Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's Sunday. Time for Shadow Shot Sunday at Hey Harriet. Check it out.

For a shadow shot this week I went into my photo albums and looked around. Some early mornings I’ll spend time looking at the events page on my computer’s photo gallery. Each event holding pictures from an outing, a trip or an occasion. On one such trip last Fall, I took some pictures while in New Mexico.

I love New Mexico, especially down around Silver City, Deming and Truth or Consequences. I have no trouble spending time and driving around what I call, “My magic triangle”. Each town is unique. Each has their quirks. And the roads that I use to connect the dots are hewn with scenery that I adore. I sometimes actually daydream of being there, in a specific place, and can see it in my minds eye.

The sun was casting long shadows on the cactus this day. Even the shadowy silhouette of the fine needles could be seen on the pads. And the butterfly flew into my shot at the last minute as I was trying to take a shot of the tiny yellow flowers. Can someone name them for me?

Not sure when I’ll be heading down that way again. There is talk of a September motorcycle trip, but I have many options for the upcoming Fall. I want to try to get down there this Winter for a spell for sure, thinking of spending a month or longer in an RV I have access to. We’ll see. The question has never been “If” I get back, it is “When”.

Peace to all

The Good Old Days

Guiseppe Caruso, my Maternal Grandfather, sometime before 1929

There are old photos, and there are really old photos, like the one above of my Mom's dad, my Grandfather. I never knew him. He passed away long before I was born. Then there are the ones from my own life, but they can't be old. The ones I think are old are the ones where everyone in them is dead! Certainly the one with me and Mrs. Spadoman from 1971 couldn't be categorized as "Old", Could it?

I came across the one below while spending time looking through the photo albums this morning. It was taken on the Canadian side of the border on the Pigeon River at a place called The High Falls. At the extreme Northern tip of Minnesota, where it meets Ontario, the political border is this river. It makes a series of waterfalls, three in all, in about a nine mile stretch as it winds its way towards the Great Lake Superior.

Back in those days, we'd drive over the border with no fanfare in either direction, no passports either. Friendly neighbors, we were considered, and we'd visit often. It was a short ride to the old gravel minimum maintenance road that lead past the old mines and log sluice remnants to this overlook. Funny thing is, you could throw a stone across to the American side.

We'll be up this way in a couple of weeks. we'll be attending a Pow Wow in Grand Portage over the weekend of the 14th and 15th of August. We'll get there on Friday. I haven't missed many years attending this event since I started in 1980 or so. We camp out near the Pow Wow grounds on the reservation. Our tradition has been to get up early on Saturday and have breakfast at Ryden's Border Store and visit their duty free shop. Then, we go to the Grand Portage Minnesota State Park. This park is rather new, having been created in my own lifetime. Which, by the looks of the picture, could be older than I think!

I have many pictures of this beautiful waterfall from both sides of the border. Just wanted to expose myself a little here and share a memory with you. I shaved the beard off for good in 1986, and after a period of many years of shorter hair, Mrs. Spadoman's hair has grown almost to the length shown in this picture of her at eighteen. We're coming up on 39 years in October. By the way, we set the camera on a rock and used the timer feature. We were alone in the woods the whole weekend.

Joe and Barb, Fall of 1971

(You know you can click on these photos to get a more detailed view.)

Peace to all

Friday, July 30, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays, July 30, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays is pretty new as memes go. Just been up a little over a month. Check out Rebecca's recuerdo mi corazon for more.

Here is my Haiku this week.

I've walked this beach so many times I can't count. Although far away from where I live, it is a "local" place for me. Centerville Beach near Ferndale, CA

Footsteps to heaven

Marvelous walk on the beach

Sand rocks and driftwood

Peace to all

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dumb Luck

Looking into Mexico at from high atop the peak at the Coronado National Memorial site

Authors note: I recently wrote a story on a Ruby Tuesday post about Mrs. Spadoman and her involvement with the motion picture industry. Here is a reposting of a story I wrote in 2007 about my time in the motion picture industry:

As many of you know, I worked in motion picture production for some time years ago. I ended working for wages in November of 2001. My last “job” was working as a stunt driver operating a snow plow for a Nike running shoe commercial.

I started working in this business as a truck driver under the Teamsters Union in Minneapolis, MN. I had all the necessary licenses to drive pretty much any kind of rig that’s ever been made. My first gig in the motion picture industry was driving a water truck. A water tanker filled from a municipal city or fire department hydrant.

From there, I drove whatever they told me to drive. I pulled elaborate RV trailers for the movie stars, wardrobe trucks and trailers, make-up, props, grips and electricians. Carpenters, set decorators and painters. Limousines with important and seemingly unimportant stars. I mean, who knew Reese Witherspoon was gonna get an oscar? Or that Natalie Portman would achieve fame and fortune with Star Wars? I drove star trailers for Emilio Esteves, Kirstie Alley, Sophia Loren and others.

The really good ones, the ones comfortable with their money and what they achieved in the industry were also around at times. Greats like Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. And Sophia Loren. All of them were on one of the sets in the filming of the movie “Grumpier Old Men”.

I have had many jobs in my life. I wasn’t always in the motion picture business. But the last place I worked before I had to stop working for a paycheck was with the movies. Not all of my jobs were driving equipment or hauling around personalities though.

I did some special effects, too. Special effects, or F/X as it is abbreviated in the industry, means a lot of different things. The company I worked for did mechanical effects. We would make water run out of faucets. Make it rain, make it snow, make it windy, make it dusty, make it smokey, make it foggy. We also made things look like they were exploding and made things look like bullets were riddling the ground or a car, or even a persons body.

Mechanical effects are fun to rig up. Sometimes it takes days to get everything set up for one minute of glory. A car over a cliff or an explosion. You wouldn’t believe the work involved with getting a simple water faucet to work on a design set. The water doesn’t come from a tap. It is temperature controlled so the actor or actress doesn’t burn themselves or flinch because the water is too cold. One time I was laying on the floor, under where the camera could see, and I simply slammed the door when the guy walked in, making it look like the wind blew it shut. Funny stuff.

The water truck was used for special effects as well. Look at the next car commercial you see. The streets will be wet 90% of the time, especially night shots. You can see the water spraying up from the tires if you look close. This is a trick used by photography directors everywhere. We also used the water truck in snow making, rain making and just about any water application.

I did some catering when I wasn’t working on a show myself. My spousal unit, Barb, had a catering and Craft Service business. I wrote about Mrs. Spadoman’s Craft Service and Catering Company, Eat This!, not long ago.

Many times, while working as a Teamster, we were the ones who would drive vehicles to and from the production set. Say a car had to be in a scene. A Teamster driver would go get the vehicle where it was parked and drive it to the set. The vehicle was put where it was suppose to be in the movie and a Teamster would park it just like the director wants it.

If the vehicle was going to be driven, maybe a Teamster or an extra would do the driving. If the driving was technical, a stunt driver would do the driving. At the end of the production day, a Teamster would return the vehicle to where it is parked and stored until next time it is needed.

One time I was returning a car used that day in the shoot. It was a regular police car borrowed from the county. It was “out of service”, but still had the lights rigged up on top. I was traveling down a highway late in the evening. The car ahead of me was speeding, but not too badly. I couldn’t resist hitting that light switch once, just for a moment. That car slammed on his brakes and went down to 55 in an instant.

Sometimes, they would need a driver to drive up in a vehicle, or drive away with a vehicle in a scene. They would use a Teamster there too, but because some portion of his or her body would possibly be in the picture, they paid a little extra money for it besides the regular hourly pay you were making.

In my short time working in the film industry, I drove a prison bus, two ambulances, many autos and trucks and once a motorcycle. When the conversation starts up about working in Hollyweird, people always ask me if I met any famous actors or so-and-so. I have, and it stands to reason, we're working together. Sometimes this involves work related communication about how a stunt will go or when to duck for the explosion. I have had a few times where I actually sat and talked with a real live movie star. On the set of A Simple Plan, I lit Bridget Fonda's cigarettes all night long, and on Feeling Minnesota, I got to meet and talk with Cameron Diaz. She was a wonderful down to earth human being and never acted like an elitist movie star. Maybe I should mention how beautiful she is in person.

One time, I found myself in a spot of good fortune. Let me tell you about it.

I was to go get an orange snowplow from a used truck dealer lot and bring it to the set. This is not unusual. When I get to the set and the truck is to be used, I was asked to drive it by the camera, down the street, and plow snow. Still not anything out of the ordinary. I mean, I was hired as a truck driver/equipment operator and getting paid a very good union wage for my efforts.

After the scene, a PA, Production Assistant, came up to me and told me that I needed to wear the same clothes to work for the next two days. The electricians got into the truck and mounted lights on the sun visor and on the floor facing up. I knew this meant that there was a possibility that I would be in the shot and for the purpose of continuity, I had to look the same each time I drove the snowplow. What would it look like in the commercial if the truck driver had on a dark blue jacket one day and a black one the next?

This didn’t mean much, but I figured that I should get the usual $60.00 bone that was thrown my way for maybe being seen as I drove. Then, the real stuff started. I had to drive the plow with over a half a million dollars worth of camera equipment strapped to it on the plow, the wing, the hood and the back tailgate. Then, there were timing sequences where I had to hit a mark. I had to thread between cars lined up and be plowing snow. I had to drive between cameras and there were people, human life forms, running close to the front and rear as I was driving. One slip of the clutch or failure of the brakes and I could have killed someone.

All in all, I had to do some pretty technical driving with the snowplow. I was up to the task. I knew how to do it and performed admirably. With all humility, it was no big deal and any truck driver worth a tinkers damn could do what I did.

I did this for three days of production. I did everything they asked of me. The shoot for the Nike commercial was over. It was time to turn in our time cards. Pay day would be in about a week. With over time and double time from working long hours, I had about two thousand dollars in wages coming to me which included the extra $60.00 per day extra because I might be seen in the commercial as the driver.

A friend of mine who works in make-up and hair, pulled me aside. She was involved with the inner workings of her union, the IATSE, The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. It seems that this production company that Nike had hired, was cutting things to the bone and a lot of people were not getting what was due them as prescribed by the union contract.

The Teamsters, the union of which I was a member, wasn’t having any problems, or so I thought. My friend explained to me that the part of the snowplow driver was a scripted part and required a stunt driver because of the risk to self and others involved with the shots. She asked me to call the Screen Actors Guild, SAG, (yep, the Oscars and all that), and talk to them about my role in the commercial.

As it turns out, indeed there was suppose to be a stunt driver hired and paid. And because it was a scripted part, that driver, along with other featured actors and actresses, like Marion Jones who appeared in the commercial, is suppose to get paid for doing it and also receive residuals every time it is shown on Network or Cable TV.

Depending on your standing with SAG, the amount you get per showing varies. Obviously George Clooney gets more than I would, but I really can’t see why. I’m just sayin’.

In any event, the SAG official verified what my friend had told me and I negotiated a contract that the production company would have to adhere to if they were to sell the shot commercial footage to NIKE. I signed on and paid a small fee to be in SAG. If I were to have stayed in the Screen Actors Guild, I could have a vote for future Oscar nominations. But I just wanted the money for the work I had done. Besides, I was close to being able to quit working for wages. This was going to be my swan song, my last official “job”.

Another problem that took place was that this production company filed bankruptcy right after the commercial shoot. They essentially ripped every hourly wage earner out of their money. It took us three years to get thirty cents on the dollar from them for our hourly work.

The good news was that the SAG money was from a different pot which was paid by NIKE and I would get the SAG wages for the stunt driving. I didn’t know how much it would be, but I thought I’d at least get some money. Too bad my Teamster brothers and sisters were getting screwed out of their wages.

Well, the first time the commercial was shown, it was during the third quarter of an NFL football game broadcast. CBS and FOX carried it on network, ESPN carried it on Cable. I saw it. It was cool because I knew I was driving the plow. We did enough for many spots. Thirty second and sixty second commercials all with the same theme. NIKE’s campaign was “Enjoy the Weather” and this particular seasonal theme was snow.

I got an envelope after the first week and I got paid for my part of the commercial. I didn’t understand the whole way things worked in the higher end of the movie trade, but I liked the results. I got two big fat checks and thought that was a good deal. I was satisfied and thought the whole thing over and done with, and definitely worth the extra effort to get in on the SAG end.

“End of story”, I thought. But I kept getting checks every week. And I mean some big fatties! One for Network, one for Cable, so much for each showing. This was manna from heaven. I never realized. This was what residuals are, and my contract was good from November 2001 all the way through July of 2003.

The Olympics were coming up and the sixty second version was gonna be shown about ten times for each NBC Olympic broadcast coverage. I was gonna be freakin’ rich! Then it happened.

When NIKE had to deal with the lost wages from the hourly employees because the production company that filmed the commercial had filed for bankruptcy protection, they pulled all the spots, for good. My cash cow was over. No Spadoman driving his way to glory and a trip to Aruba via Nike and Marion Jones running behind his snowplow.

I did do all right though. I pulled in around $40K for my three days work as a stunt driver. That's where the story title comes in. My good friend Bruce was so mad because I got paid handsomely and he didn't, and it was all because of some "Dumb Luck", as he calls it. He loves remembering this stroke of luck. I wish he could give me back the money I spent.

That was my brush with fame. It was a hell of a way to greet my retirement. My last job was the best paying. Kinda like Barry Sanders or Pele who went out at the top of their game, Spadoman went out with a flash, and a snowplow blade loaded with cameras and snow.

Through technology, I was able to make a YOU TUBE of my greatest moment. You don’t ever see me, but I can tell you, I am driving the snowplow. And HEY! The station wagon on the left side of the street in the beginning of the commercial, that’s my 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. One of the best cars I ever owned. I got an extra $50.00 for using it in the shoot.

Here's the YouTube. It's 30 seconds long:

I also have a still shot of me in the orange plow. By the way I was smiling, you’d think I knew I was gonna make a lot of money!

Yours truly, sitting in the plow, waiting for the director to get the action rolling


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ruby Tuesday 07/27/2010

More Ruby Tuesday photos and information by clicking on the link at Work of the Poet.

My offering this week is a little bit, no, a lot of self disclosure. I was caught napping, and since the cat is sitting there with me, you could conclude this to be a cat nap, pun specifically intended. Not sure who snapped this photo, but it showed up on my desktop some time ago. I think it was right after I told my animal rescue daughter that it was okay to bring the cat home. I eat my words because I know I said I wasn't going to have anything to do with it, but this little critter is persuasive and seems to like me in spite of my around-the-cat behavior.

Hope folks have a great week.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Maggie Spado 07/26/1973 -06/08/1991

Happy Birthday sweetie. Love you.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Early on a Rainy Saturday Morning

Raindrops drown out the late afternoon shadow of my van in South Dakota, June 2010

Just a few thoughts. Up early again today. Nothing in particular, just had "enough" sleep I guess. The kids are with their dad, the dog is away with my daughter who is at her sister's place with other dogs. (Doggy sleepover?) Mrs. Spadoman sleeps as thoughts race through my mind. In the post below, the Haiku My Heart Friday, I exposed myself some. It felt good to do so. I always feel vulnerable, fearing rejection, fearing ridicule, imagining that's what's happening out of earshot.

But this is different. I feel good about what people had to say. They told me I touched their hearts. I didn't want pity or people to be saddened. I really meant it when I said I accept it all fully as it is a part of who I am. I am just super humbled and appreciative about those that visited my blog post from yesterday and the wonderful heartfelt things they said to me.

Today, Mrs. Spadoman and I are suppose to jump on the motorcycle, the Triumph, and take off down river. We'll ride South down the Minnesota and Iowa side of the stream, then cross over at Prairie du Chien, WI. We'll spend the night at a mom-and-pop-park-by-the-door motel. The one we chose has an outdoor pool and the temps are to be in the 80's! We'll grab coffee at small town coffeeshops and a few meals at diners, dives and taverns that serve good vittles. Sunday, more of the same as we head back North on the Wisconsin side of Old Man River.

I haven't heard of any flooding anywhere near where we will be, but the rivers are full. It has been raining regularly, and although that is great for the new grass seed I planted after I had those dirt hills from the old above ground pool leveled and tilled, it may not be good if farm crops get flooded. I was near the Minnesota River yesterday and it looked pretty full, muddy too, carrying a lot of silt.

I'll be away for the weekend. So, no Shadow Shot Sunday for me this week. Maybe a post on Monday, but then again, I'll be on the road Monday heading up to Ashland for one of those water runs I do. We're down to the last bottle and time to refill. I'll try to remember to bring the camera, I'll be going to a different artesian well than I did when I made the Solon Springs Water Run Youtube.

We're closing in on August and there are some plans for motorcycle excursions that might keep me away from home for a few overnights. We also have some short trips planned with the Grandkids. Something about riding an elephant in that mix. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, hope your weekend and whatever you're up to is good.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays, July 23, 2010

Our Day of the Dead altar, 2001

Haiku My Heart Fridays was started by Rebecca of recuerda mi corazon blog. To find out all about the guidelines, check THIS out. There is a strong, very strong, connection between Rebecca, recuerdo mi corazon, The Days of the Dead and my life. More can be revealed about that subject sometime in the future. For now, well, let's just say you'll find the photograph I use as my header today as apropos.

I'm no poet. In fact, writing Haiku or attempting any kind of poetic writing is hard for me. I like Rebecca a lot and her idea of Haiku on Fridays seemed a place for me to try, especially because it is from the heart. As many of you already know, my heart is broken. It is a patched up muscle. It still pumps my blood, and usually at a regular rhythm, but I never know how long the repairs are going to hold up. It's a crap shoot at best, literally, day to day.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in no pain, and I can function to a degree, but there is damage from life's events, and I just can't be sure of the stability. It's times like these that tax the system. You see, my daughter Maggie would be 37 on Monday. July 26th is her birthday. That empty seat at every family members birthday and at all the holiday celebrations is a burden, but when her own birthday comes around, well, it's still very hard on all of us, and always will be.

Please, this isn't about needing or wanting pity. Please understand, I don't want sorrow for my broken heart or the past events that brought it here. In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way. You see what happened is in the past and I can't do anything about it. I don't know the future, so it's silly to guess at that. All I have is right now, today, one day at a time, and the events of the past are a part of who and what I am, what my family is, and when you think of it, who we all are. These events make up how we feel, act, think and live. I don't want to forget. This is a part of me, a huge part.

I found these old pictures just recently. Jim Cooper is the very handsome young man in front of his old jalopy. He was the best friend, a friend since early child hood, of Bob, Maggie's boyfriend. The night of June 8, 1991, they were all at the park. Maggie, her friend Adrienne, Bob and Jim and some others. Adrienne and Maggie had to work early the next morning. Bob wanted to stay at the park and hang out with the others. Jim wanted to leave, so he drove the girls home.

On the way, whatever happened took Maggie's life, and Jim's along with her, and left Adrienne alive, but numb from the experience of losing her friends right before her eyes on that warm late Spring night. A little unusual was the fact that Maggie's sisters, her mother and myself had taken a new job and we moved away right after her high school graduation. It was like a kid going off to college, in reverse. We went away and Maggie stayed in St. Paul, ready to enter the University of Minnesota in the Fall.

We are so blessed to have Adrienne in our lives. We hear from her and see her now and again. On Facebook, she "pokes" me everyday, never misses telling me she loves us, everyday. Having her is probably one of the reasons I don't want to forget the trauma of losing a child. She is here, the memories are here too. And every moment isn't this sad crying affair. Like at the Day of the Dead celebration on November First every year. They are all here with us, eating and talking, laughing and crying, all together.

The girl in the green plaid vest is Maggie, and that picture of the two kids in tie dye is Adrienne and Bobby. The tragedy didn't end that night. Bobby lost his life five years later in a small plane crash. Another story for another time. But one Haiku, 17 syllables, would hardly express my life, their lives, the lives of our families from before and since those fateful events, but I'll try, as the meme says, it's "From The Heart". I think that's why I do this. My heart can take it. I can take what I have and use it, and believe it or not, it is healing. It strengthens the sutures on the arteries, the clips on my breastbone and the scar that runs down the front of my chest.

A young Jim Cooper

Bobby and Adrienne

Delicate youthful

Their souls passed away from us

Way beyond the stars

Another shot of Jim with his truck

Margaret (Maggie) Ellen Spado

Maggie please come back

I knew you would if you could

Talk to me gently

And a poem:

My heart is broken
It broke with the weight I’ve carried
Now for decades
In a seemingly lighthearted walk

My heart is broken
The war had something to do with it
Taught how to kill
But not how to heal

My heart is broken
Torn from my chest
Held in their hands
Patched together with thread

My heart is broken
She’s gone forever
Please come back
I knew you would if you could

My heart is broken
Watching the Elders leave
Being selfish, wanting them to last forever
Not being able to help


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our New Pottery

Good Mornin'

In catching up on all the blog posts I want to write about at some point, I am remembering a trip, fairly recent, when I drove back to Ashland and picked up some pottery I bought from a friend. I wanted to write about the trip and then show pictures of the fantastic pottery I purchased.

Well, I did give money for the pottery, but my friend threw in extra pieces and then sent me another piece a few weeks later and didn’t charge me! She is very gracious and generous and a damn fine potter!

I’m going to list her ETSY Shop link at the end of this article. I hope you go over and have a look. Maybe you’ll see something you’d like. We were at the dinner table last night and our napkin holder, the orange plastic one that came right out of 1962, was being the centerpiece of jokes and laughter. I mentioned that we might need to find one in pottery, especially since we have this beautiful pottery around now, thanks to Eli.

I asked for and bought a tea set. I saw her work and wanted a teapot. She said she had cups to match. It is a beautiful set. She had a sugar bowl that I fell in love with. Then, I asked for a cream pitcher. She sent me one. That’s the piece she never charged for. I’ve used the teapot a few times.

I love the ceremony of boiling the water and brewing the tea. Then I like pouring cup after cup into the little bowl like vessels. Her creations had a design that doubled as a thumb placement for holding the cup. Sometimes I use cream and sugar, but if it is a good hearty leaf tea like Darjeeling or Oolong, I don’t need any condiments at all.

My youngest Grand daughter, Gracie Jayne, likes to have tea. She has a party when she serves. She usually uses her own service, the plastic stuff out by the sand box, but she occasionally will set up the kitchen table with my new tea service, invite her friends and have a ball.

(Author's Disclaimer: I do want Eli to know that we use this beautiful pottery ourselves and that I didn't buy it for use solely as a toy)

In the photos below, Gracie serves a few of her closest friends. I thought these pictures a good way to show off Eli’s pottery. I’ll be traveling up towards Ashland again soon and see if she has a napkin holder. If not, I’ll commission her to make me one and insist on paying the full and fair price. Not sure what will happen to the orange plastic one. Pity the poor kitchenware, banished to a place where ridicule rules.

Enjoy the show:

Gracie using the new tea service with her "friends"

One of the party visitors enjoying a cup of tea

She is very careful and never spills a drop

These bloaks showed up and behaved themselves nicely. (L to R: Fat Bastard, ((From Austin Powers)), Wolfie and Cat)

Yoody was there and seems to be enjoying herself

Gracie wants to invite YOU to the next party

If you like this pottery, or pottery in general, check out Eli’s ETSY Shop. Her name is Elisa Wilson, but she goes by Eli. She has some fabulous designs and all her stuff is wood fired. The name of her business is Soulfire Pottery and she is located in Washburn, Wisconsin, on beautiful Chequamegon Bay on the Great Lake Superior.

I met Eli when I lived in Ashland, WI. I had an old Ford pickup truck at the time. Eli worked next to the Black Cat Coffeeshop on Chapple Avenue. One morning, I was at the shop ready to order my usual, the small double Americano, Eli turns to me and asks me. “May I tell you something?”

One of my former, (and sometimes current) hangouts. The Black Cat Coffee House, on Chapple Avenue, Ashland, WI, USA

I didn’t know her, but I had seen her around. Eli is a beautiful woman and I was flattered that she’d ever have anything to ask of me. Then I wondered if she was going to tell me I had bad breath or that I smelled bad or something. I risked the inevitable and answered, “Sure”

She told me that she really liked, no, loved, my red and white pickup truck and that if I ever was going to sell it, she would buy it. Now I had some hot cars in my day. My convertibles and muscle cars when I was still a teen, and a few classics. You’d think these wagons would attract the girls, but no, it was this lowly, old, rusty but trusty, plain jane, (sorry Jayne, youngest daughter doesn't like it when I reference an automobile this way, but it is part of the vernacular), Explorer and Eli loved it.

My old pickup, the one I sold to Eli, in front of The Cabinette

I eventually did sell it to her, and gave her a great deal. I think it still runs, but the body and everything else rusted around the motor. The gas tanks leak and as far as I know, it sits and will become a flower planter in another life.

Have a great day, all of you. Thanks for stopping by. I wish you Peace.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ruby Tuesday 07/20/2010

Ruby Tuesday is a great meme created by Mary T/The Teach, who pens the Work of a Poet blog. Check it out to see some great creative photgraphy. To participate yourself, HERE are the guidelines.

My Ruby submission for today is a simple logo from a business Mrs. Spadoman had up and running during the 1990's. Eat This! Catering and Craft Service was a fixture on many movie sets as well as commercial and music video shoots in both Los Angeles and Minneapolis.

For those that may not know, Craft Service is on every movie production set. The Craft Service person would have coffee, snacks and other sundry items available to cast and crew throughout the workday. Barb was among the best at it. She couldn't be stumped. From the lead star to the lowest truck driver, she'd have what they wanted. In the case of Walter Matthau, she had the frozen Milky Way candy bars. For the Producer, she'd be ready for the second meal when called upon. Always had the band aid or aspirin and bailed out the Props department many times with some unusual item demanded by the Director.

At one point, a Producer for New Line Cinema would call Barb and see if she and her service was available before commiting to Minneapolis as the production site for a first class Hollywood movie shoot. I remember when Jesse Ventura was Govenor of Minnesota. He told the people that it was his Hollywood credentials and connections that brought the movie filming industry to Minneapolis. But we know different., It was Eat This! Craft Service that was available and brought the filming to Minnesota. The Producer claims that like an army, the film production moves on its stomach, and Barb kept them fed and was the best, so he'd bring the movie shoot home.

In the early years of Hollywood film production, there would be a person available to help the Craftsmen. They'd be the extra available help that might be needed by the Grips, Gaffers, Props, Hair and Make-up or Set Decorators. So often, they would sit and wait until needed and called upon. They would be sent out for coffee or a snack until the Craft Service became an integral part of a motion picture production.

I worked for Eat This! many times. I'd roll out my Stainless Steel BBQ equipment and would make a walking meal for the one hundred plus employees in time to save the producer loads of money in meal penalties levied by the union rules. Of course they would have to pay me, and Eat This!, for the extra meal. We never got rich, but we had a lot of fun and some great experiences.

Barb left this business around 2000 and went back to more regular work. We still have some T-shirts we had made up with this logo. The red checkered table cloth with the exclamation point fork was our trademark as we did business in Los Angeles, Stillwater and Lake Elmo. Her resume includes serving coffee and snacks to the cast and crew of films like, "Grumpier Old Men", "A Simple Plan", "Sugar and Spice", "Mighty Ducks III", "Drop Dead Gorgeous" and "Jingle All the Way". She has been around the likes of Sophia Loren, Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Kirtie Alley, Bridget Fonda, Billy Bob Thornton, Kirsten Dunst and many others. Always well liked, humble and respected by the cast and the crew.

In all Rubiness, Eat This!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday. HERE is more information and more Shadow Shots.

This is a lazy cat doing what lazy cats do when the sun shines on the living room floor and there are no other cats or dogs around to bother her. Her name is Mexicat, (but we sometimes call her MexiFAT because she tends to eat and relax a lot).

This is Mexicat

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Haiku My Heart Fridays, July 16, 2010, and Only the Good Friday

Haiku My Heart is a weekly meme project started by my friend Rebecca of recuerda de corozon blog. To read more Haiku and to contribute, check out the links.

Only the Good Friday is from Shelly over at This Eclectic Life. Please check out both these fantastic blogs. Shelly is taking a break from the Optimistic theme of the Good on Fridays, only for the Summer, but I just couldn't resist feeling good about my offering today.

Today's haiku is an essay of sorts, in pictures and words, that tell of our Summertime fun. No activity soothes the soul like a day, or in our family's case, 'days' at the beach. In fact, we went today, to not one, but two different beaches in Minneapolis. Lake Hiawatha and Lake Harriet. We spent an hour at one, then loaded up, keeping our bathing suits on, sitting on wet towels, and went to another and spent better than another hour there! These beach visits were preceded by the bagel shop, the coffee shop and some freezies from the freezer of Auntie Binky's workplace!

The photos are from another trip, to Lake Sissabagama, (Sis-a-bay'-guh-muh), in Northern Wisconsin. The shots of the kids jumping for joy and screaming at the tops of their lungs is the kind of spirit we love. Their pleasure shows up later as they jump off the dock with reckless abandon and line up by size for the photo op.

This post will also be a part of Only the Good Fridays as well. Happy kids in this world of turmoil is important to me. I am alive because I see them smiling and enjoying themselves. I hope you enjoy the pictures of my Grandkids and that their exuberance is contagious.


Swimming splashing having fun

Going to the lake

Jump in the water

We don’t want to leave this place

Cool and refreshing

Looks like a commercial shot for that wireless phone company

Peace to all

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ruby Tuesday 07/13/2010

Tuesday the thirteenth. Not part of the vernacular like Friday is, so I won't be concerned with it. What is important is that it is Ruby Tuesday. A Meme started by Mary T/The Teach, who pens the Work of the Poet blog. Post a photo of something Red on Tuesdays, pretty simple, but if you need guidelines, check this out. Otherwise, pay Work of the Poet a visit and see some wonderful photographs and maybe read a few good stories. I like to tell a story of the picture I'm posting. Some folks do very well with their beautiful photographs, all with the Ruby Red theme.

My submission for this Ruby event is food. Well, not all the food, but a placement of one of the items in a real modern day traditional Chicago style sandwich. I'm not sure when and how it got started, but the Italian beef and sausage combo laced with sweet peppers is a favorite of mine when I take the trek back home.

I'm from Chicago. I was born there and lived there for the first twenty five years of my life. The hot dog joints, or beef joints as they are called, are commonplace to Chicago like the Philly beef stands are in Philadelphia. At these hot dog joints, the Italian beef sandwich is served. It can be upgraded, "Supersized" if you will, by adding a link of broiled Italian sausage. This is called a combo for the simplification of the word combination. I like mine with roasted sweet peppers on top. I like hot and spicy food too, but I don't care for the hot giardinara. The hot giardinara is often added to top this great sandwich. HERE is a very short video of a Chicago style Italian beef sandwich with giardinara on top. Giardinara, by the way, is hot or mild. It is vegetables in a vinegar brine. You can get that in jars all over the country.

Jars of Italian Giardinara

My submission photo, below the bread and bakery sign shots, was taken around Christmas last season. We had Chicago style Italian beef and sausage combos as a selection for dinner. The beef is thinly sliced and cooked for hours in a salt. pepper and garlic au jus. The sausage is grilled outdoors on a charcoal grill. The bread is also an Italian style and prominent around Chicago. Hard to find just the right kind of bun for a combo where I live. The drive is a mere six hours to get back into the "Circle of Flavor", as I call it, for the right kind of bread for this delicacy. For that matter, I want Gonnella brand bread and sandwich rolls for any salami sandwich I might be making as well.

Advertised as "Good Good Gonnella"

An end of a loaf of Gonnella bread

The sweet peppers are simply bell peppers that are roasted by slowly frying them in a large black well-seasoned cast iron pan. I like to start them in olive oil to get a few burnt spots on them, then turn down the heat and cover them and allow them to "roast" in the pan. They get soft and hold their flavor. In this case, I used roasted green and red peppers. Hence the Ruby Red in the shot. I will enjoy Christmas and home again just looking at this photo. And today, my sister arrives from Chicago for a visit. She'll bring with her Italian beef, Italian sausage, some Genoa salami and Gonnella bread from the neighborhood. We'll feast tomorrow when my brother loins us for a day long visit.

The sandwich is put together, then the au jus is spooned over and it soaks into the bread. You can pick it up for the first bites, but if you have done it right, your fingers are sticky and the bun is falling apart by the time you are near the end.

Bon Appetit

Ahhhh, the Rubiness of the peppers on this delicious Combo sandwich

Peace to all

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morning Mystery Tour

Let’s see, I need a subject. I want to write this morning. Ahhh, feels so good to be back in my routine of being up as the morning twilight starts to brighten the sky. Why before you know it, I turn to my right and it’s daytime. I’ve made it through another night. The last few hours, sitting at the keyboard, have been a life saver for me. I used to walk around the house, try to sleep, watch mindless TV, especially before cable! I've had a brief few days of sleeping in, that's all night until morning for me, so it's good to be back to getting up before Ole Sol brightens the Eastern sky.

Looks like I found my subject. It’s a generality. Everything in general and nothing in particular.

I started the segment by reading comments on my own blog. I posted some pictures with shadows in them from around my own home. This Shadow Shot theme or meme comes from Australia and I can’t remember how I got started in doing it. But I enjoy finding shadows and having the occasional cultural phenomenon of a “good” photo.

The people who participate are from all over the world. Some are fantastic photographic artists. Others just have great luck. But all of the photos are interesting. Some folks just post anything, then make the rounds of the other posts and make new friends. I have to say, I do get many hits on Sundays for the shadow shots.

I’ve made some new friends too. New readers that read my blog. And I’ve found some fantastic new blogs to go and read. So many creative people out there. Talented with their artwork and their writing. Some are really interesting and some, well, they are beautiful and have beautiful hearts. Not many men though. There are a few, but mostly women.

Some of the photos I have posted came from the recent trip I took, driving to the West coast. While in Nevada, I dropped my camera while it was on and the lens extended. After I dusted it off, I tried to take pictures, but every time I pressed the power button, the shutter would bind and not open. I used my fingers to pry the shutter apart. After all, I was on the first days of a three week journey. I needed to have a camera!

The following shots were taken with the shutter partially open. On a few of them, it gave it a strange but interesting look. Take a look for yourself. Different, to say the least. The next day, the camera had fixed itself and no longer groaned and made that binding noise when I flipped on the power. Anyway, here are the affected photos:

The long straight road ahead. US Highway 50 in Nevada.

The shutter almost opened fully on this long lonely road shot.

Sunset, straight up

Sunset, angular. I like this one, and it was an accident to say the least.

From my motorcycle, while stopped, looking downhill onto the road that twisted up the mountain. Austin, Nevada

I have to admit, I neglect many of the blogs listed on my side bar. I just don’t have the time to get to them all. Some days I start from the bottom. Many of those listed have been on my blog since I started blogging, and that’s some years ago now. Some are gone. Some have changed. Some don’t post as often or at all and are on Facebook. I had a friend request for Facebook from a guy I don’t even know only to find out it is the real first and last name of someone I have been talking to, cyberly. (is that a word?), via the blogs and e-mail, for years.

“So, that’s what he looks like?” I thought. “And that’s his first and last name?” I said to myself. I haven’t been to his blog as often as some of the newer ones I’ve discovered. I felt a bit ashamed. Yet another blog friend came to my place and wrote a comment. I remembered having an old e-mail from her. I went into my file, and as the moths flew out, (cyber moths, no doubt), I retrieved her letter and answered it.

Well, it’s daytime. No big plans today. No children to watch after. No errands to run. No projects nagging at me, well, there’s always projects. I do need an oil change on the Triumph, and a ride on the Beemer wouldn’t be a bad idea. When my friend calls to take a look at my younger daughter’s electrical system, I will need to go meet him there and let him in. I’ll ride the motorcycle there. The NOAA weather page says it will be a warm sunny day with a high of 78 degrees.

This evening, no plans. I will savor a day like today. I have been so busy that I’ll just keep the empty dayplanner page empty. I really don’t have a dayplanner except for the one in my head, and that one is empty. (That didn’t come out good, did I say I have an empty head? Oh well, I probably do, and that’s okay.) The title for this post is how I would start every Monday morning back a few years ago. I'll have to repost some of those old travel stories. My Grandson is starting to read my blog. After all, the writing is a legacy of sorts. I'm honored that he likes to read and especially honored that he likes to read what I have written.

Tomorrow, I embark on another journey of sorts. It is a soul journey. I have been asked to facilitate a support group meeting for returning Veterans. It will meet once per week on Tuesday evenings. I hope I can be of help to someone. I guess I’ll be thinking about how the meeting will transpire and how many, if any, will show up. I guess I’ll get those answers tomorrow.

Take care and be well. I hope you have Peace in your life today.

Pax Vobiscum