Friday, March 31, 2017

Vintage Johnny

My mother and other East Coast city dwellers (mostly the older ones) call fire hydrants "Johnny Pumps".

Here's a short explanation of where they think that term comes from.

I shot the photo at David's Stove Shop in Weatherford, Texas.

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2015: After All Others
2014: This Red Giant Is Also A Star
2013: Turn And Burn
2012: The Landscape Just Runs All Together After A While
2011: Flippin’ Swag
2010: Warm Fuzzies
2009: I’ll Get You My Pretty
2008: The Kind Of Misunderstanding That Can Never Fully Be Explained
2007: Let The Adventure Begin
2006: Coming Soon
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Very Off-Site Parking

The Travel Centers of America in Coachella, California.

Yep.  Just minutes from the very area they hold the famous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in.

A festival like this is not something I'd EVER be interested in attending, but if this is your cup of tea, and you're a trucker, this might just be the place for you to stash your rig before you head out to mingle with celebrities, trust fund babies, and some very drunk, very high people.  

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2016: Hot Cargo
2015: The 43rd Annual Mid-America Trucking Show Comes To A Close
2014: Heading On Down The Highway Until Next Year
2013: Thirteen Ten Clinton
2012: Better Than Team Drivers
2011: The Three Musketeers Make Dinner Plans
2010: Try To Find A Parking Space For This
2009: If The Life Expectancy Of A White Male Is Over Seventy Five Years, You Have Plenty Of Time When You're Ten
2008: Sweet Suite Sugarland
2007: The Superbowl Of Moving
2006: Catching Flies
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


Red, yellow, and orange bell peppers (usually with onions) have become a staple in our weekly meals.  I cut them, toss them in olive oil with some salt and pepper, and Ed grills 'em.

This is what they look like when bathed in the evening sun.  I had to take the picture quickly because these babies don't last.

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2016: Right Only At The Big Yellow Tree
2015: High Shine Pete
2014: A Big Thumbs Up On Day Two
2013: The Hospital Survives Another Week
2012: More Distracting Than Texting While Driving
2011: The Aftermath
2010: More Than Halfway To A World Record
2009: If You Need Your Hump Fixed, This Is The Place
2008: The Flight, The Hotel, The Walk, And The Sleep Deprivation
2007: A Lot Of Beauty, A Little Citrus And A Mini Moo
2006: Shorn
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 27, 2017

You're Welcome

That photo right there is the dedication page in a new novel by Linda Sands.  

Ed and I met Linda in 2010 when she started doing research for a book with a trucker theme.  She wanted to meet real truckers, in their natural habitat, to talk to them about what they do.  She had a photographer in tow who took pictures and everything she gathered was going to be somehow used in a future writing project.

Enter "Grand Theft Auto", Linda's latest release.

I recently received a package with two books, a trucker hat and a really cool t-shirt that says "Truck Yeah!" on the front and has the book and author's name on the back.  Sadly, I won't be wearing the shirt because it's only an extra large, but bless her heart for sending it thinking maybe it would fit one of us.  The shirt will fit Ed, but once washed, that'll be the last time he sees it.

The blurb on the back of the book says:
Tenacious trucker Jojo Boudreaux and her co-driver beau Tyler Boone spend their days and nights delivering cargo coast to coast.  Old Blue, their custom Peterbilt tractor-trailer makes the perfect home for a man who never had one and a Louisiana tomboy who thinks an oven is for storing guns.  But life on the road isn't all sing-a-longs and sunsets.
When Jojo and Boone are called in to deliver an abandoned load of high-profile pharmaceuticals to a secure warehouse, they delay their vacation for the quick, easy job with the big paycheck, forgetting that nothing quick and easy ever comes with a big paycheck.
Grand Theft Cargo is a wild ride from start to finish with a secretive highwayman, explsive house bombs, singing telegrams, flaming mice, secret cancer drugs, dead truckers, an agency that can't be named, and enough crashes and car chases to remind you these road cowboys have no qualms crossing the zipper to walk the dog in the hammer lane.
When Linda was writing the book, I had the privilege to read some early pages and give my input on how she was writing the story of a couple traveling together in a big rig. What sounded realistic, what wasn't working. She was very open to any comments and suggestions.  She consulted other drivers also but I'm honored to not only have a mention on the dedication page but to also have the transportation company Jojo and Tyler drive for named after me - DeSalena Transport: 
I just received the copy of the book so haven't had a chance to read the finished product yet, but I'm so looking forward to it.

If you'd like to own a copy, you can get one on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble.  It comes in paperback or as an e-book download.

And remember what Linda said:  If you bought it, they brought it.

Thank a truck driver today.

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Shopping Trip

2015: Straight Up Show Truck
2014: One Line Sums Up The Entire Show
2013: Howz About Them Howitzers?
2012: I’ll Hobble On My Walker To Visit
2011: In The Still Of The Night
2010: The Final Count
2009: Eddie My Little Ex-Marine Friday
2008: Delayed By Lipgloss During A Period Of Elevated Security: A Travel Debacle Ensues
2007: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
2006: Your Cat Is In My Garden
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

From Stove Pipes To Orchestral Tubes

For years, I've passed this place on Interstate 20 in Weatherford, Texas.  I never knew what it was because I could never read the sign on the side of the building but I knew it looked like a place I wanted to check out.

Well, recently, Ed and I were able to stop on our way back from Oklahoma to take a look. The name of the place is David's Stove Shop. Yes, they have stoves, lots of stoves, a whole stove section. And stove accessories. BBQ grills and smokers. And wood chips. And cooking utensils. And BBQ rubs and seasonings. And fire pits. And fireplace stuff. And the biggest selection of Lodge cookware I've ever seen in a store that isn't a Lodge outlet (an outlet which, by the way, I've never been to).  Ed was in heaven browsing.

But it's not just a stove shop.  It's got lots of other great stuff - patio furniture, metal garden and yard art, windmills, and 100 different styles of copper weathervanes.

They've got an entire wing of antiques, a lot of your regular fare but some really unusual products, too, like this typeset cabinet.

In addition to the metal products inside - everything from letters to animals to sports team products - they have these letters, in all sizes, in the outside area where some of the larger vintage items are located.  I'm definitely going back for one of these.  I just have to figure out where I'm going to put it.
One of the items I loved most, which I didn't get a close-up photo of because I wasn't really thinking about getting a picture of just them at the time, but if you notice the wind chimes hanging from the metal structure below...

They were AMAZING.

They are handcrafted, one at a time, in Austin, Texas by a company called Music of the Spheres.  The wind chimes come in 5 sizes (Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass) and are precision tuned in 11 tunings (Pentatonic, Hawaiian, Quartal, Balinese, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Whole Tone, Aquarian, Gypsy and Nashville) and the Westminster, Contrabass and Basso Profundo are offered in one unique size and tuning

I have never in my life heard such beautiful sound from a wind chime.  It was like listening to one of those big pipe organs in a church.  It was soothing.  Beautiful.  Calming.  And some of them were the biggest windchimes I'd ever seen, tubes from 2 feet to five feet long.  The tubes are actually tuned to A440, a standard orchestral pitch, using modern technology.  Really impressive.

I told Ed that I want a set of these windchimes for my new back porch once it's built.  If I'm going to sit outside, I want an orchestra creating music by which I'll drink my coffee.

If you're in the area and you have a chance to stop, do it.  It's worth the time.  You can find them at 4019 Fort Worth Highway in Weatherford, Texas - Interstate 20, Exit 415.

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I Guess We Can't Park Here

2015: It's Show Time!
2014: Determined
2013: Nashville Is One Of Their Greatest Picks
2012: Monday Is A Smash Hit
2011: Home At Last
2010: Wake Up In The Morning, Put Your Hand On Something Useful, And Take Care Of Yourself And Your Family*
2009: Copter
2008: Atchafalaya Whaaaaat??
2007: There’s A Skirt On The Door For A Reason
2006: South Of The Beijing Border
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Vibrant And Vitamin Packed

We've been eating tons of vegetables, mostly done on the grill or roasted in the oven.  This weekend my mother brought over fresh spinach which I sautéed with garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.

Super delicious and insanely healthy.

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In The Thicket

2015: Live It
2014: Blizzard To The East, Clear Skies To The West
2013: The Discriminating House Hunter
2012: Oh, Sweet Cream Cheesus
2011: Pit Stop
2010: Sorry, no post for this day.
2009: A Peek Behind The Sacred Pantry Door
2008: Thistle Or Thatle
2007: Big, Rich, And Free
2006: Look, Honey! A Grist Mill.
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Delivering Energy

I'm always fascinated when I see these industrial wind turbine blades.  Since it's an oversized load, they're usually moving during the day.  Once the sun sets, they have to park and settle in for the night.  I saw a whole group of trucks hauling these lined up at a rest area in Texas.

They don't look so big when you see them in the distance, on the windmills, but when you drive up next to them, they're massive.

The most widely used blades, made by General Electric are 116-feet long and sit atop a 212-foot tower for a total height of 328 feet.  The blades sweep a vertical airspace of just under an acre.

Other models use blades that are 143 and 148 feet long.  Amazing.

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Cat On A Hot...

2015: Starwood Is Still A Star
2014: Transylvania Has Better Internet
2013: Can I Get An Amen?
2012: Imagine Life Artificially Sweeter
2011: Sweets For The Sweet
2010: Silver Shoes, Cliff Clavin, And A Guinness World Record
2009: A Bevy Of Pavo Cristatus
2008: How Much Happy Can A Dollar Buy?
2007: The Heat Is On
2006: The New York Catch And Release Program
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Birding From The Couch

Ed took this photo of a bird hiding in the bush in our yard.  I'm home so often now that bird-watching from my living room has become a thing for me.

I now have two regular bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder.  So I can watch the birds flit around while the rabbits and ground squirrels nibble at the seed that falls to the ground.

And several times a week I see a small pack of coyotes traipse through the yard.

I just love it.

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Resting Up Down South

2015: Looking For Our Container
2014: Bringing Sexy Back
2013: The Veteran And The Rookie
2012: Spring Has Arrived In Culpeper
2011: Food. Essential.
2010: Sometimes It Takes A Libra Two Weeks To Make A Decision
2009: What The Hell Is This?
2008: What It’s Like To Bee Watched By More Than Twelve Million Eyes
2007: My Man Is Ripped!
2006: Take Two Caramel Lattes And Call Me In The Morning
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Better Than A Picnic Lunch

Every week when we go on the road, I make a few different meals to have on the run so we don't have to a) stop for a long period of time and b) eat fast food.

Most of the time, the food is for Ed.  He doesn't like to do frozen meals, he won't eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and he often doesn't consider it a meal unless there's meat involved.  I can eat a bowl of cereal and be happy.

Anyway...this is usually what I pack for the two-and-a-half days we're gone.  In addition to real food, I bring snacks - oranges, apples, celery, carrots, pudding, sometimes cookies - to pass the many miles.

The day before we leave I usually I spend the entire day cooking and then I label everything with the date because my mind is seriously failing and four days later if this food is still in the fridge, I'll wind up throwing it away because I can't remember when I made it.

The containers in the photo are from last week.  This week I made steak and couscous, pork lettuce wraps (ground pork sautéed with onions, red peppers, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger), roasted vegetables (peppers, onions, carrots, cauliflower), spaghetti and meatballs (so cliché), boneless pork ribs, grilled chicken breasts, and spinach.

We are living the life and eating well while doing it!

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Squeezed By Guilt

2015: Get Excited!
2014: They're Not Just For Babies Anymore
2013: Winding Down For The Weekend
2012: Towering Peach
2011: Trucks, Friends, Life On The Road, And A New Throne For My Queen Sized Ass
2010: Changing It Up
2009: They Gots Lots Of Soul
2008: Eddie Calculates Everything Friday
2007: Working On It
2006: The Bird On The Hill
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Just The Facts

I live in Southern Arizona, so for the last 30-plus years, I've been around a high number of Mexicans.  That's my immigrant population.  But I'm originally from New York, which has a whole different group of immigrants - Cubans, Dominicans, Jamaicans, Chinese, etc.  And I also lived in Alexandria, Virginia where we had a very large Ethiopian population.  I love the diversity of our country.  I love meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about their lives.

I've met many immigrants and am always impressed with their drive and desire to make their lives here.  Now maybe I've just been lucky, but at 49 years old, I've lived in seven different states and have traveled to all of them, and I have to say my luck must be outstanding because I've never met the immigrants I hear certain news organizations, or other people, talking about.  I guess I must only attract the good ones.

I'm always perplexed when I hear people talking about Mexicans taking their jobs, or wondering aloud why "illegals" can go to the hospital and get care "for free" (an assumption) when they can't, and making statements about how their kid can't get financial aid for school because they make too much money but a person with the last name of Rodriguez can get all the financial aid they want.  I usually always refute what they say but it's exhausting.  And infuriating.  They just refuse to believe actual facts, data collected by non-partisan organizations with the intention to document and educate.

If you're one of the people who like to spew comments about immigrants because you're just "so sure" what you're saying is true, you might want to educate yourself about what's really happening in the country, what immigrants offer us as a society, and what actually is true.  And if you're a person who acts in the name of a religion, I'm pretty sure the main tenet of that religion is some form of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

Try it.

I know this'll be a shocker for those who live in a fact-free universe (sadly, I know several of these people), but let's have a little fun with facts about immigrants.

Here we go...

No human being is illegal. (I wrote about this in 2010)

  • Phrases such as “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” replace complex legal circumstances with an assumption of guilt. They effectively criminalize the personhood of migrants, instead of describing the legality of their actions.

  • It is not a crime for an undocumented person to remain in the United States. “As a general rule, it is not a crime for a movable alien to remain in the United States.”
    Source: Justice Anthony Kennedy, Arizona v. United States, 2012

  • It is a violation of federal immigration law to remain in the country without legal authorization, but this violation is punishable by civil penalties, not criminal.
    Source: U.S.C. § 1325 : US Code - Section 1325: Improper entry by alien
Immigration is not one size fits all.
Most undocumented immigrants cannot simply "get legal" and "be a citizen" by filling out paperwork of paying a fee.  The right way to immigrate was at one time to simply show up.  Processing at Ellis Island involved health inspections and naturalization.

  • Many of our ancestors would not have qualified under today's immigration laws.
  • Many European immigrants benefited from "amnesty," such as the 1929 Registry Act.
    Source:  American Immigrant Council
A border wall would be an ineffective immigration restriction.
Immigrants commit less crime than the native-born population.

Immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be behind bars.
Source:  U.S. Census and American Community Survey

Higher immigration is associated with lower crime rates.
  • Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population increased from 7.9 percent to 13.1 percent and the number of unauthorized immigrants increased from 3.5 million to 11.2 million.

  • During the same period, the violent crime rate declined 48 percent - which included falling rates of aggravated assault, robbery, rape, and murder.  The property crime rate fell 41 percent, including declining rates of motor vehicle theft, larceny/robbery, and burglary.
Source:  Federal Bureau of Investigation

Annually, undocumented immigrants pay an estimated $11.64 billion in state and local taxes, and pay $13 billion to Social Security.
Source:  Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy Social Security Administration

Immigrants start businesses and grow the economy.

The information for this post came from the Define American website.  There is a LOT of information left out of the immigration debates - where you get your information matters. Because #FactsMatter. 

If you want to know what's missing, and you want actual facts, delve into their site.  You can start HERE to get more detailed information on what I wrote about in this post. 

And remember to show up for immigrants, because documented or undocumented, they show up for us.  

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2016: Blue And Crabby
2015: Drive Less, Make More
2014: While You Were Sleeping
2013: Between Brattleboro And Bennington
2012: Man At Work
2011: Under A Rock
2010: Practicing For Retirement
2009: Truckers Are So Sensitive
2008: Light Sweet Crude
2007: A Antiquing Conundrum
2006: How Can You Not Love This Face?
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Friday, March 17, 2017

When You Think Of Tuscany

A street in Cortona, Italy, the town where Frances Mayes, the author of "Under The Tuscan Sun", lives.

Frances Mayes put this place on the map for most Americans.  No matter how over-saturated we've become with all things Tuscan, I still want a villa like Bramasole.

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2016: Hitching A Ride
2015: Ocean To Ocean
2014: Where We Go To Squeeze Melons
2013: Yet We're The Ones With All The Rules
2012: There Is No Problem Here
2011: If This Is What Being A Loser Means, Count Me In
2010: The Only Thing It Extends Is The Humiliation Of Having A Small Johnson
2009: Wishing You All A Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig
2008: There Should Be Some Sort Of Award For This
2007: Table Talk
2006: Cats And Grandchildren Make Great Indentured Servants
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Oh, The Horror I've Seen

Ed took this photo in Pompeii, Italy.  This ancient town was one of the most fascinating places I've ever visited.  A definite must see.  

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Barbed Badlands

2015: Exotic Tropicals
2014: Eggs, Milk, Bread, And Good Blood Pressure
2013: Clowns Looking For A Place To Live
2012: My Early Version Of Google
2011: Food With Integrity That Fuels Creativity
2010: If Only It Were Dollars Instead Of Miles
2009: The Last Bit Of Winter
2008: Eddie Fr-Eye-Day
2007: Authorized Personnel Only
2006: Stolen Zillow
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Little To The Right

A friend of mine recently told me she was planning a trip to Italy and asked about the places we went when we visited.  I don't have any expert advice for her but I did send her everything I thought would be useful.

While looking through my folders, I came across photos.  I'm going to post a few of them this week.

This first one was taken by Ed.  It should be pretty obvious that it's the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

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Around Town In 80 Days

2015: The Gold On The Hill
2014: Be Happy You Don't Have A Bolt In Your Head
2013:  Seriously Up To Our Ass In Alligators
2012: Such A Fragrant Sprig!
2011: Coast To Coast
2010: The Joke’s On Us
2009: Eddie Monsignor Starbucks Friday
2008: All The Better To Smell You With, My Dear
2007: Neon Railroad
2006: I Left My Heart…
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

Sunday, March 12, 2017