward to seeing the transition from training to trucker. Since my school was very short, I can't wait to follow their progress. If you like what you find over there, put them on your blog roll too!

And as Michelle stated in her very first blog's sure to be one PLUM CRAZY RIDE!!

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May I Take A Message?
Doing The Speed Limit In Your Sleep
Now I Can Go Back To Watching The Show
Ten Of Life’s Simplest Pleasures

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Name That Tree

I see this flowering tree all over the place in the spring and I love it. I've found it in many parts of the country (mostly the eastern half) and it seems to bloom earlier than everything else. I love seeing them lining the interstate as I make my way around the country. Does anyone know what this tree is called?

EDIT: Thanks to Gi-Gi Roxx, who sent me a Wikipedia link, I now know then name of this tree - it's called an Eastern Redbud. Check it out HERE.
Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman. for Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, Pioneer Woman Photography and Pioneer Woman Home & Garden

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Bridge People

A collection of homeless people and their homes/tents under a bridge near the airport in Los Angeles.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Another Day At The Port

Another day, another nightmare at the port. This will be a short post because I'm so annoyed at this happening time and again that I will only be We always think it's going to be an easy load. Pick up a container, chain it down, throw a couple of straps and go. It's one of the easiest loads to pull; it doesn't require a tarp and there's almost no physical labor on our part. Or I should say, Ed's part.

What it does require a lot of, is patience and I don't have any patience. What bothers me even more is the wasted time and ultimately, the absence of pay for that wasted time.

This day started with us making two deliveries; one at LAX and the other at the port of Long Beach. Then, the debacle began. We were to pick up another container going to Detroit and checked in at the port to get it. We had to wait for HOURS before they found it and finally loaded it on our trailer.

Once they loaded it on our trailer, we went to scale the truck. Something told Ed it was too heavy and since the people at the port are useless when it comes to being helpful, you have to think for yourself. And it's a good thing we scaled, because we were at 83,400 pounds. That's 3,400 pounds over gross. ILLEGAL.

So back to the port we go. A few more phonecalls to people who don't have answers, another hour of waiting, another few phonecalls and finally a solution. Take the container off the truck. Ya think?? I could have told you that's what we were going to do the minute we got the scale ticket.

So now we're stranded for the weekend and instead of making thousands by Tuesday, we will only make hundreds. Monday we will look for another load and get back on the road.

And as Ed says, "Another day in the truck."

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Buggin’ Out
Hangin’ Out With Ray Stoker Jr.
Sunset On The Move
Happy Easter

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diamond Studded Proof

A childhood friend of mine (the one receiving communion from the Priest) recently sent this picture to me. I told her I would post it immediately to prove that I actually have gone to church. I'm the third one from the right.

I remember buying that dress in Mademoiselle, a fancy clothing store in our local mall. And the crown I'm wearing on my head is the crown my mother wore when she got married. As you can see, I'm the only one with such a sparkly, princess-y one. I wish I had that crown today. I'd put it in its rightful place this very minute; on my head.

In the email my friend sent with the picture, she said "I will always remember when you walked in with the crown of "diamonds"!!! All the girls were in amazement! At least I about having a mom that was fashionable! Just outstanding!!!! My mom seemed like Betty White compared to yours! LOL Total envy, not jealousy. :-) The German women in my family seemed so "manly" and the Italians were always so beautiful...."

See..."diamonds" even dazzle seven year old church goers. We're supposed to be concentrating on the Blessed Sacrament and instead are checking out the accessories of the other girls in line.

Some things never change.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Art Of Being Tardy

What's with people not being able to be on time? Not only is it rude, it's annoying. And it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine and it seems there are many people just think it's okay. They expect to show up late and not hear a word about it. No, no, no. That's not how it works. Not with me anyway. You keep me waiting, you'll hear about it.

Unfortunately (and maybe it's just to test me), I know waaaay too many people who practice the art of being tardy. And I'm not just talking about the people we expect to make us wait; doctors, DMV agents, restaurants; although, in those situations, I usually don't like to wait either. I'm talking about people close to us. Part of our inner circle of family and friends.

Waiting for people I don't know (or care about, really) is sometimes unavoidable, but I do my best to not be in that situation. If I have a doctor appointment, I call the office before I leave my house to find out if they are on time with their appointments. I'm not waiting in their office for an hour (sometimes more) when I can be sitting in the comfort of my own home, or better yet, sipping a latte. Who do they think they are? I've walked out of places because the wait was too long. Do you really think I'm going to wait an HOUR to eat at Applebee's?? You've got to be kidding me. It's not Le Cirque. It's fucking Applebee's, people.

At one time, I did quite a bit of dating via the internet. You meet online, you chat, you make arrangements to meet in person for coffee or lunch, and you see where it goes from there. And I told each and every guy that if they were late, I would leave. I would give them ten minutes (some got fifteen if they were super-cute) and after that, I would be leaving.

And for people I do know, I make sure to tell them that I think their making me wait is not just an inconvenience, but it's also inconsiderate and bordering on flat out rude. To me it says you just don't care enough about me to be on time. You don't care if you make me wait. You don't think I'm important enough to treat with respect.

Dr. Karen Sherman, PhD said, “Some people are perpetually tardy because they don't have a good sense of time, or try to squeeze too much into the time they have available. Others are late because it's a passive-aggressive way to be in control.”

Boy, do I know someone who fits that description to a tee. Passive-aggressive only begins to describe them. You could tell this person to be somewhere at two, and like clockwork they'll show up at two-thirty. Every. Single. Time. WTF?? If I tell you to be somewhere at a certain time, especially if I have something planned, that should be reason enough to be on time. But this friend does have a control-freak aspect to their personality and thinks they're getting over on me by pulling that shit, but little do they know that the pile of transgressions just keeps on mounting.

Another friend who I used to go to dinner with all the time was always late. To everything. No matter what it was. And he never really had a good reason. So what my friends and I started doing, was to tell him that we were meeting a half hour earlier than we really were. That way, if he was late (which they would inevitably be), he'd actually wind up being on time without even knowing it.

I don't know why it's so hard to be on time. If you know you have to drive across town and it normally takes you thirty minutes, give yourself forty-five. If you know the movie starts at 7:30pm, get there at 7:00pm to give yourself enough time to park, buy tickets and load up on popcorn and drinks. If your job interview is at 9:00 in the morning, get there at 8:30 so you'll have enough time to fill out paperwork, etc. I've even made dry runs the night before when I was interviewing or starting work at a new place that was unfamiliar to me, just so I wouldn't get lost or not be able to find it the next day. In fact, on one of those dry runs, I took my two friends with me and we went to the Indian casino that was near the place I'd be working. That night I won $800.00. What a nice start to a new job! In any case, it's not brain surgery. Being on time is just the right thing to do. It makes a good impression. People do judge you on it.

My third example comes from a friend I used to work with. She was ALWAYS late. Every day, by ten minutes. Which told me that she would actually leave her house at the same time every day in order to be at work exactly ten minutes late every day. As a person who is always on time, this just bugged the shit out of me. Everyone else was in the office and starting work on time, why couldn't she? I eventually started to ask her why she was late and after hearing all her excuses, would say "Well, why don't you just leave earlier??" It became such an issue that my boss changed her start time to a half-hour earlier.

Which of course, she was ten minutes late for.

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Vantage Point
Cape Cahd Hahba
Waxing Brilliant
Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven! Seveeeeennnn!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ah, The Subtle Contrasts Of New Jersey

This morning, as I rose and peeked out my kitchen window and looked out across the Hudson River, at the New York skyline, I saw the pink glow of a new day. It's the same view as the picture from two days ago, just on the other side of the tree (the Statue of Liberty can't be seen in this one, as she is standing in the harbor to the left of the tree).
From my viewpoint I was able to see the silhouettes of men working on the tug boats, which were all lit up and getting ready to head out onto the river. Since I was still in my jammies, I just stuck my camera out the kitchen window and got the shot. Then, once I was up and dressed, I got out of the truck to throw our garbage away in a nearby dumpster and saw this:

Based on the amount of garbage that was on the ground, one wouldn't even think there was a dumpster nearby. Although, I do have to say the Yoo-Hoo bottle totally screams East Coast.

Now I have a little something else to share, something I'm hoping you won't consider garbage; the second half of my Big Truck TV Post.

Last week, I posted
Part One of Ten Things I Learned Driving A Truck. This week, it's Part Two. Click HERE to read it.
New Jersey, New York, Yoo-Hoo, East Coast, Big Truck TV, BTTV, NY Skyline, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, garbage, Hudson River

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A Fishy Pishy Is Never Dishy
A Dash Of Ignorance Makes For A Tasty Treat
Before The Luck Ran Out
Five Guys I'm In Love With This Week

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back That Ass Up

The following pictures are to demonstrate Ed's spectacular parking skills.

The first shot shows the position of the truck in the dock area after the guys at the dock told Ed that "no one can ever get into this dock" and "we've seen people pulling 40 foot trailers that couldn't back in there".

It's a dock that requires a "jack-knife docking" technique - if that's even an official term. Not visible in this picture, across the street from the truck, was a wall that prevented any pull-ups so the only way to get in is to line up a corner of the trailer to the dock and then "jack-knife" it in so it'll be straight when it hits the hole. It doesn't look tight, but if Ed says it's difficult, it is.

Here's another shot of the truck, showing the position of the truck and trailer. As Ed lined up the corner of the trailer and slowly backed the truck up, the back of the container lined up perfectly with the door.

This one shows how the truck was jack-knifed, the truck and trailer lined up and squared perfectly. Each little push of the tractor backed the trailer up a teensy bit more.

You will see how the trailer had to be straight in the dock and the truck angled all the way to the left to get it in there that way:

This last one shows the little dip of the dock area and how Ed (gently, I might add) bumped the dock to make sure the container was flush with the loading door so it could easily be unloaded.

This isn't the most difficult dock we've had to get into and it's definitely not something I would attempt as my backing skills aren't that good since we rarely deliver to places where we need to hit a dock so I've had no chance to practice. Ed, on the other hand, can back into a thimble.

I've seen him do it.
Barack Obama, Sex, Hot Chicks, Naked teens, truck driving, trucking, truckers, travel, new jersey, new york, container port, flatbed, fontaine, revolution, aluminum trailer, beauty, hannity
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Shaved, Slivered, Sliced, Grated, Chunked And Best of All, In Meatballs
Too Small For America?
Waiting For A Beautiful Balsamic Splash
Five Guys I’m In Love With This Week

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Barge And A Lady

In a photo taken from the Jersey City, NJ - just across the river from the New York skyline. Can you see the Statue of Liberty? You can see her little green body and the gold of her torch. Of course it's not a great shot, but it was the best I could do, it was the only view I had.Barack Obama, Sex, Hot Chicks, Naked teens, truck driving, trucking, truckers, travel, new jersey, new york, container port, flatbed, fontaine, revolution, aluminum trailer, beauty, hannity
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Easter Preparation Takes Its Toll
Eddie In Blue Friday
The Man Filter
There Is Still A Chance