Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Insane In The Holiday Brain

It has only just begun - those dreadful days leading up to the holiday. And by saying dreadful, I'm being nice. And the reason I'm being that nice? Because if I wasn't, I'd have to stab myself in the eye. Why the eye? Because that would impair my vision enough that I would not be able to shop on a Saturday. Who the EFF shops on a Saturday??? Crazy people, that's who.

Dear. Mother. Of. God. Doesn't everyone know the economy is in the toilet?? STOP shopping, people. Go home. Save your money. Make crafty presents this year. And get the hell out of my way!! I don't have time to make crafty presents.

And...because I'm once again participating in the UPS Run With The Devil, I barely have time to shop at all. Again this year, Ed and I will help UPS deliver their packages. Three weeks of drive/sleep/drive/sleep/drive/sleep; this is not at ALL our usual routine. Where is the time for a latte? How am I going to have a leisurely lunch at Chipotle? What if I need an emergency mani/pedi??

It's not happening. We leave on December 3rd and return home on December 25th. Uh, yeah, Christmas Day. So this year I have to have ALL of my shopping done before I leave on Wednesday morning; wrapped and ready to be put under the tree. Oh, no pressure at all.

Did I mention I hate shopping? Stores on the day after the day after Thanksgiving (otherwise known as Black Friday) are just as horrible to shop in as they are on that day. The madness has just begun. My main concentration will be my three nephews, who just happen to be the three hardest people to buy for. And to make it worse, one of them has a birthday a few days after Christmas, so I have to shop for that too. My head hurts.

If your gift doesn't make it on time this year, cut me some slack; you might get it by July.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Nutty Friday

On Friday I often post a photo of my favorite nut, Eddie, but today I opted for my second favorite nut, the pistachio. They were adorning the holiday table and I liked the limey green color peeking out!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I so wish I could take credit for this picture of our holiday table. But since I didn't take it, I can't claim it. It's another one taken by my nephew and I think it's a pretty good shot.

I guess I can say he's only interested in photography because of me, so I suppose I can take a little bit of the credit!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Only Reason Men Do Things Is Because Their Wives MAKE Them

My step-father recently went to the eye doctor for a check-up and while in the examining room, the doctor asked him what was going on. My step-father told him that he'd been having some issues with double vision and not being able to see too clearly.

"And how long has this been going on?" the doctor asked.

"A while..." my step-father hesitated.

The doctor commented on how long it had been since his last saw him and said, "So what made you come in for this visit?"

" wife made the appointment because she caught me driving with one eye."

Is this what it takes to get a man to go see a doctor once in a great while??? If it were up to him, he wouldn't have gone in until he woke up blind.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pssst! The Fish Are In The Water. Check The Water.

The great egret is a tall white heron that has a long graceful neck, long black legs and black feet. Its long pointed bill is yellow. Like the great blue heron, it uses a "stand and wait" method of catching fish. It wades in shallow water till it finds the right spot to wait for its meal to swim by, then it stabs it with its sharp bill.

During breeding time the great egret has beautiful lacy white plumes on its back and tail. Unfortunately, these feathers are what almost caused the bird to become extinct. Before it was protected by law, the great egret was hunted and killed for those lovely white plumes.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Part of the EPCOT fireworks grand finale. It's the best I could do without a tri-pod.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Price Fun?

Two hundred seventy two dollars and fifty three cents. That's $272.53 for those who have trouble turning words into numbers. That's what it cost for us to spend eight and a half hours at Walt Disney World's EPCOT park; and two thirds of that price was just to park and walk through the gate! Pricey yes, but that was not the reason I had for not wanting to go. If you know me at all, you will probably have guessed that I was anticipating hating this adventure.

First, it's in Florida. And what does Florida have? That's right, lots of sun. And what does lots of sun produce? Right again, lots of heat. And heat can be the deciding factor in whether I'm going to hate something or not. Want me at your wedding? Don't have it in June. Think I'll attend your kids graduation? Not likely, if it's outdoors. Considering inviting me for a day of "laying out" by the pool? Think again.

So the mere fact that EPCOT is in Florida meant this "adventure" was already inching its way over to the Never Gonna Happen column. Add to the heat factor the other main component of Disney World, kids, and the chances of me wanting to be there exponentially decrease. I was not about to sit in the truck by myself though, so I gave in and decided to join Ed. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a really nice day (and by nice I mean, not too hot) and the parking lot was barely full (which meant not too many kids) This might not be so bad, I thought as I climbed out of the truck.

Truth be told, I really enjoyed it. We started out by taking the Mission Space ride which is housed in the iconic EPCOT globe (seen above at night). It was very interesting; nice and slow (no crazy twists and turns to make me queasy), fun, informative and ended in an area where we could show you what Eddie and I looked like while in space and then what I looked like right after I landed!

Once you get into the interior of the park, there is a lake in the middle surrounded by Pavillions from various countries; Canada (which we skipped since we were just in the REAL Canada), China (where we had dinner), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Norway and the United Kingdom.

Of course, if you've been to EPCOT you know the deal, but it's nice to see each Pavillion staffed with native speakers of that country, many of who come just to work and go to school here in the US. We watched a movie called "Reflections of China" which was shown on a screen that circled the room and then saw the film "Impressions de France", which we enjoyed so much we went back to watch it a second time!

We had Bavarian pretzels in Germany, Chinese food in China and pastries and coffee in France; all without leaving the country. The evening ended with one of the most amazing fireworks shows I have ever seen....I will post a photo tomorrow.

Next we tackle The Magic Kingdom!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eddie Lost In Space Friday

Click here to see Ed being abducted by aliens.

I think he deserves an Oscar.

Or at least a

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Duck, Duck, Drake

I captured this colorful little Mallard in Orlando, Florida.

* A male Mallard is called a drake.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bracing For A World Of Mouse Ears

Since we're delivering a load to Orlando, Ed wants to take me to Walt Disney World. Kids, lines, sun, kids...let's say I'm not too thrilled about the idea.

I'm truly hoping it's not a repeat of the
worst day of my life.

Check back for details.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Foxy Furry Little Friend

So we're sitting in the truck at a truckstop up in Maine when Ed says, "Look! A fox!" and I'm all like, "I am looking pretty good today, aren't I?" and he's all like, "No, a real fox!"

Um, I think I was slightly offended. But when I got over it, I saw this little guy trotting up to our truck:

I don't know how well he did with his wandering since his eyes seem to be closed but maybe he just came out of his fox den and is squinting because he forgot his little foxy sunglasses.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Connecting Over The Mystic River

The Tobin Memorial Bridge (also known as the Mystic River Bridge) is the main structure over the Mystic River, connecting the Charlestown and Chelsea sections of Boston.

The view was spectacular because it was cold out and when it's cold, the skies are extremely clear, so every light twinkled and every color was more intense. The pictures look better in the smaller format since they are kinda blurry when enlarged; I guess that's what happens when you take pictures from a moving truck!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Color Me Casual

My friend Vicki, who in the last two years has broken out of her tomboy shell, has encouraged me to introduce some color to my wardrobe. I have, for the twenty years of our friendship, always favored black and neutral colors. On occassion, I will throw in a fuschia or red, maybe even a funky print here or there, but primarily I stick with darker shades.

My mother has always wanted me to wear color also. She's the "artistic" type and has always dressed like a Puerto Rican on vacation; colors, prints and florals, very often in the same outfit. I don't think she even owns anything that's black.

I will often say "I do wear color!" when challenged on it, but then I look at my closet or my stack of V-neck t-shirts and see several shades of black, eggplant, burgundy and white; rarely a color in the mix. So today I went shopping and this is what I tried on:

Would you say I was spinning that color wheel like a drunk woman?? I didn't buy anything, but the yellow jacket was actually my favorite. It was a stretch denim (the stretch was kind of cool, I haven't seen that much movement ever in a denim jacket) and the buttons, which looked like rivets, were actually snaps. I liked that too. The ruffly tank on the right (which was a deep teal with tiny goldenrod and white flowers) looked really great with the yellow jacket.

I've been looking more at how other women dress and have been trying to get some ideas for how I can incorporate dressing down (in a stylish way) into my life since my profession really requires me to embrace all things casual. I'm not really good with the casual look, so putting something together that looks good is hard for me. I think I owned one pair of jeans when I met Ed and I have had a really hard time adjusting my wardrobe for this lifestyle. I don't do sweats and I'm not a jeans and sweater type of person.

That whole layering thing seems to be really popular - the long tee sticking out of the other tee sticking out of the sweater which sticks out of the jacket, topped with a scarf casually slung around the neck. Ugh. Layers can be a real problem for me as I HATE to be hot. As it was, I seemed to be the only person in Newfoundland who was sweating.

We'll have to see how this color thing works out and what I do for my wardrobe in the next few months. I plan on getting rid of everything I have and starting over with all new stuff for January, so maybe I'll stay away from the black and try to get into more actual outfits that incorporate some color. It's been suggested that I try more button down shirts, maybe some fitted jackets and dark wash, bootleg jeans. If that doesn't work, I'll be the only driver on the road wearing velour track suits with the satin stripe up the side.

With big hoop earrings and flip-flops, of course!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Going The Way Of Astatine*

This label was found on the bottom of the ice bucket in my hotel room. Can you see what's unusual about it?

* Astatine is the rarest naturally-occurring element, with the total amount in Earth's crust estimated to be less than 1 oz (28 g) at any given time. This amounts to less than one teaspoon of the element. Guinness World Records has dubbed the element the rarest on Earth, stating: "Only around 0.9 oz (25 g) of the element astatine (At) occurring naturally".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Eddie Working In Paradise Friday

Eddie, as he prepares to unload the pipe we delivered to Paradise, Newfoundland. He's such a happy worker!

~ Special birthday greetings to my step-father who turns 87 today!! ~

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Showing Its True Colors, Even On The Cloudiest Day

The sun didn't really shine the entire time we were in Newfoundland; the sky was extrememly overcast and there was a mist of rain covering the city. The sun went down at 4:30 pm. Newfoundland is in a time zone that is a half hour later than Atlantic Time and an hour and a half later than Eastern Time, so by 3:00 pm in New York, it was pitch black in St. John's. This is the harbor in St. John's, Newfoundland on the one day there was actually enough light to take a picture:

The houses are SO colorful and even as you leave the harbor, the houses are just as unique, perched like bright little bits of confetti on the hill.

It's kind of hard to get a "feel" for the color since the pictures are so blah, but every house is painted a different color; even the roofs are painted, often in a color other than that on the home. As I mentioned in a previous post, St. John's is the oldest English-founded settlement in North America, first sailed into by Italian explorer, John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) in 1497.

And Water Street, the main drag, is the oldest street in North America and I
stood on it! (OK, so it wasn't really that big a deal to stand there, but I did. In the rain.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

O Canada!

Here are some reasons I just LOVE Canada:

1. First and foremost, the obvious: It's cold.

2. Signage in both French and English. It's like a road trip and a lesson all in one!

3. Poutine. A whole new kind of comfort food; delicious even without the cheese curds.

4. The Maple Leaf. It's everywhere and I love it. I especially like how they incorporate it in McDonald's golden arches:

5. Moose. Newfoundland has approximately 125,000 - 150,000 moose on the island making it hard to believe we didn't see one during our entire trip!

6. The Canadians seem to love us as far as I can tell since they're all so very nice.

7. More importantly, they LOVE Obama. That's not in question at all - you don't even have to ask them, they'll just tell you straight out!

8. When you're in the Province of Nova Scotia, they have signs in both English and Gaelic, which is something I've never seen anywhere before. If it weren't for the english translation, we'd be screwed. Have you ever tried to read anything in Gaelic???

9. The cold water from the tap is freezing cold; not like water in Arizona where it comes out of the tap feeling like bath water.

10. The food labels/descriptions are also in English and French. My favorites are Pamplemousse Rose Jus (Red Grapefruit Juice), Poulet McCroquette (Chicken McNuggets) and Sucre (Sugar).

11. The McLobster Sandwich (or as they like to say in French, Sandwich McHomard), available only in the Maritime Provices. I've never eaten one, but I like the idea that it exists.

12. All the water! Oceans, lakes, ponds, inlets, goes on and on. It seems like Alberta is the only province that doesn't have all that much water, but they have the Canadian Rockies and Jasper National Park, so I will give them a teeny pass. I prefer the eastern part of the country (same as my preferences in the US) and I think Ontario and Quebec are my favorites, with Nova Scotia coming in third. Oh, the choices!

I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them at the moment. Overall though, I LOVE Canada, O Canada!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sometimes The Nights Just Fly By

The moon in New Brunswick, caught between the trees as we whizzed down the Trans Canada Highway (TCH).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Crossing The North Atlantic

The window view from our booth on the Marine Atlantic vessel Caribou taken during our crossing of the North Atlantic ocean from Port aux Basques, Newfoundland to North Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The crossing takes eight hours and we've done it both at night (getting a private cabin for sleeping) and during the day. This crossing was a little choppier than the last three we took, but not enough to toss anything around; cookies or our Scrabble tiles.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Good Thing He Didn't PAINT This On His Truck

Unfortunately we have TONS of this type in the trucking industry; but at least he was smart enough to know his sign was going to be temporary, hence his use of scotch tape to post it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Eddie And The Moose Friday

So far, this is the only moose we've seen up here in Newfoundland; and he was painted on a wall at the local mall!

Can you tell how excited he is to pose with Eddie??

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sparkle And Glow

My lips, last week, courtesy of me.

The sparkly mosaic and the pink glow, courtesy of photoshop.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes We Did!!

I had this post originally published yesterday, thinking I wouldn't be able to see the election coverage since I was traveling in Canada, but we got a hotel room in Nova Scotia and watched it happen.

I'd officially like to welcome our new President, Barack Obama, and this amazing first family to the White House....

Barack Obama, his wonderful wife Michelle and his two beautiful daughters, Sasha and Malia.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Holding My Breath

Watching the election in a hotel room in Canada. Watching and waiting.

And for all of you still crying about the "spreading the wealth" thing, why don't you take a look at where your Federal Tax dollars REALLY go:

(click to enlarge)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Let's Hope This Five Year Old Is As Accurate With His Predictions As He Is With His Aim For The Toilet

My mother (MM) has some of the most interesting (and possibly foreboding) conversations with my nephews when they are over visiting. The biggest pisser of them all is the youngest one (YO). This is the most recent conversation they had when he was visiting her over the Halloween weekened:

MM: You know, YO, I'm getting old and I hope you come visit me when I get older.

YO: Don't worry, 'cause you'll be dead when I'm a teenager Nana.

MM: What do you mean I'll be dead? I don't want to die young.

YO: I mean, in eight years when I'm a teenager, you'll be very old and dead.

MM: YO, give me a break. I don't want to die when you are a teenager. I want to see you get married!

YO: Forget it, Nana. I'm living with Daddy all my life.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Newfies, Here We Come!

We are getting ready for our second trip to Newfoundland. This time, we're heading to St. John's, the provinicial capital of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The city is located on the northeast coast of the Avalon Peninsula in southeastern Newfoundland, on the Atlantic Ocean. It is the
easternmost city in North America and also the oldest English-founded settlement in North America, in addition to being the second largest city in Atlantic Canada.

Since St. John's is the cloudiest (only 1,497 hours of sunshine a year), snowiest and has the most wet days per year of all the major cities in Canada, I'm not sure how the picture taking is going to fare, but I'll do my best. I have been told by some old classmates that the town has great pubs, great shops and a great downtown walking area in addition to whale watching!! I look forward to checking it out.

St. John is where the Trans-Canada Highway begins; it ends in Vancouver, British Columbia. Once we hit St. John's, we will have been on every kilometer of that highway as we've once before driven all across Canada on it.

I love this exploring and driving! It's such a pleasure to be able to see our country and the country of our neighbors to the North by traveling through so many nooks and crannies of both of them.

* Photo of St. John's Harbour Narrows courtesy of the internet.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Call To Arms

This goes out to any of my foreign readers, any expats out there in Europe or any people who have traveled in Europe at all and want to share:

My cousin is doing a semester of college in Parma, Italy. She will be there from January to May. During this time, Eddie and I are hoping to go visit and spend two months there. We're thinking maybe Feb/Mar or Mar/Apr but haven't decided yet. The trip hinges on a few other things, so everything has to come together in order for us to go during this time.

The question I throw out to all of you is this: What do I need to know?

Actually, that's not the only question, but I want to know everything. Things like:

1. What should we visit in the area?

2. What countries shouldn't we miss?

3. Rent a car or take the train?

4. Get a hotel room or rent an apartment or villa?

5. What kind of access is there to the internet? Are there a lot of those internet cafes you hear of?

6. What regions of Italy are a must see?

7. Does anyone want us to come visit them? LOL

8. Large purse or backpack?

9. Any special packing tips?

10. What time of year might be best to go?

11. I am very interested in Eastern Europe - any info on that?

There are too many questions, I beleive - but you get the idea. I am checking other expat websites to get some information and of course combing the internet, but there is so much information I'm getting overloaded.

If you have anything to tell me, please either leave it in comments or email me at - I look forward to the info!

* Parma Duomo photo courtesy of Google Images