Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Berry Good Time

I know. Another picture of food. Honestly folks, not much else has been going on. We came to Florida to attend the Appreciation Days for the company we're leased to, but the last day of that event was Saturday. If you're interested in an actual journalistic point of view in the form of a very well written blog post, visit my friend Marlaina's blog - she's done the best write-up I've seen yet - and that includes anything put out by any of the trucking publications out there.

Once the business end of the event was over, all we've done is eat (well, not that we didn't do that at the event also). I got roped into had the pleasure of cooking breakfast every day, while each evening was spent at nearby dining establishments (some of which you've already read about). The first day, Marlaina asked if I would mind making pancakes because she bought us a bottle of maple syrup for Canada that apparently needed to be cracked open pronto! She went to the store, bought pancake mix, fresh berries, orange juice, and Canadian bacon - which we've been told is not bacon it's just ham, even though it says "Canadian Bacon" on the package and most of us call it Canadian Bacon, the Canadians just call it ham - and I added the eggs, since Ed can't do bacon (of any kind) without an egg.

The first two days, I made breakfast for Marlaina, Greg, Ed and I, adding fresh whipped cream (made from scratch, thank you very much) for the berries, and lime curd that I'd been itching to use, to the breakfast menu. We all crowded around our little table and dined like kings. I used the fresh blueberries in the pancake mix and let me tell you...they were to die for.

We had the same breakfast three days in a row and asked Dave to join us on the last day - so there were five of us crowded into my little kitchen, eating a home cooked breakfast. The night before Greg and Marlaina left, we also had them over for dinner. I made
Sausage and Peppers which everyone seemed to like.

It was SO MUCH FUN being able to spend five days with our friends. I can't wait for the next time we get together for a "work thing". I'm already scoping out restaurants.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Four Seasons Of Food To Conquer

Last night we ate at a fabulous restaurant - Seasons 52 Fresh Grill. Their name is derived from their menu concept - each season they present a different menu (the Seasons part), and each week the chef presents different specials (that's the 52 part). The menu and concept was pretty unique and Marlaina and I were surprised to learn that they're a chain, with several locations throughout the country.
We ordered three appetizers to share among the four of us - Grilled Spicy Tandoori Chicken Skewers with mango chutney and cucumber herb raita, Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli simmered in organic tomato broth with roasted garlic and fresh basil and Roasted Spinach Stuffed Silver Dollar Mushrooms mushrooms, tandoori chicken and ravioli. They were delicious - I really loved the ravioli and the mushroom was a close second. They went so quick, I couldn't get pictures.

For dinner, there were so many delicious choices, it was hard to decide. Check out
their winter menu to see for yourself. The most amazing thing? EVERYTHING on the menu is under 475 calories. Everything. They guarantee it. I didn't take pictures of what Marlaina and Greg had - they're pretty good friends at this point, but I can't force them to not eat like I can do with Ed. He's used to me taking pictures of good food and he knows not to pick up the fork until I get my shot!

I had scallops last night, but since I don't have them very often I ordered them again. The description was too good to pass up - Caramalized Sea Scallops grilled and served with roasted asparagus and tomato-mushroom pearl pasta.

Marlaina had the Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout and Caramalized Sea Scallops with parsley new potatoes, roasted vegetables and broiled lemon. Ed had the Grilled Swordfish atop Yukon gold garlic mashed potatoes with a fresh vegetable mix.

Greg had the Oak Grilled Filet Mignon with Yukon Gold garlic mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and roasted mushrooms. It looked divine.

For dessert, we got an assortment of their Mini Indulgences - Classic Red Velvet Cake, Mocha Macchiato and Belgian Chocolate Rocky Road.

Greg and Marlaina treated us to dinner (BEST TREAT ALL WEEK!) and it's definitely a place I'll be going again. They have twenty-two locations, most in Florida, but others in cities we frequently visit, so I'll be looking out for another Seasons 52 in my future.

We still have to taste Spring, Summer and Fall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head
As Seen On TV
Eddie Polishing His Chrome Friday
Traveling With Your Cat
Getting Wet In The Next County
6 YEARS AGO: Down With O.P.P.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dinner With Friends

Last night we went to dinner with Marlaina, Greg and Dave - my long-time reader and our new friend. We dined in downtown Jacksonville, at the River City Brewing Company , located on the St. John's River with a view of the Main Street Bridge.

Marlaina and I decided we didn't love the service at the restaurant (although I don't think the boys noticed), but the food was good and everyone seemed happy about what they ordered.

We started with
Key Lime Banana Pepper Calamari (Fire Roasted Red Peppers, Chardonnay, Key Lime Butter Sauce, Garlic, Parmesan Reggiano and Green Onion) which I thought was very good, and an order of Coconut Shrimp (Honey-Chipotle Glaze, Florida Orange Sauce). The shrimp was good but not nearly as tasty as the calamari, which is a change for me since I usually prefer shrimp.

For dinner, I had the Diver Sea Scallops (Herb Seared, Served with a Lobster-Sherry Cream Sauce and Lobster Ravioli) which was very good. Ed had the Herb Seared Cedar Plank Salmon (Fire Roasted Marinated Roma Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Artichoke Hearts, Purple and Green Onions, Kalamata Olives in an Herbal Peppercorn Butter with Grilled Romaine) served over mashed potatoes, which he really enjoyed. Marlaina had the Herb Roasted Chicken (Smoked Tomato Cheese Grits, Roasted Garlic and Lemon-Thyme Broth) served over mashed potatoes, Greg had the special, Herb Grilled Grouper over Creamy Risotto With Sea Scallops and Dave had the Ribeye (18oz Garlic & Herb Grilled Angus Ribeye Steak) served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Grilled Buttered Asparagus. He doesn't like aparagus, so he gave them to me - they were DELISH! His steak looked so amazing, I almost regretted ordering scallops.

Desert for everyone but Dave was Key Lime Pie. It was good, not great, but good. The conversation was good and we had quite a few laughs. I always love hanging out with Marlaina and Greg, but meeting Dave has been such a nice treat. I'm glad he was able to join us for dinner. Hanging out with other drivers is a pretty rare opportunity since we're almost never in the same place at the same time, but I'm so glad we were able to have this weekend together. And it's not over yet!

More tomorrow...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This Is What Sheer Joy Looks Like
I’ll Have The Tootsie Rolls And The Butterfinger And The Lollipop And The Gummi Bears And The Hershey Kisses And The Snickers Bar And The M&M’s And…
Meals On Wheels
Mercury Dropping
James Cameron For $79.99 A Night
The Town That Big Tobacco Built

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Top Five Sweet Scents In My World

I used to know a guy who called air fresheners and the like, "smellum goods". Last night after coming back to the truck from the Appreciation Days event, I didn't like the way the truck smelled, so I needed to use one of my smellum goods to get the place up to my standards.

So I pulled out my favorite air freshner of all time and put it to work - my
Lemon Verbena Soy Candle.
This candle can be found at Target for $9.99. I love it. When I got home from the Appreciation Days event, I smelled a little like smoke. There was no smoking in the event tent, but of course there are always those people who can't function without a cigarette, so they stand in the openings of the tent (or building, doorway, etc.) blowing their filthy disgusting scent in the direction of others. The lemon verbena made me forget all about those nasty odors.

I first discovered Lemon Verbena when I was working at a Sheraton resort and a guest bought me several candles as a gift - it's been my favorite scent since. It's light, fresh and delicious!

My next clean-air trick is a spritz of air freshening spray. This comes in handy for certain situations - cooking smells, nasty outside odors seeping in, after visits to the loo. "Loo" sounds so innocuous, doesn't it?
Glade Clean Linen is something I use this in the truck and at home on a regular basis. To me, it smells like the air that comes out of the dryer hose - you know, when you're outside of your home or an apartment building or a laundromat. That fresh, hot linen smell? I love it.

I'm not really a fan of smelly lotions for my body or hands, so I usually choose something that doesn't have a flowery or fruity scent. Two of my favorites are the Neutrogena Body Oil and Body Lotion.
It's so light, with a scent that apparently comes from the sesame oil. Some people hate it, but ever since my sister-in-law turned me on to it, I'm in love. It doesn't compete with other scents and is whisper-light. I don't use the oil in the truck because it's best put on after a shower and I find in the small space, it's a little messy. But I always have a bottle of the lotion.

Same thing goes for face washes - don't like heavy smells that linger. The one I use is Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. This facial cleanser has such a fresh smell. And it leaves no residue. For me, it cleans off all my makeup and leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. I love the smell so much that I've begged and pleaded for Eddie to use it too, and he's finally given in. His cheeks are so squeaky clean, that I pepper them with kisses every time he slips into bed with a Cetaphil face!

And last but not least, my personal fragrance, ROMA by Laura Biagiotti.
This perfume is my signature scent. It was given to me almost fifteen years ago by a guest at the resort I worked at. I was a concierge at the time and had gone out of my way to take care of a few things for her and her husband. They lived in Milan, Italy and stayed at our resort often. The next time they came to town, she brought me this perfume as a thank you.

I was reluctant at first to wear it, as perfume is a personal thing and I thought it odd to get it as a gift from someone who didn't know me that well, but it took no time at all for me to fall in love with it and I have received more compliments when wearing it than I have with any other perfume I've worn in my life; combined!! Complete strangers have stopped me to ask me what I'm wearing or to tell me how good I smell. In fact, one of the guys I used to work with said that he always knew when I had arrived for work because it smelled so great once I got there! Originally discontinued, it's now available online and at some perfume kiosks and stores in malls across the country!

Since I have what Ed calls "the nose of a bloodhound", I am highly sensitive to smells I don't like. I'm also aware of wearing a scent or using a scent that someone else doesn't like. Since Ed is the only person I live with, he's the only one I really consult regarding smelly things. I always ask him if he prefers one scent over another (for instance, he hates the smell of coconut) and that's the one I'll usually buy. The smells above have been Ed Approved and since I already love them, it's a win-win.

What are some of your favorite scents?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Weekend Full Of Bright Stars And Not Much Else
I’m Floored
Two Worlds Collide
Girl Crush
Silly Boys
It’s Nowhere Near Mexico, Y’all

Friday, January 27, 2012

Being Appreciated

We finally made it to Florida - skated into the "Appreciation Days" event just in time to pick up raffle tickets for the evening's drawings. We didn't make it for last night's drawing, where they gave away a brand new Peterbilt truck, but there's always a chance to get something good. At tonight's event they gave away everything from a Kindle, laptops, $100-$500 gift cards, steer tires, hotel room nights, Indy 500 tickets, and more. Unfortunately, we didn't win anything but I still got myself a prize.

I mentioned we were meeting our friends, who were in town before the event began. Yesterday, on the first day of the get-together, they started a conversation with another driver who was sitting next to them in class. She said he had a great attitude, had been driving for twenty-four years and was very experienced in all aspects of hauling freight. They covered topics from load securement and driving to computers, medical, taxes, and investing.

When they parted ways, Marlaina handed her card to him and said, "This is my contact information. And that's the address to
the blog I write."

He looked at her card and said, "You're friends with Salena and Eddie."

Marlaina said, "Yes. Do you know them?"

"No, but I read her blog all the time and I've seen this blog too." he said, indicating the blog address on her card.

She sent me an email that evening telling me that she met one of my readers and he was looking forward to meeting me. I was flabbergasted! How cool is that?? Of all the people at this event - and there are hundreds - my friends sit next to a guy who reads my blog?? I love it.

So that was my prize - meeting that reader! His name is Dave and he was an extremely nice guy. He's from Ohio, very friendly, good sense of humor (I could tell because he laughed at all the same jokes I did when we listened to the emcee at the event) and seems to be pretty laid back. Before dinner, the boys went to a Heavy Haul class and Marlaina and I sat and caught up. About two hours later, the boys joined us again and we all had dinner together. It's such a treat meeting people other than my mother, who read my blog.

They all have loads out on Monday, whereas Ed and I will be going to get our new
TWIC cards. I like the picture on my current card, wish I could just renew it, but we have to go through the entire process again, get our fingerprints and fill out a bunch of paperwork. It's necessary just in case it's needed on a load, but in the last five years, we haven't had to show our TWIC cards even once.

The only hassle involved is that we can only apply for them at a city with a port; last time we got them in Houston. And normally, you have to go back to that same office to pick them up weeks, or in our case, months later. But I've heard that you can request them to be sent to a location closer to your home but since Arizona doesn't have a port, any location is inconvenient. But it needs to be done.

After that, I think I might want to hit St. John’s Town Center for some shopping and the Apple store (I'm having some issues with texting and my battery). Then we'll look for a load out of here.

But until then, we'll make the most of the weekend with our friends because we never know when we'll see them again. It's a perfect way to wrap up our time off.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New York And Snow - My Two Favorite Things

I am in love with this song after having heard it on a recent episode of Grey's Anatomy. I love the line, "If the curve of you was curved on me".

It's called New York and it's by
Snow Patrol. Here are the complete lyrics:

If you were here beside me
Instead of in New York
If the curve of you was curved on me
I’d tell you that I loved you
Before I ever knew you
Cause I loved the simple thought of you

If our hearts are never broken
Well there’s no joy in the mending
There’s so much this hurt can teach us both
Though there’s distance and there’s silence
Your words have never left me
They’re the prayer that I say every day.

Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here

The long neon lights
And the eke of the ocean
And the fire that was starting to spark
I miss it all, from the love to the lightening
And the lack of it snaps me in two

If you were here beside me
Instead of in New York
In the arms you said you'd never leave
I'd tell you that it's simple
And it was only ever thus
There is nowhere else that I belong

Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here
Come on, come out, come here, come here

The long neon lights
And the eke of the ocean
And the fire that was starting to spark
I miss it all from the love to the lightening
And the lack of it rips me apart
Just give me a sign
There’s an end and a beginning
To the quiet chaos driving me back

The lone neon lights
And the want of the ocean
And the fire that was starting to go out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Doin’ The Math
Well, Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit
I Even Have Time To Go On Strike
Teaching Them Young
You Gotta Be In It To Win It
Cinema Stupido

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Woman With Cat

Here's Miss Lily again, in a position she's often found, standing atop the lazyboy like a sentinel standing guard. Usually she makes the climb from the floor, across my mother's lap and up to the top, but sometimes she leaps directly from the floor and flies up to that position. The lazyboy rocks with her body weight, but she never loses her footing.

In this particular moment, she is scanning the room for the new dog, not realizing that the dog is sleeping soundly in her cage, unaware that she's being hunted by a cat. When my mother took the dog to the vet, who pronounced the dog perfectly healthy, the vet said that they'll eventually get along, they just need some time.

The way it's going so far, the next picture I take might be titled Woman With Dog, Cat Nowhere To Be Found.

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

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pay No Attention To That Cat Behind The Curtain

I'm sick with bronchitis so you'll have to cut me some slack for the pet-heavy posts. Not much has happened since we packed up and left home, but there's a whole lot of activity among the housepets.

Miss Lily, the resident feline, is a little upset that a mini-poodle has entered her world. I've mentioned the scooching and skulking she's been doing, ears back and body low, trying to avoid the areas where the dog may be. She's also been doing a lot of hiding - we've found her under couch, under the bed, behind the filing cabinets in the office, behind the washing machine, behind the television, in the shower and behind various sets of drapes.

In this photo, she's hiding behind the heavy set of drapes, peeking out every once in a while to see if the coast is clear. I took this photo when I saw her nose parting the curtains. What you don't see, is that she's perched on a windowsill that's about two inches wide. I don't know how they do it, those damn cats, but they're super-agile and really do move like Ninjas.

I think this is a beautiful picture of her, and even though she's probably freaking out inside, she still acts like she's running the show.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Papa Can You Hear Me?
The Err Erudes Them
3 YEARS AGO: Sorry, no post for this date.
When You Just Can’t Decide Between Dinner And Breakfast
Purple Industrial Skies

Sunday, January 22, 2012

After This, It's Time To Close The Left Door For A While

There's a saying in the trucking industry - if you want to save money, you need to keep the left door closed. It means every time you open that left door, you're likely spending money - going to get a snack, stopping for a meal, going shopping, etc.

Well it seems our left door has been open a little too long this last visit home. We've been here for a month and the dollars are pouring out of our pocket. We've done a lot of our normal dining out, plenty of Dunkin' Donuts visits because they just built one near our house, and little shopping trips here and there that have added up - mostly our normal stuff. But nothing has cost more than our medical.

Ed went to the dentist first. He had x-rays and a new crown put in. They clipped him for $1,300.00.

Then I went, got a cleaning, got x-rays and a crown, and my bill was $2,309.00.

I was referred to a periodontist, which I wrote about in
this post. The office visit was $108.00 and the recommended treatment plan was $15,520.00. But, I'm paying cash, so she's going to give it to me for a cool $8,000.00.

Today I went to Urgent Care for a cough I've been having for the last three weeks. At first it started out as just a dry, hacking type of cough. Then this week, it was a little phlegmy. Then I couldn't sleep through the night because the coughing kept me awake. Ed, as usual, didn't hear a thing. He was snoring like a baby.

Urgent care gave me a breathing treatment, took x-rays and wrote me a prescription for a five-day antibiotic. I have bronchitis. That all came to $196.00. They didn't give me anything for the cough, the x-ray showed I didn't have pneumonia (joy!), and she just told me to take the antibiotic and to keep taking my asthma inhalers. Gee thanks, doc. You mean do something I've been doing for twenty-nine years now? Okay, great.

See what happens when we're home with lots of extra time on our hands?? We won't get back to work until February because now we're on our way to Florida to attend something called "Appreciation Days" that our company hosts for all their owner-operators. We don't have a load, so we'll be deadheading from Arizona to get there in time. We're meeting
our friends, so in addition to attending the company event together, we'll be dining out with them and if time permits also going to the Jacksonville Boat Show since the boys really want to go. I have a feeling Ed will find a way to squeeze that in.

So although the left door is technically "closed" during the drive there, it won't really be closed until we get back to work in February. The first week's pay is going straight to paying the dentist, and after that, we'll do two or three more loads to take care of the periodontist.

Or, we might be looking into a
special kind of vacation - one like our very wise friends have taken. That's definitely going to be part of our dinner conversation while we're in Florida.

Time to pick their brains!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I Think I’ve Seen This Person On Facebook
2 YEARS AGO: Eating Crud Is So Much Tastier Than Eating Crow
3 YEARS AGO: Chihuly In The Trees
4 YEARS AGO: Is It Really SO Hard??
5 YEARS AGO: Snowball In Hell
6 YEARS AGO: The Southern Family Tree

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Adding A Poodle To The Mix

“Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.”
~ Mordecai Wyatt Johnson quotes ( American Educator)
My mother bought a dog today. A poodle. A mini Poodle.

She has joined the ranks of "those people" who have small dogs. Prissy dogs. Dogs they dress.

The dog's name is Miss Vivian - Viv or Vivey for short. She already has her first grooming appointment scheduled, and my mother has already spent too much time in PetSmart looking for clothes, collars with rhinestones and the perfect chew toy.

I have to say, she's super-cute. Playful and friendly. Follows us everywhere and loves to sit on a lap. I think my mother is really going to enjoy her company.

The cat, on the other hand, is a whole other story. She's not too happy at all about the dog. When she first saw the dog, her hair stood straight up and she scooched waaaay down. She could not get her body lower to the ground or her ears straighter back. She growled and hissed. And when the dog got a little closer, her paw was out and back in the flash of an eye, faster than a Cobra strike. If the dog was any closer, she would have been clawed.

I don't know how this is going to work out with the cat since she's ruled the house for the past few years alone. And she's not even all that friendly of a cat - she really only likes my mother and Ed. She never goes to strangers and she's not very playful. The only lap she likes is my mother's and only at a certain time of day. She's got a "schedule". So far, she's been skulking and hiding. She's seen the dog in her cage and passes it with a very wide berth. Far isn't far enough it seems. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, when we return to see the dentist again, the cat and dog will be as close to friends as possible.

I just hope the cat doesn't get jealous of Miss Viv's extensive wardrobe.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2 YEARS AGO: How The West Was Fun
3 YEARS AGO: Pecking Order
4 YEARS AGO: The Sympathy Train Stopped Dead In Its Tracks
5 YEARS AGO: Shalom

Friday, January 20, 2012

I Grew Up In The O.C. Too

I've come across this before, in emails and Facebook postings, but saw a few additions on this list. It's about Orange County, NY where I grew up. This part of the country is beautiful; bucolic landscapes, four beautiful seasons, my childhood home.

So here are a few fun facts:

  • The oldest carbon dated human settlement in North America east of the Mississippi (12,500 years old) is found in Orange County, NY.
  • More Mastodon skeletons have been unearthed here than any other place on earth.
  • Orange County was one of the first twelve counties established by the Province of New York in 1683.
  • Orange County’s black dirt region of Pine Island is the third largest onion growing region in the United States.
  • Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheesewas invented in Chester, NY in 1872.
  • Velveeta cheese spread (1923) and 'Liederkranz' cheese (1882) were invented in Monroe, NY.
  • The first butter factory in America was in Campbell Hall, NY in 1859.
  • William H. Seward, Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and purchaser of Alaska, was born in Florida, NY in 1801.
  • The oldest (since 1839) continuously operating winery in the US is The Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville, NY.
  • 19th Century Hudson River School artist Jasper Crospey lived and painted in Warwick, NY.
  • The first rocket to carry U.S. Mail landed in Greenwood Lake in Orange County in 1396.
  • The Tuxedo dinner jacket originated in Tuxedo Park, an enclosed community developed by Pierre Lorillard, tobacco magnate (Old Gold). The daughter of Bruce Price, the designer of Tuxedo Park NY (1880), and also a resident, was Emily Post.
  • Artist Ellsworth Kelly was born in Newburgh, NY in 1923.
  • George Washington lived and worked in New Windsor from April 1782 to August 1783.
  • The Order of the Purple Heart was established by George Washington in Newburgh, NY in 1782.
  • The first Registered National Historic Landmark (registered in 1850) is Washington’s Headquarters located on the Hudson River in Newburgh, NY.
  • The largest number (220+) of discount designer outlets in the US is located at Woodbury Commons in Central Valley, NY with 12 million visitors per year.
  • The world's first, oldest, and still used harness (trotting) track is the Goshen Historic Track, established in 1838, located in Goshen, NY.
  • Nearly all trotters and pacers in the Unites States can trace their pedigree to the stallion “Hambletonian” of Chester, NY (circa 1849).
  • Noah Webster, creator of Webster’s Dictionary, taught school in Goshen, NY.
  • The highest point in Orange County is Schunemunk Mountain which reaches 1,664 feet above sea level.
  • The largest living history museum in New York State is Museum Villagein Monroe, NY.
  • Bear Mountain State Park has more visitors annually than does Yellowstone National Park.
  • The main runway at Stewart International Airport (SWF - formerly Stewart Air Force base) is over two miles long (11, 818 feet) and is an alternate landing site for the Space Shuttle.
  • The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY (est. 1778) has the largest Church Organ in the world.
  • Stephen Crane wrote some of his most popular novel “The Red Badge of Courage” in Port Jervis, NY.
  • The Intersection of I-87 and I-84 in Newburgh, NY is known as the "Gateway of the Northeast".
  • The largest sculpture park in the United States is the Storm King Art Centerin New Windsor, NY, featuring works from artists around the world.
  • Author Zane Grey practiced dentistry in Middletown, NY before starting his literary career.
  • The oldest (1919) continuously operating automobile racing dirt track in the United States is the Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, NY.
  • The Hudson River, the first explored and most beautiful river in the United States, passing through this area, is called “The Rhine of the Americas”.
  • In 1683, the County of Orange, named for William of Orange (King William III, 1650-1702), was formed.
  • Orange County today is almost a half million acres in size and is dotted with dairy and produce farms, orchards, vineyards, horse ranches and bucolic villages set amongst vast areas of woodlands, rolling hills and glacier carved valleys.
  • There are three cities within the county's borders: Newburgh, on the Hudson River; Port Jervis, on the Delaware River; and Middletown, halfway between the other two.
  • “American Chopper” on the Discovery Channel/TLC is filmed at Orange County Choppers in Rock Tavern, NY and Newburgh, NY.
  • The County seat of Orange County, NY, is the Village of Goshen.
  • Of the 10 Counties named Orange in the United States, Orange County, NY is the oldest (1683). It is 206 years older than Orange County, California (1889), 169 years older than Orange County, Texas (1852), 162 years older than Orange County, Florida (1824), 133 years older than Orange County, Indiana (1816), 98 years older than Orange County, Vermont (1781), 69 years older than Orange County, North Carolina (1752), and 51 years older than Orange County, Virginia (1734).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Snowy Arrival
2 YEARS AGO: Not A Pretty Sight
3 YEARS AGO: Marking This Day In History With A Vibrant Spot Of Color
4 YEARS AGO: Lighting To Do Laundry By
5 YEARS AGO: The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy
6 YEARS AGO: Shhhhhh, You’ll Wake The Driver

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Teeth Or Another European Vacation? Ooooh, It's A Real Toss Up.

I love my dentist. And all the girls in her office. They're not just your garden variety "nice", they're kind. And compassionate. And genuine. Every single member of the staff, within minutes of saying hello, said they were sorry to hear about the loss of my step-father. That's more than some friends and family have done.

They're a different kind of human, these girls. They're special and I think all of their personalities represent the office in a very cohesive manner. In this office, you can tell that direction comes from the top down.

Loving my dentist and her staff does not carry over to my loving the dental procedures. I don't. Ed and I were talking last night about how we've become less tolerant of pain and being uncomfortable. I don't at all like the idea of needles and novacaine, I don't like laying there with my mouth propped open, I don't like the high scream of the drill and I don't like the suction and the water they use to rinse. It's always way too cold.
Today I was there for a cleaning and to get a temporary crown. Yesterday's exam revealed a few cracks in one of my teeth and rather than risking it breaking, the dentist suggested a crown. I had one a few years ago and it's no big deal, so I agreed.

The cleaning was brutal. I know that sounds harsh, and it's no reflection on Maggie, the person who does it. She's great - gentle, informative, and thorough. But since I hadn't been in a few years, I had a little more tartar buildup and she had to do a lot of scraping. Which means she had to numb almost all of my mouth, upper and lower. My tongue got all caught up in the numbing, and I felt like my lips were seven sizes bigger than they are. The only place that wasn't numb was my cupid's bow.

The needles are beyond unpleasant for me. What I think I hate even more than the initial pinch of the needle, is feeling it going in. I can feel the rush of deadening. I can feel the liquid traveling through my skin. And I always think the needle is going to poke right through my cheek. There are so many aspects of the cleaning procedure that I don't enjoy; the water they use for rinsing is always too cold, the sound of the tools drive me insane and the stuff she uses to polish my teeth, the minty paste, gives me chills. I hate the taste and texture of it.

After my cleaning was done, I had to see the dentist for her to make my temporary crown. That part wasn't any better than the cleaning. She had to grind down my tooth to put the crown on and the drilling does my head in. The sound is enough to make me go crazy and the air that whooshes off of it, onto my sensitive teeth, is too much to bear. Because of that sensitivity, she had to give me another needle to numb that area more.

By the time I was done, I had been in the office for five hours. Some of the numbness from the cleaning had subsided a little, so my tongue wasn't all out of control, but my jaw ached from having it propped open for the majority of the time I was there. Oh, and I was out $2,309.00.

But that's not the worst part. After my appoinment yesterday, my dentist referred me to the periodontist across the street to have her look at my gums. I don't have gum disease, just recession, and my dentist figured I'd need a
gum graft. After the periodontist examined me, she agreed. And since I don't want to be a toothless sixty-five year old, they put together a treatment plan for me, telling me what I'd need and what the cost would be.

Are you sitting down?


But...because I don't have insurance and I'll be paying cash, she gave me a deal.

Are you still sitting down?

With the cash payment discount, she's only going to charge me $8,000.00.

Smokin' deal, huh? (Smoking crack is more like it.) Well, it looks like after four weeks off, it's time to get back to work.

I refuse to join the ranks of toothless truck drivers.

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Not So Wacky After All
2 YEARS AGO: Spreading The Word
3 YEARS AGO: He Had A Dream. Tomorrow We See It Come True.
4 YEARS AGO: Who Do You Know?
5 YEARS AGO: South Beach Blue
6 YEARS AGO: Jawl Spake Anglesh??

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Can Think Of Better Ways To Spend Hump Day

I have dentist appointments scheduled for today and tomorrow. I am not at all thrilled by this. We try to get cleanings every time we're home but we've been lax and haven't been for a few years.

Today I'll get a new set of x-rays, tomorrow a cleaning. The x-rays are a piece of cake and since I don't have any tooth pain, there isn't anything in particular she'll have to look at. Unless she finds something...cue suspenseful music.

The one thing I know she'll discuss with me is my gum recession. I've had it all of my adult life and on a few teeth, it's worse than others, causing extra sensitivity; my aggressive brushing style doesn't help. Last time I was in she referred me to a periodontist, but I never went. That might spell trouble.

Ed went in earlier this week with tooth pain and wound up getting a crown. He has to go back tomorrow to have it installed.

Not that you're all that interested, but I'll give another update tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Can I Appoint Myself The Baroness Of Cattle?
2 YEARS AGO: This Time Losing The Wallet Really Means Losing The Wallet
3 YEARS AGO: Marley & Me
4 YEARS AGO: Eddie Gets Handy Friday
5 YEARS AGO: The Perfect Neapolitan Slice
6 YEARS AGO: The King Of The Flying Salmon

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

There Are No Prison Blues If You Have Naan

Today Ed and I had a new experience - Indian food. Can you believe, in all the years we've been on the road, and all the places we've gone to eat, that we've never had Indian food?? I don't know why, but I guess it just didn't initially appeal to me and I really didn't know what to order, so I kinda stayed away.

But today, after taking my mother to one of her appointments, we all decided to try out a new Indian place in town -
Saffron Indian Bistro.It was a beautiful little place, very open and airy, lots of natural light - the entire front of the restaurant is floor to ceiling windows - and the smells coming from the kitchen were delightful.

We started with two appetizers (which I neglected to get pictures of), but they were delicious. We had a Vegetable Samosa; crispy turnovers stuffed with potatoes and baby field peas and seasoned with fresh madras Indian spices and Saffron Shrimp; fresh pacific shrimp lightly battered and dusted with ground cumin, mild red chili and coriander. They also put a basket of Papadums - crispy thin Indian spiced lentil wafers - on the table with two dipping sauces. It was a nice start.
We all ordered a different entrée to try a little of each dish and two orders of Naan Bread (classic and garlic) which I LOVE.Each entrée was served with Basmati Rice, so they brought a bowl to the table for all to share.
Ed, as usual, was bold and went for something not as safe as "just chicken" like my mother and I did. He had the Saffron Tandoori Grill; a generous selection of tandoori gems featuring pieces of chicken tikka (which is the national dish of England, according to the menu, slow simmered in fresh tomato sauce with a hint of cream and zesty Indian herbs and spices), lamb, shrimp, shish kabob and a chicken leg. The menu states it's a meal fit for a rajah (king).Ed's meal was served with a side of Raita; diced cucumbers, tomatoes and onions mixed with fresh yogurt and a touch of toasted cumin seed. It was actually a pretty good dip for the Naan bread.
Now before I even get to the entrées my mother and I ordered, I have to say, they were not very visually appealing. I'd like to say the pictures do them no justice, but the pictures look exactly how they look when placed in front of us - a bowl of gloppy well, glop. But it was delicious glop.

I ordered Chicken Korma; a rich onion based sauce infused with mild spices cooked and seasoned with ground cardamom and saffron. It was reeeaaallly delicious.
My mother's dish (which honestly, was hideous to look at) was called Chicken Hara Bhara; chicken flavored with black peppercorn in an onion and spinach based sauce. Hers was also pretty good. Surprising.
We didn't order desert, but because it was our first time there our server brought us out two small dishes to taste. The Rice Pudding; caramalized basmati rice laced with ground almonds, toasted pistachios and fresh raisins, all slowly simmered in milk and Mango Pudding; fruit cocktail mixed with homemade mango flavored custard. The rice pudding was a little watery (I prefer mine thick) but it was very, very good. I have a great rice pudding recipe and next time I make it, I'm putting almonds and pistachios in it - it really elevated the taste. And the mango pudding was interesting.

On the way out, I took a picture of the cute little bar...
And the spacious dining room...
I enjoyed the meal enough that I think I'd probably give Indian food another try. My favorite part though, was the Naan. As with every restaurant I go to, I always love having a little bread.

I'm thinking if I ever went to prison, I'd be really okay with the bread and water thing.

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Now I’m No Longer Alone
2 YEARS AGO: Rings Of Spring
3 YEARS AGO: Map Schmap
4 YEARS AGO: A Willow Weeps In Arizona
5 YEARS AGO: Double Team
6 YEARS AGO: Turning One Million

Monday, January 16, 2012

Adding A Few More Wheels To The Big Rig

Ed and I went bicycle shopping today. I've become really interested in having a bike on the truck for when we have downtime and we're in an area with nearby amenities; shopping, restaurants, parks, etc. We've sort of scrapped the idea of the Smart Car because we figured for the amount of time we actually use a car while out on the road, we can rent one like we've been doing. We often get the weekend deal through Enterprise ($10 a day in most places) or Ed gets a car for free with credit card points.

We also thought it would be a fun way to get in some exercise. I personally abhor exercise, which has directly affected the way my jeans fit, but I figured if I do the bike riding thing, I can trick myself into exercising because it's fun. We tested out a few bikes - I rode this one first because it was a girl's bike. I liked it, but it only comes in one size and I felt it was too short for me. So I tried the boy’s version, which I liked a lot better. The boy's version had seven speeds instead of three and had both front and rear hand brakes. The girl's version only had front hand brakes - the rears had to be stopped the old fashioned way - by foot. I didn't really like that.
Ed was really interested in this one (see photo above), which they call "Electric Assist" - that's right, it "assists" you. It's got a battery pack above the back wheel and when the pedaling becomes too hard, it gives you a little boost. I guess if you're planning on tackling hills, it could be helpful, but I plan on only riding on flat surfaces. I'll need to work up to hills, assistance or not. Plus, this one is $2,300.00 and since I'm not Lance Armstrong, I don't think we need to be spending that much on a bike.

We've talked about bikes before but haven't gone for a test ride until today...so I feel like we might be getting closer to actually getting them. Minus the dorky helmet I had to wear, I have to say that I felt like a total kid again. Freely tooling around the strip mall, stores whizzing by, wind in my hair (well, the hair that wasn't under the helmet) and a real feeling of freedom. I used to love my bike when I was a kid and I'm kind of excited about the idea of riding one again. I'm not too thrilled about wearing a helmet, but I suppose if I bite it, I should protect my head.

I'm excellent on 18-wheels (well, we actually only have ten wheels since we've got super-singles) but I'm not so sure how I'll be on two. I've gotta take it slow. I'll be doing more bike shopping in the future and IF we purchase any, you'll get a full report.

Or pictures of my first injury - whichever comes first.

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Again And Again And Again
2 YEARS AGO: Hood Ornament
3 YEARS AGO: Eddie Out Of Control Friday
4 YEARS AGO: My Boyfriend Simon Is Back In Town
5 YEARS AGO: A Little Taste Of Miami Beach
6 YEARS AGO: Oooohhhhhh, Jabra!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Milk Is ALWAYS At The Top Of My Shopping List

I love cereal. Cold cereal. Healthy cereal. Junk cereal. I don't eat a whole lot of it for breakfast - my breakfasts mainly consist of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and fruit or Dunkin' Donuts if I happen to be lucky enough to be near one - but I do like to eat cereal for lunch, dinner or a late night snack.

I've decided that it satisfies a lot of snacky sort of desires. It's definitely got the crunch factor going for it, and depending on the cereal, it can also have a sweet thing going on. The milk satiates the creamy aspect, and also the refreshing cold aspect - I like my cereal with ice cold milk. There's not too much salt satisfaction going on, but I'm not a big craver of salt. And I think it also takes care of the desire to have a piece of bread or cracker, because it's sort of got that carb thing going for it also.

The following are my favorite cereals in no particular order other than the first one being my very favorite.

Cocoa Puffs: These satisfy every time. I love them with icy milk, but I don't drink the milk when I'm done - it's way too chocolatey. In fact, if the milk gets too chocolately or too warm, I dump it out and start over with a fresh bowl. I just ate these last night.

Frosted Mini-Wheats: Shredded wheat reminds me of my grandfather - he used to eat the big bars of shredded wheat and let them get all mushy in his plate - and this is the closest I get to that. I have to have them frosted because when they're plain, I feel like I'm eating hay. And I eat them fast, because I don't like mushy cereal.

Cheerios: The quintessential finger food for kids. Before they started making snack containers for kids, everyone knew that Cheerios were the perfect nosh. Ziploc bags or a paper cup will do just fine, thank you very much. They're not only good with milk, you know.

Rice Krispies: A cereal that goes snap, crackle and pop in your mouth? Wunderbar! And you can also mix it with marshmallows to make an amazing, crispy treat? What more could I want? I love Rice Krispies!

Wheat Chex: I'm not a fan of the rice or corn variety, and I don't like them in the Chex Party Mix, but I do love me some Wheat Chex with milk. Another crispy, delicious treat.

Fruit Loops: Eaten alone or with milk (I see a pattern here), these remind me of "special" times in my childhood. We were NEVER allowed to have "junk" cereal, but every once in a while my mother would break down and let us buy a box.

Corn Pops & Apple Jacks: Two more forbidden treats. I've put them together because they're basically flavored sugar puffs. But sometimes, there's a craving that only Apple Jacks will take care of.

Kellogg's Raisin Bran: I did not like Post Raisin Bran. I don't know why - maybe it's because the box didn't have the big fat sun scooping "Two Scoops!" of plump raisins into your bowl. Whatever it was, I've definitely fallen prey to the advertising - to this day, I'm a Kellogg's girl.

Kashi GO LEAN: This stuff I mainly use as a mix-in for my yogurt. It's got clusters of stuff, sometimes almonds, and sometimes even fruit. It's naturally sweetened and has lots of protein and fiber. I feel extra healthy when I'm eating this cereal.

Puffed Wheat: It's light. And airy. Which makes me think I can eat seven bowls of it and be just as light and airy. That doesn't work, but while I'm crunching along, I often think that if I only ate cereal, like for some crazy three-meal-a-day diet, I could drop a few pounds and start a new trend....or maybe I'd be featured in all the women's magazines...people would call wanting me to be a guest on their TV and radio shows, sharing my secret of success... Okay, maybe the puffed part is going to my head. Honeysmacks also fits in this category, because they're puffed wheat, but they're sweetened, so not the best choice really.

Honeycomb: Oh. My. God. The BIGGEST pieces of cereal you've ever seen in your life. You can actually hurt the roof of your mouth if you happen to catch a honeycomb the wrong way. I haven't had these in YEARS, but the memory is still fresh. Talk about crisp! Whoa. I might have to go out and buy some tomorrow. They do still make these, don't they?

That's about it in the cold category. The only hot cereal I eat is oatmeal - I like it with pecans and chopped apples. If I were at someone's house and served farina, Cream of Wheat or grits, I'd eat them but it wouldn't be my first choice.

We always have several boxes of cereal in the truck. Ed doesn't eat cereal at all, but he does drink milk, so I never have to worry about running out. Because running out of milk when you're jonesin' for a bowl of cereal is just bad...

I don't even want to think about it.

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Fun For Sale
Dublin Is Incredibly Corny
Welcome To Snowhio
When Big Hair And Denim Were King
Open 24 Hours
Lucky One Eye

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Documentary In My Head

When I was younger, I worked at a few hotels in the Catskills, but none meant more to me than Kutsher’s Country Club. I don't even remember interviewing for the job, but I worked at the front desk and occassionally, in the main showroom. Milton and Helen Kutsher, who owned the hotel, were very present in the day-to-day operations and I saw them daily as their offices were both just behind the front desk.

I recently found
this article which brought all the memories back to me. I'd love to see this documentary. Just seeing the video, which features Helen Kutsher herself (she's the voice you hear at 0:16 and then you see her at 0:18), made me want to know more.

In the article, it's mentioned that this hotel was the inspiration for the movie Dirty Dancing. I had always thought Grossinger's was the inspiration, since I had read somewhere that Eleanor Bergstein, the woman who wrote the movie, stayed there as a young girl. Now I'm reading that she stayed at both resorts.

Makes sense though, because to me, my experience at Kutsher's was much like that of the characters in the movie - just there to have fun, enjoy the summer and flirt with the boys. There were so many boys at the hotel, most of them students working there just during the summers, and many of the staff lived in staff quarters during that time. Just like in Dirty Dancing, the staff quarters were old bungalows, away from the eyes of the guests. And the staff, just like in the movie, hung out together socializing and having fun.

There were two guys I remember vividly from my time there, mostly because I made out with them! Scott David Danziger and Chuck Everson. Scott worked at the hotel as a bellman, was Jewish, and was very cute and super smart. For some reason I think I remember saying he was going to be a doctor. I wonder if he ever did that? He was also very witty, and a great conversationalist - we literally "talked for hours". I had such a good time that to this day, I can remember what I was wearing that night.

The other guy, Chuck Everson, went to Villanova University and was a rookie basketball player that had recently been drafted by the Utah Jazz. He was at the hotel to participate in the annual Maurice Stokes Benefit game. He was 7'1" tall and four years older than me. I remember calling my Dad that night to ask him if I could stay out a little later (I was 18 or 19 at the time, but still living at home) because I wanted to look "cool" by taking Chuck to a local dive bar I had heard some of the waitresses in my family restaurant talking about.

He was so tall, that even with the bench seats of my Chevy Monte Carlo pushed all the way back, his knees were up to his chest. He was extremely handsome, very nice and a really good kisser - that part I found out later when we went back to the hotel. It was late and the lobby area was vacant; where we were sitting, we couldn't really be seen by anyone passsing by. Not that I would have cared - all I was thinking about was that I was kissing a really hot guy almost a foot and a half taller than me, who played basketball for the NBA! What a story I was to tell my friends!

I don't know much about sports (then or now) but I recently Googled him and found several articles. Apparently, he was featured in an HBO special and some other videos because of an incredible game that was played between Villanova University (his team) and Georgetown University - a game that Villanova won, making them the 1985 NCAA Champions (that's Chuck in the back row, third from left). From what I've read online, the game is often cited among the "greatest upsets in college basketball history". Wow, who knew?? He's married with two teenage kids, both who play basketball, and he's been involved with coaching youth basketball for over twenty years. And he's still kinda cute!

Boy, this post sort of got off topic, didn't it? For me, it was a nice walk down memory lane. The Catskills hold incredible memories for so many people, and I feel very special to have been there to make so many of my own. My best friend and I often reminisce about the good times we had back in the eighties. There were many of those famous Borscht Belt hotels that I've either worked at, or frequented and most people I know have also worked in at least one of them at some point in their lives.

I'm hoping this documentary will be available for download or purchase at some point in the future since I know I won't make it to New York by the 26th, when it's showing. I guess I'll just have to replay my own documentary...right in my own head.

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