April 29, 2008

Just for Fun

These things are neat....and usually surprise me by how accurate they are. I had to post it on here instead of forwarding it in an email. I'll tell you why next week, but I can't say right now. Remind me when I come back from vacation to tell you why.

Going Home

We're going home for about a week or so, so I won't be around to post. I'm taking a break from everything. However, when we get back, I'll have pictures so don't forget me. Check in with me sometime around the 10th or a few days after.
Take Care!


Meagan, my sister, tagged me on her blog to answer these questions. So I guess thats what I'm going to do.

1. What was I doing 10 years ago (1998)?
Lets see....That was the year I had the weird "break-up" with my not really my boyfriend friend, couldn't figure out what I was doing at college so I quite after the spring semester for a year, worked at the Girl Scout camp that summer and had a blast, worked at B&N for a few months in the fall, and went to visit my friends in Europe for the month of December. That was a big year....was it only 10 years ago?

2. 5 things left on my "to do" list today:
Well, its pretty much the end of the day so, I think mostly I'm going to
a. drive through Yellowstone National Park to Bozeman where we're stopping to pick up Malcolm's sister Justine from boarding school before finishing our trip home
b. Post a blog entry telling you I'm going home for a week so I won't be posting till I get back,.
c. try to figure out what this weird rash coming up on Paris's neck and back is without getting too concerned. Thats what I get for bragging to Malcolm about what nice skin she has compared to Carlie's puberty achne covered skin.
d. organize a few things in the truck once we get parked to get ready to go home.
e. go to sleep

3. what I would do if I was a billionaire:
I'd probably buy a whole lot of land somewhere, probably very close to where I am now cause I like it there. Definatly quit truck driving, not that its that bad, but I'd rather do all this traveling in a car so I could get up some side roads that look really fun. Visit my family more often, and fly them out to see me, maybe buy a little vacation home down there.

4. bad habiits:
procrastinate...big time! I often fail to prioritize....I'll read a book instead of working on taxes or dusting the house when it would only take 15 minutes to dust...if that long and then I could read without a cloud over my head.

5. places I've lived:
my parents house in Ooltewah, Dad's little rental house by his resteraunt in Oolteway (I lived there by myself and with Malcolm after I got married), on UTC's campus in Chattanooga, at the ranch in Baker, MT, and where ever this truck parks every day, which over the past two years would include many places in all the states but Maine.

Now, I'm supposed to tag someone else, but I havn't got that many blogging friends yet that have their blogs ready to roll, and Meagan tagged the only other one I know besides her when she tagged me. SO....I'm not taggin anyone.


I'm polling you! Please participate. Over in the right hand column!

I Liked This

I found this in a little calender Mom gave me for Christmas. Considering the circumstances this woman found herself in, I think what she is saying is really powerful. I would not have wanted to be in her position.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances."
-Martha Washington

April 28, 2008

The Beauty We Don't See

Last night it rained. Not a lot, just enough to dampen the parking lot, the window on the truck, and the ground.
While Malcolm was unloading I took the girls out to potty and stretch their legs a little. We went over to the far edge of the property so that we wouldn't be in the way and hopefully wouldn't be noticed because occasionally one of these places will be picky about that sort of thing. I mean, last week one one of our pickups made me sit at a bench in the parking lot while Malcolm went in and the place we loaded at today wanted me to sit in the office until Malcolm convinced them I was a driver. Then they agreed to let me stay in the truck which was good cause I got a log of blogging done. I usually don't take the girls out at places like these industrial sights, but it was taking a LONG time to unload, and its just not fair to them. So I did it anyway, and standing around watching them, and watching where I stepped so I wouldn't get muddy, I noticed a slug on a leaf. Normally I think they are ugly, but I was curious what he would look like through the lens of my new camera, so I took the girls back to the truck and picked up the camera
and went back to the slug
and took this...

Now, isnt' he kind of pretty. I've never thought of slugs as pretty, or cute, or even picture worthy, but looking at him through my lens, I found that God even gave this little guy his own unique beauty. I think there's a lesson there.

And so, being all inspired on this damp, chilly, Oregon morning, I saw other things. And this is what my mind came up with. So often we just cruise through our day and don't really look around. Some things are unattractive, or we're busy, or we just take it for granted. But, if you look closer, even ugly things like slugs have beauty in them.

We comment on the beauty of a tree, or tall grasses waving in the wind, but we never look down at the ground we're standing on and see what the smaller things have to offer us.

Have you ever considered the beauty in a perfectly shaped drop of water, or its significance? Every little drip, no matter how small, is significant and important. Every drip is full of life that the little drop is going to share with the world.

And if one drip has that much power and beauty, how much more do they all have together?

And even an old ugly industrial sight can have its dilapidates sharp edges softened a little and offer us some beauty to enjoy. We just have to take the time to look for it sometimes.

Another Mountain

Yesterday we drove through the "Oregon Outback" until we reached Hwy 97, where we turned north for about 60 miles before cutting off on Hwy 26 to Portland. We were winding down Hwy 26 admiring the views when we noticed this mountain rising majesticaly about the landscape. Mt Hood....the king of the Cascades. I wanted a picture....I wanted one bad. Because I'd already introduced you to Mt Shasta, and you just needed to know Mt Hood as well. The problem here is that there was once again no where to pull off, traffic behind us, and about a million bug splatters in the windshield, plus it wasn't even in front of us, it was out the driver's side window and the driver was in the way of my shot.

I ran to the sleeper, flopped down on the bed, snatched up my camera, frantically wiped the doggy snot off the window from where my girls lay and look out the window, and draw pictures with their noses, and lick the window (a lot in Carlie's case...she's wierd but we love her), and started snapping pictures.

And these are what we got.

I wasn't satisfied with the shots so I grabbed my zoom lens, having not used it yet, and finding that it was surprisingly fast and easy to change lenses, and snapped a few shots like this.
WoW! It really made a difference!

Now....please excuse the blue tinting. I didn't realize the window was that much more tinted than the front until I plugged in my memory card and got to see the full size version of the picture. Things look a little gloomy in Oregon...but it was an incredibly beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Here's the sad part of the story. After snapping all those pictures of Mt Hood, I returned to the co-pilot's chair, at which point my wonderful observant husband said, "So....what's THAT mountain?"...as he points ahead of us to this giant of a mountain thats at least twice as big as the one I just finished photographing. (at that point a little column of steam started coming up off my head...but I got over it.)
So the pictures above with the unusual blue tinting are not Mt. Hood. I think its Mt Mitchel, which is just a measly little 5,599 feet, nothing compared to Mt Hood's 11,239ft. You think I would have noticed the difference. I never got a shot of Mt Hood, but I did get to ride around the base of it and a little way up its side, which is closer than we've ever been before.
At least Mt Mitchell was picturesque.

Yet Another Picture of My Girls

What blogging day would be complete without yet another picture of my girls? I didn't think it would be, so I'm posting these two pictures of my babies.
I was out meandering around the fringes of the property while Malcolm was unloading, playing with my camera (I love my new camera!).
Now, when we're out of the truck, the girls are usually in their kennel. Its safer for them, and for us. And the reason its safer for everyone is because Carlie likes to eat things that arn't hers when we're not around, Paris has recently developed a chronic desire to nose through the garbage bag (but only when we dissapear from sight), and Carlie, because she can't jump on the seats to see out the window, stands on her back legs to peek over the window sill and as a result, accidently locks and unlocks the doors as her little feet press against the lock button.
The point of all that was to tell you that they are usually locked up when we're out of the truck, but sometimes, like this morning, when Malcolm is just right there, or we're not going far and there's no one else around and its only going to be a second or two, we leave them out. And when we come back, the welcome committee meets us at the door, making it a little difficult to re-enter the truck as your stumbling over squirming little naked bodies, but also warms your heart to be so lovingly recieved. Nothing can make you feel loved like a dog. Nothing...


I talk about trucking on here a lot, but I've never sent many pictures of trucking to anyone, via email or this blog. So I was thinking I should do that, since it is
a: such a big part of what we do
b: the means by which I get many of my stories and pictures from around the country.

That said, I decided its about time y'all get to see us in action some.
So here we go.

This is us unloading our load of perlite in St Helens, OR.
First we pull into the loading/unloading area.
Then Malcolm (he does all the work here...I just drive....and do about a ton of paperwork, but at least thats clean) supervises the unloading process, which basically involves opening the hoppers one at a time and making sure the flow of product doesn't get carried away and overload the dump site. (I'm sure it has a more technical name, but who's looking at technicalities here...and in case you havn't noticed, I'm not a perfect speller and just don't feel like taking the time to "look it up" so you'll have to live with a few typo's if your going to be a frequent reader.)

Where was I? Oh yeah...

So here is the dump site which is basically a big hole in the ground. Different places have different sizes or dump holes. This one was pretty good, but because a truck had unloaded in front of us, it was already loaded with stuff so our load kind of piled up and sifted in slowly. Sometimes it just pours in and we can open our hopper full tilt which is nice because we're done fast. This time it took about an hour to unload (bet the truck behind us was frustrated).
Here is Malcolm, on the phone with his friend, Brandon, while he watches to make sure the stuff doesn't back up. He has to open and close the hopper as needed to control the flow of product.

So thats how it works....basically. I'll get shots of us loading sometime. And there is actually another way they unload us sometimes which involves rolling an auger up underneath us and augering the product into a container or just a pile on the ground. Thats neat to watch too.

PS: As a note to yesterday's post about our little leak....thought you might want to know how that turned out. As luck would have it.....they didnt' weigh us when we unloaded. So whether we lost a handfull, or a couple hundred pounds....who knows. I think it was just a little though. And the duct tape held and is still holding, despite a little rain last night. Oh the power of duct tape....

April 27, 2008

The Power of the Coffee Break

I havn't officially announced this yet, but I guess I am now, because I have a story. We bought this hopper trailer we're pulling about two months ago, knowing it was an older trailer, it had some defects, but it was a decent deal and the right weight, and weight was important. The lighter we weigh, the more product we can haul, and the more the load will pay us since we are paid by the ton.
So this trailer had a few hairline cracks in the welds and we had to put a new tire on it, just one, and a few other things that are kind of irritants, but we decided to live with them, for at least a year or so before we bought a newer one. Then, while looking at TruckPaper.com, Malcolm ran across a beautiful all aluminum spread axle hopper trailer for a great price. He called on it, but someone had already bought it, or at least they were waiting for the financing to go through. So with dissapointment, Malcolm said thanks anyway, and yeah, sure, give me a call if the deal falls through. (OH...we just passed a field with a dozen tiny new colts all stretched out in the sun napping!) He never expected them to call.
A week later the phone rings and its the dealership and the guys financing didn't work out, and they wanted to know if we still wanted the trailer. So, long story short, Malcolm told them we'd take it, we put together the financing, and are supposed to pick it up next week or sometime after.
Now....here's the story. I have been slightly hesitant about the whole thing, as I always am because I can't stand to spend money, except on yet another pointless toy for my girls that doesn't even get played with because like all kids they have their favorites and prefer kleenexes and boxes and my fingers and whatever else isn't officially "their toys." Getting off subject again, but my girls play into every story. I knew the trailer was a great deal. I knew this one has been less than optimal for what we were doing, and I knew we were going to get one eventually anyway. But I still hate spending money. Anyway, something happened a little while ago to make me VERY greatful that we are buying a new trailer. We stopped at this little town in Oregon on hwy 97 to grab a coffee and take a break. While Malcolm was waiting for me to get my shoes on he got out of the truck and walked around checking tires like he always does. (He's such a responsible truck driver.) I got out and he called for me to come to the rear of the trailer. And there, on the side of the rear hopper, was a fine trickle of dust, coming out very fast, and already turning the ground white beneath us. Ok, first reaction is "umm....how long has that been coming out." Second reaction..."what do we do now?" Third reaction....."HOW LONG HAS THAT BEEN COMING OUT!!!!"
Because you see, as I mentioned earlier, we're paid by the ton, so an ounce of stuff on the ground is an ounce that we don't get paid for, and if we weigh significantly less at our destination than we did at the shipper, then WE pay for the product that is "missing."
My quick thinking husband grabbed his laquer(I have no idea how to spell that) thinner and a roll of duct tape, swabbed down the sides of the offending area, and plastered the crack with about a dozen pieces of tape. Now we're just keeping our fingers crossed that it holds up for two more loads and that the product we'll be hauling won't be as fine as this pearlite that we're hauling now. And we won't know till we weigh in at the reciever if we lost a handfull of the stuff, or a couple hundred pounds. Hopefully it had just started seeping through.
If there is one lesson to learn from this, I think its this:
Never under-estimate the power of the last minute, unplanned for, coffee break. They can prove very valuable....figurativly and literally speaking.

Northern California into Southern Oregon

Yesterday, after loading in Lathrop, CA (thats just south of Stockton and Sacremento) we drove north on I-5 heading to Oregon. Its a pretty drive and I always like driving in that part of California. Actually anything north of Bakersfield is nice. Its southern Cal that I'm not particularly fond of.

Anyway, its a peaceful drive past rice fields that give over to olive groves, that change into pastures and eventually you find yourself in the mountain passes as you approach Oregon. We get off the interstate at Weed, CA (just a side note here....I think this town's name is fitting for CA. Can't you just see some hippy all doped up starting their CA town? I'm not sure where the name actually originated or how old the town is, but the name fits that little scenario for me.) Ok, so we hit Hwy 97, which basically runs around the northern base of Mount Shasta, elevation 14,162ft. Its also a pretty drive, though we hadn't done it in the daylight since we drove for Covenant several years ago. This time it was mid-afternoon and the air was wonderfully clear. I was itching to take a few shots, but with the trees skimming by, I knew it wouldn't come out.

Then miraculously, as is prone to happen for me, one of the girls decided she had to go out....NOW! Luckily there was an old DOT check station that was closed and available for parking. And as I let my little angels run around in the bushes, I looked up and realized the opportunity had arrived. I had Malcolm scramble into the back to retrieve my camera from the back corners of the upper bunk (thats quite a stretch when your trying not to step in the back cause you still have your shoes on, bless his heart, and thank you sweet heart for saving me from climbing back in to do it) and snapped a few shots of the snow capped ruler of Northern California. This mountain is like Mt Hood in Oregon. You can see it across half the state.

Traveling on, we passed through the little town of Dorris, CA where I saw a little shop called "The Rusty Teapot" and really wanted to go in. Noted some truck parking availablility on the roadside down the way. I'll have to stop next time we pass through during the week, during the day....this has yet to happen so there's not a lot of hope in my heart for this one.

A mile before crossing into Oregon we turned off on CA-161, aka "state line road." This road, for the twenty miles we were on it, travels ON the state line of CA and OR. But more impressivly, and here is where I was really dying, it ran through the Klammath Falls Wildlife Refuge, which basically consisted of 20 miles of marsh and waterlands and had an absord assortment of waterfoul, and like I said I about died.

The reason I was dying is because:

a> I love ducks and geese, etc.

b> There was no way possible to stop and take shots because there was no shoulder and there was traffic behind us.

c> We almost ran over a little group of duckies waddling across the road.

d> I love ducks and geese, etc.

So there were at least three varieties of geese, an untold number of ducks I'd never seen, herons, and then there were pipers, plovers, and pelicans (say that three times fast!), all just sitting right there on the road side in the water. And there were a few places where the sky was just white with these particular geese that were circling and circling before landing in the water. There were millions of them.

We delivered up the road from the birds, about a mile into Oregon. We had 1620 Fertilizer (whatever that is but we've hauled it a couple of times now, so it must be common.

Then we drove along OR-140, up through the mountains to Lakeview, OR where we just finished loading after a long nights restful (parked) sleep. We're gonna grab some breakfast up the road here at a little cafe (if they are open on Sunday morning) and then we've got a 360 mile trip to Saint Helen, Or norht of Portland.

Hmmm....is there another volcanic mountain in our future? Check back to see if I got shots of Hood and St Helens.

April 22, 2008

Meal Time at Our "House"

One of our favorite times on the road is meal time. For starters, we get to get out of the truck. Another reason its exciting is because it breaks up the monotony we experience sometimes, and we sometimes, though not often, get to try new things. For instance, we just stopped at a BBQ resteraunt in Jasper, FL, and it was really good....or maybe we were just starving. But seriously, this was good.
However the meal time I'm specifically talking about this time is my baby's meal time. They always have a bowl full, but sometimes Mommy looks down and its empty, and has been for a little while. And Mommy refills it and thats when we get pictures like these.

(Ok, I know at this point your thinking, "Oh Please....she gets a new camera and the first pictures we're going to be treated to are pictures of her dogs eating"...but bare with me. Its cute and funny.)

First of all...this is what my dogs eat.
Now they really love this food. It gives Carlie aweful gas, but we've decided to put up with it because my little Paris has gained a lot of weight with it. Ahh...the sacrifices we make for our kids.

Now, the fun. First we start with a full bowl of food. Notice the little black "life bits." These are an essential part of our meal.

Paris eats first. She's the oldest so she gets seniority. Malcolm and I have not inforced this rule. Its something Paris and Carlie worked out between the two of them.

This is the baby patienly waiting her turn while taking a sun bath.

This is Paris when she is finished eating. Notice the glazed eyes, smacking lips, and look of sheer euphoria.

Also notice there are no "life bits" left in the bowl. Also notice the pieces of food all over the floor, minus the "life bits." This is because Paris has been buried up to her eye balls in the food bowl picking out ALL the "life bits."

Here is a closer look at the "no life bits" food. See....no "life bits" are left in the bowl when Paris is finished.

Now, finally, my baby gets to eat. She's a growing girl (God please make her stop growing!!!!)

Now Carlie is done. We can always tell when Carlie was the last one to eat. Thats because she cleans up Paris's mess on the floor and eats everything else in sight too. (Again, please God make her stop growing.....I can't afford to keep feeding her like this!)

Now see....arn't you glad I posted pictures of my babies eating? I mean, this is so much more inspiring than say the massive anchient pecan groves or the old delapidated farm houses in the middle of plowed cotton fields or the giant oaks draped in spanish moss that we've passed today. Don't you think?

April 21, 2008

How to Comment

While I was in Chatt Town I was surprised at the number of people who commented on my blog and how much they were enjoying it. I hadn't realized that so many people were actually checking it on a regular basis. And at least one person mentioned that they didnt' know how to leave comments, which I had to learn myself after starting this thing. So here's a quick instruction on how to do that.
At the bottom of each post it states
"posted by Sarah Johnson" with the date and then it says "0 comments" or whatever number of comments there are.
If you click on the "0 comments" it takes you to the comments page where you can read what people have said about what I've written. On that page, to the right, there is a block where you can make a comment. I think it had to be under 300 characters, but thats a lot. Then you have to enter the security code with is all those little crooked letters and numbers so it knows your not some hacker or computer or something like that. And then you choose how you want to be identified, then click post, or whatever the option is.
Hope this helps and I love to hear from you. I've not been posting much, but now that I have a camera, if I can figure out how to use it, I hope to post more.
Love you all!

Today's Progress

So, after we unloaded this morning, Malcolm called our broker. We were supposed to pick up a load in Alma, GA going to Victorville, CA. He informed us that Alma production was broken down and couldn't load us till tomorrow. As compensation, he'd found a load picking up in Augusta, GA that we could take to Lake City, FL and be back in the morning to get our Alma load. So we drive to Augusta, well Malcolm drove and I slept. Got here, checked in, and he comes out to tell me that I have to get out of the truck and wait at the gate while he loads. WHAT! I'm being kicked out, and I'm a driver!!!!!
Wierd company policy. Its a chemical place. We were getting fertilizer. So fortunatly they had shade trees and a dilapidated picnic table where I sat and read a book Mom had loaned me. Malcolm got the pleasure of going in and getting (get this) safety training. He said he had to watch a video and take a test before they let him in. Then they made him this really fancy security badge with his picture on it and everything thats good for two years. THEN they told him they didn't have any product and wern't loading till in the morning. HELLO! That could have come first.
SO....we're sitting her in Augusta, and the generator is barely keeping the truck livably cool. Its not hot, but keep in mind we live in a fiberglass box that just happens to be painted BLACK. We went to a sandwich shop down here that was really cute and classy. It was the order at the window and eat on the porch type, reminded me of something in Murfreesboro, and run by these sweet southern women....down here just blocks from the projects and a chemical plant. I guess....
And now Malcolm is going to take a nap, and I'm going to go learn how to put my camera together and take some shots. We're going to run the Florida load, then come back to Alma and take that one too. Too bad we have to waist this time, but at least there is sweet tea near by. They had some at the sandwich shop.

Where the Peas Went

This weekend we had the excitment of passing through, via a 130 miles detour or choice, the Chattanooga area. We spent a day and a half visiting family there. It was really really nice to see everyone, get some Couch's BBQ, including warm fresh coconut pie, and just had some relaxing.
Some of the things we did were:

1. ate at Couch's BBQ, as mentioned. I had a medium hot BBQ plain, what I've ordered for years, with a serving of fresh made cole slaw, made by my Dad, and this happens to be the ONLY cole slaw that I will eat. No one else begins to compare (except maybe Grandma, but thats an entirely different kind of cole slaw) and guzzled sweet tea, which I have missed dearly since moving west. And then we all had a piece of warm, nearly fresh from the oven, coconut pie made by my Dad. Ahhh......one of the worlds most perfect meals. Everyone needs to go get one now! While we were there our friend, Rhonda who lives across the street, came down with her grand-daughter to say hello. It was so nice to see so many friends while we were here. Such an unexpected gift and treat.

2. went with Mom to my Grandparents house and had fun visiting while we watched their cat, Sabrina, stalk my two Cresties. Sabrina was intent on getting Carlie and succeeded in taking her by surprise. By the time we left, Carlie and Paris both were extremly wary, and looking over their shoulder in a doggie kind of way.

3. we were going to get to watch my niece Bentlee, play T-ball. her game was at 2:30, but due to rain (they've apparently had lots) it was postponed to 4:30, and we had plans already.

4. The plans were to meet with Malcolm's aunt and uncle and we had a really nice time with them. We ate at McCallisters, another favorite. Had to get some of the chili cheese dip....and again, some sweet tea......another one of our old haunts. After eating we went to their house, where they introduced us to wii play (sp?) which is now something that we will probably end up gettign because it was SO fun, and, unlike playstation, I'm actually able to control the game and participate. (more on wii play later)

5. while we were waiting for Sharon and Michael to meet us, we ran into Best Buy to look at a camera that I had been drooling over online. I wanted to see it in person. So we went in and chatted with the sales guy about it. Sharon and Michael showed up in the midst of this ande visited with Malcolm while I debated and so on. I couldn't decide between the fancier camera that I had been eyeing, or a simpler one, but still a nice one, that Malcolm thought might be better for zooming. The sales guy told me to wait till Sunday's sales papers came out because they always have some kind of camera sale going on, though he didnt' know what it would be. Right before we left a woman came in and asked for the zoom lense for the camera I was wanting. So I talked to her about it for a while and asked her questions. So it was kind of nice to get a consumers thoughts on it.

6. slept in.....we slept in the basement spare room and its like totally pitch black down there and you could seriously sleep till 7:00 in teh evening and never know the sun had rissen. I was worried we'd sleep straight through our visiting time, but fortunatly we woke up around 9:00 eastern time, right after Mom and Dad had gotten up. This was surprising because that would be 7:00 our time, and Carlie has an internal alarm clock set for 6:29am. Thats when we rise everymorning when we're home because that's when Carlie gets up. Mom had made some yummy lemon poppyseed muffins and coffee. We sat on the front porch and listened to birds and watched Carlie and Paris.

7. At 12:30 my brother and his family arrived from church, and Grandma and Grandpa got there shortly after. We had fun visiting and watching Bentlee be crazy. She was using the ottamon for a trampoline and singing and being silly like she does. They caught me up on all her shinanigans, the funnies one I thought was during the discussion of how she likes to sing and dance, but only together. She was going to take ballett, until she found out she had to be quiet. She changed her mind about it then, and stuck with T-ball and Soccer, the latter of which she's not so into as T-ball. In Saturday's game, that we missed, she hit the ball using the T, and she hit it again when it was pitched to her, and she almost caught a fly ball, while playing first base (I didnt' know 4 year old's could do this!)

8. Dad grilled steak and we had baked potatoes and salad and Mom had made a strawberry cake. And after we ate we visited some more.

9. Ken and Sarah had a meeting to go to for soccer (they are coaching Bentlee's team) so they left Bentlee with Grandmommy and Papaw, and Grandma and Grandpa went home. I checked the sale paper for the camera sale and wouldn't you know it...the very camera I was looking at was the one on sale. Well, teh camera itself wasn't on sale, but they were selling it in a package with the zoom lens and it was a savings of $150. SO......I wasn't going to get the zoom lens, but what an opporunity, because we all know I'm going to want it shortly after getting the camera, even though I said I wouldn't. So even though I didnt' want to waste precious visiting time, I decided to head over to Best Buy real quick to pick it up. And, typical of my Dad, I've got my purse on my shoulder and Mom's car keys in hand, when Dad holds up another sale paper adn says "what about this camera." My Dad.....always finding great bargains...always coming out on top of deals.....an incredible shopper....if he was a woman he'd have an incredible designer wardrobe adn a million shoes from the top lines and would have gotten it all for pennies.
Anyway, the camera he found was at Wold Camera in the mall and it was the SAME camera with the SAME lens AND a "gadget bag and video" for $50 less than Best Buy. But I wanted to use my Best Buy card, so I called the store and they said they'd match the price. SO.....I got a $300 zoom lens for fifty bucks!! Thanks Dad!!!

After that came the time to leave. Dad drove us to the resteraut where our truck was parked, we grabbed one more glass of sweet tea (got to stock up while we can cause I just can't make it like he does) and hit the road.

Now.....everyone wanted to know what they were going to do with 51,000 lbs of dried peas. Here is the answer. Our bills said it was all going to Master Foods Corporation, and as we all know, these corporations do lots of things and have bought lots of businesses. In fact I think they own M&M Mars among others. SO.....when we pulled in this morning we discovered the destiny of our peas. They are going into Pedigree brand pet food. Now you know.

April 8, 2008

Enough Already!

On our way to Washington.

If I have to see another stinkin' flake of snow this winter.......
We woke up this morning in a remote area of Oregon to find an inch or more of snow on the ground and road, and its been spittin snow at us all day off and on. Makes California's 70+ degrees from Monday seem like a cruel dream.

It's a Girl!

My best friend in the world, Angela, called me this morning. Its a girl!!! I'm so excited. She called several weeks ago to tell me that she was pregnant (the stinker kept it a secret from me for a while.....I'll get even for that), and now we know what we're getting.
Angela moved to a Kentucky, just south of Cincinatti, back in October. So we're both experiencing living away from where we grew up and all our family and friends. Kind of like the buddy system, you know?
K, so anyway, its a girl, and I get to be an aunt again, and I'm so excited. So I had to share. Isn't she cute! And she's already a little lady. Angela said she had her legs crossed all proper like when they were trying to see what she was. She's due to make her grand entrance around September 4th. Now I have to go....I have baby shopping to do!
Isn't she sweetness all over the place???!!

April 7, 2008

Evelyn Cameron: An Amazing Woman

I want to introduce you to Evelyn Cameron, an amazing woman. I met Evelyn last summer while brousing the "local interests" section of the book store in Billings. I connect with Evelyn for many reasons, just a few of which are our mutual love of eastern Montana, wildlife, the frontier way of life, and we both endeavor to share these interests through photography. I also admire her work because I love eastern Montana and it seems to often be overlooked. Tourism in Montana is concentrated in the central and western regions, and so the visual image more people conjure up of Montana includes snow capped mountains, elk and moose, and lush coniferous forests. My Montana is not like that. I imagine parts of eastern Montana arn't that different from how Evelyn knew it.

Evelyn was born in Great Brittain, the daughter of very wealthy parents. She married Ewen Cameron, against her famiy's wishes. Ewen's family had title, but the family fortune was mostly gone. Ewen and Evelyn honeymooned in America's wild west, which was the fashionable thing to do at the time, and fell in love with Montana. They bought property near Terry, MT which is east of Miles City, where they planned to make their fortune raising polo ponies to ship back to England.

Evelyn was proud of the fact that she had no servants, often sending letters and photographs home depicting herself doing ranch work such as gardening and milking the cows, riding horses, etc. The polo pony venture did not prove as lucrative as they had hoped, and to supplement the income, they started taking in boarders, one of which introduced Evelyn to photography. She began taking photographs of local events and people. Before long she was known regionally as a photographer, which also helped their income.

In the late 1970's, Donna Lucey discovered boxes and boxes of Evelyn's photo negatives, along with years of diaries, in the basement of Evelyn's best friend's home. It was a treasure trove of photographs depicting wildlife, landscapes, frontier and ranch life, and much more. After sorting through all of it, Lucey published them in a book, which I bought as soon as I found it.

Evelyn's photographs are amazing, especially considering when they were taken, the equipment she had to work with, and the fact that she was a woman. I can just picture her lugging around the heavy cameras, climbing rocks in her skirts. One of my favorite pictures is going to be posted in a seperate post below this one, because I still can't figure out how to put photos in the body of my post, unless they are at the top of it.

The official website is posted below. You can visit the photograph album to view over 400 of her pictures. The book is excellent, and I hope to purchase the PBS video documenting her life and work sometime in the future.

My Favortite Evelyn Cameron Photograph

If you know me then it doesn't take a lot of guess work to figure out why this is my favorite of Evelyn's photographs. This is as big as I can get it, but you can go to this link to see it larger.

April 6, 2008

My Title

I couldn't think of one. I didn't want to go with just "Sarah's Blog," not that there's anything wrong with that, but it just seemed not me.
So....since I'll be sharing stories.....and sometimes getting on my soapbox....I thought that one would work. What do you think? Somewhere in my files I have a really neat picture of an old wooden fencepost, with rusty barbed wire and tall grass all around it. I should dig that out and put it up there by the title somehow. Meagan, you have to show me how to put pictures on this thing.

Why Blog

Here's why...Meagan told me to. Her blog is really cool and if I can figure out how to make a link on here, I'll send you her way so you can check it out. I on the other hand am clueless on how to get this thing going, so mine is a diamond in the rough right now. Well, it might never turn out to be a diamond, but we'll see.
I'm sitting in a truck stop parking lot in northern California. Well, I'm not actually sitting in the parking lot. That would look silly. I'm sitting in the truck which is sitting in the parking lot. Paris and Carlie are wrestling around in the floor under my feet, and Malcolm is outside trying to rewire some wiring issues on our trailer. (from the sounds of it, its not going well at the moment)
Its 60 degrees, the breeze is wrippling in the tall green grass, there are white puffy clouds in the sky, and I'd kill for an ice cream sandwich right now! I might have to hike into the truck stop and get a couple and make Malcolm take a break with me.
How's that for random!
Meagan said I should blog because its fun, and I was telling her that I worry that my emails and pictures just annoy people. I like to email my pictures from my travels and stuff, and then I ramble on and on telling stories. Well, Meagan made the point that if I put it all on a blog, people can read it if they want to, or ignore it, but I still get the satisfaction of publishing it. SO....thanks Meagan. Now if I can only get a working camera again. Mine gave out a couple months ago.
So for now no pictures, but I can still share stories.
So thats why I'm starting this blog.