Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Love In A Slot Canyon


My step-sister, Melissa, is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Massage Therapist, Certified Health Coach, and Behavior Change Specialist.  She works with a lot of competitive athletes but also with kids and other clients seeking one-on-one training and massage. In addition to all of that, she's written articles for several health and wellness publications.

She is the owner of Raise The Bar Wellness.

Last year she had the opportunity to travel through France for a month to work as part of the health support staff for a cycling team in the Tour de France.  She was what's called a soigneur - in cycling, that's a person who gives training, massages, and other assistance to a team, especially during a race.

She recently posted the following words with the photo above, on her Instagram account. I think it's spectacular.  Have a read:

Life itself wants us to expand

It is always seeking our soft places

Pushing us there to see if we will stretch

Or break and become new

It seeks our hard places too

The walls we built when we didn't know we were building them

Life itself comes across like a monster

With gnashing teeth and long nails

Sometimes

But once we make friends with it

We realize

That sometimes love

Breaks us down

To build us up better

I could not love myself the way I do today

If I had not broken open dozens of times

I could not love my kids, my partner, this world

The way I do

If I had not fallen to my knees so many times

And begged life

To give me something better



Now isn't that fantastic?

She is so inspiring.  And wise.  Thoughtful and insightful.  Her words have the power to evoke deep emotion.  She says things out loud that most people keep inside.  She pulls feelings out of the deepest spots of your mind and heart.  And she makes people feel as if it's okay for them to have those feelings.

In addition to words like these that she writes, I love that she has such a dedication to physical fitness - for herself, her children, other children, friends, clients, etc.  She provided me with some really great exercises for back and sciatica pain that helped.  And when I watch her videos I REALLY want (in my head) to get off my ass and do exercise-like things. 

I can't always complete that thought with action, but I think it's building.  I've never been one to do, enjoy, or look forward to physical exertion so it's a big stretch to think I'll ever be anywhere near her fitness level. That's just crazy thinking.  But if I can reach just one planck length of her fitness level, I'd rule the world.

The closest I've ever come to daily physical activity of any significant level was my six-mile-a-day walking average in Europe, during a vacation in 2018.  That was over the top. Six miles a day! I can't believe I even did that. I was in Europe for a month and when I got home I weighed 13 pounds less.  Even after eating cheese and croissants and lattes and decadent breakfasts and dessert every night.  I was shocked!  I guess there is something to that exercise stuff.  

So I will just keep reading her words and watching her videos and maybe someday, like my grandfather used to say, if enough shit hits the fan, some is bound to stick.  




Friday, September 02, 2022

Loving The 'Gram


I lose
hours on Instagram.  Not all at once, but certainly over the course of days.  Some days, it'll be an hour before I realize in deep in the rabbit hole.  There's just SO MUCH stuff to look at, it's easy to get sucked in.  Here are ten accounts I follow that are currently my favorites.

Liliya Rakh 
She is the Founder and Director of Sauvage Group, the largest fashion luxury chain in Kazakhstan.  Yes, Kazakhstan.  There's just something about her I like - her hair (which she really pulls off) is her most striking feature, but the fact that she's tall and slim really sets off the clothing she wears.  I don't love all the looks she models, but I do like a lot of them. 

Carlo and Sarah
He's Italian, she's American.  They're young.  In love.  Married now.  They met at his family's beach club in Italy, a place she'd been going with her family for years because her Nonna lives in a nearby town.  Her nonna and other family members had been friends with his family for years. He was a handsome Italian lifeguard.  He learned English just to ask her on a date and even then, they used Google Translate to communicate.  They were separated during the pandemic and eventually married in Italy, but without her family because of Covid. They're having a second wedding this year in the U.S.  Here's a Q & A about them.  They're in their early twenties and a great couple.  I LOVE him.  His accent, his Italian, his laugh, and how he is still learning English.  They crack me up regularly.

Daily Bird Pics
I love birds.  I bird watch at home.  I have three bird apps on my phone - Merlin Bird ID, the Audubon Bird Guide, and Peterson Field Guides Birds of North America.  I take pictures of birds.  And I follow multiple bird accounts on Instagram.  Sometimes you'll seem the same photo on each account, but there are so many amazing, gorgeous, phenomenal birds to look at, who cares?  Here are some others I follow:  Birds On Earth, Best Bird Pictures, and Birds.Nature.

Effin' Birds
Speaking of birds  - this is a different kind of bird account.  I'm convinced its creator, Aaron Reynolds, and I, were separated at birth.  He's effin' hilarious.

Travel and Leisure
Nothing describes my likes better than travel and leisure.  I like all the ideas I get from their posts and because of them, I am continually adding new locations to my "must visit" list.

For The Love Of Old Houses
I definitely need more money.  Because there are houses out there that need to be purchased.  I want to live everywhere!  No doubt in my mind one of these places will give you pause and say to yourself, hmmm, maybe it's time to moveCirca Houses, Cheap Old Houses, Old Houses Under $50K, and Cheap Italian Dream Homes are others you might want to check out.

Mühendis Tube
Some of the coolest stuff I've seen online.  I don't know how they get half of these videos, but I'm glad they do.  It's awesome.  The account is Turkish - Mühendis means Engineer.

Cats of Instagram
Because I'm not allowed to have a cat.  That makes me sad.  This account makes me happy.  This one is kind of great also.

My Texas House
I love her decor - color palette and style.  I want this house and everything in it.  I just don't want it in Texas.  The style of this house is a very close second.  But again, don't love the location - I can barely handle the heat of Tucson, I'd never survive in blazing hot Buckeye, Arizona.

Mateo Zielonka
Because I love pasta and hope to someday make more of it, I follow Mateo because as a chef, author of "The Pasta Man", and maker of drool-worthy (and Instagram-worthy) dishes, he inspires me and makes my eyes happy.  You can find his website here.


I have many more Instagram sites that I love.  I'll do another post in the future about them.  In the meantime, check these out and let me know what you think.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021:  Sorry, no post on this day.
2020:  Sorry, no post on this day.
2019:  Sorry, no post on this day.
2018: 
Amazing In One Pot
2017: Note To Self: Shut Phone Off Before Bed
2016: Where You Live When You Love What You Do
2015: The Best Snark On Screen
2014: The Only One Working Today
2013: Only The Lonely
2012: Tunnel Of Love
2011: A Stinking Welcome
2010: The Star Of The Spinning Centerpiece
2009: My Nizzl Fa Shizzl
2008: When You’re Smiling
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Decision Dilemma
2005: Alaska Later!

Friday, August 05, 2022

A Roadstar Shows How Business Casual Is Done


It's really official now.  We have a Roadstar in the family.

Last month, at an awards banquet in Orlando, Florida, Ed was handed his Roadstar award, on stage, in a room full of his peers.  He was smiling from ear-to-ear.   

At the 3-day event, there were past inductees in addition to the new inductees who were there to be recognized at the Saturday night awards ceremony banquet. 

On the first day of the event, at check-in, Ed received his name tag with ribbons indicating his past status as a one million miler, and the new inductee ribbon for the Roadstar award he'd be receiving.

Landstar flew us from Tucson to Orlando and put us up in the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort for the three days of the event.  They fed us (a LOT), entertained us with a special appearance by Jamie Clarke, acclaimed adventurer, explorer, author, and entrepreneur, and tried to kill us by giving us free passes to ICON Park, an "entertainment destination".

I joke about them trying to kill us.  I only say that because it was nine-billion degrees with 152% humidity - not the most ideal conditions for a day at an outside entertainment destination. 

We went on The Wheel (their giant 400-foot Ferris wheel), visited Madame Tussaud's wax museum, and then popped into the Sea Life Aquarium. 
Ed with Johnny Depp at the wax museum

What I found to be a VERY pleasant surprise was that the Ferris wheel's gondola car was not only air-conditioned, but it had a digital jukebox of sorts where you could choose your own music to serenade you during the 20-minute ride.  Nice, but I was still happy to get into an air-conditioned Uber to take me back to the air-conditioned resort.

The resort was TREMENDOUS. A 255-acre property with 1,501 guestrooms.  The walk from our room to the conference rooms was at least one-half of a mile.  Between meals and meetings, we made that hike several times a day.  The resort actually rents scooters for people to get around.  I wish I had gotten one of those.  I was envious every time someone zipped past me.

This photo is from the resort website showing two of the four swimming pools on the property.  We spent one of our days lounging by the pool with fruity drinks.  I haven't been in a pool in ages - it was so relaxing.  I think the 
piña colada might have had something to do with that.
They did an eighties-themed dinner for the first night we were there and many of the attendees - including our CEO and his wife - dressed up in their best eighties garb.  He was sporting parachute pants and high-top sneakers and she looked like a typical Jersey girl in her Madonna-esque outfit complete with fishnet stockings.  The music was great - so many songs I hadn't heard in years.  Everyone had a lot of fun.

Before the event, they asked all the Roadstars to wear the jacket they were given and a shirt of their choice to take their headshots.  I put Ed in his white shirt and figured we'd put the tie and jacket on, then he'd just switch out of that and just wear the shirt and shorts to the meeting.  But we didn't have time to go back to the room to change so Ed wound up wearing his shirt and tie, along with his shorts and flip-flops to the Roadstar Welcome meeting.

He was a hit!  Gregg Nelson, the Vice President of Operations at Landstar, called Ed out at the meeting and made a big fuss about how he was dressed.  "Now that's how you dress for a meeting!" 

He asked Ed to stand up and then said, "That's Resort Casual."  That was the first of many comments Ed got as he walked the halls.  One guy said, "Business on top, party on bottom, huh?"  and Ed replied, "It's called a Business Mullet."

Whatever it was called, I thought he looked very handsome.  
Overall, we had a really nice weekend.  We added a day on either side of the three days the company paid for and we upgraded our flight to First Class so we could comfortably travel from Arizona to Florida.  It was a nice little perk. 

Now we're home trying to stay out of the blazing hot summer heat of Tucson.  It hasn't been easy since we're doing a lot of caretaking for our parents lately.  Which, of course, requires us to leave the house.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Delicioso Since 1969


I've written about it in the past, and now I'm doing it again.  One of my favorite restaurants in Tucson in La Parrilla Suiza, a place I've been dining at for over 30 years.  It's my first stop for Mexican food and when we're home we eat there a few times a month.

We've been home for a few weeks now and have already made several visits to La Parrilla, as we call it.

If you're ever in town, you really should try it.

Order Number 17, my favorite.   


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: Monsoon Afternoon
2020: The Day Began With A Burst
2019: Sorry, no post on this day
2018: Sin In The Distance
2017: Often, The Trees Speak To Us
2016: How I'm Feeling Lately
2015: Ed Goes With The Flow
2014: Big Coin Was A Big Hit
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

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A Rare Bird On The Boardwalk

Earlier this month we had a few days off in Virginia Beach so one night we hit our favorite steakhouse in the area, Aberdeen Barn, and the next day walked the boardwalk in Virginia Beach. 

I hate walking but there were lots of benches to stop, rest, and people watch - that's my favorite part.  The weather was nice - not too hot - and although it was a weekday, there were still enough people out to make the people watching interesting.  

We found parking for the tractor one block from the beach and at the end of our walk, had some seafood at Chix on the Beach, which was recommended by a local.

While people watching on the boardwalk, I spied a handsome Roadstar.  I took him home.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
2021: 
Rotating High Above The Emerald City
2020: Sorry, no post for this day.
2
019: Sorry, no post for this day.
2018: It's A Slow Day, Norm
2017: Pizza On The Q
2016: DQ Cat 
2015: Happy Father's Day!
2014: WARNING: Very Low Flying Aircraft
2013: Stop. Look. Read.
2012: You Won’t Miss Me Coming On This Bike
2011: An Extra Large Bargain
2010: Maybe You Can Learn A Little Something From A Few Truck Drivers
2009: The Fathers In Our Lives, Our Fathers Who Art In Heaven And The Father Of Our Country
2008: Who The Hell Left The Pool Float In The Sea Of Tranquility??
2007: Lure Me In
2006: Sometimes The Reasons NOT To Have Children Are So Very Clear
2005: U-Ta-Dah!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Hallway From Hell


We're supposed to fly to Portland, Oregon next month.  The airport is under construction.  They have cute signs lining the areas you have to walk (not visible here) trying to keep you in good spirits as you trek thirty miles from one area to another dragging your luggage.  It's positively horrid.

I am not looking forward to this hallway.  In fact, I think I officially hate this airport.  I'll weigh in again after they finish construction, but right now they're at the very bottom of my "things I like" list.  




~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2021: 
A Grand Old Visit
2020: Now You See It, Now You Don't
2019: Green Sticks Everywhere
2018: Designated Office Space
2017: Desert Garden In Bloom
2016: Agile Cat
2015: Future Steak
2014: What Should Have Been Paul's Place
2013: At The Drop Of A Hat
2012: Passing Up A Little Afternoon Delight
2011: Annnnnnd…It’s Back On!
2010: Rise Early. Work Hard. Strike Oil.
2009: It’s All Connected To The Pigskin
2008: The Sorriest Team Drivers You’ve Ever Seen
2007: Ooooooo, A Contest!
2006: Modern Convenience
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Approaching The Missile Range

This is the San Augustin Pass rest area on US-70 heading east from Las Cruces towards White Sands.  This was an early morning shot just as the sun was coming up.  The photo really doesn't do justice to the vast distance you can actually see when you're standing at the top of this hill.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: It's Baby Season!
2020: Fanned Out Cables
2019: Three Years Later...
2018: A Spring Moment
2017: In The Heart Of Amish Country
2016: A Spark Of Male Bonding
2015: A-MAZ-ING
2014: Ghosts Of Retail
2013: Orange Is The Devil
2012: Sixteen Hundred Miles Makes All The Difference
2011: In Need Of Some Color
2010: 122 Years And Counting
2009: Sixteen Days Old
2008: Racism Comes With A Convenient Handle
2007: Evening Tide
2006: Glittering Pasties And Swinging Tassles
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Taking A Ship To See A Queen


This is the view through our windshield as we drove off the ferry into Victoria - the capital city of British Columbia, located on Vancouver Island in Canada.  The crossing was just 90 minutes from Port Angeles, Washington in the United States.  The ferry drops you right into downtown Victoria - and as you drive onto the main drag, you pass the beautiful parliament building, which is graced with a statue of Queen Victoria herself right in front of it.

There was one other semi truck on the ferry with us.  He was a few vehicles ahead of us.  We were one of the last vehicles off.  I know it's no big deal for people who take these ferries all the time, but I love when we get to take our truck on a ferry!  It's a bit more exciting than our everyday travel.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: 
Dignity Of Earth And Sky
2020: When Life Gives You Lemons
2019: Istanbul Cobble
2018: Circulating The Morning Air In The Lonestar State
2017: It's The Real OLD Thing
2016: Stopping In Style
2015: Patiently Waiting
2014: Find Out Where You Can Dine With Giraffes
2013: Sputtering With Excitement
2012: Water May Not Be The Only Liquid Nourishing These Flowers
2011: Nappy Time
2010: Dick. Not A Dick. Which One Are You?
2009: First The Poultry, Now This
2008: California Moon
2007: Ryno And Rob
2006: Living The Dream
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn't start until May 2005!

Saturday, February 19, 2022

A Hail Mary, Lucky Horseshoes, And Some Really Good Trip Planning Are All That's Needed

 


Parking is a serious problem for truckers.  And it has been for years.  People want the items trucks bring, but they don't seem to want us parking anywhere near them.  NIMBYs, the whole lot of them.    

Even when we pre-plan our trip and have an idea where we’ll be stopping for the night, it doesn’t always work out. I’m the night driver of our team. And for some reason, I always seem to get lucky. My friend claims I have a golden horseshoe up my ass. Which, looking at the arc of my life, may be very, very true.  But not everyone has one.


That doesn’t mean I haven’t run into snags. Sometimes you plan to shut down at a particular truck stop for the night but you get there and it’s full. Sometimes you know there’s a rest area coming up but you get there and it’s closed. These are real-life everyday problems. I always leave myself extra time and never run my clock out. You don't even know the panic that sets in when you're watching your time run out and you're still driving to try to find a spot. One time I literally coasted into a parking lot with almost no time to spare.  Those were a few white-knuckle seconds, let me tell you.

As you can see in the photo - taken on Interstate-95 Northbound in St. Augustine, Florida - the “No Parking” signs are abundant. There must have been 40 signs there, on the outbound ramp of the rest area. The company we are leased to does not allow parking on ramps so we never have and never will do it, but lots of companies let their drivers park wherever they can find a spot.  When you see trucks parked on the shoulder of the highway, or on the ramps of exits or rest areas, you can bet your last dollar it's because they can't find an appropriate or safe place to park. 

The 2019 Jason’s Law Report found that 98% of truck drivers regularly experience problems finding safe parking.  The report is named after Jason Rivenburg, a driver who was robbed and murdered when he parked in an abandoned gas station in South Carolina.  He was the father of a two-year-old at the time, and his wife gave birth to twins just thirteen days after he was killed.  An absolute tragedy.  

It's a problem everywhere - in the northeast, California (which I think is the very worst), Atlanta, Chicago, most large cities.  But even in places where we have to pick up and deliver.  Some of these companies, which have plenty of parking at their facilities, don't even allow us to park there when waiting to load or unload.  They want their freight, they want it ASAP, yet they make things difficult for the drivers. 

In addition to the lack of parking, I personally have a problem with other vehicles using truck parking spots - like RVs, cars towing little trailers. Or a pickup truck that shouldn't be in the truck parking area at all.  I think they should all go to Walmart parking lots, where they are allowed and most often, we aren’t. We have to adhere to federally mandated Hours of Service. They don’t. When our time is up, it’s up. We need that spot. We are the ones who need safe, secure, available parking.

Truckers will never stop talking about the issues we face on a daily basis.  I just hope someone, somewhere, is listening.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

UPDATE:  This week, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discussed the lack of safe truck parking.  I like Buttigieg.  And I'll like him even more if he's actually the one who finally does something about the parking situation.  Knowing who and what he's up against, I won't hold my breath.

But I will keep my butt cheeks squeezed tight - there's no way I'm letting that golden horseshoe slip out.  


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2021: 
Beautiful Freak Of Nature
2020: Sorry, no post on this day.
2019: Ring The Bell For Tips
2018: Snacks & Bar
2017: So This Happened Today
2016: Agrarian
2015: Tied Off
2014: Seek And Ye Shall Find
2013: Frantically Trying To Get Back To Indonesia
2012: I’d Like Some Snow For Dessert
2011: Getting A Little Carried Away
2010: On A Need To Know Basis
2009: Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong
2008: Flying Into The Sun
2007: Riding The Rails
2006: Keeping Me Quiet With A Chocolate Snap
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Campo Wind

A windmill in the parking lot of the Golden Acorn Casino in Campo, California.  Some people aren't so thrilled about the proposed addition of more wind turbines in the area.  Oh, well.  This is what progress and energy independence looks like.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
 ~ ~ ~ ~
2019: Rock Solid Saint
2018: Rainforest Adventures
2017: Low Ceiling In The Desert
2016: An Original Recycler
2015: There's A Black Hole In The Desert (With Truck Parking)
2014: Strength In Numbers
2013: Woman Cannot Live On Bread Alone
2012: Why Milk Is ALWAYS At The Top Of My Shopping List
2011: Fun For Sale
2010: Dublin Is Incredibly Corny
2009: Welcome To Snowhio
2008: When Big Hair And Denim Were King
2007: Open 24 Hours
2006: Lucky One Eye
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!