Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Am Gonna OWN You, 2014!

As I've done for the last several years, I'm wrapping up 2013 with a year-end meme.  Here we go...

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Got published in an well-respected, world renowned newspaper.  Took a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas which was awarded to Ed in recognition of 10-years of safe driving.  I got asked to write a column - with Ed! - for a brand new digital trucking magazine.  Visited the Outer Banks.  Went to Montreal for a week with friends.  Bought bikes.  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 
I don't think I kept any of them, but this year I'm writing my goals down.  My friend says that's a surefire way to make sure they happen.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not close to me, but my virtual friend in Italy gave birth to a GORGEOUS little girl - Marisa Caterina Fabio.  

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, no.  

5. What countries did you visit? 
The Bahamas, for a cruise that Ed was awarded for ten years of safe driving.  And Canada.  How could I forget Canada??  (Thanks, Marlaina!)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? 
More time in the mountains and green states - the ones with lots of grass, four seasons, fall.  Some time in a boat with Ed because I know he really loves that.  And a vacation to do a European River Cruise. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Meeting and hanging out with Sputter at the Mid-America Trucking Show - because well, she's a trucker, she's a female, and she was in Oprah Magazine!  I will remember May 9th, because that's the day we bought our beautiful new bikes and they've been so much fun.  I've been wanting a bike for SO long and we finally got them and with them, found and rode some very cool bike trails.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting published in The Guardian - both the print and online version.  Actually, my friends were more thrilled than I was.  Marlaina is a former journalist and they are both world travelers, so they know the caliber of the publication.  It's so great to have that on my writing resume...if there ever comes a time when I need to use it.  And the best part is a reader named Linda who I met through my blog and who lives in the UK, has sent me the paper version of every issue.  So now I can save them forever!  Very awesome.

9. What was your biggest failure? 
I can't think of one.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 
Yes!  I had Sciatica.  Holy mother of GOD.  I have never felt such pain in my life.  Excruciating.  No relief.  Couldn't sit or stand comfortably.  Had to alternate positions.  I was pretty miserable.  And it IS something I'd wish on my worst enemy.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Well, I didn't buy anything special for myself, but Ed bought me a fantastic 12" Calphalon frying pan and a, a new Chef's knife, and an Aerobie AeroPress to make Keurig-like coffee in the truck.  And I bought my mother an iPad Mini.  She's in love and so engrossed, she has forgotten my name.  

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 
This question should be changed to just "appalled", because no one's behavior ever depresses me, but I'm frequently appalled at how people act.  From the corn incident to the moron smoking in the fuel island.  There is just an abundance of stupidity out there and it seems I encounter it several times a week.  Stupidity and ignorance is what appalls me.  

14. Where did most of your money go? 
Retirement fund, food, and entertainment.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
This is so hard for me to answer because I don't get so excited about things.  The Guardian thing was and still is a bit exciting for me, and I think the opportunities presented to me because of this job are exciting, and I'm definitely following every lead I can! 

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
"Electric Feel" by Preston Pohl on The Voice (I love his version), and  "She Keeps Me Warm" by Mary Lambert.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
I'm pretty much always happy.  I'm still no thinner.  And I always, always feel rich.  I have what I need, often get what I want, and I have Ed.  That's the richest gift of all.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Take photos and videos.  I might have to deem 2014 the "Year of the Video" because I plan - doesn't mean it's going to happen - but I plan on taking more video of stuff on the road.  My new iPhone has iMovie and by golly, I plan on figuring out how to use it!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Read the comments sections of trucking websites.  Talk about ignorance and stupidity.    

20. How did you spend Christmas? 
At home in Arizona, with my family and trucking friends, cooking like a madwoman.  

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
I'm still lovin' on Steady Eddie, but he's the only person on my list.  I tend to love a lot of things - like Amazon Prime - which I use for movies and buying all sorts of things from the comfort of my own home/truck.  It's the best way to shop.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Still into Nashville, Scandal and Grey's.  I love The Bridge.  And I've added Hostages - oh my God, it's fantastic!  I'm also all caught up on Downton Abbey - through Season Four - which is truly spectacular.  I love it and I'm adding England to my list of countries I must visit.  

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 
I don't hate any new people, but I have a deep hatred for the dumbing down of our population by idiotic reality TV shows.

24. What was the best book you read? 
Didn't do any actual reading, but I did listen to "The Lost Wife" and enjoyed it.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? 
Mary Lambert.

26. What did you want and get?
I got a week in Montreal with my friends.  And Ed bought me a new iPhone 5S.  And I'm getting eyelash extensions.  

27. What did you want and not get?
A real vacation, just Ed and I, away from the world.  Looking forward to that happening in 2014.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
It's never easy to pick one, so I'm listing several.  I love to laugh, so I really liked "The Heat" - Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy make me pee my pants.  "Identity Thief" - again, Melissa McCarthy and one of my favorite actors, Jason Bateman.  "The Internship" - typical Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, kinda funny.  "Admission" with Paul Rudd.  "We're The Millers".  "The Way Way Back".  And not that you asked, but worst movie?  "Gravity".

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We were in Port Townsend, Washington for my birthday.  I turned 46 years old.  We explored the area, ate at a few local restaurants, took pictures, and enjoyed our parking spot on the water.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I don't think there's much.  I was very satisfied this year and didn't really want for anything.  So nothing, really. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
When you spend a majority of your day on the road, "fashion" becomes less important as time marches on.  In the truck, I like comfort, so yoga pants and tank tops or t-shirts.  When we go out to dinner, or shopping, or visiting, I have some easy flowy tops and capri pants with little leather ballerinas - black and silver are my staples.  

32. What kept you sane?
Self-entertaining (podcasts/movies/music/TV/books) and naps.  

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm kinda diggin' Pope Frank this year.  I'm not one for liking religious figures, as they're all charlatans in my opinion, but for a Catholic, Pope Francis is really teaching the Christians how to be Christ-like.  And even without the red shoes, he's pretty popular. 

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Guns.  The fucking guns.  WHAT is the deal??  How many people need to die?  We need to get rid of them.  Soon.  Too many people are dying, and the mass killings are becoming a footnote rather than important news that should be altering the way we live our lives.  

35. Who did you miss?
My father.  This year, with all the cooking I did for both Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, I really missed my father.  He was my first phone call for cooking chat.  I also missed my father's side of the family - my grandparents and my Aunt Jennie and Uncle Lawrence.  They were the last great cooks in the family.  I did call on my aunts and mother, but it's not the same.  It's just not the same.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
People.  I've met people.  All through my blog.  The first is Linda from Irlam, Manchester in the UK - she's the one sending me all the Guardian articles - who found me because she made a transition from the job she was doing into getting her C&E to drive a lorry (big rig) around the UK.

The second is Mick - who found me through the Guardian articles - and who lives in Keswick, Cumbria in the UK - he and I share a connection to the Catskill Mountains in New York which I found out about when he started reading about me on my blog and told me the places he's been and where his family had businesses, etc.  Both him and Linda have graciously extended invites to Ed and I to visit if we're ever in their neck of the woods.  What they might not count on is the fact that we might actually plan to be in their neck of the woods just to get the British Grand Tour!

And the last, which I think I might have met prior to 2013 but don't remember, I just know we've been connecting a little more frequently this year, is BA Norrgard.  She has overhauled her life to live in a tiny home and she's all over the place lately telling people about it.  You can follow her through her blog, A Bed Over My Head.  

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
Wake up happy.  I always wake up happy.  My mother says since I've been a little girl.  I was always joyful in the morning, chatty, arms up and ready to get out of my crib, talking non-stop once I could talk.  Just pure happy.  I'm still that way.  Granted, there is a tendency to go downhill after that, getting annoyed or arguing with my sweet Eddie (going to work on that in 2014) and others I love.  But I still always wake up happy.  And often, when Ed is still in bed, I will blast this tune and dance around the truck in my underwear.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don't know how I came across this, or why it was this year, I think it might have been a song I heard on one of the singing shows and when I went to look it up I found the versions by Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson.  They are both amazing.  I'm Here evokes such emotion in me.  Fantastia does that to the song.  It makes me want to cry and shout for joy at the same time.  I don't need a ballad to know I'm beautiful - I just know - but it's always nice for one to have a reminder that they're HERE.  

I believe I have inside of me
Everything that I need to live a bountiful life.
With all the love alive in me,
I’ll stand as tall as the tallest tree.
And I’m
Thankful for each day that I’m given,
Both the easy and hard ones I’m livin’.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Give Me Ten Minutes, I'll Give You A Year

I Remember.  That's the title of the song for this video - by deadmau5 & Kaskade, from The Lincoln Lawyer soundtrack - and it's a perfect way to describe how I feel when I look at the pictures, which have all been taken in the last year.  I remember every moment.

The song lyrics sum up the fantastic life I feel I have.  Everything I see and do, all of the experiences Ed and I have, all the fun, the work, the beauty we get to be part of.

I Remember.  This is what our lifestyle provides us.  THIS is trucking.

And I'm thrilled that you've all come along for the ride.

I appreciate your readership, your comments, your emails and the fact that you keep coming back, day after day, year after year.

2014 will be the 10th year of this blog, of my posting daily, and I still love it.  And I still try to look for things that will be interesting, and different, and that will show everyone what life on the road can offer.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you all next year!

PS:  Some countries may not be able to view the video because of the song copyright.  If that's the case, try this Dropbox link.  You may also experience an ad on the screen - just click the little "x" on the ad and it will go away.  Also, it seems the pictures are better when not in the full screen mode - they get a little grainy when they get bigger.  Don't know how to fix that yet, so just suck it up...but I will take any advice anyone has to make it better!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Sunday, December 29, 2013

No Snow For Winter AND Stupid Syfy Movies

Ed and I ran out to do some errands today and we passed this house on the way out of the neighborhood.  A lot of people - including us - do this with their century plants, adding Christmas ornaments to the ends of the spiked leaves.  It adds a real festive look to what's otherwise a very ugly landscape to celebrate Christmas in.

We bought new Rubbermaid bins for the side boxes of the truck and trailer and we'll spend tomorrow organizing some of the items we carry with us.  I think we'll be leaving some stuff home since we really want to eliminate crap we don't use regularly.

Our bikes have their own rack in the trailer and they no longer need to be taken apart to fit into the storage box.  And Ed got our lawn chairs out of the shed and stowed them in the trailer - even though it's still winter, we're bound to hit some warm weather eventually and we'll need them with us.  I can't really think of much else we need to do on the truck end.  I try to make lists because if I don't, I wind up cramming everything into the day before we leave.

Looks like we'll be here at least another week.  Unfortunately, it also looks like we'll be watching stupid movies like Dinocroc vs. Supergator on the Syfy channel.  I can't believe people watch this shit.

How am I lucky enough to get a mother and a boyfriend with the same taste in movies??

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Winter Rest 
2011: Happy 5005!
2010: It Really Doesn’t Need Any Help
2009: The Day The Music Lived
2008: It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
2007: He Raises A Valid Point
2006: Eddie In Stripes Friday
2005: Customer Service Vigilante

Saturday, December 28, 2013

We Don't Even Charge For Parking

Marlaina and MacGyver left today.  We were sad to see them go.  They're seriously the easiest guests we've ever had.  All we had to do was point them to the coffee, shower, and wifi and they were happy as clams.  

Ed and I were talking about how comfortable they were in unfamiliar surroundings.  Well, not totally unfamiliar since they'd been here before, but just the fact that they're staying in someone's house and not a hotel and they were completely relaxed.  We decided it's because they've traveled so much.  They're used to sleeping in five star hotels, but they've traveled the world and we found out yesterday at breakfast that MacGyver once slept on a bed made of reeds in South America.  The guest room at our house is somewhere between a reed bed and a five-star, so we're good.

And we have truck parking.

We parked one of our trailers at my brother's house and put the other one at the back of the driveway (you can see it behind the tree on the left).  That left room for their truck and trailer, and our truck.  It's always so nice to park the truck and get out of it for a few days, but having it close enough that you don't have to worry.

Here, MacGyver is doing a pre-trip inspection before getting ready to hit the road.

They head for California next to deliver their load and then have to hightail it out of there before January 1st to be compliant with the new regulations, so they'll likely be coming back through the area.

Perhaps I should leave the sheets on the guest room bed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012:  Somewhere In Eastern Oregon
2011: Lighting Up The Night Griswold Style
2010: Why Fall In Love With A Gingerbread Man When You Can Have His Cake And Eat it Too?
2009: You WILL Think Of God
2008: The Queen Of Copper
2007: Eddie Wears His Christmas Present Friday
2006: The Only Way I Can Tolerate Arizona
2005: I’ve Got Lips

Friday, December 27, 2013

Remember The Christmas When...

Yesterday one of my nephews broke his collarbone.  In three places.

This will forever be known to him as "the Christmas I broke my collarbone".  Or maybe just "the Christmas that sucked because I can no longer wrestle/play baseball/ride bikes/jump on the trampoline or push one of my brothers and blame the other one".  I completely sympathize with him because I have literally felt his pain.

I broke my collarbone once too.  In a school bus accident.  Second day of school, bus flipped over on its side - the side I was sitting on - and the kids from the other side of the bus fell on me, crushing my collarbone.  Mine was the worst, and I think only, serious injury in the accident.  If I remember correctly, the bus driver swerved to miss a huge branch in the road that had fallen during a storm and went up on an embankment, which caused the bus to flip on its side.  My parents arrived at the accident scene with my mother still in her pajamas.

I had to wear a brace for several weeks.  I got out of doing a lot of chores.  I think my brother resented that part because I remember him asking when I was going to be better.  And not because he was concerned about my welfare.

My break wasn't like this though, I had a clean break in one spot.  My nephew's is all zig-zag.  Surprisingly, the doctor said because of his age, and because he's still growing, surgery is not recommended. That he should just wear the sling and the bones will find their place and fuse back together.  All he'll have to do is go back in a few weeks for a follow-up x-ray.

I visited him today and he seemed pretty bummed out.  And why wouldn't he be?  He's a teenage boy.  They never stop moving and playing.  I have a feeling his video game finger is going to get a whole lot of exercise over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I think all the attention being given to him will certainly take the attention off my perceived lasagna disaster.

See?  Silver lining.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Blame It On Weed
2011: The Plum Is Missing
2010: The Voodoo That You Do
2009: Meet Me In St. Louis…If You Can Find It
2008: We Don’t Eat Gefilte Fish But We Do Like The Multi-Cultural Birthdays
2007: How To Picnic Like An Italian
2006: Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant, Dead Ant….
2005: The Cactus King

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Racing Toward The New Year

The frenzy of Christmas is over.  The leftovers are in the fridge and in a few days, the naps will commence.  I haven't had time to take one for days.  We had 12 people in attendance for Christmas dinner - an all day event beginning with appetizers.  I made the main course of lasagna, and then we had several desserts - some home made, some store bought.

I have to say, I was seriously disappointed with my lasagna.  Say what??  I know.  WTF?  I made two huge ones.  Well, three really, but I put one in the freezer and cooked two of them.

But I wasn't happy with them.  They looked good, they smelled good, but when I cut into them....cheese explosion.  Normally, lots of cheese is a good thing, right?  But no.  This was a spread of cheese.  Like the movie The Blob.  I should have probably let them sit a little longer to let everything firm up because when they're hot and you cut them, they do tend to spread.  Mine took the cheese spread to a whole new level.

Everyone was polite and didn't make me feel bad.  It wasn't as if it were inedible, it just wasn't great.  I've never had a lasagna disaster in my life.  Ever.  And usually I'm not so hard on myself about something not turning out well, but this was for twelve people.  Twelve hungry people.  I was consoled by everyone, and even those I thought would be the first to point out the cheese avalanche, didn't say a word.

The lasagna certainly firmed up in the fridge overnight, and tomorrow we'll eat the leftovers.  That will be the true test, as everyone knows lasagna is better the second day.  Tonight I made Baked Scallops with Herbed Breadcrumb Topping.  Those came out pretty delicious.  I've made this recipe before and it's essentially foolproof.  I feel a little better about that.  And my guests were happy.

Today I celebrated Boxing Day with Marlaina, my Canadian friend, by hitting a few stores and then getting mani-pedis.  I got a new pair of shoes, eyeballed a red French Connection purse at the Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th store that I still may go back and buy, and got my toes painted an interesting reddish orange.  And the best part?  Marlaina treated me to my pedicure!!  How awesome is that?

The boys stayed home racing imaginary F1 cars on the computer with the new steering wheel Ed bought, while sipping 12 year old scotch from my mother's fanciest rocks glasses.

Our guests will leave tomorrow, heading to the west coast.  I think we had a great visit - they're the easiest house guests ever - and we'll be seeing them at the end of January again at the event the company we're leased to puts on for its drivers.

I'm hoping from now to the end of the year I'll be relaxing.  I should probably talk to Ed to make sure he's on the same page.

If I can tear him away from the racetrack.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: I Need A Support Group

2011: No One Mentioned The Elephant In The Room, But The Zebra Was A Big Topic Of Discussion
2010: White Chocolate Melts Away
2009: An Appetizer With Heart
2008: Angelic Eddie Friday
2007: Would You Like A Fried Egg With A Side Of Influenza?
2006: Cerrado
2005: The Best Gift Of All

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wishes To The Whole World

I don't know what most of this says, but I'm hoping it's some version of Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.  I need to find something to send wishes to my readers all over the world...and this came from Google Images.  So if anyone sees something completely offensive up in there, know it wasn't my intention!

I hope all of you have a fantastic day if you celebrate Christmas, and if you don't, may your holiday season be spectacular!  Only a few more days left and we're in a brand new year.  I can't wait!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Merry Christmas!

2011: Who Says Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees? It’s Christmas!!
2010: Christmas Time Is Here
2009: Commanding Attention Once Again
2008: A Meal Of Delicious Cheesy Goodness And A Day Of Good Delicious Cheeriness
2007: The Merry. The Moments. The Memories.
2006: I Love Your Bawwwlls!!
2005: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Big Ass Surf And Turf

Today, I cooked.

And now I shall share food pictures with you.

First, my gravy.  I browned 15 Italian sausages, 3 pounds of chopmeat, 4 pounds of pork chops, and then made and fried 93 meatballs.  I was at it alllllllllll day.  I'll be using the gravy for tomorrow's Christmas dinner and wanted to get it done in advance.  I used the gigantic pot we used to use at our family's restaurant.  

Once I was done with that, I had to start working on dinner for tonight, our special Christmas Eve dinner.  I considered doing the Feast of the Seven Fishes, an Italian tradition I grew up with in New York.  I asked around, getting recipes from family, even posting about it on Facebook to get feedback from my Italian friends and those living in Italy.

Really, I wasn't ever going to go full-on fish because I don't like most of the traditional dishes and I didn't think this would be the time to experiment.  Initially I was going to do a shrimp cocktail, then scallops with filet mignon, but that dwindled down to no appetizer and shrimp scampi with filet instead.

Here's my Shrimp Scampi - the butcher where I bought the shrimp wrote "big ass shrimp" on the butcher paper.  And they were big ass shrimp.
Then I made a beef tenderloin.  I cooked it as the entire loin but it was way too rare in the center, so I cut them into individual filets, and seared each side, bathing them in the buttery juices.  I served a creamy horseradish sauce on the side.
Marlaina requested brussels sprouts, so I roasted them with garlic and olive oil.  I got a nice char on some of them, which was great.  I love a crispy, roasted vegetable.  
To round out the plate, mashed potatoes.  Everything was good and my guests were very complimentary.  Overall, dinner was a success.
I had Wine-Roasted Pears and Grapes planned for dessert, but we had eaten so much and had so much dessert left over from the night before, that I shelved that idea and may prepare it for Boxing Day.

After Marlaina and I finish our shopping and get our manicures and pedicures done.  It'll be a nice treat to wrap up the day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012:  This Sled Is Being Pulled By Rudolph The Bucking Red Nosed Reindeer 

2011: Call Me For A Good Time – I’m ALWAYS Happy
2010: Blue Plates And Books For Christmas Eve
2009: Holiday Theft Is On The Rise…Right In Your Own Neighborhood!!
2008: The Team Finally Takes A Rest
2007: The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House
2006: The Only Visible Flames Came From The Candles On The Altar
2005: Tonight’s The Night, People

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shopping, Wrapping And Eating Is Exhausting

Today I found myself in the store again.  Shopping.  I just had a few more things to pick up for my gifts, and then I had to finish my grocery shopping.  But before I did that, I had to fit in a stop at the dentist.  I know.  Could my morning suck any more than that??

Our friends Marlaina and MacGyver made it to the house by late afternoon.  They came from Canada, heading to California, and were stopping to spend a few days with us.  They had to head across Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas at the time they were having a terrible ice storm.  We were watching it on the news, texting them hourly (while they were awake, that is).

MacGyver was feeling a little sniffly, so they decided to sit and wait it out.  Any trucker knows that sitting trumps driving on ice any day of the week.  Smart drivers sit in that kind of weather.  I'll tell you right now that there is no load in the world that I'd drive over ice for.  We knew they'd make it if and when it could be done safely.

We did a round of musical trailers in order to make room for them to get into the driveway, but what Ed did still wasn't good enough because when they got here, he had to move it again.  I stayed in the house and finished wrapping presents - the three of them seemed to be handling the backing in just fine.  Besides, backing isn't my strong point, and although I can probably direct an ocean liner into a deep sea berth just by watching Ed back his truck into teeny tiny holes for almost ten years, I had other stuff to do.

Once the truck was backed in, they got their stuff together and moved into the guest room.  Then, they had showers.  There's nothing like a shower in a real house after you've been on the road driving for days.

My brother and his family joined us for dinner, my mother made her famous chicken soup, and then we opened some presents.  It was a very busy and very loud exchange.  

Tomorrow I have a lot to do and at the moment, pulling it off seems impossible.  

Now, I sleep.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: This Space Available
2011: The Road To Laramie
2010: Muscling Christ Back Into Christmas
2009: Holiday Gift Suggestions
2008: Weighing In
2007: When You Need Maternity Clothes And You’re Not Pregnant, You Know It’s Time For A Diet
2006: It’s The Real Thing!
2005: Spiraling Out Of Control

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Do You Really Need To Ice Skate At The Mall??

Here are just a few thoughts I had while shopping today:

Do I really need another black purse?
Black purses call my name.  Oh, I look at the other colors.  Pick them up and touch them.  Think about what I can pair them with and which outfit they'll match.  But the black purse yanks my eyeballs over to them and I'm hooked.  They just work with everything.  Anything.  I didn't buy one today, but I will.  It's inevitable.

Why do people go to the mall? 
I went to the mall today because I had to.  Not because I wanted to.  I never want to.  But the item I needed was only sold at a store that was there.  Let me tell you if you don't already know - and I'm sure you do - but the mall, people?  It's fucking insane.  WHY would anyone shop at a mall at this time of year?  We have the internet now.  You never have to go to the mall again.  I shouldn't have been there.  I should have ordered this item online last week.  Perhaps that's what everyone else is there for too, but I doubt it.  It can't be possible that everyone waited until the last minute.  Can it?

People wander.
You can tell when people aren't there for something specific.  They wander.  With glazed eyes.  Zombie-like.  They weave through the racks.  They look at price tags.  They try on sunglasses and makeup and spray fragrances.  They touch everything.  With longing.  But really they just can't decide what they want or need.  Because they really don't want or need anything.  But they've been told they do.  Thanks, media.

After thirty minutes, men are ready to take their lives.

I'm surprised there aren't more men jumping to their deaths from the second level of the mall.  They all look as if they're on a death march anyway.  Dragging behind.  Whining that they're hungry, or thirsty, or tired.  Telling you "It's fine.  Get it." every time you pick up something and say, "What do you think about this one?"  They drag, they sit, they don't get why you have to go back to that other store for that other thing.  I actually hate to shop, so Ed is pretty lucky in that respect.  I want to go in, get what I need, and leave.  But I saved a dollar on one of the items I bought.  Too bad I had to walk to the other end of the mall to do it.  I would have gladly paid someone five bucks to go get it for me and bring it back.

Why is the mall so hot?
SO fucking hot.  I don't get it.  We're still in Arizona, and although it's cold outside, there's no need to crank the heat up when you have all those bodies crowding each other and people breathing out hot air all over the place.  I can't function in heat, you know that.  I had my hand-held fan going on high speed.  And my hair was still soaking wet.  And of course, in that state, I ran into two people I haven't seen in years.  I mean like, fifteen years.  I'm sure they were thinking, "Nice hair."

People should get babysitters. 
Going to the mall is bad enough.  Going to the mall with kids is mental.  They scream, cry, run under and around you.  And women with strollers?  Are you kidding me??  Why the hell do you need to be out at the mall with a kid in a stroller?  You can't possibly be enjoying the trip.  And on that subject, I think they need to install stroller lanes.  Like bike lanes.  Stay in them and stop blocking people in a hurry.  
The ones who need to just run in, get what they need, and leave.

What the fuck am I doing at the mall?

I had that thought with almost every step I took.  I think I had a mini nervous breakdown.  I can't stand the crowds, the heat, the people, the noise, the stimulation overload.  I thought since I was there anyway, I'd look at a few things.  But I couldn't, I had to get out.  And I did.  But not before I hit one more store.

The only reason to ever step foot in a mall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Christmas Score! 
2011: Iowa Beef Dresses Up For The Holidays
2010: Weather, Wyoming And Wings
2009: The End Is Not Just Near, It’s Here!!
2008: Keeping The Mountain On The Right Side Of The Fence
2007: Divine Intervention Comes A Little To Late
2006: General Delivery
2005: Frumpy To Nicole

Saturday, December 21, 2013

In Lieu Of Snow

I came around a corner in our neighborhood today and saw this tree.  Where the hell did that come from?  I don't remember such a bright pop of orange before?!  Maybe it was the ominous clouds hovering over the mountain and the tree that created such a noticeable contrast.

They were winter clouds.  The kind we get when it gets all cold and rainy here.  Except the rain had subsided, leaving the cold behind.  I hope it stays this way all week.  If I can't have snow for Christmas, I'll take forty degrees.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Money Vs. Meatballs
2011: A Window To The Past
2010: A Killer Rest Area
2009: The Barn Man
2008: Text Me
2007: Eddie Gets Impatient Friday
2006: If You Have A Note, Then It’s Perfectly Okay To Commit Credit Card Fraud
2005: Limo Scene

Friday, December 20, 2013

Trimming The Family Tree

We got home just in time today to help my brother and his family trim their tree.  Ed and I stopped by because we needed to park our trailer at his house.  We are expecting our friends to join us for Christmas and we already have one trailer in our driveway - we're able to park both of ours at the house, but definitely don't have room for three.  My brother helped solve that problem by generously allowing us to temporarily park at his place.

When we went into the house, we noticed the tree was up and the lights were on, but there were no ornaments yet.  Something had to be done!  Eddie was the first one on the task.  I sent one of my nephews out to the truck to get my laptop so I could broadcast my Christmas playlist, and we started to grab the ornaments and fill the tree.  Here, Eddie adjusts the star.  It was what my mother would call "la gershk".  I don't even know what that word means, but she's been saying it all my life and it generally means "askew".

My brother has hundreds of ornaments.  Hundreds.  Imagine a family of five - mother, father, three children - and all the ornaments that family could accumulate over twenty years.  Every year the kids get ornaments, not just from their parents, but from family members and grandparents of course.  And my brother and his wife have exchanged ornaments every year too.  Picking up each one and seeing the dates on them was such fun.

There were even hand sewn ornaments from when my brother and I were kids - they had 1975 written on them in magic marker, in my mother's hand.  Between the music and the promise of dinner on the horizon, we banged out that tree in no time at all.  These are cell phone photos, so they're not the best, but it looked beautiful!  I love how the lights reflect on the wood floor.  
All that's left now is to get some presents under that baby!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Waking Up With A Fat Man

2011: The King Lived Here
2010: Love
2009: Over The Hill And Over The Top
2008: Mr. & Mrs. Javelina And The Carb Encounter
2007: Disk This
2006: Ghostly Landmark
2005: Shopping In Hell

Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Get To See This Amazing Stuff!

This is a picture of the Christmas light display at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona.  I didn't take the picture, but I did drive through there tonight and got to see these amazing lights.

I was 15 miles east of Flagstaff and there was nothing.  No weather at all.  At 10 miles out, there were flurries.  At five miles out, full on snow.  It was steadily coming down, covering the ground at a rapid pace and filling up the windshield outside of the arc of the wipers.  I was loving every minute of it.

Since I was driving I couldn't take any pictures, but at a snail's pace of 30 miles per hour, I was able to get a good view of the snow.  The branches on the trees were laden with soft, fresh snow.  There were no vehicles in front of me, so I had no tracks in the road to follow.  I made my own.

I saw the flashing lights of the plow, but he was behind me, which was good because you certainly don't want to play side-by-side chicken with a plow.  They always win.

I was in the snow for quite a while.  It probably felt longer than it was since I was going so slow, and honestly I wasn't really looking forward to the steep descent since I couldn't use my engine brake.

All that didn't matter though, because I got to see the beauty of Little America.  It really does look like the photo above.  And it's spectacular!

These are the perks of the job.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: 3...2...1...Cross The Hudson!
2011: New Life
2010: Wearing Your Message On Your Sleeve. Er, Wrist.
2009: In The Round
2008: Eddie’s Adoring/Bored Girlfriend Friday
2007: Lux Perpetua
2006: The Lesser Known King Of Romance
2005: Wow. What Beautiful Gums You Have.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Skip The Stockyards, Head To The Roadhouse

We were passing through Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when Ed decided he had to have steak.  I looked up some local places and found Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Stockyard City.  The photos aren't the best since it was at night, but I thought there were a few things worth capturing.

We called to make sure they had truck parking, and since it was just off the interstate we didn't have to go far.  The girl assured us there were plenty of cattle haulers who park in the area and we'd have no problem finding a spot.  We didn't.

Agnew Avenue seems to be the main drag in this area.  There were stores selling western wear, a Christmas tree lit on a street corner, and this cowboy roping a bull statue.  I didn't stop to read the inscription.
Cattlemen's Steakhouse is on that main street.  The history of the place goes back to 1910 when it opened its doors to hungry cowboys.  It has the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating steakhouse in Oklahoma City.
That being said, I wasn't impressed.  First, the wait was 45 minutes.  On on week night!  That's excessive to me.  This picture shows the original cafe area - with counter seating available on a first come basis - which is adjacent to the main dining area.  There are several rooms to dine in which seem to go on and on.  

The place wasn't fancy at all.  Wish I had known before I got all gussied up with my Elizabeth Arden Poppy Cream lipstick.  Thankfully, I had on a nice dark wash jean, so I did have some of the dress code down.  All I seemed to be missing was the boots.
The prices on the menu below definitely do not reflect current day pricing.  With tip, the meal cost us $100 even.  We both had the Presidential Choice T-Bone Steak.  We waited an extraordinarily long time for our steaks, even though the appetizer and salad was served quickly, and when it did finally get there, I wasn't blown away.

We ordered our steaks medium-well (I have a thing lately about not eating them too rare) and although my first cut looked good, most of the steak was medium-rare.  I was too hungry at this point to send it back and it wasn't inedible, it just wasn't great.  Honestly, I'd never go back and I'd never recommend it to anyone.

For a place that's been around for over 100 years, situated in a location where cattle are no more than 500 feet from their door, and cooking up steaks for the better part of the 103 years they've been in business, you'd think things would have been a little more outrageous.

I think they must get a lot of locals, a lot of tourists and businessmen - we saw tons of people arriving by taxi and large groups of men - and I'd imagine the nearby hotels recommend them left and right.  After all, it's in Stockyards City, and it's a historic location where celebrities have dined among the regular folk.

I'll tell you what - save your regular folk money and go to any one of the Cattle Baron restaurants, or better yet, Texas Roadhouse.  Honestly, I've never had a bad steak at that place.

This is coming from a girl whose family owned a very popular steakhouse in the Catskill Mountains of New York State, which was also frequented by locals and celebrities.

I know a good piece of meat when I taste one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: One Week To A Delightfully Dazzling Christmas
2011: My, What A Long Truck You Have
2010: A Place For The Snow To Rest
2009: They’re Always Touching Their Hammers
2008: Raindrops On Roses And Whiskers On Kittens
2007: Love Hate Relationship
2006: Full Service
2005: Struffo-What??