Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Heat Of The Road

We're back on the road, but instead of heading east, we've gone west to California.  From the frying pan, into the fire.  The freight sucks in Arizona, but at least we got a load out.  Unfortunately, it was going to California, a state we've generally been boycotting.  But, we didn't have to deadhead anywhere and we're hoping we can find something that will take us back across the country.

Passing through Coachella today, the dashboard display showed that it was 123 degrees outside.  I don't know if that number was entirely accurate because once we started moving, it cooled off a bit - to 119.  In any case, three digit temperatures are unnatural.  Sure, there are lots of places in the world with temperatures that high, but I really don't want to be anywhere near them.  Palm Springs wasn't any better - we registered 113 there.  I can't even believe people consider going to Palm Springs a "vacation". 

I really need to get out of the heat, because as my mother recently commented, she's never heard anyone talk about, and complain about, the hot weather as much as I do.  I know, I know.  I can't help it.  And I don't really know why it's such a surprise to her, since I was the one who hated wearing feetsie pajamas, or a hat and scarf, when I was a kid.  I was born with a hot gene. 

But I just can't think of anything else when the weather is so insanely hot.  It takes over my brain.  I can't function.  All I can think about is how hot the sun feels on my arm, how much my head is sweating, how my retinas are burning from the brightness, how I have to go outside if I want to go to the post office/grocery store/pizza joint/mall.  I feel trapped.   

Ed was looking back over our logs while we were home and determined that we've already taken 100 days off this year.  So it looks like the next three months are going to straight-up work - well, with breaks for going home to vote on November 6th, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We're also going to be taking a class at the beginning of December, so we'll have to squeeze that in. 

OK, all of a sudden it seems like I've got a lot to do.  Where the hell am I going to fit in Christmas shopping??

Amazon, here I come!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
My Super Handsome Man
It All Started With Betty
Traffic Stopping Skyline
When You Are Proud To Be Told Your Roots Are Showing
Engulfed In Color
Fish And Loaves Of Bread Are Not The Only Things He Is Generous With
23 Things

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flower Bar

Nothing to report today. Getting ready to leave home and get back on the road. Hoping to head east - maybe even to New York City, where this photo was taken in August.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Sign For Sore Eyes
A Primm Landscape
I Am A Kandee Addict
The Tiny Intersection Where The Colors Collide
Loved Shack
Holy Mother Of Pearl
The Starfish Effect

Friday, September 28, 2012

Toni And Her Sisters

My mother and her three sisters - Ronni, Michele, and Joya. 
My father is to the right, standing behind the kitchen counter.

Today was a fantastic day for me.  I got to spend several hours talking to my Aunt Joya.  It's been a very long time since we last talked and I missed hearing from her.  The sound of her voice was like snow on a crisp winter day.  I know that doesn't sound so appealing, but for me it's paradise;  for others, the phrase might be more of the "sunshine on a cloudy day" variety, but since I hate hot weather and all...snow does the trick.

We covered so many topics, but talked a lot about a the "family blog" my cousin (her son) created in an effort to get and keep the family connected.  I'm all about participating, but I'm not so sure it's going to be such a hit with the more "private" and technologically challenged members of the family.  And, I've had a daily blog for over eight years now and I can count on less than one hand the number of people in my family I know of, who actually read it. 

The blog idea came at a perfect time though, because I'm home  and have been working on the family tree.  Which I wish I started twenty years ago, when the people who knew shit were still alive.  I've also been going through all the family albums, including the ones that belonged to my grandfather and grandmother.  Which is where I unearthed the photo above.

Aren't you just diggin' those mod outfits??

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Paper Boy…And Girl
Breakfast Of Champions (And Truck Drivers)
Vegetarianism Brings On Extinction
It’s Beauty Is Just The Beginning
Eddie Relaxes In Style Friday
How To Tell Your Parents You Don’t Have A Roommate
Mangia! and You Just Know When You’ve Met “The One”

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Five Fantastic Finds

I love when I come across a few good websites offering up unique items. You may have seen a couple of these sites, but several of them are new to me and I think it's my duty to keep you posted.  You know, for those time when you have hours and hours of time on your hands like me, and you want to spend it clicking on tons of things you're just itching to possess.

Peg and Awl:  I love the story behind this one - guy comes home from his tour of duty, needs a job, so he starts making furniture out of old wood laying around, and they build a business.  Making old shit into stuff they can sell for hundreds of dollars.  Why didn't I think of this?? (I SO want that bag.)

Metropolitan Museum of Art Store:  The jewelry is just beautiful.  Hard to choose.   
Sundance Catalog: They don't carry these boots or clothing in my size, but it kinda makes me want to go on a diet and bind my feet so I can fit into this stuff.

Holy Cool: This is the place to find quirky, fun, original stuff. You're sure to find something to strike your fancy.

Love Feast: Velvet pumpkins? Who doesn't need a velvet pumpkin? I think I need one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Hand Dipping Tastes Better
The Skies Were So Dark, Even GE Couldn’t Brighten Things Up
Not So Deep Impact
My America. Your America. OUR America.
Frozen In Time
Ohhh, Paaablo
Apparently, Aliens Tell Time With Their Ass

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Highlight Of My Life

The highlight of my childhood was making my brother laugh so hard
that food came out his nose.
~Garrison Keillor
My brother's laugh, his real, true, genuine laugh, is one of my favorite sounds.  Sometimes he laughs so much, he gets tears in his eyes and can't speak.  That's when I know I've said something funny.  And his laughing makes me laugh even more. 

My brother, truth be told, is funnier than me.  Oh, I'm funny.  And witty.  And good looking, of course.  But Michael blows me out of the water in all categories - he may be quieter than me, but he's come out with some of the best comments of our lives. 

To this day, I still try to make him laugh.  And if I do - food coming out of his nose or not - I feel like the Queen of Everything. 

And that is the highlight of my life.

Happy Birthday, Mikey!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dream Big. Live Bigger.
Always Merry When Around My Brother
Living Outside The Touch Of Time
Girls And Their Boys
Living History
Company On The Prairie
Rack Eyes

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This I Love

Nothing is original. 

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. 

Devour old films, new films, music, books, painting, photographs, poems,
dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs,
trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. 

Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. 

If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. 

Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. 

And don't bother concealing your theivery - celebrate it if you feel like it. 

In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 

"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take things to"

~  Jim Jarmusch
American independent film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor and composer

Monday, September 24, 2012

Falling Into Another Monday

I'm kinda liking this Friend Making Monday blog meme, and I've decided to actually participate this week ON a Monday. Kenlie is the one who started it, I found out about it through Evil Pixie (see how many friends we're making already?), and now I'm passing it on to y'all. I don't know why I sometimes slip into that suthun' word, but it just sometimes works. Since Fall is my favorite season of all time, this is the perfect meme for me!

1. What is your favorite thing about this time of year? 
Hands down - the cooler air.  I love the smell of it.  I love the way it feels, the crisp and the chilly.  I love that I don't need a coat, but I also don't need to peel off clothes because it's too hot.  And I love the colors of the leaves and the fact that they go bare and open up vistas that you don't see when the leaves are full.

2. What do you hope to do again before Summer is officially over? 
As far as I'm concerned, summer IS officially over.  And it couldn't happen soon enough.  I'd be happy if summer was one month long - swim and tan to your hearts content, and then let's get back to normal.

3. When did you last go on a hay ride?
I don't think I've ever been on a hay ride.  At least not one I remember.  Maybe when I was little...I'll have to check with my mother.

4. What is your favorite pumpkin dish?
I love pumpkin bread with a schmear of cream cheese.  And pumpkin cheesecake.  Oh, yum.

5. Do you decorate your home for fall? 
I don't personally do any decorating for the Fall.  Since I'm in the truck most of the time, it doesn't make sense to put up any decorations when we're home, although my mother usually puts out pumpkins this time of year - but that's more for Halloween, than for Fall.  Every now and then though, I'll pick up a pretty leaf or wrestle an acorn away from a squirrel.

6. Do you have any hobbies that are seasonally specific? If so, what are they? 
No hobbies specific to Fall.  Well, unless taking pictures of leaves counts.

7. Apple cider or hot chocolate? 
Not really a fan of either, but if I have to make the choice, I'll go with the hot chocolate.  Although I'd be happy to guzzle it when it's ice cold, there's just something weird about hot apple juice.

8. Are you a fan of football? If so, who is your team? 
Hate football.  Have no interest whatsoever, and really sort of have a problem with people who are SO into it.  Especially women.  I don't get the appeal.  And I'm SO lucky Ed isn't into it either.  I don't think I'd be able to stand hearing it on TV.

9. Share a fond Fall memory. 
Long drives through the Catskill Mountains of New York, taking a ride up to Bear Mountain, and then following the Hudson River north.  Also, Fall isn't Fall without a trip to Little Italy for the Feast of San Gennaro.  It always falls the week of my birthday and if I'm in the area, I try to find a way to get there.

10. It’s not Fall until…
I see the colors of the leaves change.  Once that starts happening, it's on.  And since we travel all over the country, I get to experience the Fall Foliage for a much longer period than people who are in one place.  I can see the colors change in the Northeast, and even when those leaves start falling off the trees, it's still going on in the Southeast, the Midwest and other parts of the country that have the kind of fall I like.

I really only care about the eastern side of the country though - people in the Southwest who think they know what Fall is, have no clue.  Just because it's not 119 degrees for 100 days in a row anymore, doesn't mean you know what Fall is.  It just means you've gone from HOTTER to just plain 'ol HOT - one of your two seasons.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Lunch On The Hill
2010: Haulin’ Big Sunrise To Sunset
2009: When Continuing South Isn’t Possible, Here Are Some Other Choices
2008: Neat, Trim, Appealing, And Sophisticated. In A Word: SMART
2007: I Know She’s Topless, But Is That A Castanet In Her Hand??
2006: A Wicked Good Time
2005: All The Boring Details

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Halfway To Ninety

Today I woke to many phone calls, texts and emails for my 45th birthday.  Or as Ed put it this morning, "Happy Birthday, baby!  You're halfway to 90." 

This photo was taken two months before my 6th birthday.  Clearly, my mother went a little overboard with the personal safety devices - life vest, rescue raft, and blow-up canoe?? - considering the water in our pool was only four feet deep.  Good thing I learned how to swim when I was three years old!

45 seems like a special birthday to me.  But then, I think all the incremental five birthdays (5, 10, 15...35, 40, 45) are somehow cooler than the ones in-between.  You rarely hear someone say, "By the time I'm 43 I want to do xyz." or "I'm going to lose 10 pounds by my 27th birthday." 

For me, I have a loose five-year plan already in place - I told my friend Vicki last week that we're going to Italy for my 50th birthday.  That gives me five years to practice my Italian and save enough money to take all of us.  And on the encouragement of one of my readers, ELH, I think I might also add "learning to ski" to my list.  He said he started at 40, so there might be a chance I can add "Ski the Italian Alps" to that list.  Well, maybe not THE alps, but maybe the little ones, the bunny alps.

This year is going to be a good one, I can feel it.  Back burner things are moving forward, plans are falling into place, and dreams seem to be coming very close to reality.

Now if only I can schedule all of this stuff to take place between naps, I'd be the happiest half-ninety-year-old on the planet!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Aging In Soft Light
2010: Why The Crying?
2009: From Swings To Eighteen Wheels
2008: Fishing Expedition
2007: Eggs Of Wisdom Apparently Start Hatching At Forty
2006: The Birthday Wagon Train Takes Off Today
2005: 38 Special

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Après-ski Is The Place For Me

I have an Amazon Prime membership, which among other perks, allows me to watch tons of movies for free - that alone makes it worth the yearly membership fee.  The most recent one I watched was called Chalet Girl; a cheesy romantic comedy set in Sankt Anton am Arlberg, a ski resort commonly referred to as St. Anton, located in the mountains of Western Austria.
Since I'm itching to go to Europe again, I now want to squeeze a trip to Austria in, since it does lie smack in the middle of some of the other countries I want to see.  I can start on the eastern side by admiring the grand palaces of Vienna, with their Baroque interiors - some of which have decor that will make me feel like a Queen - and then make my way over to the western side, to the snow covered Tyrolean Alps where I will sit and sip Viennese coffee all day while watching skilled skiers shushing down the slopes.  Or maybe I'll take my coffee on a gondola ride to the top of the mountain, to admire the beauty from the air.
I don't ski or snowboard like they do in the movie, but I would LOVE to go to a resort like this, even if the only thing I do is hang out with the après-ski crowd. They'll be exhausted and exhilarated after their many runs down the hill, and I'll be ready to chit-chat after having watched all those outdoorsy people do their thing.  That way, I'll get to enjoy the crisp air and the bright, gleaming white of the snow covering every inch of the tiny, touristy village, and I won't have to risk spending my vacation with my leg in a cast


No matter how I choose to spend my time, I get the feeling the hills are always alive in Austria - I can choose to stroll through various shops in the towns and villages that dot the country, get a massage at the many spas the ski resorts have to cater to skiers and non-skiers alike, or visit a museum to see the works of the most famous Austrian painter in the world, Gustav Klimt.

Best thing of all, I don't need to be on skis to do any of it. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rain Or Shine
In My Dictionary, Team Is Always Spelled Without An I
The Italian Energy Drink*
Looks Fairly Serene To Me
Taste, Smell, And Hear The Memories
Eddie’s New Ride

Friday, September 21, 2012

Spreading Joy, Pixie Style

Eddie checked the mail today and came back with a box for me.  "You've got a package.  From Evil Pixie?" he said, a little puzzled.

"Evil Pixie?  Really??"  I said, as he handed me the box.  "Open it for me."

He slit open the box, pulled out an envelope and handed it to me, then handed me a small, black, velvet box.

Inside?  These beautiful silver drop earrings!!  For my birthday, which is on Sunday.  I was so thrilled to get these.  They're beautiful.  I was just in Dillard's today looking at a very similar pair but wound up leaving without them.  And then came home to these.  Handmade.

Evil Pixie and I have been reading each other's blogs for a few years now, and have corresponded a few times via email.  I mentioned her in yesterday's blog as one of the bloggers I'd like to meet.  She's pretty damn cool.  Her sister, Wicked Pixie, insisted she make me this pair of earrings, which Evil Pixie promptly did, and mailed them out to me. 

I'm really quite honored to have someone not only read my blog, but think about me in such a personal way and creating a piece of jewelry that I will likely wear often.  And to gift it to me for my birthday.  I am one lucky blogger.

Thank you Evil Pixie and the rest of the Pixie Household for thinking about me and sending me something beautiful and functional.  I can't wait to wear them!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011:Coming Soon
2010:Feren Films Y’All Shouldn’t Miss
2009:This Guy Sucks
2008:Shine And Shine
2007:Eddie Hoots It Up Friday
2006:Eddie The Bird Whisperer

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Never Too Late For A Monday Meme

I pulled this meme off of Evil Pixie's blog; it's part of her Friend Makin' Mondays series.  Since I didn't get to it for Monday, I'm doing it today.  I can always catch up next week!

1. Have you ever met anyone through your blog that led to an in-person friendship/relationship?
Yes, I've actually met several people through my blog that turned into in-person friendships.  The first was Irene from Irene's Menagerie.  She doesn't blog much anymore, as she's been busy writing a book, getting her hairdresser's license, and raising a family.  I haven't seen her since that first time, but we keep in touch via email and Facebook.  We met the day we delivered a load to Queens, where she lives.  She not only treated us to a meal from a great Dominican diner in her neighborhood, but she brought us back to her apartment to hang out with her son and boyfriend (now her husband), and treated us like royalty.  She kept saying, "I can't believe you're in my living room!  I feel like a celebrity is here."  She made an awesome dessert, gave me a couple of great books, and took me to a small bodega in her neighborhood, where I discovered Café Bustelo.  But that's only one of the reasons I love her.

We've also met
Kelly (the former Lipstick Trucker), Ruth Ann and Brad (who invited us to their house), a reader named Dave, who we spent time with at our company Appreciation Days in Jacksonville, Florida, and Marlaina and McGyver, of Life With No Fixed Address, who have become close friends who we regularly spend time with.

2. Most bloggers have a specific niche. What would you discuss if it didn’t seem inappropriate on your blog? 

Although my blog is what I like to say, a place where "trucking meets travel", I don't think there's anything I wouldn't talk about if I wanted to.  It is, after all, called The Daily Rant.  Although, there is one thing that I don't include on my blog - but not because I feel it's inappropriate - and that would be photos of my three nephews, because my brother won't allow it.  Anything else though, is fair game.

3. If you could meet three bloggers, who would they be?

I would love to meet Michelle of Bleeding Espresso.  We've been internet friends for years now, and  I almost had the opportunity to meet her earlier this year when she was visiting her mother in the states, but it didn't work out, which just means I'll have to visit her in Italy.  The second blogger I'd like to meet is the Evil Pixie; I think we have a lot in common, she's intelligent and creative, and she lives in an area of the country I absolutely love - in fact, I was in her town once - before I knew she lived there.  And the final person on my list would have to be the Highway Hags; they don't write much anymore, but we still keep in touch with them.  I LOVE those girls!

4. If you had to choose between Facebook or Twitter which one would you choose?
I'd have to say Facebook.  I'm on both, but I do more on Facebook.  Although, I've recently been advised that Twitter is where it's at and I need to get my ass in gear with some Tweeting. 

5. Do you vlog (video blog?)

No, but I want to.  Ed and I talk about it all the time but the closest we came to creating a video was this and this.  Clearly, we need to get a little more serious about it. 

6. How many blogs do you read on an average day? 

I read one or two on a daily basis, and then typically check four of five other ones throughout the week to see what they've been up to.

7. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen online recently? This is pretty fantastic.  And a few of these are worth committing to memory.  You can see some of the products we know and love in a whole new light on this site.  And these girls are just fabulous.  Gosh, there's so much out there.  I can't even remember half of the great stuff I see!

8. If you gave your blog a new name what would it be? 
I've considered changing the name, but I'm so connected with The Daily Rant now, I don't think I could.  But if I did change it, I'd probably go with something like All Salena, All The Time or Simply Salena.  It's all about me, after all.

9. Have you ever attended a blog conference like Fitbloggin?  If not, would you?
Well, I didn't even know what Fitbloggin was, and now that I do, I know for sure I wouldn't be attending it.  I mean, it has the word FIT in it's name.  As for other conferences, I don't really know much about them.  I looked into BlogHer a while back but it didn't really grab me.  I don't know that I'd be all that interested in attending by myself, but I might consider going with some of my blogging friends.

10. In the past I have asked why you blog. Now I want to know why you read blogs? What do you take from it? 
I like to find blogs that make me laugh and think.  Or that give me ideas on what I could blog about.  Or that introduce me to something new.  There are so many talented people out there in the blogging world, and sometimes you just stumble across something great.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Minatory Montana Morning
2010: Crafting A Way To Fill A Need
2009: The Other White Meat: Tropical Style
2008: Night Falls On The Fuel Island
2007: Wanderlust Checklist
2006: What Are Records??
2005: Hello, America!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Hate New Blogger!!

Can you hear me screaming??  Because I am.  Inside.  Very, very loud.

I knew this day would come, and I was dreading it.  I think I actually had a mini-anxiety attack just thinking about it.  Now it's here.

It's the day Blogger changed the layout of their blogging platform.  This is gone forever:

I'm so upset, I've contemplated not blogging in protest.  But they won't care.  I'm one little blog in millions of blogs. 

For a very long time now, months even, at the top of the screen there was a warning that they'd be changing to a new blogging interface. 

"Try the updated Blogger interface!" it said.  I didn't.

"Change over to New Blogger." they said.  I didn't.

"In the coming months, we'll be changing over to the New Blogger format.  Upgrade now."  they warned.  I didn't do anything.  I figured if I ignored it, it'd go away.  Or they wouldn't realize that I was still on Old Blogger.  The Blogger I loved.

I did try it, but there was always an option to come back to the Old Blogger interface and I kept going back.  I didn't want the new one.   I didn't like the layout.  It was unfamiliar, and quite frankly, not as user friendly.  I honestly don't know what they're thinking.  And why can't they just leave it alone - if someone doesn't want to use it, they don't have to?

Facebook did the same thing, shoving Timeline down everyone's throats.  I understand they ahve to upgrade, I understand the progress, and usually I just shrug my shoulders and figure, "Eh, I'll get used to it."  I don't think I'm going to get used to this one.

So now I'm super-cranky and don't even feel like opening up Blogger to do a post, knowing that I'm going to see this unfamiliar screen.  And others feel the same way, as several people have blogged about the very same thing - how much they hate it.  Maybe it'll get better.  Maybe I'll wind up loving it.  I doubt it.

And right now, I just kinda want to cry.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: Come On In And Take A Seat
2010: Doctor Recommended For Sure Death
2009: Wardrobe Malfunction: Intentional And Uncensored
2008: Eddie Friday: Outlined
2007: Modern, Yet No So Much
2006: Why Higher Education Is Desperately Needed
2005: Does A Bear Shit In The Woods?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sí, Soy Un Ciudadano De Los Estados Unidos

When you leave Texas, heading west on Interstate-10, you don't get too far into New Mexico before you have to go through a border patrol checkpoint. I find this to be a huge pain in the ass. Why? Because they ask you if you're a citizen, which I find to be ridiculous. If you weren't a citizen, and you were trying to sneak through a border patrol checkpoint, wouldn't you just lie?

I mean, I actually know people who work for Homeland Security, and they're not all that bright. I don't think they can just "tell" whether you're being truthful or not. Especially when they're standing on the ground, looking up at you through the window of a truck cab, ten feet above them. It's not like they're eye to eye interrogating you.

And they always ask the same questions. It's like at the airport when they ask you if anyone asked you to carry a package for them. Although this time, the guy did throw a new one in. I was driving, and I pulled up to the little hut they stand in front of, rolled down my window and waited.

"How you doing?" he asked.

"Great." I said.

And I don't actually know what he said next because he was mumbling, so at the same time he was mumbling, I just said, "I'm a United States citizen."

"Are you alone?" he asked.


I'm so annoyed that I have to do this, I make them work for their answers. I only answer what I'm asked, offering no other information.

"Who else is with you?" he said.

"My co-driver."

"Is he a U.S. citizen?"  Why does he just assume my co-driver is a man??

"Yes." I said.

"How do you know?" he said.

What?? How do I know? I guess the same fucking way you know when I tell you I'm a U.S. citizen. Or maybe I know because I've seen his birth certificate. And his passport. And know that he's been fingerprinted and passed a background check by the very same Department of Homeland Security that employs you. And, oh, I don't know....because the fucking United States Marines said he is??

"I just do." I said.

Then he waved me through.

And that's how easy it was to smuggle Ed through another checkpoint.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Things You Do For Love
2010: Sweating Profusely From The Head Is Clearly A Sign Of A Highly Intelligent Individual
2009: Eddie Watching Boats And Waiting For Brisket Friday
2008: It’s Probably Best Not To Piss Of The Devil
2007: Reminders For Morons
2006: Feasting With Saints And Sinners
2005: We Live In The Signpost Forest

Monday, September 17, 2012

Signs Of Fall

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, the air is getting crisper, and pumpkins and gourds are showing their faces everywhere you turn. Fall is definitely in the air and I'm getting happier by the minute. My birthday is coming up this coming weekend - this year, it falls on the day after the official first day of fall. There are already several things happening in my life and I'm looking forward to another wonderful year of seeing where life takes me.

I'll be out west for my birthday, but will be looking forward to returning to the East Coast to see the beautiful changing of the leaves. I don't know what's planned for my birthday, but Eddie always does something wonderful, so I can't wait.

My favorite time of year is finally upon us! Let's go leaf peeping!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bleu Evolution

After our meeting this week, our friends took us to a place in Washington Heights, a restaurant called Bleu Evolution.

The meal was good - I had ricotta gnocchi in a pesto sauce - but not the best they've had, they said. It didn't matter to me though, because the company was SO fantastic, that I didn't even notice much about the food.

I'm amazed we found a parking spot because every street was jam-packed. I wonder why people in the city even own cars. If we didn't stalk a guy in a delivery van, we would have never found a spot on that block.

Ed and I are really digging the fact that we're getting to know more areas of the city. Now we have places that we can try out in the future. We have a parking spot for the truck, we can walk to the bus that takes us to the train to get into New York, and we even have Metro Cards so we don't have to rely on the kindness of strangers to buy our tickets like we did last time.

Talk about evolution!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They May Look Pretty, But They’re A Bitch
2010: Food, Family, Fun, And Poker Winnings
2009: Ring Of Moving Fire
2008: Everything Is Weathered In Weatherford
2007: Eddie The Professional Tourist Friday
2006: East Coast Tag
2005: Float And Set

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Scooting Around Town

Our friends over at Life With No Fixed Address happen to be in New York City this week, at the same time we're here. So you know what that means - dinners, drinks, and dancing!! Well, no drinks and no dancing, but definitely dinner and plenty of fun.

These days when they're not renting a car, and they need to be away from the truck, they get around on their Vespa. I don't think there's anything cooler than a trucker who carries a Vespa with them! And it really comes in handy, like it did a few nights ago when they Vespa'd over to meet us at a local diner for dinner.

Ed was very concerned when they first said they were getting the Vespa. Not so much because of what they'd be doing, but more often because of how other people drive. Like with a motorcycle - they don't see you, they don't really seem to care about people on two wheels, and all they have to do is just slightly swipe you, and you're down - Ed thinks it's dangerous. Definitely a situation
where motorcycle accident compensation is an absolute must. What happens if you're out tooling around enjoying your time off and you get hurt? Or dead? Man, that would suck.

The fuel savings on a scooter or motorcycle are very attractive to many people - especially the way the gas prices have been rising over the years - not to mention they're easy to park. Whether you're a student on a university campus, a person who lives in a congested urban area, or truck drivers like our friends, being able to find a place to park your mode of transportation is a huge plus. And as long as you pay attention, ride responsibly, and do your best to stay safe on them, they can really enhance your exploring experiences.

Ed and I were sitting in front of the diner waiting for them when the time they were supposed to meet us came and went. Five minutes later, still no sign of them. Five minutes after that, nothing. No phonecall, no text, no smoke signals. Where were they?

We sat outside for a while longer before we decided to go in and wait. Finally they pulled up, a half hour late, and parked right outside the window we were sitting at. We were more than relieved, because at this point, I thought for sure they were in a ditch. When they finally got to the table, we explained how worried we were and told them that for the half-hour they were delayed, we had watched every bus that passed the window, making sure they weren't stuck to the front.
It wasn't until after they were settled in that I realized they had called to let us know they'd be running late.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The House I Live In

This week, Ed and I are in New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. We rented a car for a meeting we had to go to (which I will tell you about in another post) and thought while we had the car, we'd go check out Liberty State Park in Jersey City.

From this location, you can take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island. We didn't have time to do either of those things on this visit - I've been to Ellis Island, but never the Statue of Liberty - but we thought we'd get a few pictures, take a walk along the water, and people watch.

My regular camera is on the blink, so I only had my iPhone with me, but I think I got a pretty decent shot of Lady Liberty. I'm not super-patriotic, in the rah-rah flag-waving chanting USA! USA! sort of way, but every time I see the Statue of Liberty, I think of a song called "The House I Live In". It was written by Lewis Allan, with music by Earl Robinson, but I first heard it sung by Frank Sinatra. Here are the lyrics:

What is America to me?
A name, a map, or a flag I see?
A certain word, democracy?
What is America to me?

The house I live in, a plot of earth, a street
The grocer and the butcher, and the people that I meet
The children in the playground, the faces that I see
All races and religions, that's America to me

The place I work in, the worker by my side
The little town or city where my people lived and died
The "howdy" and the handshake, the air of feeling free
And the right to speak my mind out, that's America to me

The things I see about me, the big things and the small
The little corner newsstand and the house a mile tall
The wedding in the churchyard, the laughter and the tears
The dream that's been a-growin' for a hundred and fifty years

The town I live in, the street, the house, the room
The pavement of the city, or a garden all in bloom
The church, the school, the clubhouse, the millions lights I see
But especially the people
That's America to me

I think the Lady in the harbor would agree, don't you?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Through Chicago To Cheese Country
2010: Ghost Rider
2009: I Only Think I Know A Lot Of Things…Here Are Ten Of Them
2008: Texas Love Bugs And Hurricanes
2007: Pimping For Presidency
2006: Demographics Of A Lifetime
2005: Glacial Impact

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Beautiful Iranian Mind

Even after all this time,

The Sun never says to the Earth,

"You owe me."

Look what happens with a love like that.

It lights the whole sky.

Hāfez, Persian Poet from the 1300s

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Clowning Around
2010: Smolder
2009: Comrades In Driving
2008: Black, White, And Tan
2007: If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Fart At The Speed Of Light
2006: Draped In Sarcasm
2005: Feast Your Eyes

Sunday, September 09, 2012

From Farm To Table

Ed and I found a cute little Farmer's Market in New Jersey, where I stocked up on some fresh fruits and vegetables. I got beautiful black plums, fragrant garlic, beautiful ears of corn, Sicilian eggplants, and...Jersey Beefsteak Tomatoes!! I love when you pick up a tomato, put it to your nose, and it actually smells like a tomato.
But of everything we brought back to the truck, I can't wait to make that eggplant! The lady at the farm stand said once you try Sicilian Eggplant, you'll never go back to the regular stuff.