29 March 2014

Happy Me


It's beginning to feel a lot like...well, not a lot, but definitely like the beginning of spring. Soon my garden will be awash in tuips, daffodils and phlox. All I'll need are plastic colored-eggs hanging from the trees for it to look like the Easter house. Good thing I don't have trees! After this winter, I don't care how gaudy my garden looks.

Here's 'my' secret garden. It's in the woods around the corner from my house. One year I discovered a tiny patch of miniature daffodils. I often pick them and they look lovely in my tall blue shotglass. I was walking Sparky the other day and remembered them. I noticed lots of tree debris and yard waste that neighbors put in the woods and was afraid they had covered 'my' daffodils. I went in and saw the patch and pushed aside some leaves and branches. The patch is bigger than ever. I can't wait till they bloom!


Yesterday was the first morning I was able to sit out on my porch. I did the same thing after work. Happy me!
 

24 March 2014

Musings

I'm always amazed by how much time I can spend in a coffee shop. I'm at a local place in Annapolis right now.


I've been looking up events/books/etc. that clients have recommended.


Browsing Facebook. Reading email. Checking out the news and blogs. Time flies.

I made a great appetizer for two events this weekend. If I must say so myself :-) I needed to figure out how to make the tortilla 'cups' to hold them. My sister and I brainstormed and we did it!



Yesterday was book club. We read Tell The Wolves I'm Home. Everyone loved it but one. 

I listen to all my books. I just bought a bluetooth headset. Love it! I recently finished We Are Water by Wally Lamb. A very worthwhile read. It's right up there with his other award-winning books. I'm listening to The Invisable Thread now. Non-fiction. I'd highly recommend it.

I feel like I'm wasting my morning away by hanging out here. But, what does that mean? Why should I feel that way? It's too cold to do much of anything outside. I have my bag packed to go to the gym today. There's nothing I need to do at home. Sure I could be cleaning. Who wants to do that? Not me! My house is very neat. My floors are dirty. I can live with that. Have I ever mentioned how much I would love to have someone clean my house? It would be the ultimate luxury to me. Actually, ulitmate is a bit overboard. I would love it, though. I'm just too frugal to pay someone to do it for me. 

I had a massage at my salon on Friday. That was a luxury. One that I should schedule on a regular basis. I get a very generous employee discount. It's been years since I had one there. I wonder why. 

I can't wait till summer!










15 March 2014

Not Chica the Chinchilla

Just a random thought to start this post. If you were siitting in a crowded coffee house would you  engage in a Facetime conversation on your Apple device? I wouldn't. I'm trying to think my own thoughts right now, but I'm finding it hard to concentrate. It could be that this person doesn't have wi-fi at home. He probably thinks that he's talking in a conversational tone, and doesn't realize that's hard to gauge when you're wearing earbuds. I'm not anti-social! I just want myy peace and quiet when I want it.

Be right back...my sister is trying to Facetime me. Kidding.

I really have meant to be a better writer. A more frequent poster. I have had a lot of comments lately. Lots! All spam on a post labled Chica the Chinchilla. I just ignore them. I hate being popular for the wrong reasons.

I got off work early today. I'm inside with my coffee and feel guilty because its so nice outside. I'll be out soon, and out in Annapolis till Monday. Lots of stuff going on for St. Patrick's Day. I'll be there with Peter.

On that note, I'm going to cut this short. I'll go home and take Sparky on a long walk before heading out. A short post counts, right?


01 March 2014

A woman's best friends

For once, I'm not writing from a coffeehouse. Not to say I wasn't in one today. It's Saturday, after all.

This is my view. The Valentine's roses have lasted a long time!  


I'm having a quiet night at home. No one to play with but the dogs. Actually, they're quite entertaining to watch. I only have Caylib for a few more days and we'll miss him a lot when he's gone. He and Sparky play, play, play. Caylib doesn't bark, he prances, he tosses toys in the air, he snuggles, and his greatest joy in life is retrieving balls that are kicked to him outside. And he keeps a ball in his mouth whenever he's outside. Did I mention he doesn't bark? Barking is my #1 complaint about Sparky, who is very cute. I wouldn't want it to sound like I have a favorite. No, not me :-)


The last part of my workday was very stressful. I had a new client for highlights and a haircut and for some reason, I became very anxious, which led me to being very, very anxious. I knew I'd get over it, but it took what seemed like forever. By the time the highlights were over and it was time for her haircut, I was absolutely fine. Go figure. She loved her hair. Relaxing at Starbucks afterward never felt so good. 

I think I'll watch me some House of Cards now, snuggled up under a blanket. I hope the barker feels like snuggling. (Unlikely)




26 February 2014

The dog days of winter

I better write something before too much time passes. The longer I go without blogging, the longer I go without blogging.

I'm so ready for spring and summer. It doesn't have anything to do with how much snow we've had. It doesn't have anything to do with the cold weather. It has everything to do with warm weather and daylight and flowers and green grass and leaves on the trees, and swimming outside. I long to be outside every moment that I can. I want to write about sitting on my porch watching the hummingbirds. Taking pictures of my garden. The same things I write about every spring and summer. I'm such a couch-potato in the winter. Especially this winter due to Netflix. I watched and loved Scandal. I'm on season 2 of House of Cards. I'm on season 2 of Breaking Bad. Now that the Olympics are over, all my regular shows are back on TV. So I spend most nights watching TV. It is entertaining. I don't want to spend my nights watching TV. I've also been eating more than normal. Snack food. I'm officially out of everything bad. I don't plan to buy more. I'm still going to the gym on a regular basis, thank goodness. Unfortunately, my right shoulder is starting to bother me. It stopped my swimming a few years back. I don't want to stop swimming but I don't want to change my stroke either. I'm going to look into all the classes the gym offers. I'll find one to go to tomorrow. I'm still walking, but not as much as I'd like to. Another reason I want warm weather and daylight. I want to walk before and after work. I was able to get out on my bike this past weekend when it got up to 60°. That felt wonderful! I biked the 12 mile BWI trail around the airport. I also walked 4 miles around the neighborhood. That was a happy day. It looks like it might get near 50° on Sunday. I'll bike again if it does. 

Looking over that last paragraph...maybe I should have left it to the first sentence?

I wrote in my last post that I watched Peter's dog Caylib for a week while he was away. He's away again and I'm watching Caylib for 10 days. I really like him. 





It's really good for Sparky to have a companion. It's not much more work to care for an extra dog. If you knew me before Sparky, you knew I didn't like dogs at all. Not one bit. Then Sparky came to live with us when my daughter moved back in and I felt obligated to take care of him. And now I have two dogs that I really care about. Except for Sparky's barking, which drives me crazy. It's a good thing he's so cute!

I've been writing this in Starbucks. I came here after work. I'm drinking a decaf. It's time to head home to the dogs and the TV. And no snacks.

Later!





13 February 2014

Snow day

It's a snow day. I opted to get snowed in at Peter's in Annapolis. We got over 12" of snow at my house. We got about 4" in downtown Annapolis with sleet and rain on top. In other words, messy. But still beautiful. It sure was nice not to have to shovel. Thanks Emily! They do a great job of cleaning up the snow here. The city workers were busy shoveling. We went to lunch at McGarvey's. The place was so busy! Walking back to the house we passed guys and girls in fatigues shoveling the side streets and resident's steps. Turns out there were about 150 midshipmen out helping in downtown. Very nice. I think they're calling for a second round of a couple of inches of snow. I'm fine with that. I was scheduled to work today and have tomorrow as my day off. Now I have two days off. Happy me. Of course that means I don't get payed. I'm prepared for that.

Some Annapolis pictures:

Kunta Kinte Memorial plus a big-nosed snowman :-)


Ice, Ice baby

No Ice cream today


City Dock

It's a quiet day that's flying by. All days off do. I've always maintained that we need at least 36 hours in a day. Who's with me? 

Friends are coming over and we'll walk to dinner. Oh, how I love this town.










05 February 2014

Blame it on the fuel

Starbucks helps me write. Not the place, necessarily. Not the caffeine, entirely. Being out in a coffeehouse with my iPad. I think that's the thing. It leads to random thoughts. Like how long it took me to buy a iPad and how did I ever compute so easily without it. Like how long it took to justify getting a iPhone, and how having a handheld computer changed everything. I look around me and most people are on thier laptops. I don't think we'll be seeing many laptops 5 years from now. I think hinges on computers will soon be a thing of the past. I was going to say till they wore out, but they're not meant to last all that long. I got a new laptop a few years ago. A 14" Toshiba. I wanted a smaller one. The 'R' never worked right. I hated the touchpad. My curser constantly jumped around. I have no clue why I didn't return it when I still could. These days I use my iPad for everything but: 
1.Changing my Facebook cover photo and profile picture and 2. Adding new billers to my online bank. One of these days I'll use it to change my Blogger template. I've had this one forever plus one day.

I had a short day today. A good one, which is usual. One of my clients was donating 8" of her hair to a charity. She read online that the best way to section the hair was with zip-ties. I sectioned her hair then measured each section. It was fun. Of course, I'm also easily entertained.


I also cut one of my co-worker's hair about 6" shorter. She does my hair and I do hers and our curly auburn hair always looks much the same. Now mine is longer. 

I'm going to be dog-sitting this cute pup for a week starting tomorrow.


His name is Caylib and he's Peter's dog. Sparky is going to be so excited when he finds out. They're pals and it will be great for both of them to have the companionship. Hopefully Caylib's good behavior will rub off on Sparky. Hopefully Sparky won't be heartbroken when the week is over.

Rambling time is over. I'm headed to the gym to swim. I'm hoping the caffeine will fuel my mile and maybe even add a few extra laps to it.






01 February 2014

Streaming thoughts

I just got off work and I'm sitting in Starbucks and thought I'd write. I thought I'd write about a pet peeve, but then realized my last post was a complaint about Sparky and his barking. So I'll save the pet peeve for another day so I don't come across as a complainer. I wouldn't want to ruin my reputation, you know. Which just inspired a new direction for this post. Reputation. I think that the beliefs or opinions that are held by many people about other people are often wrong. I've known a few people who others thought were stuck-up. I believe they were shy. I've known a few people who others thought were arrogant. I believe they were insecure. I often think people aren't who we think they are. I've told this next story many times about my marriage. When asked what I thought caused it to fail, I've said, my ex thought I was wonderful. I tried very hard to convince him that I wasn't wonderful and that if he believed that, that he'd be disappointed. I told him that I was a nice person and a good person, but that I wasn't wonderful. I think our relationship ended when he realized I wasn't the ideal person he thought I was. He never would discuss what went wrong. This tale is what I've surmised. He turned out to be a great ex-husband and very good father. A lot of people think I'm wonderful. I'm not. I'm just a nice person and I try to be a good person.

I figured out a way to stop Sparky from barking out the front window. I realize it's only a band-aid to the problem, but it's giving me peace for now. Who needs a coffee table or a leaf for their dining room table anyway?



I have no clue why the front windows are the barking windows. I don't know what I'll do if he picks a new spot.

Time to get moving. I have a busy afternoon planned, then a weekend in Annapolis including a great dinner tonight at Peter's. 

Signed,
Not-so-wonderful, Cheryl (do I really want to ruin my reputation?)


27 January 2014

Closed-captioning

I often post pictures on Facebook of Sparky. If you didn't know better, you'd think I adored him.




The truth is that he drives me crazy because of his constant barking. He is cute though. Is the last picture not the most adorable thing? He got a super-short clipping that day so I bought him a coat and slipper booties. He walked right out of them, but not before I caught it on 'film'. I'm sure there are lots of things I could do to try to stop the barking, but I just don't feel like taking the time to do it. He's not my dog. Personally, I think he spends too much time in his crate. When he's out and I'm home, he stands in front of the living room window and barks. If I keep the blinds all the way down, he bends them to see through. It's a quandry for me. So far my best escape from the barking is to just not be here. I don't like to complain, but it's become a real issue. Part of the problem might also be his lack of exercise. We were walking at least 3 miles every morning but since this artic weather has settled in, we haven't. I'm going to see if someone has a treadmill I can borrow. My dog-whisperer friend says all dogs love running on treadmills. I may put him on one and never take him off. Not really. I'd take him off eventually.

I finished watching the first two seasons of Scandal. So, so good. I haven't watched any of season three. I'll wait till it's over and watch it on Netflix. I wonder what series I should watch next? On that note, I'm going to catch up on some DVR'd shows now. With closed-captioning on so I can understand the dialogue, what with all the barking. Besides all the usual things I'm thankful for on a daily basis, today I'm especially thankful for closed-captioning.





18 January 2014

Inspired by coffee

The last two days at work have been SO busy. I'm so grateful I can keep up. I work with people half my age who complain about how beat they are. I'm lucky. I have my mom's genes and my family's work ethic. Not to say I wasn't SO glad to find that my last client cancelled and I got to leave 30 minutes early. Bonus that I really needed. And here I am at Starbucks with my super-charged latte getting energized. Happy me. Simple things. My plan was to watch Scandal on Netflix here, but the wi-fi is too slow so I'm listening to John Lennon and writing. My segue time between earlier and later. And talking about Starbucks, which is very corporate, it's still a great gathering place. My new favortie coffee place is City Dock in Annapolis, and when I'm there, I'm there. 

Years ago I was really into stamping. Rubber stamping. I was obscessed by it. I loved buying all the art supplies and the organizers to store everything in. I loved the whole creative process. Using my watercolor pencils and watercolors. The design. The composition. I'd go to Border's after work and read Rubber Stamping magazines while drinking my latte. I'd get so inspired with the help of the caffeine and the magazines. I never thought the day would come that I wouldn't be stamping. I kept copies of all the cards I ever made. I look at them now and think, I really made these? How could I have? Where did that talent come from? A chunk of my basement holds that part of my life. All the stamps, inks, chalks, watercolors, cardstock, glues, imbossing powders, etc, etc... It needs a new home. I do miss being creative, although of course I'm creative on a daily basis at work. For a while I sewed. I did cross stitch for years. Maybe one day I'll write about my new hobby. Whatever that might be. 

Art at Work

16 January 2014

Inside and outside (my comfort zone)

I've wanted to write but haven't had the time. How can I not have time for a half-hour? I don't know but it's true. It doesn't help that I'm obsessed with the TV show Scandal. OMG so good! I've been watching it on Netflix. If I have 10 minutes between clients you'll find me watching it. That's just one thing that keeps me busy. 

I'm at City Dock with my latte now. A perfect place and time to write. We went to Tsunami for sushi last night (for locals who know the area). I've only recently discovered real sushi. Prior to that, my only experience was cooked sushi at Wegman's. I'd never had and never thought I'd ever touch raw sushi. Was I ever missing out on an amazing culinary experience! I'm a convert. Have I ever mentioned how much I love to eat? I have to be careful or I'd weigh a lot. The genes run in my family.

Here's a topic. Loud people. Loud people on their phones is in a catagory of its own. I think they must not be aware of how loud they are. I can't imagine otherwise. I'm super quiet when I'm on the phone in public. I'm a model citizen, you know. Haha. What I'm talking about is people talking to each other in public. A for instance is when I was in the sauna at the gym after a long workout. I'm lying down ready for peace and quiet, but outside the sauna, in the bathroom area, are two friends talking really loud and laughing and teasing and having a great time. I'm trying to relax and be introspective. No go. The loud people are certainly entitled to their good time together. I'm happy for them. I'm also SO annoyed that I have to hear it. I try putting my fingers in my ears. I put my hands over my ears. All to no avail. End of story. That's life. 

So...guess who went to Key West for the weekend? Someone who has always wanted to go to Key West? Who's been longing for palm trees and turquoise water for years? It's me and it was all and more than I thought it would be. I went as Peter's guest on a trip he won with his company. It was at a 5-star resort. What a treat for me. There were palm trees everywhere. Hammocks between them at the resort. Beautiful blue water everywhere. A vibrant, fun town. Old buildings. Artsy people. Street performers. Bars and restaurants everywhere. Live music at almost every establishment. Etc...

Hello pelicans


Hanging with the heads


Cluck, cluck, cockle doodle do


Kapok tree


View from Ernest Hemmingway's house


Sunset from Mallory Square


Tip-reprieving dog in surf shorts


At the resort


Ditto


Ditto



Do I look like a natural or what?


View of the resort from my jet ski


And of course...


Night life :)


View from the hammock


Good-bye Casa Marina


Farewell


The most thrilling part of the trip was the jet-skiing. I'd never been on one. I was afraid but was going to be brave and just do it and have fun. It dawned very breezy with choppy water on the day of our outing. Not an auspicious start. The long and short was that we went a minium of 40-something mph. It was so hard for me to keep up. There were 15 of us in a row. Water was constantly splashing up in my face. It was chilly. It was super choppy. I couldn't enjoy any off the scenery because all I could concentrate on was keeping up. I think I went as fast as 60 mph. We went 27 miles around the island with a few stops. I'm so glad I did it. I challenged myself to something way out of my comfort zone and succeeded. If we had gone much slower, I would have loved it. It made an awesome memory. Laying on the hammocks between the beautiful palm trees made a much more relaxing memory. The whole trip was a true gift and I'm so grateful.

Time to move along. Next stop is a visit to see my parents. Then on to the gym. I love my days off! Life is good.

















06 January 2014

Om

Time really does fly. Wasn't it just Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's? I hope this winter flies by. It's my least favorite season. Of course as I write this it's -2° with the wind chill and the wind is absolutely howling. I just came in from taking Sparky (Barky) out and it was frigid. I know it's a whole lot colder in other parts of the country. We all have reason to complain about the weather. The polar vortex. I'm very, very thankful that I have a warm home to shelter me from the cold, and that it's not snowing. 

To catch up...I had a great New Year's Eve in Annapolis. I went with my new 'friend' to dinner at his best friend's house. He and his wife were wonderful. So nice to meet them. We proceded to 'crash' about 4 parties of neighbors of theirs. They were really happy to have us stop by. We watched fireworks from City Dock at midnight, then went to Middleton Tavern and danced till they closed. It was the first year in many that I went out for New Year's. It was especially nice that we could walk everywhere.

It was hard getting back into the work routine after having many days off during the holidays. I was thinking that tomorrow would start my first real work week, then remembered I'm going away next weekend. More about that later. I'm excited!

I'm so glad I decorated lightly for the holidays since I haven't put anything away.

Last night we went out with my friend's other best friend and his wife. We went to a place called Mustang Alley Bar Bowling and Bistro in the Camden neighborhood of Baltimore. What a great place. They have 12 lanes. It was a blast. We bowled duckpins. I was pretty bad but with the wine, it didn't matter. 


I went to the gym yesterday and today. Yea me. I hadn't been in over a week. Yesterday I did the treadmill while listening to my audio book. I swam 1/3 of a mile. Today the place was packed and I saw that every treadmill was being used. I skipped that part and swam a mile. The whole front of the building is glass. I was able to watch the sunset as I swam. How cool is that? I rested in the sauna after swimming. I find that very peaceful. I tried to meditate. Om.

Time to put this sore body to bed. Can't wait to get warm!







30 December 2013

Pre-Eve

I've been spending a lot of time in Annapolis lately. I live between DC, Baltimore and Annapolis. I like the eastern part of the triangle best. I don't actually know that it's a triangle. When I go to DC I take the Metro, unless it's to the outskirts, like the National Arboritum or Union Market. I don't know my way around Baltimore very well, but I'm comfortable driving there with my GPS app. Annapolis, I know. Well, I know what I know which I thought was a lot, but I'm constantly discovering more and more and liking it even better. It's been especially beautiful decorated for Christmas. Today I walked over the Spa Creek bridge. The reflections in the creek immediately caught my eye.



I've caught some pretty good reflections in my own neighborhood.


Still, I like the ones around bodies of water the best.


Anyway...

Besides walking around, I've done some fun things. My brother had some people over to his house on Thursday night and it was really great to be there. I brought bourbon meatballs and an apple almond cheesecake. I went to see a parade in Annapolis on Friday, and was situated near the start of it, which made it short and sweet. No waiting for the different participants to catch up. It started with the Clydesdale horses. SO majestic. Then the marching bands, old fire trucks, etc. It was a pretty short parade. I went to a gathering at my friend Nancy's house afterward. I brought another cheesecake (white chocolate raspberry that thankfully Emily finished off so I didn't). Again, a great bunch of people were there. The last picture was taken from my friend's dock. I love that red and white sailboat.

I spent most of yesterday watching the first 6 episodes of Breaking Bad. OMG! I'm hooked. I can't wait to see the next episode. Previously, I had only watched the next to the last episode of the series when I visited Ken and Karen in October. I know it's headed down, down, down.

And that's what I have to say on this next-to-the-last eve of 2013.



26 December 2013

Just a note

I'm surprising myself by writing again. Actually, Betty, I wanted to show you I could. I'm having such a relaxing day today. I only walked Sparky as far as the mailbox. I watched a movie in the morning. I showered and gave myself a pedicure. I'm doing laundry, but that's an easy task when the laundry room is 15 feet from my recliner. I've been re-reading a favorite book, Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. Life is good. I'm going to a party in a few hours. I made bourbon meatballs on Tuesday and an apple almond cheesecake yesterday. I can't wait to eat them :) and have a relaxing evening with friends. 


25 December 2013

Seeing Red


Christmas past




Christmas present



The more things change, the more they stay the same. Happy holidays. My friends, my family...I love you. 

And Starbucks too!