Monday, November 30, 2009

Logging Lots Of Miles

These log trucks can be seen all over the Pacific Northwest. I've read that logging is one of the most dangerous trucking jobs out there. Many of these trucks drive deep into the forest over roads that are unpaved and typically carved out by bulldozers. The locations where they logs are loaded are very often remote areas with no access to emergency medical care if needed.

It's not uncommon for a logging truck to be parked precariously on a hillside while being loaded down with raw timber. They've been known to topple over due to the weight not being distributed evenly. A logging truck flipping over and rolling down a hillside can't ever be a good thing. I can't even imagine what it would be like sitting in the cab of my truck hoping the guy loading me knows what he's doing.

They often take loads out of the forest that are over their gross allowance, since they haul as much out of the forest as they can, but once they get on the highways, they have to be of legal weight; typically 80,000 lbs. but in some areas, those weights can be higer. Many of the trucks also may pull a triple-axle trailer, which allows for extra weight.

Every time I see one of these trucks, I get a little freaked out. I always envision a log coming off the truck and shooting through the window of my cab, like in the movies. I don't like being behind them as they're going uphill either, for that very same reason. Because they're so heavy, they move super-slow uphill and even though the logs are chained down and the trailers have those stakes on the sides, I just don't trust it being held in if that log decides to move, so I stay faarrrr away.

To see what one of those logging roads looks like, click HERE and watch as the driver navigates the Snow Peak Main Line through the narrow mountainside road high in the Cascade Mountains of Sweet Home, Oregon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Big Trucks + TV = Big Truck TV

Guess what? I've started a new writing venture!

A few weeks ago, I was approached by Dan Robinson, the Senior Field Producer at who asked if I would be interested in being one of the industry expert bloggers on their website. We exchanged a few emails, talked about what he was looking for from me and I put together my first blog post. It just went up this weekend on the site!

Big Truck TV is a "business knowledge media company" and their website features articles and videos dealing with all sorts of issues in the trucking industry; environment, technology, human resources, maintenance, safety & regulations, finance, fleet operations and more. From their most recent newsletter, this is how they describe their operation:

Big Truck TV is a free resource to all in the trucking industry. We have sought out the best practices from fleets and experts across North America and produced compelling video based case studies and expert point of views. This is a resource we encourage you to use as a learning tool and share it with your peers across your organization. Video is an engaging, dynamic, powerful and effective way to communicate and teach others and Big Truck TV has the largest relevant library of video in the entire trucking industry. Make Big Truck TV your knowledge resource and keep on top of the game to drive results to your bottom line!
I'm excited to be part of the bloggers over there and seem to be in pretty good company as the other bloggers include company CEO's, Presidents, Vice-Presidents, marketing gurus and even a PhD! There are several other women in the group, including Ellen Voie who is the President & CEO of the Women In Trucking Association, but I'm the only owner-operator in the bunch.

You can
read my first post titled "Do You Have An Owner-Operator Mindset?" by clicking HERE. Many thanks to my Eddie, who helped me mesh my knowledge of entrepreneurship (I have several in my family) with his knowledge of being a successful owner-operator. I'm very happy with the outcome of the post, but I'd love to know what you think!

Check out some of the other bloggers here and to read their posts, just click on the words "Read the Blog" next to their mini-bios.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Insane In The Holiday Brain
Dress Code
And It Begins…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

South Dakota Sky

I'm very busy driving and sleeping, so I only have time for a picture. Here's a cloud swirl we saw today while cruising across South Dakota; clouds and cows are about the only things you see out here.

Oh, and hay bales.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nutty Friday
It’s Not So Much Fun To Roll Out Your Best Sales Schpiel On A Mute
Forced Happiness

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Ultimate Mrs.

My mother and I were having a discussion last night about how some people get all caught up in their titles and/or position and how they try to intimidate people with it. My mother and I actually have the same take on this; I've never been one to be intimidated by someone just because they were my boss, a boss or whoever happened to be in charge. Neither is she. I don't know why this is or how I came to be that way, but I've never really thought the person who was "the boss" was any better than me. They were just people. My mother feels the same way.

I was telling her about my department boss when I worked at a resort hotel many years ago; his name was Coleman Hughes. When I first met him, he introduced himself to me saying something to the effect of "Hi, I'm Coleman. Nice to meet you." I gave him my name, told him it was nice to meet him too and then went about my business. On occassion, I would need to go to his office for certain permissions or direction, and when I did, I always called him Coleman.

Everyone in the department was afraid of him. They'd cower or disappear whenever he was around. They'd say, "Coleman is coming!" in hushed tones whenever he was near. When he was hovering around the office, they'd be busy like bees until he left. One day, someone overheard my conversation with him and said to me after I left his office, "You called him Coleman???" I said, "Yeah, why?" "You don't call him Mr. Hughes?" I said, "No. He introduced himself to me as Coleman, so that's what I call him." I was alway so amazed how people kissed his ass all over the place. I was just not one of those people.

So in telling my mother this story, she told me one of her own. She used to work at a drug treatment facility in New York that was owned by a recovering alcoholic who happened to be Catholic. The facility also had several nuns on staff and my mother was one of the drug and alcohol abuse counselors. Her department was run by this big Irish guy named John who was a devout Catholic.

At a staff meeting one day while they were discussing patient loads, my mother addressed Sister Mary Katherine Benedicta as Mary. That's apparently when all the trouble began. The next morning before the staff meeting, her boss John said he wanted to see her in his office. So in my mother went.

Whe she sat down, she noticed Sister Mary Katherine in the other chair. John began the conversation by telling my mother that he called her into his office because he wanted to talk to her about the fact that she was disrespectful to Sister Mary Katherine in front of the rest of the staff.

My mother confused, said "How so?'

"Well, you are Catholic, right?" he asked.

"Yes," my mother said.

"Well yesterday at the staff meeting, you did not address Sister Mary Katherine as "Sister". You called her by her first name."

My mother said, "Yeah?" not quite understanding what he was getting at.

"Well, that's disrespectful. You are supposed to call a nun, Sister."

The nun was quiet at first, but then piped in saying "Even Laura calls me Sister and she's Jewish."

"Well, I don't think I did anything wrong." my mother said. "That is your name."

"Being Catholic, you should know that I'm Sister Mary Katherine. By not using my title, you're being disrespectful to me. After all, I am married to God."

"Well, I'm married to Frank and you don't call me Mrs. Porpora."

The nun got all flustered and sputtered, "Well, that's just different."

My mother, not being one to intentionally be disrespectful said "I didn't meant to be disrespectful to you and I'm very sorry if you were offended." The nun seemed okay with the apology but my mother got the distinct feeling that the nun didn't really like her too much.

With that, my mother looked at John, looked at the nun and left the office. She said she felt as if she were being reprimanded in her adult life just as she had been in her youth when she was in Catechism class. She was surprised they didn't make her write one hundred times on the blackboard, "I will not call the nuns by their first names."

I've never been to Catholic school (thank God) but it seems the only thing missing from this little office visit was my mother being smacked on the knuckles with a ruler. Isn't that how the nuns usually got the kids to behave?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Happy Thanksgiving
The Kind Of Contraction That Produces A Laugh, Not A Baby
Wanderlust Officially Approved
The Eye Of The Beholder

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For Everything Thy Goodness Sends

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting Some Bird A Day Ahead Of The Crowd

Since Ed and I have to start our UPS run tonight at midnight, my mother decided she would host Thanksgiving today, inviting my brother and his family to join us, so we would have a proper turkey dinner before heading out on the road. This is what the kitchen counter looked like early this morning; everything lined up and ready to be filled with deliciousness.

She set the table in advance, putting a little dark chocolate turkey at everyone's place setting. The calm blue of the dining area was getting ready to see some serious eating action. I typed the rest of this earlier today and I am now in my post dinner respite. In a few hours, we'll be hitting the highway toward Louisville. It's the first leg of a 7,200 mile trip. To say I'm looking forward to this first week would be a bold-faced lie. But, the first trip out is always the killer one.

One more hour in the lazy boy and then we're off.

Like big turkeys!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Only Reason Men Do Things Is Because Their Wives MAKE Them
Here’s Looking At You
Just Outside The Door
Trying To Mask The Boredom

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Winding Down For The Big Holiday

We're on our way home for Thanksgiving and our route too us through the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. We were on State Highway 60, traveling between Show Low and Globe.

The road is very windy, with lots of tight turns and a few hairpins which take you down to the canyon floor before you start up the other side. I took this picture on the other side. You can see part of the road in the picture and also the river that runs through the area. This is what it looks like on my mapping program:

We rarely run through here, but this was the shortest route from Point A to Point B today. I suppose it would be a nice route if you like the mountainess desert (which I do not) or if you like dirt (which I do not) or if you like cactus (which I do not). But it gets us home. And what's at home?

T - U - R - K - E - Y.

Since Ed and I start the dreaded UPS run on Thursday morning at 2am, we are doing "Thanksgiving" tomorrow. And I don't have to cook a Mommy is doing it all.

Yay for Turkey and yay for Moms!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Pssst! The Fish Are In The Water. Check The Water.
Elphaba’s Long Lost Sister?
What Boys (And One Girl) Do On Thanksgiving
Cold Turkey

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Life According To Sugarland

My friend Grace sent this to me on Facebook and I thought it was a cool meme, so I'm sharing it here.

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST or BAND, cleverly answer these questions. Pass it on to 15 people you like and include me. You can't use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It's a lot harder than you think! Post it on your blog as "my life according to (band name)".

Pick your Artist: Sugarland

Are you a male or female: Baby Girl

Describe yourself: All I Want To Do

How do you feel: Want To

Describe where you live: County Line

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Tennessee

Your favorite form of transportation: Speed of Life

Your best friend is: Love

You and your best friends are: Down In Mississippi and Up To No Good

What's the weather like: One Blue Sky

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: These Are The Days

What is life to you: Something More

Your last relationship: Settlin’

Your greatest fear: Time, Time, Time

What is the best advice you have to give: Stand Back Up

Thought for the Day: Fly Away

How I would like to die: Happy Ending

My soul's present condition: Come On Get Higher

My motto: Take Me As I Am

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Full Of Turkey Friday
Crouching Poultry, Hidden Turkey
Is It Really A Sandwich?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm Only Interested In Breasts

My friend Don emailed me this video. I'm not sure this is my idea of having a ball. When it comes to turkey, I'm strictly a breast kind of girl.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
What Price Fun?
True Blue
The Borscht Belt

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Green Velvet

On the way to deliver our load to Port Hueneme, California this morning, we passed miles and miles of things growing; avocadoes, tomatoes, strawberries, artichokes.

We also saw acres of what just looked like grass. It looked so cushy and soft, I wanted to kick off my flip-flops and run (ok, walk) from one end to the other.

Ed said it was sod. I said velvet. Who do you side with? (And Gil, I'm fully expecting you to side with Ed.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Lost In Space Friday
Have A Happy Thanksgiving And Choke On A Turkey Bone For Us
When You Can’t See The View Because The Hooters Are In The Way
Stealth Monday

Friday, November 20, 2009

In The Blink Of An Eye

Today Eddie and I were heading down I-10 just east of Thousand Palms, CA when the traffic started to slow. We were directly behind a pilot car (the cars who lead or follow oversized loads) who was following one of those trucks that haul mobile home halves. You know, when you see one part of someone's house and they twelve miles down the road, you see the other half.

We couldn't see the reason for the slow down (Eddie was driving, I was in the passenger seat) but Ed uttered, "Come onnn," seemingly in annoyance of the typical California traffic. Just after he said that, we saw a lone tire shoot out from the direction of the mobile home and roll down the side of the highway in the direction of the pilot car. Actually, the pilot car was catching up with the rolling tire since we were all going the same way!

The pilot car driver slowed, the tire shot right past him (towards us!) and then wobbled, veered and headed toward the wall. It hit the wall, bounced off, crossed in front of us and into the center lane of traffic.

At that instant, I thought to myself, oh shit, someone is going to hit that and before I could say it out loud, someone did hit it. The driver lost control of his car, which crossed right in front of us and then smacked into the wire fencing on the side of the highway and flipped into the air, landing on its side!

Oh. My. God. RIGHT BEFORE OUR VERY EYES! I'd never seen an accident in motion before. I've seen the aftermath, but never the duringmath. Yeah, I know, it's not a word. usual I wasn't dressed appropriately for public (I hang in comfy clothes when not driving or when I'm in the truck all day) and wasn't wearing shoes, so all I could do was yell at Ed. "Oh my God! Get out! Go see if he's okay! Hurry! Shit. Shit. Where are my clothes?? Where's my camera? Hurry, go check on that guy!"

So as Ed went to check on the guy driving the car, I threw on some pants and shoes, grabbed my camera and headed out. Several other people had stopped to help at that point and they were all standing around the Jeep, which was sitting in the dirt, where it had landed; on the drivers side door.

Everyone checked on the driver to make sure he was ok (which he seemed to be) and they helped him climb out of the vehicle. I can't imagine that he wasn't flustered, but he appeared very calm and the only blood I saw was from a little scratch on his hand; but then again, I was more focused on taking pictures, so I didn't pay much attention. I couldn't believe how the car flipped so easily (although people always do say Jeeps are prone to flipping) because the guy driving it wasn't speeding at all. I say this because I saw the rate at which he came up beside us. We had slowed way down and he must have seen our brake lights and done the same, but since he was passing us in the middle lane he couldn't possibly have seen what was happening on the other side of the road, which is why he hit the tire. It totally took him by surprise.

The police were right behind us (we had passed them about half a mile back) and the EMS, Fire Department and tow truck arrived within minutes. The EMS checked out the driver, determined he was fine and left. The fire department assessed the scene for any fire or chemical hazards and they took off.
The only person left to do his job was the tow truck driver who, within minutes of checking out the wreck, began to hook up to the Jeep and get it upright before dragging it onto his truck.
Although this made for an interesting half hour this afternoon, I'm thankful for two things; one, I wasn't driving the truck and two, the driver of the car was okay. I'm usually very judgemental about accidents because I see so many drivers (cars and trucks) taking too many risks on the road; whether it's driving too fast, talking or texting, changing lanes erratically, or just plain being discourteous. I usually figure it was their fault to begin with, but I actually saw this guy and knew he did nothing wrong, so I was very happy he didn't get hurt worse in what was a freak incident involving a flying tire.

It's hard to prepare for unexpected events like this and it's a great (although costly for some) reminder of how important it is to pay attention while on the road and in traffic. This happened so fast, if Ed wasn't paying attention, he could have hit the tire or worse, been hit with the Jeep as it careened in front of us. I'm thinking the size of our truck would have kept us fairly safe in this situation, but that's no reason to not do your best to avoid any type of collision. Ed saw what was happening (with the slow of the traffic) far enough ahead to determine that something was up and reacted exactly how he should have.

As for the guy in the Jeep - I'd say he's very lucky as it could have been much worse....he could have hit a concrete wall.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Duck, Duck, Drake
The Lady And Sons
The Department Of Mindless Vegetables
Ooo Rah Johnny Cash!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting Tanked In Al-Nahar

About thirty miles north of El Paso, Texas, on the Fort Bliss Military Installation (which covers approximately 1,700 miles in New Mexico and Texas, making it the Army's second largest installation after the adjacent White Sands Missle Range) is the Doña Ana Base Camp.

It sort of feels like you're driving forever because there's nothing out there, but following the directions we were given, we continued on. We were delivering fabricated metal target practice stands and galvanized steel handrails for the observation decks; you know, so you can get a good view of the stuff being blown up.

On our way in, we saw this sign:
Now, our truck is pretty big, but I'm not sure we really want to play chicken with a tank, so we made sure to look ALL ways before continuing on. The Doña Ana Base Range connects the temporary quarters area for the troops at Fort Bliss with the White Sands Missle Range. Also located in this area is the McGregor Range, which according to, contains twenty-six air defense missile firing sites (both static and field) which support training, annual service practice (ASP) and tactical missile firings for U.S. and allied units.

On the way out, we saw this sign:

Guess they want their training exercises to really feel authentic.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Bracing For A World Of Mouse Ears
At Least He’s Up Front About It
Aten HUT!!
Be The Player

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Beautiful Deep Fried Pocket Of Cornmeal Dough. Or, My Mom.

On a recommendation by a local, Eddie and I ate at the Red Rooster Cafe in Anthony, Texas tonight. The place was a mixture of American and Mexican cuisine, but all Ed cared about was the Chile Relleno he saw on the menu. I wanted tamales, but since they didn't have those, I settled for a gordita plate; three gorditas, beans and rice. Perfect.

The gorditas were delicious, but the reason I'm writing this post it to tell you a story about my mother. I know, that's totally not where you thought it was going, but the gorditas are what did it. It reminded me of the story.

About fifteen years ago, my mother was an alcohol and drug abuse counselor at a famous drug treatment facility; one where stars went to deal with their problems. While there, she decided to start working out at their gym, as it was made available to the counseling staff.

One day, she was in the gym and there were a few Mexican women in there with her. They were minding their business, working away and talking to each other in Spanish. My mother said hello to them, they returned the greeting and went back to their conversation.

When my mother came home that day she told me, "I met these two ladies in the locker room today. They were so nice, chatting away in their cute little accents. Oh, I just love the Spanish people..."
"They're Mexican Mom, not Spanish. They speak spanish."

"Well, Mexican, Spanish, whatever. They were very nice and I think they thought I was beautiful. I heard them say gordita a few times."


"Mom. Gordita means fat. They were saying you were fat."

My mother looked puzzled. "Fat? Oh no, I think you must be mistaken. They couldn't be calling me fat while I was standing right there. Noooo."

"Uhhh, yeah. Gorda means fat person, gordita is the diminutive version, so they were actually calling you "a little fat". You weren't a total porker in their eyes."

"Humpf," she said.
"Well, it's sort of like a cute version of fat, like for a child. You'd call a little girl gordita and a little boy gordito. They're chubby and cute and cuddly. Like you."

She smiled. By that definition, I don't really think she minded being gordita. Beautiful? Chubby and cute? Same thing in her eyes.

And in mine too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Foxy Furry Little Friend
The One That Got Away
Don’t We All?
Miss Singular

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's All The Glee About?

Last weekend Ed and I watched the first nine episodes of Glee. We are now up to date and ready for tomorrow's new episode. I know Ed could give a rat's ass, but I don't know where the hell I've been for the last six months; it's been on since May! I remember seeing the coming attractions for the show and exclaiming to Ed, "We have to watch that!" And by "we" I mean "me" because I know he doesn't care. Apparently we both forgot about it. For six months. Thank God for Hulu.

We don't watch a lot of TV in the truck. If I didn't listen to the radio, I'd have no idea what was going on in the world. Most of the time, that's just fine. And up until two weeks ago, I only watched two shows; Flash Forward and Grey's Anatomy. Then I added Modern Family, which by the way, is hysterical. And now there's Glee.

When I posted my discovery of Glee on Facebook, I realized that others were talking about it too. And not just my friends; even the
Los Angeles Times has their eye on it. I don't know if I can explain what makes me like a show that in some people's eyes is considered cheesy. In fact, someone on Facebook had the nerve to call it a "stupid sitcom"; but I'll cut that person some slack since they're in their mid-sixties.

The show sort of reminds me of Fame. Remember that one? School full of talent, girls walking the halls in their ballet sweaters and leg warmers, guys in their MC Hammer pants carrying band instrument cases? The drama, romance and everyday student life; all set to an incredible and danceable soundtrack? Whatever it was, it worked. Just like Glee does.

How can you not love a show that makes you like the Thong Song? Or that finds a guest star spot for 4'11" Kristin Chenoweth’s powerhouse voice? Or who makes you love a Journey song in the very same way you did the first time you heard it?

When I watch Glee, I want to be every one of those beautifully talented characters. I love the music. The energy. The creativity. The youth. The everything. I want to be the black girl with the diva attitude belting out songs. I want to be friends with the gay guy who has the fashion guts to rock a clear vinyl trenchcoat. I want to be torn between the smokin' hot bad boy with the mohawk who makes a Neil Diamond song cool, and the smokin' hot dumb jock who makes you forget all about Chris Brown. I want to be the mysophobic guidance counselor with the wicked crush on the handsome and talented Spanish teacher/Glee coach. Even though I'm over forty, I still love that butterfly in the stomach feeling you get from seeing the boy you really, really like walking the hall. How you feel when he talks to you; how you feel when he doesn't. When I watch Glee, the butterflies are out in full force.

So why do I really like this show? It's the elation my heart and body feels when the songs are belted out perfectly and the dance numbers pulled off so smoothly. It's the smile plastered on my face from beginning to end, loving the awkwardness of the teen life but also wanting to be that girl again. It's the dancing I do in the kitchen of my truck as I get dinner ready or wash dishes. It's the glee.

Merriam-Webster defines glee as "exultant, high spirited joy." And that's why I watch it.

For the joy.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Connecting Over The Mystic River
2 YEARS AGO: Randomly Weird
3 YEARS AGO: Eddie Acts Like A Five Year Old Friday
4 YEARS AGO: From Earth To Heaven

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gleaming Curve

Yesterday Eddie and I visited the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the tour to the top was sold out, but I did get this great picture right from the base. We go through St. Louis all the time, so there will definitely be another chance to get to the top.

Standing right underneath it was fantastic. You don't realize how big it is until you're right there; and I didn't know until I Googled, that this is considered a
catenary arch. I am always so amazed when I look at structures like this and think that someone designed and then built it.

Every time I pass through St. Louis, it always seems to be at night which is fine with me, because I love the way the arch looks at night. But seeing it up close made it so much more beautiful to me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Color Me Casual
Eddie Goes Running Friday
Forever Yours
Home Away From Home

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Text Me

Text messages I have sent and received:


I never saw it but that's my dogs hometown.

Yeah, yeah...don't worry I was busy today and now I'm working.

Sometimes you feel ugly.

Well, sometimes you ARE ugly.

OMG! We got the coconut, YAY! The kids are running around the house shaking it!!

Why did he leave me? You were singing that??

This music is depressing.

She thinks everything I make is the best thing she's ever put in her mouth.

Trojan or Durex?

Holy crap! Red bell peppers are $4.49 a pound!!

Weirdo, but nervous.

Don't be's all good.

OMG! This group is freakin' SO out of control! This place is a wreck adn they are PLOWED!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Going The Way Of Astatine*
Picture Perfect Pilot
Not Falling For Winter Yet
I Miss You Already

Saturday, November 14, 2009

You Gotta Be A Good Fighter To Make It 88 Rounds

Today is my step-father Frank's 88th Birthday. Eighty-Eight! You've gotta have a whole lotta fight in you to make it through eighty-eight years of life! Imagine all he's seen?? And done! I was just telling Eddie this morning that he has fifty-four years to go before gets to Frank's age. He better tread lightly if he plans to make it that far! As you read a few days ago, I posted a bit about his service in World War II. I've also written about his restaurant The Dodge Inn, and all the famous people he served there. The pictures in this post are from that time. Above you'll see Frank with Trainer Al Silvani (picture is mislabeled as Joe Silvani) on the left, and the Heavyweight Champion of The World Rocky Marciano, in the middle. It was taken at the restaurant back in the early fifties, just before Rocky was getting ready for an upcoming match. I guess he thought a good meal of steak and potatoes would keep him nourished to get a few more world titles! 

In the picture below is boxer Rocky Graziano, considered one of the greatest knockout artists in boxing history, posing with Frank's sister-in-laws, Rosie and Babe. There was never a day where at least one family member wasn't hanging around (or working at) the restaurant; the best part was being lucky enough to be there when a celebrity came in! Although all close in age, all of the people in these photos are long gone. But not Frank. I marvel at his desire to keep plodding through the daily grind of life. Sometimes when I think about how much I don't want to do something, or how I think I don't have the energy to drive one more mile or hike one more hill (OK, not that I'm an avid hiker or anything...I'm just using that as an example of well, exercise-y type things), I think of Frank. He's survived war, a life of hard work, quadruple bypass surgery, cancer, the passing of friends and loved ones, the loss of three of his five siblings (he is the oldest), and the presidency of George W. Bush. I really have nothing that compares to that....well, except I also made it through the Bush years.

But war? Hard work? Medical issues? So far, none of those have touched my life. I should really stop bitching about everything. But that's my nature; it's just not his. His ability to forge through all of those things has probably only made him stronger. And more determined to see one hundred. He always says that's his goal. As I've said before, with his curmudgeony ways, it will probably be more of a challenge for us than for him, but I'm sure he'll hit his 100th birthday with ease. He's a tough cookie for sure, and I know there is so much more to learn from him than I already have. I only have one question for him right now. You grew up in the Bronx...where the hell did you get that pony??
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Eddie Working In Paradise Friday
86 Going On 8 3
A Fine Cargo Of Experiences And Memories

Friday, November 13, 2009

Breaking A Leg Doesn't Always Mean Good Luck

This sticker is actually ON OUR TRUCK. Placed strategically below the door opening and above the steps, it's visible only when the door is open.

You'd think people would know how to climb in and out of a vehicle, wouldn't you? But in a truck, sometimes it's tricky. It takes my mother a full ten minutes to climb two steps and situate herself in the seat; a seat that raises and lowers with air so somtimes it's in a very high position and difficult to slide your ass onto. And trust me, she's a person that needs to have three limbs in contact with the truck at all times.

That said, I've seen Ed fall right out of the truck because he wasn't holding on properly. One minute, I was sitting in the passenger seat talking to him and the next minute, whoosh! he was gone. His foot missed the step and he fell to the ground.

I shouldn't make light of that incident though, because I've done the very same thing; I just didn't have any witnesses. In my defense though, it was winter so things were a little slipperier than usual. I was using just one hand to pull myself up as I was climbing, when my foot slipped on the step. Picture my entire body hanging from one hand. I think I actually dangled. I was hanging on so tight with that hand that my body twisted and smacked against the truck. I'm no lightweight either, so my whole body hanging by one hand was quite a feat.

I came to learn the proper way to get into the truck and I'm usually pretty good about doing it the right way now. Getting hurt would not only interfere with my ability to work, but it would also get in the way of my play time. I've already tripped into the sleeper and practically broken a hip.

I don't need to fall out of the truck and break a leg.

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Showing Its True Colors, Even On The Cloudiest Day
It’s All In The Cards
A Blond Moment

Thursday, November 12, 2009

There's No Whey In The Way Of This Delicious Treat

A few months back, I wrote Ode To Milk, telling all about my love affair with the Moo Juice. But now, I have to share with you another love....a love of curd.

I have discovered the most delicious cottage cheese on the face of the earth, and if you're a cottage cheese eater, you'll want to pay close attention, because this is a regional item that not everyone has the pleasure of getting their hands on, and I'm going to tell you all about it since the chances are none if its deliciousness will ever touch your tongue. I know, that's kinda mean.
Made with the same delicious moo juice, Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese is by far the most superior brand I've ever eaten (the one with the dark blue label).

I'm not sure about people who eat it as depicted below, with a salad or doused with pepper, because I'm strictly a fruit and cottage cheese sort of girl. My fruit of choice are pears - they must be
Del Monteany other brands are just too mushy - and I only eat the pear halves, not slices.  Myy very favorites are the cinnamon-flavored ones. If pears aren't available, I'll go with one of the following; pineapple chunks, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches and every once in a while, fruit cocktail. Fruit only.

From the distributors website, Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese is described as follows:
"Michigan Brand Cottage Cheese was developed in 1929 by a German immigrant in Michigan. He produced what is called "Old Fashioned" or "Farmers" cheese. This cottage cheese is very dry and small curded. Because the product is so dry it will have a longer shelf life than other cottage cheeses."
I didn't know there was such thing as "old fashioned", but I do know that I hate soupy, wet, fat-curd cottage cheese. Preference, I know. But these tight, small, dry little curds are amazing. I love the texture.

I discovered it earlier this year in Columbus, Ohio at the local Meijer store. I also discovered that not everyone carries it.  Meijer is only located in five states; Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. So every time I'm in one of those states, I hit up Meijer and stock up on the cottage cheese.

It's distributed by a company called I & K Distributors, who I've contacted to try to locate other stores who carry it, but I've been unsuccessful.  (Update:  I & K has been bought by Lipari Foods and they did respond to my request but said their distribution list is too vast to provide.)

It would be helpful to have a list (or even a handful) of grocery store names so I don't have to limit my search to Meijer stores. Someone else must carry this stuff...but who?? I can't be whippin' my eighteen-wheeler into grocery stores all over the country just to pop in and check their dairy case. I'm a girl who needs a plan.  An easy-to-execute, fastest-way-to-the-cottage-cheese kind of plan!

It's a little strange to be going on about a food item like this, especially cottage cheese, but I've since discovered that it has a bit of a cult following and I'm right up there with the rest of the freaks who travel far and wide to find it. Tomorrow, after we pick up our load, I'll be visiting the Meijer in the Chicago area and stocking my truck with at least a month's worth, if not more. Because just like the company blurb says, it lasts FOREVER.

In fact, I'm thinking maybe I need to start a little cottage cheese smuggling ring - there's got to be people out there who would be interested in having this hard-to-find item shipped to them, right? I wonder what Meijer will think when I go in and buy 53 containers of cottage cheese??

Little Miss Muffet would be super-jealous of my curds. They are WAY better than hers.

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O Canada!
Ladies Night (And Day) Out
The Queen Is Bleak
Literacy In The South

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let There Be A Lesson In The Words Of Mark Twain, Who Seems To Have A Handle On Who Is The Real Patriot

"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
~ Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

The pictures on this post are of my step-father Frank, who served our country as part of the United States Army during World War II.He first landed in Bizerte, Tunisia on the northern tip of the African continent. From that location, he went to Tunis (the capital city of Tunisia) and then east to Oran, a city in Algeria that lies on the Mediterranean Sea. While in Africa, he fought under General George S. Patton.

From North Africa, they crossed the Mediterranean, heading over to Palermo, Sicily. After spending some time in Sicily, they made their way into Italy, up the western coast of "the boot" to fight under General Mark W. Clark in the Battle of Monte Cassino.

After that, the troops continued even further north to take part in the Allied invasion of southern France on August 15, 1944.
As if that invasion wasn't enough, he moved with his troops into the Ardennes mountain region of France, Luxembourg and Belgium to take part in the Battle of the Bulge. You can read about it in more detail here, in a book by Hugh M. Cole.

In the picture below, he's posing with his brother Benny who was serving in an artillery unit at the same time. Frank was 23, Benny was 21. When he discovered his brother's unit was in the area, he went to his commanding officer to ask if they could look him up and let him know where exactly they were positioned. His commander said he couldn't do that but if he wanted, while Frank was out on his patrols, he was welcome to look for him.

So, that's exactly what Frank did. When he found his unit, he approached Benny's commanding officer to ask his brother's whereabouts. The commander took him over to Benny's tent and hollered, "Get your ass out here! You have someone who wants to see you." Benny exited the tent with his head down, but when he looked up and saw his brother there, they quickly embraced each other with tears in their eyes.

Benny's commanding officer allowed him to go on patrol with Frank, but while they were out there, they encountered mortar fire.

Later, when Benny told the story, he said that Frank turned the jeep around so fast, the wheels never touched the ground. Frank said the only thing on his mind as he maneuvered to get them out of there was the thought of his mother being notified that two of her sons had been killed. He couldn't allow that to happen. Below is a picture of Frank and Benny relaxing in Benny's tent after they got back from that patrol.

While in France, his platoon was asked to provide protection for Ingrid Bergman, who was there to entertain the troops. My step-father was chosen (perhaps for his strapping height, perhaps for his smoldering Italian good looks) to be her personal escort.From France it was on to Germany; by then the war was almost over. Once they left Germany, they spent some time in Denmark and then headed home to the good old U.S. of A. He told me that he and his comrades were the first to go home since they had already been overseas for three years. Finally home! He has so many stories, some he tells freely and others he keeps to himself, but they are all interesting. Fascinating, really. I'm glad he was one of the lucky ones who made it home.

I called him today to specifically thank him for fighting for our country. He was gruff as usual and brushed it off with a few choice words. I laughed and told him that although I was letting him off the hook now, one of these days, I was going to pry more details out of him.

Especially the ones of his romantic escapades with those French girls!

A Special Thanks to all our Veterans. We appreciate your service.

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Sometimes The Nights Just Fly By
Who Thought Putting These Two Words Together Was A Good Idea?
We Would All Go Down Together
Missing Me?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Think His Father And My Mother May Be Related

If you only do one thing today, make it be going to this guy's Twitter page. And make sure to read everything by clicking on "more" when you get to the bottom of the page.

I promise it will totally be worth nixing whatever else it was you were planning to do.

You will not regret it.

And if you do, well, I don't know what to tell you. It's not like we made a "money back guaranteed" deal or anything.

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Crossing The North Atlantic
Sharing In The Deliciousness Of Women
Dining In Lancaster County
My Sweet Spot

Monday, November 09, 2009

You Build It, We'll Haul It

We picked up this contraption from a company that is the industry leader in the design and manufacture of Maintenance-of-Way (MOW) machinery, the equipment used by railroads to lay, clear, and maintain railroad track structure.

And no, I don't know what it's called.

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The Canadian MJ II
Eddie In The Half Moon Hall Friday
The Italian Death March
How You Doin’?