Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Beautiful Time Capsule

I read about this house online and instantly fell in love.  It's in Canada - Toronto - and I'd buy it tomorrow.  It's not much to look at from the inside, but oh, the interior.  

It's not necessarily the style I would chose for my own home were I to decorate a home from scratch today, but I love many, many elements of it.  Probably so many, I could move right in.  I mean, look at this entry hall, with the wallpaper and the sconces and the glass front door.
And the living room, wrapped in seafoam green, is just beautiful, like stepping into a mermaids house on the land.
Oh, but the kitchen.  The kitchen is pink. Soft, glowy, baby pink.  Look at the gorgeous lighting fixtures, the curtains, a pink phone (with a dial on it!) way at the end of the counter.
And my absolute favorite element...the breakfast nook.  I always wanted a nook growing up.  Like I saw on TV.  But this breakfast nook is just beautiful.  The table, the wallpaper, the lighting fixture, the curtains.  I want to eat oatmeal at this table.
Here's the master bedroom.  The homeowner's husband requested no pink in the master bedroom.  But she snuck that fuchsia stool at the end of the bed in there.  But maybe he did't notice because he was too busy looking at that amazing turquoise chair.  I want it.
Then, when you think it can't possibly get any better, you walk downstairs, into the retro-ist man cave/rec room/bar/room for the parents to hang out ever.  I feel like I'm ten again, and I've been allowed to see the coolest part of my friend's parent's house.
This house was listed for $699,000.00 and the woman selling it is 96-years-old and has lived here for 72 years.  Amazing.  Now she's moving to a retirement home but will only be taking a few prized possessions.  How sad to have to leave this pristine time capsule behind.

To see more photos - there are thirty-one of them! - click HERE.

Enjoy the journey back in time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  I'm Giving Up Trucking And Going Into Clothing Design

2012: Wynning Diamonds
2011: Donuts From Heaven
2010: Captain Of The Most Expensive Fried Seafood This Side Of Arthur Treacher’s
2009: Eddie Acts Like A Monkey Friday
2008: I Might Like It If There Were Some Balling Involved
2007: Very Large Cheek Pouches Come In Handy When Traveling
2006: The French Are So Romance Savvy
2005: Wyoming Clean Air Act 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In Six Months, They'll Know Right Where To Put It

We snuggled right up to this sign in the shopping plaza where we parked to go for dinner, steak tonight, at Ed's request.

Ah, if only there really were snow stored there....sigh.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Me And The Thunder
2011: Her Cup Overfloweth With Idiocy
2010: Dear Arizona,
2009: Come Sit In Our Cab For A Spel And Let Us Take You On The Road!
2008: How Well Do You Know Your Stringed Instruments?
2007: Meat. The Old Fashioned Way.
2006: Kicking The Hell Out Of Texas
2005: Look, Mary!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Earth Is 75% Water. Grab A Fork.

After a late breakfast this morning, we took showers and then sat around trying to decide what we were going to do with the rest of our day.  The trailer is in the shop getting some tweaks and improvements and may not be ready for a few days.  When that happens, our thoughts automatically turn to sightseeing.  Where could we go?  That's when my friend Michelle, who lives in New Bedford, Mass. called and said she wanted to take a ride up to see us.

Woohoo!  I love having visitors to the truck.  It's like entertaining guests at home in Arizona, but instead of them coming to our house, we bring our house to them.  After she arrived, we sat around for a few hours talking and laughing until Ed's stomach started signaling it was time to eat.  

I chose a restaurant called The Sole Proprietor.  We were all in the mood for seafood and their menu looked really good to me, but when we drove up to the building I thought we had the wrong place.  There was a giant, inflatable crab on top of the building.

The entire building.  Heaving and moving with the air swirling inside of it.

I thought to myself, Is this some cheap, crab shack?  Did I read the website correctly? What the hell??  Who puts an inflatable crab on the roof of a nice restaurant??

When we walked inside, I realized the giant cheesy giant crab didn't reflect the richly decorated dining area.  It wound up being just as I expected.  We were led to the dining room by a friendly hostess, who handed us menus after we were seated.  She told us July was crab month and pointed our attention to a special menu that featured all of the items they offered that included crab.

There were also a few facts about Buster, the crab engulfing the building.  We learned that this is Buster's 22nd year at The Sole Proprietor, he's the world's largest inflatable crustacean, and he has a 75-foot claw span.  It takes 45,000 cubic feet of air to inflate him, and if he were real, he could feed 200,000 people and would require 35,116 pounds of butter and 45,447 lemons!  That's one feast I might be interested in.

But since Buster himself wasn't on the menu, we took some time to decide on our meals. We ordered drinks and an appetizer to share and perused the menu.  Ed chose to celebrate the July crab fest, and Michelle and I indulged in our favorites.

I had the Seafood Saut
é - lobster meat, shrimp, and scallops sautéed in garlic, leeks, and clam juice. Topped with herb cracker crumbs. Served with sweet potato mash and mixed vegetables.

What a beautiful dish.  The seafood combo included everything I loved, and the creamy sauce was delicious.  I also have to remember to include leeks more often in my cooking.

Michelle had the Grilled Fresh Sea Scallops, which was served with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.  It was a great portion and she said the scallops were done perfectly.
And Ed decided to have a manageable piece of Buster.  Two Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Legs - one full pound of meat, ringing up at $20.00 per leg.  It was amazing and worth it.  

There was so much meat in those two seemingly scrawny legs, that Ed actually said he was full.  I helped him with a few butter-dipped pieces.
We were all stuffed.  But then they presented us with the dessert menu and we suddenly found more room.  We each decided to have espresso, and also the Chocolate Tulip Cup, the Tiramisu, and the Key Lime Pie.  Oh.  My.  God.  Everything was so delicious, we rolled out of that place happy and FULL.

We had a great night.  I was thrilled to see Michelle, and we finally got to hear her story about her volunteer time with the Bonobos at the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary.  She introduced us to Kanzi through her stories and we were completely amazed at what this ape can do.  See it for yourself here.

This is one of the reasons I love our life on the road.  When we're out here, we not only get to see and do so many things but if we're in the right place at the right time, we get to spend time with people who make our time on this earth so wonderful.

It's even better when that time includes food.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Reflection On The Island

2012: Sprinkled
2011: Prized Good Luck Piece
2010: Summer In The City
2009: I Should Get A Job Working The Pole At A Boy Scout Camp
2008: The Flavor Of Life
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Again??? But You Just Got Off The Phone With Her!
2005: A Cow’s Opinion

Monday, July 28, 2014

Storm Warning

Today we were in Massachusetts in the path of a tornado.  We didn't have prior knowledge of it coming because we were in the mall most of the morning.

When I first heard of it I was sitting in the nail salon, getting my nails done.  My phone suddenly squawked, emitting the tornado warning sound alert several times. The nail guy said, "What is that?"

I said, "A severe weather warning alert."  But I didn't pick up the phone to look at it.

He said, "What's that for?"

Since I was watching the TV in the salon that they had tuned to the news, I saw what was going on.

 "Tornado warning." I said.  "It's on the TV."

The giant red swoosh on the screen was directly over the town we were in, warning of a tornado in Southern Worcester County until 5:15pm.  It was 4:30.  Earlier this morning, Revere, Mass., just an hour east of where we were, was hit with an EF-2 tornado that did quite a bit of damage.

All the staff in the salon were speaking quickly in their native language.  Every few words I heard an excited "Tornado!  Tornado!"

The guy doing my nails said, "Scary."

I said, "Well, apparently not scary enough since everyone here are still getting their nails done."

But I had a close eye on the television.  It looked bad.  The entire area was orange and red.  The weather man had fear in his eyes.

I texted Ed, "Tornado warning.  Come to the salon."

He texted back, "Small pants warning." and he sent a picture of himself in a dressing room, trying on shorts.  He's lost 27 pounds and the shorts he's currently wearing look like they belong to someone else, so he was looking for new ones.

"I don't like those."  I texted back.  "They do fit better though."

He sent another picture.

"There is a tornado warning right now.  The staff in the salon is wigging out, "tornado! tornado!".  It's on the news right now." I texted.

He texted back a picture of him in a different pair of shorts, and "I know about the tornado."

"Wow.  SKINNY," I texted. "90-100 mph winds they're saying."

"What about these shorts?" he texted, sending another picture of him in what looked like camouflage print shorts.  Or flowers, I couldn't tell.

"Are those flowers or camo?" I texted.

"Camo." he texted.

"Are you in Macy's?" I texted.

"Yeah.  The first pair is $24.99, the other ones $14.99.  Sky is clear outside."

"Clear sky is a warning." I texted back.  Bad news.  The calm before the storm.

I can't believe there was a tornado warning, being reported with urgency on TV, and while I'm trying to get Ed to come get me at the salon, he's texting me pictures of him trying on shorts.

He finally sauntered in just as my nails were drying.  We left the salon and walked back into the mall where not a thing looked different.  Everyone was moseying around, shopping like normal.

We walked out to the truck, looking at the post-storm sky.

We made it out alive.

Here's a panorama shot of the truck in the Macy's parking lot.  Click to make it bigger.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013: Another Home Run By Big Ed
2012: A Window On New Mexico
2011: My Man Makes A Mad Meal
2010: Less Is Not More In All Cases
2009: Grain Gone By
2008: The Absolute Beauty Of It
2007: Not Only Did He Pray, He Posed
2006: Camera Phone Coolness
2005: Life Is A Salt Shaker

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Prayer

I don't know what I was looking for on YouTube, but in the process I came across this duo. At the time they auditioned for Britian's Got Talent in 2012, Jonathan Antoine was seventeen and Charlotte Jaconelli was sixteen.  They sang "The Prayer", a song originally done by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion.

I watched this while I was taking my thirty minute break in Cuba, Missouri, in the middle of the night, with a smile on my face, a swell in my heart, and a tear in my eye.

I'm a total sap.  And this performance moved me.  I don't follow Britian's Got Talent, and usually only find out about these things only after the whole world has posted about it on Facebook or Twitter, or I read an article somewhere.  I'm so thrilled to have stumbled upon them.  These two young people are incredible.  

They came in second place on the show (to a dancing dog!) and have since put out two albums together.  In February of this year they split as a singing duo  - each getting solo contracts with Sony - to pursue their personal musical styles.

Check out their websites:  Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Ladder 11 To The Rescue
2011: It’s Got Lipstick Written All Over It
2010: Liquid Crack
2009: For All The World To See
2008: Studio Blue
2007: Eddie Tests His Spine Friday
2006: Almost Twenty
2005: Thinking

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Laying Down The Hot Mix

Asphalt crew.  Yuma, Arizona.

You could not pay me enough to do this job.

I used to work for an asphalt construction company.  In the office, of course.

The guys on the crew would go out and pave parking lots, highways, driveways, etc.  Our biggest contract was with the City of Tucson, filling potholes and sealing cracks.  They'd start early in the morning and work well into the afternoon.

Hot mix asphalt comes out of the dump truck and goes into the hopper at somewhere between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  The road surface they're standing on is already hot from the blistering sun, and the temperature of the place they're working is well above 115 degrees.  Any wind is hot wind.  Eyebrow-singeing hot.

The workers on the crew wear jeans.  And work boots.  And long-sleeved shirts.  To keep the sun off, of course.  A hard-hat with a bandanna hanging down the back of their neck, which was soaked in ice water when they started, is now just soaked in sweat.  The clothing is supposed to wick away sweat, keep them cooler.  I'm dubious about that, although I know it's been proven.  And if I were stuck in the Sahara with no shelter for miles, I'd probably be begging for a pair of long pants and long-sleeved shirt to cover my frying skin.

But that will never happen, because I'll never be anywhere near the Sahara.

Being in Southern Arizona is close enough.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Yes You Is
2012: Window Shopping In The East Village
2011: Waiting For Someone To Service Me
2010: Rockin’ Rockaholic Haul
2009: Just Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner
2008: In This Case, R & R Means Recumbent And Recuperation
2007: Posthumously Famous In The World Of Cheap Lodging
2006: What Better Reason To Dine Out?
2005: Hudson Valley Summer

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tormenta De Polvo

In the more than thirty years I've lived in Arizona, I've never seen a dust storm.  Or what the media now likes to call a haboob.

Well, I got to see one yesterday.  Ed was driving and watched it as it started to roll in from the distance.  I was on the phone talking to my friend Michelle, so he kept poking me and pointing to get my attention.  I had no idea what he was pointing at since there's nothing to look at out here, and just kept waving his hand away.

Then it was upon us.  
It's really hard to tell from the pictures because it still looks sort of clear in the distance, but if you've ever driven in Southern Arizona, or anywhere in the West where the land is flat, you'd know that you can typically see for miles.  Miles and miles.  Where you can see towns in other counties kind of  miles.  Like this.

That wasn't the case here, as you can see our visibility getting worse.  The wind was coming in strong bursts and tumbleweeds were shooting across the road.  There were only a few cars ahead of us but we couldn't see them anymore.  It wasn't crazy thick, like dense fog is, but we were looking for a place to pull over just in case it got worse.

Suddenly, we were pelted with rain.  Huge droplets, causing as much a visibility problem as the dust did.  Then it stopped, just like that, and the road was clear again.

From what I've read, this seems to happen more in the Phoenix area than Tucson.  We were in Gila Bend, kinda between the two cities, a little to the west.  These storms kill.  I don't know if people just don't know what to do when they happen - and they should, since they live here - or if it comes on so fast there's no time to do anything.  A few years ago, after our Phoenix UPS run was over, we missed a deadly storm on the route we travel to get home to Tucson.

The accident happened in I-10 near Casa Grande around 11 a.m., just three days before Christmas.  The thing that saved us from being in that pile-up was the fact that we decided to do some last-minute Christmas shopping in Phoenix.  Two of the three people killed in that accident were local teenagers - 17-year-old Katie Eide and her brother, 14-year-old Mark Eide - driving to Dairy Queen to meet up with their friends.  Three days before Christmas.  The overwhelming grief their family must still be feeling.  I always think of them when I see any kind of dust storm, even the little ones we call "dust devils".  They were just going out for ice cream and never came home.  Tragic.

These storms happen all over the Southwest, in New Mexico, and Texas.  Don't risk plowing through, you might not make it.  Know what to do.

Pull Aside, Stay Alive.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: A Bridge To Baytown
2012: Sometimes We Like To Lay Low
2011: Pick ‘Em Slowly And Gently
2010: Listen, Learn, And Laugh
2009: Where Is Robin Hood When You Need Him?
2008: All American Eddie Friday
2007: A Hippie Dippie Woo Woo Town Sporting Lots Of Leg Hair
2006: Flowering Rocks
2005: The Cool Mom

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dry Like An Oven

The next few posts will have to do with the insane heat of Arizona.  Because we're here. In the middle of summer.  Like a ciuco.  (Growing up, my family bastardized this word, saying it so it sounded like "chooch".  East Coast peeps will understand.)

We work with an agent who calls us personally for one particular load out of Phoenix. We've been hauling for this same for a while now and the agent always calls us first to see if we're available. We love working with her, so we always say yes.

The challenge saying yes presents, is getting from wherever we are to Arizona to pick it up.  This time when she called, we were in South Carolina.  So we cobbled together two awesome paying loads (luck!) and made our way to Arizona with half a day to spare. Delivered our load this afternoon, pick up the next one tomorrow morning.

We even had time to stop at the house yesterday.  We had a few things in the truck to drop off and we had to pick up mail and packages.  We rolled into Tucson about two in the afternoon, and as we got off the interstate, the temperature gauge in the truck's dash read 115.  It continued to climb from there.  116.  117.  119.  120.  121.


When it hit 125, I urged Ed to get a picture.

I'm sure several factors resulted in the 125 number - like the heat coming off the asphalt as we drove - but the fact that the regular temperatures have been in the one-teens is enough reason for me to get in and get out of town as soon as possible.  Really, one day of this weather is more than enough for me.  I've already reached my limit.

And people talking about the "dry heat", have clearly been in it too long.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: I Saw And I Said
2012: Juicy Driving Treat
2011: Reckless In Rome
2010: Back And Forth, Back And Forth, Back And Forth…
2009: Eddie Enters A Copper Mine Friday
2008: Oshkosh B’Gosh!
2007: Queen Of The 21st Century
2006: Sketchbook
2005: A Queen’s Life

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Big Coin Was A Big Hit

I do so much laundry on the road, I actually have a laundry category for this blog to document all the places we've been through pictures.  The best laundromats, in my opinion, are the ones that are open 24 hours.  You never have to worry about making it there in time for the "last load".

I always hate the idea of doing laundry but Ed usually urges me to "just get it done".  I have to admit, once it's done, I'm happier.

The problem is, we can go weeks without doing laundry.  We have so many clothes, it's just not right.  Actually, I think Ed has even more clothes than I do.  Now that's just not right.

But really, I think I'd rather do laundry on the road.  I can throw it all in at once, dry it all at once, and fold it all at once.  When I do the same amount of laundry at home, it takes me all night, most times into the next day.  I have to get up and down from my comfy TV-watching chair, transfer clothes from washer to dryer, fold in stages, pile things all over the laundry room, and then cart it all back out to the truck.

This laundromat was great.  It was huge, it wasn't as hot as most of them are, it had ample truck parking, and there was an awesome pizzeria a few doors down.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  Painting The Serengeti

2012: Why Fig Newtons Will Always Be On My Shopping List
2011: Losing The Wallet At Your Convenience
2010: Bridge Over Troubled Roadway
2009: If Only The Streets Were Truly Paved With Gold
2008: She Reigns Supreme
2007: A Match Made In Heaven
2006: Proof
2005: Caped Crusaders

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Just Another View From The Road

I love when the mountains look like this in the distance.  Layers and layers of ridges, different colors and heights.  Usually, I find them hard to photograph because the layers are so far in the distance, I can't usually pick them up that far with my little camera.

It's not the best picture as the sky was a bit hazy from the heat, but at least you can get an idea of the view we took in on this very early morning.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Polly Needs More Than A Cracker. Polly Needs A Roll Cage.

2012: Hats Off To Tits And Ass
2011: Approaching Chi-Town
2010: Paneful Outlook
2009: Gray County Silhouette
2008: This Little Piggy Went To Market
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: The Heat Bog
2005: Five

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Decade Of Love, Travel, And Monkey Business

I'm not one to count anniversaries when it comes to dating.  Some women do the 16-year-old, "this is our one month/two month/three month/eighth month anniversary" thing.  I hate that.  But I do think it's valid to count years.  I did a post for our first year together.  I did one at seven years.  And today's marks ten years.

Ten years from the day I had my first date with Ed! 

Eddie and I have had some really great moments on the road.  In ten years we've been a lot of places together - 49 states, 10 of the 13 Canadian Provinces and Territories, Italy, Mexico, Honduras, Turks and Caicos.  Two cruises.  Numerous bike rides.  Millions of driving miles.

Thanks for the good times, Eddie.  Here's to many more!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Thirty-Thousand Square Feet Of Stuff To Spend Money On
2012: Truckin’ With Ed
2011: Way Better Than Seven Years In Tibet
2010: His Charm And Understated Humor Is Totally Contagious
2009: The Creature Comforts Of Home
2008: Checklist
2007: Happy As A Clam
2006: Two Things
2005: Good For Licking

Sunday, July 20, 2014

An Instagram Glimpse Of Interstate 64

Waking up in cloudy Mount Sterling, Kentucky.  One notable resident of Mount Sterling is Nancy Green, who was the original Aunt Jemima.  

Stopping for lunch in Nitro, West Virginia.  Its name was derived from the chemical term Nitro-Cellulose, which was a type of gunpowder that was to be produced in the town during World War I.  

Catching a glimpse of the gold-domed Capitol building in Charleston, West Virginia.  "The magnificent 293- foot gold dome which tops the structure is five feet higher than the dome of the U.S. Capitol. The entire dome is gilded in 23 ½ karat gold leaf applied to the copper and lead roof in tiny 3 3/8 inch squares."  It is magnificent.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: More Fun Than Mr. Potato Head
2012: Triage
2011: They Claim To Have The Most Sky
2010: No Escape
2009: Help Wanted. Must Have Own Cassock.
2008: It’s All An Illuuuuusion
2007: Tipping Point
2006: Snap Decision To A Healthier Life
2005: Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Embrace The Heat Of Miami

Grandma and Elvis in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami
Whether you're looking to spend a few days on the beach, heading off on a cruise, or just need a few days of sunshine, one of the closest places to get it - especially if you live on the East Coast - is to hop a flight to Miami, book a hotel room with the Venus of Travel, and start your adventure.

It's not all beach.  You're aware of that, right?

And it's not just a giant cruise ship embarkation point.

Yes, they have sun.  Yes, there are thousands of cruises in and out.  But they have culture too.  And ordinary buildings with extraordinary art - like this one, in the Wynwood Arts District, emblazoned with an intricate, eye-catching pattern.
And food.

And fashion.

Oh, the list goes on.  If you don't believe me, check out Pinterest for all the different parts of Miami people are pinning about.

And once you're done getting your tan on, check out places like Little Havana for authentic Cuban food, or Churchill's Pub in the Lemon City neighborhood for food (from breakfast to burgers) and music - from Latin Rock to reggae to jazz.

Since 1979, Churchill's has been known for the place to for bands new to the Miami music scene.  Next door to Churchill's is Sweat Records, a place that's keeping vinyl alive - you can walk into this café/music store/coffee shop/event space and pick out locally made items in addition to CDs and good 'ol fashioned records with hand drawn labels.

Lemon City was named for the copious lemon groves in the area and was initially a small farming community.  It eventually transitioned from agricultural to residential and became an area known for attracting immigrants from Haiti.

La Petite Haiti (Little Haiti) manifests itself in the brightly colored building reminiscent of the Caribbean homeland of its residents. 

In the cultural heart of the Haitian Diaspora you will find a little pocket of shops selling Haitian art, food, and books, in addition to nondescript variety shops selling inexpensive kitsch.
There's also the Little Haiti Cultural Center, whose objective is for the residents and visitors to the area to gain exposure to Afro-Caribbean culture.  The center opened in 2009 and houses a theater, art gallery, event space, art and dance studios, ceramics studio, and educational spaces.  And on the third Friday of every month they have a free event called Big Night In Little Haiti, bringing the entertainment, food, and fun together in one place.

This is Miami, my friends!

Start exploring.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2013: Oh, To Be A Kid
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Jack & Jill Went Up A Hill To Fetch Some Aircraft Parts
2010: Live Longer. Live Better. And Be Sure To Have A Devil Dog Once In A While.
2009: How Can You Not Be In Love With The Man Who Invented Kisses?
2008: And We Wonder Why We’re The Fattest Nation On Earth
2007: Star Gazing
2006: Only A Southerner
2005: Do You Take Wolfgang Winkelmeyer To Be Your Lawful Wedded Husband?

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Original Walking Dead

I saw this door at Camp Lejeune and loved the bright red color against the muted tones of the bricks. 

The phrase painted on the door - "The Vietnamese called them The Walking Dead" - piqued my interest.  Ed, a former Marine, didn't seem to be able to recollect anything about it so I turned to Google. 

I found that The Walking Dead referred to the 1st Battalion 9th Marines infantry battalion formed during World War I.  During the Vietnam War, the "One Nine" as they were known, sustained the highest casualty rate in Marine Corps history.

Betty Jean Pulliam, former National President of the American Gold Star Mothers, who lost her 21-year-old-son in Vietnam on Mother's Day 1967 said, "Ho Chi Minh told them that he was going to kill them all, so just consider themselves dead walking.  So they called themselves the 'Walking Dead'."  

According to Wikipedia, "The battalion endured the longest sustained combat and suffered the highest killed in action (KIA) rate in Marine Corps history, especially during the Battle of July Two. The battalion was engaged in combat for 47 months and 7 days, from 15 June 1965 to 19 October 1966 and 11 December 1966 to 14 July 1969. Based on a typical battalion strength of 800 Marines and Navy hospital corpsmen, 93.63% (747) were Killed In Action (KIA) and 0.25% (2) were Missing In Action (MIA)."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Hey! It's A Million Degrees Outside. Wanna Help Me Move?
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Things Are Going Just Swimmingly
2010: A Real Truck Driver Meets A Real Housewife
2009: Stars Glowing, Wine Flowing, Sax Blowing
2008: Western Ed Friday
2007: Salena Kandinsky
2006: Bam! Traumatized.
2005: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dreaming Of A Craftier Life

I've been crafty and creative my entire life.  From making macrame planters from the twine my father brought home from the post office, to painted dough Christmas ornaments, to beaded eggs (made with real, hollowed out eggs) for Easter, to sewing costumes for Halloween.

For a while, I worked for a woman who was a cloth doll maker.  She got me into it and even allowed me to participate, through the doll makers group she was a founder of, in a doll exchange with doll makers in Canberra, Australia.  Our doll group made dolls for them, their doll group made dolls for us, and we shipped them to each other.  She even went to Canberra to meet the women in the other group and brought back fabric for me that was emblazoned with kangaroos.  I still have it.

She made all kinds of dolls, amazing dolls.  She was extremely creative and had such varied ideas, and introduced me to all kinds of well-known doll makers in the industry, like Patti Medaris Culea, who was one of my favorites.  

Of the dolls I made, the pattern for the one above became one of my favorites.  I don't remember who I adapted the pattern from, but I used it many times and it got popular among my friends.  I sort of got sucked into making several of them because people I knew saw them and wanted to buy them from me.  I would ask color preferences and then put together a doll using whatever fabric I had that fit their request.  Before I knew it, I was spending my evenings sewing and stuffing.

I should have taken more pictures of the ones I made, but these are the only ones I can find.  I wasn't as good with the camera then as I am now, so the pictures aren't the best quality and I can't even tweak them to make them better, but at least you can see the different fabrics.  Not everyone loved the dolls - some thought the faces were creepy.  Clearly, those people didn't get one of my masterpieces. 

A guy I knew wanted me to make Crash Test Dummy dolls.  These are the two I did, and the only photos that exist of them.  I did a rush job, using black and yellow fabric paint to decorate them, and although they were very crudely sewn - with a very uneven stuffing job since he insisted on helping me make them - I still think they're kind of cute.
Every once in a while out on the road, I crave doing something crafty.  I have a sewing machine with me, I have a glue gun and Popsicle sticks from one of my past projects, and beads and wire earring posts from some other things I made.

I often think about jobs I'd like to have - working from a loft in a cool city, or living in a barn in the country - making a living from selling the things I make.  Here are ten items I'd like to attempt:

I envision natural ingredient soaps, in large chunky bars, wrapped in glassine paper and tied with rustic or colorful string.

Chèvre, Burrata, Ricotta, Gruyère, Asiago...oh, the list is so, so long.

Sterling silver, hammered metals, glass beads, unusual stones. etc.  I see the magazines in Barnes and Noble all the time and dream about starting the minute I get back to the truck.  Never happens.

Just bread.  Not a bakery with all kinds of bakes items, only bread.  The desire for this becomes stronger when I'm in a place like Beyond Bread or a local bakery and the smell of it baking makes its way to my nose.

Knitted  or Crocheted pieces
I don't know that I'd want to wear these pieces myself, because I'm always hot and don't see the need for a sweater-like item, but I have seen some really awesome pieces that I would love to create or expand on.  When I was in Montréal with Marlaina, out and about on our spa day, we went to a store called Myco Anna.  They had hats and scarves and gloves that were a creative mix of knits and fabric.  I loved them.

Stuffed animals and toys
There are so many really great stuffed items, mostly for kids, but also for adults that are unique and fabulous.  I see them in boutiques or unique shops in small towns and always say to myself, "I have to make something like that."  Some people just have incredible imaginations.

Up-cycled clothing using items you already own, or items found in thrift stores
This comes from a place of wanting something unusual.  No matter where you shop, there's always the chance someone else will be wearing what you are.  My grandmother used to say "you see yourself coming and going" when girls all shopped in the same store, buying the same stuff.  Of course we have online shopping now, which takes some of that away, but I've seen a few movies where the characters in them made a clothing item from other clothing items, creating something you'll never find anywhere else.

Along the lines of the ones in these pictures, meaning cloth, but more like these creative examples.

I actually looked into this about eighteen years ago.  My friend and I did a lot of research and I gathered a lot of information on pillow making.  It seemed to be an easy endeavor and after seeing pillows in stores that costs hundreds of dollars, I was sure it was going to make me rich.  I did not get rich from pillows.  Damn my doubts!

Gourmet foods.  Jellies, candies, breadsticks, chutneys, olive oils, spice rubs, etc.  Anything and everything to enhance a food experience.

How on earth am I going to fit everything into one life??

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2013: A Surprise In The Park
2012: A Little Red Water Never Killed Anyone
2011: Instantly Sexy
2010: Natural Light In Waterloo
2009: So, What Brings You To My Neck Of The Blogospher?
2008: Eternity Is Going To Be SO. MUCH. FUN.
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: That Eddie Guy
2005: Pee Bum Head