Saturday, August 31, 2013

Flippin' Fantastic Finds

One of my favorite iPad apps is Flipboard.  I always come across great stuff when I'm reading.  Here are a few things I found this week:

Yesterday Reclaimed:  Reclaimed wood and salvaged steel industrial furniture.

The man who gave his wife 55,000 dresses:  Over 56 years of marriage, this man gave his wife 55,000 dresses.  Now they're selling them.

Heirloom Tomato Pie:  This is some delicious lookin' pie.

Rebuilding Detroit:  I would love to be part of this.  I think it's exciting that these people are putting their time into working in whatever way possible to bring this great city back.

Bicycle Powered Treehouse Elevator:  Now there's a way to solve a problem.

and this one, not from Flipboard, but from my friend Gil:

Modern Bike Shops:  Everything from lattes to beer to wedding cake.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: There’s Room At This Inn – For Dancing And Gambling
2011: Later, Fishies!
2010: It’s In The Details
2009: Plenty Of Places To Roam, No Place To Park It
2008: E Vac You A She Own!!
2007: Eddie Steals A Bite Friday
2006: Steal-A-Meme
2005: The Day In Pictures

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Waiting In The Waiting Room

This is Hoboken Terminal, the train station located on the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Over 50,000 people use this terminal daily.
Built in 1907 by the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad it's listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.
The copper exterior has a beautiful green patina from years exposed to the elements.  The station was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and is currently undergoing renovations. 
You can see the beautiful green color at the top of the main entrance, where the date is prominently displayed.
The stained glass ceiling, considered aesthetically one of the finest in the United States, was made by Louis Comfort Tiffany.  A Tiffany ceiling in a train station!
The grand double staircase (which was closed) leading to the upper-level ferry concourse, has decorative cast-iron railings.
The clock in the window from the interior of the terminal. 
A place to quench your thirst.
Another shot of the beautiful ceiling.  I wish the light were shining through but it appeared as if the renovations had the area above the glass blocked off.  There was quite a bit of scaffolding and several closed off areas draped with tarps around the station floor.
The exit to the train platforms.  I love the glass above the doors and that they say "To Trains".  The glass globes on the lights and the limestone walls were just so elegant and old fashioned.  I loved this station.
I didn't feel like bicycling back so we took the train back to Secaucus.  A lot of people in this station had bikes and just outside they had plenty of bike racks, most of which were full.  We walked our bikes through and onto the train.

Two tickets back to Secaucus, $5.50.

Well worth it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Waiting Out Our Mistake
2011: A Brilliant Island Adventure
2010: It’s Getting So Much Easier These Days To Spot Idiots
2009: Scenes From Motor City
2008: Eddie Mad Hatter Friday
2007: What A Grape Idea!
2006: You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough
2005: Due Amici Designs

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stormy Wyoming

Not much going on but driving, so I bring you a Wyoming storm at sunset.  It started as this...a fiery orange flame on the horizon.
And ended, just as the sun dropped below the horizon, as this...soft pink fluffiness.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Entertaining The Masses
2011: A Very Expensive Day Of Laze
2010: A Little River On A Big Lake In The Middle Of A Floating Stage
2009: Eddie The Cicada Whisperer Friday
2008: Maybe We Should Sell Our Truck And Buy An Airboat
2007: Me And My Man
2006: If You’re Going To Rescue Me, Bring Sandwiches
2005: Hurricane Equality

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Waterfront Wedding

This is part of the waterfront path in Hoboken.  To the left, the Hudson River.  To the right, a restaurant lined street.
Further down through the trees we came across a photographer taking wedding photos of the couple below.  They were standing on the foot bridge you can (sort of) see on the left.  The New York City skyline was their backdrop. 

Her dress close up was stunning.  Luxurious fabric in gorgeous colors, rhinestones scattered everywhere.  She looked beautiful.
The wedding weather gods were good to them - it wasn't humid and the weather was perfect.

I was inclined to follow them to the reception!  That's right, on my bike.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Crossing The Mighty Hudson For Our Radio Debut
2011: All-Inclusive Social Butterflies
2010: The $7 Date Night
2009: Them’s Fighting Words!
2008: Skulls And Hot Chocolate In The French Quarter
2007: Once As High As An Elephant’s Eye
2006: Trouser Snakes On A Plane
2005: Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Oasis Of Tranquility

Union City is hilly.  Like San Francisco hilly.  I thought I was going to die riding my bike through this city.  We had to stop every block on the uphills just so I could give my leg muscles a rest. 

I'm good on the flat surfaces, but for these hills I'm seriously thinking about that electric bike motor Ed's been talking about.  I initially shunned it because if you're going to ride a bike, ride a bike.  But I'm an out-of-shape 45-year-old and although I really anticipate using bike riding as exercise, I want it to be a leisurely activity, not a Tour de France-esque hill climb.

I was happy to get to the top of the hill in Union and see this church.  I let out a sigh and a Thank God, because I was able to stop and hop off my bike to give my legs another much needed rest.
The sign outside the church reads:

Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary

"The Blue Chapel"
Erected 1912-1914

On December 21, 1891, the first community of the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary was founded in West Hoboken (Union City), New Jersey.  In New York Harbor, four sisters of the Perpetual Rosary arrived from France.

They were met by the founder of their cloistered order, Father Damien Marie Saintourens and proceeded to their new home.
The monastery was completed 1914.  Here the nuns would follow a disciplined routine of household chores and prayer, based on a schedule known as the Liturgy of the Hours, praying for those who did not pray.  From this first American Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary, 21 others throughout the nation would rise.  Today the Blue Chapel remains an oasis of tranquility in Union City and a reminder of the City's rich historical heritage.
The nuns who lived here were cloistered, generally keeping to themselves.  They needed permission to leave the grounds and when they did, had to stay in designated areas.  They were respected and loved by the surrounding community.

The monastery was definitely showing its age. The gates outside were rusted and peeling.
The 14th Street Gate

The chapel was abandoned in 2008 after the number of resident nuns and finances dwindled.  In 2010, it was in included on the 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list put out each year by Preservation New Jersey, a non-profit dedicated to protecting and promoting New Jersey's historic resources.
The Blue Chapel, which takes its name from the blue tinted windows that were part of the original chapel, faces an uncertain future.  Within the 12-foot-high bluestone walls that surround the 1.4 acre parcel of property, are the graves of 65 nuns. 

There was a proposal to renovate the building and make it into apartments, but the community opposed the idea. 
Perpetual uncertainty seems to be the order of the day for the monastery as it seems there is no longer anyone praying for its survival.
Several pieces have been written about the Blue Chapel. 

I found a New York Times article dated December 1998.

An article about the artistic nun, Sister Mary of the Compassion.

And a story with tons of pictures in this piece from The Jersey Journal.

Pretty interesting stuff.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Clouds Over The Whitestone
2011: Room And Board
2010: Filler And Fluff
2009: Ghost Town
2008: Second Only To Feet
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Heading South With One Wayward Goose
2005: Red Texas Sunrise

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Paddling The Hudson

Ed took this picture of two people stand up paddleboarding on the Hudson River.  There was a lot of activity out there - sailboats, tour boats, speedboats, ducks

In the background of the photo you can see the enormous, abandoned Marine Aviation building which sits on Pier 57, which has been called an engineering marvel

New York City has big plans for the pier - they plan to "transform the giant pier into a retail and cultural hub". 

I like the idea that they're taking an old building and using it for something new.  It's got tons of space, it's already there, and although I'm sure New York City doesn't need another venue for shopping, eating and displaying art, if you build it, New Yorkers will definitely come.

Since it's right along the bike path, we'll have to visit once it's up and running.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Cue The Flying Monkeys
2011: Project Island Life
2010: Be Italian
2009: I’m Not Just In The Granny Lane Anymore
2008: Where Pretty Resides
2007: The Sweet Sight Of Summer
2006: You Oughta Be In Pictures
2005: Oh, Brother!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

This Takes Fresh Chicken To A Whole New Level

Our plan was to go to Hoboken.  New Jersey.

I love saying Hoboken.  Hoboken.  Hoboken.  HObOken.  Hobokenhobokenhoboken.  It's fun.

Anyway, on our way to Hoboken, we rode down Bergenline Avenue in Union City.  And that's where I saw something I'd never in my life seen - a live poultry market.

Live poultry.
As in, birds in cages. 

Birds that are alive.

In all of my travels, to every state in the nation and all but two territories in Canada, I have never seen a live poultry market.  It was kinda cool.

The neighborhood is primarily Spanish speaking.  We spoke to a shop owner who was Puerto Rican and she said in the neighborhood was very culturally diverse - there are Puerto Ricans, Guatemalans, Columbians, Hondurans, Cubans, Venezuelans and even a few Filipinos.  Wikipedia provides some good information on the immigration to the city.

We talked a little about the live poultry market and a few other things.  I bought a few sodas for Ed and I and a small bottle of Malta India for later.  I asked the shopkeeper if it was beer because of the word malt on the label.  She said no.  I asked her what it tasted like.  She said it was hard to describe.  I asked her if it was gross.  She said no, that she liked it.  She was very nice, but not very helpful.  I found out more about it from
this guy.

I'm pretty sure since it's got a flavor
similar to beer I'll probably hate it.  But I'll try it.

Back to the birds...
In the shop, I used my best Spanish to ask if I can take "una foto".  The guy at the counter directed me to the guy sitting by the front door, because he was el jefe (the boss).  Again I asked my question.  Sadly, "no" is the same in both English and Spanish. 

I didn't want to ignore him and snap away, but I was really disappointed I couldn't get more pictures while inside the shop.  Before I left I turned and snapped a shot of the caged chickens.  I was on a public sidewalk, what could he say?

As we biked away, I couldn't stop talking about the fact that I had just seen a shop that sold live chickens.  And about how the shop smelled like well, a chicken coop.  And about the sound of them, as if they were talking to each other cage to cage, like prisoners do cell to cell.  It was kind of weird.

I know people all over the world get their food this way but it just seemed odd to walk past a shop in urban New Jersey and see live chickens.  I don't think I'm ready to choose my chicken, watch it get yanked out of the cage and weighed in my presence - feathers and all - and then take him home wrapped in butcher paper. 

I saw fat white chickens with fluffy feathers, thinner red feathered ones, and even some beautiful Guinea hens.  I did manage to ask what the difference was between the white and red hens - apparently, the red feathered hens are older.  Perhaps that means the white, younger ones are more tender.

I had soooo many questions but Google Translate was only going to go so far, so I might have to make a second trip next time we're in the area. 

If you want to visit, you can find them at:

Western Live Poultry Market
907 Bergenline Avenue
Union City, NJ  07087

And if you need a good chicken recipe, check out one of mine.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Exemplary Exemplar Prints
2011: Hurricane? What Hurricane?
2010: The Summer Of 1947
2009: From Pablo Neruda To Mother Goose
2008: Almost Two Beautiful To Eat On
2007: Sweatin’ Eddie Friday
2006: Steel City Glow
2005: Bravo, Bravo

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Greatest Invention Of Human Kind

We have another winner from Gary and it has to do with one of my newest interests - bikes!  Here's the scoop from him on his latest find in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.
- - -

In my never-ending quest for coffee nirvana, I find myself at this place - 
Red Lantern Bicycles in Brooklyn, NY!

I'm "into" coffee, bikes, and beer, and THIS place had all three.

Oh, and nut milk...but more on that later.
Red Lantern sells used and new bikes like a zillion other places, but what made this shop stand out, was the sight of people rolling their bikes inside and grabbing a coffee while the repairs were being done.

Usually you drop your bike off while an overworked/underpaid bike mechanic takes a week to get to it.  Not here. Everyone was so relaxed and laid back even though they were working steadily on your bike.

Drinking fancy pants coffee while getting your spokes replaced?  How civilized!

There were a couple of guys drinking Pabst at the bar.  Gross. Nothing against PBR, but it's a horrible beer. It seems to have gained a following with younger people trying to appear "blue collar".

Hell, I'm a truck driver and I only drink Belgian Beers brewed by Trappist monks in the Himalayas.  [Salena's note:  Sounds like Gary is a little hifalutin', huh?  I knew there was a reason I liked him!] 

Like everything else in life, you get what you pay for and unfortunately, the beer selection here was weak.

Every concoction you could think of, with the inclusion of something very special - Nut Milk.

I've been to a zillion coffee shops and have never seen nut milk on the menu anywhere except here. Apparently they use raw nuts, soak them, and then press them to produce the nut milk.

I had the Cortado - espresso plus steamed milk - made with the almond nut milk. It was so good! The almond added a whole new layer of flavor to the drink, which ultimately was very well balanced.  The flavoring wasn't over the top, it was just right.  Perfect.

I used to think Manhattan was the epicenter of all things New York until I discovered Brooklyn. I really like Brooklyn and have just started to explore the different neighborhoods within the borough.

Red Lantern Bicycles was a true find and I can't wait to go back.

Red Lantern Bicycles
345 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

- - -

I don't know how Gary finds these little joints, but I'm pretty sure in this case it's because he was fearless.  And by that I mean, willing to take a bike into New York City.

I don't know if I'm quite there yet, but if you're an intrepid explorer like he is, give this place a whirl and report back. 

As for me, I might just take the safe public transportation route and get myself a frothy almond cappuccino.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: I Can Haul Yer Explosives And Stuff
2011: That Bitch Irene Is Trying To Ruin My Vacation
2010: Licking Our Chops
2009: I’ll Start Working On That Sarcasm Font Right Away
2008: False Security
2007: Protecting The Posies
2006: Asking Too Much
2005: Slotsa Money

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Woke Up This Morning

I took this picture as we crossed the Goethals Bridge, which connects Elizabeth, New Jersey with Staten Island, New York.

I was trying to get the length of the truck, but what I really wanted was to show how close we were to the side of the bridge.  These lanes are veerrry skinny, with barely enough room for the width of our truck.

You can see the top span of the bridge - which was featured in the opening credits of The Sopranos - in the background behind the trailer. 

I was lucky I didn't lose an arm trying to get this shot.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Trust Me, I’m A Truck Driver
2011: Doesn’t A Gastropod Always Have A Helmet On?
2010: This Is How We Do It
2009: Storage In The Storm
2008: Devil Horse In The Louisiana Wetlands
2007: Not Sloppy. No Joe. Just Bob And His Loosemeats Residing In The Ice Cream Capital Of The World
2006: Playing With Your Money But Not Really SPENDING It
2005: Glamour Puss

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Not My Kind Of Gold Mine

The view from the Goethals Bridge between New Jersey and New York.  What you're seeing are the tidal salt marshes of Old Place Creek at the northern end of Arthur Kill.

I'm not quite sure what's lurking in those waters, but I'm pretty sure I won't be going down there to find out.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Fat Lou Captured In Rare Photo
2011: Oceanfront Property At Lot 61003/94
2010: Monkey Pod Treasure
2009: Eddie Embraces The Rules Friday
2008: They Have A MAGAZINE???
2007: Planting The Sun
2006: Training Day
2005: Cannonball Run

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Is it possible to be both busy and lazy at the same time? 

We've been busy working the last few days, but I'm also been pretty lazy on some other stuff I need to get done.  And I'm just slacking. 

Like when I took this picture, just north of Baltimore.  Ed was driving, and I was just sitting up front on the iPad not doing any of the things I'm supposed to be doing. 

Then I think I took a nap.

I think I'm feeling the same way as I did when I was sitting in this traffic.


As if I'm in a mental traffic jam.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Fire Hazard
2011: Smiling High
2010: Time Travel
2009: One More Reason I Love The Highway Hags
2008: Boathouse On The Gulf
2007: Canada Is Bubblicious
2006: You Know You’re In A Hotel That Doesn’t Have A Star Rating…
2005: It’s A Dry Heat

Monday, August 19, 2013

Junk Still Exists In The Snail Mail World

When we're away for weeks on end, we get tons of mail.  We do everything we can online, but for some reason, certain companies insist on sending paper.  And the junk mail??  Insane amounts.

We were recently home for a few days and it took almost that long to go through it all.  I have a system - I separate the pieces by size and then open everything over the garbage pail.  Junk goes in unread - usually I just tear the envelope in half and drop it in - and I make a shred pile for anything that has sensitive information on it.  I don't understand why credit card companies insist on sending blank checks every month. 

I keep all the address labels I get from any kind of foundation that sends them out for free in hopes of a donation, they come in handy when I'm sending stuff from the road.  Personally, I wish they'd put the money they use printing those into their cause, but that just doesn't seem to occur to them.  And if you're an environmental company, you should probably stop sending so much paper that just gets thrown away.

I've asked several credit card companies to stop sending me paper, but have been told on several occasions that they can't stop certain things.  I have signed up for paperless statements with the ones who offer that option but they still send me notices and other company related information.  I explained I have a job that keeps me away from home and have asked to have them sent via email but so far nothing has changed. 

And with the companies or causes I dislike that for some reason I get mail from, I stuff everything they send back into one of their postage paid envelopes and send it right back to them.  One in particular - for a cause I'd NEVER be interested in - had my name and sent me an application for membership with my information printed right on it.  I took a red Sharpie and drew a circle with a line through it over the entire application.  Printed "TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST" in big letters and sent it back to them. 

I live for the magazines, even though I didn't get a lot of them this time.  The ones I do get I always save and take with me to read in the truck, then I leave them at the trucker lounges for other drivers if they're interested in reading something other than an old Trucker's News someone left behind.

Next visit home will be in a week or two, so I won't have too much to sift through.  And I ordered a few things from Amazon, so I'm hoping they'll be there too. 

I love when there's mail and packages I actually want!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Where The Chisled Form Of David Accompanies You In The Restroom
2011: Settling In And Planning Our Day
2010: Por And Parking Served Up With Southern Charm
2009: They Should Put This Scent In A Candle. I’d Have One Lit In My House Every Night!
2008: After All
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Who My Baby Daddy?
2005: South Siiiide Education

Sunday, August 18, 2013

I Feel Like I'm Being Followed

Oh, right, we were being followed.

This was our escort vehicle, the van that followed us around for two days, keeping other cars from running into us or under us.  The woman who ran this pilot car service was a gem. 

She started the business with her husband eight years ago because they wanted to see the country but couldn't figure out a way to afford all the travel.  They thought being escorts would do the trick.  Unfortunately, her husband died a year into their plan.  "He never got to see anything", she said as she sat in the sleeper of our truck, and it was obvious she wished things had gone differently.

She had a great smile, perfectly penciled eyebrows, and a cloud of white blond hair.  She was wearing a cute outfit and a pair of sparkly sandals.  Her voice was Florida southern and she was quick to laugh and call us honey.  And for her age - she had to be in her mid-seventies - she was quite spry.

She was tiny and smelled like
Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew.  I remember that's what older women all around me smelled like when I was a child.  It’s rich and spicy, a heavy, heady scent. When I worked for Estée Lauder back in the early nineties, I smelled it on a daily basis. Even tried to wear it once but it wasn’t for me.  It's great on old ladies, though.

I marveled at the fact that she drives all over the country, anywhere they need a pilot car service, by herself.  She said things like "you got an 18 steppin' up", meaning a big rig was getting ready to pass us, and "teeeeeyyn" all drawn out, short for 10-4.  She had her lingo down and she was on top of her game.   

If we're ever able to get her for an over-dimensional load again, we'll jump on it.  I wish everyone in the trucking industry were as pleasant and professional as she was.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Keeping Pace With The Seniors
2011: Island Bound
2010: Cristo Velato
2009: Flash Dancing Through Summer
2008: Another Day, Another 32 Things About Me
2007: A Bottle And A Nap Would Be Nice
2006: Because You Never Know When You’re Going To Need A Roman Candle
2005: Thank A Trucker