Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Office Window

The view out of my "office" window - Snoqualmie Pass in western Washington state, late in the afternoon, just as the rain stopped and the sun started to peek through the clouds. I love this part of the country!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
All The Live-Long Day
What Every Child Leaves Behind
What Happened To Being Human?
I’ve Been Everywhere, Man
5 YEARS AGO: Gulf Shore Toe Magnets
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Straight Talk

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Who Knew There Were Things To Do Other Than Eating Pie?
157 Years Of Light
Call Me. We Have Telephones In Nebraska Now.
Reach For The Sky
Sorry, no post on this day.
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

When She Passes Each One She Passes Goes Ahhhh

I've been listening to an album I recently downloaded from iTunes: Eliane Elias plays Jobim.

I used to own this on cassette tape and had forgotten how much I loved it. Eliane Elias is a Brazilian jazz pianist, arranger, vocalist and songwriter. She's also quite fetching. But aren't all those Brazilian women?

It was actually a young, Brazilian girl that inspired one of Jobim's most famous songs; The Girl from Ipanema. I grew up hearing this song (and all the others on the album), and always sang along; tall and tan and young and lovely...Bossa Nova was in my blood. Listen for yourself.

Click here to go to the personal website of Eliane Elias.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Key To Being Funny
Wishes Really Do Come True
3 YEARS AGO: Eddie Plays It Safe Friday
4 YEARS AGO: What Road?
I’m STILL Looking To Get Me Some Good BBQ
6 YEARS AGO: Say Cheese!!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Into The Wild

While in Maryland, Ed and I have been hunting for alternative places to park our truck while we wait on our loads. Anything that isn't a Target parking lot, a truck stop in crackville or a barren expanse of cracked asphalt located next to swamp weeds and an airport, rendering our internet useless will do.

We've driven around the area hoping to come upon something with the view of the Chesapeake Bay, but so far have had no luck. We've even checked out local marinas so we can combine Ed's love of all things nautical, with my love of being the hell out of the parking lot with no internet.

This week we came upon
Susquehanna State Park in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Click HERE to hear how the name of the town is pronounced. Clue: It's not Have-ray dee Grayse.

We drove into the park, as we quickly found out, the wrong way. The GPS had us coming in the back way, where the roads were one lane and the branches hung low. I can't count how many leaves and twigs we knocked off as we crept under them. At one point, we came upon another vehicle, and even with us each on the edge of the road, we barely squeaked by one another. And the road seemed to get narrower the further we went in. The canopy of trees darkened the light from the sky and the signage to the campground we were looking for was hidden among the foliage, wooden arrows with the camping symbols barely visible.

When we finally found the RV camping spots, with the assistance of a park ranger, Ed looked at me and said, "Huh."

"Kinda quiet, isn't it?" I said.

Kinda quiet?? There was NO ONE ELSE THERE. The only thing we heard were the leaves rustling in the breeze and tons of birds. It was definitely a place one went to be with nature; to hike through the woods, to kayak on the river (wherever that was, because even though it borders the park, we didn't see it), and to definitely get away from it all. And you will certainly be away from ALL of it, because it's miles to civilization.

To be fair, it was beautiful and peaceful, but very remote and not really what we were looking for. I couldn't imagine what I'd do there. There was no cell phone signal, we'd definitely not be able to get a satellite signal for the TV with all the trees, and although the park boasted wi-fi, I couldn't seem to raise a connection. Nope, not really what we want right now. If and when I write my novel, this will be one of the top places on my list, as by it's very nature, there will surely be NO interruptions.

Next on our list is Cherry Hill Park near Washington, DC.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Trucking Al Fresco

Today Ed and I had dinner outside. Al Fresco, as they say. We prepared dinner in the truck (that's it in the background, with the black trailer) and then Ed carried it out on a tray to a covered picnic table at the rest area we stopped at in North Dakota. He was beyond ecstatic.
We had Delmonico steaks, smashed potatoes with the butter I bought at the farmer's market, corn niblets and a side salad. Real food, served on real plates, with real silverware. Delightful.

While I finished up the dishes, Ed took out the trash. That's about as domestic as it gets out here on the road. It's my turn to drive now, which I will do as I listen to my audio book and watch the sun set.

Up next, dessert under the stars.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
3000 Miles To Squidland
It Could Be Africa If It Weren’t For The Schlitterbahn
How To Ace A Job Interview
Diver Down
Day Tripping
Nipple Rock

Friday, June 24, 2011

Traffic Might Just Have Saved My Life

Yesterday, we were stuck in traffic for about an hour before even getting to the real traffic jam. It took that long to travel the length of this on-ramp, and thirty minutes from where I was sitting in this photo to that underpass.

My first thought was, how can people sit in this kind of traffic to go to/from a job??? I would slit my wrists if I had to do this everyday. NO job is worth this aggravation. I couldn't raise anyone on the CB to give me any information; was it just regular workday traffic, construction, an accident?, so I just crept along with everyone else.

There is a weigh station on the other side of the underpass, and with the traffic, I was hoping it'd be closed. When I rounded the bend and saw that it was, I pulled into the right lane (which was open because it was the HOV lane) and bypassed everyone who was sitting at a dead stop. My clutch leg was killing me and there was no way I could do this for another hour. The weigh station is also a rest area, which was packed on the car side, but which had one spot left on the truck side. Ahhhh, perfect. It was dinner time and I figured we'd pull over, I'd cook dinner, and then we'd head out again.

We then heard on the CB that there was an accident and the state police had shut down the highway; it was likely going to stay that was for a few hours. Well, hell...I wasn't venturing out in that, so we decided after dinner to just hit the sack. We could get up early tomorrow and be on our way, with no traffic to deal with; for sure, they'd have it cleaned up by then.

Later in the night I found out that the road closure was due to an accident, someone going the wrong way on the interstate. The driver of the wrong way vehicle (54 years old) was dead, another (18 years old) seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital. Eyewitnesses said the guy going the wrong way was traveling at a high rate of speed and crossed over some barriers, into the opposite lane of traffic. I don't have any sympathy for those who speed and drive recklessly, and don't really care much if they die in the process, as long as they don't kill anyone else. In this case though, I'd like to know more about what happened. It's unusual for a fifty-four year old to be speeding in that manner, I'm wondering if maybe there was a health issue involved; heart attack, stroke, etc.

There are just too many accidents out here caused by people who are reckless. They drive WAY too fast, weave in an out of traffic, tailgate, text, talk on their phones, cross three lanes of traffic to get off an exit ramp, cut people off. It's all very easy to see from the elevated seat of an 18-wheeler, and when I'm going fifty-eight miles an hour to be safe and save on fuel, these idiots are creating dangerous situations for not just me, but for everyone.

I certainly hope the eighteen-year-old is okay. You shouldn't have to worry about dying on your way home from work, on the way to pick up your girlfriend, or when heading out to the mall. As for the dead guy; I'm sorry that his family has to deal with that loss. Whether he was speeding, driving recklessly or just being an idiot, I'm sure someone loved him.

Me? I'm just glad I was stuck in traffic instead of on the other side of the barrier when a speeding car came careening over it. Someone's certainly watching out for me and my Eddie.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Art Enables Us To Find Ourselves And Lose Ourselves At The Same Time

I recently acquired this drawing, which was done by my father in 1978; when I was in the Bronx a few weeks ago for a family funeral, my Aunt Rose (my father's sister) gave it to me. It was folded, in an envelope, among some old photos. As soon as I saw it, I knew I'd have it matted and framed as a gift for my brother.

I took it to Michael's craft store to have it professionally framed although this photo doesn't really do it justice. I wanted somethign that would fit with my brother's Tuscan-styled home. Something rustic, but not cowboy-ish or western, since it was an Indian. The frame is a dark, almost black distressed wood and the thick brown matting, when viewed up close, looks like weathered leather. The other two mats, the lighter brown and the thin line of black, really contrast beautifully against the old yellowed paper and the pencil strokes of the drawing.

I really don't know why my father chose to draw an Indian. My mother was into Indians for a while, so maybe he was indulging her interest, but whatever the reason, it was such a treasure to see and hold in my hands. My father sketched quite a bit and was responsible for creating the painted scenes on the two picture windows of our house each Christmas season.

I shipped it to my brother for father's day and I'm happy to report it was a hit, my brother really liked it. Looking at this drawing with its crease across the center and my father's signature in the bottom right hand corner, really gives me a happy feeling. And knowing that my father's art will now live on one of the walls of my brother's home, and be passed on to one of my three nephews, make me even happier.

Something else I got out of this framing experience (it's the first time I've had something professionally framed), was the fact that having something professionally framed exponentionally raises its beauty and appeal. Preserving this kind of work, especially since it was done by my parent, is very important to me. My mother is a very talented watercolor artist and I've always wanted to have her work framed in a similar manner, but have never done it. Seeing this drawing just sealed the deal for me.

** The title of this post is a quote by Thomas Merton, American Writer and Trappist Monk

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Even God Can’t Help Men
My President’s House
Don’t Give Up Hope If You Just Don’t Know What You Want To Be When You Grow Up, You Have Choices
Alright, Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready For My Close-Up
Stone Magnolia
Fitty Nine!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Small Place, Big Flavor

This week we came across a little hole in the wall called Fiesta Mexicana, located in Rosedale, MD. I found it through Urban Spoon, an app on my phone that I've used many times when in an unfamiliar area.One of the biggest concerns with places like this, is parking for the truck.

Since we only had the tractor, we figured we'd have a better chance of finding a spot but once we got there, the parking was as limited as the seating. We were lucky enough to find a spot in a business across the street that had closed for the day, and made our way in. It was a brightly painted place, with only six or seven tables. The kitchen area behind the counter was in full view.
On the recommendation of the owner, we started with El Nido, a dish of black beans mixed with chorizo and served with chips. It was delicious. After that, we both had the Paquet Eduques, a combination plate. On it were two enchiladas, one quesadilla, one flauta, one sope and one taco.

The taco (shown below), made with Campechanos (chorizo and beef) and topped with cilantro, diced raw onions and lime, was my favorite. Behing the taco, you can see the edges of the Sope, which is a thick tortilla that's hand made, pinched on the rim to hold the filling of your choice (I got Carne de res - shredded beef), garnished with lettuce, crema and queso fresco. That was pretty good too - I love the fat little tortilla.

The flautas were nice and crispy, I got mine filled with chicken (but I should have ordered beef!) and they were also served with lettuce, crema and queso fresco and the Quesadilla (shown below) was a little different than what I was used to. Rather than two tortillas grilled with filling between, this was hand made from fresh corn dough, pressed into a pocket, sort of like an empanada (or and Italian calzone) that was stuffed with the filling of your choice (cheese, beans, mushrooms, roasted poblano peppers, potatoes, chicken, beef, chorizo, etc.). I had one cheese and one chicken. Topped again wtih lettuce, queso and crema fresca. I kind of liked the tortilla like this...the dough was good and I liked the crispiness of it.

The only thing we didn't try (and I think I might regret) is the Pambazo: a traditional Mexican sandwich, found on food carts throughout Mexico City and other regions of Mexico. It's made using a fresh roll, brushed with guajillo sauce (spicy red sauce), pan seared and stuffed with chorizo (sausage) and papa (potatoe), garnished with lettuce, crema fresca and queso fresco. It looked delicious from the picture on the wall.

Looks like we have something to look forward to for next time!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Extra Large Bargain

Another laundromat photo to add to my ever-growing collection. Who ever knew I'd see so many laundromats, in so many cities, in so many states? A laundromat in every port, if you will.

I'm kind of a laundry whore.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Old As She Was, She Still Missed Her Daddy Sometimes

Above, a photo collage of my father with me and my brother (click to make bigger). Below, quotes about fathers. Happy Father's Day to you all!!

“My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”
~ Harmon Killebrew (American Baseball Player)

“A man knows he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.”
~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombian Writer, 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature winner)

“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”
~ Charles Wadsworth (Classical Pianist)

“Becoming a father is easy enough, but being one can be very rough.”
~ Wilhelm Busch (German Painter and Poet)

“My son is my son till he have got him a wife, but my daughter’s my daughter all the days of her life.”
~ Thomas Fuller (British Clergyman and Writer)

“A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.”
~ Enid Bagnold (English Writer)

“My Dad used to tell me that if they challenge you to an after-school fight, tell them you won’t wait – you can kick their ass right now.”
~ Cameron Diaz (American Actress)

“The joys of parents are secret, and so are their griefs and fears.”
~ Francis Bacon, Sr. (English Lawyer and Philosopher)

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”
~ George Herbert (English Poet)

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
~ William Shakespeare (English Dramatist, Playwright and Poet)

“A greedy father has thieves for children.”
~ Serbian Proverb

“A bad father has never a good son.”
~ Latin Proverb

“An angry father is most cruel towards himself.”
~ Publilius Syrus (Roman Author)

“My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it. I never did like work, and I don’t deny it. I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh – anything but work.”
~ Abraham Lincoln (16th US President)

“No one would be foolish enough to choose war over peace – in peace sons bury their fathers, but in war fathers bury their sons.”
~ Croesus of Lydia

“I’m so ugly, my father carries around a picture of the kid who came with his wallet.”
~ Rodney Dangerfield (American Comedian)

“We never know the love of our parents for us till we have become parents.”
~ Henry Ward Beecher (US Congregational Minister)

“Children learn to smile from their parents.”
~ Shinichi Suzuki (Japanese Violinist)

“My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.”
~ Aldous Huxley (English Novelist)

“I wrote a letter to my dad. I was going to write ‘I really enjoyed being here’, but I accidentally wrong ‘rarely’ instead of ‘really’. But I still wanted to use it, I didn’t want to cross it out, so I wrote ‘I rarely drive steamboats, Dad. There’s a lot of shit you don’t know about me. Quit trying to act like I’m a steamboat operator.’ I know this letter took a harsh turn right away.”
~ Mitch Hedberg (American Comedian)

* The title of this post is a quote by Gloria Naylor, African-American Novelist and Educator

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Crafty Little Bugger
Beauty For A Buck
What My Thoughts Sound Like When Left Uncensored And Ultimately, Formed Into Words
New York Style
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer On The Farm

Yesterday while driving around the area, Ed and I came across Richardson Farms, an absolutely beautiful farm market that sells the most gorgeous produce I think I've ever laid eyes on. A fifth generation family farm, they have 300 acres that provide the bounty they sell. And if they don't grow it, they have friends that do.

In addition to the rainbow of produce, they have a kitchen which sells "the freshest chicken in the area", duck, rabbit, turkey and right along side of that, the deli, which sells cooked chicken, sandwiches, fresh made sides, and more. In the store, there are shelves of jams and jellies, pickled goods, cheeses, hull-less popcorn, fresh canned sauces, marinades, etc.
There was also a dessert section, where I bought THE MOST AMAZING cheesecake I've ever eaten. It was so creamy, light, and fluffy, it must have been made by folding angel tears into whatever creamy base they used and then mixing it while kittens purred in the background.

We left the store with milk (which they sell in glass bottles!), roll butter (which is made from the first cream; most butters are made from the whey cream, which is a by-product of cheese making), peaches, cantaloupe, and a giant seedless watermelon that tasted like it was marinated pink sugar water.

I think it gave me a cavity.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Old Timey Road Trip

I told you I was loving the effects of Instagram. Here's another style I really like. I don't remember where we were when I took it, but Ed was driving. The finished product reminds me of a road trip you'd take as a kid, in the kind of station wagon that had wood paneling on the sides. Good times.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hotel Special Effects In An Instant

Last night we stayed at the nearby Hilton that seems to be becoming "our hotel". So much so, that we're part of the Hilton Honors program to get points for our stays. We were getting a new radiator put in the truck and the guys didn't finish in time, so we had to sleep here for the night. Yeah, I know; it sucks.

While I was waiting in the lobby for Ed to come get me, I took this picture with my iPhone and then transformed it with a filter using the
Instagram app. It looks like something you'd see in someone's photo album from way back when. It's super cool and I'm totally addicted to it. I love the effects they add to photos. Be suprised to see more of them showing up here!

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The Great American Shoe Hunt
The First Glimpse Of The People’s Coast
Ohhhh, So This Is How It Works
Can You Hear Me Stereotyping Now?
In The Kitchen With Eddie
Top Ten

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

No Fudd Found Near This Fountain

The route we've been running for the last few weeks, takes us right by Elmer's Fountain in Mullan, Idaho. I passed it many, many times before I saw it. And then when I did finally see it, I couldn't figure out how to get to it. Until I did.

I have been wanting to take pictures of it for weeks, but I was either passing at night, or it was raining, or I was on the wrong side of the interstate. But here it is. This is the main fountain, the one you can see from the interstate. It sits in a ring of moss-covered rocks and is beautifully rustic sitting in its lush surroundings.

The fountain is made of old mining parts and from what I've read, flows all year round, even in the dead of winter. In this photo, you can see the second fountain in the background. It's so quiet and peaceful, even though it's feet from the interstate.
If you're planning on stopping by, know that it's on the south side of the interstate and only accessible if you're going eastbound. Get off at Exit 66, which is the Gold Creek exit. There is no place to park a semi-truck, but there's never anyone around, and you can probably stop quickly to take a picture.

Click HERE to read a more detailed story about the fountain.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Very Thoughtful Man
SPAM: Not The E-mail Kind
How Casting A Memory Begins With A Fish
A Weekend At The End Of The Rainbow
If I Were In People Magazine…
Free Mudflap

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Our truck at the Boeing hangars where we delivered thrust reversers for the new 747-8's they're building. The building the truck is in front of, is the largest building in the world by volume; it's 472,370,319 cubic feet and cover 98.3 acres!! Ed talked to one of the guys at the building and he said at any one time, there are eighteen 747's in the building being built. EIGHTEEN!

Looks like we found a place to park when we're in the neighborhood! I'm not going to buy that they "don't have any room".

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Kansas Needs A Few Other Representatives
Something’s Afoot
The Color Of Aging
The Great Equalizer
Almost My Town

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pride Of The United States Air Force

It's unfortunate that some people have to hide who they really are, while protecting the rights of others being who they want to be.

Military or not, I SURE AM glad to have these people as part of my world.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Except It's Not Four, It's ONE

A few days ago I was on the phone with my mother, passing the time as I was driving. She, while on the phone with me, was passing time as she was doing chores around the house.

She did dishes, swept the back porch, folded some clothes, and then eventually got around to cleaning the kitty litter.

I could hear her huffing and puffing, as I knew she was bending over, sweeping the excess litter from around the pan, gathering it into the dustpan and dumping it in the garbage. By the sounds I heard over the phone, I also knew she was scooping out dried cat turd; she buys the clumping litter, so anytime the cat pees or poops, it clumps up into a little nugget.

I have no idea what we were talking about, but she broke in with, "Oh my god. I can't believe how much is in here. This cat shits like she has four assholes!"

And that, my friends, is my mother. Mind you, even with that comment, there was no break in the conversation; we continued talking as if that was the most normal thing in the world to say.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: A Few Pictures And Less Than A Thousand Words
2 YEARS AGO: Explosions Of Color And Flavor
3 YEARS AGO: A Big Gay Case Of Mistaken Identity
4 YEARS AGO: Gilding The Shopping Lily
5 YEARS AGO: Dog Day Afternoon
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ed And His Wahini

Me and my Eddie after dinner at the T/A in North Bend, Washington. I stole the flower from the bush outside the restaurant; we look like we're in Hawaii instead of a truck stop in the Pacific Northwest!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Beauty Vs. Practicality
No Mussel Kneaded When Eating Homemade Bread
Dog Day Afternoon
A Prayer For Alberta
Tassimo Time
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Ed's first visit to IKEA. Clearly, he understands the concept of relaxing.

(According to Google Translate, "relaxing" in Swedish is "avslappnande".)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Fellagiarism: Stealing Fellatio Techniques
The View From Cap Sante
Highway 333 Fishing Shack
Summer Lovin’
Clowning Around
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

They're Not As Loud When They're Relaxing

Today, while checking out the nearby Bar Harbor RV Park where we are considering staying while in the area, we came across these beautiful ducks.

Now I know where the AFLAC duck goes for vacation.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Black Magic On A Cracker
Hidden Fluff
Post-Tornado Sky
Eddie Ooh Rah Friday
The Human Jeweler
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I Never Did Like The Feeling Of Hair In My Mouth

I almost got into a disagreement with a waitress in an Italian restaurant the other day because she insisted Angel Hair and Capellini are the same thing. But I did good, I held my tongue and ordered Spaghetti instead.

I know that some people may consider Capelli d'angelo (literally, angel hair) to be Capellini, just a thinner version of it. But when I grew up, Angel Hair and Capellini are two distinctly different things. As I explained to Ed, after the waitress walked away, Capellini is one notch above Angel Hair and one notch below Vermicelli. Just like in this picture.

As you can see in the photo, from the bottom up - in a brand I don't buy, but one which had all the sizes of pasta I wanted to illustrate - is Spaghetti, Thin Spaghetti, Vermicelli, Capellini and then Angel Hair; which really is thin as hair, a strand size I don't like.

And, the list of pasta I found on Wikipedia agrees with me, so it must be true. Take that, Italian restaurant waitress girl!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Highs Were High But The Lows Are Even Lower
The Preferred Route For Geriatric Men In South Bend, Indiana
I’m Glad The Great Spirit Was A Dirt Thief
Polishing My Listening Skills
The Protective Roommate

Monday, June 06, 2011

Thirteen Years. That's How Long It Takes To Get A Cap And Gown.

It's June. Graduation season. Many people are celebrating their children leaving one institution, knowing that in just a few short months, they'll be entering another; hopefully, it's college and not jail. Watching your child go from high school to college is pretty normal.

What's NOT normal, are kindergartners in caps and gowns and kids having "graduation ceremonies" to go from fifth to sixth grade. What the hell is that?? Why are children getting "diplomas", wearing a cap and gown and receiving expensive "graduation" gifts for doing something they're supposed to do?
Rewarding a kid for this just gives them a false sense of accomplishment; they haven't really done anything. And in the case of a kindergartner, they've barely learned how to write their name, what makes them deserve a cap and gown?? Or even a ceremony for that matter.

We should reward children when they EXCEL, not when they do something every kid in the country does. You're supposed to go to school. And you're supposed to advance from one grade to another. That's how it's done. You don't get any special prizes, ceremonies or kudos. A "nice work, honey" here or a "good job, buddy" there is fine. You can be proud of your five-year-old's coloring prowess or time-telling skills. You can be happy your fifth-grader didn't get put in detention all year. That's all acceptable.

But to have a big ceremony because a kid went from one grade to the next? Ridiculous. Cap and gown? Absurd. And people who spend their hard-earned money on a cap and gown for their kids? Idiots. If people keep rewarding their children for being mediocre, or just doing what's required of them, those kids are going to grow up and expect everyone to treat them like rock stars for doing what they're supposed to be doing. They become the one who thinks all they have to do is show up at work to get a paycheck. It's bullshit.

You get rewarded when you excel. When you go above and beyond. When you're exceptional. And you get the cap and gown when you graduate high school or college. Or better yet, Med School.
Robert Brooks, faculty psychologist at Harvard Medical School said, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments.”

Moving from one grade to the next does not qualify as a real accomplishment.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Shopping With Piggly-Wiggly (And Ed)

Isn't Ed the best?? He will do almost anything for me. And he always does it with a smile!

This photo was taken specially for my cousin Ro, who has a (some may say unnatural) love of all things swine. Hi Ro-Ro!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
T.G.I. What Day??
A Cloudy Crescent Moon ON An Overcast Day
Show Her A Big One!
Crazy. Yinty. Cool.
Just Bring Chips
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post for this day.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Sitting In Style In Shipshe

We finally got our new seats! On our way back across the country, we stopped in Elkhart, Indiana and had them do the installation. They're pretty comfy and I'm so happy to get rid of those bricks I was sitting on. Here's a half-assed cell phone picture:

While in that area, we also stopped at ARI in Shipshewana to get our air-conditioning unit fixed. Can't go into the summer with no air. I'd be an evil bee-otch were that to happen.

We had lunch at the Blue Gate and then did a little shopping at
Yoder’s Department Store; they have absolutely everything! I salivate when I'm in that store. I only bought a few things, but none of the items in the pictures here...

As usual, I love my time spent in Shipshewana, even if it's only a day. Can't wait to get back!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Listen Up!

I've been on an rampage; I've already spent well over $175.00. The following are some of the audio books I've listened to in just the last few weeks; there are more waiting and the rest are made up of all things Gervais. I'm not at all good at book reviews, so I've included the link for you to go read the synopsis for each book yourself. My thoughts are in italics. I might not be good at book reviews, but I'm pretty good at telling you what I think.

Water For Elephants

Did not like this book at all. TOO much circus detail. Not an interesting storyline in my opinion. Too much about the animals. Not a strong enough love story. Too much gratuitous sex and/or sexual content. Might consider seeing the movie, but would not recommend the book to anyone.

The English American

The author actually read this book herself. I loved her British accent, her attempt at a Southern accent and the other voices she did for characters. It was funny, or as the English might say, cheeky. It was just okay. Funny in many places, good characters, but I just didn't like the way it ended. I might recommend it, if the person were to find it on a sale rack.

A Rule Against Murder

I loved the way this was written. The detail. The description of the characters. Investigator Gamache - apparently, he's a character in several of her books. I would definitely read something else written by Louise Penny. And I love that that story was set in Canada, as I love love love my neighbor to the north.

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Interesting. Well written. But not my favorite. I liked the Kite Runner story better - even though I only saw the movie. I do love the Afghan setting and the story about the people of that region.

Inside The Kingdom: My Life In Saudi Arabia

I bought this before Bin Laden was killed, and it was interesting to read/listen to after the fact. It seems they were not very close to him at all, but her husband (bin Laden's brother) seemed to be a very difficult man to live with. And the Saudi Arabian lifestyle is a bit oppressive for the women. No big surprise to anyone there. I probably wouldn't recommend it, but I would say it had some interesting tidbits.

The Blood of Flowers
I loved this book. LOVED. I loved the author and I loved the woman who read the book - Iranian-American actress Shohreh Aghdashloo. As I said in a prior post, her voice is hypnotically gorgeous. I loved the subject matter. I loved the vivid descriptions. I felt as if I were there. And I'm very intrigued by the culture in Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. There were many Arabic words and phrases I learned from this book, my favorite being
In šāʾ Allāh - pronounced Insha' Allah - in my head, I keep trying to figure out ways to work it into conversation. I find much of the language to be beautiful. It's definitely a book I would recommend and I'd read anything else written by her.

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Spread Sunshine All Over The Place
Cows, Coffee And BJ’s
Lining Up For Lobster Season
Worth Every Penny
Everybody Is Everything
6 YEARS AGO: Stuck In A Southern Vortex

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Interviewed By A Pixie

Last year, Evil Pixie did an interview with me for her blog. I'm going to include all of the interview questions below, but to see more, click here for the original post.

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Tell us a little about yourself…
My name is Salena Lettera, I’m 43 years old and I’m a truck driver. Originally from NY but currently living in Arizona, I travel the country with my boyfriend of more than six years, Eddie; a born and bred Texan. I don’t hold it against him. Although I’ve always loved driving (I was the one who’s car everyone would pile into before heading out to the mall, the club, the beach), I never thought I’d become a truck driver. Then I met Ed, who had already been driving for almost ten years at that point. Since I wanted to be with him, I went on the road for two years as a passenger, and after that, went to trucking school to get my CDL. We now we drive as a team and I consider what I do to be the best job I’ve ever had!

Aside from blogging, what other creative outlets do you have?
I love to write, everything from short stories to poetry to resignation letters. If any of my friends need help with a writing project, they usually come to me. I have written website profiles, resumes, break-up letters, etc. I also like to take pictures and cook. In the truck, hobby time is limited. Before trucking, I used to sew, make cloth dolls, do crafts like Christmas ornaments and beaded jewelry. I love pretty things and I’m always wondering how to MAKE what I saw for sale in a store or catalog.

You definitely have an eye for photography. I love your work! What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I really like to do macro photography, close-ups of almost anything; the edge of a coin, a flower petal, objects. I’d rather take pictures of things, than people. I take pictures of whatever catches my eye as I travel around the country. My favorites can be seen on my Flickr page here.

What kind of camera(s) do you use? Do you have a favorite lens?
I take all my pictures with two very basic cameras. I use a Canon PowerShot S5 IS, which I call my “big camera” and a Canon PowerShot SX210 IS, which I call my “small camera”. My small camera is in my purse 24/7 just in case I see something I want to take a picture of. Also, many of my photos (quite a few on that Flickr page) have been taken as I was hanging out the window of a moving truck! (Not while I was driving, of course!) And since these cameras don’t accommodate them, I don’t have any favorite lenses.

On to blogging… Why did you decide to start blogging?
I decided to blog a few months after I went on the road with Ed. I didn’t drive right away; I was a passenger for two years before I got my CDL. But right away, I was so thrilled with everything I was seeing, all the places I was going and all the things I was doing, that I wanted to share it. Initially, I put together a “newsletter” to send to my family and friends to tell them what I was up to. Then I learned about blogging and decided that rather than me sending them the information, they could all come to one place at their leisure, and read about it themselves. Since then, I’ve not only shared my life with my friend and family, but also from readers in over 44 countries...and counting!

What inspires you to blog?
As I said, it was initially it was to tell my family and friends where I was and what I was doing. And it still serves that purpose. But now, I have other readers. And although I don’t have a lot of people who comment, I feel like there are people who are interested and I want to provide them with something when they come to my site – even if it’s just a picture. Sometimes, especially on runs across the country where not much happens, I don’t have much to write about. That’s when I’ll throw in a day (or two, or three) of pictures. And now that my blog has been written about in several trucking industry publications and I always make note of my website in the articles I write, I like to keep up for whoever may stumble across it. I’ve made quite a few friends through the blog and it’s provided me with opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

Do you have a blogging philosophy?
Most importantly, I believe in staying true to myself by writing about things that interest me. I like for people to know my personality and I try to stay as close to that as I can. People who know me say they can “hear” me in my posts; that it sounds like me. That’s a great compliment. Now that I’ve gained readers and even some “fans”, I like when I get comments or emails from them telling me that something I wrote had an impact on them, or that they tried one of my recipes and loved it. And I think since I’m writing about a certain industry, it’s important to portray that industry and the lifestyle attached to it to my best ability. I guess my “philosophy” would be to make it personal. Make it ME.

When it comes to your blog, what do you worry about?
I guess I worry about being boring. I’d like to provide content that people are interested in, but sometimes I find coming up with continuous content challenging. I want to post something every day. And for almost six years, I have. Sometimes it’s just a picture. Sometimes it’s just a relevant quote. Sometimes it’s a wordy meme. But I want to have something for people who do come by every day to read me.

Do you do anything to let people know about your blog?
I tell anyone who will listen about it! I put my blog address in my email signature line. I tweet when the mood strikes. I announce posts on Facebook. I have my blog address printed every month in DriverHEALTH magazine and I’ve had a few profiles done on me where my blog was listed. I’d REALLY love to put my website on the back of the truck, but Ed is still resisting that one!

Do you blog surf? If so, is there anything particular that draws you to a blog?
I don’t blog surf very often. There are ones that I read regularly, others maybe a couple of times a month. Some people don’t post every day, so I go to their blogs less frequently to catch up. Good content is the thing that most draws me to a blog. I like people who write like as I imagine they talk; that I can picture myself sitting at their kitchen table talking to them. I like wit. Humor. Intelligence. Good spelling and grammar. I am drawn to blogs that don’t have a lot of adds or crap in their sidebars – too much advertising or too many widgets or “awards” are enough to make me not read them. I like clean lines on a blog and not a lot to distract my eye. I also get bored very easily, so they have to have a real knack at keeping people interested.

What frustrates you about blogging?
Sometimes I have a hard time organizing my thoughts. Sometimes with my driving schedule, I can’t sit down and flesh out my thoughts or ideas in a way that will put forward a coherent post, so I wind up doing nothing. I’m very frustrated when I’m behind since I am The Daily Rant. I sort of made this deal with myself that I would post something every day and it’s frustrating when I can’t stick to that.

What do you hate to see in blogging?
I don’t really care what people blog about, but if they’re going to write on a regular basis, they should have some command of the English language. I can understand an overlooked typo once in a while because I have that happen when I’m writing when the truck is moving; sometimes when I proofread, the movement of the truck causes my eye to skip around and I miss something. But other than that…poor spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes and probably the thing that drives me crazy the most? The improper use of your/you’re – how do you NOT know the difference??

What are some of your favorite blogs?
I have favorites in spurts. But I typically read (unless she’s posting a lot about her kids, which doesn’t interest me and often, she does a lot of that) and Jen Lancaster’s She is me, only famous. Seriously, I think we were separated at birth. I’ve read all of her books and want to stalk her and convince her to become my new best friend.

When reading a blog (including your own blog), what makes you smile?
Wit. Real life humor. Writing about what people think, but never say. Exposing the inner person. Candor. Intelligence. Having an unpopular view and writing about it.

What advice do you have for newbie bloggers?
If you have something to say, write about it. If you are in an unusual career or have an unusual interest or hobby, write about it. If you want to write, start. It can be anything. But as is evidenced by Jersey Shore, people will watch (and read) anything. So why shouldn’t it be you?
And when you do all that writing….PROOFREAD. Watch your spelling and grammar. Look up words you don’t know how to spell. If you’re going to gain readers, you don’t want them to think to think you’re an idiot. There are train wreck blogs out there, you know.

Do you have any future plans for your blog?
I’d like to get more exposure and more readers. I’m doing what I can at this moment to do that and will continue to take advantage of whatever opportunities are presented to me, but I think in 2011 I’m going to go full force into something and try to make things happen a little BIGGER.

What would make you stop blogging?
I can’t think of anything that would stop me. Except writer’s block.

Have you ever thought about publishing a book about your many adventures traveling the roads with Ed?
Yes, a million times. And about as many people have suggested it to me. I have outlines written, chapters drawn up, ideas for titles and marketing. Now I just have to do it!

Women truck drivers are rare… Why do you suppose that is?
Of the three million truck drivers in the United States, only 4.5% of them are women. And I guess that’s because historically it's just been a male dominated industry; women just didn’t do it. But I like it. I think more women should get into the field. I have never driven as a solo driver, so I can't speak to that experience, but my personal experience out here has been pretty fantastic. I think my ability to talk to anyone and my charismatic nature allows me to get along with the men in the industry quite well. I have never felt discriminated against because of my gender. I actually happen to think it works in my favor.

What keeps you truckin’?
The travel. The change of work venue. The unstructured work day. The "office" window. There aren’t many jobs where you can be on sun drenched beaches and in snow capped mountains in the same day. Some, yes. But not many.

Tell us something about you that most people wouldn't know – including your blog followers...
I have a scar on my face from shaving when I was around four years old. I was standing at the sink, watching my father shave and picked up the razor to mimic his actions. I cut my face and to this day, have a small scar to remind me of the incident. And of my father.

The Fairy Godmother from “Cinderella” just appeared and said, “Guess what!! You can be anything you want to be – no strings attached.” What would you be?
Wealthy. OK, I'm sure that’s not what you meant, so I guess I'd have to go with a wildly successful makeup artist or in a business with my best friend in Nashville, which would also be…wildly successful.

You’ve just won 10 million from that lottery ticket you bought while on a rest stop during a long jog. What do you plan to do with the money?
I think about this all the time when I’m driving. I make mental lists of how I’ll distribute the funds! First, I’d pay the debts of my immediate family and then the debts of those in my extended family that I actually like. I’d give my best friend whatever money she needed to continue her culinary education and her desire to own a food related business. I’d set up college funds for my nephews and youngest cousins. I’d make sure my brother never had to work another day in his life (unless he wanted to). I’d buy my trucker friends big sleeper trucks like we have. I’d go on some sort of dream vacation. I’d invest some. Save the rest.

And finally, sum yourself up in 3 words.
Generous. Outgoing. Funny.

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So there you have it. Now that you've seen what a great interviewer she is (well, she did have an awesome subject), go over to check out
her personal blog . I'm pretty sure she has something that you'll find interesting - she's a true Renaissance woman!

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I’ll Trade You My First Child For An iPad
2 YEARS AGO: The New New York Skyline And The Good Old NYPD
Gives Red, White And Blue A Whole New Meaning
Eddie Warhol Friday
Conscious But Very Disoriented
6 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post on this day.