Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping Over Urban Blight

A photo of an abandoned building in Philadelphia above, and some information below about Leap Year:

Leap year traditions from around the world.

Weird and wonderful facts about Leap Year.

Is this a guy's dream - celebrating a wedding anniversary every four years?

What about celebrating birthdays?  How does that happen?

But why do we even have leap years?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
2014: Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
I Love You Newman E. Drake
2011: Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
2008: Sorry, no post on this day.  For some reason, I just didn't write one.
Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
Sorry, no post on this day.  Only 28 days in the month this year.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005! 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

In Disguise

What the hell is going on here??

She wasn't very cooperative when this was taken.  She refused to face me, so this is what you get for now.  Maybe she'll warm up to it.

I will try again before Easter.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Hawaii Five-O

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Piquing Interest

"Pastrami has arrived at Wienerschnitzel and Culver's is having a big sale on North Atlantic Cod sandwiches!"

This is the announcement my mother just shouted from the kitchen.

While she was making toast.

I'm not really sure what constitutes a "big sale" on cod, but clearly it was something she felt she needed to mention to us.

When we come home, she always questions us, or makes comments about, the food locations we may or may not have visited throughout the country.

"Have you ever had Long John Silver's?"

"What do you think of the Angus Burger at McDonald's?"

"I heard the the fried chicken at Popeye's is better than KFC.  Is that true?"

"Boy, the roast beef sandwich at Arby's looks good.  Have you ever had it?"

"Which do you like better, onion rings from Burger King or the tater tots from Sonic?"

She is Madison Avenue's dream television viewer.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2016: Piquing Interest

2015: Not Your Average Hula Girls
2014: Some Links Are Sexier Than Others
2013: Who Says I'm Spoiled?
2012: So That’s How It’s Done
2011: Sunny Bright Yellow Moments Ahead
2010: Loaded
2009: C’mon, Just Do It Already!
2008: Counterproductive
2007: If You Need A Reason To Cook More Often, I Think I Have One
2006: Warning: May Contain Traces Of Nuts
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Taking A Surf Break

I did take a few breaks from my yard work duties this week to surf the internet. Here's what I found.

9 Things You Didn't Know About Frank Lloyd Wright.

Looking to make a large purchase?  Here are the best times to do that.

If you've driven through Oklahoma City, you've seen the SkyDance Bridge.  You seriously can't miss it.  

I'm not sure if people are ready to make the transition from va-jay-jay to crinkum crankum.  What are your thoughts?

When Ed and I went to the green dump last week, I saw tons of trees in a huge pile - all sizes and shapes.  I had ideas.  And then I found this.

These bastard drug companies shouldn't be allowed to make BILLIONS on meds that people need to survive.    

I love winter scenes of any kind.  These involve water.

So much gaudy.   This is what my brother would describe as people who have too many dollars and not enough sense.  These people have a white peacock on the kitchen counter.

This ice stacking on Lake Superior is beautiful.

17 ways to make your makeup last longer.  Because everyone needs that.  

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Not So Fat Tuesday

2014: Dinner And A Show
2013: Everything You Need To Live A Bountiful Life Is Inside Of You
2012: From A Bodyguard, To Men Of Honor, To Good Deeds
2011: Just What I Need
2010: Waterfront Dining
2009: The Best Is Yet To Come
2008: It’s Not Just A Medicinal Oil After All
2007: Tracy Hilltop
2006: Calming The Flatulent Tiger
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Citrus Oasis Awaits Me

Today we visited Rillito Nursery to find out about plants and trees for our yard.  We talked with a landscape architect and she walked us around their facility pointing out what might work for the idea we have for landscaping.

As I mentioned in past posts, we'd like to landscape the yard with decorative rock and different kinds of plants - some cactus, some succulents (that's a delicious word!), some flowering color.  There were so many choices I felt overwhelmed!

My favorite trees though, were the citrus.  In our backyard we used to have lemon, grapefruit, orange and pomegranate trees.  After years of the irrigation system not being maintained, and my parents aging to the point that yard work wasn't really something they could do, the trees eventually withered and died.

At Rillito Nursery they had quite a few mature trees - with fruit on them! - ready to be planted.  I definitely want those in my yard.  The leaves are so lush and green, so bright and shiny, and they smell amaaazing with their fragrant flowers.  I pulled a leaf off one of the lime trees and folded it in half - the oils in the leaf immediately filled my nose.  Oh dear, soooo fantastic.

We are going to have a beautiful oasis.  I can't wait!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Ed Travels Light

2014: La Ventanita
2013: Big Fat Proof Of Your Weight
2012: This Could Be Very Confusing For Men
2011: The King Of Thrift
2010: Dances With Sheepskin
2009: The Seat You Offer Your Arch Enemy
2008: The Man With The Silver Handbag
2007: Silver Snowscape
2006: Let Go Let Flow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Roll On

Today my job was compaction.  I was in charge of a 3-ton vibratory roller, which when the compaction was switched on, provided six tons of compaction to the surface.  

There was a lot of skill involved.  I had one lever - push it forward to go forward, push it back to reverse.  The compaction button was located on the lever, at my thumb.

Forward and back.  Forward and back.  For approximately nine hours, minus a lunch break and a few pee breaks.  It was cool when I started, and pretty comfortable all day because there was a lovely breeze, but the sun did get a little fierce in the afternoon.  

So I altered the rental equipment to make it a little more practical for working under the midday sun:
The umbrella helped a great deal.  I still got more sun than I should have - I officially have the farmer arm tan - but it did cut the intensity.  And it looked cute.  Even Ed got in on the action.
My brother and Ed took turns running the skid-steer spreading the dirt, and I followed behind them, rolling the dirt in nice, neat rows, like cutting grass.  Right now it's just neatly compacted dirt, but around the driveway area I want to plant either hedges, or oleander, or what they call out here "natural fencing" - like tall skinny cactus or ocotillo plants - it creates a nice privacy screen but will also make the property waaaay prettier. 

It actually wasn't that bad.  I sort of enjoyed myself.  I had my earbuds in, listening to music, sunglasses and visor in place, floating around the other equipment like I was in a site-prepping ballet.

My friend Kim stopped by when she got off from work.  She laughed as she walked toward me, watching me do my thing on the roller.  Her first words were, "Are you wearing makeup??"  Of course I was.  She's known me for twelve years, it shouldn't have even been a question.
When I was done, Ed tested the surface by driving the truck on it (tractor only) and it was perfect.  Damn right, it was.

I'm not only the master or sitting and driving.  I'm apparently also the master of sitting and rolling.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: AdiĆ³s

2014: Shades Of SOBE
2013: Set In Stone
2012: How To Make A Mustache Famous
2011: Homemade Dessert Is The Bombe
2010: Olga And Eddie Travel The Country Viking Style
2009: They Say
2008: Eddie Lounges In Cozumel Friday
2007: I Think I’m Dating A Narcoleptic
2006: Groundhog Surprise
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Amateur Arborists

I have never seen someone so happy to do yard work.  Ed's been working all week in the yard and even at the end of the day, he's still grinning like a kid.  He's been using my brother's skid-steer to move around the dirt but yesterday he used it to assist in the tree trimming.

Here you'll see my brother standing in the bucket, while Ed mans the controls of the skid-steer, moving him around and raising and lowering him to reach the high branches.

It involved a lot of teamwork, hand signals, and random shouts.  I stood below grabbing the large branches and collecting the small ones in piles, and also making sure Ed didn't run over the power cord.  My job was difficult.
I only requested a few branches to be cut, the ones that were dead and hanging, but they wound up trimming three of the largest trees on the property.  We have a lot more to go and I can't wait to see how it's going to look with the new plants and decorative rock.

Once the spring comes and the leaves of the trees fill out, we'll have a better idea of what the shape of the tree will look like, and can do more precise pruning.  Never did I think I'd be using the word "pruning" in a sentence describing something I did in my actual life.

We have some ideas for the landscaping and I'm excited to see how it'll all turn out.  Right now the yard is very bare with just the natural vegetation, much of which is dead or overgrown.  The end result with the new plants and decorative rock is going to be gorgeous.  I'm envisioning something like this or this or this or even this!

In the backyard sits a shipping container which was used at one point for storage, and a clothesline that's no longer part of laundry day.  Both will eventually be removed.

The sun was setting when my brother left and Ed finished up around the yard, filling the trailer for our run to the green dump.  Today we'll start early and get a few hours in before it gets hot.

We've been sleeping really well after days like this.  It's true what they say about hard labor wearing one out.

I never knew.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Sea Day

2014: Art Deco Color
2013: Formed Around A Grain Of Sand
2012: Pinwheels, Cartwheels, What’s The Difference?
2011: Maybe You Left It On Mars
2010: The Art Of A French Cooking Friend
2009: Eddie Supervises Friday
2008: Squeaky Clean
2007: Rushing No More
2006: My Constant Gardner
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 19, 2016


Ed finished clearing the yard area off of the driveway yesterday.  Here, he's finishing up by giving the area a watering.

I'm so incredibly proud of him and impressed by his efforts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Tied Off

2014: Seek And Ye Shall Find
2013: Frantically Trying To Get Back To Indonesia
2012: I’d Like Some Snow For Dessert
2011: Getting A Little Carried Away
2010: On A Need To Know Basis
2009: Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong
2008: Flying Into The Sun
2007: Riding The Rails
2006: Keeping Me Quiet With A Chocolate Snap
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

What? This Is Perfectly Normal.

This cat is so damn cute.  Everything she does is adorable. Here I caught her hiding among the houseplants.

I guess that's what cats do when they have a free afternoon to explore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Inside The Walls
2014: What A Difference A Day Makes
2013: The Inner Path To The Outer Banks
2012: The Greatest Love Of All
2011: Step It Up
2010: It May Not Be EVERY Day You Learn Something New, But It’s Certainly True Of THIS Day
2009: Dreams Of Do-It-Yourself Dolloping Come True
2008: Rest In Peace Sweet Green Eyed Beauty
2007: George And Ira
2006: Zip It Up!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Working The Land

We've been doing yard work for three days.  And when I say "we", I mean mostly Ed, but I have actually been out there helping.  You can ask him yourself.

Our plan is to remove some of the dead branches and prune the unsightly bushes, then we want to add some decorative rock, several golden barrel cacti, a new pathway to the front door (the old one has been washed away over the years), and maybe even add some colorful flowers to offset the greens and browns of the desert.

The weather is still cool in the mornings - we've been starting about thirty minutes after sunrise - and I've decided my helping in the yard means I don't have to go for my one-mile walk.  I'm counting this as my daily exercise.

I have been using loppers to cut branches off trees and reducing the size of small bushes. Then I collect the piles of branches and bring them to the dump trailer.  I carry my iPhone because I have an app that counts my steps and logs my activity.  There's a lot of walking back and forth with this kind of work and if my app is correct yard work burns WAY more calories than walking around the block.

And I rake, which isn't as easy as it sounds.  Using the fan rake isn't bad because it gently glides over the little pieces collecting them in a nice neat areas.  The bow rake is a little more challenging because it moves bigger clumps of stuff and I've noticed my upper body strength waning when I use it.

I also can't quite master shoveling.  You'd think that would be easy, right?  Well, it's not for me.  Raising a shovel laden with cactus nibs above my shoulders to pitch it into the trailer isn't something I can get the hang of yet, mostly because the cactus pieces fly back in my direction which isn't ideal.

Today I put in three hours outside, one of them leaning on the shovel and riding in the cab of the truck as Ed and my brother used it to pull stumps from the ground, and then I took a ride to the dump with the boys.  

And I've finally found a use for the 700 pairs of free gloves I've collected.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2015: Pre-Columbian Toothlace
2014: Who Needs Sochi? We've Got Watertown.
2013: Pit Stop At Home
2012: Adding A Few More Wheels To The Big Rig
2011: Again And Again And Again
2010: Hood Ornament
2009: Eddie Out Of Control Friday
2008: My Boyfriend Simon Is Back In Town
2007: A Little Taste Of Miami Beach
2006: Ooooohhhhhh, Jabra!
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Good Stuff, Maynard!

After walking The Moc yesterday, we needed to nourish ourselves with a little breakfast. The World's largest Gem Show was in town so we thought downtown would be packed and hesitated dining there even though it was nearby.

We checked online for a few places, something new, a place we haven't been to before, and happened to pass by Maynards Market.  I'd been wanting to try this place for ages but I generally refuse to do anything downtown because parking is non-existent and when it is available, it's a pain in the ass.

I was pleasantly surprised to find there wasn't much traffic at all, and we actually found a spot right in the Maynards lot.  Total score!

Maynards has two entities - the Market and the Kitchen - the Kitchen is only open for dinner and Sunday Brunch.

Maynards is located in the Historic Tucson Train Depot.  Built in 1907 and renovated in 1941, the train depot is home to an Amtrak station, shops and office, and the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum.

According to the Downtown Tucson website, there's a locomotive - Locomotive 1673, a freight hauling engine that logged over one million miles for the Southern Pacific Railroad and featured in the film "Oklahoma" - that's also located on-site.  They've also noted that an incident involving Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday took place in 1882 and is memorialized with a statue.

From the breakfast menu we ordered Breakfast Burritos (Wheat tortilla, scrambled eggs, potatoes, peppers, onions, cheddar cheese, sausage, and hot tomatillo salsa), a Cheddar Biscuit and Peppered Gravy (House-made cheddar onion biscuit with peppered gravy), and the Ham & Cheese French Toast Sandwich (Applewood ham and Gruyere cheese on sourdough, dipped in french toast batter and pressed).  

Add two coffees and a delicious latte, and you've got a hearty breakfast for three.

The weather was beautiful so we enjoyed breakfast on the patio, with passing trains less than 200 feet from where we sat.  A loud horn toot to announce their presence was unnecessary since they were right there, but it did add a lot of train station atmosphere.
There was a large community table in front of the coffee bar and an extensive collection of wines.  Through the glass door on the right, at the other end of the breezeway is where you'll find Maynards Kitchen.  
This is definitely a place I'd go back to for breakfast and I certainly want to try out the Kitchen for dinner.

It's a total Marlaina and MacG place, so I'll putting it on my list for their next visit.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Spiky On The Outside, Sinfully Delicious Inside

2014: The Most Awkward Descent Down A Snow Covered Hill. Ever.
2013: At The Top Of My Favorite Cities List
2012: Not Looking Anymore
2011: There Is Hope
2010: Where The Bunnies Of The Desert Hang Out
2009: The Marion County Shirt Factory Incident
2008: Eddie Roams The Mayan Ruins Friday
2007: Self Service Antiques
2006: Begin At Once
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sweet And Undefinable

Because I'm trying to eat better - although this week was challenging - instead of chocolates, for Valentine's Day Ed bought me flowers, a card, and a pineapple.

It seems the pineapple is more than just a delicious treat and the symbol of hospitality, but also a way to tell someone you hope they stay healthy enough to be around for a long time.

"Love is like a pineapple, sweet and undefinable."
~ Piet Hein

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Grand And Important

2014: Winter Is A Table Set With Ice And Starlight
2013: The Romance Of The Road
2012: Celebrate With A Wild Desire
2011: Powerful Stuff
2010: Falling In Love With Ugly
2009: A Love Like This Can Know No Death
2008: Peace To This House
2007: The Sultan Of Love
2006: It’s Even Better Than Arbor Day
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Rock The Moc

Last night at dinner, Ed and my friend Kim decided they were going to walk Tumamoc Hill.  As always, Kim asked if I wanted to join them and as always I said, "Ummmm.  No."

In the wee (very wee) hours of the morning, because Ed couldn't sleep, he tapped me on the shoulder.  I turned toward him and he tapped me on the tip of my nose.  "Wanna come with me and Kim to Tumamoc today?" he asked.  I think I grumbled an answer.

It was 3 a.m.

At 6:45 a.m. I woke up, arranged my hair in a 'do that wouldn't scare strangers, and threw on my walking clothes and shoes, which are essentially regular clothes and shoes since I don't own clothes specifically for exercise.

We picked up Kim, drove to "The Moc" as the local freaks call it, and met up with our two other friends. Then we started up what Kim called "the easy part".
Fuck her.  It wasn't easy at all

The "easy part" was the longest hill I've ever walked - for exercise - in my life. I did a few hills like this in Italy, but c'mon, they were in Italy, where at the top of them you have the opportunity to reward your efforts with something quintessentially Italian - a panino, coffee, a cornetto, gelato.

But at the top of The Moc, from what I've been told since I've never been to the top, there's nothing.  Not even a soda machine.  At the one-and-a-half-mile mark there's a water fountain and a porta-potty.

Everyone went ahead of me, at my insistence, and I kept trudging on.  Step by step. 

People passed in droves.  Old people.  Young people.  Fat people.  Thin people.  As each one passed, I thought to myself, why the hell do people do this?  

I knew I was making a little progress though, because when I looked back I saw a considerable decline and a view.  I was actually higher than where I had started.
It wasn't hot, so that was a plus. And the people watching was interesting.

I eventually made it to the halfway point - see the yellow "You Are Here" star?  That's where I called it a day. Ed, Kim, Corey and Andy continued on, but only Andy and Ed went all the way to the top.

The one switchback was enough for me.  
My Map My Walk app clocked me at .97 of a mile, so I walked around a bit more to bump it up to a mile and waited for them rest of them to come back down. Before I plopped myself down on a bench to wait, I noticed a mailbox enhanced with a saguaro.

There was a question on it - I don't know if they change the question since this was my first time up here - that said, "What stereotypes are there about your community?  And how do they make you feel?"

Interesting idea, but I don't know how many people are hiking with a notebook. I'm usually fully equipped for any situation - pens, paper, safety pins, baby wipes, Sharpies, gum, etc. - but even I only had my phone and water bottle with me.  I did not leave my story.

Overall, I guess it wasn't horrible, but it just seemed like a chore, something to do and just get over with. At this point, I can't really see myself wanting to do it again.

The only positive comments I can make are that I had a good time with Ed and my friends (who were extremely proud of my effort, which made me feel great), it wasn't hot, and the view at the top was expansive.

You can see for miles and miles, which I suppose is nice, but I've seen this view before and once is really enough for me.  So there.  You have that.

Even friends thousands of miles away seemed to question my sanity.  At 7:59 a.m. as I was ascending the hill, I got a text from Marlaina that said, "Are you climbing that mountain?????"

FIVE question marks.  FIVE.  I kid you not.

She can see where I am because we keep track of each other through the Find My Friends app.  I'm sure she thought someone stole my phone.

I texted back, "I'm trying.  It's a bitch.  Kim, Ed, and Kim's friends Corey and Andy are way ahead of me."

"Jeez.  That's a little ambitious.  Are you drunk?"

She knows me so well.  Because, really, what other reason could there be for me to be climbing a 3,000 foot mountain at eight in the morning??

Her last text on the subject said, "I wouldn't even do it if I were paid in Stuart Weitzman shoes and Longchamp bags."

This coming from a very tiny, very fit person.

Then she sent me this article.

Just in the nick of time, too, because Corey sent me a Facebook event invite to "Walk The Moc" next week.  Now I might just have a really good reason for not going.

I don't want to die prematurely.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Hustle And Bustle In Ancient Guatemala

2014: The Flakes Got Up Early And Stayed All Day
2013: Headed For A Slow Boat To China
2012: A Roaring Forties Tasmanian Devil Of A Blue
2011: Waiter! There’s A Beer In My Soup!
2010: I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Wolf
2009: Eddie Getting His Licks Friday
2008: The Place Is In Ruins
2007: Winter Shadows
2006: The Angels Of The New York D.O.T.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, February 12, 2016


Eddie worked on the truck today with my brother Michael, at our friend Craig's house.

He had to change the shocks, which turned into a challenging job because all of the bolts on them were seized.  They had to cut them off with a torch.

In this photo my brother took, you'll see Ed using the cutting torch.  It was his first time and he did a great job!

Apparently you can get a lot accomplished when the reward is beer and pizza.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Waiting For Turistas

2014: The Still Before The Storm
2013: Sizzle, Drizzle, And Pour
2012: Dreams Explored Over Dinner
2011: I’m In Love And It’s Not Even Valentine’s Day Yet
2010: Eddie As Fisherman Friday
2009: Birds And Barbells On Muscle Beach
2008: A Girl On The Shores Of Cozumel
2007: I’m Not Exactly Sure What You’re Proposing Here
2006: The Blizzard Of 2006
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!