Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer's The Best

My dear friend Marlaina, who is enjoying the beautiful weather of Vancouver, Canada this week while I'm dying in the 100-plus degrees of Tucson, was kind enough to send me this comic strip.

It's me to a tee.  And although she can tolerate warmer temps than I can, she's still not a fan of hot.

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One, Two, Three, Boom! You're In The Bronx

2014: A Beautiful Time Capsule
2013: I'm Giving Up Trucking And Going Into Clothing Design
2012: Wynning Diamonds
2011: Donuts From Heaven
2010: Captain Of The Most Expensive Fried Seafood This Side Of Arthur Treacher’s
2009: Eddie Acts Like A Monkey Friday
2008: I Might Like It If There Were Some Balling Involved
2007: Very Large Cheek Pouches Come In Handy When Traveling
2006: The French Are So Romance Savvy
2005: Wyoming Clean Air Act 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

No Middle Ground

Yesterday I was complaining to my friend that I didn't have anything to wear for an upcoming event.  It's going to be a casual affair, and I've never really been great at casual. I don't like jeans, I wouldn't dream of going out in public in sweatpants, and leaving the house without makeup is unicorn-rare.

It was worse when I first moved to Tucson. Coming from New York, my idea of not dressing up was Tucson's version of black tie.  Over the years I've actually embraced a version of casual I can live with.  And I think as I've gotten fatter and older, I've slipped even further into the black hole of Tucson's flip-flop nation.  If people can show up for job interviews in shorts or sundresses - I kid you not - I can probably lower my standards.

This friend always gives me grief when we go out to dinner - she shows up in a sweatshirt with no bra, and I'm wearing patent leather ballet flats and a something with rhinestones. Needless to say, she was no help in guiding me on what to wear.

She said, "You're either dressed to the hilt or in pajamas.  There's no in-between."

As evidence, I present the photo above - three-and-a-half years old on the left, five years old on the right.  Pajamas, and the hilt.

In fact, I'm sitting in my pajamas as I type this.  Clearly, nothing has changed in over forty years.

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2015: Check Out These Links Before The Big One Hits
2014: In Six Months, They'll Know Right Where To Put It
2012: Me And The Thunder
2011: Her Cup Overfloweth With Idiocy
2010: Dear Arizona,
2009: Come Sit In Our Cab For A Spel And Let Us Take You On The Road!
2008: How Well Do You Know Your Stringed Instruments?
2007: Meat. The Old Fashioned Way.
2006: Kicking The Hell Out Of Texas
2005: Look, Mary!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trapping Tourists Since 1965

Interstate 10, Exit 322 east of Benson, Arizona.  Either stop by to see this famous tourist trap, or read this and spoil some of the mystery.

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Selfie In 53

2014: Storm Warning
2013: Another Home Run By Big Ed
2012: A Window On New Mexico
2011: My Man Makes A Mad Meal
2010: Less Is Not More In All Cases
2009: Grain Gone By
2008: The Absolute Beauty Of It
2007: Not Only Did He Pray, He Posed
2006: Camera Phone Coolness
2005: Life Is A Salt Shaker

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Bronx Terpsichoreans

My maternal grandmother was a Bronx Girl. And she loved to dance.  She went out many times with her older brother Danny, and as she got older, would accompany him and his wife to competitions all over New York City.  I loved listening to her stories about all the places they went and the competitions entered.  

In the photo above, my grandmother (the girl in the middle), and the other ladies sporting Victory Rolls, sit on the balcony of the famous Stardust Ballroom, located on Tremont Avenue at 177th Street in the Bronx. The year was 1946.

Her brother Danny, and his wife Marie, were there for the Harvest Moon Ball preliminaries.  Here they are, all decked out in their fancy duds for the competition.  My grandmother wrote the note on the photo.
In this photo, they look up at my grandfather, who was on the balcony taking photos.  They're waiting for their turn to take the floor.
In this photo, you'll see Uncle Danny and Aunt Marie in full swing on the floor, doing their thing for the preliminary competition.  I don't have any photo evidence that my grandmother took place in this competition, but I'd bet anything she was dancing at some point during the night.  

Many years later, in 1974, more than 200 people attended a dinner-dance to honor my grandmother's brother Dan and his wife Marie for their fervent service and dedication as dancing instructors at the Mary Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Hall in the Bronx. The event was covered by the local newspaper and the headline called them terpsichoreans.

Uncle Danny owned a radio and TV repair shop, but on this night they received a plaque for teaching dancing to community residents.  Approximately 300 people "graduated" from their dancing school.

The newspaper article said they received vociferous applause after they demonstrated the intricate steps of the tango, and as an encore, Dan and his sister (My grandmother, Mary Pica, mentioned in the article) "brought the house down" with their version of the Lindy.  My grandmother saved the article:

Monday, July 25, 2016

We Will Rise

Tonight was the first night of the Democratic National Convention.  And boy, was it good.

Cory Booker, United States Senator from New Jersey.

Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States of America.  My favorite speech of the night.  She's AMAZING.  Here's the full text of her speech.

Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator from Massachusetts.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Do What Happy People Do

Science says happy people have these 9 things in common.

The guy behind The Scream.

Forty-freaking-seven. She's amazing.

Paper Art.

How an almost bad banana can be oh so good.

And then, after watching Legally Blond this week, I was reminded of The Bend and Snap. Always fun.


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2015: Te Voglio Bene
2014: Dry Like An Oven
2013: I Saw And I Said
2012: Juicy Driving Treat
2011: Reckless In Rome
2010: Back And Forth, Back And Forth, Back And Forth…
2009: Eddie Enters A Copper Mine Friday
2008: Oshkosh B’Gosh!
2007: Queen Of The 21st Century
2006: Sketchbook
2005: A Queen’s Life

Friday, July 22, 2016

Food For The Spirit Inside Of You

Last month I did a post about my RBar purchase and how much I was in love with this delicious little healthy treat I found.

When I was done writing it, I tweeted about it, tagging RBar.  Shortly after that, I was contacted by them and asked if I would be interested in taking RBar on the road and posting pictures on social media in all the places I traveled with (and ate) these colorful packets of goodness.  

Of course I was interested!  I love to share things I love.  

I had already bought two boxes off the shelves in my local Sprouts, but they didn't carry all the flavors, so I wasn't able to speak to the Peanut Butter & Jelly RBar (which really tastes like PBJ!), or the Lemon Poppyseed RBar, or the Cranberry Cashew RBar.

Then RBar generously sent me several boxes of the Variety Pack.  I had access to them all!!  And let me tell you - they are delish!

Look, energy bars are usually for fit people.  Hikers, cyclists, girls in yoga pants. People who are doing strenuous activities that they need energy for.  Not fatties like me. But really, when I picked up the cute little package, I didn't know it was an energy bar.  I just thought that because it was at the Sprouts Farmers Market, it was a healthy kind of "candy bar".  I have been trying to do better with snacks - although more often than not, I fail miserably - and I have to tell you, these things are like decadent treats. I feel really satisfied after having one.  They totally hit the sweet spot.

I've seen many healthy cookies and brownie bar recipes made with dates as the base, but prior to my first RBar purchase, I hadn't tried any.  In fact, I was a little wary of dates, thinking I wouldn't like them because they're very prune-like to me, and the eating of prunes....well, they don't conjure up the best visual for me.

But I like Fig Newtons, and to me, figs were the closest to the flavor and consistency of dates.  And I wound up liking them.  The RBar is also the perfect size, providing just the right amount of date.  Any larger and the sweetness would be overwhelming.

RBar is a Tucson-based startup - which explains why initially, I couldn't find these bars in other states - and they are growing.  I'm thrilled to be able to support a company whose product I truly enjoy.

RBar is looking to expand.  They're looking to branch out.  Maybe you can persuade your local grocer or outdoor store or health food joint to start selling them.  Hell, we might even be able to get them in truck stops if people start asking for them!  But first, you need to try them.

Click HERE to browse the RBar site and find a flavor you like.  I recommend the variety pack for sampling them all.  

And as it says on the RBar site:  "We make RBars for people who aren't satisfied with following the crowd. The people who pursue the freedom of the outdoors, the wide open spaces of experience, and the adventure of travel. At RBar, we believe everyone has that spirit inside of them."

Feed the spirit inside of you.

** This is a sponsored blog post.  While the views expressed here were genuinely mine, consideration was paid to me by Rbar Energy to review this product. **

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These Little Piggies Went To Market

2014: Just Another View From The Road
2013: Polly Needs More Than A Cracker. Polly Needs A Roll Cage.
2012: Hats Off To Tits And Ass
2011: Approaching Chi-Town
2010: Paneful Outlook
2009: Gray County Silhouette
2008: This Little Piggy Went To Market
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: The Heat Bog
2005: Five

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I've only had kale once in my life.  My sister-in-law's brother's wife made it for us.  She sautéed it with garlic and I think a little splash of vinegar.  I can't remember.  It was good.  But then, she's a great cook.  She probably could have sautéed shoelaces and they would have been delicious.

Then Ed and I went to breakfast and saw a Kale Tonic on the menu.  Kale Tonic??  It had Kale, Fuji Apple, English Cucumber, and Lemon.  Fujis are my favorite apple, and I like cuke and lemon.  And it's a cold drink.  We thought it might be refreshing.  We decided to get one and both sample it.

It's green.

VERY green.

Neon green.  


I have to say that the color was a little off-putting.  I've never had a green drink.  I'm not a juicer.  Shocker, right?

And no, I've never even had green beer on St. Patty's Day.  Not my thing.

We sipped.  I didn't taste any kale and neither did Ed.  Although how could I know?  I'm pretty sure I don't even know what kale tastes like.  I did detect apple, but no cucumber flavor.  Cucumbers are so mild anyway, do they even have a flavor?  And no lemon.  I love almost anything with a citrus zing and I wasn't getting that flavor.  Ed didn't get either.

So it was mostly a mild apple juice served up in liquid the color of antifreeze.  I probably wouldn't order this again.

I've decided I'm definitely in the #NeverKale camp.  

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Blue And Yellow Make Green

2014: An Instagram Glimpse Of Interstate 64
2013: More Fun Than Mr. Potato Head
2012: Triage
2011: They Claim To Have The Most Sky
2010: No Escape
2009: Help Wanted. Must Have Own Cassock.
2008: It’s All An Illuuuuusion
2007: Tipping Point
2006: Snap Decision To A Healthier Life
2005: Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

He Needs A Personalized Plate

Really, dude?  

This guy parked like this right in front of the restaurant we ate at.  Prime spots, one lane over from the door.  

I can understand if you're paranoid about your car and don't want anyone parking next to you, but park like this on the other end of the lot, where it's wide open and you can take as many spots as you'd like.

This guy chose to be a douche. 


This is why people get their cars keyed.

He probably should consider a personalized plate.  I have a few ideas.

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Get Down With Oscar

2014: Embrace The Heat Of Miami
2013: Oh, To Be A Kid
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Jack & Jill Went Up A Hill To Fetch Some Aircraft Parts
2010: Live Longer. Live Better. And Be Sure To Have A Devil Dog Once In A While.
2009: How Can You Not Be In Love With The Man Who Invented Kisses?
2008: And We Wonder Why We’re The Fattest Nation On Earth
2007: Star Gazing
2006: Only A Southerner
2005: Do You Take Wolfgang Winkelmeyer To Be Your Lawful Wedded Husband?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Boys And The Barn

We went to Pottery Barn yesterday and I decided I want to live in the store.  I loved everything in it!

A friend of mine sent me information on how to create Mood Boards - collecting images of what you like and placing them in a collage-like layout.  Sort of like when I used to cut pictures of cute boys out of Tiger Beat magazine and arrange them on the corkboard in my teenage bedroom.

I can tell you right now - it was lot easier to arrange cute boys from a magazine than it is to decide on home decor.

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Not Your Average Meme
2014: Marine Transport

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Chair Is Still A Chair

Even when there's no one sitting there.....says Luther Vandross.

I've been shopping for home decor, and let me tell you - I am overwhelmed and confused.  There's so much great stuff!

I've hit World Market, Crate & Barrel, Pier One, Ross, Target, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Circus Furniture (stupid name, and going out of business) just in the last two weeks.

I've gone into the rabbit hole online at too many websites to name, and I've seen so many styles I like I don't know what to do anymore.

I am utterly paralyzed when faced with a decision.  I've always been a little bit like this - hard to narrow down from many choices I love - but some things are a wee bit easier then others.

I need a "look".  I need to zero in on something I'll want to look at for a long time.  Buying a couch is a big deal when you have to look at that giant thing everyday.  And a color scheme??  I like them all.  How can I possibly choose?

What I really need is an interior designer.  Stat.

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Summer Calls For Cukes!

2014: Nature's Bounty Fills My Fridge
2013: Bags, Boxes, And Bikes
2012: Wrappers Delight
2011: Breaking The Spell
2010: It Never Ends
2009: 275 Square Miles Of Brilliance
2008: Four Standards, One Newbie
2007: Semantics
2006: 36 Hours Of Hell On Earth
2005: 11:11:11

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Theatric Reading

photo credit
Fascinating.  I never knew.  Classic Hollywood’s Secret: Studios Wanted Their Stars to Have Abortions.

I need to read that like a million times:   How to stop being annoyed by life.

Ever since I first heard the Kitty Genovese story, I've been interested.  More about it HERE.

The Europeans even make better windows.

If I saw one of these, I'd die on the spot.  

The mind of Donald Trump.  Are you sure you want to go there?

Photographer's block?  Here are some ideas.

Oh. My. God.  And I thought Powell's was a mecca.  This place is stunning.

We live in the city of the "Boneyard" they're pulling jets from.  Here's an old post about the location where they keep the planes.

Turning photos into paintings.  This is awesome.

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The Trout Capital Of Oklahoma

2014: Looks Like A Regular Moon To Me
2013: Laundry Options For A Modern Trucker
2012: It Can Only Mean One Thing
2011: It’s Like Cheers, Where Everybody Knows Your Name. OK, So It’s More Like Where Just One Guy Knows Your Face.
2010: Social NOTworking
2009: Scattergories
2008: Time Isn’t The Only Thing That Flies When You’re Having Fun
2007: Anything I Want
2006: Burglar And Idiot Proof
2005: Virginia Is For Lovers

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Into The Mouth Of The Wolf

Map created by Auto Europe. More information can be found on their Italy ZTL zone page.

Our first visit to Italy was in October 2010.  It was a great trip and we made some beautiful memories.  For our first European trip, we were surprised at how smoothly everything went, from the plane ride, to the car rental, to the hotels, to the public transportation.  We had no problem navigating anything.

Or so we thought.

In July 2011, a full nine months later, we received a traffic ticket for a violation of the Italian Highway Code.

What??  We were professional drivers.  Ed had over 2.5 million driving miles under his belt at this point and he did almost all the driving in Italy, especially in the major cities.  There's no way he violated anything.

But, that just wasn't so.  As I mentioned in my post from then, we saw but didn't fully understand the restricted driving zones (in Italian, the "zona traffico limitato") in Rome.

Recently I was contacted by Auto Europe because they came across that post back in 2011 and thought their content would be of interest to my readers.  Well, hell, yeah.  I love to share this kind of information.  If it helps a fellow traveler, I'm all about it.  Of course, he could have also sent me the address of an outstanding gelato shop...

If you're planning a trip to Italy and need a rental car, I highly recommend you brush up on the rules of driving.  Seriously, if you're going to Rome - or I'd imagine any other major city - you're just not going to have time to pull out your Italian-English dictionary to understand what the signs mean.  Italians are the craziest drivers I've ever encountered.

Check out Auto Europe HERE.  They not only handle the car rental for your destination, but they'll also arm you with invaluable driving information. 

And, they're also giving away a 7-night Italian Road Trip Escape!  It ends on August 6th, so click HERE to enter now.

In bocca al lupo!

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We Have Our Very Own Air-Conditioned Theater

2014: A Real Weekend
2013: Gary Hits Me Up With Another Gem
2012: After Dinner Pusch
2011: Moments Before Sleepy Time
2010: Bakin’ It The Fake Way
2009: The Elegant Gathering Of A Life
2008: My, What A Nice Berg You Have
2007: The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Grapes Being Crushed Into Wine
2006: There Are No Words To Explain The Misery Of A Three Digit Temperature
2005: New York State Of Mind