Witches, Ink, and Lobster…

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I dream a lot while on the road. It’s a hold over from when I was a child, bored in the classroom and staring out the window wishing I was anywhere else. What else are you supposed to do while looking out the window? Anywhooooo…

One of the things I dream about is who I am and who I really see myself as. After years and years of taking care of other people, I’m finally putting myself first and it’s sometimes a strange feeling. If I hadn’t become a mother in 1993, my life would have been so much different. Who is the real me? The person I was on the path to become or the person I ultimately became? Considering I haven’t felt like I was in my real skin for years, I’m beginning to realize the real me is somewhere buried and I’m slowly digging her out.

When I was a child I had a small “to-do” list. Some would call it a bucket list but for me it was things I wanted to do. They were all relatively easy things and I’ve accomplished most if not all of them. Actually, the last one still lingering around is hang gliding. I’m gonna have to do something about that.

The list was this:

Go sky diving

Go hang gliding

Ride/drive a motorcycle

Go surfing

Go scuba diving

Get a tattoo

I don’t know why my 8-10 year old self wanted a tattoo. It’s not like they were a thing in the late 70’s/early 80’s but I always always always wanted one.

My first tattoo was at the age of 25. I had just been faced with a breast cancer scare and found out it was benign. It’s a small piece on my chest that hasn’t aged well. After that first prick of the tattoo needle, I was hooked. Being a single mom for years, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities for more ink, but that never stopped my dreaming. My next tattoo was at the age of 35, or 10 years later. It’s a much larger, geekier, and intricate piece and it did nothing to assuage the desire for more ink. My next piece was at the age of 45 (are we seeing a pattern or what) and it was the first “dealers choice” tattoo. It was by a Chicago artist that I had subtly been stalking. After that, I decided that I had plenty of bare skin and I wanted to cover it with art.

Sometimes I know what I want. Sometimes I let fate guide my hand (as I did in Dublin when I got Lemmy the Octopus on my arm.) There is one artist that I’ve been following for years. Her name is Kelly Doty. I had heard from her from a friend, but many people were introduced to her through Ink Masters where she came in Third place behind the first ever female winner of the competition Ryan Ashley Markley. Her style is considered New Skool and it’s a style that speaks to me on many levels.

After getting Lemmy, which was technically my 7th, I knew I wanted my next tattoo to be from Kelly. I filled out my request on her website and after a bit of back and forth with her assistant I was given a spot to get a delirium tattoo.

Delirium is one of my favorite characters from the Sandman comic by Neil Gaiman. These stories were a lifeline to me in many ways when I was a teenager. Even today, I will reread and visit with my old friends from time to time. Delirium always felt misunderstood, which is exactly how I felt (feel) most of the times. One of my favorite moments that has always stuck with me was this exchange:

“Delirium: “What’s the name of the word for the precise moment when you realize that you’ve actually forgotten how it felt to make love to somebody you really liked a long time ago?”
Dream: “There isn’t one.”
Delirium: “Oh. I thought maybe there was.” 

Delirium was once delight but even delirium has forgotten why she changed.

Once my appointment with Kelly was made, I booked my hotel room and before booking my flight I invited my sister-from-another-mister Tonya to join me. She booked her flight connecting through Chicago and I met her on the plane. It all worked perfectly.

After landing in Boston, we picked up our rental car and headed up the coast to Salem, MA. Instead of taking the interstate, I of course took the scenic route taking us along the beach and through small towns. We of course had to stop and put our feet in the sand as soon as we could.

This last picture would perfectly encapsulate the next few days of our trip. Lots of silliness and laughter.

After we checked into our hotel we decided we needed drinks and seafood for dinner. This would become a theme for us over the next few days.

The next day dawned and I was a bundle of nerves. I didn’t know what my tattoo was going to look like but I knew it would be fabulous. We ate breakfast in the restaurant in our hotel and I opted for the salmon and crab cake benedict which was almost too pretty to eat.

After breakfast we did a bit of walking and stumbled into this resale shop that had these amazing dolls.

I apologize for the glare, but these were just amazing and I tried my best to get clear pictures. These were made by @KatCreepyCreations you can also follow her on facebook at Kat’s Creepy Creations.

After walking around it was finally time to head to the shop.

Helheim Gallery was everything I wanted it to be. Once I walked in I knew it was exactly where I was supposed to be. Meeting Kelly, the artist, was awesome and I really enjoyed her professionalism and her movie selection. Look, anyone who puts on Tank Girl for me while tattooing is going to have a huge piece of my heart forever.

So, after 9 hours and without further ado, I present Delirium.

I seriously couldn’t be happier with her. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but after being a lurker of Kelly’s art for a while, I knew she would be spectacular and she truly is. I have several tattoos, but I’ve never been stopped as many times or had so many people comment on this one particular piece of art. I am truly humbled and honored to wear this piece and I truly hope that Kelly enjoyed her time with me and the the finished work.

It’s hard being a living piece of canvass. There are things you want to see, but you also want to be cognizant of an artists vision. While this isn’t simply a piece of art that’s hanging on a wall, but rather one that’s carved into your skin, it’s important to have the safety and space to work in conjunction with your artist to meet both of your needs.

The hardest thing about this tattoo is that it’s on my left arm. The arm that’s exposed to the most sunlight. The arm that is darker than the other and makes me feel like a bit of a freak. I’ve devised a system to ensure it stays awesome. This system is comprised of high SPF and a bandana to cover it in full sun. I love her so much that she’s forcing me to take care of myself. Wild!

After the tattoo, I surprised my lovely travel mate with a trip up the coast for lobsters in Maine. Ok, it wasn’t a complete surprise, but she didn’t really know what to expect.

The best thing about New England is that everything is relatively close to everything else. Coming from the the Midwest, it take HOURS to get to something cool from somewhere else cool. This really isn’t’ the case in New England. After a drive of little more than an hour we reached our next destination.

Our dinner before…

And after…

Despite my objections, Tonya demanded I wear the bib.

The next night, we had plans to take a Witch Walking Tour and while it was interesting, we were really hungry for Lobster Bisque so we left the tour early and headed to Turners Seafood.

Look, I’m not one of those people who gets overly emotional about their food, but I swear their lobster bisque brought me to tears. They of course had oysters and a lovely house gin drink, of which I had to sample. The ambiance was dark so the pictures really don’t do it justice.

If you ever have a chance to visit Salem, I highly recommend the trip. If you’re looking for an amazing piece of art to adorn your skin, give a shout out to any one of the artists at Helheim Gallery. While I have a piece by Kelly, I totally would love art by the other artists as well. These cats have it going on.

Thanks for reading my lovelies. Comment, share, and spread the love. Xoxo

Who said you can’t go home again?

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Ok sorry for the very long hiatus. I was making a whole bunch of changes.

First, I’m still a trucker. No worries there my dears. I really do love what I do even if I really wish I could legally squash most drivers on the road under my tires. Sorry, I know that’s not nice but that’s just the way it is.

Secondly, while still working as a trucker I’m no longer on the long haul. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I’m now an Intermodal Driver. As an OTR (over the road) trucker I would pick up deliveries from the shippers and take them to the receivers usually in different states. Now I pick up deliveries from the shippers and take them to the rail yard to be put on a train. Once near their final destination, another driver will pick up the trailer and take the product to the receiver.

What this means in the long run is that I get to be home more often. Not my home of Washington, but my forever and always home of Chicago.

By the age of 48 I’ve lived in 9 different states. No matter where my drivers license said I lived, if someone asked me where I was from I always said Chicago. I will always and forever say Chicago. Chicago is where the incarnation that is me was born and it is forever branded on my soul. I will always want Chicago thin crust pizza over anything else. I will always love the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks (sorry Sox suck) even if I don’t consider myself a sports fan. I will always think that Lake Michigan has magic, Sue the dinosaur is just sleeping, and the lions outside the Art Institute will come alive to protect the city if needed.

This is my skyline…ok it’s not the best shot but I don’t drive on water and you’re just gonna have to take what I give you. Oh sorry, I slipped into mom mode there for a moment. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see these buildings everyday. When I moved back to Chicago in 2014, I didn’t really move back on my own terms. I was running away from something and someone and I came back with no plan in mind and no real thought about what I was going to do or even who I was anymore. All I knew was I wanted change. I left in 2016 after being here for 2 years and after a bit of a walkabout I became a trucker. Now, I’m back and man am I back with a vengeance. Ok not a vengeance but…you know what, I am back with a vengeance. Rawr!!!

So what’s different about, as I like to call it, running the rails? Well for starters I seem to be going to the same places time and time agian. This works for my brain beacuas it allows me to make connections with people. Maybe it’s my winning smile. Maybe it’s the purple hair. Maybe it’s my puppy wiggle butt at being able to make friends and get to know people again, but it’s been pretty easy for people to rememeber me. That, is of course, just how I like it.

Many intermodal trailers are these huge box affairs that have to be placed on a chassis. Our trailers are just like normal trailers and don’t require any additional equipment. A giant crane comes by and picks up the trailer to load it onto the train car. It’s all pretty neat if you ask me.

All in all, while the work is the same, it’s also much more physical. Where before I might have the same trailer with me for a week or two, this one involves multiple drop and hooks. I’m constantly out of my truck, winding up/down landing gear, crawling beneath my trailer for pre-trip inspections, and I do this multiple times a day.

That’s been some of my delay on updating you, my lovelies. It’s hard work. Much harder than just driving down the road. The best part of this new gig….NO MORE HAVING TO DEAL WITH ATLANTA DRIVERS!!!!

I have a few things to update you all on, and I will try to get back on a better schedule to keep you all in the loop.

Xoxo

390 days…

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I’m not going to lie, my lovelies, it’s been a rough couple of weeks.

I’m pretty in touch with my emotions and sometimes I can let a tear or three escape unbidden, but rarely do I outright sob. After my apple load, I got a call from my fleet manager which is a rare occurrence. We engaged in a bit of small talk and then the dropped the ultimate bomb…

“Well Tj I have some news. I’m not going to be your fleet manager anymore.”

I didn’t just sob, I ugly cried. I’ve been with Kyle since my last trainer and he was perfect for me. He got my idiosyncrasies and left me alone. I would touch base with him about once a month but other than that I did my job and he gave me the space to do so. He understood (because I told him) that I don’t respond well to micromanagement and he was completely on board with that.

After I got myself under control, I told him I was sad but I wished him well in his new division. We talked about my new fleet manager and he said he had filled him in about me and what I do and how I do it. He also told me to keep his cell number and to call him if I ever got into a bind and needed his help. ❤

We also talked about a few other possibilities for me. Those are what has been occupying my brain for the last couple of weeks. Decisions…Decisions…

More on that in a moment. For now, lets talk about those 390 days…

390 days…That’s how long it has taken me to get to the point where I can say I’ve traveled all of the contiguous United States. Finally! I did it.

The last state I needed to finish the route was Maine. After kicking around in the Midwest for a few days waiting to see if I was going to get a Canada load, I finally told my new fleet manager, who I’m still getting used to, that I needed a high dollar load to round out the week. I wasn’t holding my breath, but lo and behold, he came through. To top it all off, it was a load to Maine. The last state that Large Marge and I have traveled.

The route was mostly familiar, that is until I got to Massachusetts. I luckily haven’t spent a lot of time on the East Coast. For one, every road seems to be a toll road so it can be quite expensive. For another, the traffic just sucks everywhere you go and parking is a nightmare.

Once I got north of Boston everything seemed to calm down, I headed into New Hampshire for a moment and then….

(Please excuse the reflections in my window. )

I can now say that I’ve traveled to every state in the contiguous US. It only took me a smidge over a year but I did it. Yay me!

One of the more amusing signs I saw while in Maine was this one.

Because I was as bit sleep deprived and mostly because I’m silly, all I could think was “Do they use moose as speed bumps?” Alas, no moose were spotted by Large Marge, to which I’m actually pretty happy. I think that’s one critter she would be on the losing end of. I did have to dodge a few flying turkeys but no moose.

After dropping off in Maine, I headed back down to Massachusetts for my next two deliveries. After a wee bit of sleep I headed back towards the Midwest to get set up for a Canada run. I dont mind heading to the North East but I’m super happy to not kick around there for very long. The roads are small and narrow, the places to park are small and too few, and the drivers are right up there with Atlanta drivers for rudeness and dangerous behaviors.

As I was heading out I came across another fiery vehicle in the roadway. This time it was in the southbound lanes while I was in the northbound lanes. I felt sorry for the two miles of backups it caused and I sincerely hope no one was seriously injured.

Now back in the Midwest and loaded with beer (my trailer not me) I’m slowly making my way to Michigan. This may be my last Canada run. With the change of my fleet manager I’ve decided to make a change of my own. In a few months I will no longer be doing long hauls.

I’ve ultimately decided to change divisions and work in the Chicagoland area for our Intermodal Division (if they’ll have me.) This division picks up trailers from the rail yards and delivers them to customers in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa. If for some reason they turn me down, I may be changing companies.

Making a major change is something that’s been on my mind for a while. After Ireland, I knew that I couldn’t keep running the way I was and something needed to give. I’ve been toying with several different options but this will give me what I want the most. Time to be with my family and to have a real life again.

I’ve enjoyed my time out here and getting to see parts of the country I haven’t before but it’s really starting to take a toll on me both mentally and emotionally. I should have everything in place within the next few months so until then, I’m just going to run hard and fast. I have a major tattoo appointment at the end of May in Salem, MA and then I will need a trip to Washington to settle my affairs there before starting the new gig.

I have a lot of respect for the men and women who can do this job for years, living full time on the road. For me, I need more socialization with my loved ones to keep me sane and healthy. I also need my family to help keep me in check when I start to make stupid impulsive decisions. Hey, I’m a Gemini. Impulsive is my middle name, or it would be if I had a middle name.

Last but not least by any means. This last week I lost someone dear to me. If you are struggling with mental illness, it’s ok. You’re not alone. There are people who care and someone will always be there to listen to you if you need to talk. If talking isn’t your thing there is also help available by text. Here in the US text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 crisis support. I see you. You are not alone.

For those who are not struggling, someone you know may be. Be free with your affection and kindness. One of the things I tend to do when I’m struggling is I reach out to a random person and tell them why they matter to me and that I think they are awesome. Almost every time I’ve done this the recipient has responded with “OMG you have no idea how much I needed that right now.” We all struggle from time to time and life has a way of making us feel isolated and alone even when surrounded by friends and family. Love on one another more. Tell people that matter to you why they matter to you. Perform a random act of kindness. Just be good to yourself and to others.

I love you all. Even those I haven’t met. I’ve got loads of love to give so come get some.

Until next time my lovelies.

Xoxo

Oops!…I did it again.

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Yeah that’s me taking a sly shot of the officer who pulled me over within a mile of leaving my Washington apple pick up. It’s been quite a while since I saw the flashing red and blue klaxons behind me. As I signaled and pulled over I did a quick run through of the last few minutes. I couldn’t come up with anything concrete as to why I was being pulled over so I decided to just be my usual charming self. Yes, I’m shameless.

The officer came to my passenger side and climbed up on the truck and the exchange went something like this.

Officer: Good morning, I just stopped you for a routine Inspection.

Me: Oh good because ::cough-cough-coughing up a lung-cough:: I didn’t think I had done anything wrong. This is the first time I’ve been pulled over for an inspection. ::cough-cough-who needs lungs-cough::

Officer: *Looking concerned* Are you all right miss?

Me: Oh sure. I’m just slowly dying of this horrible cold some evil child gave me in Chicago. Nothing to worry about. *queue another coughing fit*

Officer: Well you might want to get that cough looked at. I’ll be quick so you can get on your way and get some rest.

So he does his thing; runs all my info, runs my truck, runs the trailer, looks at my logs, looks at my bills of lading.

Officer: Everything looks great. I just need to get your paperwork and you can be on your way.

Me: ::coughing uncontrollably:: Nods and waves

Officer: You really should have that looked at.

When he comes back we chat a bit about the weather, his respect for what I do because he could never do it (which I echoed when it came to his job), and general pleasantries. He suggested again that I go have my cough looked at and I thanked him for his council and concern.

Cha-Ching! That was the easiest $100 I’ve ever made, as that’s my bonus every time I pass an inspection.

The rest of my time in Washington was actually really beautiful. It was in the high 40’s, the sun was shining, and the drive was easy and familiar.

I really loved the shadows and reflections of the mountains in the Columbia River.

This load was a two stop pick up. As I wound my way to my second stop I pondered the world and my place in it. Reflections aren’t just for water, you know.

At my second stop, I was still feeling rough. Luckily they had just what the doctor ordered.

An apple a day and all, right?

As I sat there being loaded I started to do some trip planning and opened up my weather app to see what was going on in Wyoming (because that’s what you do this time of year).

Well….shit. None f that looks good. While it could be gone by the time I got down there, I decided to look at alternate routes and decided staying north of I-80 might be in my best interest for this run.

My first stop was back in Post Falls, ID which is always my first stop for fuel when leaving Canada. There is a Mexican restaurant I’ve always wanted to try so after I got parked I walked the block down and was happily surprised.

While I would usually order tacos (because tacos are life) I decided to have the Carne Asada Plate so I would have leftovers in the morning. Also, pictured is my IPad because I was writing my last post and my scurvy preventative drink.

Up the next morning and off to Montana. There I raced a bit with a train and was having a great time looking at the graffiti art along its side.

I love the smoking frog. I know some say this is vandalism but I seriously have a very soft spot for good graffiti art. It’s more than just scratching a name on a window. It’s expressive, colorful, and oftentimes playful. A good artist not only makes his mark he/she also makes a statement.

Currently I’m in South Dakota headed towards Iowa. Not much to report today.

Until next time my lovelies. Xoxo

The curse of the odd numbered year…

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Years ago I realized something; Every bad decision or not so pleasant thing seemed to occur on odd numbered years. It was really more of a joke and a passing thought but as I pondered the idea I realized it was true. Every hardship I had lived through did indeed happen on odd numbered years. Heck, I’m even including my own birth since I hadn’t had a say in that unfortunate event either.

This year, like so many other odd numbered years, is already showing it’s going to take some fortitude to get through. While it started out fine it’s seems to be slowing turning on me.

Take for instance this last Calgary run. It started out easy enough. After my respite with family I headed down to Joliet to pick up some candy headed to Michigan. Super easy run. After that I set up for my Calgary load by dropping my trailer and heading to the store for supplies and medicine. I always forget that kids are walking germ factories and that playing with them during cold and flu season is a risk to my health. I was now feeling the beginnings of a cold and I needed meds to combat it.

After supplies were procured, I settled in for the night for my morning pickup. Things went just as planned and I was off for Canada. As I drove through the outskirts of Chicago and Madison I blew kisses to my family. I don’t know what it was about this trip but the homesickness hit me harder than it has in a while. Actually that’s not true, I know what it was. It was being enveloped by love that did it. That and making new friends.

As I made my first stop for the night in Minneapolis I was in full on agony. This cold came on hard and fast and my chest was feeling constricted and my sinuses were screaming at me. I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again; It really sucks to be sick in a truck. It makes everything just feel worse because work/life balance isn’t really a thing in this job. #truckerslife is just that. We live, eat, breathe, and sleep this life.

My second day was the biggest struggle as I just really wanted to sleep the whole day away. I did stop on my break and take a two hour nap which really helped. Minot, SD was my next stopping point. I had originally planned on heading to the movies to see Captain Marvel but with my nap I was behind schedule and missed the last showing. It was for the best though as I really just wanted and needed more sleep.

Upon waking the next morning,. I felt as if I had a boulder on my chest and all I could think was, well shit. I’ve had issues with colds turning into bronchitis most of my life. I guess we’ll see what Canadian healthcare looks like if this turns bad.

I pushed on to Calgary, feeling horrible but not horrible enough to go to the doctor, made my delivery, slept and headed out for Washington. This is where things took a decided turn for the worst.

When I leave Calgary I’m always empty. Empty trailers are great because they save on fuel consumption and I can easily climb the hills around Crows Nest Pass without too much of a slow down.

As I headed out of Calgary everything was going grand. The sun was shining, I finally was feeling a relief from the pressure of my chest congestion, and one of my best girls was off on an adventure of her own (something that I’m proud of her for undertaking).

About 100 miles outside of Calgary, I was suddenly hit by a blast of wind that coincided with me hitting a hidden ice spot on the road. How I managed to keep my truck from completely leaving the road instead of coming close to a full Jack-Knife yet maintaining control, I’ll never know. I eased off the gas and let myself slowly decrease speed. Ok, this isn’t good.

As I limped along, I white knuckled the steering wheel and watched every gust of wind throw my trailer hard to the right off the road and onto the shoulder. I was now on a stretch of road I knew well and knew there were no truck stops anywhere close by. The best I could hope for was a roadside turnout (which happen to be quite deep and I feel completely safe in).

While it was not snowing, the strength of the wind was blowing the snow on the fields over onto the road, which was warm, but quickly cooling with that nice layer of snow, which also meant that there was a nice layer of ice underneath.

At this point I was doing about 25mph but still felt unsafe. I kept limping along waiting for that turnout, and when I finally saw the sign that announced it was two kilometers ahead I breathed a sigh of relief.

As I came up to it, I signaled that I was getting over and eased over. Just then a gust of wind hit my trailer and I went sliding. Luckily there was a nice snow bank to help stop my sideways momentum. As my truck came to a complete stop I thought, “Well I guess I’m staying here for the night.”

As I sat there I just watched the wind blow more and more snow across the road.

About an hour later a snow plow came by and I realized that in the morning I was going to need a tow. I did try to see if I could move my truck. I got out my chains but even the added traction didn’t seem to help. Since I was still feeling under the weather I climbed into my bunk, said a wee prayer to not tip over in the night, and let the wind rock me and my truck to sleep.

The next morning I was up and contacting my road assist. They asked me to send them pictures to see what they were dealing with so they could find the best tow truck. This is what I sent them.

The snow in that last one is about 8-10″ deep, They let me know someone would be out in about three hours. Cool, that was enough time too properly coffee up and have a nice breakfast.

About two hours later my hero Dean arrived.

Ugh I’m so sick but I can still smile. He and his sexy peterbuilt were there to save the day.

If you ever find yourself in a jam in the Calgary area, give Skyline a call.

Faster than I could realize Dean had me hooked up and drug out of the snow. With a smile and a cough (sick…duh) I was off again for the states.

The rest of the drive was uneventful…until I hit Washington. Of course there would be more snow. Didn’t that damned gopher miss his shadow this year? Isn’t spring supposed to be on it’s way?

I’m currently in Idaho on my way to Florida so I’m gonna get me some spring weather if it kills me. Of course with my luck, by the time I get down there it will be more like summer weather which I’m not a fan of either. Hopefully this stupid cold will be gone by then.

Until next time my lovelies. Xoxo

My how time flies…

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One year ago I fell in love. It wasn’t a conventional love but it was hard and true. March 6th was the one year anniversary of seeing and choosing Large Marge.

I remember it as if it was yesterday. The first time I climbed up into her cab. That new vehicle smell of the VOCs tingling my nose. It really was love at first sight. She and I have traversed this country (and Canada too) numerous times and she’s never let me down.

After a small break in Chicago (more on that in a bit) we are sitting in the shop having our yearly inspection done and its a good thing we are. I’m pretty good at checking my truck while I’m on the road, it’s part of my job after all. Even then, sometimes you can’t catch everything. Today this little gem was caught.

This is wear on my steer tire in the front of my truck. That’s a nice bald spot and it’s not usual wear by any means. It seems as if the belt inside has broken apart and that is what’s caused the wear. This is kinda a big deal. Steer tire failures can be fatal especially if you’re traveling at full speed. I’m hoping my Road Assist people will be able to argue defect but it’s up to the field rep for the manufacturer to agree and they rarely do.

Large Marge passed the rest of her inspection with just a few minor things needed like new reflective tape. I want to celebrate by getting her a bath because the girl sorely needs it but I’ve got more winter weather to drive in so it’s almost a waste of money.

This last weekend I took some time off to head home to Chicago to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of my favorite people in the world; My good fried Keith.

He’s not short, I’m just wearing 4″ heels. Something I haven’t done for ages. Also, sometimes I just don’t know where to look in selfies.

Living full time in a truck doesn’t afford many opportunities to get dressed up so when I get a chance I tend to go all out.

Besides seeing some of my favorite people, I got to see one of my favorite local bands Dec8de.

These guys put on a great show and they also played all of my favorite 80’s songs. If you’re in the Chicagoland area and they are playing, do yourself a favor and go see them. Tell them I sent you.

I sang, I danced, I sweat my ass off, I drank all the gin (or tried) and I reveled in being out of my truck and around some of my favorite people. Earlier in the day I had someone who tried to bring me down and argue nonsense, but screw that noise, this night was Keith’s. I was there to have all the fun and I did it all in heels. RAWR!

As the night wore on, I started to feel a bit tired and that’s when the boys in the band gave me the wake up I needed. They played In A Big Country by Big Country, which has kinda become my personal anthem of late. There was no sitting for this song so back on the dance floor I went.

I also got to spend time with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Stef. She and I go all the way back to my freshman year in high school and oh the stories I could tell (but won’t).

She is the jelly to my peanut butter (because she’s sweet and I’m nutty) and one of the people I easily love unconditionally. She understands me and accepts me for exactly who I am and for that she has my undying loyalty.

I also got to spend the weekend with my son and Frobebe.

Tbis kid is an amazing person and I’m lucky to have him in my life.

This weekend was exactly what I needed. The last couple of weeks saw me letting someone treat me poorly and I needed a kick in the ass and a reminder of who I am. I needed my family around me and to have their love and belief in me. It helped to reinforce the fact that I am a very loved person and that I have people in my life who no matter how long between seeing one another we go, we always end up in a loving embrace like no time has ever passed and pick up where we left off. Of course social media helps as well as the occasional phone call, but there is nothing like being able to hug someone you love and tell them how much they mean to you.

This. This is why I do what I do.

Before being a driver, it had been over 10 years since I had seen my t-town girls. Now I see them a couple of times a year. The same goes with friends I have all over the country. This living allows me the time and ability to see all the people who mean so much to me. (Washington peeps, I’ll see you later this year.)

Until next time my lovelies.

A Rude Awakening

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I’ve struggled with sleep most of my life. My sleeping patterns have always (for as long as I can remember) been erratic.

Some nights I can fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and stay asleep all night long. These are the good nights. The nights where nothing, including my own brain, interrupts my sleep.

Then there are the nights where my brain won’t shut off no matter what I do. These are the high anxiety nights. The nights where my brain is replaying every conversation in detail I’ve had for the last couple of days and twisting and turning over every nuance. These are the nights where I stress over the fact that I’m not sleeping which just puts me in a heightened state of anxiety.

Then there are the nights were I sleep hard and deep but my brain, ever the wonderful playground, decides to relive past trauma. Those nights are actually the worst. Sometimes I’m able to direct the dreams and sometimes I’m just strapped down to a chair watching the worst movie in the world unable to move. These are the mornings where I wake feeling as if I’ve been physically beaten. My mind is fuzzy and my my limbs feel heavy and uncoordinated.

This last one, was how I slept last night. It was hard and unpleasant. There was no directing the dreams and no way out, no way until the banging began.

Yesterday was the first day on the road after a short break in Tulsa to see my girls; my sisters from another mister. I love these women and the love I receive from them is an amazing and precious gift.

We had a great time. Copious amounts of alcohol was consumed, new glasses ordered and shopping was successfully completed for a dress and shoes for an upcoming party. I also took care of a legal matter that has been looming over my head. Most importantly, I was also able to restock on my favorite on the road snacky-snack.

Lets see how long 4lbs lasts me. 🙂

I also got to indulge in some doggy love with Charlie and Lucy.

I love being off the road but I really love the feeling of coming to a place that’s warm and inviting and filled with love.

The first day of driving after a break is always the hardest. It’s getting used to constantly being in motion. It’s the physical stress of hooking and unhooking trailers (which can be made more difficult by rain and cold as it was this day). It’s getting used to cars cutting you off in traffic and you having to think quick and fast to avoid running into them. It’s the entire job and everything that goes with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. My career affords me a certain comfort and financial security I’ve never had. It allows me to repay the people who’ve supported me throughout the years. It has given me the freedom to say yes when invited on vacations and to plan and execute travel of my own. This career has allowed me to be more me and that’s the biggest reason why I love what I do, but it can still be stressful.

After leaving Tulsa I headed to Russellville, AR to pick up a new trailer. After a quick washout and refueling of the trailer, I was dispatched to Springdale, AR to pick up my current load. This load is taking me to Southern California and the time to run it is pretty tight. Not like I haven’t done that before.

I set off for California and giggled as I drove through Tulsa on my way to Oklahoma City. I waved in the general direction of my girls and pushed on. Once in Oklahoma City, I refueled and tried to get a parking spot. Late at night it’s not an easy thing so I pushed on knowing there was a weigh station close by. When I finally stopped last night I had 34 minutes left on my clock and after sitting for a bit to wind down, I crawled into bed to have what I hopped would be restful sleep.

It wasn’t.

It was not pretty.

It was painful.

It was rudely interrupted by banging on my window less than 8 hours later.

The banging continued as I struggled to wake up. There were angry muttering and shouts of “Driver get the F up and leave.”

I was confused. I was having trouble understanding what was going on. I tried to move but I struggled to get my limbs to cooperate.

The banging continued, now with a bullhorn.

“Driver get the F up and get out or you will be ticked and arrested.”

My mind fuzzy and disoriented reeled trying to understand what was going on.

I was able to get into my seat and get my shoes on. As I opened my curtain I see this state trooper in a rage. He says, through his bull horn, “Step out of the vehicle.” As I look at him with confusion all I can see are the veins in his head pulsating and I know I’m in a potentially dangerous situation. I open my door and climb down as he starts screaming at me.

Side note, I don’t do well with men screaming at me. I especially don’t do well when they scream at me when I’m feeling tender and disorientated. I am instantly on alert and poised and braced for a physical assault.

As he reads me the riot act, complete with insults, I’m able to pull myself together into a modicum of composure. When he pauses to take a break I simply say “Sir, may I look at my phone for a moment?” and proceed without his approval. I open my truck app and see that I’ve completed at least an 8 hour break but that means I only have 34 minutes of driving time to find a safe haven to completed the other 2 hours of rest I need for a full clock.

As he steps forward into my personal space and starts screaming, and I do mean screaming at me, I plaster my face with my best smile look him straight in the eyes and state, “I’m truly sorry officer. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t allowed to park at this weigh station. There were no signs stating no over night parking, nor were there signs stating that breaks were no allowed on these premises. I will happily move my truck. Don’t you fret none. I’ll be on the road in a jiffy. May I do my pretrip inspection before I leave?”

The officer looks me up and down and says “No, get the fuck out of here you piece of trash.”

Ignoring the insult I tilt my head, straighten my shoulders, stand a little taller, and say “Of course and you have a great day.”

Once back in my truck I start the engine as the officer walks away. As I prepare to roll out, my stomach clenches and a wave of nausea overtakes me. I briefly opened my door to retch, reached for my mouthwash to swish and spit, and rolled out.

It was all a combination of the after effects of my dream, coupled with being screamed at for no reason, and the fact that I had to suppress every instinct to go on the attack which set me over the edge. Now, almost two hours later, I’m still shaking and so extremely angry and frustrated.

There was no reason for anyone, let alone an officer of the law, to talk to or treat anyone like that. I understand he has a job to do but so do I. I understand he has laws to uphold, but um…so do I. I don’t know what in his life; I don’t know his story. I only know mine. Unfortunately is it men and women like him who make the average person not respect law enforcement.

Do me a favor my lovelies. Be extra kind to one another today. Kiss your loved ones just because. Tell your best girl or guy that they matter. Respectfully compliment a stranger. Pass a little love and light on to someone who needs it. Embrace joy today and send a bit my way.