Thursday, September 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blushing Rain Clouds

The sky was the color of violet shadows, there were bright white lightning bolts in the distance, and the the tops of the clouds were a soft cherry blush.  

I've never seen the mountain look like this and I was thrilled, because those clouds meant rain was coming!

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2015: Last Night Was Super!

2014: Sloths Are The New Kittens
2013: In The Shadow Of Mount Olympus
2012: Toni And Her Sisters
2011: Paper Boy…And Girl
2010: Breakfast Of Champions (And Truck Drivers)
2009: Vegetarianism Brings On Extinction
2008: It’s Beauty Is Just The Beginning
2007: Eddie Relaxes In Style Friday
2006: How To Tell Your Parents You Don’t Have A Roommate
2005: Mangia! and You Just Know When You’ve Met “The One”

Monday, September 26, 2016

Killing Two Birthday Birds With One Stone

Today is my brother's 48th birthday.  Three days ago, I turned 49.

It's clear my mother still finds it convenient to have a dual birthday party, just like when we were little.  Thanks, Mom.

It's also clear who has always had two pieces of cake.

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The Greatest Spectacle In Racing

2014: Fall Babies
2013: We Are Family! I Got My Brother And Me!
2012: The Highlight Of My Life
Dream Big. Live Bigger.
Always Merry When Around My Brother
Living Outside The Touch Of Time
Girls And Their Boys
Living History
Company On The Prairie
Rack Eyes

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Lively Evening

This year's birthday has been full of surprises.  What I thought was just going to be another day - Ed and I had dinner and a movie planned - wound up involving a surprise dinner and gifts.

We decided to do an afternoon movie and go to Harvest afterwards  I always want to eat at Harvest and can never get anyone to go with me.  Since it was my birthday, Ed agreed.

But, after the movie Ed said he had another plan and had to stop home quickly to do something. When he came out, he had pants on instead of shorts.  I asked him why he changed and he said because it was cold.  The weather was unseasonably cool but I didn't think it warranted a change of clothing.  Especially for Ed.

I had to make a quick return to the mall and while I was inside, he was texting me to hurry up.  I had to cut short the little bit of looking around I had planned and rush back outside.  He kept saying, "I don't want to be late."  For what?  It's only Harvest.

Then he started driving in the opposite direction.  I said, "Where are we going?  Harvest is the other way."  He told me not to worry, he had something else in mind.  I know all the restaurants in Tucson and was racking my brain about where he could be taking me.  I ticked them all off and he kept saying no.  Flemings?  No.  North?  No.  Blanco?  No.  Gavi?  No.  Trattoria Pina?  No.  That new one over on Skyline?  No.  I couldn't imagine which restaurant he had chosen.

As we got closer and he put his blinker on, I said, "I hope you aren't going to Anthony's in the Catalinas, because that place is closed." 

That's when I saw the sign for Vivace.  That's where we were going.  I had forgotten that they moved their location and were now in the old Anthony's.  Wow.  Such a surprise.

We parked the car and went into the restaurant.  Ed seemed to be having trouble locating his reservation and was chatting with the girl at the reception desk.  I went to the restroom while he sorted it out.  When I came out, he took me into the dining room and pointed to our table.  But there were people sitting there.  And then I realized those people were my mom and my friend Kim.  I was confused, then surprised.  Totally surprised!

Turns out everyone was in on it and the plan was hatched earlier in the week.  No one said a word - a feat for my mother - even though I had talked to all of them about birthday plans.  It was a great dinner, followed by dessert and the opening of gifts.

I am one lucky woman!

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106 Years Of Racing Has Happened Here

2014: Towering Jewel
2013: Port Townsend Honor System
2012: This I Love
2011: Wooden Shoes, Tulips, And Now This?
Universal AND Contagious
Ed Smiles With The Pasties Girl Friday
Who Needs A Man When You Have A Kindle??
Phone Calls And Fellatio
Color Ring
We Go All Out!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Color Cutting Through The Gray

Yesterday for my birthday, I not only had perfect weather - unexpectedly cool and overcast - but as we headed out to lunch, I was greeted with a birthday rainbow.  

The picture isn't the greatest since it was taken from the car and has all the power lines in the way, but we were able to see the beginning and end of the rainbow.  What's not as visible in the photo are how vivid the color is on the far right side where the light is brighter.  It looked very cool against the gray sky.  It only lasted for a few minutes, once the light shifted, it was gone.

Great way to start my birthday.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cheers To 49!

Tucson, AZ - July 1996
That's me on the right, the summer before I turned 30, posing with the daughter of a co-worker.  I love this picture.  Probably because I loved that blouse, and loved wearing bright, white Keds.

Today is my 49th birthday.  I can't believe twenty years have passed since that day!  I don't know why I'm always so amazed by the passing of time, but it seems to be going so quickly lately.

I'm not sure how I feel being one year from fifty.  The last few birthdays have really made me feel as if I'm getting older, whereas before it didn't seem like I was changing, just the number of my age was. I have no idea what this year is going to bring but I think I'm ready for it.

I've got a bottle of Advil in one hand, and although I'm generally a teetotaler, I might start thinking about toting around a glass of wine in the other.


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Loving Snow For Over Four Decades

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Maezy climbed up on the counter and snuck into this tote bag.  She went in head first, then turned around and settled in.

She was kind enough to look at the camera when I called her name.

Ed was just as cooperative.  

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You Don't Have To Wait For Christmas To Unwrap One Of These

2014: Where The Rivers Meet
2013: Into The Pacific Northwest
2012: Après-ski Is The Place For Me
2011: Rain Or Shine
In My Dictionary, Team Is Always Spelled Without An I
The Italian Energy Drink*
Looks Fairly Serene To Me
Taste, Smell, And Hear The Memories
Eddie’s New Ride

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Silver Luxe

In addition to the shopping we've been doing for my mother's townhouse, I've been keeping an eye out for stuff for our home renovation.  While out yesterday, my mother and I also stopped at the new Ashley Furniture Homestore.

I feel in love at least fifty times.

There were so many gorgeous things in this store!  It was a big place, too much territory to cover in the time we had, so I'll definitely be visiting again.

I really love all this silver furniture.  I don't know that it would really work with what my plans are for our house, but I can definitely see myself being talked into creating a Hollywood room.

Who doesn't need a shiny silver horse head?

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Art From The Bottoms Up

2014: Weekend Getaway
2013: Long Shadow In Kansas
2012: Spreading Joy, Pixie Style
2011: Coming Soon
2010: Feren Films Y’All Shouldn’t Miss
2009: This Guy Sucks
2008: Shine And Shine
2007: Eddie Hoots It Up Friday
2006: Eddie The Bird Whisperer
2005: Laundress

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Shopping On Wheels

I've been non-stop shopping with my mother to set up her new townhouse.  Paint, tile, furniture, etc.  For the most part, it's been exciting, but also a bit stressful.

I'm not a shopper.  I don't like to go to the mall just for the sake of looking.  I go with purpose.  I do like to compare and I want to make sure I've exhausted all of my options, but running from store to store is not really my shopping style.  The getting in and out of the car - especially is the murderous Tucson heat - makes me want to drive right into a lake.  If we had anything that passed for a real lake in Tucson.

And shopping with my mother is like being out for the day with a snail.

This month my mother has been suffering from an extremely debilitating rheumatoid arthritis flare. Her hands are killing her.  Her body is aching.  Her feet smart with each step.  On a pain level of 1 through 10, she says she's at a 15.  That's excruciating.  A 5 would keep me in bed for the day.  I'm a total pussy.

Yet she still finds the energy to shop.  She's kind of a trooper that way.  Pushes through pain, gets the job done.  Me?  I'd be shopping online.

I don't mind driving her from place to place, but today we went to Floor & Decor, a giant flooring showroom.  When I saw the wheelchair inside the main entrance to the store, I pointed it out to my mother.  She refused.  

I talked her into it.

We whipped around the aisles with ease.  Our visit took half the time it would have had I been shuffling around behind her.  I was able to walk faster and she was able to relax, not hurt, and see everything in comfort.  Win-win.

And she loved every minute of it.  

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The Duck And The Gargoyle

2014: V-8 Reflection
2013: Keeping H-116 Safe
2012: It’s Never Too Late For A Monday Meme
2011: Minatory Montana Morning
2010: Crafting A Way To Fill A Need
2009: The Other White Meat: Tropical Style
2008: Night Falls On The Fuel Island
2007: Wanderlust Checklist
2006: What Are Records??
2005: Hello, America!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Shoe Success!

My male readers might want to skip this's about shopping.

This week I went to shopping for two nightmare items - bras and shoes.  I know a lot of women don't like bra shopping, but most love shoe shopping.  Not me. Mostly because I have a giant foot and can never find anything I like or that's all that comfortable.

Until today.

A few days ago I bought two bras, two pairs of wide-legged pants, this dress/tunic (in linen, not cotton), and one pair of stretchy cropped pants.  I decided to return the stretch ones and see what else I could find and took my mother to the mall with me for the yay or nay vote.  I didn't find anything but she left with new jeans and a few cute tops.

She was also looking for shoes so we wandered over to the shoe department.  They rarely have my size in department stores (other than Nordstrom) but I thought I'd take a look anyway.

When I talked to my friend Marlaina this morning, she told me to look at a brand called Vionic.  I hadn't heard of them and filed the name away since I figured I'd have to search for them online.  But then, lo and behold, there they were, right before my eyes. Not only did they have my size, but the shoes I tried on were a size 11, not my normal size 12. Elation!  My mother got two pairs and I wound up getting four.

I got a pair of flats in black and tan, a pair of these in sparkly black (love them!), and this pair by FitFlop.  A MaryJane really isn't my style, but they were SO comfortable I wanted to crawl into them and take a nap. Next on my list is a Vionics loafer, in the brick orange color.

I'm so excited that I've now found two brands that I'm certain are going to be a staple for me.  Shoes that are comfortable. And fit.  I'm thrilled! 

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2015: Engine House No. 6
2014: To Me, You Are Perfect
2013: View From A Kansas Rest Area
2012: I Hate New Blogger!!
2011: Come On In And Take A Seat
2010: Doctor Recommended For Sure Death
2009: Wardrobe Malfunction: Intentional And Uncensored
2008: Eddie Friday: Outlined
2007: Modern, Yet No So Much
2006: Why Higher Education Is Desperately Needed
2005: Does A Bear Shit In The Woods?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

You Don't Need A Hard Hat To Tackle A BIG AZ

I ate a burger from a vending machine once.  I know, the horror.

I was working as an operator for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (great job, by the way) and in the break room they had a vending machine stocked with more than just candy. They had burritos, mini-pizzas, and burgers. It’s the first time I’d ever seen a burger in a machine. I don't eat food out of cans (like Spaghetti-O's or SPAM), and I thought vending machine food fit into that same category.  But then I thought, how bad could they be? Microwave burritos are good. Microwave pizza is edible. And how different can they be from a burger at a fast food joint?  I should just try it. 

So I did.

That was over a decade ago and I’ve never eaten food out of a vending machine since. The closest I’ve come was a hot dog on a roller at a truck stop.

Then, recently, I was asked if I was interested in reviewing a convenience store food product.  They'd provide me with the product and pay me to post a review on my blog. Pay me to eat something?  
Helloooooo….these people totally speak my language!

They asked for an honest review - which if you’ve been reading me for any length of time, you know that's what they'd get. Do they know I freely give my opinion, asked or not?  This is The Daily Rant after all.

Let's get started.

As most of you know, Ed and I have a full kitchen in our truck.  We have a fully stocked pantry, and if you’re a regular reader, you’ve seen the meals I’ve been able to whip up - pizza, my father's famous chili, apple crisp, scallops, braciole, sausage and peppers, and so much more.  But eight years ago, in our old truck, we had the same amenities most drivers do – a fridge, microwave, hot-pot.  Some drivers crank it up a notch and carry a crock pot or BBQ grill in a side box. On a daily basis we ate oatmeal, soup, sandwiches.  I've even had cereal for dinner - those little containers they have at the c-store.  In addition to the food we ate in the truck, we also ate in truck stops and restaurants along the way.  

But sometimes, you just don’t have time to stop for a sit-down meal. Sometimes you’re in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. That’s usually when a craving strikes. A craving for something you can’t get your hands on.

Like a burger. What if you’re in the mood for a burger? Or, better yet, what if you want to stockpile burgers in your cooler for those times when you are rollin’ down a highway in the middle of nowhere? Believe me, it happens. Miles and miles and miles without a truck stop or restaurant. If you have a craving, you’re plumb outta luck.

Unless you have a BIG AZ.

No, I’m not making fun of the size of your tuchus. I’m talking about BIG AZ burgers and sandwiches!

Here’s the scoop.

The burgers come wrapped as shown in the photo above.  You can find them in the cold sandwich case at truck stops and convenience stores.  The ones I bought ran me $3.99 per burger.  They also make chicken sandwiches, but the place I stopped at didn't have any so I bought the two types of burgers they carried.

We tried the Bacon Addict Cheeseburger and the Kickin' Jalapeno Burger.  Since there was no way I was going to take a photo of me eating a burger - believe me, I would have totally taken a picture if I looked like this  - I snapped a shot of Ed getting ready to devour one.  A real-live trucker.  In a hard hat.  I actually stopped him from working on the truck to sit down and eat one of these burgers.  It was lunch time so he wasn't hard to persuade. 
But before he ate it, I made him measure it so you could see how big the BIG AZ actually is!  This is not a kiddie meal burger.

They come pre-cooked and ready to pop in the microwave.  90 seconds and they're ready to eat.  Both Ed and I commented on how blazing hot it was coming out of the microwave. You really couldn't even hold it.  Which is a good thing because I like my food piping!!  The cheese was nice and melty and the bun was soft and pillowy.  

We - I even got my  mother in on the taste-testing - were all surprised.  The burgers were better than expected.  When I bought them at the convenience store, the cashier actually raved about them. She kinda went on and on about it.  Normally, that would have annoyed me, but in this case, she totally gave me hope.

The jalapeño burger was our favorite.  It was spicy, cheesy, and satisfying.  The bacon burger?  Just okay.  The bacon flavor was there, the bacon smell was there, but the actual piece of bacon was a bit limp and unappealing.  I don't know how it could have been crispy considering how the burger is prepared, but it wasn't the end of the world, because the the burger was still very edible.  Overall, they were good.

I can't say this type of burger tops ones I've had at my favorite burger joints, but that wouldn't really be a fair comparison anyway.  They're just not in the same category. U
ltimately, this is a very convenient way to have a burger any time of day. Especially in a truck.  Middle of the night craving is where it’d come in handy for a night driver.  And if you're like me and want convenience, or you don't want to get out of the truck in the middle of the night, having a few of these in your cooler can get you through to your next meal.  You can totally buy a few days' worth - the AdvancePierre Foods website says they're good up to 14 days in the refrigerator (365 days in the freezer!).   This is the perfect way to have a burger or even a chicken sandwich whenever you want.  They even have breakfast sandwiches!

So give them a try.  They're available nationwide and you'll be in good company - people like them so much they've been awarded the convenience store consumer's choice award year-after-year.  

For more information on the BIG AZ burgers, check out the AdvancePierre Foods site:

Or check the BIG AZ Facebook page to find out where to buy them:

BIGAZ Facebook Page

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

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2015: In Line For Service
2014: Nebraska. In Color.
2013: Ominously Beautiful
2012: Signs Of Fall
2011: Life Explained…By Graphs
2010: An Amazon Sized Beverage Supply
2009: He Wasn’t Hiding His Face Once The Camera Started Rolling
2008: Waiting To Be Served
2007: The Men In Mexico Are Snappy Dressers
2006: A Mystically Beautiful Day
2005: Rock It!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Leaf Springs Into Art

In 1882 James Harvey Williams and Matthew Diamond started a drop-forging business in Flushing, New York called Williams & Diamond.  Drop-forging is a process of heating metal and hammering it into a die (cast) to form a product - the hammer is raised and then "dropped" onto the piece to form it into the shape of the die that's being used. In 1884, Williams & Diamond moved to Brooklyn and was renamed J.H. Williams & Co.  It was known as one of the first companies to make mass-produced drop-forged hand tools.

J. H. Williams was eventually purchased by a company that today has immediate name recognition as Snap-On Tools.  Williams is now a subsidiary of Snap-On Industrial Brands.

This sculpture, made by Mike Lettera of Carpenter Avenue Classics, is called the J.H. Williams Desert Leaf, because it's made from automotive leaf springs and sits on a vintage forged wrench made by that very same J.H. Williams & Company.

Here is another blog post I found with a little more information on the J.H. Williams Company.

To see other art pieces made by Mike Lettera, visit the Carpenter Avenue Classics website HERE.

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Life Imitates Art

2014: You Keep Us Dancing
2013: Make Life More Interesting
2012: Supply Meets Demand
2011: What Do You See?
2010: If No One Hears You Talking To Yourself, Are You Still Considered Crazy?
2009: It’s A Shame He’s Such A Crab
2008: I’m A Big Fan
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday Coming To An End
2006: And Everyone Thought It Was Dick Cheney
2005: But They’re Hard To Find!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Have A Drink With A Siren

I need one of these mugs.  They're part of the Starbucks Anniversary Collection and they're just cool.  And I love the mermaid on the bag of coffee.

I'm leaning towards this one.

I always use the term mermaid, but Starbucks calls them sirens. Apparently, there is a difference.

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2015: Reflection In The Scioto
2014: Supersonic
2013: The Kiss
2012: Driving A Hard Bargain
2011: Making Places Beautiful With Sarah + Bessie
2010: High Class High
2009: Not Such A Bad Idea, This Man In Chains Thing
2008: Razz Ma Taaz Me!
2007: Casa De Cambio
2006: Eddie Birthday Suit Friday
2005: Goodbye Alaska

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Image Character Of Poop

Emoji - those little icons on your phone - originated in Japan.  Today, most people couldn't imagine sending a text message without them.  

In Japanese, "E" means image and "Moji" means character.  Image Character.  Some of them are really cute, and many are sent to replace complete sentences.  My friends and I even have emoji with secret meaning.  All I have to do is send one little cartoonish icon and a complete conversation has been had.

I love getting emoji in a text or an email. They're fun. Creative. Silly. There are emoji I wish existed, ones I never use, and ones I don't even understand.  Like the poop emoji.  

Why??  Why do you need to send a pile of shit to someone?

Well, there's actually a little history on how the poop emoji came to be.

I understand there are situations where it fits - a shitty day, feeling shitty, your boss who's acting like a shit - but I'm still not entirely sold on it.  The visual of a pile of poo?  Not my thing.

But what's even more perplexing than using the poop emoji in a text or email, is the person who'd buy a poop balloon.  Sure, it makes a perfect gag gift, but I'm guessing the poop balloons that flank the checkout lines at Walmart aren't being purchased so much for gag gifts as they are by parents for their kids who are begging for them.  Kids always think poop is funny.

That said, I don't care how much my kid screamed, I would not be buying them a balloon shaped like a pile of shit.

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Buckeye Affluence

2014: Snaking Through Idaho
2013: Fun Funky Freaky Friday The 13th
2012: Scooting Around Town
2011: Eureka! Sand For The Golden State
2010: Eddie Lounging In Black And White
2009: Not Quick Enough For A Sunset
2008: We’ve Got Onions, Cream Cheese, And Choppers!
2007: Just Steps Away From The River
2006: The Anything But Itty Bitty Co-Op City
2005: What The Hell Are You Looking At?