Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Homeless Shelter

My mother reminded me today that I am essentially homeless; since our truck (my home) is being fixed, I have been relying on the kindness of friends and family for a place to stay.

If the mechanics up there in Delaware don't get their asses in gear and get our little home on wheels fixed lickety split, I'm gonna need to move on to the next shelter.

There are some places I've been where I haven't had the pleasure of laying my head. Any offers??

I can cook!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Summer Staples

In addition to the real reason to observe Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service; I have always known it to signify the "official" start of summer.

As a teenager it was the beginning of "the season" for our family restaurant in the Catskills and a date our family used as the beginning of our summer countdown; a crazy ten weeks of "city" people coming up to the "country" to spend the summer in bungalow colonies, summer cottages and hotels.

Today, when summer starts, I usually haul out all my summer goods and try to keep myself as cool as possible which hopefully ensures a smooth, bitch-free summer.

As always, my staples include:

1. White denim shorts

2. Tank tops, to accentuate my golden tanned cleavage!

3. Flip Flops

4. A good book or a handful of magazines

and the most important accessory,

5. Pompeii Purple nail polish by OPI, for my toes - I never go a summer without it. EVER.

With good looking toes, something to read and clothes that accentuate your best assets, including your tan, you just can't go wrong. Trust me.

When truck drivers that have met you only once can remember what color toenail polish you were wearing, you have to know you're on to something!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Can Someone Define Their Purpose??

Today my friend and I decided we were going to go to spend the day at the pool of a friend. We had a few things to run around and do before that could happen and spent the better part of the morning running around getting it done.

We hit Big Lots for pool toys, Kroger for lunch items and snacks and Target for a new bathing suit and magazines. We were ready for some poolside fun!

By the time we got home, the kids were ready to jump out of their skin they were so excited about the first day of the pool season, but her husband wanted to know where his bathing suit was. WTF??

He had almost TWO hours while we were gone to find it. In the meantime, we packed the lunches, iced up the cooler and filled it with beverages, found our suits, got towels for everyone, filled up an iced tea pitcher, unwrapped and re-fitted the new swim goggles for the kids and then hauled everything into the car to go.

On the way out to the car, as WE carried the cooler and everything else we needed to take with us, I said to her, "What the hell do we need them for? Shit. We can go to the toy store to take care of our needs, work to make our own money, take care of kids and do every other God damned thing without them. Really. What the fuck use are they??"

Needless to say, men weren't high on my list of anything yesterday. And it's not looking like tomorrow is going to be any better.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Eddie's New Passion Friday

I think I've been replaced; by a girl with a cuter tail. I mean, sail. Cuter sail.

While our truck is being repaired, Eddie has been working on the sail boat. Here he is taking it out for a test run.

He already has it equipped with the two most important items - a refrigerator and an air conditioner. I could care less about the sail, but it must have air conditioning. He's been painting, and tuning up the engine and making sure the floatation devices are up to snuff.

Once that's done, we'll be heading out to the Gulf of Mexico; he wants to go for five weeks. I was like, what the hell are we going to do in a boat for five weeks??? when a friend of mine said, "Eat, get some sun and have sex."

Oh. Right. C'mon baby! When are we leaving? I'm packed and ready to go!!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Closing The Age Gap

Is it only when you start nearing forty, that twenty-one year old guys start looking good again?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Road Testing The Girl

Today I took my road test; the one with the crotchety old examiner everyone is afraid of.

We get in the truck and he said, "Get started whenever you're ready." I answered with my newfound Southern charm, "Yes, sir." Then he said, "And one more thing. Let's make sure this truck comes back to the yard with all the mirrors on it." Oh shit.

"They told you??"

"Yes, Ma'am. Now you mind telling me exactly how that happened?" So, I told him the story, leaving out the BAM!! part for fear of giving him a heart attack, and just kept thinking, change the subject change the subject change the subject.

I got in the truck and started forward upon his direction. I made it through the whole course with just a few grinded gears and a few beads of sweat on my forehead from the heat, not the nervousness; that was still to come.

I knew I was going to have to do the difficult shift-from-fifth-gear-to-third-gear thing. It was coming. And I was going to have to do math. There is some formula they told us, having to do with taking yourself out of fifth gear into neutral while watching the speed on your speedometer and the RPM's on the tachometer and at the point where the two are matching, shift into third. The window to do that in is this big. Yeah, that's right; virtually no time.

On our way back to the yard, I was waiting for Father Time to tell me to turn into the yard, not "assuming" I know where he wants me to go, even though I do. Well, he told me too late, I couldn't slow down enough to do that stupid math shit and grinded the crap out of the gears, not able to find any hole to put that fucking gearshift into. I broke into a sweat. I coasted into the yard and stopped. Then he bellowed, "WHY did you stop???"

"Well, I was going too fast to get it into third...."

"That's what you have a brake for!" he says. Oh God. "Well, I guess I'm going to have to catch you next time. You did great up to that point, but you can't be leaving your trailer out on the road and just stop. I can't pass you."

OK, well, no big deal I thought, I'll have another day to practice. Then the program director comes up to me and said, "Hey, I'm going to see if he'll test you again later today. He usually doesn't do that, but I'm going to try to make it happen." Hmm, okay.

Turned out I did get the chance to test again later in the afternoon. We get back into the truck and start out all over again. I get through the traffic light, shifting quickly from second to third and he yelled at me for shifting in the middle of a turn!! Dammit. I said, "Hmm. Not such a great way to start out my second chance, huh?" He grunts and answers me sternly with "Turn right, up there." while pointing to a street we had never been on during the practice runs. Great.

So, I did my little loop around the block, and on my second go round, I managed to find third gear to get my whole trailer back into the yard and stop. He said "Alright. Well, you passed."

"Thank you so much!" I said. "I really appreciate you testing me today. In fact, I just have to give you a virtual air kiss." and I smack my lips and blow the kiss in his direction. He said, "Does it gotta be air??" I smiled. "No sir," I said as I got out of the truck, walked around, gave him a little shoulder hug and kissed him on the cheek. "I just didn't want the other guys to get jealous."

"Uh, yeah, of course. I understand." he stuttered. And then he said, "Well, you done good." before walking away. The guys in my class were watching from the door and joked about how flustered he must have been; he had forgotten his clipboard in the truck and had to go back for it!

I reckon sometimes it just pays to be a girl.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Every Eight To Twelve Seconds

The rule when driving a truck is to check your mirrors every eight to twelve seconds.  At least that's what we were being taught in truck driver training school.

It was my turn to drive and my instructor said, "Are you ready for Central Pike?"  It's one of the local roads in the Nashville area that I'm very familiar with so I said, "Sure. I know that road. I've driven it often."  So me, my instructor, and two of my classmates headed out on this winding, skinny, little country road. Gorgeous scenery, but a slow trip in an 18-wheeler.

I was trying to pay close attention to the road, keeping my speed under the limit by about five miles and doing very well.  Watching the road ahead of me to assess any potential hazards, I saw a pickup truck that I thought was backing out of his driveway, so I slowed down. I then determined that the pickup truck was actually parked in a driveway with a lot of other cars, him being the last one in line, and had the ass end of his truck sticking out into the road.  He wasn't backing out, he just looked like it.

I maneuvered around him when at the same time a huge dumptruck came flying over the hill coming this close to me. After we passed him, I turned to my instructor and said, "I just want you to know that I am not easily flustered and don't get nervous, so don't worry." I didn't want him to think that because I'm a new driver and a girl, that I was going to get freaked out by something like a close call.

Seriously people, I'm from New York, I've driven in the city. Hellooo??

I was just about to say to him, "Besides, the worst thing that can happen is you lose a mirror..." when a second dumptruck came hauling ass over the hill and BAM!! smacked into me shearing the side view mirror right off the truck.

The first thing I thought was shit, and then immediately following that thought, I can't wait to blog this.

My instructor Jim looked over at me and said, "Did he stop??"

I said, "Uh, I don't know. I don't have a mirror. I can't see him."

There was no shoulder to speak of on the road so when he told me to pull over, I was thinking where??  I pulled the truck as far over as I could, put on my four-way flashers, and stopped. The guys in the back, my classmates, were looking out of the other mirror to see if the guy stopped and when we determined he hadn't, my instructor switched places with me and took the truck back to the yard.

Shit.  I was never going to live this down.

On the ride back, I asked Jim if he was watching me drive back there. He said, "Yes."

I said, "Well, I feel like I was in my lane and going slow enough. What do you think - was I in my lane?".

He said I was, and that it was the dump truck's fault because he was over the yellow line, too close to my truck. With that, Terry (one of my favorite classmates and apparently, a big fan of my driving skills I later found out) said, "Oh no, he was totally in your lane. Over the yellow line. I knew he was going to hit you."

As we got closer to the school, my instructor Jim said, "I do have to say, you impressed me. Both times. With that first truck, you slowed down, you controlled your vehicle, and you assessed the situation. I thought for sure he was going to hit you and I couldn't believe what a close call it was. Then with the second truck, man, you didn't even flinch. No scream. No swerve. Nothing. Very impressive."

Back at the yard, the word spread like wildfire among the other students, instructors, and even the program director. Terry was telling everyone, "You should have seen her. She didn't even flinch. She just kept on driving like nothing happened."

I guess they were surprised that I didn't act like a girl. As if.

In the meantime, Jim went to get a replacement mirror so we could go back out and finish practicing. Here's a closer look at the missing mirror - after the "incident" and before the repair:

I guess now, not only will I check my mirrors every eight to twelve seconds to make sure the area surrounding my truck is safe, but I'm also going to check to make sure they're still there.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I, I, I

I was tagged by the Latina Diva this week, and since I forgot to do the last thing she tagged me on, I must do this one. Good timing too, since I didn't have a post prepared for today and thought this was an interesting one.

I SAID: I didn't mind, but I did.

I WANT: Clarity and focus.

I WISH: I pursued all of my interests with equal verve.

I HATE: Tardiness, men who whine, talking in the movies, kids in restaurants, rude customer service reps, injustice.

I MISS: My father. The Summer of 1984. Our summer house.

I HEAR: The constant, annoying sound of the television.

I WONDER: Where I would be if I stayed in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

I REGRET: Not pursuing the opportunity presented to me to model when I was in L.A.

I AM NOT: As patient, quiet or tolerant as I should probably be.

I DANCE: Not as often as I should.

I SING: Everytime I hear music.

I CRY: When I am frustrated and can't get my point across, at movies, sappy commercials and weddings.

I AM NOT ALWAYS: A good listener.

I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: Amazing food, custom cards, dolls, clothing, glass magnets, crafty things.

I WRITE: To entertain, convey my thoughts, amuse myself.

I CONFUSE: Unintentionally.

I NEED: A lot of communication, laughter and mental stimulation.

I SHOULD: Do my patent paperwork, but I keep getting sidetracked.

I START: More things than I make time to finish.

I FINISH: Everything that interests me or anything that someone is relying on me for.

I TAG: Although I hate tagging anyone, I'm gonna do it to Indiana Jonesing, Chez Bez, Vicki, and Rita.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

What The Hell Is This???

Do people still use these??? It's got paper in it! That's soooo scary.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Passing Through Life

Yesterday, I took two of the three tests I have to do with the motor vehicle examiner. He is seventy-nine and a bit of a curmudgeon. I didn't think he even spoke because all I heard were a few grunts when I bid him good morning.

When I was getting ready to take my test, I said "Can you hear me okay?" because the trucks in the field are loud, I was standing far away from him and he was sitting in his car while I took the test with him. He said in his scary old man movie voice, "I may be old, but I'm not deaf!!"

Uh, okay, maybe that was the wrong thing to say to the examiner two minutes prior to starting my test. I went through my pre-trip inspection by rote, not missing anything along the way. Thank God he only had me do the engine compartment and not the rest of the freakin' truck. As soon as I was done with the back of the tractor, he made me get inside to do the in cab part of the test. I pretended he wasn't there and went through everything as I learned it, paying special attention to the air brake portion of the test since anything said out of order, would result in an automatic failure.

Next, I had to do my backing. I knew I was going to ace it because the two days prior, I was a master at it. I barely had to think and I swung that trailer right into the parking lane. I did my first maneuver perfectly; smoothly back, evenly between the cones.

Second, was the crossover. I hated this one at first but then I got it down better than the others; didn't even have to make any pull ups to adjust my angle. Now I was really going to show this old codger what a girl could do! Oh my God! Where am I going? The rear of my trailer was all over the place. Oh God. Oh God. Oh shit! Pull up. Back up. Pull up again. Back. Back. Back. Back. HORN!!! He was blowing his horn at me. Shit. That's not a good sign at all. Did I hit something? Now I'm all nervous. Dammit, what does he see that I'm not seeing? I pull up again, tune him and his horn out and re-adjust my angle. There we go...back...back...back....I'm in! Whew! Holy shit. I lost a shitload of points on that one, I just know it.

Last, I had to do my ninety degree angle dock back. This one I was good at. So I concentrated, looked at the ground to get my tires in the right spot and slowly backed that pig up. I was turning around that last cone like an expert. Tandems nice and close to the corner of my turn, then smoothly back into the hole. Got out, checked to make sure I didn't kill any imaginary dock workers, got back in my truck and finished my test.

I got out, walked over to the examiners car and said, "Boy, you wouldn't know I did that crossover perfectly yesterday and this morning by looking at today's performance, would you?" In a curt tone he said, "Nope. Sure wouldn't." Ack! I must have failed. With that thought in my head, I stupidly said, "Well, you made me a little nervous," and thinking he was going to fail me for the mere reason that I dared speak to him.

I stood there as he made the little marks on his clipboard, signed here and there, jotted a note in the margin and then turned to me and said, "Well, you have a little work to do, but you passed."

With a big smile inside and a little smile on the outside, I said "Thank You" and got the hell out of there fast!

I get to see him again next week when I take my road test. Shit. I know a seventy nine year old isn't going to respond to cleavage; what the hell am I going to have to do, bring a cup of tea and some Zwieback crackers?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lite Brite, Making Things With Light

Do you remember Lite Bright when we were kids?

Try making your own Lite Brite display here with a modern day, computerized version!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Master Backer Or Master Bater?

I walked in the house today and proclaimed to Vicki, "If I wasn't a master backer, I'd be a master bater."

She turned to me with a puzzled, yet shocked look on her face and said, "What???"

"I mastered backing the truck today."

"Oh," she said with a laugh.

Yes, that's right. After completely screwing it up yesterday, something just clicked today.

And if it hadn't...I might have been doing something else when I got home today.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

After The Storm

I almost wrecked my car to get this picture on my drive home from school yesterday. Good thing I wasn't driving a truck!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Keeping Time With His Ticker

Today there was a minor incident at my truck driving school. My trainer, who you met in the picture a few days ago, had a little heart scare, which in turn, scared my heart.

I was behind the wheel, practicing my backing. He was holding on the the door handle and walking along side of the truck as he usually does; barking orders in my window and flinging his hand around in the direction he wants me to turn that God damned wheel!

All of a sudden, I see his right hand go to his heart, his left hand grab the door handle in a white knuckled death grip and his body slide down into a heap onto the running board. He couldn't move and I couldn't get to him because not only was I in gear, with my foot on the brake, but he was blocking the door anyway; there was no way for me to open it without knocking him over.

I motioned to my other classmates, who were talking in a group, some distance from the truck. I could only see the top of my trainers head but I couldn't see his face or eyes since he had on a baseball cap. The other guys came over and made sure he was okay. He motioned for his golf cart so he could sit and rest and they brought it over.

He sat down, held his heart, shook out his left arm and caught his breath. Then he came back to the truck, grabbed the handle and told me to finish what I was doing. It was all I could do to hold myself together, concentrate on that eighty thousand pound vehicle with the seventy three year old man hanging from the door and try to back it into a twelve foot opening.

I felt as if my heart was pounding in unison with his electronic ticking device, willing him to be okay until I was done. I needed him as much as he needed us.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother Superior

I was sitting on the porch last night, talking to a friend of mine when he said, "Your friend doesn't work?" meaning my best friend Vicki, the one I'm staying with.

I said, "No."

"Her husband pays for everything?"

"Yeah," incredulous that he was even thinking it should be any other way.

"She has two little kids, so she stays home with them."

"Well, I have a kid and my wife works."

"Hmm. Well, I don't really know how they do things in your part of the woods, but this is how I see it; the man's job is to work. Period. They make the money, they support the family, they take care of whatever needs to be done outside of the home in a monetary capacity. The women; they take care of the house, do the laundry, make sure their man has a meal on the table when he gets home from work, takes care of the kids, pays the bills that he needs her to pay, runs to the bank, goes to the post office, picks up the drycleaning, and does whatever else needs to be done to run that house and take care of those children and him. Oh, and she gives him as much sex as he wants or needs. That is her job."

I don't understand why so many people don't comprehend this setup. It's a no brainer. I am a firm believer and in full support of this arrangement. I have done it, sans the kids, and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Your job is to take care of me and my job is to take care of you. I will show interest in your interests, not because I like to, but because I love you and want to. I will make sure you have clean underwear and socks, a good meal, a clean house, good sex, etc.

I guess I'm a little traditional in this respect, but I have a very definitive idea of how the roles in a relationship should be and on many of them, I am not very flexible. One of these ideas is the role of mother.

Mothers should not work. They should be mothering. They should be there when the kids leave for school and there when they get home. They should be available for school plays, field trips, ballet practice and Boy Scouts. The mother is the lifeblood of the family. Those children are formed by her love, care, attention and guidance. This is much too important of a task to leave to anyone else.

I don't know what it's like to come from a family where the mother worked outside of the home. Mine did not. My cousins did not. My Aunts and Grandmother and female family friends did not. It was not part of my upbringing or my culture to have a Mom who worked. It was unheard of.

So, I can't relate so much to people that do. People who put their kids in day care to go make the same amount of money it's going to take to pay for that day care. I can't dictate what others should do, although I often love to, but I will never work if I have children. It's not negotiable.

I agree wholeheartedly with Vicki on this one; it's never gonna happen. It is the man's job to take care of his family by working, no matter what it takes. It is my job to take care of him and our children.

You do your job and I'll do mine. And for all the mothers out there who are superior; I salute you.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Could You Love William Perry?

The other night, a friend of mine said "I don't care if she was the size of a fucking refrigerator box. I didn't marry her because of how she looked on the outside; I married her because of who she was on the inside."

My Eddie thinks the same way; well, with the exception of the marriage part.

So why is it again that I'm dieting?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Millions Of Miles Of Knowledge

This is the man who is teaching me how to drive a truck.

He's got over forty years of driving under his belt and gives the impression that he approaches every day as it's his last. The lines on his face visibly document the millions of miles he's traveled in his life -- over the road in his truck, serving our country in the military, winning the battle against alcohol, raising five children, and giving Viagra a run for its money, to name just a few.

He heads for cover when lightening brightens the sky for fear of his pacemaker bringing him to the ground, cigarette still dangling from his lips. When teaching me how to back the truck into a dock, he uttered the words, "Put that motherfucker in that hole. Steer left. Left! More left!! That's it. Straighten that bitch! Make it straight. There you go! Now that's the only straight there is." And in the next breath, "C'mere baby. You did just great." as he threw his arm around my shoulder.

He gave silent approval to my "runnin' off that other woman" as most of the guys in the class put it, since because of me the annoying woman in our class decided to quit this week and complete her training at another time. I guess my telling her that she hasn't shut up for the past four days drove her to have a crying fit and leave the training class. To which he responded, "If you can't handle someone telling you to keep your mouth shut, then maybe trucking isn't for you."

He has a teaching style that just draws you into learning. He tailors his analogies to each person, so they fully understand what he's talking about.  Likening slack adjusters to bra straps for a woman, and telling a guy to check over his truck in a pre-trip inspection the same way he'd eye a woman -- up and down, resting your eyes on every part of her body until you're satisfied you haven't missed a thing.

Even after only a week, I am certain I will never forget him.  I will forever hear his voice echo inside my head with things like, "left to lose it, right to find it" when trying to remember which way to turn my steering wheel as I back up my trailer. I'm sure I'll even be checking the mirrors, gauges and air pressure in my car tires since I'll have new habits that will be hard to break.

When starting this venture, I never thought I'd meet so many great guys trying to do the same thing as I am, nor did I think I'd meet someone who would be sharing with me the millions of miles of knowledge that travels around inside his head.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Free As A Bird?

Today when I got home from trucking school, I was informed by my friend Vicki that the kids had painted their bird houses today. I had no idea there was even any remodeling going on, but apparently, they had been hard at work. Her husband had made them the night before and today, the kids painted them in the colors of their choice.

When asked who they were for, Michael piped up and said "Mine if for you, Mommy. For Mother's Day. " and then Mina said, "Well, mine is for Miss Salena because she's Mommy's best friend." Boy, I scored, huh? I'm getting a Mother's Day gift and I didn't even have to push a piano through a transom window.

Upon further investigation, as I examined the colors Mina chose to paint hers; yellow and green stripes on one side and blue, green and yellow on the other, I commended her on her skillful application of paint and how the beauty of her house would surely lure birds far and wide. Based on the colors she used, it was likely to attract all the Puerto Rican birds, but that's okay. It's either going to be them or the colorblind ones.

Michael, not wanting to be left out, squeezed in to get a little praise for the colors he used also. Apparently, he was trying for the conservative birds coming to his house because his colors weren't quite as wild and he even missed painting the back side; something that was quickly corrected once he noticed that Mina covered every surface with color.

So in the process of our birdhouse inspection, Vicki and I realized that although the birds might actually come to the houses, the hole in the front was so small, the likliehood of them getting stuck in it was high. We laughed at the image of the bird flying in, getting his head stuck in the hole and then trying to fly off or escape with a house decorated like a pinata attached to its neck.

It was at that moment that it dawned on us that they had not only built and decorated what we thought was a bird house, but that they had actually made two very beautiful, very colorful, very small bird traps.

Free as a bird, my ass.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Baking Is Fun!

Yesterday, I decided that I was going to make banana bread for the students in my truck driver training class. I figured it would be a nice thing to do and since most of these guys appear to have coffee and cigarettes for breakfast most days, it might be a nice treat.

I expressed my desire to do a little baking to my friend Vicki, and this afternoon while I was in class, she text messaged me to ask if I wanted chocolate chips or pecans in the bread. I texted back, "chips" and didn't give it another thought.

When I got home from the class, there was one loaf on the counter cooling and one loaf in the oven. Man, it doesn't get any better than this!! It's like having an EZ Bake Oven all over again...except it's human.

Now all I have to do is pawn them off as my own tomorrow, and try to convince my class that I baked for them.

Piece of cake.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Shmuley Says

Shmuley who? First, I can't even believe there is someone named Shmuley, but there is.

Not only is he real, he's smart. Who is he, you ask?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, that's who. This is something I got in an email years ago, that he was credited as writing, and I've decided to post it here because I recently re-read it and it's just wonderful.

Commitment Before Love

The great secret, says the Rabbi, is that if you decide to fall in love, your heart will follow.

Love isn't something discovered and sealed in an instant; rather, it's something that develops, deepens, and strengthens through a couples shared experiences. The more time you spend together, the more openness you share; the more conversations you have and events you experience as a couple, the deeper in love you’ll fall. In addition to becoming one flesh through lovemaking and one spirit through shared spiritual goals, you must also become one mind through shared memories and one heart through shared joys and pain. Hence, a long life of shared experience is the very fabric of love, weaving its intertwined threads into a single brilliant pattern. Love may have a qualitative aspect, but it also has a quantitative dimension. Look at your time together as an investment: The more you deposit, the greater the returns. See it as an occasion for nurturing love from genesis to fruition and beyond. Shared experience fosters the loves.
Adam and Eve didn’t date for forty years before they fell in love and married. They didn’t even date for forty days and forty nights. No, their commitment came first; their love followed. When first they met, they saw that all the fundamental components were there. And because of that they committed to each other, and then fell in love. This is the counterintuitive, especially these days, but it’s crucial. It is commitment that makes us fall in love: commitment to daily and mundane shared experiences, domestic chores, the breakfast drill, casually holding hands in the park, advising each other about problems at work, coming to depend on each other, building a life together, raising kids together, and jointly navigating the vicissitudes of life. Like the hooks and eyes of a woman’s dress, it’s the tiny, seemingly insignificant details of everyday life that serve to fasten a man and a woman together until they begin to feel inseparable.

This is what all the lonely singles today, who date and date searching for perfection, ultimately don’t understand. Love can’t precede commitment. Sure, you can be strongly attracted before commitment. You can be “in like.” But you aren’t yet in love. Think of it: if one of your friend told you, “I just love my job; I start next week,” wouldn’t you think it absurd? Rather, you fall in love with your job over time. As you and the job grow together and define your experience, you come to love what it has become. The same is true of sharing a life. You choose a person who seems worthy and likely, and then the two of you grow together, ever more deeply in love.

If you, as a single person, are merely biding your time, waiting to fall in love before you feel ready to commit, I’d counsel you that love won’t happen until you commit. We’re so cautious today, unprepared to take a leap of faith until we have certainty. Yet as we’ve seen, certainty—monotony, predictability, sameness—can often be a recipe for disaster. It’s a husbands certainty that his wife would never leave him, that she’s a mountain he’s already conquered, that leads him to believe he can have an affair and get away with it. Well, my wife is totally won over, he thinks. My work is done here. But that stranger over there, gee, I wonder if I could get her. That constant gap of difference, that little bit of uncertainty, is what keeps us from taking each other for granted. It may seem like a paradox, but it’s true: In the move successful relationships, uncertainty actually contributes to the security of the partners’ commitment, by pushing each to strengthen the partnership.

The great secret of falling in love, I believe, is that it can be summoned. You can actually decide to fall in love with someone, and your heart will follow. We must learn to be active in governing our passions, rather than being governed by them. Husbands come to me all the time, complaining, “I fell out of love with my wife. I am no longer interested in my wife. She doesn’t turn me on. That’s why I’m having an affair.” I tell them, “With all due respect, Sir, you’re being lazy. You can fall back in love with your wife if you want to, if you direct your heart to do so. But you don’t want to.” What if an employee told you, “I’m sorry, but I’m no longer interested in working today.” What would you tell your children if they came home from school, propped themselves up in front of the TV for six hours, and said, “Homework just isn’t turning me on tonight. I don’t feel like it.” I presume you’d tell them, “Well, make yourself feel like it. Have some respect for yourself and make yourself put a little effort into it. Nothing good comes easily.”

We have it in our own power to nurture love in our hearts, if only we set our minds to it. Those who fail to see this, I believe, have lost faith in their own basic ability to grow as human beings, to change and improve. They take the easy way out, looking only for signs that their new lover echoes the old things they already know about themselves. But when the two find they’re not interested in growing together, and the magic wears off, they end up parting and wondering why love always seems to fail them. The answer? Because they failed to build it together. This is why I always say I don’t believe in love at first sight. Would you believe in the young person who, when presented with a flesh wound, decides to become a doctor at first sight?

In the Talmud, it is observed that an olive releases its oil only when pressed. In the same manner, lovers release their richest love after they’ve been pressed, once life’s challenging times have put them through the wringer.

Adam and Eve, it’s safe to say, had rather a life changing experience together. When they fell from the Garden, it was as if their company were downsized, their house foreclosed, their furniture repossessed, their SUV stolen, all in the same fateful week. And yet, they survived and thrived. The adversity strengthened them. Adam and Eve lived to the ripe old age of 930. I would speculate that it was after being expelled from Eden that they truly fell in love.

Love is an amazing blessing, but it takes work. As M. Scott Peck wrote in the Road Less Traveled, “If an act is not one of work or courage, then it is not an act of love. There are no exceptions. The principal form that the work of love takes is attention. When we love another, we give him or her our attention; we attend to that person’s growth.”

Monday, May 08, 2006

At Least She Isn't In The Cubicle Next To YOU

Today was my first class at truck driver training school. Overall, not a bad day. Eight students, two instructors. Six men, two women. I'm one of the two, of course.

The men are really nice, but the other woman........

Oh. My. God. Let's just say that the entire WORLD should be happy she's going to be driving a truck, because if she were to sit next to anyone in an office in the real world; in a cubicle somewhere, at a desk next to you, perhaps even in a nearby office; there would be unpreventable suicides. Actually, there may be assisted suicides, because I for one, would definitely help put someone out of their misery. I wouldn't feel right to allow them to wallow in the sheer misfortune of having to work next to this woman. I'd help them escape in any way possible.

And you know what? It seems that I often face these types of challenges regarding people. WHY? At least I'm not alone in my misery though; there are eight men who feel the same way. Oh, she's nice enough, but she didn't shut her mouth for ONE minute from 6:45 this morning until we left at 5:15. I actually think the instructors let us go early to put us out of our misery.

Here's what most of the day with her was like:

"This is my first class but I've been riding in the truck with my husband for over a year now, he's been doing it for ten years and sometimes he shows me how to do things, you know, he let me shift a few times and I just can't get it, I can get to fifth gear, but past that I just don't know why I can't seem to get the hang of it, you know you have to double clutch like we'll be taught here at school but he speed shifts and never touches the clutch but I can't do that cause I can barely get to fifth gear but you know he's been doing this for ten years and he also has sleep apnea, which isn't good and could be dangerous but he'll be going to a clinic next week for that and I told him he needed to do it before I get in the truck with him because you know we're going to be driving team together and we have to go to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for our orientation, they're going to put us up in a hotel and everything because the company we're going to drive for is really good, I tell you we really did a lot of research on this before we decided to do it and y'all know, I just got married in December after being divorced for over twenty years and I just can't get used to writing my new name, boy I can't believe all this paperwork they are making us fill out, I really hope we don't have to do this everyday because we really need to have time for them to show us the shifting and stuff, do you have trouble shifting too, I think it's maybe just a woman thing because my husband lets me drive sometimes and he tries to show me but I just can't get past the fifth gear although he really knows what he's doing I just get worried sometimes because of his sleep apnea and the fact that he's gained over 40 pounds since he's been driving this truck and you know that could be dangerous since you're sittin all day and it puts a lot of strain on your heart and your arteries don't pump the blood as good, do you know if they're going to take us to do our physicals today because when my husband told me about the physical he said that I should call him and tell him when I'm going because they ask a lot of questions but the company I'm driving for really only hires people who can pass the physical I hope they don't say anything about my blood pressure medicine because I really have to take that I just won't be able to be on the road if I can't take my medicine, they can't tell us not to take it can they cause isn't that illegal or something for them to do something like that, I just don't know if I'll have time to go to the doctor cause right after training I have to go up to Cedar Rapids up there with my husband for orientation and oh, I hope the training isn't too much for him since he has that sleep apnea....."

Does ANYONE have a gun???

This is SERIOUSLY what my day was like. ALL day. She didn't shut up for a minute. And, she's from Tennessee, so she said all of this in a twangy, annoying accent. Well, everyone in the class has a twangy accent, but none are annoying.

I can't forsee my lasting thirteen days sitting in this class near her. I might just have to say something tomorrow. Great. Me, the New Yorker, telling off the sweet fifty-three year old woman from Shelbyville, TN. This is going to go over real well. Shit.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Perfectly Uninteresting Event

“Most modern calendars mar the sweet simplicity of our lives by reminding us that each day that passes is the anniversary of some perfectly uninteresting event.” ~ Oscar Wilde (Irish Poet, Novelist, Dramatist and Critic, 1854-1900)

That said, today is the anniversary of my blog; inspired, for some reason, by my cousin David. His birthday is May 7th, the very day I started my blog one year ago. Happy Birthday, Daily Rant! The singing may commence now...

I have written a post every single day. I have not missed one entry. A lot of things have happened in the past year, and because of this blog, almost every event has been documented.

Here are some of the things that have taken place:

I have been to all 50 states and 7 Canadian Provinces.

I know it’s one of the 50 states, but Dude, I went to Alaska!!

I lost weight (the amount I can’t say, since TFAAS spies are everywhere!)

I’ve made several new friends through blogging.

We entered a Big Honkin’ Truck Makeover contest and came in second!

Because we stopped so I could pee, I won $2500.00 at a casino in Nevada that I would have otherwise not gone into.

One cousin got married, another got engaged and a third adopted two gorgeous little twins!

My best friend and I had our first photo shoot and actually made money!

Ed and I spent over a week in Florida, participating in a Scrabble tournament and meeting other drivers at a company sponsored event. I had a great time and came away with new friends!

My Daddy died. An unexpected passing, which will forever leave me with a hole in my heart but which also will always force me to think of him.

I re-connected with some of my favorite family members; two amazing Aunts, two great Uncles and four spectacular cousins.

Was in New York for the Blizzard Of 2006! OMG, such snow I haven’t seen in years!

Cut my hair SHORT!

Saw a Burlesque show. Tassles, tits and feathers everywhere!

Visited all of my family and friends numerous times; in New York, Tennessee, Florida, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona.

Spent almost everyday with my Eddie and didn’t have one fight.

OMG, I can’t believe I just LIED to my readers!

And to bring this perfect year to a close and start off another year of blogging on a fun and exciting note:

I start Truck Driving School tomorrow!!!

In thirteen days, I will walk away with my CDL and be legally licensed to wield an 80,000 pound vehicle over the highways and bi-ways of this great country (pray for Eddie) and hopefully have some interesting stories to post.

Thank you all for being with me this past year. Please stick around and continue to read and comment; and bring some friends along to increase my readership!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Geography Test

Today my friend Lynn and I were driving to the mall behind these people.

Lynn turns to me and says, "People still ride in the back of pickup trucks??"

I said, "You do know we're in Tennessee, right??"

If you pick up no other clues, this is one surefire way to tell you're south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mexico? Where In Tarnation Is That??

Cinco De Mayo in Tennessee? Do these people really need another reason to drink beer and shoot guns??

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Crack Whores For Everyone!

Ed is stranded in New Castle, Delaware and from what he says, his lovely little hotel is situated in the only crack alley in town and the crack ho's are plentiful. The place has armed security guards, chains on the driveway leading to the hotel, police cruisers circling the block, etc.

I told him I needed some blog material, so to go outside and take some pictures for me. Of course, he declined. Good thing he did, because I could just imagine the scenario if he really did go out there.

"Yo dude! Check dis out! My cam cam camera YO! I am like gonna snap yo pic real snippy like! This is some fresh play Yo!"

and then,

"Hey, is that a real gun? OK, well I am like...late for my mom's hair appointment at the mall. Uh, check ya later. Peace Out!"

I guess the crack whores aren't for everyone.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Modern Convenience

"Cletus honey, would you mind saddling up the horse and going up yonder to get me a Whopper?"

This log cabin is on display in the main square of Lebanon, Tennessee. Do you think back in the day they had a Burger King on the corner??

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Unwarranted Annoyance

I'm talking to my mother on the phone and can tell she's annoyed for some reason. I hear a lot of exhaling of breath, shuffling around, irritated silence.

Finally, I said "What are you doing?"

She said, "Well, I am looking ALL over for the phone, getting annoyed that Frank probably forgot to put it back where it belongs, when all of a sudden I realize...."


"I'm talking on it."

Monday, May 01, 2006

April Showers Bring May...Fish??

Date Like You're Not Still In 8th Grade

Today, while sitting in the bookstore, I was eavesdropping on two women sitting across from me; both in their late thirties or early forties, one of them reading to the other, an excerpt from the book in her hand.

At first, I thought they were reading from The Rules and I was so embarrassed for them, that I couldn't bring myself to look over for fear of meeting their eyes. I didn't want them to know that anyone was witnessing their pathetic research project.

As the one read, the other nodded in agreement, peppering her responses with "oh, that's so true" or "that doesn't work" and was so intently listening that I don't think they realized what they sounded like.

I briefly thought back to the days when I did that with my girlfriends; talked about guys, what to do or say, how to make them notice us while staying seductively aloof. But the difference with that was, I was nineteen talking about the guy I worked with, and my excerpts came from the Cosmo quiz or an article on 10 Ways To Look Sexy Without Trying. I wasn't forty and reading Date Like A Man, written by a self-professed serial dater.

I couldn't take another minute; I actually had to get up and sit somewhere else. If I stayed any longer, I would have had to rip Date Like A Man out of her hands and replace it with How To Not Act Like A Pathetic Woman.