Saturday, December 31, 2011

Where l Spent New Years Eve

As the clock struck mid-night, l was in my new to me Class B Van, Fiona.  This was perfect, because this is where l plan to spend a lot of time in 2012.  Isn't there a saying that what you ring out the old year doing, you will be doing a lot of in the new year?  Sounds good to me.

I was driving home from spending an evening with friends, shared a great meal of roast beef, then saw a crappy movie (of course, my opinion) at the theatre(  It was called New Years Eve, very fitting subject for such a night, but not top quality, even though it was star studded.  It dragged on and on, and there was a collective sigh from the audience when it was over and the credits rolled), when l was entertained by someone's fireworks.  It was a short display, but colourful and enjoyable.

I hope everyone got to spend it just the way they wanted to, l wish you all the best and l hope you look forward as much as l do to the new year.

Happy New Year!!!!!

Despite my personal beliefs on all the hoopla for New Years Eve, it doesn't mean l don't wish You and Yours a

Play safe, Have Fun, and don't drink and drive!

Friday, December 30, 2011

I Couldn't Resist.

[caption id="attachment_484" align="aligncenter" width="358" caption="A little bit of New Years Eve humour"][/caption]

Close to the End

There is only one day left in this year we know affectionately as 2011.

Its been a good year for me, l've gotten more focused on my travel adventure, and in the mean time l've gotten to do a dry run by airplane.  I do love going from town to town for my job, l just don't like living in a hotel.  Don't get me wrong, the housekeeping aspect of it is great!  Never having to scrub a tub or make a bed is pretty close to heaven for me!

I would prefer to be able to have a kitchen where l can cook my own meals, have some of my favorite books on hand or at least my current favorite book, without being concerned l will go over the baggage weight limit. If there are kids running in the hall at all hours of the night, l could just move myself. With RV travel, l can do it at my own pace, not on pre-determined, pre-purchased flights.  Also, let's not forget, my two furry friends can accompany me on the adventure.

Am l looking forward to New Years Eve? No, not really.  Over the years l've worked too many NYE's when l was in the restaurant business.  It always seemed over-rated, over-priced, over-hyped.  I don't wait for the old calendar to be thrown out and a new one to be ushered in to make decisions to change my life, to quit this or that, l do it far to often to wait for  that one day that comes by every 364 days.



Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Step Closer

I'm done in the garage for now.  A friend of mine will be inheriting almost two full sets of pots and pans, a Flat Screen TV (which l haven't watched in over 6 months), some towels, my favorite gigantic wood cutting board, and bake-ware.

I really cleaned house last time l did this, so not much left to go through this time.

I've still got my clothes to go through, but l will wait to get closer to travel date before l let go of those, they are easier to dispose of in those bins in the shopping malls.  I'm not talking about those dumpsters, but the recycle clothing bins.

The hardest part will be getting rid of all the little shit.  The gadgets, the multiple flashlights, you know the stuff you never use....but might.  Kind of like, the life you want to lead, but don't.


I really want to go outside and organize the garage.  I have some bins that l need to go through and select the few things that l will be keeps on my travels, and giving the rest to friends, if they choose to have it.  But it's so freakin cold out there!!!!!

It's 7 degrees F or -14 degrees C, the sun is not shining, compounding the cold.  The long-term outlook according to the weather man isn't looking any better.  Welcome to winter in Canada!

I used to spend lots of time in my garage in the winter, and was acclimatized to it.  Why you ask would l have spent so much time in my garage in the winter?  I used to work for Books Are Fun and l had all my inventory in the garage.  When l was in the garage for 8 hours, pricing my product l would have a small space heater on, most other times, when stocking my bins for the next book fair, l wouldn't have heat on.  The cold was something l adjusted to.

Time is of the essence, so l will have to dress in layers and go tackle it, l'm afraid.  I won't have this opportunity to get in their again until l leave in April (which would be better weather!!!).  My work partner, l keep clairfying she is my work partner, not romantic partner - l would give you her  name, but l am 100% sure, she wouldn't want to mentioned on this blog.  Maybe l will call her Lucy.

Lucy and l have had a talk, and she no longer wants to go on the road, so after this last deal of hers in Buffalo (oh, l'm so jealous - Not), l will be full-time on the road.  She's not aware of my plans to leave in April, so that might be a bit of a shock, since our team is the only one that alternates (or at least did).

Time to shower and layer up!  Cheers!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not an Airport in Sight

I'm still in my PJ's, finally enjoying a day where l'm not rushing here or there, and it's only a Wednesday!  Whoot! Whoot!  There's not a plane to catch, or a rental car to drive.

I've done all the visiting for Christmas.  Yesterday l visited with my Grandpa, brought him Swiss Chalet for dinner (Broiled Chicken dinner), and chatted about life and his life.  He was telling me some stories about his time in World War II.  I was surprised at his recollection, he remembered the names of the small towns he fought through.  He was enlisted for three years, began in Italy and ended up in Holland when the end of the war was declared.  He lost some buddies in that war, and that brought tears to his eyes.

My Grandpa never talked about his time in the war before,  it was enlightening, and sad that even after the great war, we still have conflict in the world.  War is an ugly business, and should be avoided.

My Grandma passed on a couple of years ago, so my Grandpa is living alone.  They were married for 69 years. He misses her.  We all do.

We chatted for a couple of hours and then he played the organ.  He played some old time songs, all from memory, it was great.  He's sharp as a whip at 92, l hope l have the same genes.

I didn't want to say goodbye so soon, but l had a meeting to sell my car, so l had to leave.  It saddens me to think of all the recent changes in our family dynamics, they started 9 years ago with the passing of my father.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Slither in the Back Door


[caption id="attachment_461" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Union Station Toronto, most scenic part of the trip"][/caption]

That's what it felt like on the train today.  I'm not kidding.  I felt like l was slithering into the few towns we stopped in on my way to London, Ontario.  As we left Union Station in the downtown core of Toronto we got to see the back yards of some of the homes of Toronto.  And the sight left something to be desired.  I'm amazed at the junk some people literally throw out in their yards.

Of course, prices tend to be less for your home if you are living beside railroad said.

Every-town we seemed to slink into the back door to the station.  My $60 train ticket saved me a whole whack of cash.  Why?  Well, l had this silly romantic desire to travel Canada coast to coast by train, and then also Alaska down to Victoria, BC.  What l discovered is, as romantic as that sounded, l think it would make me loopy.  The ride was nice, but what fun would there be if l couldn't get out and explore the towns l was whipping by?  Do l really want to see the crappy homes that line the tracks in some of the most beautiful cities in the country? Or do l want to poke around in the areas that catch my eye, and even lay down my hat for a night or two?  I think you can guess.


Taking theTrain

I'm going to be hoping on a train today.  No, not the subway train, but an actually bonefide Via Rail Train.

It's just going to be a short ride of two hours.  I have never gone on a train before, and would love to do one cross country or from Alaksa down to Victoria, BC, for now it's from Toronto Union Station to London, Ontario.  I need to pick up my car waiting out in London for me.

Monday, December 26, 2011

As Promised....The Van Revealed

I've yet to come up with a name for my "new to me" but long in the tooth van.  I've driven her for two days now.  Since her name will be in black and white, l can only do this once.  Like a sail boat, it's bad luck if it's named more then once.   My sister, niece and myself tend to name our vehicles using the first letter of the make of the car/truck.  Thereby narrowing down the choices by quiet a bit.  Her name needs to start with an F, for she is a Ford Econoline van with the RV manufacturer being Falcon.  Her name definitely needs to start with an "F".

Front View of the VanThere isn't a lot of storage in her, so l plan on using the top bunk for bins of clothes and other things, l will put them in baskets or bins of some sort.

[caption id="attachment_441" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Snazzy Kitchen"][/caption]

The kitchen is small but manageable.  The black metal thing in the photo is the grate that fits in the trailer hitch for storage.  It came with the van, and l will build a box with a lock to secure outside storage.

[caption id="attachment_442" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Luxurious Loo"][/caption]

It's tiny but at least it has one.  It needs some work.  the back curtains have got to go.  I'm thinking something more form fitting to the windows.

[caption id="attachment_443" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Facing the rear or the van"][/caption]

The couch/bed.  The monitors seem to work on the wall.  I did get readouts when l pushed them.  The curtains have got to go, once again.  Not really into lace curtains. :-)

I'm not sure when l can get out there and scrub her down,time is not necessarily the factor, but the weather is.  I would like to replace the floor, and add some window coverings that l like, and solar panels for power.  I have time to work on these things before l set sail.

How about Fiona?  It has a nice ring to it.  Fiona it will be.  Or Fie for short.   Welcome Fiona, to the family.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Memories of Christmas

I remember in my early teens helping my Step-Dad put together Santa's Stash for my little brother and sister.  I've put together dolls houses, race car tracks, bikes among the many things they got over the years.

Traditionally the young ones would go to bed, then we would quickly assemble the presents that "Santa" dropped off.  Of course, this is after we were 100 % sure they were asleep.  We used to go to midnight mass as all good Catholics, but since that was the only time we went to church, we stopped that when l was around 14 years of age.  Tradition was, at midnight on Christmas Eve, we would wake up my brother and sister saying, very excitedly, that Santa had come, and to come quick and see what he left.

Wiping the sleep out of their eyes, they would come down and look in wonder at all the stuff.  It was pretty amazing the spread.  Of course, the mandatory pictures would be taken of those first moments, and then as they opened the gifts from family.

Now as an adult, l realize why this was done on Christmas Eve.  There were a couple of reasons. 1. My Opa (Dads, Dad) used to do this with his family, so my Dad passed it down 2. My Dad was like a big kid, and couldn't wait to see the look on our faces.  3. He had had a couple of drinks, and would like to sleep in in the morning. 4. My Mom was always the host of Christmas and would run around like a mad-women in the morning cleaning, prepping food, ordering us to shower and get ready for the company expected at 1pm.

Unfortunately things changed.  We grew up, and everyone knew there wasn't a Santa Clause.   Dad passed on and Mom spends Christmas in Florida.  The glue that kept our family together became unstuck.


Don't make me do it!  I don't want to get out of  bed.

Tommy (one of my cats) was quite restrained waiting until 7:30 to start his meowing to get his morning treat.  He usually gets it at 6ish.  My fault though, it was 7:30 and not later, l opened my eye (yes, only one, l was just coming out of the sleep fog) and rolled over. He sensed l was back on this planet and attacked. Okay not really attacked, just gentle encouraged me to "attend" to his needs, when l would have much rather attended to my own need of sleep.

The stores close early today and l need to get some groceries and a gift for a nephew. Should be ease, just working with a time constraint, and the fear of the stores being back...okay not really, l just don't want to do it.  But l will.

Maybe l can sneak in an afternoon nap before l start baking.


Friday, December 23, 2011

Not Enough Time in a Day

Wow....l left the house at 6:30 this morning.  And l am just getting back in now at 10 pm-ish.  Long day, and l still feel like l needed to get more done.  It was all a complete rush today.  I ended up having lunch at 8pm, that's how busy l was.

I got to the office at 7:30, worked on paperwork and getting my deal ready to be summited.  Then was recruited to be 'camera man' for a video my office is putting together (obviously - amateur).  All the while, l was looking at my watch thinking, l gotta get out of here and go pick up my van.  Finally at 1:30 pm l was able to high tail it out of there.

Only to hit RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC.  What??!!  At 2 in the afternoon.  But of course, everyone got out of work early today.  I had to go to two banks to get my cash for the van.  Of course, it's Christmas and the banks were running out of money and could only give me half of what l needed, hence the two banks.

Then l drove the 2 1/2 hours to get to my van.  Local would have been much easier, just not in the cards.  Got it licensed, with only a 1/2 hour to spare.  And the licencing agent was super friendly and all of them were in great included.  Chatted with the now previous owners for a bit then drove back, in the dark, so, no pictures.  Sorry.  It will be on my agenda for tomorrow.  Promise.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Todays the Day

Yep, today is the day.  I have a half day of work (okay not even that).  I need to go hand in my deal, drop off the paperwork, get my check.  Then l'm off for 15 days.  Whoot!!!  Too bad it wasn't on a beach......with a frozen Margarita.

Today is the day that l also go pick up my van.  Double Whoot Whoot!!!!  I will snap some decent photo's (l hope) and post them here, so when l actually am able to "make the van mine" with custom decorating and up grades, you can see the difference.

You are probably thinking, wait you have 15 days off, why not do it now.  Well, l live in Toronto, and it's a bit chilly out there.  Not terribly cold, but enough that l won't be ripping the van apart and doing it in December or January.  Besides, first l have to go through my garage and unload all the things l really don't have room for anymore.  I have over the last couple of years really whittled it down, but you see the van is really really small, and l won't be keeping a storage unit.

To me paying for a storage unit for things that you don't use and are so easily replaceable for less then the cost of a storage unit is CRAZY.

American Airlines Redeemed

Well, the first leg of my journey from El Paso to Dallas, the plane was full.  It was on time and went smoothly for the short flight of just over an hour.

The second part of my flight, as l waited for the plane to board my name was called to the check in desk.  Not knowing why it was l approached the lady behind the desk.  She said are you Tammy, l said yes.  She said "we have you in a middle seat, would you like us to change you to a window or an isle?"  I said sure, absolutely.  Then she handed me the new ticket she just printed out then said "wait a minute, lets change that and put you in a seat where there isn't someone beside you" . I said, Fantastic, it's like Christmas, and smiled.

I got the seat, didn't have to pay for it, and had three seats all to myself.  I moved to the window seat and offered the guy behind me to move up in my row, since they were packed three across in theirs.

It is almost Christmas.....Thank you American Airlines, but your still not forgiven for all the little charges.  :-)


American Airlines

Wow.  I wasn't going to write anything about American Airlines last night when l checked in online.  I can't resist now after my check in at the El Paso airport.  I haven't flown American Airlines in a couple of years.  And l understand that airlines are charging extras (exit seats, checked luggage) where-ever they can get away with it.  But REALLY????

When l checked in last night on-line, l tried changing my seat, since the travel agent that books my ticket at work doesn't always seem to give me a window seat, and of course l prefer that seat,  if l'm tired, l get to lean against the wall and have a snooze, it tends to be better then the head bob for me.  American was very accommodating, if l wanted to up grade to a window or a isle, it would cost me an extra $20. plus change.  Now we are not talking about the emergency exit seat here, just a random window or isle seat.  That was a first, but not enough for me to put it in my blog.

Oh, also, if l wanted to "buy" extra reward miles for this trip l could by 35oo miles for $100 something, or 5000 miles for $152.  Still not enough for me to write about.  I don't know what you can get for those miles, but it seemed pretty dear to me.

What got me was this morning, checking in, on those machines that you HAVE to check in with first, even though you checked in online, and you still have to see an agent at the desk, was all the extra charges.  Again, l was offered to change my seat (for a fee), buy the miles, upgrade to business class (my company doesn't spring for that). On top of all those unbelievable offers, l could pay an extra $9.00 to upgrade my BOARDING position.

Really, pay an extra $9.00 to get on 5 minutes earlier.  Soon we will have to be paying for the 1/2 glass of soda we get, to use the loo or at least the toilet paper to wipe with, pay for every piece of luggage (purse, coat, camera case), checked or not., seat belts.....

It might even come to having to have  quarters just in case the oxygen deploys we might have to feed the machine quarters to get dispensed oxygen, just like a soda machine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Favorite Day of the Year

You may think it is my Birthday,  Christmas, Easter,  Halloween or even New Years Eve or countless other holidays.  All of those occasions have gifts, or candies, or celebrations. But it's not, it's today.  December 21st.  Why you ask?  Well, it's usually (or very close to) the shortest day of the year for daylight.

Which means.......the days get longer from here on in, of course, only until mid-summer, where they start shrinking again.  For a good six months we are having longer days everyday.  The sun rises a bit earlier and the sun sets a little bit later.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Crazy Christmas

I guess it's easy for me to look at the scene at Wal-Mart with different eyes then what most people are going through right now.

I'm sure this Wal-Mart in El Paso, is the same as any Wal-Mart North America wide. Or any retail store for that matter.  Crazy packed parking lot.  It was packed when l drove by at noon today, and again when l  visited it at 7pm.  It was hard to find a spot, l parked far away, the walk was good because l just went and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant.

The store was full of shoppers.  The shelves were all messed up and disorganized from being picked over by the desperate shoppers to buy gifts for their loved ones.  Whether it was for gift-giving or guilt-giving, l don't know.  I remember half the stuff l got for Christmas or any gifts l would sooner not received, not to sound ungrateful, but it was usually the wrong color, or style or just something l would never, ever use.

Just as l'm sure some of these gifts people are buying are going to end up hidden in the closet, or maybe best case scenario re-gifted.

Times have changed.  Christmas used to be receiving the necessities like new underwear, socks or pajamas.  The new winter coat or the great bike for the summer.  Now in our society, we seem to gift ourselves these things throughout the year. Making the Christmas gift giving harder, and then we fill up the nicely wrapped boxes with useless items that we have been brainwashed into "needing".

It's Crazy.  Crazy Christmas.

I ended up walking around the store and decided l didn't want to battle the people or the cashier line-ups for the shampoo that l needed.  So l left empty handed, which l probably was the only one tonight.

5, 4 3, 2, 1

5 more days until Christmas.

Not that our family has any big plans.  Our Christmas has changed over the years, in some ways good, in some others, not so good.  Now, a group of our family (sister, niece, cousins) gets together and visits a homeless shelter in the morning.  We bring coats, blankets, socks, new underwear and a bagged lunch to a men's shelter down in Toronto, Ontario.  We choose the men's shelter because we think women's shelters get more attention this time of year.  The guys appreciate it.  We have been doing it for 3 years now.

After the shelter l will visit with my brother and his girlfriends family for a bit, then l am heading to a friends.  Our family seems to be spending less and less time together during the holidays.  One thing l've learned is things change, traditions seem to go to the wayside unless there is an enforcer.  Someone committed to keeping the traditions together.  Our family doesn't have that anymore.

4 more days until baking for the homeless

It's just simple cookies and banana bread, but the guys appreciate the homemade stuff.  I don't think they get much of it.  One year a guy asked us if we had any fruit, he was vegetarian and the shelters didn't have anything as simple as fruit for him to eat.  So now we always include mandarin oranges or apples in the bags, as well as baked goods, and a sandwich.

3 more days until l pick up my van

It's certified and emissions tested.  Insurance is on it.  I just need to licence it and plate it to take it home.  Of course, l have to actually fly home first.

2 more days until l am home, sleeping in my own bed

Ah, the little things.  Sleeping in your own bed.  It's nice being home in your own space after being on the road.  I miss my cats, and can't wait to see them.  Flying out on Thursday morning, and will be home in time for dinner.

1 more day left of work (after today) in 2011

Now that is nice!  Music to my ears. Although, being in El Paso, it sure doesn't feel like Christmas.  It's too warm to what l am used to being at the Christmas time if year.  I wonder what it's like in Australia at Christmas, it's their summer after all.  Not a bad gig l guess, imagine all those days off in the summer.  How cool would that be?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

White Sands, New Mexico

About 10 miles after leaving Texas heading to the White Sands in New Mexico, I was surprised to see a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol post that stopped everyone.  I’m glad l brought my passport with me today, it made my life easier.  At their post they must have had at least 100 vehicles with the green boarder patrol logo on them.  What an expense that must be (and those were just the ones that were off duty), when l compare it to what l’ve seen in Canada, USA wins hands down on big budget spending.

It was a overcast day, and it was hard to see the mountains in the distance.  I was driving in a valley between two mountain ranges.  The desert is so vast, but funny enough, full of plant life.  Lots of little scrubby bushes filled the floor of the desert.

[caption id="attachment_399" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Overcast Day, Mountains in the Distance"][/caption]

As l was driving on hwy 70 heading towards White Sands (heading toward Las Cruces, NM) l could see in the distance what looked like snow mounds.  l was surround by typical desert landscape then out of nowhere, there were these mounds that looked like snow.  It was bizarre.  I knew what it was, because that is where l was heading.  It must have really freaked out the pioneers.  Imagine trekking in 100 degree heat in the summer and seeing snow mounds in the distance.  Not up a mountain, but at the 100 degree heat level.

[caption id="attachment_394" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="White Sands in the Distance"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_395" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="White Sands"][/caption]

It really is quite spectacular.  The gypsum crystals come down from the mountains in the rainwater and deposits in this location (there is a small lake), as the water evaporates, the gypsum crystals remain and over hundreds of thousands of years you get this…..

[caption id="attachment_396" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Looks like snow"][/caption]


[caption id="attachment_397" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Sand, Sand, Sand"][/caption]

It cost a big whopping $3 to get in to The White Sands National Park, and the admission fee is good for 7 days.  Bargoon!!


[caption id="attachment_398" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Yep, that's snow in the sand. It must have snowed in the last couple of days and little patches remained on the side of the road"][/caption]

The first thing l noticed after l got out of my car is the silence.  It could be because it is off season and there are not many tourists around.  But it is quiet.  The sand seems to gobble up the noise. I’m sure when they test missiles it’s not quite the same, but today is very quiet and peaceful.

[caption id="attachment_400" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Picnic area totally empty"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_402" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Can you see the snow capped mountain in the distance?"][/caption]


Friday, December 16, 2011


Well this morning l got all the insurance information needed for my accident last night.  I'm completely covered.  The insurance info l had was all the cop needed according to everyone else, but the cop that attended the  accident scene last night.  Go Figure.

I switched out my car for a new one.  The old one was black, now this one is white.....l should be seen, and hopefully everyone will stay away from me.

There was more action after l got to the hotel, not where l was concerned (Thank God).  Someone was arrested outside my hotel widow last night about 1am.  They towed his truck away, so maybe drinking and driving?

I'm looking forward to the weekend so l can go explore El Paso and surrounding area.  Although, l actually am leaning towards surrounding area.  I need some wide open spaces and some black tar beneath my wheels......

I will take pictures.  Stay Tuned.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Crunch!! @$%@ !!!!

Ever have one of those days?  Well, l just had one. @#%@!!!!!

My day seemed to start off well, l got up on time with the alarm (l usually do, or before hand).  The shower was hot, my clothes pressed.  I headed out to a earlier then normal meeting at a Starbucks at 7:30 am.  Ordered a nice big Earl Grey Tea, which was served hot, and remained hot while l waited for my appointment- who never showed.

No problem, it happens.  I packed up and moved onto my next appointment.  Got there with a couple minutes to spare.  Went in, and was told, that person had something come up and would have to reschedule.

The next one was there, had a great chat, he had a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree in his office and it put a smile on my face.

My next three appointments failed to show up also.  It was just one of those days.  I was 45 minutes from my hotel.  I punched in the co-ordinates into my GPS, and was heading that way when all of a sudden.......

[caption id="attachment_384" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Smash, Crash, SHIT!!"][/caption]


My day was topped off with a car accident.  I suppose after the first two appointments, l should have just turned around and crawled back into bed.  If only l had known!

So, because the car is rented with a corporate account, l don't get insurance like regular people (you know paying the highway robbery price the rental agencies charge).  We are covered on the corporate account since our company rents so many cars every day of the year.  But on the rental receipt it states that l have declined insurance.

Which, is fine, until you have to prove to a cop that you have insurance.  Especially when the accident happens after business hours on the east coast, and no one at Thriftys answers their phones.  And my car insurance for my car sitting back in Toronto (the car, not the insurance) isn't good enough, since it's not for the car l'm driving (uh, no shit, it's a RENTAL CAR)

So l ended up with a ticket that tells me l have to show up in court in El PASO, TEXAS on January 12, 2012.

Well, at least l had something of interest to write about in my blog :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feelin' Human

I finally have caught up on my sleep.  It took two 8 hour nights of sleep, but l finally woke up ready to get out of bed, instead of the dreaded dragging my butt out and functioning in a fog.

I just hate going to bed.  There seems to be so much to do, l don't want to spend my time off sleeping!!!!  I'm kind of like a little kid, not wanting to go to bed because they feel they would miss so much sleeping the night away.

I don't understand how people can sleep for 12 to 14 hours on a regular basis.  Don't get me wrong, l love sleeping too, the whole shutting down, turning the mind off, sinking into the bed and nodding off.  But l also relish my time, time when l don't have to do things to earn a living, but time to do what interests me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Leaders Are Followers

The little old lady l met the other day who worked in Parliament said something that has stuck with me.  It's kind of profound, and l haven't heard it before,but it is so true.

Our Leaders Are Followers.  Think about it.  Our leaders don't lead.  They Follow what the masses want them to do.

If the masses squawk loud enough, they will do something about it, until then there is no pro-active leadership in our governments.  Maybe that's what we need.  A government that is run more like a cutting edge business.  Thinking ahead on what the peoples problems and needs are, before  the people realize what they are and protest for them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mr. Golden Sun


There definitely something about the Sun and me.  We have a relationship that l could never live without.  Just coming down to El Paso and feeling a little warmth and seeing some rays of light just changes my mood instantly.  I love the south.  I love the sun.

El Paso has the mountains too, they are not treed, and just have scrawny little bushes on them, no snow to be seen anywhere, and it's pretty brown everywhere, but it's got the sun.

I'm looking forward this weekend to getting out and exploring the area.  I won't be going into Mexico unfortunately, it's a bit on the rough side right now, which is unfortunate.  Not that l let stories paint all of my decisions, but l won't press my luck this trip.  Also, the rental car agency wont' let their cars go into Mexico, so that leaves a bus, and that is not my favorite mode of transportation.

There will be plenty around here to occupy me for the weekend.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Toronto to El Paso

On my trip today, while in Philly l spoke with a great lady from Ottawa, offered to carry her bags for her (she was in her 80's and was carrying two carry-ons), then had a lovely chat with her while l waited for my plane to Phoenix.  She works in Parliament in Ottawa as an editor, but spends 4 months a year in Phoenix.  The bag l carried for her was actually her cat.....l didn't know that until later in our conversation.  It's carrier was a duffel bag, made for small animals, but it didn't look like an animal carrier.  The cat was quiet and didn't move while we sat talking.  Our conversation made the 2 and a half hour layover fly by.

Another treat was as we were sitting there chatting and munching on lunch we were then sung to by carolers singing Christmas songs. The were dressed in 1800's costumes and  were quiet good, they tried to get a couple of kids involved but the kids just wouldn't participate with them,  until they were dragged in to ring the bells for Jingle bells and get their picture taken by Mom.

As l was waiting for my Zone to be called at the Philly airport for me to board the plane, l was standing back and this gentleman tried to slide in/bud in the line and get on the plane.  The boarding agent saw him try it and said to the gentleman that "Sir, there is a line", and stopped him.  It was actually a test to see if the boarding agents did their job.  And she did.  The guy worked for TSA, but was dressed as a regular customer trying to bud in line.

I seem to have had a eventful day of travelling.  Could be because l had three flights today.  lol  I don't mind two, but three is a bit much.  Direct is always better too.


[caption id="attachment_364" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Who's the Lucky Winner?"][/caption]


I got tagged at the airport.  I was specially selected for Security Screening.   I got the SSSS on my ticket.  Whoo Hoo!!!

Okay it ended up being no big deal.  I actually got to jump the security line.  Which was pretty cool and put into a special line.  It wasn't any different then regular security except l got a residue swab for ballistics on my bag, and then even though l didn't set off the metal detector l had to either choose a body scan or a pat down.  I chose the body scan, it's quicker and really, like going to the doctor, once they have seen one, they've seen them all. :-)

I've had the body scan before when l forgot to take off my watch and set off the metal detector.  I don't' understand what the whole fuss is about.  I would do that any day, if l could take all the liquids l needed for the 11 days without having to check them into the luggage.

Now if l had a choice l would have preferred to have been specially selected to win the lottery.....

Saturday, December 10, 2011



Wow, l can't believe how tired l am.  Is it the lack of sunshine, the full days l'm putting in on a different schedule, the constant travel? I'm not sure.  But l could use a day on a beach with a good book and a few well timed naps.

[caption id="attachment_361" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="What l would love right now!!!!"][/caption]


Today l have a bunch of running around to do, a secret Santa gift (the only adult gift l buy at Christmas- otherwise l just buy for the kids in my family) for a gift exchange at a family Christmas party tonight.  I have to do laundry, pack for El Paso, l think l will need to sneak in a nap or l won't be much fun tonight.

I'm looking forward to flying tomorrow, it's 3 connections (ugh!) but that means plenty of naps on the plane, and lots of hanging out at airports reading a book - not the same as the beach, but in a pinch, ya make do with what you have!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spam Comments

[caption id="attachment_357" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Not Just for Lunch Kids!"][/caption]

I woke up this morning to 20 spam comments.  I have had a trickle of spam comments before, but this was by far the highest amount of spam l have received here.  They really are quiet funny.  The sayings they put in as their comments are a dead give-away that they are indeed spam and English is not their first language.

Example; "A rolling stone is worth two in the bush" as a comment.'s "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush"

And of course, simple spelling mistakes.  Spelling mistakes on their own are not a give away that it is spam, but grouped with a wonky e-mail address and goofy sayings that don't really apply to the topic where they left their comments earns them a smack at the "delete" key by me.

I'm not really sure why they spam blogs, maybe someone can enlighten me?
Not just for Lunch Anymore Kids!


I know l mentioned this before, but when that sun shines, my energy level pumps up 10 notches.  After many days of clouds, rain and snow (not that it's really stuck, with all the rain that follows) the sun is a welcome sight.  Too bad l only got to experience it on my drive in to work.

And then, when l'm at work,  l'm so far from a window that even though the sun may be shining, it's not in my world.  Oh well, only one more work day until l will be the outside rep again.  Then l catch any sunshine shining through out the day.  Even if it is overcast, l seem to get my vitamin D from rays that make it through the cloud cover.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Who Visited

[caption id="attachment_346" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="All Over the World"][/caption]

With blogs, in the "dashboard" where you add posts, it's where you can put 'plugins' that do all kinds of things.  They are written to help run a better blog.  I know l have so much more to learn with blogs, and as soon as l get some time to actually pick up that book by my bed....l will.

One of the cool things with one of the plugins l can see how many people have visited my sight, what country they are from, how long they have stayed and read some of my posts and a few other things.  I don't know how you are, it is very basic information, so don't get nervous.  Even if you signed up to get e-mail updates, l dont' even know who you are or  your e-mail address. It's very discrete.

One of the cool things is seeing what countries have visited my sight.  Of course, l have visitors from Canada, USA, but also, United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Holland, India, Chile, Russia and more.  It's quite fascinating.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

El Paso, Texas

El Paso Texas is the next stop on my ramble.  But l am getting a bit ahead of myself since l don't leave until Sunday morning (the 11th).  But that's part of the fun of this job, there is always something to look forward to just as you start getting bored of one place, the other place comes into sight.

So while at work, l started scoping out things to do, places to go see in El Paso.  I think l will be entertained for the weekend that l get as my free time.  Beside, l need to get my Christmas shopping done while l'm there.  Luckily l don't have to jump too far into the madness of the shopping since we only buy gifts for the kids in my family, so that's 3.

I checked out the weather, and it's quite nippy right now but should warm up for my stay into the low to high 50's.  As long as the sun shines, l will be happy.

My partner at work as soon as she heard where l was going to El Paso said...."mmmm, Taco's" .  I wonder if El Paso is happy that there is a very well known taco company by that name?   l will be having some authentic Mexican food while l am there, not the stuff in the yellow and red can!


Work wouldn't be so bad if it just didn't get in the way of living.

When working in Toronto, l don't seem to have enough time to do the things l want to do.  I have a book by my bed l haven't had time to pick up since l've been home.  I spend two hours of quality time in my day commuting (1 hour each way - only because l am off time and not hitting rush hour).

I'm in the office for 8 hours, and l don't even take time for lunch, l eat at my desk since my phone might 'ring' with a call back.

The sun doesn't shine, and if it has been, it's been while l've been in the office, so it really didn't shine for me!!!!  lol

I wonder who thought this was a good idea?  Working 9-5 or some variance of that just bites!

Can you tell l'm missing the sun, l'm a bit crabby.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Little Steps

Now l may sound brave  and all that at being able to go on this adventure.   But don't for a minute think that l didn't have the "Gulp" moment.  I have been taking little baby steps toward where l am at now.

I stopped by a friends last night after l had left a deposit on the van and they said "you don't seem very excited".  And l wasn't, l was quiet.  It could have been because l had driven so long ( three hours each way to look a the van), and as l said earlier l was a bit zonked from living in this time zone (Eastern) but working Alaska's. l was deep in thought, thinking is this it?  Did l do right? Is this the van?  Do l really want to travel?  It's a moment of reckoning.  Of course, l expect many more of those moments of reckoning/reflection to come as my life progresses.

As l wrote the blog last night announcing my purchase l was starting to get the excitement bubble.  It started in the pit of my stomach and then travelled up to my chest.  I live for moments like that for the moment of feeling alive.

If l made the wrong decision on the van, l can change it down the road (pun intended).  If l made a wrong decision on travelling solo (cats' don't count - :-) ) l can always come home.

That is one thing that l have learned in my life, and l taught a friend of mine who had the habit of doing it, and that is to not paint yourself into corners.  You can put down the paint brush at any moment and jump over the line, no one will care if you change your mind, true friends will welcome you back.

[caption id="attachment_336" align="aligncenter" width="290" caption="Painting yourself in a corner"][/caption]

Carp Diem

One thing l didn't mention about my recent purchase.  And that would be the reason that the people were selling their van.  They had only bought it a year ago September.  They had big dreams of doing what l plan on.  Driving casually around North America, seeing the sights, enjoying the views and the people they were to meet along the way.

But something happened.  And it happens far too often.  Their health too a turn in the wrong direction.  The gentleman on the couple got bowel cancer.  It's been treated and is being watched.  He was in great spirits, but sad that they can't go live their dream.  And if that wasn't enough to side track them, the lady of the couple has hip problems.  She can no longer get in and out of the van.  Surgery is scheduled for May 2012.

The van never left their driveway.  They've been retired now for a couple of years, and now the enjoyment of those years has to be re-thought.  I'm sure they are still enjoying their retirement, but some of the glimmer has been rubbed off by their limitations now.

I may be impulsive, l may move around a lot, l'm just trying to live the life l want to live and not one society tries to dictate to me. I don't want to be this couple, that put their dream off to another day, only to

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Jumped!

I've jumped in the pond.  I've made the commitment.  I'm on my way.  My mode of travel come April will change from this.....

[caption id="attachment_315" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Current mode of getting around the country"][/caption]


To this......

[caption id="attachment_316" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="My New Mode of Travel"][/caption]


I've put my deposit down and will be picking it up just before Christmas.  I guess you can say it will be a gift that will keep on giving.

I'm one step closer to my travel date in April.  The open road, on MY  schedule is calling me.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scorpio Discrmination

I just came across this article on YAHOO, where it states some companies in China are discriminating against me and my fellow Scorpios (and Virgos).
"According to a job listing in the Chutian Metropolis Daily newspaper in Wuhan, China, a language training company there is seeking qualified applicants — as along as they're not Scorpios or Virgos. The Toronto Sun reported that Xia, a spokeswoman for the company, said that in her experience Scorpios and Virgos are often "feisty and critical." Xia said, "I hired people with those two star signs before, and they either liked quarrelling with colleagues or they could not do the job for long."

Um, l get along with everyone, so l really don't think that is a true trait.  My best friend is a Virgo, and he also gets along with pretty much everyone.  Of course, both of us have no tolerance for people that are underhanded or liars, but who should have tolerance for that?

On the other hand, they seem to be correct about me on the "they could not do the job for long", if l don't like the job, l have no problem finding another and moving on.  If l like the job, l am there for years.  Sometimes it takes a bit of time for me to scroll through the bad ones to find the good ones.  :-)

My Virgo friend is more of a sticker.  He stays at his jobs for a long time. So they are way off base on that one.

Come to think of it, my Sister is a Scorpio also, and she is both easy to get along with and non-argumentative and a sticker.  How did they come up with this finding of theirs?

Sure glad l don't live in China!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bathroom Etiquette

I think there should be bathroom rules.  I know there are some, but they need to be updated to include:

1. If you use those paper toilet seat liners, when your done, kick them in the toilet.  I don't want to have to do it after you have left the stall.  Not my job.

2. There should be a dedicated "Squat Stall", just like the  "Handicapped Stall"  and all people (okay, we know it's mostly ladies since men's rooms have urinals) that squat/hover over a toilet seat should have to use that stall, and not the others.  I don't want to step in your pee or accidental sit in your pee.

3. If you can't flush a toilet, then use the the outhouses. They don't' need to be flushed.  I know most toilets now flush themselves, but if you don't hear the vacuum of water as you leave, YOU need to do it.

4. There is a trash receptacle in the bathroom for a reason.  Put your had towels in it when done.  Just because it's not your job to clean the bathroom, doesn't mean you need to be a pig.

Okay...l'm done!  I'm sure there are more to be added, and feel free to suggest some, l could use a giggle.


Wacky Time Suspension


I am feeling a little discombobulated.  I am here in Toronto, living in Eastern Standard Time, but working in the Alaskan Time zone.  That can just mess up a person, or at least it is messing up me.

I've had to set my clock on my laptop to Alaskan time (four hours behind eastern) because l have been having to think too hard.  I am arriving at work at 1pm, just after lunch, but actually showing up for work at 9am in Alaska.  It is a wee bit confusing.  It wouldn't be all that big of a deal if l wasn't continually calling Alaska and speaking with people there.  So l have to take into account their starting times, lunch times, even something as simple as "so and so will be back in at 2"  which is actually 6pm where l am physically.

It`s enough to mess you up!!!  :-)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Propane Tanks

So l've been out looking at possible vans for my trip.  Today l learned a lot about the propane requirements for certification in Ontario, Canada.

We had a pretty big explosion a couple of years ago with a propane facility that was located in the city limits.  So there have been regulations put in place to prevent such things again.

[caption id="attachment_299" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The propane fire ball from Sunrise Propane in Toronto Canada 2008"][/caption]

How does that effect the little motor-home buyer/seller/user?

Now, the propane tanks need to be inspected every five years.  They also need to have a Auto Fill Stop valve installed on all tanks.  They have been available for about 10 years, so if your tank is newer then that, you're okay with that part.  If not then the tank is required to be retrofitted with one of these valves.  The catch is, not all tanks can be retrofitted.  If it can, the cost is about $400.

If it can't , then you will have to replace the tank.  Sounds easy?  Maybe not.  Not all tanks are standard.  On the conversion vans, some manufacturers had tanks designed for their vans only.  So what that means, to replace it, you are looking at about $2500 to have a tank built for you.

If you don't have to have one specially built for you, the tanks start at $600, plus installation at $75 an hour.

If your tank is newer and meets the codes, then a straight $75 to inspect it every five years will be okay.

The problem is our insurance companies up here don't have any "standards" when it comes to what they need for insurance purposes.  Some, don't ask for anything, some want the whole propane system inspected, which is $75 for the tank plus $75 an hour for however long it takes to inspect all the connections and piping.

The only good thing, is the peace of mind that your system is checked for your own safety, but it makes it hard when looking at vehicles if you don't quiet know what to look for.  There could be an expensive surprise waiting for you.