Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Far From The Soaking Of The East

Before Ed went to the doctor and to go check on the truck in the shop, he dropped me off to waste a few hours at Barnes & Noble.  We've been home for two weeks now, having maintenance done on the truck and having a coolant leak looked at.  I don't need to hold his hand at the doctor and I certainly have no interest in listening to guys talk about truck repair stuff. 

But while the truck was in the shop, we took care of a few things we haven't had time to do. 
I went to the dermatologist, as I already mentioned in another post, and Ed took care of his stuff.  I have another appointment later in the week for a general checkup, which should be a quick in and out.  We usually never do this stuff all at once, but it just worked out that we were home, which is good since I made my appointment over a month ago in hopes that I'd be here - I never thought I actually would be.

Tomorrow is Halloween, and I have no plans other than a Skype meeting in the afternoon.  Isn't technology amazing?  Ed and I have been approached by the editor of a new trucking magazine about us doing a column, so we're going to have a little chat with her and see what's she's looking for.  I'm looking forward to hearing about her vision for the column.  Perhaps we should wear costumes since she'll be able to see us.  It is Halloween, after all.

With all this Hurricane Sandy stuff going on, I'm expecting that we're going to be getting a few calls for team loads headed to the East Coast.  Since we're out West, there may be things here in the dry barren desert that people in the rain and snow soaked East might need.  Usually with events like this, some FEMA stuff comes up to keep us busy.  Fingers crossed.

Hope everyone makes it through the storm without too much damage, as I know it's hard to determine what's going to happen when all you hear is screaming wind and driving rain.  This is all reminding me of last year when we were in Turks & Caicos during Irene, but we made it off the island just fine!

Batten down the hatches!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: Inspired
2010: Lucky To Be A Woman
2009: I Feel Like A Thief
2008: Emulating The Brazilian Bombshell
2007: HMMWVs
2006: She’s Still Learning
2005: Woof

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Day On The Giant Sleeping Frog

The ride to Mt. Lemmon begins in Tucson, at the desert floor, approximately 2,600 feet above sea level.  The landscape is what you'd expect in a desert - cactus, brush, dirt - and it's almost always hot.  Even now, in October, it's not unusual to hit 90 degrees.  Which of course, is fucking insane.

Some people, especially during the summer, like to retreat to Mt. Lemmon.  At over 9,000 feet, the temperature is always cooler - up to 20 degrees cooler - and it's a popular place for hiking, camping, rock climbing, bird watching, and in the winter, skiing. 

This is the beginning of the ride, on Catalina Highway, also known by locals as Mt. Lemmon Highway.
It's not long before you start climbing the Santa Catalina Mountains - of which Mt. Lemmon is its highest peak -  and enter the Coronado National Forest, where the mountain range resides.  The Tohono O'odham Indians named the mountain Babad Do'ag, which means "Frog Mountain" because they thought its outline looked like a big sleeping frog.
When you reach one of the first turnouts, you can look out across the eastern part of the city, which you can see by the length of the road, runs for miles and miles.  At this point, you're at about 4,000 feet above sea level.
On the way up Catalina Highway, gigantic, sprawling, multi-million dollar houses can be seen dotting the hillside.  I've been in a few of these homes (not the ones pictured) when they were under construction, as these are the homes my brother works in, installing kitchens worth tens of thousands of dollars, shower stalls that cost as much as a car, and putting in entryways typically crossed by the high-heeled feet of well-known celebrities. 
Homes like this one, with its modern curves and walls of windows.
And this one with it's three-car garage and rooftop solar panels, flying the University of Arizona flag.
And this one, teetering on the edge of a rocky ravine.  No backyard or property to speak of, but a pretty good view of the city spread out below.
This is us at the first stop before the winding climb started, and before we picked up the Ferrari tail.
That's right, a Ferrari tail.  All the way up the mountain, we were followed by a red Ferrari. Well, not just followed but tailgaited. This guy was ON OUR ASS for miles. It's not as if he didn't have the power to pass us - hello? it's a Ferrari!

I think he was more interested in intimidating us into pulling over so he could pass without taking a chance on the blind turns. Yeah, like that was going to happen. We were doing the speed limit, other people passed us when their impatience got the best of them (where they were off to in such a rush I have no idea), and we hit several straight sections where he could have taken over.

Ed was driving and wanted me to get pictures and video of the car.  When the Ferrari saw me stick my hand out the window for this photo, he revved his engine and flashed his lights.  I'm not really sure what he was trying to signal, but we still weren't moving over.  If you're going to drive like an asshole, right on our bumper, you're going to wait.  He was seriously interfering with our leisurely sightseeing pace.
That said, there's really nothing to see on Mt. Lemmon, so I'm not sure where everyone was rushing to.  They have a General Store/Gift Shop, and two or three restaurants.  I haven't been up the mountain in over fifteen years for that very reason - nothing to do once you get there.  Even my friend Kim, who loves to hike and do outdoorsy things thinks it's a wasted ride.  Like she said, "It takes over an hour to get up the mountain, and for what?"   
We did have lunch at the Sawmill Run Restaurant, which was pretty good - I had a pulled pork sandwich, Ed had a smoked brisket dip, and my mother enjoyed a "real" turkey sandwich; all served with a side of real with-the-skins-on mashed potatoes.  We sat outside on the patio so we wouldn't miss anything should the streets suddenly fill up with throngs of people.   
Before our lunch arrived, we were approached by the waiter, saying we looked like a "fun bunch" - which was a bit odd since there was a very chatty, laughing group of bikers sitting one table over - and asked if we would mind being a witness to a wedding.  All we had to do was sign the marriage certificate saying we saw the ceremony transpire.

Leave it to my mother to ask the waiter, "Why can't you do it?"  She never wants to sign anything or help anyone out in this manner.  It was Classic Toni - "It could be a scam.  What if they want my signature to forge checks?  Or they send someone to my house once they know who I am?  Don't they have any friends who could have signed for them?  He looks Middle Eastern.  She's Asian.  Maybe they're in the witness protection program.  Do they even speak English?
Oh.  My.  God.  Can you fling around any more stereotypes, Mom??  The couple was lovely - they looked happy and excited, the bride was wearing a beautiful sunny yellow and white print sheath, and the groom had on a crisp button down shirt (I think it was lavender?) with a nice pair of slacks - and they were joined by an older woman and the gentleman who was marrying them.  By the way, I was the one who signed the marriage certificate.   
There isn't too much of a chance in this part of the country that weather will spoil your plans, so it was the perfect place for a wedding. Every day is pretty much the same - blistering hot and sunny, slightely less blistering hot and sunny, warm and sunny, slightly less warm and sunny, and on very rare occassions, cool and sunny. 
This day was cool on the mountain, and the Aspen were bright yellow in the sun.
After the ceremony, we drove a little further up to the top, where Ed took this shot of a helicopter flying off into the distance.
I took this one of a young guy standing on sunlit rocks.
And this one, just before we left, of hikers in silhouette.
Overall, it was a good day on the mountain, and what makes it even better, is knowing I don't have to go back for another twenty years.  Farewell, you giant frog you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Off The Board And In The Air
2010: Evening Fruits And Vegetables
2009: He Parks Like A Girl
2008: Out Cattin’ On Halloween
2007: The Bridges And A Cowboy
2006: What Happens When Time Falls Into The Wrong Hands
2005: Me

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Shopping Among The Farmers

Today we hit the Farmer's Market near our house, held at St. Philip’s Plaza.  It was extremely hot in the sun, but St. Philip's has lots of trees and shaded areas, so there were plenty of places to take a break.
We went in the afternoon, so it wasn't very busy, and we were able to wander around without having to battle any crowds.
I didn't need any vegetables since I went shopping earlier in the week, but I did leave with fresh Chipotle Chèvre from one of the vendors, and some Fromage Blanc and Artichoke Tapenade from Rainbow Valley Heritage Foods

They make their Farmer's Cheese from a family recipe (originally made in the Indiana and Ohio area by Denise's grandmother), and also offer mascarpone, butter, gnocchi and tapenade.  All of the cheeses I tasted were AMAZING. 

They're essentially lactose free - the process they use takes out 90% of the lactose - and most of them are also gluten free.  Denise and Sheri, the girls who founded the company and were manning the booth, were great.

I can't wait to break that stuff out tomorrow - I'm building my lunch menu around it!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Tango Hotel Alpha November Kilo Sierra, Charlie Company!
2010: It Always Pays To Take The Full Coverage Insurance Option On Your Rental Vehicle
2009: It’s Here! It’s Here!
2008: U.S. Route 287
2007: Room 328
2006: This Could Be The Day You Have A Date With Destiny
2005: Go See It

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Even At 9,000 Feet Above Sea Level, He's Still A Handsome Devil!

Here's a picture of my handsome Eddie copping a squat at the top of Mt. Lemmon in Arizona.   

It's the same spot my father and I sat over 20 years ago to have our picture taken.  Look at my long hair!  Ed totally wants that back!  This is one of my favorite pictures.
Other than who I was with, my age, and the length of my hair, not much on the mountain has changed.  More pictures to follow...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: Perfecting The Paillard
2010: This Beautiful Place
2009: If I Had A Horn, I’d Toot It. I Do Have A Blog Though.
2008: We Are THAT Good
2007: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
2006: Alabama’s Greatest Showplace
2005: Half Nekkid Thursday Virgin

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Road To Luminosity

I've finally gotten a visit in at the dermatologist!  I don't know about too many people who'd be so happy about a medical provider appointment, but this one can only lead to good things and beautiful people since most of their procedures are cosmetic.  I totally plan on blowing a lot of money in this place. 

Which won't be hard since I went in for a consultation and left with two products and a wallet $250.00 lighter. It's no mystery why the lobby of the place looks like a four-star resort. 
Thing is, I've always had flawless skin - never a blemish or breakout, always smooth and creamy - and I want it back.  I'm not going to let a few dollars stand between me and creaminess.   I'm not super vain, but I would like my skin to look a little better than it has over the last few years.

I've always been vigilant about taking my makeup off and cleansing my face, and I was thinking that's what's gotten me by until now, but somewhere along the way things changed.  I don't think in my entire life, I've EVER gone to bed with makeup on.  I don't care if I got home at four in the morning, I would always take my makeup off and wash my face before collapsing on the nearest soft surface.

What I haven't been as vigilant about is wearing sunscreen, but since I'm not really a sun worshipper I never thought it to be much of a problem.  But in the past couple of years, I've noticed a few sun spots on my skin, dark enough that I can't cover them with makeup.  And I think driving the truck, with the constant sun streaming through the windows, has likely had an impact on my skin - it certainly did on this guy, and I don't want to wind up looking like him.

So I have to scrap what I'm using to wash my face now and start using what I bought at the dermatologist's office.  Morning and evening I'll be washing my face with
SkinCeuticals Clarifying Cleanser, followed by a layer of Obagi Clear.  After that I'll be applying sunscreen before putting on my makeup (for daytime), and at night I'll add a layer of Retin-A after the Obagi.  This is supposed to smooth out my skin and brighten up its appearance, making me look more "youthful". 

I'll do that for a few weeks and the next time I'm at home I'll have the
Intense Pulsed Light(IPL) treatment done, along with a round of Microdermabrasion.  That should just about do it.

My plan is for my face to look like one that belongs on a nine-year-old. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Old School Meets New School
2010: There For The Climbing…If You’re So Inclined
2009: I Need A Thing That Ain’t No Big Thing
2008: Race To The Head
2007: Eddie Fresh From A Nap Friday
2006: Forever Yours
2005: Blur

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Relax And Enjoy The Ride

Yesterday, Ed and I went through a car wash...IN the car!  Man, I haven't done that since I was a kid! 

The ride wasn't as long as it seemed to be when I was younger, but it was still kinda fun - long, wet noodly things slappin' against the car, the spray of the soapy water, the rinse cycle - I liked it a lot better than getting out and watching through the window as the car rolled on by. 

I wish they had these things for semi-trucks.  You'd never get it for the six bucks this ride cost, but it sure would be interesting.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: Goats Make Good Pizza…And You Don’t Even Get Onion Breath From It
2010: When Medieval Equals Pretty
2009: A Great Celebration Of Abundance
2008: Dormers Of Sweetgrass
2007: Old Power
2006: At Your Service
2005: Clothing Identification 101

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Attended Without An Entourage

I arrived at my nephew's baseball game last night, and after being greeted by my brother, he turned to my nephew and said, "Oh, look.  There's a celebrity at your game.  Aunt Salena."

It's an apple of discord, my not liking going to baseball games.  Yes, I know, I should be there for the kids.  Yes, I know I should go to cheer for them.  But my brother has three boys who all play baseball.  Do you know how many games that is??  I did want to go to this one though, because the youngest was playing and I've hardly been to any of his games; plus, earlier in the day he asked if I was going.  Needless to say, his smile was a mile wide when he saw me. 

Other than the fact that I abhor all things sports-related, I usually don't go to the games because they're held at fields perched on acres of dirt, often in the middle of the day when the Arizona sun is at its fiery hottest, and without a square foot of shade available.  Some people bring their own shade - they set up tents and umbrellas, bring coolers and lawn chairs.  Uh, yeah, I don't think I'm interested in eating a sandwich and drinking a can of soda while inhaling dust kicked up from the feet of forty nine-year olds.  It's bad enough that my shoes are filled with dirt by the time I get to the bleachers.  I'm really not cut out for any outdoor activities, even those that require passive participation.

One of the other coaches, a friend of my brother, said when he saw me, "Oh, you came out of the house."  Well, yeah, because the sun has gone down.  Hasn't anyone told you I'm vampirical?  "At least it's cool." is what my mother kept saying.  Sure, 75 is cool when you compare it to 115, but it's certainly not what I would call cool.  I guess there's no hope of my nephews taking up snow-skiing as a sport since they live in the desert. 

As for the game, I don't know who won because I don't know the rules (nor do I care), and they were both in red uniforms, so I couldn't even tell which team was scoring what runs, but I did see my nephew get a great hit and also witnessed him catch a fly ball in left field; effortlessly, right into his glove.

Which in the end, I guess was all worth a little dirt in my shoes.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: It’s All Greek To Me
2010: Italy On A Shoestring
2009: What The Elle???
2008: Weird And Random
2007: California Burning With Need
2006: Walking Into Another World
2005: Fall Into Winter

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Although, I don't think this is something you have to worry too much about when you start getting older.  Old folks get away with murder.

I totally plan on being one of them.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: A Little Grease More Often Is Better
2010: Scenes From Florence
2009: Eddie Palm Sketch Friday
2008: Moabulous
2007: Ready To Draw The Future
2006: Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish.
2005: Beautiful Enough To Lick

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Barrio Viejo

I was in the downtown Tucson area and thought I'd drive around and look at some of the houses in the Barrio Viejo, an area that's been around since the 1800s.  I've been down here before to take pictures, in the pockets of the neighborhood that have all these cool colored houses, most of them beautifully restored.  I'm not a fan of the southwestern architecture, but I do like the colorful houses. 

If you enlarge this one, you can see a metal spider climbing on the wall just above the garage, near the roofline.

A little seating area to use while passing time chit-chatting with the neighbors.
This purple is so deep and so beautiful, but not gaudy.  I'd paint my house this color in a heartbeat!  It's one of my favorites on the block.
Although not an original structure, the people who own the home below built it in the tradition of the original homes in the area and have had a hand in helping to revitalize the neighborhood.

I love the lime green and yellow. 
So bright, so cheery! 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Great Affair

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake.
The great affair is to move.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

How old were you when you first traveled?

My first time on a plane and my first time on a real trip was when I was fifteen and we went from New York to Arizona.  I loved being on the plane and seeing a place completely unlike the place I grew up was exciting.

What is your favorite form of traveling: car, bus, train, or plane?
I've only been on a bus twice, and never been on a train, so out of the other two, I'd have to say car.  Or truck, like I do now - I love having all the amenities of home with me.  I'd be a great RVer.

Where did you go on your first road trip?
I've always been one who liked to drive, but most of my "road trips" were day trips around the area where I lived (NY, NJ, CT, PA).  I never drove to Florida like other people did, or across country until we moved to Arizona - I've made the New York to Arizona trip more times that I care to remember.

Where did you go on your first bus ride?
When I was in 8th grade (14/15 years old?) we went on a school trip from New York to Washington D.C.  In 9th grade, I went on a school trip from Arizona to Disneyland in California.  Those were my only two bus rides.

Where did you go on your first train ride?
I've taken the train from Westchester County in New York into New York City, and we took a train in Italy in 2010, but other than that, I've never been on a train trip.  If I were to do that, I'd love to go across Canada or through Europe.

Where did you go on your first plane ride?
To Arizona (from New York) with my parents and brother. 

Motion sickness? Treatment of choice?
I'm not aware of any motion sickness isues.

Where would you like to go that you haven't been?

Where would you like to go back to?
I would love to go back to Europe and also spend more time in Eastern Canada.

Traveling alone or with someone?
With just one other person.  Our Italy trip consisted of seven people total.  I'll never do that again. (Well, unless it was with my best friend and her family.)

Your ultimate traveling dream?
Flying first class and having a driver at my beck and call when I arrive at my destination.  Traveling through small towns and large cities in Europe, dining out, taking pictures, meeting new people and hopefully getting invited to stay in someone's villa or on their yacht, spending time in a ski chalet, having enough money to treat my friends to join me in different locations on my trip.  And staying in first class accomodations in all the places I explore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: The Gaping Void Says It All
2010: Under The Tuscan Sun Within 3,000 Year Old Walls
2009: Dragged Back, Kicking And Screaming
2008: Seniors Maintain Law And Order By Way Of A Fluke Discovery
2007: Lisa Lavie Is The Angel Here
2006: Fight The Moth
2005: Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ten Things For October

Choose three songs that would be on the soundtrack of your life.
This is a really hard category because I LOVE music.  Since it's only three that would be on an entire soundtrack of my life, I'll just pick three songs that evoke wonderful memories for me:
On A Clear Day by Barbra Streisand
Boogie Oogie Oogie by Taste of Honey
In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Share the details of one project that you’re currently working on.I don't really have "projects", but I guess the biggest thing on my To Do list would be to make a concentrated effort to use my Rosetta Stone Italian program.  I've set it up once, did a few lessons, and then abandoned it.  I really need to get on it if I'm planning on speaking any kind of fluent-ish Italian on our next trip to Italy.
If you could learn to do one thing overnight what would it be?
Sing.  Definitely and without question.  I am obsessed with movies and TV shows that center around music.  From the days of Fame and Dirty Dancing to all the shows I watch now:  Glee, The Voice, Smash, X Factor, Nashville...

If you could be a fictional character which one would you be? 
Gregory House, from House,  because he's brilliant and doesn't give a shit what people think about him.  Also, I kinda like Cristina Yang on Grey's Anatomy for the very same reason. 

What’s your favorite thing about the month of October?
Fall foliage, fall colors and cooler weather   

Share one TV show that you’re embarrassed to admit you watch.
I'm ashamed to say that I've often stopped channel surfing when I come across Keeping Up With Kardashians, I've watched Duck Dynasty (only once, I swear), and I've seen way too many episodes of Jerseylicious.

Name one friend that you’re thankful to have in your life today.
I'm always thankful for my friend Vicki.  She's everything I could ever ask for in a best friend and more.  We've never spoken without laughing and we have so many memories, I couldn't imagine what life would have been like without her in it.  I'm eternally thankful for her. 
What was the most relaxing part of your weekend?
Watching movies! 

Do you like to dance?  Not really.  And if I do have the urge, I usually just do it when I'm alone.  And in short bursts.

Share one thing that you’re looking forward to before the end of the year. 
Well, there's not much going on before the end of the year, so I guess I'll go with looking forward to Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday!).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: Jane’s Addiction
2010: Isolated Iesolana
2009: WWJD?
2008: Where The Angels Arrive And Depart
2007: Diamonds In The Deep Blue
2006: Everyone Is Doing It
2005: En-Gulfed Coast

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Going Au Naturel

It's amusing to me when I hear non-truck drivers complaining about fuel prices.  If you're driving a regular car, on average, it gets 28-30 mpg and can go about 300-500 miles on a tank of gas.  Which, at $4.00 per gallon, would set a car driver back about $80.00.  For us, a tank of diesel fuel allows us to drive approximately 1,400 miles but sets us back around $1,200.00.  BIG difference.  And we only get 7 miles to the gallon.  Yes, I know, pitiful.
We purchase most of our fuel at major truck stop chains, and on occassion, smaller truck plazas.  In a pinch, we've even been known to pull our rig into teeny tiny gas stations in the middle of nowhere, as long as they sell diesel.

There are approximately 180,000 gas stations in the United States, and about half of them offer diesel fuel.  Which when compared to the number of fueling sites available in the UK for example, gives you an idea about how big each country is and how the fuel needs for their citizens compare.  In the UK though, they have a neat little fuel card program called
Chooseafuelcard.com, which allows cardholders to choose the card that best fits their needs.

Although we may have seventy-five times as many filling stations as they do, we don't have as many fuel card choices.  We use the Comdata card, which is what the majority of truckers seem to use.  There are probably a few others, but mostly it's just a payment card, as there has to be money in the Comdata account to pay for the purchase, no matter where you choose to use it (as long as they are part of the program, of course).

We spend about $90,000.00 a year on fuel and do everything we can to reduce our consumption in an effort to combat the fluctuating fuel prices.  Ed has been doing a lot of research lately into the use of
natural gas.  It would mean modifying the truck, or buying another truck, or....hell, I don't know what it means, but it's a big change, requiring special equipment or tanks or something.  The most attractive aspect of using natural gas is that it will save us tens of thousands of dollars a year.  Personally, I see a new truck in our future. 

It's still a fairly new concept and not something that's been rolled out in enough locations across the country yet, but we have seen several truck stop locations under construction, adding natural gas pumps to their fuel offerings.  Its widespread use is right around the corner.  Right now finding a station that dispenses natural gas would be challenging (but would reduce the number of fuel stops we'd have to make!), because they're 
few and far between, but someday it's going to be an attractive money saving reality.

Until then, trip planning is going to be a real bitch.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2011: A Great Idea
2010: The Real Deal
2009: This Should Keep You Buy For A While
2008: Plenty Of Room For The Ladies
2007: It All Began With The Cheese
2006: Zig Zag Wisconsin Color
2005: Made In China

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Sad Day For The Piggies

In the grocery store today,this cute litle pig balloon was tied to the "Buy 1 Package of Pork Ribs, Get One Free" sign.  Evil tactic, luring people in with cuteness.

You know I loaded up my cart.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2011: A Warrior Waging A Noble Fight, Fueled By Chocolate Ice Cream
2010: Ragazzo dell’Ombrello
2009: Eddie It’s Not Even Halloween Yet Friday
2008: Not So Different, Are We?
2007: Quite Uneducated, If You Ask Me
2006: Sometimes Identity Theft Can SAVE You Money
2005: Mina In Fifty Years