<<Note: To make the type look LARGER, press the keyboard <Ctrl> Key and the <+> Key (above the equal “+” sign) at the same time. To make the type look SMALLER, press the keyboard <Ctrl> Key and the <-> Key (minus sign) at the same time.>>

Puddin’ is the name that my Dad called me for many years when I was growing up. When I became a teenager, I decided that I didn’t like it and asked him to stop calling me that name. Well, many years later – he started using it again. I decided that it was a pet name that he had decided to use and I began to embrace it. I’ve never had a nickname from others, so I guess this is the one that stuck. I don’t know where he got it from, and the only Pudding that I know is the kind that comes from a box, and you beat with milk for dessert. So, I guess that’s where we will start.

(When I was very young, we would attend the yearly family reunion and after eating too much – I would be very full. I can imagine that on the way home from the reunion when I complained about eating too much, Mom and/or Dad decided it was from eating Banana Pudding. My ‘real-name’ is Juliana, and that rhymes with banana. Maybe there is a connection there – but, I may have been too young to remember. By the way, during my ‘early-family-reunion’ days, there were no boxes of pudding – the banana pudding had to be made the old-fashioned way. That is, using sugar, cream and eggs cooked over a double-boiler. Add cut-up bananas and vanilla wafers.)

I retired late last year and bought a used Ford, Econoline cargo van in early January for the purposes of camping in it.  As you would know, it was just before gas prices began to sky-rocket.  I had researched the statistics of the van and knew what I was getting into – more cost per mile since the engine was larger than the Toyota Corolla that I drove previously.  I didn’t know that the price would be as high as it has become. (Nobody could have predicted the current HIGH price.)   I’ve told my friends, the high gas price means that when I come to visit, I have to stay longer to make the drive worthwhile. Since, I’m retired, my time is now ‘jello’ and I can go where I want, and stay as long as I like.

I think that the ‘official’ weather account of the snow was that we got about three inches on January 10. However, under the snow was a very slippery, layer of ICE. The storm closed the city, airport, … almost everything (except the public transit rail) for a couple of days. There was a slow, gradual recovery of people who were willing to venture out onto the ice. Usually, when it snows in the Big-A, there is only an inch or a little more and it melts quickly in a day or two. For that reason, Atlanta doesn’t have much snow removal equipment – this storm had a first event of rain which turned to ice overnight and then snowed on top of it. The temperature remained below freezing for many days and was considered a “once in every ten-to-fifteen year event”.  After the storm hit, when the public was criticizing the government for ‘lack of cleaning the highways’, they rented extra equipment.  My neighborhood road was never cleared – nor, had I expected it to be. Usually, only the interstate and main roads are cleared and the rest have to wait for warmer temperatures and meltdown. My neighborhood had no electrical outages and so we were warm and cozy the whole time.  I enjoyed just being at home and watching the world go by.  I especially enjoyed watching the neighbors children playing in the snow listening to radio reports of storm events, and watching television coverage.

"Vanna White" (a white, Ford Econoline cargo van)

“Vanna White” in the Atlanta snow on January 10, 2011

(Note: I probably should NOT have parked “Vanna White” on the street – however, the neighborhood has a dead end turnaround in the road only a few houses down the street from me and it is not a busy street. There’s no space in the carport for her and when I parked her in the yard, there was a mud track down the street when I drove away.)

Thanks to Jennifer for her “YouTube” video of Vandwelling Woman and to Rach for the inspiration to get the van and start the journey. I hope to meet both of you one day.