Saturday, October 31, 2009

Truck Or Treat

I was minding my business, happily scouring the aisles at Big Lots when someone tapped me on the shoulder.

I thought it was Ed.

But, I didn't immediately realize it was Ed because...

He looked like this:

Once I got my voice back, I promptly scolded him for scaring the shit out of me and then I let him try on some other masks. He donned the psycho clown, which reminded me of a horror movie I'm sure I didn't see since I don't do horror...

After than one, he put on what I can only describe as a motorcycle riding, ponytailed skeleton from a video game street gang. I think the way his head is cocked to the side gives it an extra menacing feel...
Prior to that, while I was doing laundry, he had decorated the truck. We bought an extra shimmery pumpkin on our second round of shopping in the store, but this is what he put together initially and I have to say, it looked realllly cool.

Orange lights hanging from the visor, tiny skeletons hanging down from the windows, and pumpkins sitting on beds of spider webs lining the dash; two of them real and the other with flashing eyes. As night fell, it looked even better and as we approached our truck after dinner, thought we might decorate for all the holidays. I'm psyched about Christmas!!

This is the last shot, of the interior. I'd like to have gotten a better picture and may try again tonight, replacing these shots if I get anything better.

I'm pretty sure we won't be doing any trick-or-treating, but I think I might be decked out in the little devil horns I bought. Thanks to Big Lots, if I do decide to dress up, it'll only set me back two bucks.

Now that's a treat.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Isn’t He Comcastic?
Trick Or Treating With All Ten Toes
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Feel Like A Thief

Today I went to Big Lots in Augusta, Maine. I spent the afternoon doing laundry so I thought I deserved a little shopping spree at one of my all-time favorite discount stores.

I should not be allowed to go into this store. I thought I was safe because I had limited time; the lady at the laundromat told me the wash cycle was only thirty minutes, so I set the alarm on my cell phone and made a beeline across the parking lot of the strip mall. Big mistake.

The first thing I came across were tubes of my
favorite shampoo and conditioner. It normally sells for over six dollars, but Big Lots had them for two dollars and fifty cents each. Less than half the price! I bought four of those; conditioner too.

I also got some great makeup items. That gorgeous gold eyeshadow up there? One dollar. The lip balm that makes my kisser tingle? Fifty cents. That gorgeous package of Revlon blush in
Peachy Keen, the one with the floral imprint? Three dollars and fifty cents.

But my biggest score? The Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss
. They were two dollars. TWO. TWOOOOO!!! I bought two tubes in my signature color, Glossy Rose (which you can find in any store, but at three times that price) and then, in the order shown in the photo from front to back, Raisin Glaze (ravishing), Sparkling Champagne (oh my god, I need a place to wear this color!), Blushing Moment (which is stunning and a limited edition color) and Heart Throb Red (which is such an exquisite sheer red that I want to wear it every waking hour).

I also got a Nexxus shampoo, conditioner, mousse and root lifter combo that came with a lush brown satin travel bag; all for nine dollars!! The conditioner alone sells for that price and the shampoo sells for at least eight dollars.

Add to that some cereal, a tea caddy, black cherry jelly from Switzerland, blank CD's, a Garnier hair highlighting kit, paper towels, Oreos, socks, some Halloween decorations and about a dozen video games for Ed and my nephews, and we came out of there at just under $163.00.

It was such a bargain, I felt like I was stealing from them. And I got my laundry done to boot.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Emulating The Brazilian Bombshell
She’s Still Learning

Thursday, October 29, 2009

He Parks Like A Girl

Tonight we planned to eat out rather than in the truck, so as we pulled up to the restaurant Ed dropped me off to go in and get a table while he parked. Before I went in, I watched him snake around the parking lot trying to get himself out of the "no truck" area to the "pro truck" area.

We were hauling Humvees up to an military equipment depot and he wanted to get the truck as close to the restaurant as he could. He did, of course, and it turned out that we had a perfect view of the parking spot from our table by the window.

Who knew Ed had a little Doris Day in him?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Out Cattin’ On Halloween
The Bridges And A Cowboy
What Happens When Time Falls Into The Wrong Hands

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's Here! It's Here!

I have been waiting for Fall since the first day of summer. This is the first I've been able to see some color. I haven't been able to get out of the truck to explore since we've been so busy driving, so these were taken on the go.

This first one was taken along I-40 in Tennessee (one of my favorite states!)...

And this one was snapped in small town America, somewhere in Ohio...

They are by no means good pictures, but they do prove that I got to see some color this season. I'm hoping to catch more in the next week and maybe if I'm lucky, have time to get out and really take some good shots. If I wind up with any, I'll be sure to post!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
U.S. Route 287
Room 328
This Could Be The Day You Have A Date With Destiny
Go See It

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If I Had A Horn, I'd Toot It. I Do Have A Blog Though.

I have a friend named Mike Goldenberg; Mike, Gold, Goldy, Solid Gold. He goes by all of those monikers. He used to be my boss fifteen years ago when we worked together at an upscale resort hotel. We became friends, in and out of work. Strictly platonic. Over the years we've kept in touch through emails and phone calls and every year we make sure to make the one special birthday call; neither of us has ever forgotten. He lives in Cincinnatti now and one of his recent emails asked a favor of me.

He has a friend whose fifth grader was having a contest in their classroom. The contest was to see who could get the most postcards from various states, with extra credit for foreign countries. Mike asked me, since I travel so much, if I would help.

My answer? Absofuckinglutely!! I mean, not only is this something I LIKE to do (it's not like he asked me to
go to a football game) but I was pretty sure I could help the kid win, so I was ALL for it. Because I kinda like to win. This was a bit surprising to me, because I didn't think I was competitive but clearly, I was wrong. And maybe I just really wanted to help a fifth grader kick other little punk fifth grader ass!

My first run right after he asked me was from California to Virginia...think of all the states! I got a postcard from every one of them. Then, North Carolina to Illinois, Indiana to Maine, Massachusetts to Florida. Boy, I was having a field day with this little project! I enlisted my friends from Italy, London and Canada to help out too. The contest ends mid-November, so I felt pretty confident we'd be able to get in quite a few cards by then.

So, when I told my friend Mike that I was on it and explained where I was at with the post card acquisition, he sent me the following email. This is where the horn tooting comes in.


You have exceeded my expectations…… are very well connected and it appears to be intercontinental. You are so creative and I believe you have more creativity in your pinky than I have in my entire body. It truly is an honor to be friends with you!

If I were to write a letter of recommendation about you it would go something like this…

“Please seriously consider Salena Lettera for the position which she is applying. I can truly say that you rarely meet someone with the creative spirit and communication skills that she possesses.

Define heart and passion… look no further, Salena is the epitome of these as well. It’s probably been 15 years since I have seen Salena but just take a minute to read something she has written and you will feel an immediate connection.

Final thought, a job description usually defines skills which can be taught but to pass on someone because they don’t always look like the perfect match may be a mistake. To pre-determine the real value in a person is difficult until you see their work ethic and how they interact with others. Salena has that ability and is very passionate about what she does and how she does it.”

Or I could simply have written… “ Please seriously consider Salena Lettera for the position which she is applying. To pass on her may be the greatest hiring mistake ever made.”

Anyway, I am trying to compliment you to no end…………you need to know how much I appreciate your friendship.

PS….I took a picture of my son’s foot and this thought popped into my head as I was looking at the picture. “A foot is not only 12 inches but the foundation for which we stand.” Your pictures have a special meaning for each person that see them and sometimes no words are necessary.


Now if only I were applying for a job! Which, if I do in the future, I am totally cutting and pasting this onto fancy paper and using it as my official recommendation letter. But, since I don't really have anyone to share it with except for Ed (and he already knows how awesome I am) I thought I'd post it here.

You all (especially some of my new readers who don't know me yet) might think this is pretentious, which it certainly appears to be, but if you know me at all, you'd know I'm not really like that. The real and true reason I am posting this is because of the way it made me feel. It just felt SOOOO good to read this. It made my heart all happy and put a smile on my face (even if I did look a bit crazy smiling to myself). It was nice. It was gushing. It was totally excessive. And I LOVED it. Everyone should have a moment or two like this and I really hope all of you do! But if that moment hasn't come yet, I'm sure it will.

And if you have had a moment like this, please tell me all about it. Because I think a symphony of horns would sound so much better than just one, annoyingly loud one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We Are THAT Good
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures
Alabama’s Greatest Showplace
Half Nekkid Thursday Virgin

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Need A Thing That Ain't No Big Thing

I need a "thing". What I mean by that is that although I like and do many things, I don't have any one thing.

For instance, there are people who collect, who craft, who draw, who drink, who follow musicians around the country, who game, who have a thing. I keep telling Ed that I wish I or even we had something that we could do in every place we go.

The traveling part of the job is great, but if we were say wine enthusiasts, everywhere we went we could check out the local vineyards and wineries. OK, wine may not be the best example for a truck driver, especially since we're always on duty while in the truck. And since we don't drink it doesn't even really make sense, but I need something. Like antique collecting. Or a search; maybe for a rare piece of
milkglass or unique pieces of costume jewelry.

The problem with collecting is, we don't really have room for anything. As it is, I've already toted around a box of stained glass that my step-father asked us to deliver from Arizona to New York. Then we had a duffel bag full of coconuts from Key West that spent
two weeks in the truck with us as I passed them out to family and friends. And finally, I had a fish chiminea that lived for almost three weeks in our shower stall before it got to my cousin Ro's house; all because her boyfriend broke theirs and she asked me to find a suitable replacement for her while on the road.
I don't mind doing any of those things. In fact, it's kind of fun to be part of something that makes someone happy. But it's not my thing.

As Ed and I discussed this, we decided the one thing we do like, is to eat. A lot. And I'm always willing, and pushing, to try out any places we haven't been. But eating is sort of like breathing; I have to do it. It's not a thing; unless I was a food critic, which I'm not.

I've even considered doing something crafty. Maybe make jewelry or knit scarves and hats. I'd love to have something I can give out to the many homeless people we see across the country. That would not only feed my need to do something, but it would also make me feel good. But again, it's not really filling the description of a "thing" for me.

I do some photography, which is sort of a thing. And I do like it. Sometimes though, I don't feel as if it's creative enough for me. I want something I can make from scratch, that people will look at and ooh and ahh over, something maybe I can turn into a little side business. Or something that makes me really excited, like the hunt for something rare, a treasure of sorts. A thing. Ain't gotta be no big thang, but it's gotta be a thing.

Tell me, do you have a thing?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Race To The Head
Eddie Fresh From A Nap Friday
Forever Yours

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Great Celebration Of Abundance

Today I happened to catch a segment on CBS Sunday Morning, titled "A Body of Work". It was pretty interesting and prompted me to Google the artist they were talking about, the one who painted the picture above. Then I read this article, and excerpted from the beginning of that article is the following exchange between the writer of the article and the curator at the musuem. The writer of the article asks which body type do artists consider "picture perfect"? She got a surprising answer.

The naked truth is that, more often than not, the women considered the most beautiful in all of Western art would qualify as plus-size.

"They aren't skinny, but they're very beautiful," says Joe Rishel, senior curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"And is that the point?" asked Teichner.

"That's the point," he said.
Let me repeat that first sentence; the naked truth is that, more often than not, the women considered the most beautiful in all of Western art would qualify as plus-size.

More often than not.

Most beautiful.

In ALL of Western art.


Boy have things changed. Nowadays people would rather have an incurable disease than look anything like that woman. But there are still those who appreciate the beauty of that painting, or one by Rubens or even a painting or sculpture by Botero; l
ast year when the painting sold, someone paid $33.6 million dollars for it, the highest price ever paid for the work of a living artist. And the subject of the paiting, Sue Tilley, weighed 20 stone (that's 280 pounds) at the time of the portrait. I know people who look like Sue Tilley. Now she's hanging on someone's wall. And they paid $120,000.00 a pound to put her there.

I always knew there was a benefit to being plus-sized; now if only I can get someone to paint a picture of me lying around in the buff, looking all exhausted from my rough day on the road and then find someone else who's willing to cough up a cool thirty six mil for it.

I'm not afraid to say that I'd get naked in a heartbeat for that kind of green. Talk about a great celebration of abundance!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dormers Of Sweetgrass
Old Power
At Your Service
Clothing Identification 101

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What The ELLE???

I recently talked about how I couldn't get enough Kandee in my life. Since stumbling upon her, I have totally amped up my makeup application (and my YouTube viewing hours) and now have brows to die for. Every morning I start my day with the thought, "what can I do different today?" (makeup wise, not any of that being a better person crap).

I have a pretty standard daily look, but I do like to mix it up once in a while. And since I hit ULTA when I was home (didn't make it to Sephora though) I have a few new items that I'm trying these days.

This week, while on my Barnes and Noble outing, I was reading the newest issue of ELLE when I saw this:

And who was on this page?

None other than Kandeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

I said to Ed, "Oh My God! Look! It's Kandee!!!" and he was like "Who??" Well, of course he wouldn't know, his nose was stuck in Popular Science; as if science is ever all that popular. Puh-leeze.

So, I took photos of the pages she appeared on, along with a quick shot of the cover and sent them to her in an email. And you know what???

posted them on her blog!!! And she mentioned my name!! And she spelled it right!

Dudes, I totally got props from Kandee Johnson! And as cool as she feels being in ELLE magazine, is about as cool as I feel being on her blog.

And I want to THANK HER OUT LOUD! So, thanks, Kandee!! And if any of her readers pop over her to look around, I know I'm not making faboo makeup videos here, but I hope you stay around for a little bit to read a few posts and leave a comment or two.

As Kandee would say, you guys are totally awesome!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Weird And Random
California Burning With Need
Walking Into Another World
Fall Into Winter

Friday, October 23, 2009

Eddie Palm Sketch Friday

Seems like it's time for another Palm Sketch post. This one is perfect because it's an exact depiction of Eddie while sleeping. Eyes closed, all serene and stuff. The only difference between this picture and the actual Eddie, is the beard. Why? Because he recently shaved it.

This is the last known sketch of him with facial hair. I tried to do a current one, but I had a really hard time replicating the razor stubble.

Back to the drawing board.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ready To Draw The Future
Red Fish, Blue Fish. One Fish, Two Fish.
Beautiful Enough To Lick

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Photos On The Fly

Whenever I'm home, I get a chorus of three boys asking, "Can I use your camera Aunt Salena?" Try and split two cameras between three kids. It doesn't happen. So one of them usually has to be lured away from the camera with the promise of games on my iPod. Whatever works to keep them all occupied is how I look at it.

I let them take pictures of whatever they want. I never say no and I never ask them what they are photographing. My only rule is that they put the strap around their neck so they don't drop the camera. And they all know the rule so well, I usually don't even have to repeat it.

Unless they ask me to look at what they just shot, I never even think to check the pictures until I get back home and upload them to the computer. I'm usually never surprised at what they take; their feet, the water in the toilet, plants, dirt outside, stuffed animals on their bed, a pencil. Some of them are actually decent enough that I've used
one or two on the blog.

But the shot I always get, the one that never fails to be there, is a picture of one of them taking a photo of the other one, usually with cameras in hand, just like above. This one was taken in a moving car, on the way to the pumpkin patch. I know who took it and I know who's in it.

They can't hide anything from me, although they've tried, each claiming "I didn't take that one" at some point over the years. They can't even avoid the fact that I know the fake "contacts" on my iPod were put there by whoever had it last. I know they are responsible for those entries because I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone named Poopie Pants Johnson.

I'm also pretty sure I know exactly which one of them does.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Apparently, The Only Time I Lean To The Right Is In My Sleep And Unwillingly
Laundromats And Grocery Stores Aren’t The Only Places To Hunt For Men
Shaved Aluminum

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Cheapest Entertainment Around

Barnes and Noble is my modern day sanctuary. I go there to lose myself in stacks of books and scores of magazines, platters of scones and cups of lattes. It is a haven where I settle in at a table, one large enough for me to spread out my loot, and in a corner if I'm lucky. I know it's not a library, so I can't always get the quiet I wish for, but it's a place I go where I don't like to be interrupted. If I'm not there to meet you for coffee and chit-chat, I typically don't like the chit-chat part.

Ed doesn't understand this, despite the fact that I've told him a bazillion times. I'm really not interested and most likely never will be, in
meteors, robots, cars or the latest sailboat model. If you've ever delved into all things Ed, you might get a better understanding about his likes, my likes and how they are typically worlds apart.

So when I am in my happy place at ye olde bookstore, please don't bother me. My routine is often the same; first I catch up on all the gossip magazines, then I hit all the fashion magazines, then I take a look at Oprah, Martha Stewart Living and Vanity Fair. Those are the only three magazines I typically buy, because they have lengthy articles or things I want to save for later.

If the cover of Time or Newsweek or US News and World Report has something interesting, I might pick it up. Sometimes I'll read Mother Earth News, Consumer Reports or The Robb Report to see what I'd be doing if I were a millionaire.

Then I peruse the craft magazines; beading, knitting, scrapbooking and dollmaking. I'm always looking for something new to get into. And I always, always grab a stack of travel magazines; Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel and my favorite, Coastal Living. I need to know which coast my airy, seaside cottage is going to be on.

I also read Women's Health, Shape, Prevention and Fitness to see what I could look like if I were to actually stick to the three diets a week I start. Then when I ultimately decide all that spinning and lifting and jogging and stretching just to get fit is too much work, I lose myself in the pages of Southern Living, Gourmet, Cooking Light, Cook's Illustrated, La Cucina Italiana and oh my God, Donna Hay.

I could spend hours in a bookstore, and have. But when those hours are shared with Ed, it means there's a pretty good chance I'll be hearing the latest from Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, New Scientist, 2600: The Hacker Quarterly, Wired, Radio Controlled Hobbies, RC Modeler, PC Magazine, Boater's World, Wooden Sailboats, Yacht Trader and the like. Occassionally, he'll pick up an astromony magazine or one about how to live a "greener" life. As if I'm going to stop using styrofoam.

And even though I have a look on my face that would deter any evildoer out there, he has no fear. He continues to READ TO ME!! I don't want to hear from anything that has the word science in the title and I certainly don't care about the leaps and strides they are making in the remote control world. If I wanted to hear about anything in those magazines, I would have chosen those magazines. And oh, look! I didn't. The pièce de résistance? When he decides he's read something I absolutely must hear and it winds up being some obscure passage from a Noam Chomsky book. People who like Noam Chomsky don't even understand Noam Chomsky.

I suppose I should be happy that I have a boyfriend who doesn't mind coming to the bookstore with me and in return doesn't expect me to accompany him to the hobby shop. But how do I keep him from telling me what's happening on Mars or relaying the story about the guy with one arm who not only carved a sailboat out of tree trunk but won a regatta in it?

Please don't tell me to go to the library. They don't have near the selection and it's highly likely that I'll get stuck sitting next to some fifth grader who is laughing too loudly as he reads aloud to his friend from an old issue of MAD magazine.

And as far as I'm aware, they don't have lattes at the library.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Proud To Be A Liberal American
I Don’t Think This Is What The Gideons Had In Mind
Ten Reasons Today
The Big Five Oh!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dragged Back, Kicking And Screaming

We went back to work yesterday, after a little over two weeks off. When we have that much time off the road, sometimes I have a hard time getting back into our routine. Which, really, is no routine at all.

We drive when we want, sleep when we want, eat when we want. We typically have no set schedule. But while at home, we usually get up around eight, have some breakfast and then plan our day. Lunch is at a reasonable hour and dinner is usually at five, with my parents or with my brother and his family. The problem wtih that, is my mother's insatiable need to know what we want for dinner, starting with a phone call or text a little before nine each morning, asking, "What do you think you want for dinner tonight?

My answer was always the same, every day for two weeks, "Mom. Seriously? I just opened my eyes. How can I possibly know what I want for dinner when I haven't even had breakfast yet??"

And her answer was always the same, every day for two weeks, "Well, I have to plan. I need to know if I have to defrost anything or go to the store."

Ugh, schedules. And people with schedules; even worse.

So now that I'm back in the truck and back on my non-schedule, I'm so screwed up from my wake-at-a-reasonable-hour-three-meals-a-day-no-time-for-naps-dinner-with-the-folks routine, that I can't seem to get back into mine.

I kinda don't feel like working. Ed, on the other hand, is cracking the whip so hard I think he left a mark in my faux wood flooring. He keeps asking me when I'll be ready to drive and me, not being too fond of committing to anything, keeps answering him with, "I don't know yet....I think I might need a nap."

I find when I get back on the road, the motion of the truck, regardless of how much shut-eye I've gotten the night before, makes me verrrry sleepy. And it doesn't help that we're on a team run and actually have a real schedule for this delivery. I have to work and I have to do it around a federally imposed time clock.

If I wasn't heading for gorgeous fall foliage and the promise of a leaf peeping tour, I'd be kicking and screaming waaay more than I already am.

Good thing one of us in this truck (um, not me) knows the difference between work and play and when we have time for each.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Seniors Maintain Law And Order By Way Of A Fluke Discovery
Lisa Lavie Is The Angel Here
Fight The Moth
Abandoned But Not Forgotten

Monday, October 19, 2009

What's In A Name?

I often wonder how or why people chose their email addresses. It's obvious when you're no-nonsense and choose something like Hilary.Jones or thechimneysweep. It's clear that these are just as they read; either your name or business. They're obvious. As are some others, like:



But what happens when you come across ones like this:


it seems many people chose their email address (or even domain name) to reflect who they are. They are trying to send a message by a phrase, words, or a letter and number combination. Or maybe, like my boyfriend, they just use whatever popped into their mind at the moment.

But what does it say about you, if anything? I have always agonized over my email address. Do I want to use my real name? Should I use a combination of my initals and my birth year? Do I want to sound sexy? Professional? Smart?

My email address is I have others, but I've been using this one for years. And I didn't even really choose it myself; a guy I was dating at the time did.

He was Italian and spoke Italian, so I begged him to cone up with something in Italian that he thought suited me. So he chose BellaVenere. Which means, Beautiful Venus. Bella, of course, means beautiful and Venere, well that means Venus. And Venus (the planet) is the ruler of my astrological sign, Libra.

At first, I was flatterd. He thought I was beautiful! And he remembered my sign. Awwww. Now, I'm saddled with an email address that not only is hard to spell when giving it out, but also as I've been told on many occassions, sounds like an STD. Do I want to be represented by a planet, who although is beautiful, also sounds like a disease? Not really. But I've been reluctant to change it.

I'm torn because I've had it for so long (over ten years) and I'm hesitant to start the whole process over. That daunting task of creating a cool, edgy, unique name or phrase that will be my calling card. My online presence. My persona.

I've toyed with LadyTrucker and DazzlingDriver and HighwayHoney and all those trucking related monikers. I've also considered ones that encapsulate what I love, such as PhotoFiend and LadyBookWorm (although I don't read all that much!) or KitchenTemptress and EddiesGal. Or how about ones that relate to my size; MoreToLove and PlusWhereItMatters and DoubleDeeDamsel.

I suppose I can just go with my given name. Nothing is a secret anymore. And I was recently told that when my name is Googled, several pages come up. So in addition to those pages leading people here to my blog, you'll also be led other places, all of which I have no problem being associated with. Well, except for that nine month stint working at LMR; a placed ruled by pure evil and if it weren't for the four minute commute from my house, I would have left on the second day. I truly can't believe people still work there, but whatever; that has nothing to do with my email address.

So, you have any suggestions? If you do, fling 'em my way. And also, if you have an unusual email address or domain name, let me know how you came up with it. I already know how some of my friends and family members came up with theirs, and even some of my blogging friends like The Hags and Michelle from Bleeding Espresso came up with theirs.

Tell me about you and yours.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Farming The Wind
Eddie In The Big Little City Friday
Photograph It If You Think You May Never See It Again

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I recently picked up this book in Barnes and Noble only because the title intrigued me. I didn't plan on buying it, figuring I'd see if I could get it on my Kindle first, but as I flipped through it decided that if it wasn't available on the Kindle, I'd definitely be purchasing it the next chance I had.

Ed Dobson got the idea to live like Jesus from
A.J.Jacobs, who wrote The Year of Living Biblically. Jacobs is a nonreglious Jew. Dobson is a Reverend. He figured since he preached the teachings of Jesus, it should be easy enough to follow the way he lived. Not necessarily so.
Excerpted from the book:

I don't like the word Christian. I know it's a biblical term, but in other parts of the world people assume that if you're from America, you must be a Christian. So I don't like the word because many associate it with America, capitalism, and democracy.

I don't like the word evangelical. In the United States, it has come to mean anti-gay, anti-abortion, and believing that you're right all the time. It's associated with a political movement known mostly for what it's against, not what it's for. So I don't like the word evangelical.

And I don't like the word Baptist. Even though I was ordained by the Baptist church and worked at a Baptist college for fourteen years, I'm not fond of the word because there are so many varieties of "Baptist" - and they often don't get along with each other.

When people press me to identify myself, I simply say, "I'm a follower of Jesus."

So what if we were to push past all the labels and get back to that idea - just be a follower of Jesus? What would that look like? Is it even possible? What if we were to get beyond Catholic and Protestant, evangelical and liberal, Baptist and Presbyterian, Christian and non-Christian, and just get back to being a follower of Jesus?"

This article gives a little more information about Ed Dobson's journey. I plan on reading the book and seeing exactly how he did during his year of living like Jesus. I'd imagine it was fairly difficult, which should probably be a lesson to everyone who claims to be a follower of the word but doesn't really follow it; well, unless it works in their favor. I'm sure I'll have more to say after I read the book.

What I liked best from the USA Today article? That Dobson said Jesus' teachings influenced him to vote for Barack Obama. He said it was the first time he'd ever voted for a Democrat, stating, "I felt, as an individual, he (Obama) was closer to the spirit of Jesus' teachings than anyone else. He was a community organizer, so he was into the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, which Jesus is very much into."

The USA Today article also asked a great question at its conclusion: What do you think would be hardest about trying to live like Jesus?

Wanna take a stab at that one?

* For those not aware, WWJD is an acronym for What Would Jesus Do.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Where The Angels Arrive And Depart
Diamonds In The Deep Blue
Everyone Is Doing It
En-Gulfed Coast

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Should Keep You Busy For A While

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Key Lime Pie

2. Where was your profile picture taken?Lebanon, Tennessee

3. Can you play Guitar Hero?Never tried.

4. Name someone who made you laugh today. What was it about?
No one I know made me laugh, but I watched a movie called "Everybody Wants To Be Italian" and it was quite funny.

5. How late did you stay up last night and why?4am. Watching TV, surfing the internet, writing my blog.

6. If you could move somewhere else where would you and why?
I'd move to the Northeast or Tennessee. Why? Because Arizona is hot and ugly and I hate the Southwest.

7. Ever been kissed under fireworks?Yes.

8. Which of your friends lives closest to you?I travel for a living, so all of my friends are close. But in my home state, it's my friend Kim....she lives the closest.

9. Do you believe exes can be friends? With benefits?Sure, I guess you could be friends, but why would you want to? And no, I don't think there should be any benefits involved.

10. Do you like Dr. Pepper?

11. When was the last time you cried really hard? Really hard as opposed to just sniveling?OMG, just this morning as I was catching up on Grey's Anatomy. I can't watch that show without crying. I don't really know why, but there's always at least one scene that touches me enough to make me cry. But then again, I'm a big crier, so it doesn't take much.

12. Who took your profile picture?
The clerk at the department of motor vehicle. It's my driver's license photo.

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?Partygoers at my mother's friend's 70th surprise party.

14. Was yesterday better than today? Why?
No, yesterday was not better than today. They were surprisingly similar, minus the birthday party.

15. Can you live a day without TV?
I can live for weeks and months without TV.

16. Are you upset about anything now?
Just that the cat doesn't seem to want to have anything to do with me.

17. Do you think relationships are ever really worth it?
Worth what? The time and energy put into them? Sometimes they are. And when they aren't worth it any longer, you just have to cut 'em loose.

18. Are you a bad influence?No. I'm pretty vanilla.

19. Night out or night in?
IN, no contest. A night at home is much more enjoyable to me than anything I can think of which involves being out on the town.

20. What items could you not go without during the day?
My cellphone, a way to check email, makeup, gum and lately, milk.

21. Who was the last person you visited in the hospital?It's been a long time since I've seen anyone in the hospital. I guess I'd have to say my stepfather, about five years ago.

22. What does the last text message in your inbox say?
"I'm serving at a wedding and
Lorrie Morgan is a guest...and she's a real BITCH!!" (A friend of mine is a banquet server in Nashville.)

23. How do you feel about your life right now?

I guess it could always be better but I think it's pretty damn good now.

24. Do you hate anyone?

Why yes, I do.

25. If we were to look in your Facebook inbox, what would we find?

Nothing. I don't usually correspond through Facebook.

26. Say you were given a drug test right now, would you pass?With flying colors!

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
Yes. (How did they know??)

28. What song did you recently belt out loud?
Orange Colored Sky by Nat King Cole

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2 a.m., whom do you want it to be?
I guess it would depend on where I was because it's weird to have anyone knocking on your window at that hour, but if I were home, I guess I'd want it to be my brother. Although that would still be weird.

30. Do you (or did you) want to have grandkids before you’re 50?

31. Tell us your Saturday night.Dinner and a movie with my boyfriend and my parents.

32. Do you think too much or too little?
Way too much. And all the time.

33. Do you smile a lot?
On the inside.

34. The phone rings. Who will it be?My mother, most likely.

35. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
No. That's what they hire high school kids for.

36. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?

37. Do you take compliments well?

Depends on the level of gushing. If it's too much, I'm uncomfortable. Unless of course, you're telling me how super-duper smart I am....then I can listen all day.

38. Do you play Sudoku?

Not on a regular basis, but I have tried it.

39. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?

Yes. I'd hate it, but I think I'd survive.

40. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?

No. My parents liked me.

41. What was your favorite game as a kid?
Backgammon. Once my brother and I learned how to play, you couldn't tear us away.

42. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he was married, would you?
At this age, I probably wouldn't, but in my twenties, I would have.

43. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
It depends. There are some real crackpot religions out there. And I don't have strong religious beliefs anyway, so I guess I'd worry about it when the time came.

44. Do you like to pursue or be pursued?I think I like both but I'm more comfortable being the one who pursues.

45. Use three words to describe yourself?
Generous, Bossy, Creative.

46. Do any songs make you cry?
Yes. One that always makes me cry is ”I Need You To Survive” by Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Choir from the movie, The Gospel.
47. Are you continuing your education?
Not formally, but I just recently started to look into online classes. And not to get a degree, really. Just to learn new stuff. The recruiters that have called me so far (well, harassed me, really) have a hard time with the answers I give them to their questions. "Do you plan on advancing your career with this degree?" No. "Are you changing your line of work?" No. "Do you need to change jobs because of the economy?" No. "You do know adult education classes are expensive, right? Is this a problem for you?" Uh, No. "Why are you considering going back to school?" To learn stuff I don't know. "What kind of degree do you want?" I really don't want a degree, I just want to take classes. WTF? Has no one ever taken college classes just for the hell of it??

48. Do you know how to shoot a gun?Not really. I shot a .22 when I was younger and bb guns, but no "real" guns. I have no interest in firearms.

49. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
Yes. Have you seen THIS?

50. How often do you read books?Not as often as I'd like, but I do have a Kindle and usually have it within arm's reach at any time. Although, I'm more of a magazine chick.

51. Do you think more about the past, present or future?I'm a past dweller; good memories there. I never think much about the present. And occasionally, I wonder about the future but I don't think about it a whole lot.

52. What is your favorite children’s book?I don't think I have a favorite. Dr. Seuss is pretty good, but I can't think of one that sticks out.

53. What color are your eyes?Golden Brown.

54. How tall are you?

55. Where is your dream house located?Tennessee.

56. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?Photo albums.

57. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?September 2008.

58. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
From the lazy boy to the kitchen.

59. Do you like mustard?Yes. Gulden's Spicy Brown.

60. Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
Sleep. Although one look at my figure would lead you to believe otherwise.

61. Do you look like your mom or dad?
Both, but I think more, my mother.

62. How long does it take you in the shower?
Maybe 15 minutes. Unless I have to shave my legs, then a little longer.

63. Can you do the splits?Hold on a second, let me try.

Yeah, uh, no. No, I cannot do the splits.

64. What movie do you want to see right now?
Coco before Chanel

65. What did you do for New Year’s Eve?
I was home and there's nothing really to do in this town, although I'm not a big fan of NYE anyway.

66. Do you think The Grudge was scary?I didn't see it. I don't do scary movies, I think they're stupid.

67. Do you own a camera phone?
Yes. Do we have a choice anymore?

68. Was your mom a cheerleader?Absolutely not. And even if she were, I would never admit it.

69. What’s the last letter of your middle name?
I don't have a middle name.

70. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Usually six. Sometimes though, I get 10. Now that's a beautiful nights sleep.

71. Do you like Care Bears?
You do realize I'm not six years old, right? No, I do not like Care Bears. Not now and not then.

72. What do you buy at the movies?
Diet Coke and Nachos or Pretzel Bites. And I usually bring my own Twizzlers.

73. Do you know how to play poker?
No, but Eddie is a card shark. I just watch.

74. Do you wear your seat belt?
ALL THE TIME. Always have. Habit.

75. What do you wear to sleep?Just underwear. I hate to be hot and I hate to wake up tangled in clothing.

76. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?Not in the actual town my house was in, but a mere 25 miles from where I grew up, Woodstock took place. That's pretty big.

77. How many meals do you eat a day?
Usually two.

78. Is your tongue pierced?

79. Do you like funny or serious people better?
Seriously funny people.

80. Ever been to L.A.?Many times.

81. Did you eat a cookie today?
Yes, I ate a few Oreo's.

82. Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Yes. Italian. (I have my grandparents to thank for learning those!)

83. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?Pay. But I don't do it that often.

84. Do you hate chocolate?What kind of freak hates chocolate??

85. What do you and your parents fight about the most?

86. Are you a gullible person?

87. Do you need a boyfriend to be happy?

88. What do you think about people who party a lot?
I generally think they're losers. And the older they get, the higher their loser quotient is.

89. Are you easy to get along with?
How do you answer this? I mean, I think I'm easy to get along with, but I also know that I'm demanding and bossy and talk a lot. So really, this is probably a question for other people. I guess I'd say yes based on the people who want to be around me and the good time we have when we're together. But then again, people who didn't like you, wouldn't call you to hang out, would they? So how do you measure this?

90. What is your favorite time of day?Very early in the morning, before the world is awake.

91. How do you flush the toilet in public?
With my foot.

92. What is something that people are currently “into” that you just don’t get or appreciate?
Mafia Wars on Facebook.

93. What is something that really hoists your sail that other people might feel ho-hum about?

94. What is the last thing you broke?
A glass at a friend's house when I was "bartending".

95. A really great salad must contain which ingredient?Radishes.

96. Do security cameras make you nervous? mean, should they?

97. What was the alternate name that your parents almost named you? Do you wish they had chosen it instead of the one they gave you?
My mother wanted to name me Claudia because she had a cousin by that name but then she found out it meant "lame" and decided against it. Some days though, it's a perfect fit. She also wanted to name me Jenny, because she liked the song "Jenny Rebecca" by Barbara Streisand and my father had an Aunt Jenny. And no, I don't wish they chose either of those names. I love my name. It's pretty unique and I've only met two other people in my life with the same name (but different spelling). You can hear Jenny Rebecca HERE; it's instrumental at the beginning of this video, with the actual song starting at 2:25, so skip ahead.

98. You get a package in the mail. What is it, and who is it from?
It's probably a gift from my cousin Ro. She finds the best stuff and always puts a little something in the mail for me.

99. What song do you hate the most?
I have two; 500 Miles by The Proclaimers and The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Tokens (although most people know it from "The Lion King"). But if I had to chose which one I hate more, it would be the lion one.

100. Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head?
Yes. And when Ed wants to irritate me, he sings that stupid Weemowaka part.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Plenty Of Room For The Ladies
Zig Zag Wisconsin Color
Sometimes Identity Theft Can SAVE You Money
Made In China

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Next Time I'm Buying Him Carbon Paper And White Out. And A Roll Of Stamps. And Maybe A VHS Player.

I recently read THIS. And after reading it, decided to write the very post you're reading now. The idea for the post has been swirling around in my head for some time, but recent events make it relevant now. Read on...

I've been home now for almost two weeks. During this time, I've gotten to hang out with my brother quite a bit, which is almost unheard of. He works, he's got kids, he has a wife. And all you guys out there with wives know what that means. Your life is not your own. They rule you and all of your free time. Kind of like I do with Ed, I guess, except that we're not married.

I'm not saying my brother's wife cracks the whip or anything. I mean, I guess she could be whip cracking, but I really don't know. I've never seen a whip anywhere. And if I do come across one, I don't really think I'll be asking what they use it for. Sometimes there are just things one doesn't need to know.

Anyway...that's not really my point. My point is that I was able to spend a lot of time with my brother and when that happens, it's like I've gotten a whole syringe of happy injected into my brain. This may sound weird, but I can just sit and look at my brother and be happy. I study his face and his stubbly beard and count the gray hairs on the side of his head. I think about how he looks like my father and how his eyebrows are so thick and wiry and wonder how he gets his teeth so white. And listening to him talk, about anything really, just makes my heart want to explode. He's funny and cool and smart and bold and interesting and business-y and just great.

He's also Mr. No.

Do you know Mr. No or anyone like him? He's the guy that says, "Nah, I don't think so." before you even ask him anything. He's the guy who says, "I don't need that." before you explain all the greatness he can experience if only he gave that a chance. He's the guy who when you're telling him about how your best friend just rented a condo on the beach for her family to have a get together and wouldn't it be cool if we did something like it someday.....cuts you off right in the middle to say, "Really?? Nah."

He's the guy who doesn't need an iPod, can't be bothered to learn how to text message and when you tell him to take a picture with his phone and send it to your email, says it's not that important after all for you to see the fabulous thing he just told you about.

So when it came to gifting him with a brand new printer/copier/scanner/fax that he decided not only did he not want, but that he didn't need, I thought I was going to come unglued. Let me tell you what led up to The Gift.

My mother, Ed and I went to Best Buy this week to buy my brother a computer. He currently uses the Tyrannosaurus Rex 3000. It was the premier model in its heydey, but now when you turn it on, pterodactyls fly overhead and the sound of their screeching is enough to make you just want to go back to using pen and paper.

When we got to the store we were told that since Windows 7 is coming out next week, they didn't have any computers available for sale and that we wouldn't be able to buy one until October 22nd. Bummer. What to do? What to do?

Well, we decided we'd just get the printer now and come back for the computer later. We must have spent an hour and a half in the store deciding on which one to get. The sales staff was useless, as usual, so Ed and I compared features and printing speeds and display screens and ease of use and size and ink usage and everything else we needed to check out to get a good one. The main thing to keep in mind was that my caveman brother was going to be using it, so it had to be very user friendly.

Oh, and did I mention that my brother still uses a fax machine? Uh, yeah. So the printer also had to have a fax, which is why we were looking at the printer/scanner/copier/fax model. I've had the same conversation with my brother many times, about why he needs all of these things in one. And it always goes like this:

"Well, you know you can send your client that invoice/estimate/blueprint by just scanning it as a PDF and emailing it to them."

"I don't do email." he says.

"You don't do email?"


"Well, what if someone needs something right away? How do you get it to them?"

"I fax it."

"Well, what if they don't have a fax?" I said.

"I mail it."

"You what?"

"Mail. It. You know, like at the post office." he said.

"You buy stamps?? I mean, buy them and use them??"


"Oh my God."

And every time we have this conversation, I think I'm going to be able to convince him to step into the 21st century. And since Windows 7 is coming out and he needs to replace the T-Rex 3000, I thought this would be the perfect time to sneak in an all-in-one printer thingy.

So we bought it.

But not before checking the return policy.

Ed and I brought it to the house, all excited and child-like, with the extra ink and paper and cool label making machine that came with it practically free, all ready to set it up in his office and liberate him from the three other machines he currently had scattered about his desk space. We took it out of the box, all excited to show him the fancy LED screen and explained how it was color and black and white and how he'd be able to do everything from one machine whether it was print, copy, scan or fax.

His response? "Why do I need this?"

"'s very compact. You can scan anything you want and send it from email. You can fax directly from the machine. You can make copies! You can print. Look! It's even got a tray for 4x6 photo paper for when Pam wants to print pictures of the kids."

"She goes to Walgreen's for that."

"Yeah, but what if she needs one right away?"

"Who needs a picture right away?"

"OK...well, forget about the pictures. You can fax from it!"

"I have a fax machine." Shit. Back to that again.

At this point, Ed had taken my brother's printer, his ancient flatbed scanner and his fax machine (the one with the PHONE attached to it) and piled them on top of one another. And like in a TV commercial, swept his hand over the pile and said, "You can replace alllll of this..." and then pointing to the beautiful, new, shiny all-in-one, "with this."

Nope. Not convinced. He didn't want it. We have lost yet another round.

So, we put it back in the box, retired to the kitchen, scooped out a few bowls of ice cream and while eating it I listened to my brother explain to Ed how he changes the toner cartridge in his copy machine.

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Flash Flood
Consider The Source When Getting Advice
Perfectly Apropos For Bush’s Home State
Soul 2 Soul

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What Grandmothers Do When Their Grandchildren Grow Up

I came across this little place when Ed and I were hunting down a laundromat. It's in Long Beach, California. I haven't been in it, but from what I read online, it's a seedy dive bar run by a bunch of Asian women. The owner is "Nana" and the barmaids and help are all Thai.

And here I thought my mother had a side business I didn't know about.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The View Of The Valley And Meadow
A Beautiful Dimple In The Earth
Dive The Sky

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here, Let Me Get You A Tissue For That Eyeball

Apparently my effort to get blog post material didn't produce as many questions as I thought it might. I was planning to wait until they started pouring in so I would be able to put together a nice, fat, juicy post but noooooooooo, I only got a few so I'll just start with those. Which actually, turned out to be some pretty good ones:

Evil Pixie: "What are your favorite areas to travel to and why are they your favorite?"

This is probably the most asked question and the hardest one to answer. I'm a big fan of four seasons (REAL seasons, not the kind the people in the Southwest think they have), so I love to be places where I can experience each of those seasons fully; I'm a purist when it comes to the true seasons and think they should be as follows...

Spring should include melting snow, patches of grass, light sweather weather and trees beginning to bud. Summer should be full-on green and lush, with lots of sunshine, flowers in full bloom and ideally, water nearby. As you know, I'm not a fan of hot, but I'll let it slide for the summer months because before you know it, my favorite season arrives. Fall. When Fall begins (the first day is usually the day before or the day of my birthday) the weather should be crisp. Definite sweather weather, getting cold but not yet frigid. I should be able to smell the air. The leaves (oh, the leaves) are changing and ideally, there is a cornucopia of color. For Fall, the best place to be, hands down, is the Northeast. And that's where I try to be if I can. Once Fall is over, I look forward to Winter bearing down with clear, crisp, COLD days. And snow. Lots of snow.

So in respect to my favorite places to travel, I'd say it would have to be states that have those four distinct seasons. BUT....I'm going to narrow those favorites down to the Northeast, since other states do experience similar seasonal changes. I grew up in New Yorka nd that area is still my favorite part of the country.

I like other northern states (which I guess are technically in the Midwest, or upper Midwest) like Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Indiana and after that (and the only reason it's not higher on my list is because it gets hotter the further South we go...Duh.) would be Virginia, West Virginia, the Carolinas, Kentucky (love it!), Tennessee (love it!) and quite a bit of Georgia. I'm not really a big fan of Florida....overall, I think it's flat and ugly with the only pretty places being coastal. And even then, it's too hot for me to enjoy, so I'd rather not even go.

So I guess the answer after all that babbling, if I really had to narrow it down, is the Northeast. Oh wait....and Canada! I LOVE
Canada! And now that we can't go there anymore with the big truck, it makes me too sad to even talk about hoo hoo.

Viva La Fashion: "Don't you and your boyfriend get tired of each other spending so much time together?" and "Where was your best memory from the road?"

Do we get tired of spending so much time together? Hmmm....well, since you said "we" I guess I have to ask him for his half of the answer..."Baby, do you get tired of spending so much time in the truck together?"

Bless his heart. He said, "No. I don't get tired of you, but I do get tired sometimes of being in the truck itself." Wow. He's a keeper, huh? Surprisingly, I guess I don't get tired enough of him that I don't want to do it anymore. But does he get on my nerves? Hellllll, yeah. Keep in mind though, that you're talking to a person who has a VERY LOW tolerance level. For everything.

Ed is WAY nicer than I am. I complain about
everything, he doesn't. And he does almost everything I want to do, whereas I do almost nothing he wants to do. So I guess you'd have to say that it works primarily because of him. He's very easygoing, with a kind spirit and a gentle nature. Frankly, I don't know how he puts up with me, but he says I'm really not that bad. I'm probably not as bad as I'm making myself sound, but I absolutely have to say he has waaaay more tolerance than I do.

We actually talk about this subject often, the "being in each other's company all the time" thing. It's a very unique situation and we think it would be hard for most couples to do. It's literally twenty-four hours a day. In the old truck I used to tell people, "Imagine sitting in a room the size of your bathroom with your husband for twenty-four hours a day. You eat together, sleep together, work together, read together, talk on the phone together. Everything you do, he or she is less than six feet away." Most people run screaming at the thought.

With the new truck we have a little more space to escape the other person if necessary, but even then, they are still right there. We don't go to seperate jobs and spend the day with other people, coming together at five o'clock for dinner. That said, I suppose we must be more compatible than I let on, because after five plus years we haven't killed each other. Although Ed did say the other day, "Can you believe we've been together for more than half a decade???" As though it was a death sentence! Yeah, I've gotta talk to him about that little comment.....

As for the second part of your question, what my best memory from the road was, I'd have to say I have two. The first being the year we drove to
Alaska. It was a truly amazing trip; traveling through British Columbia and the Yukon, on the Alcan Highway through miles and miles of nothingness, in a place where we were so far north that our satellite radio didn't even work (the satellites are in the southern sky, and we couldn't see the southern skies). It's something I never thought I'd do in my lifetime, yet I did! The second greatest memory from the road was when Ed took me to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina for my 40th birthday. The place is amaaaaazing and I've been dying to go back since I left it. The history of that home is truly amazing. Not just for its time, but even for our time. To think that a single man built that place, hoping one day to have someone to share it with is truly astounding. One hundred and seventy THOUSAND square feet of living space. As the Biltmore website details, "250 rooms, 34 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces. The basement alone would house a swimming pool, gymnasium and changing rooms, bowling alley, servants' quarters, kitchens, and more." All perched on 125,000 acres. I don't think anything I've seen so far beats that.

From B. in Dallas: "I like the camaraderie that develops between vehicles on road trips on the freeway. I am familiar with the blinking of headlights to let an 18 wheeler know he has enough room to change lanes in front of you, and I do it. (I drive a tiny Mini Cooper to be courteous...) What other things like that exist? I always respect "truckers" -- generally they are polite and professional drivers unlike oh, say, taxi drivers... so I'd like to know what else makes their lives better on the road with us amateurs."

You know, I've always been pretty courteous to truck drivers too; never thinking I'd be one, of course, but now that I am I see so many things that I could have been doing better to make those truck driver's days a little easier. And as I think about this, I can see this answer getting pretty might be sorry you asked. But since you did, here are a few things that you "four wheelers" could do to make our life on the road easier and safer.

1. You mentioned flashing your headlights to give us the signal that we’re all clear. That's great, but rather than flashing your bright lights as a signal, it’s better to just turn your headlights off and then back on. The reason for this is because when we’re planning to change lanes, we are looking in our mirrors to determine whether we have enough room to move over, and often the very moment we look at YOU, is the very moment you flash your brights at US; blinding us. And then? Well, then, we're just cursing your “help”.

I should clarify right off the bat that by “we” I mean “me". I can't speak for ALL drivers on the road, although I do think many of them would agree with me on several of the points I'm going to make.

2. Construction zones. They're always a hassle. For everyone. If there is construction or a backup, please don’t wait till the last minute to get over. And please don’t creep up next to us not letting us in. We have a small amount of space and it’s difficult when we can’t get into the designated travel lane. For instance, if two lanes are going down to one. The less space you give us to move over, the longer we block the entire line of traffic from getting through that bottleneck.

3. Getting off an exit. If you need to get off the next exit and we happen to be in front of you…please don’t dart out in the left lane, speed around us, and then cut back over just to get off the exit. It’s not just distracting, it’s dangerous. And really….where do you need to be in such a hurry??

While on the subject of darting in front of us…we cannot stop as quickly as you can, often needing four times our truck length to stop if traveling at highway speeds, so when you speed past us only to get in front of us and slam on your brakes? Not just annoying, but again, dangerous. Is it really worth your life or the life of another to get one spot ahead of everyone else?

4. Blind spots. Don’t ride next to or right behind us if you can avoid it. Not only is your visibility compromised, but if there were to be an emergency, you don’t leave us any room to maneuver. And it's not a very safe place for you to be anyway...trucks do sometimes blow tires (I’ve
blown two on my trailer in a span of a few days) and being next to this when it happens can be dangerous for you. In addition, you make it difficult for us to see you if you’re traveling in one of our blind spots. Check out this site to find out where the No-Zone is.

On that same note, DO NOT pass behind a truck that is backing up. This happens so many times it makes me wonder what some people are thinking! If you see us backing up, whether in a parking lot or on a street or into a dock or whatever….DO NOT walk or drive behind us. Yes, we know we’re moving slow and yes, it’s an inconvenience sometimes and yes, I also know you think you can just “zip” past us, but it’s really dangerous and it makes what we’re doing that much more difficult.

5. Trucks move slow. Even on the highway. Almost always on hills. Frequently around turns. On exit and entrance ramps. You kinda just have to get used to it. The reasons vary; it's most often the weight of the freight, but sometimes it's the way the trailer is loaded or the bank of the turn or a curve in the road. We're not doing it to annoy you. Well, unless you're riding our ass....then maayyybe we might take that exit ramp a weee bit slower. I'm just sayin'.

And finally....

6. We can see what you can't. Always. We have a great vantage point from our perch high in the sky, so if you see a slow-down up ahead, or if a truck suddenly moves over into the left lane (since we travel mostly in the right lane) or we start to brake where you don't think we should be breaking; pay attention. Sometimes there is an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, sometimes there is debris in our lane, sometimes there's an accident. It's a good idea to follow our lead. We can see miles ahead of you. We have a CB that transmits information about what may be going on; we know if it's an accident or just construction. And we know you're wondering what the hell is happening. So if you feel like sticking your head out your window to get our attention, you might just get someone like me who'll give you the dirty low-down. Can't hurt to ask!

Your question has really given me an idea for a post dedicated to just these things. Maybe even a series of posts. Thanks, B!! And by the way....did you happen to read about our
Mini Cooper experience??

Dreamybee: "We were driving along and I saw a truck hauling containers-no big thing, I see that all the time, but then I got a closer look at the containers, and I was mystified. What kind of cargo calls for containers like these?

I knew who I could ask, and now that you're asking for questions, I don't feel so weird about asking! So, what do you think might be in these containers, and why can't they use regular flat-bed containers?"

I went to Ed for the answer to this one. He said, "Grain, sawdust, cotton. Small, fine materials." He said these trailers are light-weight and built to hold a certain type of material. They are loaded to maximize the volume within the container. And if I can add my two cents, I'd venture to say regular shipping containers or sea containers are rear-loaded, with back doors, so that's why they aren't used for this application. These trailers pull up right under a grain silo or something similar and are loaded from a chute which pours the materials into it. I'm not very familiar with these and all their uses though, so if anyone reading (my other driver friends, especially) knows more about it, please chime in!

Well, that's it for now. Whew! Here I was bitching (well, what else is new?) that I didn't get a whole bunch of questions, yet I was able to put together a pretty healthy post. I think I like this. I'll have to do it more often!

Thank you all for your questions. And I hope your eyeballs aren't bleeding.

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