Thursday, April 30, 2009

Badass Badlands

Painted Canyon in the Badlands of North Dakota, within the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I'm not a big fan of the west, but this is quite an amazing site; and it's the same place we recently saw the Buffalo! They weren't out this time, but they did leave a few gifts for the tourists...I'll post those in a few days.

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Proof That God Exists
Spring In The Desert
Date Like You’re Not Still In 8th Grade

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dillinger The Horror Hog

The following text and photos are courtesy of Ed's brother Bill. Bill lives on a farm (where dinasours have been discovered!) south-west of Dallas, Texas. We've seen many pictures of the beautiful flora and fauna that Bill discovers there, but nothing quite like this. Sort of makes us look like a big bunch of pussies calling the fire department to come get our rattlesnake. Of course, you didn't SEE the rattlesnake....he was scary....and had fangs....and was all.....well.....all rattly and stuff.

Enough of my scary adventure, read on to see what Bill has to say about his:

DATELINE: Thursday, April 23, 2009, around midnight, Jones Farm, Paluxy, Texas. I went out walking by starlight (again) to see what the pigosaurs were up to. I found one. We fought. I won.

RESEARCH DATA ACQUIRED: We have Russian Boars here on the farm (in the yard even); they are big; they are mean; they will hide in the dark; they gallop; they make strange, disturbing sounds; they will attack humans; they are the most hideous creatures I have ever seen outside of horror movies and my weird dreams, thirteen carefully distributed rounds at close range with a Colt .45 M1911A1 pistol will kill one. Eventually. Maybe. If you don't freak out. Oh, and those little 75 lumen LED flashlights are excellent. Highly recommended for porcine search and destroy combat missions.

Did I mention the damn thing attacked me? He attacked me twice, actually. Ha. (He should have quit when he was ahead.) He was a generally disagreeable sort, it would seem. I noticed later that he had one broken tusk (not from our scuffle), about a third of one ear torn off and healed, and he was variously scarred, all presumably from fighting with his piggy rivals.

THE BATTLE: In retrospect, I'm not exactly sure which of us attacked first there in the dark, illuminated only by the bluish LED light. Me, I think, with the first shot, when he was hiding in the weeds starring at me from about fifteen feet away. But, he charged me instantly. It took five shots to turn him. He veered from about three feet of me on the fifth round.

A second clip (full this time with 8 rounds) and two shots stopped him from leaving at about 60 feet away. (A wounded boar hog in the neighborhood is a bad thing.) He turned back and galloped directly at me again. I kept the flashlight on him and moved to my left, firing four more times as he approached a few feet to my right. The seventh (12th overall) apparently struck him behind the right eye, installing a neat, round, half inch hole in his skull.

He flipped around counterclockwise about 8 feet from me and fell down on his right side. Then he began to get up. I fired the thirteenth and final round which he received uttering a pig noise. He flopped some more, still trying to get up.

My next trigger pull went click. Out of ammo. So, I just watched. A few minutes later he gave up and expired. Which was nice.

(My note: Only Bill would be drinking a cup of coffee while standing next to fresh kill.)
He had a buddy that observed from over in the shadows, but, stayed out of sight so I never saw him/it. He/it oinked and snorted, though. I found some fresh tracks near the abode today. I think he/it is lurking around, probably scheming vengeance. (Bring it, filthy swine! bwahahahah!)

Was I scared? Oddly, no. Was it exciting? Absolutely! I'm still enjoying it five days later. I want to do it again!! Wah-hah! Do it again, do it again. Harder, faster! :^)

I named him Dillinger (posthumously), after that old timey gangster guy in the pictures who was all full of holes.

Hmm. What else. ok. No, I didn't eat him. I cut off his head with a combat/survival knife and an axe, then impaled it on a steel pike. (I want the skull.) I sliced off his ropey, funky tail, then hung it on the meter pole. I hauled his headless carcass up to Dead Cow Corner and released it back into the wild (for the dining pleasure of the vultures, coyotes, and other pigs). By then it was dawn. Four or five hours later, I went to sleep. (I was tired.)

SIDE NOTE: Feral hogs have become a problem here in North Texas. It's bordering on infestation. They are destructive, numerous, and dangerous. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. has classified them as nuisance animals. They reproduce prolifically and natural predation is apparently of insignificant impact. The only other critters I have killed during the past couple of years that I've lived here are a few snakes, some mice, and one noisy crow that got on my nerves one day. heh. Game animals abound here, but, I enjoy seeing them more than eating them.

These stinking hogs, however, even though I don't hate them (yet), are different. I'm not out to eradicate them, and I don't plan to bait them or trap them or make a big deal out of it. But, stalking them on foot in the dead of night with a pistol and a flashlight is a blast, and, shooting them on sight is acceptable to me.

(My note: That eye is just creeeepy)
(My note: OK, so your guy has a tusk. But is it sharp like the fangs on my rattlesnake? No, I think not. We had FANGS to deal with. Uh, sharp ones!)

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Supernatural Hair
They Must Have Been On Sale
Shadows Of The Setting Sun

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another Reason I Love The Great Indoors

A few weeks ago when we were home, Ed was out in the shed looking for something when he smelled an odor that can only be described as "dead body". When he investigated further, he found a dead snake, which he promptly scooped and threw over the fence at the rear of the property.

This week, we were home again and Ed was scouring the shed for an extension cord when he heard a rattling sound. He came back into the house and told us he thought there was a rattlesnake in the shed. He didn't see anything, but he knew he heard something, so he went online to get some information and decided to build a snake trap to catch it. I had just finished cleaning some chicken breasts and since rattlesnakes are carnivorous, Ed figured he could use it as bait. He put the chicken in the trap, set the trap in the shed and then we went to sleep for the night.

When we got up in the morning Ed went to check his trap disappointed to find it empty. But as he pushed around some boxes with end of a broom handle trying to listen for the rattle again, he SAW the snake. My step-father, who had been hovering over his shoulder because he can't ever be too far from the action and could never leave well enough alone, threw a rock at the snake and when it didn't move announced, "He's dead."

Me, being the voice of reason, said "Are you guys crazy??? Get the hell away from the shed. That snake is NOT dead, he's just waiting to strike. He's faking you out. GET AWAY FROM THE SHED."

So the rock thrower just had to move the box again. And when he did, the snake's tongue came slithering out. "He's not dead! I saw his tongue!" my step-father yelled as he jumped back. Well, we all hauled ass back into the house and I called 911. They connected me to the fire department who told me they would be sending someone right over. Within ten minutes (Ed, close your eyes for the next six words) the buffest fireman I'd ever seen, confidently walked across the backyard and headed straight for the shed. He reached in with his little claw apparatus and pulled out this:

OH. MY. GOD. The thing was rattling like crazy, his fangs were jutting out and he was just altogether scary. To think that so many of us have been in and out of that shed, rooting around for shit while this thing was hiding somewhere under a box or in a corner.....shivers.

The fireman patiently waited for me to run inside to get my camera so I could get that shot and he also let me take a little video of it since I wanted to show my nephews. Of course, I wound up saying "shit" in the video but I think I'm going to have to ask my brother and sister-in-law for a free pass on this one since the kids HAVE to see this video. I'm thinkin' I might must be able to talk them into it...what's one little slip of the tongue among family? Besides, they are three boys; they'll likely hear much worse before they even hit thirteen years old.

Here's the video:
And after reading this (make sure to check out his photo link at the bottom of the page to see photos of the operation and skin grafting that kid had to have after his snake bite), I will never EVER approach a snake (rattle or not) for the rest of my life. I don't think I'll be going into that shed either.

I don't care, call me a pussy if you want. At least I won't have to take skin from my thighs to make my hands look....well, not even better...just whole.
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We Think The Only Thing Worth Stealing From The House Would Have Been The Fresh Baked Apple Pie
Not Nearly As Appealing As Gnocchi
Working The Yard

Monday, April 27, 2009

She Needs To Wear A Bell

I was shopping in Walmart with my mother this week and decided she's just impossible to keep track of. We get into the store, I say "I'm going to cosmetics", she says "I'm going to look at blouses" and we part ways. When I catch up with her again, we mosey together for a while, looking and chatting and deciding on what to buy.

After we finished trying on some summer tops and capri pants, we headed over to the food portion of the store; I'm zipping through picking out what I need and she is following along behind me since she moves like a turtle. Then the moment comes when I turn to tell her something and she's gone. GONE.

She was just there and ten seconds later, she has disappeared. And it's not like she's just around the corner in the next aisle. I know because I looked. Where can she have gone so quickly??

She gives the impression that she's a slow mover. That whole molasses/turtle/slug act is really a cover for her true identity...

She's quite obviously a Ninja.

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I Hate When He Does That
The Toes Of Summer Are Peeking Out

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Covering All The Bases

All three of my nephews play baseball but since I'm on the road so much, I rarely get to see a game. This weekend though, I attended two of them! Here's a picture of my oldest nephew (artfully obscured from view) just before he hit a triple. He has a little base tapping ritual before he readies himself for a swing. I got this picture of his first tap from my spot on the bleachers.

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Ed Fantasizes Out Loud
Better Late Than Never
The Last, Best Chance

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Blooming Where The Sun Don't Shine

With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it seems that this was the one day the sun didn't want to cooperate. Still, I was able to get a shot of a spring cactus bloom at the Saguaro National Park in Tucson, when Eddie and I stopped to get some pictures of the truck.

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Eddie Wakes Up Smiling Friday
Gnocchi From The Gods
Blurry Super Hero

Friday, April 24, 2009

Eddie Touches Up The Old Girl Friday

I took Eddie to the Saguaro National Park in Tucson to get a picture of our truck among the cacti and will you just look at how he's getting her ready?

Apparently, she needed to powder her nose before the photograph.

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The Morning Sun Greets Guadalupe
Starting Soon. No, Really.
This Mary Doesn’t Go To Pre-School

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sixteen Days Old

This is my baby cousin's hand at just a smidge over two weeks old. It's incredible how tiny the hand of a five pound person is. Teeny weeny kind of tiny.

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Racism Comes With A Convenient Handle
Evening Tide
Glittering Pasties And Swinging Tassles

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Makes A Nice Desktop

Yet another photo of Moab, Utah. This makes a nice desktop though....go ahead, try it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Free Range Horns And Humps

As I pulled into the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, this was the first thing I saw:

Not the sign, silly, the BUFFALO. He was right there, out in the open, in the rest area. No fences. No barriers. Nothing. And there were two others right behind him! As he started to lumber over toward his friends, I followed him with the camera. There was a sign that said, "DANGER: Do not approach the wildlife." He was very docile, so I wanted to get closer but Ed forbid me. I think he was worried about him ramming the truck!
Before we left, I begged Ed to let me get out of the truck to get closer for a picture. I snuck up next to this guy while he was basking in the late afternoon sun. I snuck up on him and asked him politely to turn my way for a picture. He didn't really feel like having his photo taken, but you can see a little stir of interest in the one eye that is peering my way. Although, I think he's sort of telling me not to come any closer with that one eye. So I didn't. I just let him and his horns and his hump relax on the grass.

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The Earth Is Sending The Paper To The Folder
Some People Are SAD; I Am Not One Of Them
The Pressure

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

May I Take A Message?

I used to work in the office at an asphalt paving company. We did some residential work, but the bulk of our contracts were commercial. Part of my job was to set up sub-contractors for work at locations where we needed things like curbing, sidewalks, fencing, etc. Anything that was needed in conjunction with the paving project.

One curb contractor we used (when he decided to actually show up for the job) was the kind of guy who leered at your cleavage when dropping his invoice off at the office. He'd often stand in the reception area, flirting with whichever female was unlucky enough to get within range; his sweaty stench permeating the air.

He used to call the office and leave messages with us for the job site superintendents and always gave his phone number in the same manner. His phone number was 696-9389 and he would always say, "Sixty-nahhhn, sixty-nahhhn, three eighty nahn", ending with a creepy chuckle as if his play on words was supposed to embarrass us. We worked in a construction company, for god's sake, not much was going to turn our faces red.

I suppose he intended the innuendo to imply he was a sexual dynamo and would offer us pleasures never before know to womankind were we to take his bait. Most of us just cut him off mid-message with, "We already have your number, thanks. We'll have someone get back to you." We had his number alright.

And not a soul would be calling it.

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Doing The Speed Limit In Your Sleep
Now I Can Go Back To Watching The Show
Ten Of Life’s Simplest Pleasures

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

Knocking Us Off One Candy Bar At A Time

Tonight I went through a toll booth outside of Chicago. The toll taker was an elderly man. I was on the phone with my mother at the time and told her to hold on a minute so I could pay the toll.

I gave him my cash and when he gave me my change, with a smile, he pointedly pressed a mini Nestle crunch bar in my hand along with my receipt.

"Wow! Thank you!" I said.

"It's much better than those doggie biscuits some people hand out." he said. (Which explains why at the last toll booth, I saw a bowl of those multi-colored dog biscuits on the counter next to the ticket taker.)

"I agree! Your idea is MUCH better." I told him.

"Well," he said, "I'm a sucker for a pretty girl."

As I bid him good night, he hollered back "Drive Safely!" and I left his toll lane. I then turned my attention back to my mother and told her the part she didn't hear; his end of the conversation.

"Isn't that nice??" I said to her.

"Well how do you know he's not handing out bad candy?" she said, in her ever suspicious tone.

"Mom, c'mon. Do you really think he's poisoning people randomly from his toll booth? I said.

"Well, you never know. Maybe he's just giving the candy to truckers." she said.

"Oh, so he's only targeting truckers?"

"Could be." she said.

"You definitely watch too much TV, you know that? That's just ridiculous." I said.

"Well, you can't be too careful these days."

Whatever. How do you think like that? It has to be something that was drilled into my mother's head since childhood and it's only gotten worse through television indoctrination. I must have zoned out or something during the Be Suspicious Of All Things 101 class, which works out just fine because my mother certainly picked up enough neuroses for the both of us.

So I guess now we all know what that guy who used to put razor blades in apples during Halloween is doing in the off season.

He's working at the toll booth on I-94 in Illinois.

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How To Entertain Yourself When Hanging Out With Sight Impaired Adults
Is It REALLY Such A Mystery??
Heading South And Going Country

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Buggin' Out

Two Amish horse and buggies parked at Eash Sales in Shipshewana, Indiana.

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Hangin’ Out With Ray Stoker Jr.
Sunset On The Move
Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How A Book Defies Its Cover

This woman, Susan Boyle, a 47-year-old virgin living from Scotland who lives with her cat, sang "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables on Britain's Got Talent. She had me on the edge of my seat, my body just filling with joy. One theater producer said, "Vocally it is one of the best versions of the song I've ever heard." This YouTube clip is a little bit longer, showing more of a lead-in before she takes the stage. I loved seeing the audience and their reaction and then the judges, and how their faces spoke volumes. Of course, as usual, I just LOVE Simon. I love all kinds of music and I love to feel something when I hear a song or watch a performance.

This is one of those performances. It moved me. If Paul Potts, the first winner of Britain's Got Talent is any example, then it looks like Susan Boyle may be destined for the same fate.  

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How To Up Your Chances For A Sweet Monkey Lovin’ Romp
Activities Director
Ah, But It Is SO Worth It

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Vantage Point

This horse is part of a group of Wild Horses monument that graces a hilltop in Vantage, Washington, just off of Interstate 90, overlooking the Columbia River.

Accessible only from the eastbound side of the interstate, it's easily missed as we've passed by it at least fifty times without even knowing it was there.

I don't know how I missed sixteen iron horses on the hill, but I guess it's because most of the time I'm looking down at the bridge crossing the river while at the same time keeping at eye on the edge of the pavement.

I have no desire to go careening into the gorge.

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Cape Cahd Hahba
Waxing Brilliant
Seven! Seven! Seven! Seven! Seveeeeennnn!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Fishy Pishy Is Never Dishy

I was laying in bed the other night thinking about what we used to call our private parts when we were little. I know, sort of an odd thought to be having, but I think it was on my mind because my mother had just told me a story about my middle nephew "adjusting his cup" while getting dressed for his baseball game. She said, "He was playing with his pishy for so long, I was wondering what the hell he was adjusting. He's eight."

We always said pishy (rhymes with dishy) when referring to our "private" area - whether boy or girl. I don't know where it came from or who came up with it, but my entire family said it, from grandparents to aunts to mothers to cousins to siblings. "Watch out for your pishy" my mother would say as we climbed on the monkey bars, "Don't hurt your pishy" to my brother, as he swung one leg over the center bar of his bicycle. Of course, we were also told that we were not to show our pishy to anyone and no one was to see it or touch it either. (Boy, I'm glad I no longer have to follow that rule!)

It ran through both sides of our family, the pishy thing, with both my mother and father. Although my father, he said "peeshy". Peeshy with a very long "e" sound. But then again my father also said "wrastler" when he meant wrestler, "teet" when he meant teeth, and "mout" when he intended to say mouth. My nephews still giggle remembering Grandpa Sal and how he used to tell them their "teet were in their mout." He must have gotten that from his father who said terlet (toilet), olive earl (olive oil) and Terdy-terd street (Thirty-third Street). It must be a Bronx thing.

When I moved out to Arizona, my Mexican-born, gay friend Marco would call me "Pescada", which means "fish" in Spanish. The only reason I point out his being gay is because the pescada thing is how he identified women; as people with vaginas, who in his mind, were "fishy". Although he loved me and the term was used as an endearment (go figure), he also liked (really liked) men. He would alsways say "pescada" with a bit of a sneer, like someone describing a food they dislike. I think he wanted to make it very clear that women were SO not what he was interested in. Well, duh.

So now I'm thinking our "pishy" word may have come about in a similar manner, since "fish" in Italian is said "pesci". Pretty close, huh? Although when we used it, it was so disconnected from that word. We didn't think of it like that, still don't, and we used it for both boys and girls.

If you have kids, you can't have helped but notice how your vocabulary changes. My friend Vicki uses a similar version of "pishy" with her kids, over the years having morphed it into just one word - rina. It started out as pishy, then went to pish-a-rina, then got shortened to rina and on some days, it's even shorter yet - ree. And, it's also sort of come to mean both your privates (rina) or, having to pee (do rina, ree).

Talking about this whole thing makes me think about the words I hate hearing people use to describe going to the bathroom. They are used mostly with children, but still rub my ears the wrong way when I hear them. I absolutely HATE the term, "make". "Do you have to make?" What the hell is that???

The other one I hate is "potty". It's one thing when you refer to the actual toilet as a potty, when talking to a child (even though that still makes me cringe since it's such a childish term), but when you ask your child if he has to "make potty", "go to the potty" or "do potty", I think, "Why don't you just teach them what the toilet is actually called??" It's even worse when I hear an adult ask where the potty is or say, "I have to go potty." It takes all I have to hold my tongue and not tell them they sound like an idiot.

Now you might ask what's the difference between saying "go rina" and "go to the potty". Well, I guess nothing really. I suppose they are both terms that you can use with children going to the bathroom, but the difference with Vicki (or me, when I'm around them) using the terms they made up, is that her children know that it's actually called a toilet, not a potty and they know that the term we coined for going to the bathroom is a word that morphed out of goofiness and fun. They would never, in public or at school or at another person's home say, "I have to go rina." The would ask to use the bathroom or ladies room or rest room - whatever the correct term is.

And if you're an adult saying that you have to "go potty" or "go make" (believe me, I've heard it) or "use the little girls room", I think you need to take a look in your pants to see if you're wearing big girl panties. Because if you are, it's time to stop using that childish term. It's not cute, it's not endearing, it's just stupid.

So do I dare ask what you used to (or still) call your privates or what you say when you have to use the bathroom? And what have you taught your kids?

And please try not to say anything that will make me want to vomit in the potty.

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A Dash Of Ignorance Makes For A Tasty Treat
Before The Luck Ran Out
Five Guys I'm In Love With This Week

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Shaved, Slivered, Sliced, Grated, Chunked And Best Of All, In Meatballs

One of my favorite cheeses in the world (my world, since I haven't tasted every cheese in the world) is Locatelli brand Pecorina Romano. It's the cheese of my childhood. You could say I grew up on it.

As a kid, we never used anything else. In fact, I never even knew anything else existed since I never saw another type of grated cheese in our house. For that matter, I never saw another type of cheese used by any of my family. And I never knew it was Pecorina Romano - to me, it was just Locatelli. And if you know what that means, you know what that means. It's good stuff.

When on the table, it was grated into tiny slivers, served in a little bowl with a teeny spoon. Never served in a cheese shaker, and never in that weird grainy form. We always used it on our macaroni, but we also put it in soups and used it in our cooking. I can't imagine making my grandmother's meatballs without several handfuls of Locatelli. Yes, handfuls.

The unfortunate thing is, you can't find it everywhere; but since I was up in New York last weekend, I got a big chunk of it. It was $12.99 a pound and worth every penny. I never flinch at the price because honestly, I don't even look at the price.

I was too impatient to wait for something to use it on, so several times this week I found myself standing in the kitchen with a thick slice of it in my hand. It made my mouth so happy to taste its sharp, salty flavor.

Eddie and I had ravioli for Easter dinner and the sprinkling of freshly slivered Locatelli brought back so many memories.

Now if only I had those meatballs...

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Too Small For America?
Waiting For A Beautiful Balsamic Splash
Five Guys I’m In Love With This Week

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Preparation Takes Its Toll

This is a short text message conversation I had with my best friend today:

ME: What are you doing?

VICKI: Dying eggs! Shit, they don't bottle enough wine for this!!

ME: Ummm, I don't think you're supposed to be dying them in wine.

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Eddie In Blue Friday
The Man Filter
There Is Still A Chance

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Some Like It Hot

While sitting around Seattle waiting for Ed to load the truck, I made a pot of my father's chili. Ed hasn't had it yet and I thought it would be a nice meal for the rainy day we were experiencing (What?? Rain in Seattle?). Up above is the picture as it cooked, down below is the recipe if you'd like to try it.

Sal’s Chili

My father owned a hot dog cart in New York for 16 years. One of the most requested items he sold was the chili topping for his hot dogs. Its most identifying characteristic was its heat. That was my father’s “thing” with the chili – making it super freaking hot. People came to his cart specifically for this hot chili, even bringing friends along to try it.

He always made sure to tell everyone straight out that it was EXTREMELY hot. He'd even offer samples to people who weren't sure they'd like it or thought it might be too hot. After tasting it, many people would pass, especially women. Men would square their shoulders and puff out their chests, showing their manly ability to eat anything, and just order away. Often they would be seen with their jaws hung open, huffing air and downing a cold soda moments after their first bite, giving relief to their mouth.

You can adjust the heat to your preference and it’ll be just as good. I usually figure, when I make it for most people, one habanero pepper per pound of meat. If I were making it for my hot dog cart, I’d add more. Also, when my father and I made it for our hot dog carts, we did NOT add kidney beans. I only add kidney beans if I’m planning to serve it in a bowl, as a meal (with cornbread on the side!). As a meal, it’s best not to be so hot but on a hot dog, the fire just adds to the experience!

2 lbs. Chop Meat (80-85% lean – some fat in the chili makes it taste better)
1 large onion (diced)
9 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 habanero peppers (minced)
3 jalapeno peppers (diced – you can use 3 fresh or you can use jarred – just dice)
1 can dark red kidney beans
2 cans diced or whole tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 tablespoon of sugar
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

1. In a large stock pot, coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil and start to brown the chop meat. I do one pound at a time and I break the meat up with a wooden spoon into little pieces, leaving a few chunks in the mix. You don’t have to fully cook it because it will cook more later, but make sure it’s browned.

2. While the meat is browning, prepare the garlic, onion, habaneros and jalapenos and set aside. NOTE: When handling habaneros, it’s best to use gloves. I wear thin, latex gloves for this. Even touching the outside of the pepper and getting its oil on your hands can result in burning your eyes or lips or whatever if you happen to rub your eye or touch your mouth after handling the pepper. Once you cut them open and expose the seeds, be just as careful with that. Be aware not to rub your face or mouth or eyes until you are done handling the peppers.

3. When the meat is close to done, take the meat out and put it into a bowl on the side. Leave the fat from the meat in the bottom of the stock pot.

4. Now in that stock pot, using the fat from the meat, sauté your garlic and onions. Do NOT burn these, cook only until they are sizzling and translucent.

5. Once that is done, put the meat back in the pot and add your cans of tomatoes and tomato paste. If you’re using whole tomatoes, crush them with your hand as you put them in the pot. Use the larger tomato can to add one can of water to the pot.

6. Now add your habaneros and jalapenos. The reason I dice the jalapenos and mince the habaneros is because of the habaneros heat. If you get too big a piece of habanero in your spoonful of chili, it’s too hot. Mincing it allows the heat to disperse through the entire pot of chili.

7. Add a tablespoon of sugar (a little more if you like it sweet – I do) and salt and pepper. Usually, as with everything I make since I don’t measure, is just to sprinkle a light layer of seasoning across the whole pot. Then I stir it all in.

8. Bring the whole pot to a boil (it won’t really boil like water, but it will bubble) and keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

9. Cook a minimum of one hour, more if you want it to be thicker. The longer you cook, the more reduced it will become and the thicker the chili will be.

10. Enjoy!

Click HERE for the printable version of the recipe.

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1 YEAR AGO: The Desert Blooms With Irritants
Squeeze Me?
Relationship Deal Breakers

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pink In Tacoma

I spent the early morning hours with coffee and a blueberry scone at the Barnes and Noble in Tacoma, Washington. When I left and was walking back to the truck, I spied an entire tree blooming in the sunshine. This little beauty stood still long enough for me to snap its picture.

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Not The Kind Of Flower You Pick
Exclusive Holiday Visitation
Basket Of Knowledge

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I know there are those of you out there who will probably praise the movie Watchmen. I don't know who you people are. And you know what? I don't want to know who you people are. I hope never to meet you or be sucked into a conversation by you.

I don't even want to know why you liked the movie. Well, that's not entirely true. I would actually like to know why you liked it, just to see if I can identify all of you by some like characteristic so I'll know who to stay very far away from. Perhaps you all have an earlobe that hangs low on one side, or the third finger of your left hand is an inch shorter than all the others or maybe you wear t-shirts that say "I Like Stupid Movies".

Finding out why you liked the movie would mean I'd have to talk to you about it and likely, you'd recount your favorite part or line or character, and then I would have to risk having an aneurysm all over again. That I can't do because I already lost three hours of my life this week. Three hours that I'll likely never make up. Three hours of time that will never be erased from my brain, images seared into it that will take years and years to forget. I might even need therapy.

There are not enough words in the English language (or all languages combined) to express the level of SUCK this movie rose to. I don't even want to type the string of expletives I used to describe what I thought about it, the time I wasted and the fact that I sat through the entire thing, because if I did, this post would not only be NSFW (not safe for work), it would also be NSFS (not safe for sailors).

Once again though, I chose to accompany my very cute, very loving boyfriend to a movie of his choice. Why, you ask? Why did I do this once again, after I've done it in the past and regretted my decision? I wish I could say it was because I'm a dumbass and didn't intelligently think it out. But that's not true.

I did think it out (albeit for a split second). I did it because honestly, he does SO much for me. I initially said no, knowing I would hate it, but then he asked me again. So I gave in. I thought, Okay, it's got Jeffrey Dean Morgan in it. I loved him in Grey's Anatomy and PS I Love You. He's really cute. How bad can it be?

That phrase, "how bad can it be?", should never be uttered. Because if you're even thinking about how bad it could be, then something is definitely telling you to stay away.


Because not everyone has the t-shirt.

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The Quickest Way To Get Ready For A Nap
One Stop Shopping

Monday, April 06, 2009

Waiting For The Storm In Ohio

Storm clouds hovering over farmland in Ottawa, Ohio.

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Spring Breath Escapes Through Two Lips

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Straight Out Of The Box

Me, Sunday morning, right after I got ready for "work".

Not quite the straight out of bed shot, but it is straight out of the camera; no adjustments, no Photoshop, nothing but cropping. The background is a little dark because I didn't use a flash, just the light from above the kitchen sink. As you can see, I'm standing directly under it.

Criminy, I say! Looking at the creases on my forehead, I might have to be getting those Botox injections sooner than I anticipated!

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Unreal Ideal
Stealing Isn’t Always A Bad Thing
04 05 06

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Petal Tips Of Spring And New Life

Today I saw my twin cousins, a boy and a girl, for the very first time. At just a smidge over five pounds each and smaller than a loaf of Italian bread, they were delicious. Not in the Italian bread way, in the yummy baby way. I cried when handed the first one to hold.

It's impossible not to know there is something out there so much greater than us when you see two beautiful babies cradled in your hands. These tulips with their variegated colors bleeding into each other, also a product of a power greater than us, are almost as beautiful, but not nearly as amazing.

Looking at those babies, I just can't believe my cousin and his wife made them. They MADE a person. I mean, I know all about the birds and the bees and all that, but every time I see a newborn, I'm just in awe. I couldn't stop looking at them. And at only two weeks old, it's nice to think they were actually looking back at me, but I know they were just seeing a big, blobby shadow hovering over them.

Which I guess means their eyesight is pretty good.

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Eddie In Hawaiian Garb Friday
New Floridork?
Boogie Down Bronx

Friday, April 03, 2009

Eddie At The Glacier Friday

Here we have a picture of my Eddie filling our drinking water jugs for the truck. We keep about six gallons in the truck; three of these small gallon jugs and then one big three gallon jug. Did you know water weighs about 8.35 pounds?

I suppose the average person doesn't really need to know how much water weighs, but in the truck, every gallon counts. Because the truck has a legal weight cap; 80,000 pounds.

Now a few gallons of water shouldn't make much difference you'd think when you have 80,000 pounds of weight to play with, but when you have a 40 gallon water tank, 7 gallons of flush water and 6 gallons of drinking water, you're carrying approximately 442 pounds of extra weight. That can make or break you at the scale house.

So, in addition to figuring how many gallons of fuel we have (diesel fuel weighs about 7.3 pounds per gallon, resulting in 1,606 pounds when our tanks are full), we also need to know how much water weight we're carrying.

See - neurotic women aren't the only one who worry about carrying extra water weight; truck drivers do it too.

"Hey buddy, do my ankles look swollen to you? I think I may be retaining water."

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1 YEAR AGO: When Having A UTI Is A Cause For A Celebration
2 YEARS AGO: They Should Give Academy Awards For Good Hair
3 YEARS AGO: One, Two, Three, Floor

Thursday, April 02, 2009

E Pluribus Unum

As Ed and I ate dinner at the port in Jersey City, New Jersey (not by choice, we were stuck there due to gross incompetence on the parts of many people whose fingers were in the pie of our load) we watched a little television to accompany my fine cooking.

As we channel surfed, we found several languages represented in the local stations. Italian (
Raitalia TV), Korean (KBS World), Spanish (Univision and others) and we think some other Asian channel we couldn't identify.

New York truly embodies E pluribus unum; Latin for "Out of Many, One." It's in the collage of faces and the symphony of voices. Everyone fits and everyone adds something unique with their instrument. Even within the confines of the trucking industry, you will notice it; especially at the ports. In one afternoon, you'll see everything from a Punjabi Sikh with a turban, to a Jamaican Rasta with dreadlocks, to a tiny Chinaman so slight you think he'd be better suited to be a jockey than a truck driver.

When I was younger, there was a kid from Honduras who worked at our family restaurant. He learned most of the English he knew from watching television, which is probably the reason why every time he opened his mouth, he sounded like either a commercial or a sitcom. But he learned. And he prospered. And he was very, very happy to participate in the American life he created, even if he did it in broken English. The mixture of his Spanish and English was part of his charm. I wonder if I would become more charming if I sat around watching Raitalia TV? Forse.

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The Dance In Their Heads, Hands And Feet
The Love Buffet
Whadya Think This Is, The Waldorf?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Shouting From The Rooftops

Well, not really a rooftop, more like a cushy passenger seat. Anyhoo, I always love a good web site find. I'm a bit of an Internet junkie and since I spend so much time online, I often stumble across a great site or someone passes it on to me. Once I know about it, I have to immediately notify everyone in my inner circle and of course, you lucky readers! (Half of whom are already in my inner circle. Ahem.)

So, here are a few of my favorites. Some of them are helpful in the trucking aspect, but others are just plain 'ol useful.

Weatherbase: This is just fun. Planning a vacation? Don't know where you want to go? Plug in your information and preferences and get some ideas.

Hazelmail: Love postcards? Don't love the ones that they sell in tourist shops? Make your own! And Hazel will send it for you.

Goodreads: Sometimes a pain in the ass to update, especially if you're a voracious reader (uh, like Michelle), but it's a cool way to keep up with friends and what they're reading, in addition to getting suggestions.

U.S. Naval Observatory: We use this when we're running an over-dimensional load and you're only allowed to travel during daylight hours. Most loads that require this type of permit allow you to start driving a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. So this helps to know when twilight begins and ends.

Tastebook: I'm not sure you know this, but I love Oprah. Moreover, I love Oprah's Favorite Things. So when I saw this in last year's Christmas issue of my Oprah magazine, I thought wow, what a genius idea! Oprah always finds the coolest stuff. You can make your own cookbook by combining youre own recipes with those from friends and family. No more recipes written on the back of paper plates or saved in your email in-box. And now I won't have to sneak into Garnett's house in the middle of the night and steal the highly valued box of her mother's recipes. She just saved me from a life in the big house!

Tiny URL: This one is great. If you don't know about it, you should. Ever want to send a friend a link but it has more letters than War and Peace? Use Tiny URL. So small, you can text it.

RefDesk: I love this site for too many reasons to list. Go there.

VRBO: Vacation Rentals By Owner. Want to go on vacation but don't want to stay in a hotel? Find people here who rent their personal homes, vacation homes, city apartments, beach cottages, etc. There are locations all over the globe! Have a free weekend but don't know what you want to do? Check out this web site for all sorts of festivals and events going on all over the country. You can search by category, keywords, zip code, dates. Don't be surprised if you see an festival you never even knew existed!

Coin Laundry Association: This site comes in very handy for us. I don't like doing my laundry at the truck stop - most of the time, they don't have enough machines and I'm don't want to be sitting there enduring the glare of a driver that needs to wash his coveralls and a few pairs of socks while I'm folding my sixth load. This site allows me to plug in a zipcode and find a place with all the washers my little heart desires!

MoMA Store: The Museum of Modern Art store has some of the most unique items I've ever seen. Need to transport a banana? They have a way. Get lost on the way to the kitchen for a midnight snack? never again. And when a whole scissor is just too much for the job? There's this. I'm sure you can find something here and think how cool you'll be giving a gift that someone can't go to the local Walmart and find themselves. You can thank me later.

And finally, something so delicious I just couldn't pass it up:

Bacolicious: In the mood for a slice of bacon? How about slapping that bacon on a web site to send your friend? What? You've never considered it? Well it's about time to start. Click on the link, follow the directions and slap some bacon on someone!

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As this is the first of the month (and no, this is not an April Fool's joke) I am going to add a new feature to my posts. At the end of each one, I'll be linking to posts from years past. It will allow you to see what was going on in years past and you'll be able to delve into the archives a little at a time, without having to start from the very beginning. Click to enjoy!

View From Fifteen
The Sun Before The Storm
This Is No Joke
4 YEARS AGO: There is no four yet because I started my blog in May 2005. So next month, you'll start seeing the "4 Years Ago" category.