Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Fire On The Mountain

This is the mountain I see from my living room window.  The mighty Santa Catalinas.

I've photographed and written about it many times.  You can see pictures of it when it wasn't on fire here, here, here, here, and here

Oh, and here, when it had a rare covering of snow on it.  

It is currently on fire.

They are calling it the Bighorn Fire, presumably after the Bighorn Sheep that roam the range.  
It was started by a lightning strike and has so far burned 37,028 acres and is 21 percent contained.
The Santa Catalina Mountains - we just call them the Catalinas - is the most prominent range in the Tucson area with the highest elevation, at 9,157 feet above sea level.
We were on the road when we heard about the fire. Although we are close to the area, our house was in no danger.  And we weren't required to evacuate.  Yet communities just a few miles from us were asked to evacuate their homes because the fire was getting too close for comfort.  They didn't want to wait until the last minute to get people out.
We arrived back at our house at 2:30 in the morning.  We could see the orange brightness of the flames from Interstate-10, at least 9 miles from our house.  I saw fire on the very top of the mountain and on Pusch Ridge, a little to the north of the peak on our side.  
These photos were taken this week. I noticed the giant plume of smoke when I left to go to the store.  It was massive.  Because it seems to be on the backside of the mountain there isn't as much smoke smell in the air.  The night we got home the entire neighborhood smelled like a giant campfire.

We saw helicopters a few days ago hauling giant buckets of water to the fire and before we arrived home planes spread fire retardant on the mountain, which is now visible in red streaks across the landscape.  

In the more than 35 years that I've lived here, I've never seen anything like this happen.  It's an incredible sight, really.  We have a close-up view of the result of what Mother Nature can do with just the crack of a lightning bolt.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2019: Celebrating The Dads
2018: Pastoral
2017: Dune Crawl
2016: The Closest I Get To Camping
2015: This Guy Rocks It, Man
2014: Pillows Of Deliciousness
2013: Staring Me Down On Dad's Day
2012: Load Check
2011: Hotel Special Effects In An Instant
2010: The Great American Shoe Hunt
2009: The First Glimpse Of The People’s Coast
2008: Ohhhh, So This Is How It Works
2007: Can You Hear Me Stereotyping Now?
2006: In The Kitchen With Eddie
2005: Top Ten

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Signs Of Summer

Ed took this photo of quail eggs under a rock in our backyard.  This is the time of year when we see the parent quails being trailed by 10-15 of their little ones.  We've already seen one set!

Can't wait for the next batch!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2019: Sorry, no post for this day.
2018: Tip-Top Turtle
2017: Education In Ruins
2016: She's Dressed In A Tuxedo
2015: Turn Of The Century
2014: The Passing Strange
2013: One Pan Eddie: Five Steps To Paradise
2012: Crossing The Hackensack
2011: Don’t Hate On Me On This Lovely Golden Day
2010: See You At The Curb
2009: A Blaze Of Crotch Sniffing And Licky Kisses
2008: Going To Market
2007: Lazy Sunday
2006: Can Someone Define Their Purpose??
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Now You See It, Now You Don't

When most people see our truck rolling down the highway, they probably think it's a van trailer, like some of the other semis they see on the road.  But our trailer is actually a platform trailer, a flatbed with a rolling tarping system.  In our industry, it's called a Conestoga trailer.

This type of trailer allows us to carry freight that goes on a typical flatbed trailer and instead of Ed spending hours and hours tarping (yes, it used to take him several hours to secure and tarp a load), all he has to do now is unlock a few latches to roll the tarp open, load the freight, and then roll it closed.

We can haul anything of legal dimensions that will fit on a flatbed trailer.  And because of our custom interior dimension, we can also haul shipping containers - either two 20' foot containers (that's a 20 footer pictured below) or one 40' container. 

The trailer has retractable twist locks to hold the containers on the trailer so no additional securement (like straps) is needed. The tarping system also opens from either end in the same accordion fashion for easy access to the freight.

We hauled this container from Savannah, Georgia to Terminal Island, California.  To see a video of how the tarping system works to cover the container, click HERE

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Monday, March 30, 2020

Isolation Biscuits

Photo by Jamie Schler @lifesafeast
I saw this recipe on Twitter, and although I'm totally bummed that I can't make them here in the truck, I am saving the recipe for when I get home.

Look at those amazing biscuits! What are they, three, four inches tall?  I need to rip those golden brown tops off and slather them with butter or jam.

And that's what Jamie Schler, the woman who posted the recipe, said you should do. 

Here is her recipe.  She said she's been making these for forty years (talk about time tested!) and from the looks of them, it seems like she's perfected the recipe.  If you make them, please let me know how delicious they really are.

2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (115 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup (160 ml) cold milk
Extra flour for work surface

Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C) before starting.

To measure the flour, stir the flour to lighten it before spooning it up & placing it in the measuring cup. Fill to the top/mounded then, using a long flat surface like the back of a knife blade, level the flour across the top of the cup.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the baking powder and salt to the flour and stir to blend. Cut the butter into cubes and to the flour in the bowl then toss to cover the butter cubes in the flour. Using your fingertips, rub the butter and flour together rather vigorously until the butter has been completely incorporated into the flour and the mixture resembles damp sand or cornmeal.

Add the milk, about a third at a time, mixing vigorously into the flour with a fork until the dough forms into a rough ball & there is no more dry flour/butter mixture. Gather the dough together and place on a floured work surface, dusting the dough itself with a little flour. Knead the dough very, very briefly only until you have a homogenous and smooth dough.

Using a rolling pin and a very light touch (roll the dough without pressing down on the rolling pin into the dough with pressure), roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/2-inch (1 cm). The dough should be light and fluffy, not packed. Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out small rounds (press straight down then up, not twisting the cutter) and place on an ungreased cookie or baking sheet.

Place the cookie/baking sheets with the biscuits in the preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  The biscuits will have risen, the layers slightly separating, and the tops and the bottoms (carefully lift one up and look) will be a nice golden brown.

Eat hot or warm with butter.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Color Purple

2018: Inch By Inch Design
2017: Flashback To French Blooms
2016: Crooking Its Bright Red Finger
2015: This Is Why
2014: Fill'er Up!
2013: Texas! Texas! Margaret...
2012: He Forgets He Lives With A Maven
2011: Does Anyone Notice The Shoes Of A “Very Important Person”?
2010: Do You Think Raquel Owns A Dog And Gets Enough Potassium?
2009: No Need To Do Anything Drastic; There Will Always Be Re-Runs 
2008: Beautifully Retro
2007: Ready, Set, Go!!
2006: Giving New Meaning To An Ambulance Chaser
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 23, 2020

When Life Gives You Lemons

Well, it's the beginning of a brand new week for us.  That really has no meaning during this pandemic, though.  The Coronavirus doesn't know the difference between weekdays and weekends.  Many people will start this week sheltering-in-place, in quarantine, in a hospital bed, or worse.

I'm 52 years old and I've never seen anything like what's happening right now.  I've never been in a store where shelves were bare, I've never had to isolate myself in my home for fear of getting sick, I've never had to stay six to ten feet away from friends and family. I've never seen people hoard toilet paper.  Good thing Ed and I are so used to being three feet apart all the time, this thing is going to be easy for us.  

I'm a homebody, so nothing makes me happier than being told to stay home.  The shelter-in-place suggestion is just another day for me, and it's not a big deal.  But I've been reading a lot of stuff online and have seen Tweets, Instagram stories, internet memes, and Facebook posts joking (and not joking) about how difficult it is for people to stay home.  Especially people with kids.  

I don't get this at all.  Sure, I'm a natural hibernator so it's easy for me, but can people really not stay home??  Don't they know how to read a book, play a game, work a hobby, watch TV and movies?  There is SO much to do at home.  We have the internet, cable TV with 500+ channels, Amazon Prime, Netflix.  Back in the day, we had 13 channels that went off the air for the night.  TV went to sleep like we did. 

I actually think there's something wrong with people who don't know how to relax, chill out, and just be alone with themselves. Or their family.  There's something wrong with the need to socialize, to go out, and to do do do all the time.  What are you afraid of if you miss the gym for a few weeks?  Go outside and do jumping jacks.  Why must you go out for dinner or drinks?  And if you just can't sit still, God help you, clean out your closets.  Bake.  Make and freeze soups.  Organize your pantry.  There's stuff to do, people.

One big problem I see - which is not just a problem during this pandemic, but a problem in general - is people don't cook.  These poor souls live on DoorDash, fast food drive-throughs, Chinese takeout, and frozen pizza.  If a restaurant is closing their dining rooms to protect their workers and the general public, why would you order delivery from them?   The person preparing your meal could be sick, or maybe they didn't wash their hands.  No way.  I'm not taking that chance.  And you shouldn't either.  Learn how to cook or eat a bowl of cereal, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

We are back on the road this week and we've already been to a shipper that asked Coronavirus-related questions - Do you have a cough or fever?  Have you been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or have you be in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the virus? Are you self-quarantining?   Well, I'm not self-quarantining since I'm at your gate in an 18-wheeler to pick up freight.  But, no to the other questions.

Ed and I are self-isolating.  My friend made a distinction between the quarantine and isolation thing - if you're sick, you quarantine, if you're staying home or away from others of your own free will, you're self-isolating.  Other than going into the truckstop to pay for fuel or signing paperwork at a customer, we haven't interacted with any other people.  And when we get back to the truck, we wipe down everything (pen, folder, phone, etc.) with a Clorox wipe, then wash our hands.  Or use hand sanitizer.  We're not taking any chances.

This isn't a joke.  This is serious.  The media isn't making it more than it is, and people who think what's happening is a plot to hurt Trump are morons.  People are sick and dying all over the world, and they don't give a shit about Trump.  And you shouldn't either.  Listen to the scientists, the doctors, the nurses, the specialists, the CDC, the intelligent people.  The ones on the front lines.  The truth-tellers.  Because this is a life or death situation.

And since we have to make adjustments to our way of life, let's all try to be vigilant about the social distancing, the handwashing, and whatever else is necessary to help each other through this pandemic.  We have to follow the direction of those who know more about this virus (or medicine in general) than we do.  We have to do our very best.

Let's make some lemonade.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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!

Sunday, March 08, 2020

A Year Long Carnival

Ed and I took a little Sunday drive up to Globe, Arizona and came across a parking lot carnival when we stopped to get coffee.  The sun was setting, the moon that night would be full, and there were families milling around waiting their turn for the rides.  The Ferris wheel was not only illuminated with its own lights, but the setting sun was shining on it, making it glow. 

From one year to the next, you never know where life will take you. Like a carnival, it's a little crazy, and like the cars rotating on a Ferris wheel, there are ups and downs. 

I feel a little bit like I'm riding one this year, but I can see the ground, so I'm not worried.


2012: Looking For A Coffee Fix
2011: Container Port, You Are No Friend Of Mine
2010: Encased In Plastic
2009: No Lifeguard On Duty
2008: Palm Sketches
2007: You Know Who You Are
2006: I Fear The Family
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Few And Far Between

We've had a few stormy days over the last few weeks and I have to tell you, I love waking up to overcast skies.  There's waaaay too much sun out here in Arizona.  Yeah, yeah, I know, that's the reason people live here, but once in a while, I need a day that doesn't beckon me to leave the house. 

The sun pesters me, reaching through the windows saying, "Come outside.  Look how sunny it is.  Don't you need some fresh air?  Don't you want to feel the sun on your skin? Don't you want to do yardwork?"  No.  No, I don't.  I would like to stay in the house, curled up on the couch with a cup of tea, watching Netflix all day.  

OK, so I actually do do that.  Like, a lot.  But it would feel less wrong if it were overcast or rainy outside.  

As a little reminder, this year is a leap year.  So we will have one extra day in February - tomorrow!  Enjoy it because we won't have another one for four years!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Salz Und Pfeffer

2018: Hot And Sweet
2017: My Kind Of Salad
2016: In Disguise
2015: Hawaii Five-O
2014: I Like Big Boteros And I Cannot Lie
2013: The Young Never Have Trouble Screwing
2012: Making Tracks Across The Country
2011: Eddie Is The King Of The Dome
2010: Do It For Half An Hour A Day
2009: Sipping In Nyack
2008: The Tink Tink Tinkle Of Recycling
2007: Ralph’s Service Station
2006: The Isle Of Capri
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

How Deep Is Your Love For New Artists?

This week I watched Nobody's Fool starring Tiffany Haddish.  I liked the movie - Tiffany Haddish is funny, as expected, but the storyline was cute and it fit right into my love of Rom-Coms.

In the movie, there was a club scene where they introduced the band as PJ Morton and Yebba.  They sang "How Deep Is Your Love", the old Bee Gees song.  I'd never heard of the group and wanting to know if they were real, I Googled them.  They are in fact real people.

Above is the video of the song done by PJ Morton and Yebba - she's the girl in the overalls with the cool voice.  Both a new discovery for me. 

I love discovering new music through movies.  And this version of a familiar song is really great.  

My love is deep. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Barging Through Downtown
2018: Maybe This Time
2017: Queen Of The Copper Camps
2016: He Ran By And Told Me To Share Links
2015: Heading To Shore
2014: Chocolate And Gnocchi - The Best Of Any World
2013: Looking And Smelling Good Behind The Wheel Of A Big Rig
2012: Necessary Evil
2011: Getting Drunk On Summer Fun
2010: How Is It The Fish Don’t Freeze???
2009: A Meal Even 300 Year Old Monks Would Love
2008: Not A Knock Knock Joke
2007: Eddie Shades Friday
2006: The Idiot And The Box
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Chronicling Our Taco Consumption

Who doesn't love a good taco?  Hell, who doesn't love a bad taco? 

But really, is there such thing as a bad taco?  I haven't found one yet.

When we're home, we eat quite a bit of Mexican food.  it's Tucson, folks.  We have an abundance.  

We've been maaaany places in our town - Mi Nidito, Seis Kitchen, Mosaic Cafe El Güero Canelo, Boca Tacos, Penca, El Charro, La Parilla Suiza(my favorite), Street Taco and Beer Co., and so many others I can't remember the names of.

Yesterday we went to Taqueria Pico De Gallo.  We were running an errand that took us to the South Side so I Googled "best tacos in South Tucson" and came up with this place.  It's been around for 29 years (good sign!) and the parking lot was full when we arrived.

We ordered three tacos each - birria, barbacoa, and carne asada - along with one green corn tamale, rice and beans, and chips and salsa.

The tamale didn't wow me - it was good, but a little too moist for my liking - but the tacos were fantastic!  The birria and barbacoa were juicy and flavorful and the carne asada was marinated and grilled perfectly.  My favorite part though....the hand made corn tortillas.  Fat and full of flavor, with those uneven edges that make you know someone formed them between their hands, one by one.

My recent taco obsession has been fueled by watching Taco Chronicles on Netflix.  Six episodes, each thirty minutes long, will have your mouth watering halfway through.  You'll learn about Al Pastor, the street food staple of Mexico City brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants; Carnitas, which date back to the Aztecs; the slow, laborious process of cooking Barbacoa, and the simplicity of a perfectly marinated Carne Asada.  The shows are in Spanish so use your subtitles if you don't speak the language, and immerse yourself in the rich history, preparation, and love of tacos.

¡Buen Provecho!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2019: Ornamental Iron
2018: Quonset Quartet
2017: Baltic Gold
2016: 350 Days Of Sunshine Per Year
2015: Tenderly
2014: What Else Is There To Do When It's One Degree Outside?
2013: Packing Up
2012: A Man Can Do All Things If He Will
2011: Spinning Our Wheels
2010: It Takes Two
2009: Buona Sera King Louis
2008: The Newest B & B Trend Might Not Take Off As Expected
2007: Pirelli
2006: Classic Sal
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Yellow Gaze

Wow.  It's the end of the month already.  How time flies when you're out of sorts.  

I've been sick since two days before Christmas - first acute bronchitis, then a few days of thinking I was better, then incessant coughing and labored breathing.  Could I have the Wuhan?

I don't have much to report which is why I'm posting a picture of my mother's cat, Daisy Mae.  She doesn't look like a sweet, Southern Daisy Mae (she's not) with that piercing yellow stare, but we haven't seen her in a while and blog posts with photos are always better than posts without.  You're welcome.

I haven't been doing much because the not-breathing thing wears me out, but Ed and I did find some time to make fresh pasta.  I will DEFINITELY be doing that again - SO much easier than I anticipated, and really quite delicious for a first attempt. 

The weather here has been nice but I gotta tell you - and I know the people in the colder climates will want to bonk me over the head for this - I'm reaaaallllly tired of seeing the sun.  The way you feel about long winters with snow and cold is exactly how I feel about 280-something days of sunshine a year.  It's really enough already.  I can't even tell you how happy several overcast days (in a row!) would make me.  

OK, so I just wanted to check in and let y'all know we're still here.  Hope the beginning of this glorious new year has been treating you well.  

Talk to you all soon!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2019: The Beautiful Cabbage Flower
2018: Waiting In Wilmington
2017: The Wild Life Of Trucking
2016: Special Order
2015: Clooney Was Not At The End Of The Pier
2014: Where They Build Palaces Out Of Corn
2013: Modern Market Girl
2012: A Berry Good Time
2011: Traveling Through Mountain Ranch
2010: Backroads
2009: If Only I Could Fit All Of This Information On A Bumper Sticker…
2008: Gambling Haze
2007: Published
2006: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Where The Boys Were

The three stones beneath this tree in my backyard were made by my three nephews when they were little boys.  Before Ed and I bought this house from my mother.

They played in the backyard, in the mud, in the stream, building with bricks, digging with shovels, just being boys.

I like looking out my kitchen window and seeing these three reminders lined up beneath that tree.  It makes me smile whenever I catch a glimpse because it takes me back to their little faces, streaked with mud and sweat, glistening in the sun.  When there were no cares.  No homework.  No after-school jobs.  

They were just boys running free.  Taking my heart wherever they went.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Drill, Baby, Drill
2013: Ruling Color
2012: After This, It’s Time To Close The Left Door For A While
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

How 2019 Fell Through The Cracks

Well, this year was a bit of a doozy for us.  As I mentioned in the post I wrote about us taking a hiatus, we experienced what I called a hiccup with our truck and business that took us off the road for the last 10 months.  During the time we've been home, Ed had to work on putting together the specs for a new truck and trailer, of which the build time was going to take 9 months.  

As a result of us being off the road and dealing with business and health stuff, my year-end meme has been a little more difficult to fill out.  I'm certainly looking forward to the new century that's upon us and can't wait to see what's in store for 2020. So let's get it started!

1. What did you do in 2019 that you’d never done before?
For the first time ever, we visited the San Antonio River Walk.  We saw the Parade of Lanterns, and visited the Alamo.

Also, for the first time, had groceries delivered to our truck - boy, was that convenient! 

We made bread!  And it was incredible. 

Ed got into making smoothies (using the Vitamix blender he bought me last Christmas).  

I made gnocchi.  I can't say I've never done it before, because I made them once maybe 30 years ago, but that was an unsuccessful attempt so I'm not counting it. This time I got it right. 

The ones I made last month were amaaazing and exactly how I remember the gnocchi of my childhood.

We did 
a lot of cooking while we were home.

I made eggplant parmigiana, several types of pizza, a rustic cherry tart, chicken marsala, pico de gallo salsa, butternut squash dip, mini trifles for dessert... 

Oh, and we grew tomatoes!  I bought Ed two tiny plants that were maybe three inches high when I got them.  Honestly, I didn't think we'd ever see a tomato.  Now they're over three feet high and we have tomatoes!

So if worse comes to worst, I know we can survive on homemade bread and tomatoes.  

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

I said I was going to take up a hobby, which I didn't do, so clearly I'm bad at the resolution stuff. I'm not making any this year.  Or ever, maybe.  Nope.  

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?


5. What countries did you visit?
No foreign countries this year, but our European trip from last year has lit a small raging fire and I feel a physical need to get back to Paris.  Soon.  

6. What would you like to have in 2020 that you lacked in 2019? 

Mental stimulation.  I think I need to engage my mind more often for more interesting things. I'm going to go with finding a hobby again. Even though I didn't get one this year, I think I have to start creating. 2020 seems like a good year for that.  I think that's where gardening might come in.

7. What dates from 2019 will remain etched in your memory, and why?

December 23, 2019 - the day I found out my mother's melanoma hadn't spread and she was considered to be cancer-free.  That day happens to also be my wedding anniversary, so it'll be something I won't forget.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not dying.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not living to my greatest potential. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I suffered an injury early in the year and then two days before Christmas, I got bronchitis.  I'm incessantly coughing as I type this.  

11. What was the best thing you bought?

New readers from Blue Planet Eyewear.  I love this company and now I have more than enough pairs scattered anywhere my eyes might be.  I bought a pair for my brother as one of his birthday gifts and not only does he look super handsome in them (The Naturalist, with the light green frames), he actually loves them!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
This woman right here.  She's not only famous for the clap heard around the world, but she's cool as a cucumber, an all-around badass, and she plays Kasparov-level chess.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

I think this answer will continue to be 45 until he's out of office.  He's an absolute disgrace and a worldwide embarrassment.  Impeachment is not nearly enough.

14. Where did most of your money go? 

Money?  10 months of unemployment = no money.  What we did have we probably spent on food and healthcare.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Taking delivery of our new truck - 
a 2020 Volvo VNL 300 with a 132" ARI Custom Sleeper.  After waiting months for it to be built, it was finally ready for us to take home.  

16. What song will always remind you of 2019?

Good As Hell and Soulmate by Lizzo.  Hair toss, check my nails, baby how you feelin'? Feeling good as hell!  I don't know where I've been, but I didn't know about this artist before this year.  I heard "Good As Hell" in a movie and immediately thought it was catchy and it stuck with me, and "Soulmate" I discovered through Tracee Ellis Ross's Instagram post.  Glad I found Lizzo!

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

Happy, fat, and poor.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

This is always a big regret category.  I guess I wished I did more things that are good for me (eating right, exercising), produced something (hobby, craft), or spent time doing the things I always put off (organizing my iTunes, streamlining my computer files, scanning photos for my digital photo album...).  I let too much get away from me.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Loafing.  Normally, I love to loaf, but this year I had so much free time since we were out of work, I should have used that time more wisely when I had the chance.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

At home with Ed, my mother, and my brother and his family.  It was a small group this year (just 8), I did the cooking (as usual), and we had a really nice evening.  I even scored pretty big points with the gifts for my three teenage nephews which is a plus because those are the most difficult gifts for me to buy.   

21. Did you fall in love in 2019?
Not with anyone or anything I can think of.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
I'm still into "A Million Little Things" and "This Is Us".  I did have a lot of time to watch TV this year but mostly I did movies, not TV shows.  

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Yes, there are a few I've added to the list.

24. What was the best book you read?

I haven't read a book all year.  I haven't even listened to an audiobook.  Wow.  Typing that makes me realize how lame I am.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I'd have to go with Lizzo. 

26. What did you want and get?
Oddly, puzzles and fake plants.  I'm 90 now, haven't you heard?  Oh, and I also had the age spots frozen off my face.  I may be 90 but I'll be damned if I'm going to look 90!

27. What did you want and not get?

I wanted another foreign vacation but several things prevented that from happening, so I guess I'll have to start researching something for later this year or early 2021. 

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

The Aeronauts.  I watched it tonight, New Year's Eve.  It was visually beautiful and I liked that the story was based on true events.  

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I spent the day on the phone chasing information, went to the doctor, ran some errands, then went out to dinner with Ed and my best friend, Kim.  I turned 52.  

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If we worked more.  I love my job, I enjoy traveling and providing a needed service, and doing it provides me a pretty decent amount of satisfaction.  In addition to not having any money coming in, I felt a bit of a void not having actual work to do.  
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2019?

Multi-Wear Fashion....wearing the same clothes for several days in a row.  You may think that's gross, but apparently, I'm very on-trend.  

32. What kept you sane?

Having complete control of my entire day.  Doing what I wanted, when I wanted.  Feeling tired?  Take a nap.  Feeling bored?  Go out.  Feeling hungry?  Order food.  Whatever, whenever.  

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I've been following Erica Lugo from Dayton, Ohio on Instagram for quite some time now.  She's lost over 150 pounds since the beginning of her journey (she lost 130 in the first 15 months) and not only does she own a fitness studio and have a large following online, but she's the newest trainer on the new season of Biggest Loser, which premiers January 28, 2020.  She's beautiful and inspiring and recently shared her engagement news.  The wedding is set for April 4, 2020!  Her online community will definitely be following along.  

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I can't even make a choice.  I'm so incensed by everything that's going on, I can't pick just one. 

35. Who did you miss?
I can't think of anyone I missed this year.  

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I haven't met anyone new.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2019.

Be flexible.  Whether it's with goals, work situations, relationship issues, etc.  Things change and you have to be adaptable.  Goalposts move.  Health declines.  People change their minds.  The more flexible you are, the easier you can roll through all situations and the less stress you'll experience.  

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Don't give up, you got to hold on to what you got
You got to keep on moving on don't stop"

I have loved this song for years - Step By Step by Whitney Houston - and this year the "don't give up, keep on moving, don't stop" message was perfect.  It's a very uplifting and motivating song.  And I love that little shoulder raise Whitney does when she's singing it (watch the video).  I sing this one often.

Here are the rest of the lyrics:

Step By Step

Well there's a bridge and there's a river that I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Oh, I might be lost

And there's a road I have to follow, a place I have to go
Well no-one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know
Because I'm taking it

Step By Step, Bit by Bit
Stone By Stone (Yeah), Brick by Brick (Oh, yeah)
Step By Step, Day By Day, Mile by mile (ooh, ooh, ooh)

And this old road is rough and ruined
So many dangers along the way
So many burdens might fall upon me
So many troubles that I have to face

Oh, but I won't let my spirit fail me
Oh, I won't let my spirit go
Until I get to my destination
I'm going to take it slowly because I'm making it mine

Step By Step (you know I'm taking it), bit by bit (bit by bit, come move)
Stone by stone (yeah), brick by brick (brick by brick by brick by brick mmm...)
Step by step (step by step uh-huh), day by day (day by day-ee)
Mile by mile (ooh), go your own way

Say it, baby, don't give up
You got to hold on to what you got
Oh, baby, don't give up
You got to keep on moving on don't stop (yeah yeah)
I know you're hurting, and i know you're blue
I know you're hurting but don't let the bad things get to you

Step By Step (you know I'm taking it), bit by bit (bit by bit, come move)
Stone by stone (yeah), brick by brick (brick by brick by brick by brick mmm...)
Step by step (step by step uh-huh), day by day (day by day-ee)
Mile by mile (ooh), go your own way

(come on baby got to keep moving)
(i'm taking it step by step), bit by bit
Stone by stone (yeah, stone by stone), brick by brick
Come on baby
Step by step keep on moving, day by day (day by day-ee)
Mile by mile by mile by mile,go your own way
Come on baby got to keep moving, bit by bit (bit by bit, bit by bit)

And my slogan for the New Year...


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2018: Galloping Into 2019
2017: 2017 Saw A Snowstorm, A Penitentiary, And A Wedding
2016: 2016 Has Ended And It's Time To Breathe Again
2015: The Sun Sets On 2015
2014: Thanks, 2014. For Everything.
2013: I Am Gonna OWN You, 2014!
2012: Wrapping Up A Year Of Making My Own Sunshine
2011: Later, 2011!
2010: That’s A Wrap!
2009: Out With The Old
2008: Another Year, Another 365 Days
2007: All Good Things Come To An End
2006: The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
2005: Suicidal Firewood