Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Hunting For Halloween Candy

Me (the Lion), my brother Michael (the pirate), my cousin Eric (Dracula) and my cousin Greg (the Devil). Circa 1979.
Other than my Carmen Miranda costume that I wore as an adult, this was probably my favorite Halloween costume.   My Aunt Ronni originally made it for my cousin Eric when he was a toddler.  I was thrilled when she let me wear it!
She took the triangle hairnet my grandmother used to wear to keep her rollers in place, and hand attached multi-colored yard through the netting to create a lush mane that trailed down my back.  To finish the look, she made wrist and ankle pieces to go with it, and a tail.

I added the gold belt and created a stunning lioness ensemble!  I'm ready for the hunt.

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2016: Why I Don't Open My Door

2015: How To Escape The Grim Reaper
2014: Happy HalloCatMoose
2013: It's That Time Of Year
2012: Happy All Hallows' Even
2011: What You’ll Find In The Hills And Hollers Of Tennessee
2010: Three Coins In A Fountain
2009: Truck Or Treat
2008: Spooktacular
2007: Isn’t He Comcastic?
2006: Trick Or Treating With All Ten Toes
2005: Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Talking To The Toms

In the photo above is a Broad Breasted White Turkey.  It's the most common commercial broad breasted strain of eating turkeys today.  In fact, it's what most Americans will be sitting down to a table with on Thanksgiving.  

These two turkeys in these photos belong to a friend of Ed's. While Ed was talking motorcycles and planning his next trail ride with his friend, I had an opportunity to see get close to the turkeys and capture a few shots of them wandering around the yard. 

Most of the following turkey information I gathered online, cobbled together from different sources and mostly plagiarized.  Please don't sue me. 

A male turkey is called a "tom" and a female turkey is called a "hen".  Both of these turkeys are toms. 

In the photo below, you can see the turkey's ear, his snood, and his wattle. 

The ear is the whitish ring on the side of his head.  A Tom (male) turkey hears extremely well. 

The snood is the fleshy piece hanging down over the turkey's beak.  The snood is longer in males than females and they have no known function.  When the tom is relaxed, the snood is short.  When the tom struts - as they were doing when I took these photos, with their tailfeathers all fanned out - the snood engorges with blood and hangs down further over the beak.

The wattle is the piece that hangs down under his neck.  The snood and the wattle fill up with blood and turn bright red when a tom wants to attract a hen but can also turn blue if the turkey is scared.

The fleshy, bumpy growths on the head and neck are called caruncles. 

The male turkey, a Tom, has a tuft of long, bristle-like fibers attached to the breast called a beard.  You can see them here - they are the grey strands poking out from his breast.  It can be anywhere from an inch long to more than 10 inches long, although that's rare.  The beard is not hair, it's a modified feather that forms a stiff bristle.  Beards vary in length and thickness and can have various curls and kinks.

The turkeys were extremely docile (except when they started fighting with each other - which I'll post a video of in an upcoming post, or you can see it on my Instagram here and here) and followed me around the yard.  They allowed me to touch them, which is how I discovered their extremely soft feather.  I was actually petting and talking to a turkey.

In this photo, you can see their fan, the prominent feature when a turkey struts.  The fan is made up of 18 tail feathers 12 to 15 inches long.  Adult males have tail feathers that are uniform in length.

These turkeys are flightless birds and they were much bigger than I expected, at least 25 pounds each.

And although we got chicken eggs from Jim the last time Ed was there, he didn't have any turkey eggs on hand.  From what I've read, commercial turkey farmers (of which Jim is not) aren't in the egg business, they'd have to wait a whole lot longer to collect them since they don't lay as often as chickens do, and they're expensive.  

After meeting these two guys, you'd think I'd feel bad about looking forward to Thanksgiving.  I don't.

Pass the cranberry sauce!

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2016: Hand Truckin'

2015: Zero Tolerance
2014: Twenty Minutes On The Water
2013: 1960s First Aid
2012: Far From The Soaking Of The East
2011: Inspired
2010: Lucky To Be A Woman
2009: I Feel Like A Thief
2008: Emulating The Brazilian Bombshell
2007: HMMWVs
2006: She’s Still Learning
2005: Woof

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Day Like No Other

Me and my sister-in-law, the beautiful bride.  
Ed and I have been organizing our storage sheds, office filing cabinets, boxes of old photos, and photo albums.  I've come across a lot of old photos, some you've seen posted here, and I'm getting a real kick out of it.  Today's post contains photos from my brother's wedding back in July 1993.

In this one, my step-father, my sister-in-law, my brother, my mother, and me!

My brother and I.  We were so young!  I was 25, he was 24.  
Look at the wedding party!  Wow.  The few wedding tasks I'm doing for my own upcoming wedding makes me realize a) I have no desire to have a big wedding, and b) I couldn't pull together seven close girlfriends if my life depended on it.  I guess that's one of the big things about getting married when you're young, you're mostly still friends with people you went to high school or college with.  Today, I can count my closest friends on one hand.  I kinda like it that way. 

I'm glad I didn't get lost on the ends of the photo - they obviously lined everyone up from smallest to tallest, outward in.  I was wearing tiny heels and I was still the tallest girl. I loved my dress, but those sleeves!  Ooof!  

And here, next to my cousins, it's clear I'm the Amazon in the family.  I don't know where my height came from (I'm 5' 8" tall) because no woman in my family has passed the 5' 4" mark and most of the men were short, too.  The tallest man was my dad at 5' 10".  I guess I got the extra boost from him.

In this photo, my sister-in-law's brother, my sister-in-law, my brother, and me.
What a great day we all had!  It was the first wedding among our generation, and it really was a spectacular event.  Now, my brother and his wife have three teenage boys.  Boy, how time flies!

Held at The Thayer Hotel at West Point in New York, on the bank of the Hudson River, the view was outstanding.  The website says it perfectly: "With our majestic hilltop location, soaring Gothic architecture and breathtaking views of the Hudson River, the celebrated venues and stirring military traditions of the United States Military Academy will provide a wedding setting like no other."

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2016: I Could Be This Guy

2015: Thinking Place
2014: The Fruits Of My Internet Surfing Labor
2013: They Never Talk About These In The Brochure
2012: A Day On The Giant Sleeping Frog
2011: Off The Board And In The Air
2010: Evening Fruits And Vegetables
2009: He Parks Like A Girl
2008: Out Cattin’ On Halloween
2007: The Bridges And A Cowboy
2006: What Happens When Time Falls Into The Wrong Hands
2005: Me

Saturday, October 28, 2017

You Know Nothing, Jon Snow

Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow in Games of Thrones, for Vogue Italia (May 2016)
I finally finished binge-watching all seven seasons of Game Of Thrones.  In a week.  That's 70 hours of TV viewing.  It was like having a job.  Now that I'm done, I have time to put together a few links for your reading pleasure.  Enjoy!

Oscar Wilde said, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life."  This proves his point.

We are going back on the road soon and my friend Marlaina sent me this article to start planning our adventures.  I've been to many of the places already, but I'm looking forward to visiting some of the rest of them!

I'm not trying to eat less meat, but I'm always trying to eat more cauliflower.

The greatest train journey on earth.  I want a ticket.   

As my friend said when I sent her the link to this place, "Damn.  I wish I was stupid rich."  Me, too.

I don't know how this isn't causing more accidents than it's preventing.

Would it be wrong to make all of these amazing French recipes for one sitting?

Maybe I'll just start with the stew.

I'm shopping for my wedding band so I have diamonds on the brain.  I really love this one.   
Probably the best thing I've read about sniffing farts

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2016: Skinny Jack's Estate
2015: Trucks Bring It, Give Them A Place To Park
2014: Good Morning Kansas
2013: What A Caricature!
2012: Shopping Among The Farmers
Tango Hotel Alpha November Kilo Sierra, Charlie Company!

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

I Experience Fall Via The Internet

There are people who will tell you there are plusses to living in Tucson, Arizona. I can probably come up with a few myself - not necessarily that please me, but that will appeal to other people - but one of the things I will always dislike about living here is the absolute absence of Fall.

Not only is it October 26th and still 89 degrees outside, but there is no day, no week, and no month, that I can look out my window or take a drive in my car to see what you'll see in the following photos. It just doesn't happen. We don't have it.

That's one of the things I love about being over-the-road, the fact that we can see the changing leaves.  Real seasons.  Sometimes we can see leaves changing in the Northeast, then the Midwest, then the Southeast, all in the same month. Here in Tucson, there is no change. No leaves. No color. No reds, yellows, oranges, plums. You'll get a few people who will say, "The tree in my yard changes color."  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I can only look at them with pity, thinking about how sad it is that they'll settle for a few orange leaves and call it a season.

Here are some Instagram accounts I follow to get my fill of the beauty that graces the rest of the country (and world):

A post shared by BEAUTIFUL DESTINATIONS (@beautifuldestinations) on

A post shared by Travel + Leisure (@travelandleisure) on

A post shared by Earthpix 🌍🌏🌎 (@earthpix) on

A post shared by Country Living (@countrylivingmag) on

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Sizzling Hot Balls Of Meat

2015: How To Get On The Do Not Call List
2014: Gazing At The Stargazers
2013: Oh, How We Love Our La-Z-Boys
2012: The Road To Luminosity
2011: Old School Meets New School

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Ladies Night

The year was 1986.  My hair was big.  My skirt was mini.  My outfit, as always, was black. 

It was my 19th birthday and my cousin Ro, a city girl through-and-through took me out to celebrate at The Palladium in New York City.

I look at this photo now and think I didn't look remotely "dressed up" for going out, but I remember that shirt well.  It was silk, a shell as it was called, typically worn under suit jackets.  It was very popular at the time.  I was wearing it with my favorite short black skirt and heels.  My hair was permed, teased to be bigger than normal.  I towered over my petite cousin, as was the norm for me when compared to the other women in my family.  I was 5'8", all the other women were 5'4" or shorter.

The Palladium was a legendary nightclub.  One of the biggest in New York City.  The dance floor was huge and packed.  I remember the stairs as I entered the club - big black and white polka dots, all lit up.  It was such a memorable night.  I was born in the Bronx and lived in the country most of my life, so this was a real experience for me.  
I remember feeling so cool to be out in NYC, at a famous club, dancing among real city dwellers.  

You couldn't pay me to go to a club in NYC today, but I'm glad to have had the opportunity.  Those were certainly the days. 

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When Your Plane Lands, You're Home

2015: Lining Up For The Pony Ride
2014: Keep It Movin' People
2013: Salt For Miles
2012: I Attended Without An Entourage
It’s All Greek To Me

2010: Italy On A Shoestring
2009: What The Elle???
2008: Weird And Random
2007: California Burning With Need
2006: Walking Into Another World
2005: Fall Into Winter

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Stand And Face The Sun

In September of 1989, my brother drove from New York to Arizona in his little Toyota pickup truck with the big, overinflated wheels.  He was 21 years old.

This is a picture of him somewhere in New Mexico, holding a map, looking west toward the setting sun.

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A Manifesto For Meat
2015: Morning Y'all
2014: Happy Fall Morning
2013: Own The Day
2012: Barrio Viejo 
2011: A Daunting Task
2010: Salivating Over The Salumeria
2009: The Cheapest Entertainment Around
2008: Proud To Be A Liberal American
2007: I Don’t Think This Is What The Gideons Had In Mind
2006: Ten Reasons Today
2005: The Big Five Oh!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Living In A Boy's World

Here's a photo of my nephew sailing over the Imperial Sand Dunes in California. 

Just west of Yuma, Arizona, in the state of California, lies one of the nation's largest mass of inland sand dunes.  The erg is approximately 45 miles long by 6 miles wide.  We've driven through this area on our way to California, but have never done any exploring.

Granted, there's not much to explore but sand, and there's no way to do it other than on a motorcycle or in an all-terrain vehicle.  And it's hot.  So as you'd imagine, I'm not doing any kind of exploring in this place. 

My brother has been to the dunes many times over the years with his best friend from high school.  He's also taken my nephews out there a few times to ride.  They love it.  And now that Ed has a motorcycle, I suspect he'll be going on one of the future trips.  I'm already concerned.

The boys like to show off, jump from dangerous heights (some of the dunes rise 300 feet), and drive faster than they would anywhere else they've ridden.  There have been several injuries over the years, including a few this past week.  Nothing serious in the minds of men as you might imagine, and so far they've all come back with operational limbs so it constitutes a good time.  

A natural draw for off-road enthusiasts, The Imperial Sand Dunes see more than a million visitors each year.  That's a whole lotta people coming out to see what's essentially a giant sandbox. 

And the boys playing in it have graduated from shovels and toy trucks to helmets and toys with wheels. 

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Ten Outstanding Years

2015: Mangiare All'aperto, Trucker Style
2014: Released To The Press
2013: In A Time When Gentlemen And Ladies Actually Existed
2012: The Great Affair 
2011: The Gaping Void Says It All
2010: Under The Tuscan Sun Within 3,000 Year Old Walls
2009: Dragged Back, Kicking And Screaming
2008: Seniors Maintain Law And Order By Way Of A Fluke Discovery
2007: Lisa Lavie Is The Angel Here
2006: Fight The Moth
2005: Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Monday, October 16, 2017

Growing Season

This is our second attempt at plants near our back entryway.  The first batch we planted were beautiful - lush green, with purple flowers - but the animals ate every last leaf and flower on them.  They never grew back. 

So today we bought two large Cape Honeysuckle plants and three small Rosemary bushes.  I read that rosemary repels animals, so maybe the smell that's glorious to humans will keep away the rabbits and whatever else is munching on my plants.  Ed put some chicken wire around the honeysuckle, for now, hoping to protect the lower leaves. 

I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow and I look forward to seeing them when they flower.  We need a little color up in here.

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The General Landscape Of Southern Arizona

2015:  A Bright Spot In The District
2014:  The Way The River Went
2013:  If You're Looking To Flip A House For Money....Don't
2012:  A Sad Day For The Piggies
A Warrior Waging A Noble Fight, Fueled By Chocolate Ice Cream

2010:  Ragazzo dell’Ombrello
2009:  Eddie It’s Not Even Halloween Yet Friday
2008:  Not So Different, Are We?
2007:  Quite Uneducated, If You Ask Me
2006:  Sometimes Identity Theft Can SAVE You Money
2005:  Mina In Fifty Years