Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I found out today that one of the photos (above) I submitted to a "Kodak On The Road Moment" contest is going to be published in the March issue of the Pilot Challenge magazine.

It's a publication put out monthly by the Pilot Travel Centers, a truck stop chain that we frequent all over the country.

Not only is my photo going to appear in the magazine, but it took first place and I won a digital camera!!! What a fun way to start out the new year!

My first published photo. Whadya think about that, Greggie??

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Getting Wet In The Next County

I don't drink, so it doesn't really matter much to me, but I can't believe I lived 34 years before finding out what a dry county was.

I grew up in New York, and although they may exist there, I had never heard of it. I only learned about dry counties when I moved to Kentucky and was trying to cook one weekend and needed some wine for the meal I was making.
I left everything on the stove and ran into town to pick up a bottle of wine.

When I got to the store, I asked one of the cashiers where the alcohol section was and she pointed me to the opposite corner of the store. When I made my way over there, I realized she sent me to the area that sells rubbing alcohol. I went back to explain to her that I needed wine, not rubbing alcohol.

"Ohhhh. We don't sell that."

"You don't sell wine??"


"Well, who does?"

She rattled off some place I never heard of, followed by the words "in the next county."

"The next county???"

"Yes, ma'am. This is a dry county. No one here sells wine."

I thought I had moved to Mars.

I realized after living there for a while that the funny thing about the whole dry-county-trying-to-keep-the-residents-sober-and-Christian-like-and-cut-down-on-alcohol-related-accidents is, most people wind up making their beer runs drunk. To the next county.

So instead of someone running to the corner store for more beer on a Friday night, they're piling their drunk redneck asses into their pickup truck with the rebel flag emblem in the window and driving to the next county.

Can't beat the intelligence of redneck lawmakers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

James Cameron For $79.99 A Night

Last night, Eddie and I were lounging around in a hotel room somewhere on the Eastern seaboard, which was the perfect location for the movie we were watching; Titanic. I didn't like the movie much the first time around, but since I have a blossoming new love for Leonardo DiCaprio, I watched it again, keeping a close eye on his boyish good looks.

We missed the beginning, but I didn't really care. Whether you see the beginning or not, you still know it ends with a sinking ship.

Well, just as that ship was sinking, the water gushing in and filling the lower decks where my beloved Leo was traveling (who puts a hottie like that in steerage??), I started to hear running water. I ignored it for a minute, but it got so loud that Ed looked over at me and said, "What's that?" which prompted me to lower the volume on the 'ol sinking ship movie.

It was water; not just the sound of water. We got up to investigate and found water gushing from the ceiling in the bathroom. Ice cold water. Lovely. Just as I was getting all comfy in bed, dabbing the tears I was shedding for my dying Leo, James Cameron is yelling "Cue the water!" in my room. WTF?

Moving rooms in the cold dark of night is a real pain in the ass once you're in your jammies but at least now I can say that the movie, the second time around, was so real I actually felt like I was in one of those staterooms.

Well, minus all the dying and stuff.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Silly Boys

(Photo courtesy of the What On Earth catalog.)

My cousin just gave me this t-shirt. I kinda dig it. And like my trainer said, "Men might learn quicker, but women make better drivers."
Yay for girls!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Finding Your Way

I get a newsletter every month from one of my favorite websites, Changing Course, and there is a line on the home page of that site that states, "As far as I'm concerned, life is too short to spend toiling at a job that pays the bills but doesn't feed your spirit."

I am a firm believer in that statement, except I usually say something like "life is too short to do a job that sucks."

I have always been one to seek a job that I like, not just take a job to pay bills. This has led to many short lived jobs; like the one my brother got me at a carpet distributor that led me to quit by lunch time. My brother wasn't too thrilled to find out that I quit by leaving a note telling them I was never coming back, but I wasn't too thrilled to be sitting across from a woman who's voice could have cut diamonds. I knew it wasn't for me.

Same thing when I did a temp job at a lawyers office. I was relegated to a back storage room that they converted into a makeshift office area. The office smelled like stale beer, the carpet was disgusting, there were no windows and the guy who was my boss was constantly foaming at the corners of his mouth like a rabid dog. Nope. Couldn't do it. Called the temp agency and told them I was going to lunch and not coming back if they didn't find me a different position starting the next day.

I am now doing a job that I wish I found 20 years ago, as I would have been retired already. The travel, the money, the freedom and the unstructured environment couldn't be more my style. I love every minute of every day. I don't think I've ever said that about another job I've had, and I've had some pretty good jobs. But since I am now self-employed, everything is different for me. I don't have to ask anyone for a day off, I don't have to be to work at any particular time, I don't have to meet any deadlines for fear of losing my job and I don't have to deal with the lady at the next cubicle who wears perfume that would gag a goat.

The joy I feel doing what I do is far surpassed by the joy my best friend feels doing what she does. For years, she has been volunteering at her children's schools, putting in more time and effort than I have at most jobs I got paid for. She did it for free. It brought her joy.

Although a conversation didn't pass where I said she should get paid for her time, she always waved my words off with the flick of a hand, stating how she loves it and wouldn't care if she ever got a dime for it. The teachers at the school love her. The kids LOVE her. The parents love her. She looks into the little faces of five year olds who say "Miss Vicki, I love you" on a daily basis. That was enough of a paycheck for her.

But a recent development in her life now has her doing the same thing and getting paid for it. She is now employed doing the very thing she loves. And although she'd still do it for free, she isn't. She wouldn't notice if they pulled the paycheck right out from under her nose; she'd still be doing it. I am thrilled for her. The glee in her voice, the lively tone and the bursting joy I can hear in her tone makes me wish I could be there to see her glow in person.

She has found her calling. Her right livelihood. A job, that she doesn't even see as a job, tailored so precisely for her that the fit is perfection. Her work has meaning. And she doesn't for one minute do it for the money.

Christopher Morley, an American journalist, novelist and poet said, "There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way."

I believe she has found her way.

Friday, January 26, 2007

You Gotta Be In It To Win It

I wanted to be like the luckiest guy in Georgia; so I bought a lottery ticket. In Georgia.

Obviously, Georgia isn't any luckier a state than anywhere else in the country, but I figured if this guy could win more than once, my odds might be pretty good.

No luck. I went to the website to check on the winning numbers and as usual, I didn't have even one.

Who wins these things? I mean, I know people win because we hear about it on TV and read about it - especially in the local paper where it happened, but what the freak?? Why don't I ever win?

I should have better odds than most people because I can buy a lottery ticket in every state I travel through. Although, I don't do that. Perhaps I should because as an old lottery advertisement once said, You Gotta Be In It To Win It.

I'm going to get right on that and buy tickets at every place I stop. After all, what's a dollar when the chances of winning millions are just a scratch away??

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

There Are Never Enough Hours In The Day To Do Anything When You Have A Baby

Since it's been a while since we last talked, I called my cousin Ro last night and finally had a chance to catch up with her.

I told her of everything we were up to; where we were, how my driving test went, where our next load is picking up, our plans for a
Bahamavention in the form of a cruise and when I think I'll be heading her way so we can finally exchange Christmas presents.

I asked the usual questions. What have you been up to lately? How was Girls Night Out? Has it been cold there? Are you still taking classes? Have you done any work on the house? Did you go skiing this season? How's your man?

You know, regular conversation. Everyday stuff. Things I probably already know the answers to but ask anyway because I like to stay connected and in the moment by knowing what's going on.

She responded with her usual rhetoric about how she's tired when she gets home from work, stuff that needs to go in the attic is piling up in the living room, the remodeling is in perpetual limbo since a family member is doing the work and they have to work around his schedule, blah blah blah. She sounded exasperated and frustrated. I just wanted to fly up there and help her with all her organizational and remodeling needs!

Then, in the same weary tone, she said "It's just so hard to get everything done. You know, with the baby and all."

Confused, I said, "Baby??"

"Yeah. Stephanie next door had her baby. A boy. He's so cute. Well, we've been trying to help her out and it's just been so much. We watched the dog for her and you know how he is."

I said, "You crack me up. You're the only person I know who uses someone else's baby as an excuse for not having enough time to do anything!"

She laughed and protested, as if dog sitting has been all consuming. I know the dog and he is quite a handful, but still. At least I can always count on her to make me laugh!

Now if you'll excuse me, I gotta run. Someone's baby is crying.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When You Just Can't Decide Between Dinner And Breakfast

While in Lithonia, Georgia, we came across a new place to dine; Gladys Knight and Ron Winans Chicken & Waffles. Everyone has heard of Gladys Knight and for those who don't know the late Ron Winans, he is part of the multi award winning musical dynasty, The Winans Family; often referred to as the first family of Gospel.

We were greeted at the door by a dreadlock adorned young man who made us laugh before we even got to our table, setting the tone for the rest of the meal. It was a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making you feel as if you were dining among family, instead of being in a room full of strangers. The upbeat vibe seemed to blanket the whole place, evidenced by the room full of laughing and smiling patrons.

Eddie ordered the Chicken and Waffles (see picture) and I ordered Uncle Ron's Southern Fried Chicken, which came with yams, fried corn and a sweet little piece of cornbread.

I like the concept of not having to make a decision between breakfast or dinner. Having both on one plate seems to end that debate nicely.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Snowball In Hell

(Photos courtesy of my friend Greggie)

Last night it snowed in Tucson, Arizona. Here are the pictures to prove it.

So the next time someone tells you that you don't have a "snowball's chance in hell" to do something, ignore them.
We now have photographic proof that a snowball can be made and does have a chance; in hell.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


In Miami Beach, a Hasidic man takes a rest on a park bench.

here to read more about common questions (and misunderstandings) about Hasidic garb, customs, mannerisms, roles of men and women, etc.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Benefits Of Dating A White Boy

Since it's still winter, I see no need to shave my legs.

We've been in Florida for the last week and if you've been watching the news (which I know you have, since everyone is wondering when the next ice storm is gonna hit) you might just know that down here, it's been hovering slightly above eighty degrees.

Despite the warmth, I still see no need to shave my legs, especially since I'm wearing capri pants and not shorts.

Yesterday, as I was sliding out of the truck, my capri pant leg scrunched up a few inches, baring the unshaven leg. Eddie was standing there watching me climb out, so I sarcastically said, "So, are you lovin' my hairy legs, or what?"

He said with a smile, "It's so mediterranean."

Boy, these white bread Southern boys just fall for anything exotic, don't they?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Perfect Neapolitan Slice

Eddie's lunch at Fratelli La Bufala in Miami's South Beach. The waiter sounded like he was shipped in directly from Napoli and the sauce was like my grandmother used to make.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Double Team

It's official! We're a bona fide team!

I passed all my driving tests last week and we took our first team load the day after we were done.

Now Eddie can actually get some sleep; while I drive, that is.

God bless his trusting soul.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Open 24 Hours

Seated on the bench in front you can see Harold, the 73 year old Jamaican man I met in the laundromat at midnight.

Isn't this a great idea?

The twenty-four hour laundromat, not the seventy-three year old Jamaican.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Eddie McSteamy Friday

Eddie's new haircut and trimmed beard. I suggested the different beard style for him and I'm thinkin' he slightly resembles Eric Dane from Grey's Anatomy.

He's definitely MY McSteamy!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Almost Fully Integrated

Eddie and I were talking at lunch the other day when he mentioned something that my brother said about him at dinner on New Year's Day.

Seems that Eddie was telling Michael how I always give him mal occhio, which loosely means the "evil eye," in Italian. Michael turned to his wife and jokingly said in a loud whisper, "He's trying so hard to fit in." My sister-in-law laughed along with the rest of us, probably more because she was once in the very same position; not because she was making a joke on my Eddie.

What's funny about this is that he's actually using Italian words since he's come into the family. All different kinds of words. And the funny thing about mal occhio is this; Eddie says it like its one word. Malocchio. Just like you would pronounce Pinocchio. Our family says it all smushed together and sort of cut off at the end, with an accent the makes it sound like "malook." That's the way my mother says it.

Eddie has learned so much Italian, mostly in the local dialect of the towns in Italy my ancestors came from. We use many Italian words in place of English words for everything from a soup ladle to a person who is being a pain in the ass. Eddie understands these words and even works them into conversations; whether he's at my Mom's house, brother's house or Aunts and Uncles in New York. We're all very impressed.

He's slowly losing the y'all and fixin' of the South. I think he's becoming a little "Northernized." Don't get me wrong, everyone just LOVES "The Ed" (as my nephews call him) the way he is, except now he's blending in almost seamlessly. It's like he's in the Witness Protection program, only in reverse. He's still got the same name, the same face, even the same job.

Except now, you can barely tell he's from Texas.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Story Of The Uppity Barista: Otherwise Known As A Texan Gittin' Above His Raisin'

Somewhere between Dallas and Houston, in a town where the nicest place to eat was a Chili's, we happened across a Starbucks. We just sat down with our lattes when Ed said to me, "Taste this."

I'm thinking yum! Caramel Macchiato! but when I tasted it, I gagged. And with a face that probably looked like I swallowed vinegar, I said "Eeechh. That's horrible."

He gave me the I know look and then the Well, what are you going to do about it? look.

I swiped his cup out of his hand, "Gimme that," and walked up to the Barista.

I handed back the drink and said, "This is horrible. Can you make another one?"

She said, "Horrible?"

"Yeah, horrible. It tastes burnt. It doesn't taste how it usually does."

At that moment, a big guy who looks like the big fat hairy guy on Lost, comes up and says "Well, most people don't know how to make it right. You're really supposed to have a strong coffee flavor in it."

I said, "Oh really? Well I've had it before and this tastes like the coffee is burnt."

He says, "Most Starbucks' don't know how to make it right."

I said, "Okaay....well then, can you make it the wrong way?? So it doesn't taste like burnt coffee??"

He reluctantly said, "Sure. But you know, there's a word for that."

"Oh?" I said, in a voice that clearly indicates that I am not the least bit interested; I really just want him to re-make my latte.

"Yeah" he continues in a snotty-I-am-a-Barista-and-you're-not sort of tone, "It's called 'upside down'."

I wanted to say, "Really? And there's a word for good customer service too. It's called 'make it again, asshole'."

But since Ed was standing there and I think we were drawing a crowd, I just said "Really? I'll have to remember that," as I watched the girl squirt more caramel syrup in Ed's drink, stir it and hand it back to him.

I wanted to tell Fat Lost Boy how many Starbucks' I've actually been to, just to let him know I thought his excuse for trying to get out of re-making the latte was a bit pathetic.

Eddie will be the first to tell you if a state or country has a Starbucks, I've been there; from Miami to Alaska, Mexico to Canada. I have never in all the times I've ordered this drink, had someone tell me that I should order it "upside down."

But I'm sure the barista in Huntsville, Texas knows better than those in all them thar big city coffee places. Because in Huntsville, we make it the right way. All those other Starbucks places don't know what they're doing.

Of course they don't. You just keep telling yourself that as you drive home to your double-wide tonight. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Brad Blows

My friend recently forwarded me an email that a friend sent to him. I always glance at the other people's email addresses in a forward; part habit, part curiosity.

I can't even tell you any of the other names in the bunch, because the only one that stood out to me was a guy named Brad Woodcock.

Wood. Cock.

OK, I know I sound like a fourteen year old boy here, making a joke on the obvious, but it's just one of those names. It made me laugh.

And his email address is

As if it's not bad enough already that your name is Woodcock; does he really want people to know that he blows?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Good Tipper Can Always Get Away With Being A Little Bossy

To prove that he actually once did something other than driving a truck, Eddie took me out to dinner at a place he used to work called Razzoo's Cajun Cafe.

Even after enjoying the best damn blackened Tilapia I think I've ever had, it was still hard for me to imagine Eddie saying "Welcome to Razzoo's. May I take your order?"

He makes a much better truck driver; although now, he's taking my order. Oh Eddiiieeeee....will you please bring me another diet coke?

I don't want to get the Eddie fans all riled up; I'm not that bossy. OK, maybe I'm a little bossy, but I also tip very well.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You

This song is called "The Blower's Daughter" by Damien Rice. I first heard it in the movie, Closer. I love it. Oh, and Jude Law in the video isn't too bad either; he's still on the top of my Celebrity Crushes list.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Ripped From The Headlines

I made some business cards recently; well, actually they are MOO Mini Cards, kind of like tiny personal calling cards. They have my name, phone, e-mail and blog address on them. I just thought it was time to stop writing my name and number on cocktail napkins, matchbook covers and gum wrappers found floating in the bottom of my purse.

I showed my mother the design I was using and asked what she thought. Instead of giving me an answer (typical) she says, "Well, what if the person you give it to, loses it or throws it away and all your information is on there?"

I know what she's thinking, fueled by watching too many episodes of Law and Order; what if they hunt me down and kill me?

So I said, "What? So someone is going to pick up the card and e-mail me to tell me they're going to kill me?"

She's still eyeing me, like that is a possibility.

I continued with, "Once they find me, that is. Or maybe, to be sure I get their message, they'll call first, then e-mail; just to put the fear of God in me and make me look over my shoulder each time I cross an empty parking lot."

She realized how ridiculous this sounded and laughed.

"Really, Mom. Do you think killers walk around picking business cards up off the ground and say to themselves, That's her. That's the one I'm going to kill today. It's a little far fetched, even for Law and Order. Dontcha think?"

Her "hurumph" tells me she still thinks it could happen. Or maybe already did; on Law and Order of course.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Forty Two Days

Today we went back to work. It was hard; especially with my brother asking us every other day if we have a job and if so, when do we plan on doing it?

We've been enjoying our time off with all the sleeping late, going to movies, visiting friends and family and dining all over town. We've taken pictures and shopped for Christmas. We ate turkey, went to Vegas and even made it to Alan's annual dinner party; which was a BLAST.

As of today, we've been off for forty two days.

The reason I know its been forty two days? My mother was counting.

How do I know she's been counting? She slipped a card into my purse without my knowledge, that I found once we got on the road. It was addressed to "My Dearest Daughter and Her Eddie," and she started her first paragraph with, "I truly loved having you here for 42 days..."

Notice how the 42 is underlined? In the card it wasn't just underlined once, it was underlined twice. To be fair, she went on to say how she enjoyed our lunches, dinners, Scrabble games and taking her for a ride in the truck. She said we were smart and funny and that we both enriched our family. Oh, and she said she loved us too. Especially my Eddie. Yet still, she UNDERLINED the forty two. I'm highly suspicious.

We actually went to pick up a load today that wound up cancelling at the last minute; after we had already loaded it. So, after wasting an entire day at the copper mine, we unloaded and headed back to my Mom's house.

Imagine the surprise (or horror) on her face when she saw us show up at her door once again!
Little did she know that day number forty three was beginning.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Two Thousand Seven

"The Old Year has gone. Let the dead past bury its own dead. The New Year has taken possession of the clock of time. All hail the duties and possibilities of the coming twelve months!" ~ Edward Payson Powell