Friday, December 31, 2010

That's A Wrap!

Wow, the end of 2010. And what a year it has been!

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Spent an inordinate amount of time seeing the inside of a
less than competent Freightliner dealership, did a little "renovating" on our rolling house, realized my dream of being a centerfold, got the truck stuck in the snow, met John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven from Cheers), mentored Plum Trucker and watched her launch a new career, saw one of my favorite towns flood, hit a deer, had a picture I took published in a real, live book!, met a real housewife, wrote my first published article, was photographed for a book about modern truck drivers, went to Italy!, learned some stuff about traveling while I was there, and watched my friends win a shitload of goodies on Oprah’s last ever Favorite Things show!!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I can't keep a resolution for one day, let alone one year, so I'm not making any this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
An old friend from high school gave birth to a gorgeous little baby girl named Ava Rae.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Italy! Oh my god, we finally went to Italy!!

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
More time in the snow, a girl's weekend with Vicki, a week in a cabin with Eddie, time alone with my brother, a great vacation and time to sit down and organize my computer data.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Our Italy trip; I will remember it because saw some amazing places, learned a lot about how to pick travel companions, decided that I was born to travel first class (but can't afford it so have to suffer with the cattle in coach), realized that something 2,000 years old can be as beautiful as something built yesterday, and came home with a horrendous case of bronchitis which wiped me out for the two weeks following my return. The passage of the Health Care Reform bill, because it's the right thing to do. The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, because it's about time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting recognized for what I offer the trucking industry; my blog, my articles, me. I've been approached several time for trucking industry related shows; one a documentary on women drivers. I don't know that it'll go anywhere, but I like that I was considered.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Similar to what I felt last year; that I don't really see things as pass/fail. If something doesn't work out, it just doesn't work out. To me, it's not a failure. Plus, I don't pin too much on any particular outcome.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The worst illness I've ever had; bronchitis that was contracted on the trip back from Italy. Ed and I were down for two weeks with that little beauty, and the coughing for me went on for weeks after. And, as a result of the coughing, a pulled muscle between my ribs that made it unable to move without pain.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new computer!! And earlier in the year, Ed bought me a new iPod, since I dropped the other one in a cup of
Diet Coke.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Well, there's always Obama, who always does something that makes me want to celebrate. My godson, who got an A+ in every category on his report card. Eddie, for being as easygoing as ever.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Certain family members; it doesn't depress me, it pisses me off and appalls me.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off the last bit of my debt, fuel for the truck, the Italy trip, new computers and all the little things we always do to keep us entertained out here.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing snow!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
"From The Morning" by Nick Drake (it's the one from the AT & T commercial where they drape everything in orange fabric - my favorite part is the draping of the St. Louis Arch),

”Can’t Hold Us Down” by Christina Aguilera, ”Be Italian” by Fergie (from the movie, Nine) and anything from Glee.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
Just as happy, a bit fatter and richer because I have no debt!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read. I have lots of books on my Kindle that I just haven't gotten to.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eat. And maybe I wish I'd done a little less complaining (only because it annoys Ed).

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In Portland, Oregon with Ed!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
I'm in love with cheese, does that count?

22. What was your favorite TV program?
It's still Glee. If you live under a rock, you can catch up on past episodes
here. I'm also love Grey's Anatomy and Project Runway. Although, Mondo was TOTALLY robbed when Granola Gretchen and her UGLY collection won.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Not really.

24. What was the best book you read?
I only read "Food Rules" by Michael Pollan. The rest of my free time this year was spent on the internet.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I didn't really find anyone new, but I was reacquainted
Teena Marie, someone who has been on my iPod for years. Sadly, it was because of her death that she was pulled from the dusty playlist.

26. What did you want and get?
The trip to Italy and a few loads through places with bright, beautiful snow!

27. What did you want and not get?
More time with my best friend.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I didn't see many films this year. The one I remember at the moment is An Education with Carey Mulligan (which I really liked) and Bright Star (which I have, but I've yet to watch). Honestly, most of my movie viewing time was spent watching Criminal Minds, NCIS and my most favorite of all, Monk!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 43 this year and we didn't do a whole to celebrate because we were under an oversized load to New York, meaning our time was dictated but how long we could drive each day and where we could do (which is nowhere). But once we got there, we spent several days in the area enjoying the Fall as only New York could do it.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
If I had more time in the snow; preferably in Canada.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
Anything that didn't bind at the waist or cause me to be hot. I'm not happy at all with my wardrobe and am thinking of revamping the entire thing.

32. What kept you sane?
I don't really have a problem with keeping my sanity, but phone calls and texting with my best friend certainly help. As does Dunkin' Donuts every once in a while.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm having a never-ending love affair with Barack and Michelle, but this year I couldn't get enough of Monk...even in re-runs.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
No one political issue stirred me but I can't listen to the endless stream of lies coming from the mouths of Republicans; they disgust me and so do the Teabaggers.

35. Who did you miss?
My father, as always. And this year, I really miss my maternal grandfather. Here's a picture me enjoying his fantastic guitar playing:

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Marlaina, another female trucker who is also half of a driving team. We've met them for dinner, she and I exchange great emails and we're planning a 2011 vacation with them. And Charlie; a blog reader who is super-smart, extremely witty, and always one of my favorite emails of the day.

7. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
Do what makes you happy.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
From Christina Aguilera's "Can't Hold Us Down":

Lettin’ ‘em know we’re gonna stand our ground
Lift your hands higher and wave ‘em proud
Take a deep breath and say it lout
Never can, never will, can’t hold us down!

And my slogan for the new year...Be A Star!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Out With The Old
Another Year, Another 365 Days
All Good Things Come To An End
The Symphony Of A Thousand Saws
Suicidal Firewood

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's Only Snow

But you'd think it was the second coming of Christ the way all the news outlets are covering it. "Winter Storm Warning", "Roads Closed", "Chilly". Calm down, people.

Picture courtesy of the Arizona Daily Star.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Fall In Love With A Gingerbread Man When You Can Have His Cake And Eat It Too?

Boy, Portland really has a plethora of places to eat! This is the second Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant of our trip; Arleta Library Bakery Cafe. No, it's not a library. Mostly because you can eat and talk as loud as you want. On the door was an OPEN sign; on the other side was an anagram of that word. It said NOPE. I'm so glad the place was open and not nope.

We put our names down at the front counter, waiting for a seat to open up. The place only had six tables that sat four people each; there were two stools at a window seat counter. I wanted a table. The front counter displayed homemade scones and muffins and in the cold case were bottles of Prosecco, for the Prosecco & OJ they had on the menu. The place was full but not chaotic. The cook had dreadlocks.
Juice was served in old jars, coffee in mismatched mugs. Ed's said Susan on it and proclaimed him/her a "winner". Food was served on plates of different sizes, clearly not from the same set.
But the food on those plates. Oh. My. God. I had the Pane Dolce. Their menu lists it as Pearl Bakery brioche, batter dipped and griddle-fried; served with whipped honey butter, organic maple syrup and seasonal fresh fruit. Like any sane person would do, I opted out of the fruit and requested their library fries. What an excellent choice.

When first asked if I wanted ketchup, I declined. But then after breaking open one of those crispy, quartered potatoes, I decided I wanted a little something with it. And boy, am I ever glad I requested ketchup. Because here they make their own ketchup. It was thick like tomato paste and once I tasted it, my mouth was all atwitter with flavor. I detected something, I thought it was clove. Clove?? Yes, I was sure it was clove.

But there was something else...I finally had to ask. I don't think she wanted to give out their "secret recipe" but she did say there was cinnamon, allspice and clove...and then I found a teeny piece of celery. My god, it was delicious. Who would have imagined clove in ketchup? Certainly not me, but I think I might have to make some.

I saved the best for last; Ed's breakfast. He had the special that was on the menu board by the front door. Gingerbread griddle cakes with housemade cinnamon Crème Anglaise and sliced pears. Holy mother of the griddle cake gods! (What is the difference between pancakes and griddle cakes? Is it just a griddle or a pan?) Whatever it is, these were THE BEST GRIDDLE/PAN CAKES I'VE EVER TASTED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. My LIFE, I say.

Mine was good, but Ed's was definitely food from a place unknown to humans. It was ethereal. I felt as if I were transported to another plane and wanted to send my order back and have what Ed was having. I didn't have to though, because Ed loves me and shared; he said I was allowed to have as much as I wanted. I wasn't greedy, but I thought about pulling the plate out from under his fork throughout the entire meal, until his very last bite.

The gingerbread, the Crème Anglaise, the pears. He didn't even use his organic syrup, as nothing could be more pure and organic than this breakfast. This was definitely a place we'd return to. Hole in the wall, yes. But certainly worthy of being brought to the world via Guy Fieri's Triple D.

Now how am I going to swing getting that griddle cake recipe??

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Voodoo That You Do

While in Portland, Ed and I visited Voodoo Donut, the donut shop made famous by locals, The Travel Channel and other media mentions. We excitedly found the place, and stood in line for about twenty minutes before getting inside.

Once in, there was so much to look at. Painted pink from floor to ceiling, there are t-shirts, hand written signs, a little bit of graffiti and donut stuff everywhere; all illuminated by an overhead chandelier.
It was hard to make a decision because there were so many choices, so Ed opted for the Bacon Maple Bar, which is a raised donut with maple frosting and a slice of bacon embedded in the top of it, and I went for the Grape Ape, which was a raised donut with vanilla frosting, dusted with grape dust and an edge of purple sprinkles. Their box says, "Good Things Come In Pink Boxes". Suggestive, much?

Because we couldn't decide which donuts to get, we chose the "Voodoo Dozen" where they make the choices for you. This is what we got:

Sadly, my review of these polytheistic donuts is four thumbs down (supposing I actually had four thumbs). Ed's Maple Bar with the bacon was interesting (good mix of flavors) but the Grape Ape was cloyingly sweet, almost inedible. I ate it, but only because I paid for it, not because I thought it was delicious. And we still had a dozen in the box to eat.

Later that evening, I ate the donut with the chocolate and peanuts on top. No good. Ed had the one with the Oreo cookies on top; another disgustingly sweet disaster. The rest of the donuts went untouched. I eventually threw them away.

For a box of donuts to be sitting in my truck, less than three feet away, and go untouched for more than an hour, let alone over a day, there's something wrong. I can understand them being profiled for their odd store decor and unusual donuts, but it's definitely not because the donuts are good.

I'm glad I went, just to say I'd been there, but I'll never go back. Thank God I'll be hitting Dunkin' Donuts in Phoenix this week.

I need to wash the taste of Voodoo out of my mouth.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

White Chocolate Melts Away

Sometime last night we lost Teena Marie, one of the greatest R & B voices we've ever had; she passed away in her sleep at the age of 54. The music she made contributes greatly to the soundtrack of my life. When I think of where I was and what I was doing in the eighties, Teena was there. And although she grew up in California, she is SO New York to me.

This amateur video was filmed at the Artscape in Baltimore in the summer of 2006. Her voice is so clear. So strong. So inspiring. SO Teena. I'm just loving YouTube tonight for bringing back all of these memories!

Early on in her career, Teena Marie was thought to be a black R & B singer. It wasn't until her second album came out, with her photo on the album cover, that people realized she was white. She was called "white chocolate" and said to have a "black woman's voice trapped in a white woman's body". Her pipes could blow anyone's away! Listen to some of her other great hits as only she can sing them:

I’m Still Loving You: This video was taken from an episode of Live at The Apollo. If I wasn’t watching Soul Train, I was watching this show. This is a great, great song.

Square Biz: Who hasn't heard this one? Probably one of her best known tunes.

Portuguese Love: God, this is such a great song.

Fire and Desire: Teena with Rick James. Who didn’t make out to this song at least once??

I Need Your Lovin’: Boy, do I!

Casanova Brown: Just because I fell in love with Casanova Brown.

If I Were A Bell: Oh, Lord…that voice.

Lovergirl: I’m bouncing around my truck like I’m back in the eighties!! This song makes you just want to move!

Irons In The Fire: Beautiful.

Behind The Groove: I almost forgot about this one!

This last one isn’t by Teena Marie, but it’s one tight joint. I got a little sidetracked on YouTube. I LOVE this song and listen to it at least once a month. I cannot sit still when this one comes on; even if I’m driving, my body is moving. Jamaican Funk…let it get into you!

Funkin’ For Jamaica

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
An Appetizer With Heart
Angelic Eddie Friday
Would You Like A Fried Egg With A Side Of Influenza?
The Best Gift Of All

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Time Is Here

I always forget about this one, but whenever I hear it I realize it's one of my favorite Christmas songs. And as usual, Diane Reeves is flawless:

This next rendition, by Rob Bourassa, is for my mother since she loves guitar music:

Merry Christmas!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Commanding Attention Once Again
A Meal Of Delicious Cheesy Goodness And A Day Of Good Delicious Cheeriness
The Merry. The Moments. The Memories.
I Love Your Bawwwlls!!
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blue Plates And Books For Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and for the first time in over five years, we won't be home with family. This year, Ed and I are in Portland, Oregon and filling our day with a different array of activities. We started with a visit to one of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives locations; the Blueplate Lunch Counter & Soda Fountain in downtown Portland.
We started with some of their House Made Sodas; I had the "Hawaiin Sunset" (pineapple, coconut, with a strawberry sunset) and Ed had the Chai Bomb (cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cloves and star anise). They were fizzy and delicious.

Then for lunch, I had the Roast Beef Dip (hand sliced natural roast beef on a soft hoagie roll served with a side of jus for dipping) and Ed had the American In Paris sandwich (sliced roast chicken with bacon, swiss cheese, and honey mustard on Texas toast). Both were served with a side of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes. My sandwich was freakin' delicious, but Ed's was over the top! I will definitely be recreating that one for lunch right here in my truck!

After lunch, we went over to Powell’s City of Books. Can you say oh. my. GOD? Well, I can! This place was amaaaazing.

According to the FAQs on their website, Powell's City of Books...
• Has 68,000 square feet packed with books.
• Buys 3,000 used books over the counter every day.
• Have approximately 3,000 people walk in and buy something every day.
• Have another 3,000 people just browse and drink coffee.
• Stocks books in 122 major subject areas and more than 3,500 subsections.
• Has more than 1,000,000 volumes on our shelves.
• And have approximately 80,000 book lovers browse the City's shelves every day in Portland and via the Internet.

The building occupies an entire city block and has four floors and the new and used books are shelved side-by-side, which is super convenient. They began in 1971 and have become one of the biggest independent bookstores in the world! They sensibly have maps located conveniently by the entraces and it's wise to use them.

We ended the evening with a movie; well, two movies since I didn't want to see what Ed wanted to see. He hit Tron in 3D in the IMAX theater and I went to see How Do You Know?, a romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon and Paul Rudd. Of course I think mine was better. First, because it was, and second because I didn't have to wear those dopey glasses.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Holiday Theft Is On The Rise…Right In Your Own Neighborhood!!
The Team Finally Takes A Rest
The Night Before Christmas And All Through The House
The Only Visible Flames Came From The Candles On The Altar
Tonight’s The Night, People

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Muscling Christ Back Into Christmas

First let me say that I don't understand women body builders. What is it about women who want to look like skinny freakish men with breasts?? I don't get it.

The woman in that picture is not only a skinny freakish man with breasts, she's also an entrepreneur. Her name is Marsha Boggs; she's the founder of Boss Creations and the creator of the CHRIST-mas tree. I don't know which is worse, the picture of her or the picture of her "Christian Nation" CHRIST-mas Tree:

In addition to reviving the spirit of Christmas with her tacky, plastic twist on the American flag, she goes even further with her shameless commercialism by claiming one of the ways to bring Christ back into the focus of our celebrations is to "decorate with more Christian-themed holiday decorations, including The CHRIST-mas Tree."

Yeah, because when I think of Christ, the first thing that comes to mind is a fucking hideous red, white and blue tree with an illuminated cross in the center of it. Oh, and a
crown of thorns ("made from an actual plant in the Holy Land) to adorn the top of it. Are you fucking kidding me?? Boy, I can't wait for her to come out with the CHRIST-mas jewelry line so I can wear that abomination around my neck.

According to her website, among some other fact-deficient drivel, she's worried about how "America is moving away from Christianity and toward communism." This coming from a woman who is having her "Christian Nation" tree manufactured in, guess where? That's right, folks...Communist China.

Apparently, injecting Christ back into Christmas is good for publicity too; in addition to being written about in her local Annapolis, MD newspaper
The Capital, she's been mentioned on CNN, FOX, The Colbert Report and in several other media stories.

If you're not a patriotic Christian and you're just a regular Christian, you can get this more traditional tree-wreck to put in your home. Oh, and did I mention the trees are only $400.00? Sweet deal, huh?

Just think about how nice it'll look with the crown of thorns and some other Jesus-y ornaments. May I suggest flashing colored lights to distract from the fact that it looks like a tree that impaled itself onto a wooden cross.

Unless of course, that's the look you were going for.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
1 YEAR AGO: Holiday Gift Suggestions
Weighing In
When You Need Maternity Clothes And You’re Not Pregnant, You Know It’s Time For A Diet
It’s The Real Thing!
Spiraling Out Of Control

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weather, Wyoming And Wings

We made it across the country, from Connecticut to Portland with no weather incidents to speak of. We hit some snow in Wyoming, stopping early one night because reports of ice on the road were numerous. The next day, I took this shot from the passenger seat as Eddie braved the snowy, slushy, icy in some spots Wyoming interstate. The only snow I touched that day was the fake, billowy stuff that I created my dashboard decorations from.

Once we crossed from Wyoming into Idaho, we stopped at our favorite wings spot -
Winger’s. We dove into a basket full of fat little wings covered in their Original Amazing Sauce before we ordered burgers for lunch.
There was no truck parking, but Eddie managed to squeeze us into a spot right next to the restaurant. The sauce on those wings is so worth the extra maneuvering!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Killer Rest Area

Ed stopped at this rest area to check the load and while he was outside, I took this shot.

It was just so creepy, like the kind of thing you'd see in a horror flick. The dimly lit rest rooms at the rest area, where the car full of teens stops to use the phone, but of course the phone doesn't work and there's someone lurking in the bathroom and even though each kid hears screams, one after the other, they keep going in to see what happened. Fools.

I was also a little surprised to see an actual phone booth. Are there still people out there who use them? And how much is a local call anymore? I remember when phone booths were a dime. And then they went up to a quarter. What's it cost now?

Monday, December 20, 2010


I took this picture at the rest area on the Wyoming-Utah state line. I just LOVE this tree. It totally trumps the tree in Nebraska!

I love it. Just love it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Over The Hill And Over The Top
Mr. & Mrs. Javelina And The Carb Encounter
Disk This
Ghostly Landmark
Shopping In Hell

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Place For The Snow To Rest

This photo was taken at a rest area in Cozad, Nebraska. There wasn't much snow on the ground, but the tree branches were laden with it. I love this type of scenery in the winter and I'm so glad this year I'm getting to see a lot of it.

Next stop, Wyoming and Utah. There should be plenty o' snow there!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Used To Care But Now I Take A Pill For That

I should have bought that magnet (the red one in the center with the naked woman on it) when I took the picture, because the title of this post, which is the little ditty on that magnet, is my new motto.

Now where are those pills?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Wet And Woodsy
Bite Sized Yummy Goodness
There’s A Time For Everything
Colors Of The Barrio
Puss In Breasts

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Frozen Tundra

I'm combing through some old pictures from my first year on the road, before I started the blog. Here's one of Eddie and I in Canada. We're not easy to see but I assure you it's us.

And yes, I'm wearing a cowboy hat. I thought when I got on the road, I wanted to have a "signature look" know, "The girl with the black cowboy hat." But that didn't work. The hat was annoying and I couldn't stand wearing it. Signature look, gone.

Any ideas what my next "signature look" should be?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Portland Bound

Looks like we'll be in Portland for Christmas. We got a smokin' load out of Connecticut and are expected to deliver by the 23rd. So if the luck of the snow gods is on my side, there will be snow on the way, in the process of falling or getting ready to greet me when I get there. I suspect, since we'll be traveling I-80, that there will be no shortage of the white stuff. Again, that reminds me that I have to go buy a coat.

What's significant about spending Christmas in Portland is that Ed and I spent our first Christmas together there. It was the first year we started dating and the first year I was on the road with him. These pictures were taken in the old truck; our Portland Christmas Portrait.
Ed has his winter beard (which he ia growing again as we speak), and I had much longer hair (which Ed wants me to grow back). In this picture we were sitting on the bed, with the camera on a tripod placed between the seats in the cab. This was one small truck. It had a 48" sleeper, which is teeny compared to our now 132" sleeper.

Behind us you can see the shelving unit Ed put in, where the top bunk would have been. I was like a gypsy in that truck, with stuff bungeed to the ceiling, clothing and goods stuffed in every little available nook and cranny. We only had a fridge, microwave and hot pot in that thing. Teas and instant oatmeal were a pretty popular breakfast at that time.

But it was fun. And cozy. And Ed and I were literally never more than three feet apart. What a way to start a relationship, huh? I guess we passed the test because more than six years later, we're still here. And like the Jefferson's said...

We're movin' on up!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Dear Blog Santa
The Trees Help Guide The Way
Just In Time For The Holidays
Eddie Leans On A Barrio Door Friday
Glowing Reminder

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stay Home: TV And Hot Chocolate Is The Only Way To Make It Through

My best friend Vicki is usually up with the roosters, so when I couldn't get her by nine a.m. this morning (by text or phone), I called her husband to find out what the deal was. He tracked her down and then told me to try the house again and she'd pick up; so I did. When she answered, I asked her what she was doing and she said she was still in bed. "STILL IN BED?????" I bellowed. "Are you sick?"

She wasn't sick, but apparently she stayed up late last night with the kids because they didn't have school today. Or yesterday, it turns out. "Why not?" I asked.

"Because we got four flakes." she said. I burst out laughing. "Two yesterday and two today. They shut down the entire school district."

I knew exactly what she meant: people in the South can't drive in any version of inclement weather. She lives in Tennessee and apparently, any little bit of snow throws the town into a tizzy. She said the news crews were out on I-40 filming all the people in ditches and when she and Anthony (her husband) went to the store, they were floored by how many people were on the sides of the roads. They wondered aloud how they ever got by living in New York.

We had a real good laugh about the whole thing and started reminiscing about being kids and how our school district almost never used all their snow days. We would get up and see that we got three feet of snow and react with a "Woo hoo! No school today!" And then you'd hear the snowplow rumbling down the street, with the school bus right behind it. Damn.

You could never be sure what had to happen for school to be closed. We went to school in so much snow, you would have thought they'd close the highways, let alone the schools. Those damn people were hellbent on getting us some learnin'. I mean, where I lived in upstate New York, we'd literally have to get N'oreaster for them to close anything.

But in the South, forget about it. They see a flake and the whole town closes down. And as we discovered the other night when we actually stopped driving, they don't send out the salt trucks or the plows fast enough. I guess they wait for the first pile-up to be called in and the rescue crews to go out.

They should issue warnings to the residents like they do in Chicago; don't go outside unless it's absolutely necessary. Stay off the roads. It's safer at home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Rainy Rainbow
Be Wary Of Women Wearing Skull Panties
Holiday Sparkle
Arizona Sunset
Before And After The Chops

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wishing For A Blizzard But Will Settle For Flakes

When we woke this morning, the snow was still coming down. Steady but in very small, light flakes. It eventually stopped by late morning. The roads were dry and we were ready to head north.

I'm probably the only truck driver on the road who wishes for snow; most drivers silently and sometimes openly, pray for clean, dry roads. I don't love driving in the snow, although I'm not afraid to. I grew up in the snow and have driven in it for years. In a car, that is. In a truck, not as much. The last few years we were doing the UPS run, kept us mostly in the west. The farthest east we had gone during that run was Louisville, KY. And for three years, we were lucky to never hit any bad weather.

This year we're not doing that run, instead we have our pick of loads, going where we want, like we do throughout the year. We've been trying to stay on long, coast-to-coast runs so we can just get in the truck and drive, but in most cases, we just go where the money takes us. So far this winter, we've stayed away from the north although we did have a load up to Maine a little over a week ago. Unfortunately, they didn't have any snow.

I love the cold weather and wouldn't mind spending the rest of the winter in it. Ed is pretty indifferent to it. He never complains about anything and even today when he was out in 17 degree weather (with wind!) cleaning the road spray off my window, he didn't say a word about the frigid conditions. He just pulled down his cap, threw on his jacket and gloves and got the job done. Thank God there aren't two people in this truck bitching about the weather. I can barely stand listening to myself,

So to the northeast we go, and if Jim Cantore and his co-horts over at the Weather Channel have things right, it looks like we're fixin' to hit some pretty brisk weather. I'm going to be in absolute heaven, but I think I mightjust have to break down and buy a coat.

On another note, not related to weather, take a look at THIS.

That's right folks, The Plum Trucker is the first in a series of driver profiles over at Trucker To! Did they not pick the cutest little trucker to start with? Boy, Karl really knows what he's doing over there.

Kudos to him for the great choice and congratulations to Michelle for being his first subject!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A Hideous Thief Exposed
Southwest Sunset
Subtlety Is SO Not His Middle Name
Bridging Chicago
Oxymoronic Holiday

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Shuttin' Down The Operation

Today is the first day in the six years that I've been on the road where we've had to shut down the truck due to bad weather. The sun had only been down for about an hour when we came upon a galaxy of glowing red lights; traffic ahead was at a standstill. While waiting in the backup, inching along, Ed couldn't help but notice the glossy appearance of the asphalt. Black ice. It was everywhere. So less than an hour into our wait, as we were slowly climbing a very gradual incline and saw several cars sliding backwards, we knew it was time to call it a night.

Since Ed always keeps a ridiculously long following distance, we were already truck lengths behind the skaters, but next to us was another semi who just couldn't make it up the hill. Every time he tried to move, he spun his tires. He couldn't get any traction. Maybe he didn't have good tires, maybe he didn't have enough weight on him, or maybe it was a combination of the two. Whatever his trouble was, he couldn't seem to conquer the ice. He wound up sitting in one place for so long, his truck trying to get the gumption to move, that traffic started to go around him.

That's when Ed decided he wasn't going any farther. At that point, our GPS readout said we were traveling at one mile per hour. Other drivers on the CB said the road got worse the more north we went. Although we still had eleven hours to gom why should we sit in traffic, moving at under ten miles an hour, on icy roads with snow still coming down? We called it a night right around six o'clock, took the next exit and hoped to find a parking spot.

We were lucky enough to find a spot in a surprisingly empty lot, considering all the rigs lined up out there on the highway. We called the customer service department to let them know their load would not be arriving on Monday and weather permitting, would be there Tuesday. They documented our call (CYA) and thanked us for checking in. They were very understanding and seeing as how they take safety so seriously (any little diversion from safe operating procedures affects the carrier's safety rating), they didn't try to persuade us to keep going, they just bid us goodnight.

It was still snowing when we settled into bed, steadily coming down and coating the truck from head to toe. Guess we'll just see what morning brings.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Rolling Out The Holiday Films
No Rig Too Big
Go Dasher, Go Dancer, Go Prancer, Go Vixen

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Star (Or Two) Is Born

Today I was talking to my best friend Vicki, having our usual conversation; the one about all the things we plan on doing with our lives. There's SO much! Although we've had many experiences in our 40+ years, we continue to talk about what's next. We've been having this very conversation for over twenty years.

Both of us have had some really great life experiences, and we've shared them all. We first met when we both worked at a ski resort in New York. That first day was unlike any I've ever had; something special happened, a magic that has not diminished. Since then, we've been through boyfriends, jobs, vacations, crying fests (me, not her), my life on the road with Ed and her life at home with a husband and kids. But we know there's more. And that's where our minds converge yet again.

While talking about this next phase in our lives, I told her that we were like "late life stars", that we were going to find our calling later in life. You know, late bloomers. We both love what we do now, me with the trucking and she with toting the kids to school and swim meets, but we know our greatness, our true callings, are yet to be uncovered.

I did some Googling and found a term I thought perfectly explained our journey through life: Stellar Evolution. Stellar evolution is the process by which a star undergoes a sequence of radical changes during its lifetime; from its birth until its death. How perfect is that? So I decided that we are going through a stellar evolution of sorts. We are experiencing radical changes (OK, maybe not radical) as we move towards our right livelihood.

I love that I am on this journey with my best friend. I couldn't have asked for a better person to travel the galaxy with.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Modern Road Warriors And Their Weapons
Race To The Head
Listening And Loving
Unfortunately Synonymous
The Gays Are The Ritziest