31 December 2006

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!
It's Sunday morning and I'm carving out some time to write. Yesterday afternoon I had resolutions on my mind. I've been thinking about some of the hard times I've had with my daughter lately. I decided my number one resolution is to spend more quality time with her. Yes, we spend a lot of time together, but a lot of it is spent apart, and it's because of our computers. Really. I'm as preoccupied with mine as she is with hers. I'm bothered by how much time she spends on the computer, yet she sees me spending as much. So, yesterday I told her that my resolution is to spend as much time with her as she's willing to give me. A smile slowly spread across her face as she said, OK. I'll try my best to be on the computer in the off times, like now while she's sleeping. Life goes by too quickly. Before I know it she'll be off on her own. I don't want to look back with regret at missed opportunities.

Em and I had a wonderful day yesterday. Her Dad dropped her off at my salon at 1:00. I hadn't seen her since Christmas Day and was really anticipating our reunion. She came while I was doing my friend's hair color, so we were all able to hang out. I took Cathy's hair from very highlighted blond to a soft dark blond with natural streaks. A new haircut and she was looking beautiful. I was really happy. Then it was time for Emily's haircut. I really like her hair long, but she wanted it just touching her shoulders, so that's what she got. It looks cute on her. I'm not sure if it makes her look older or younger.

We went to a mall we don't usually go to, but it has stores that I had gift cards to. First we went to the Aveda store and I picked out hair care products. I've always loved Aveda products but never thought to actually buy any till I got a gift card. The staff was so friendly and helpful. I love the earthy smell of all Aveda products. We went on to American Eagle, Emily's favorite of all stores. It was absolutely packed with kids her age and older. It was amazing how crowded it was. Everyone must have been using their holiday gift cards. Emily was certainly happy to use hers. We tried to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, but there was a 70-90 minute wait. Can you imagine? We went to Nordstrom Cafe instead and had a wonderful meal. I had herbed chicken with rustic vegetables and cheesy polenta. Emily had the kid's hot dog meal. It was the first time I've ever had polenta and it was delicious.

From there we went to the MAC makeup counter at Nordstrom's. I had a gift card and decided I wanted help picking out eyeshadow. I've always felt too intimidated to actually sit down and have my makeup done, but I was feeling bold. The person helping me was so down to earth. Turns out she's an elementary school teacher who freelances for MAC on the weekends. I wound up buying a few pots of shadows and some eyeliner. Emily was dying to have makeup put on her so I asked if that would be possible. Emily had her turn and I bought her a barely-there color. From there we went to the Apple Store to take some pictures.

We left the mall just before closing time. With bowls of ice cream in front of us, and a video of the funniest commercials of 2006 on the TV, we concluded our evening. It was a great 11 hours together.

29 December 2006

I have been tagged by Abbagirl. I'm supposed to write 6 unusual things about myself. That part wasn't hard...I just don't know enough bloggers well enough to tag them. So, here are some things you may not know about me:

1. I have oatmeal for breakfast every single day.
2. I have a salad for lunch every single day at work.
3. I haven't called in sick in at least 10 years. I don't get sick, or sick enough.
4. I only drink regular coffee on my days off, except Saturday after work. And I love coffee.
5. It took me a while to get over John Denver dying. I still think about it.
6. I don't like watching any sport. The background noise is like endless chatter.

La de da

I was talking to a client today about blogging. She asked if I had a Myspace blog. I have one, but only for the purpose of being a 'friend' of my daughter and her 'friends'. I rarely check on it. It seems all anyone does is take surveys although I know a lot of people are into it. So this client and I talked about why I blog. I told her I'm not sure. I told her my first few posts were about wanting to keep a journal, and not being able to. And wanting to blog and not doing it. I had no idea I'd be able to keep up with. Then there's this: is this blog for me, or is it because I know others read it? I think I have to say it's some of both. I've always loved to read, I've always loved to write. The only writing I've done in the last few years was 'newsletters' to the families in my old Girl Scout troop. I'd write, edit, edit, edit, till it was as close to perfect as I could get. I enjoyed that. This writing is much more fun. I feel a passion for it. Sometimes it flows, sometimes I have to edit, edit, edit. I feel like with writing, I'm exercising a different part of my brain. It's a different way to be creative. I also feel like I'm part of a community. Whatever the reason, I'm enjoying it.

I'm having my family over for New Year's Day dinner. I'm doing it for my Mom. Before she had her stoke, we all went to my parent's house on New Year's Day. My Mom cooked a big ham dinner. She wanted to do it this year, and I offered to do it for her. She just wants us all to be together. We'll be having meatloaf and roasted potatoes, but I need to figure out what else. I going to look at some recipes...

28 December 2006

It's interesting what happens after a holiday passes. Either no one talks about it, or its seems like it happened long ago, even if it was only 3 days ago. Mind you, I'm in the talking business. Along with hairdressing. You have to talk all day long. It's good when big events are coming. You can talk about how the stores decorate for Christmas in October. You can talk about shopping, decorating, cooking, stressing, entertaining. Talk and talk. Nobody talked about Christmas today. It was old news. And there's not much to say about New Year's. Except *bright idea* resolutions. That's a good subject. I've been thinking about things I want to accomplish. So...I know what I'll be talking about if it's not Christmas. I'll be talking goals and resolutions.
I'm getting ready to leave for work. I haven't been there since I got off on Saturday afternoon. It's been a great break. I never even got out of my pajamas yesterday. I spent the day organizing the basement and got most of my Christmas decorations put away. The house has been decorated since Thanksgiving...I was ready. There's nothing like being able to look around and see what you've accomplished. The house looks bare now! I'm waiting on my daughter to get back from NYC to help me with the tree. Undecorating it is my least favorite job. If there was a way to get it in the basement with all the ornaments still attached, I'd do it.

26 December 2006

I spent a large part of my day with my friend Kit. It just worked out that I was home and she was free. It's rare that we spend the day together with just the two of us. We decided to shop, have lunch and do some computer stuff. She had things she wanted to show me, and as it turned out, I knew some things she didn't. You just never know. She brought over her laptop and HP Photo scanner. We scanned a bunch of pictures, mainly of my father as a 3 year old. We were able to zoom in and see all kinds of details, from the dimples on his knuckles to the refection in a window of his father taking his picture. The scanner is amazing. You can resize, re-colorize, restore, and a zillion other tasks. It makes me want to order one right away. I have a box of slowly deteriorating pictures that were glued into albums. I'd like to copy them to CD so they can be saved. The couple on the right in this picture is my parents, in the 50's. I love how my mother is biting her bottom lip. I can only imagine what she's thinking. And how about the couple on the left? Kit said the girl looks like a 'doll'. My parents look so young and so happy. Alas, they didn't stay that way.

We ate lunch at Panera's. The line was out the door. We shopped at Pier 1, Circuit City and Walmart. It wasn't bad in any of those stores. We didn't go anywhere near a mall. I resisted even looking at marked-down Christmas stuff. I don't need anything.

I got a Targus Coolpad laptop cooler from Emily, and it's just the best thing. I told her I didn't even know I wanted one until I got it. It's one of my favorite new things. What was your favorite gift?

23 December 2006

Ahh, I'm in a happy place. I so didn't want to go to work today. I went and conquered. The closer it got to my last client, the more the adrenaline flowed. I felt like an addict ready for a fix. My last client was a new one, home from college. She was easy, friendly and talkative--a great new client. I said good-bye to all and was on my way. I decided to park in the park & ride next to the shopping center to avoid getting mixed up in the horribly designed parking lot. About 10 other people had the same idea as me. A short walk up a hill and I was in the shopping center. I found myself whistling. The cafe at Border's was pretty empty when I got there. I got a large mocha coffee with an extra shot. I read Life's 70 Years in Pictures and Time magazine. I stayed for a long time. It was as wonderful a time as I had anticipated. Happy me.

I came home, and Emily and I left to meet my family to celebrate my father's 79th birthday at T.G.I.Friday's. We were a rowdy bunch. The food was really good, the adults had a beer or two, and we shared a bunch of laughs. I think everyone was just glad to have a reason to relax. I can't believe my dad is 79!

Emily's watching a movie with our neighbor downstairs. I'm lounging in my room. I just uploaded the Hanukkah pictures to make this slideshow.I just love pictures. You can tell, right? And to think I was so reluctant to get a digital camera. I thought I'd wait much longer, wait for the prices to come down more and the cameras to get better. I have a pretty simple point and shoot, and it's just fine. The size of it is ideal.

I don't have anything I have to do tomorrow. Ladeda!

22 December 2006

I'm just wiped out from work. The days have flown by, and I'm exhausted. Still, only tomorrow to go. I brought home all my gifts from work tonight. I received so many, it's almost embarrassing. I have wonderful clients and their generosity means a lot to me. I open all the gifts on Christmas morning. Emily helps. It's a lot of fun. If it weren't for my client gifts, I'd only have a couple to open.

Emily was complaining that her knee hurt last night. She said it 'popped' at school and a friend had to push it back in place. I'm not sure what that means. Her dad took her to the ER today for X-rays, and she has a torn ligament. She's in a soft cast and crutches. Well, she always did want crutches. She'll see an orthopedic surgeon after Christmas, but the doctor who treated her said it would heal. I hope it does that really fast, like over the Christmas break. She's supposed to go to NYC on Tuesday with her dad and step-mom for two nights. I hope this doesn't ruin their plans.

Well, I have to turn in. I start work at 8:00 AM and it will be here in a flash.

Finally, a Hanukkah image. I got a Hanukkah story yesterday from a client. She wears a crown with dreidels hanging from it as she hands out presents to her grandchildren. When everyone's done, they sit around the table with a sack of scratch-off lottery cards. She says it's a lot of fun, and their family tradition.

21 December 2006

Just a short entry to say that things are much better at home. My daughter had a long talk with her father, and everyone's talking. Big relief. It was a hard day at work again with that on my mind.

My family didn't get together last week for Hanukkah because my SIL was sick. We got together tonight and I was glad to be able to attend. We didn't have fajitas. I had really been looking forward to that. We had bagels, cheeses, salmon, spreads and potato latkes. We exchanged presents. I think a good time was had by all. Maybe I'll put together a Hanukkah slide show tomorrow.

Two more days of work this week. Yeah, it's almost over! I can almost taste the coffee.

20 December 2006

Oh, it's been a hard day. There's some school issues going on with my daughter, and she's not talking to me or her dad. I hope tomorrow's a better day, but I don't think it will be. I'm not used to this behavior. I was one of those really easy kids and don't remember ever giving my parents any problems. I know it's harder being a kid today. It's harder being a parent too. She thinks I'm the enemy. This will pass. I just have to keep telling her I love her, and I know she knows that I do.

It wasn't a great day for holiday stories. The only good story I got was the different ways a husband and wife look at the holidays. I did the wife's hair early in the day. I asked her what they do for Christmas. She sighed and said how stressed out she is. She said everyone would be coming to her house. That she'd have to make a big meal, and how she hates to cook. That they'd have her husband's brother over, sigh, and go to his sister's for a party the next day, sigh. Not very happy. I saw the husband at the end of my day. He's very excited about Christmas. He said the larger the crowd, the happier he is. That their 7 grandchildren would be coming, and how excited he is about that. He told me all their ages. I just smiled and listened.

That's it for now. Hope I can sleep...
I decided to ask my clients how they celebrate Christmas and what their traditions are. How come I never asked for details before? It was really interesting, and people really like to share. It also must be nice to have someone listen, with their full attention. I didn't grow up with Christmas, so I started with no traditions. That's why I find this so interesting. I'll write about my Christmas sometime soon. One of my clients told me that she and her three children, along with her sister, are renting a limo and going to New York City for the day today. That the cost is just a little more than round trip train tickets for all. I would love to do something like that. What a memory it would make. A lot of the holiday for the women I talked to revolved around the huge amounts of food that would be served for Christmas Eve, Christmas breakfast or brunch, and Christmas dinner. A lot of work. Most were looking for ways to simplify them. Two said they serve tenderloin (Fillet Mignon) that cost $100 each and they both needed two! They said it's so special and so simple. I can't imagine the cost. So many people have houses full of family and guests. I'll be working today thru Saturday, so I plan on collecting lots of stories.

18 December 2006

It feels like forever since I've written. It was a busy and great weekend. The party was a huge success. I think a good time was had by all, including me. I really love hosting parties. Setting the stage for people to have fun. This party was a mix of friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. Some regulars couldn't make it, and a number of people were here for the first time. There was so much food. Great food. Wonderful desserts. Lots to drink. It was a whirlwind!

My friend Sheree was so excited for me to open one of my Christmas gifts. She said I'd have to figure it out. I opened a gift bag that I could see was filled with ceramic letters. I'm not good at puzzles or riddles, and I felt the pressure. People watching got it before me. I needed hints before I got it. Finally she said it had to do with my blog. What a perfect gift.

Sheree and her daughters spent the night. We don't get to see each other often enough. Sheree answered an ad I placed for a roomate back in the early 80's, and we've been friends ever since. The first Christmas I ever had was with her. I consider her to be family, and her kids my neices.

Yesterday was spent zonked out. Physically and mentally exhausted. I never got out of my pajamas. It was so needed. Today I got an early start and spent the day with my mother. She had a very bad stroke 6 years ago, and I try to spend at least one day a week with her. Mostly just for company. We have a reputation for going out to lunch. We both love to eat, and it's quality time. We ran a bunch of errands today. It's amazing how many people are out and about Christmas shopping in the middle of the day. The CD and DVD departments in Target were wiped out. The line at Panera's was to the door. I must say, people seemed to be in a good mood, or at least I projected that for them. I was in a good mood.

Well, I need to get back to my cards. I'd like that done tonight. I won't know what to do with all my free time after that!

16 December 2006

Thought I'd pass along this Christmas-y link. Enjoy!

15 December 2006

I went shopping with Emily last night for an outfit for tomorrow night's party. It was so hard to find something we could both agree on. I was determined not to argue, and not to give in to anything I didn't approve of. After much trying on, and lots of attempts to argue on her part, we came up with a great outfit. Just right for a 13 year old. Trendy and cute. I'll post pictures later. I'm not much of a shopper. If I'm in the mood and find clothes that I like, I'll buy everything, and then not go into a store for months. I'd love to have someone shop for me. I like to look good, but I don't think I'm good at putting outfits together. We had talked about going to uniforms in my salon, and tried out the all black look, but no decision was ever made. I decided that all black would be my own uniform. I have about 5 identical black turtleneck tops and 3 or 4 pairs of black slacks. I'll wear a top with color occasionally. I'm very happy with the look and with not having to make a decision.

Work has been very busy. For some people, the only time they can sit and relax during this season is while they're at the hair salon. I try and make it nice for them. It's a fun time of year for me because I get so many presents from my generous clients. And, there's lots to talk about too.

I missed celebrating Hanukkah with my family tonight. It's the first time I've ever missed it. Friday is a late night for me and I couldn't change my schedule. We've had it at my brother's the last few years and we always have potato latkes and steak fajitas. How's that for a combination? We're a rowdy group, and everyone has a great time. I was really looking forward to taking a picture of my sister Lisa. I took a picture of her last year frying the latkes. Since then, she's lost a great deal of weight and I wanted to take a new picture of the new Lisa doing the frying. I asked for someone to do that for me.

I'm only working two hours tomorrow..from 8AM till 10:00. Then Starbucks, (I'll be looking at those stirrers for a tree topper) then home to cook and clean. It will be a busy day culminating in a (hopefully) wonderful party.

13 December 2006

The Starbucks tree is almost done. This project's been a lot of fun.

12 December 2006

I'm in my comfy after-work clothes, relaxing, and very smelly. I made myself laugh with that. Last week a client and I were talking about perfume. I've wanted Allure, by Chanel, for years, but never bought it because of the cost. This summer my daughter, who's heard me talk about it forever, gave it to me for my birthday. Yes, I had to wait for a 12 year old to buy it. She had help from her Dad, which was very generous of him. She knew how special the gift would be and the lasting memory it would create. Anyway, back to my client. Finally we touched on a common interest: perfume. She's been wearing Coco, also by Chanel, for years. She said she always gets compliments on it, especially from men. (Hmmm..) I told her my Allure story, and that there was another Chanel perfume, Chance, that I put on every time I'm in a department store. I did think of buying it. I realized it was silly to wait for years for something you really want, that sometimes you just have to splurge. Well, guess what she gave me for Christmas? Uh, huh, Chance. A large bottle of it. I've been spraying it every morning and then again before bed. I'm going to sleep in expensive perfume. There is, however, such a thing as too much of a good thing. I sprayed too much and I stink!

11 December 2006

I feel like I have a hangover from the weekend. It wasn't from drinking--I had a glass or two on Saturday and Sunday. It wasn't from how hard I worked. It was from being 'on' for what felt like 72 hours straight. My salon's open house on Saturday night was a huge success. We were celebrating 10 years at our present location and I'd estimate at least 250 clients attended. We had gift bags for everyone, food, drinks, and door prizes every 15 minutes. A great D.J. who played most of the music off of his iPod-I find that amazing. This is a picture taken before any of the guests arrived. (For those that have never been to my salon, you can see that it's huge. The picture only shows part of the front area of the salon. It was a warehouse before our visionary owner turned it into the salon that it is today.) Shortly after 7:00 the salon was packed with people talking, eating, laughing and dancing. Most of the guests left by 9:30 and then the evening continued on with a party for the staff. A great time was had by all. When I finally got home and into bed, I couldn't fall asleep!

I spent most of Sunday cooking and arranging the house for my book club holiday get-together. It was great...two vans full of friends arrived at the same time to make for an instant party. And, we did much more partying than discussing. We always have the best time together. Everyone brought food and wine. (We do eat well.) We had our gift exchange. Fun! I feel very lucky to be with this group of people. Unfortunatly, when I finally got to bed, I couldn't fall asleep, again.

Today started busy, busy and went on from there. I drove over to my parent's house and picked up my mother. We went to Main St., Annapolis. Then out to lunch. Pier 1, Trader Joe's, Giant Food. I dropped her off then went in search of Starbucks gift cards with the holiday motiff and felt card holders. They were hard to find. I went to a few more stores then finally, home. And so, here I am. Sitting. Writing. Happy. Hoping I'll be able to fall asleep.

09 December 2006

I have a long, long day ahead of me. Work from 8-3, set up for our shop party till 4, then go to Border's. There's not enough time to go home and come back, so I'll just hang out. We have to be back to work by 6:30 to continue setting up. I'll get there early to dress, etc. We're having an open house to celebrate 10 years at this location. That's from 7-9. We have an open invitation to all our clients to attend. It should be really nice. The party will continue on from there for the employees. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. It'll be fine, just fine.

07 December 2006

It's amazing what you can get done when you set your mind to it. A clean house can make a person feel so good.

My mother tells a story about herself. When she was a young woman with 3 children, she and her cousin took turns watching each other's kids so they could have some time off. Her cousin would really enjoy herself by dressing up and going out to lunch and the movies with her friends. My mother, on the other hand, would clean the apartment and do the laundry. When done, she would feel wonderful. Her accomplishment brought her great joy. My mother relates a time when she had cleaned her floor. We're talking about on her hands and knees. She yelled at us kids to lean over the table and not get crumbs on the floor. This made my father angry, and he purposely knocked a gallon of milk on the floor. My mother cried; all her hard work was gone. My mother kept a spotless home. Looking back, she says she thinks it was a 'sickness'. If she happened to be laying down, she'd think she should be doing the laundry or sweeping and she would get up and do it so she wouldn't feel guilty. When she was done, she'd lay down again until she heard my Dad's car. She'd jump out of bed so he wouldn't know she'd been idle. My mother had a bad stroke 6 years ago at the age of 68. She can no longer clean the house. Her greatest frustration is not being able to do this.

I too get a great sense of accomplishment from seeing my house sparkling clean. I, however, would feel just as good if someone else would do it for me. I love standing back and seeing the result of my hard work. That's how I feel today. My house is ready to party.

06 December 2006

Work has been crazy busy. I say that I have the perfect job for me. Let me see if I can explain why. I'm kept busy almost every moment of every day with clients who make appointments to see me. That's very gratifying. I've been in the same salon for almost 20 years. My clients and I have a history. Many have seen me through boyfriends, marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, divorce, etc.. I've seen them through the same. I really care about my clients and consider many of them to be friends. I spend every day talking. And get paid. It's great. I like my clients, they like me. I work very hard, but I have enough energy for it. I work in a salon that's voted 'Best Of' almost every year. I work with a staff I really like. I was an art major who didn't know what to do for a career. I found the perfect job for me.
When I first started this blog, all I wrote about was my lack of writing and my good intentions to do so. Now that I'm writing regularly, and really enjoying it, I feel bad when I don't. So, this is just a filler. A 'hi' to those of you that stop by. Feel free to leave me a comment from time to time. I'd love to hear from you. On that note, have a great day.

04 December 2006

Busy with glitter!

03 December 2006

The day was long, but still too short. I did catch up with the laundry, clear the dining room table, find ways to use my new decorations, pick up around the house, etc. Emily watched the rest of the Gray's Anatomy DVD, but didn't have much enthusiasm for much else around the house. We went to the local firehouse to have our portraits taken. The Volunteer Fire Department hosts it as a thank-you for making a donation. The first picture is free; I hope it turns out good. I practiced my smile and wore lipstick. *Grin*
From there we went to Savage Mill. It's a converted mill that houses retail shops, antique shops, etc... I picked up some gifts for me. My favorite stamping store is there and I purchased the stamp that I'll use to make my Christmas cards. I also bought German glass glitter, which I think I'll love. Most all the decorations on my mantle have that type of glitter on it. I can't wait to start making everything sparkle.
:( I pushed the wrong button and deleted the post I was ready to publish. Don't you hate it when that happens? You try, really hard, to recover it, but it's gone, forever. I'll try for the re-creation.

I was going to say it's Saturday, but as I look at the clock, I see it's after midnight. (That sentence wasn't from my original post. Maybe it'll be better this time around) Anyway, I got to work at 8AM to find that my first client had cancelled. It gave me the opportunity to read part of the newspaper. The first client I did was a chatty 10 year old whom I find to be very entertaining. I finished the day with my friend Stella. We grew up together and were college roommates. The only time I see her these days is when she comes to the salon. We reminisced about the old days when we used to set our hair. She did hers to curl it, I did mine to make it straight. We had a good visit. I do a lot of that in my job-socializing with my clients. It's one of the reasons I love it. Anyway, my sister and sister-in-law surprised me while I was cleaning up. We talked for a while and then finally it was time to go to my favorite place. Border's Cafe has became Seattle's Best, and I really like the difference. The coffee's great, there's more employees so the service is much better, and there's more seating. When I got there I put my jacket over a chair at the only available table. The previous occupants left it a mess. I normally order brewed coffee, but have started buying fancy drinks because I have a lot of gift cards. I ordered some kind of a large caramel drink with an extra shot. The server asked if I knew it already came with 3 shots of espresso. I said yes, I've been waiting all week for it (that's why I'm wide awake after midnight). I go there for the caffeine. I didn't realize the drink would come with whipped cream, drizzles of caramel and a bar of chocolate balanced on the rim. Result=delicious. Calories=worth it. My table was being cleaned when I got there, but I saw a smaller one had opened up. I told the employee that I'd move to the smaller table, but she told me this one had good karma and I should stay. I liked that. I thoroughly enjoyed the drink as I read the latest edition of PC World. I didn't understand half of what I read; I wish I did.

I finished the last of the decorating when I got home. The halls are decked. I'll post pictures another time. Emily and I just hung out. Watched a lot of Season 2 of Gray's Anatomy. Emily's still watching it now. Tomorrow I want to make cinnamon ornaments, clear the dining room table (a big job.. you can't see the surface), generally pick up around the house, and go shopping at Savage Mill. I also want to deliver a present to a friend who just had a baby. I hope to have a pleasant day, with no drama.

01 December 2006

The wind is howling outside my window. I had to bring my outdoor lighted Christmas tree inside because I didn't want it to blow away. The temperature's dropping. It's been a crazy weather day and night. It was a never-ending day at work. I was there for 9 1/2 hours today...a few too many. I'm so glad it's Friday night. Tomorrow will be so busy but before I know it I'll be at Border's drinking strong coffee and browsing through the magazines. Till then...

29 November 2006

You never know when you're going to get awful news. I've had it before, when my Mom had her stroke, when my Dad had his brain injury. You're never prepared. Last night I got the news that a person that's been my co-worker and friend for the last 15 years was let go. We've worked next to each other all these years. I've trusted her, confided in her, depended on her. I'm just sick about this. I trust my boss. I believe she would only do the right thing. I'm confused and sad. I don't want to go into any more detail, but I have to say I will miss her greatly.

28 November 2006

I really enjoyed my 6 days off of work. I never have that amount of time to spend at home and I got a lot accomplished. The yard was raked, outside lights put on, and the inside totally decked out for Christmas. This is the second year that I did that during Thanksgiving, and it really helps my stress level to do it early. I host 2 parties here, and I like the house to look nice. Plus, doing it early lets me enjoy it for a long time. Emily was a big help this year. She did the tree with me. I got a kick out of her commenting on the ornaments as she took them out of the containers. "I remember this one!" And, "I've always loved that one," etc. She tried to get me to agree not to buy more Christmas stuff. Right.

Today was my first day back to work. It was also my first day without any caffeine. I never drink it on work days because I fear it will give me the shakes. After having it for 6 days in a row, today was hard. I felt tired and sluggish all day. Tomorrow will be better. Then, the next day will be Thursday, I'm off, and can have my fix again.

I also made a decision today to be much better about what I eat. I was really bad around Halloween and bought and ate 5 bags of candy corn. Yes, I love that stuff. Pure sugar. It started my downfall, and I have to stop it now, or I'll be sorry. Today was my first day of eating right. It was hard, I had the munchies, but I didn't give in. I had fat free popcorn for dessert instead of my Caramel Moose Tracks ice cream, which I love. A lot. Two days ago I told Emily to stay away from it because it was mine. I just called down to her and told her I thought she should have some. As much as she wants.

25 November 2006

I started writing an e-mail about buying my digital camera, but decided to post it here instead. It was way too long-winded to put in a letter. Here goes: I love my camera. I take a million pictures. It's slim enough to slide in my pocket, and that matters. I made the research for the purchase way too complicated, but did wind up with a great camera at a great price. I poured over every magazine article, every review site the web had to offer, etc... I really had information overload. Every camera has pros and cons. I'd go to the stores to look at the cameras I researched, but still couldn't make up my mind. One day while at Wal-Mart, I decided to check out their camera department. One of the most helpful salesmen to date came over to assist me. I told him how confused I was, and why. He said, well, you know you can buy a camera here and return it with no questions asked. That started my buying and returning. That was when I got my real education. I tried 3 different Canon models. That's what I thought I wanted. I tried a few Kodak's. I thought I had my mind made up with a Canon when I was convinced to try one other model of Kodak. It's an Easyshare v550. It's really easy. It's very cool looking, especially with it's sky blue silicone skin. It's not going to be my forever camera, but it's great for now.

24 November 2006

Thought I'd post a picture of me with my younger sister and my brother. I took a lot of pictures on Thanksgiving, but there weren't any that represented the group. The other picture was taken last month. We only get together with the relatives a few times a year, but we always pick up right where we left off, and love our time together. It's really all about the family.

Today's foray to the craft fair was a disappointment. I bought a few things that I loved in one of the first booths I walked into. It was my only purchase. Emily and I were in and out of the fair in an hour. Since it was still so early, we went to the local mall. That was crazy, but not anywhere as bad as I feared. We mostly browsed. I dropped her off at her Dad's, and spent most of the rest of the day with my friend Kit. I've spent a bunch of time tonight working on the layout of this blog. I wish I knew how to change the layout at whim.

I have lots of plans for tomorrow. I should start resting up for that now!

23 November 2006

Ahh, what a day. In the morning Emily and I prepared our offering for the family gathering. I made Baked Pineapple, a sort of pineapple bread pudding. Emily wanted to make Fumi Salad. It's my GA sister's recipe and I made it a few times this summer to rave reviews. It's an Asian flavored salad with a cole slaw base. Emily just insisted upon making it when we started talking about what to bring. Is it a favorite dish of hers? No way. She won't eat it. She chose it because everyone raves about it, and it's very colorful. A smart girl I have. Everyone loved it. There were 32 of us at my cousin's for Thanksgiving. All aunts, uncles, siblings and cousins. That's 7 less than usual. We arrived at 2:00 and left at 8:00. It was just wonderful.
I'm so glad I didn't bring any leftovers home. I've been eating way too many calories.

Tomorrow we'll be going to the Frederick Craft Fair. It's an annual tradition that I anxiously await. I'll write more tomorrow and post new pictures.

Hope everyone had a good day, however it was spent.

22 November 2006

It's been the most miserable day weather-wise. Very cold, gray and windy with different degrees of rain throughout the day. Yuck. I hoped to finish raking the front garden and get the leaves off all the bushes so I could put the Christmas lights on. I thought it was supposed to start raining tomorrow and wanted to get a head start. I think it will be nice on Friday and the rest of the weekend, so I'll have plenty of time to get it done. I really like to do all the decorating over the Thanksgiving break. I was able to do a lot today. I started with sewing. I know. It's what I said I wouldn't talk about. I made 3 pillows and a table scarf. I put all the sewing equipment away for good. I got the whole downstairs cleaned in anticipation of decorating the house. Can I say I love those Magic Sponges? The thing that made the greatest visual difference was taking all the magnets and pictures off the refrigerator. Everything looks so white now.

I did an incredible job of putting my holiday decorations away last year. Yes, I'm patting my own back. If you know me, you know I have a Christmas house for the holidays. I move furniture, clear my mantle, stereo cabinet, display racks, end tables, etc. and display all the things in my huge my Christmas collection. After Christmas last year I got rid of all the things I no longer liked. I now have dedicated Rubbermaid bins for each area of the house. I.E.--everything that goes on the mantle is in one bin, with a picture showing how I had it decorated last year. Today was the start of the decorating and it was great. I brought up the stereo cabinet bin, emptied it and replaced it with all the stuff I cleared off. I arranged everything just like I had it in the picture. Carried the bin back to the basement and brought up the next. I got the mantle and dresser by the front door done, along with the top of the stereo cabinet. A good day's work. Emily wanted to do lights so she did the ones around the front door. It was under cover. Unfortunately, many of the lights from last year didn't light. I had bought a few new boxes, but I probably don't have enough. That's OK. I'll just buy more.

Emily and I had a big disagreement. I had a lot of hopes for the day. The first thing she said to me upon waking was could I turn on Christmas music. Good start. I wanted to decorate, make cinnamon ornaments, hang out, etc... It's the first day of my vacation, you know? I was in a great mood. I'll just say she has a problem with authority. She's a teenager. It was hard for me, but I'm the parent and I have my job to do.

I went to the local grocery store at about 4:00. I only needed a loaf of bread. It was pouring down rain, and I had to park far away. I headed right over to the bread aisle, and the white bread shelves were, gulp, empty. I needed the bread for the bread pudding I'll be taking to the relative's house tomorrow. There was a couple standing there, and the woman said, that must be where the bread was. I said, yes, spotted the only loaf that was pushed next to the multi-grain loaves, and gingerly places it in my basket. They had their opportunity--I was the one with the good eye. I was swift and successful. I think that was my shortest shopping trip ever.

I've spent the night catching up on my taped TV shows and doing some embroidery. Emily has finally ventured out of her room to eat, and I'm glad to see her. I'm looking forward to spending tomorrow with all my relatives. I hope to see some sun.

19 November 2006

I'm having a case of writer's block. I tried to write last night. Again today. I want to write. I want to be witty and compelling. I want you to be so impressed that you check this blog 5 times a day, and wonder what kind of woman writes with such style. Are you buying this?

I feel like I should tell stories about my workday. I'm a busy hairdresser. I talk almost non-stop all day--I have to. Well, I talk and I listen. I've said I have the perfect job for me. It's true. I love my days off, and would like to have more of them, but I never don't want to go to work on a work day. I'm never in a bad mood at work. I've been working at the same salon for almost 20 years. I know, hard to believe I'm that old. I don't feel old and that's all that counts.

I'm gonna change subjects. It's Sunday night now. I baked a Pumpkin Cake with creme cheese frosting and a Pineapple Bread Pudding this morning. My neighbor Kelly hosted Thanksgiving today because she'll be out of town on Thursday. The group consisted of friends Erin, Kasey, Barbara, Ralph, Mike -Kelly's boyfriend and our two kids with a friend each. We're the usual group and vastly enjoy each other's company. We had quite the feast. We'll all be together again for Christmas.

I did some more work today on the subject I'm not talking about anymore. I still have a thing or two to do on that front.

Last night was Saturday and we went to our usual hangout...Annapolis Mall. Emily had a friend staying over and the first place we went to was the food court for a Chick-fil-a dinner. The place was packed. I let the girls go thru the mall by themselves, a big step for me. We made up to meet at the Apple store. I took my time, called Emily every once in a while, and met up with them at Apple. We went to Nordstrom's and spent a lot of time at Lord and Taylor's where the girls tried on cocktail dresses and gowns. I took lots of pictures and the girls had so much fun. I'm sure it created a lot of memories. We left at about 8:20. This morning I get a call from my mother asking if I saw the shooting at Annapolis Mall on the news. Well, an off duty Secret Service officer tried to break up a fight in the FOOD COURT and was shot. He then shot one of the fighters who also fired into the crowd, hitting a fleeing patron. No one was killed, thank goodness. We had no idea any of this was going on. Emily told me today that when she got a drink at Nordstrom's Ebar someone said the other end of the mall had been closed off. She didn't know why and didn't mention it to me. It's in all the news. You know, I don't like to go to Arundel Mills Mall because I don't consider it to be real safe. It goes to show...bad things can happen anywhere. I'm so thankful we weren't in the food court when it happened.

On a brighter note, only two days of work for me this week. Yeah!!! I'll miss being off tomorrow, but I'll be off from Wednesday till` the next Tuesday. I have a lot of things planned for my time off.

16 November 2006

It's done and I'm so glad and I promise I won't be mentioning this subject again. I really don't enjoy sewing. On to bigger and better things (ho ho ho)!

13 November 2006

Thanks Jonathon for the html help. I wanted a picture in the blog header and couldn't figure out how to do it. The background design in my title is actually my curtain fabric. Very cool. Oh, I did mean to work on that today. So sad it still isn't done. I wonder what I've been doing instead? Working on my blog? Randomly pasting code here and there? Yup. I did get my oil changed, drove Emily to school, read the newspaper, grocery shopped and did laundry. And raked more leaves.

Em and I had a busy weekend. I drove to the Annapolis Mall Borders after work on Saturday so I could see the band that was playing. They were great and I wish it were a weekly feature. Kit met me at the cafe and then we strolled the mall. We picked up a shrimp and crabcake platter and headed for her 'weekend' home in Sherwood Forest, just a few miles away. Emily met us there after the U of MD football game. We had a very 'Kit' evening, a 'Sherwood Summit'. She'd created a list of 'interesting questions to generate conversation' including: What is your idea of a good adventure?, Are there any interesting countries or states that Cheryl wants to visit?, What would be a good career for Emily?, What would you do with a million dollars? and many more. We engaged in the conversations during dinner and throughout the night. Kit loves to make memories, and she had the get-together all planned out. We both happened to have our laptops and were thrilled to find that Sherwood has it's own wireless network. Yes! to no more dial-up. We showed each other our favorite web sites, blogs, picture albums, etc. We talked, read, ate, etc., and finally turned in. Em and I shared the room with the bunkbeds and I heard every twist and turn from above. I don't usually sleep very well away from home, but it wasn't too bad. In the morning we headed back to the mall (which was totally dressed up for Christmas), and Kit surprised Emily with a very generous gift card to her favorite store. We had a great lunch at Nordstrom's. In the late afternoon, we went our separate ways. Mundane? Not very. Ladeda
PS...new pictures and music in my onetruemedia montage.

10 November 2006

Sewing=not finished. I did get a lot accomplished and my intentions were really good. That counts for something. It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to spend some time outside. I did a whole lot of raking. I mowed the lawn. It was wonderful to have such a warm and sunny day in November and be off of work (grin).

09 November 2006

Thanks Alicia for the link to onetruemedia. So far this morning I've been on the computer, read the paper, worked on this photo montage, etc. My plan is to make the valences for my bay window. The sewing machine has been on the dining room table for a month...a little long, don't you think? I so don't want to sew, but it's gotta get done and it is my day off. I'm going to do it now. With any luck it will be done by the end of the day. I'll post a picture if I get it done.

06 November 2006

This is my mom's blog, but I thought that you guys would like to see meeeeee :]
OK...one more thing. You come across this stuff when you have a teenager. Click on the picture for a short video.

It's tomorrow and I said I'd write again. Yesterday seems like so long ago. I remember it was a good day (think hard). I woke really early and decided to try out a few bites of the popcorn I just got in the mail. Just to make sure it tasted OK, ya know? Did I say this was at 7 AM? It tasted like kettle corn drizzled with choclolate. It was heavenly. Dinner's in the oven but I just had to sample my other bag of Peanut Butter Drizzle. That's done. At least they were small bags, you know? Anyway, I got a bunch of things done around the house in the morning, Emily did her homework and weekly chores and then we were off to the mall. I told Emily I'd buy her a coat she liked at the Gap at Arundel Mills. I had a Starbucks espresso to power me up, and we shopped. Nothing for me, a few tops and the jacket for Emily. There was such a mood of Christmas at the mall that we decided to see The Santa Claus 3 at the theatre. It was pretty silly. It was weird seeing that the actress that portrays Mrs. Claus is the same one playing one of the 'others' on Lost. By the end of the movie we were starved and went to Golden Corral for dinner. It was the first time I had to pay full price for Emily. Can you believe how often I've been eating out? We had a pretty hilarious moment at the restaurant. I went to stab a big mushroom with my fork and it jumped from my plate onto the floor. We watched the waitress walk by it a few times, completely missing it. Then, a customer's shoe pushed it beside her diaper bag. We were hysterical with laughter. We tried to take a picture, but couldn't get a good shot. It was pretty funny. All in all, a good day and night.

I spent most of the day today with my mother. My parents live in Bowie, about 25 minutes from here. I took my mom to WalMart, her very favorite store. We shopped for clothes for her, White Stag being her favorite brand. I know, I'm not being very nice. We went to lunch at Tony Roma's. My third time in 9 days. She had a coupon for a free entree for her birthday. We love to eat out together. It's almost 7 PM now, and I still haven't fed my daughter. Time to finish it up. I, of course, won't be eating much. The popcorn, you know.

05 November 2006

I had a good post going. Then I got involved with trying to paste my pictures where I wanted them to be, and lost the text. Can I just say boo hoo? I'm trying again.

Last night was book club night. One of the members, Dolly, moved to PA, and the plan was to make a road trip to her house. I decided it was just too far to go for a short visit. If I didn't work on Saturday I would have gone. So, I got my friend Kit, also a book clubber, to play hooky and hang out. Em was supposed to spend the night with her Dad, but I gave him the wrong date and he dropped her off at the house. Good thing I was there. Let me just say I love being a part of my book club. My sister Lisa invited me to join her group, and I was welcomed by people that were actually excited to have me be a part. They are fun, real, and always happy to be together. Thought I'd put in a few pictures of some of us.

We started the night off at the new Nautilus Diner in Crofton. Great place. It was bright and shiny new. Kit had her laptop and entertained us with her new Power Point skills. From there we browsed Marshall's and Homegoods. It was fun seeing all the Christmas stuff. Yes, I know it's way early, but, you have to go with it. What are you gonna do, you know? Here's Emily and I checking out the very comfortable overstuffed chair in Homegoods. I'd like to take that one home.

Can you tell I'm having fun with the pictures? I'm getting better at inserting them, but I'm not quite sure what I'm doing. We finished the night at Caribou Coffee. I'm going to end for now. I'll write more tomorrow.

29 October 2006

The good and the bad. I went out last night for the first time in ages and it made me see what I've been missing by staying home so much. I have got to change that. I went out with friends for dinner and then to a concert by Janis Ian, a folk singer whose song, At Seventeen, was a favorite of mine in the 70's. Janis sang like an angel and played acoustic guitar beautifully in a wonderful venue. A great time was had by all.

My big accomplishment today was cleaning out the cabinet that holds all my spices and baking supplies. It was not on my to do list. I never realized how many bags of chocolate chips I have. McCormick & Co. has a brilliant ad campaign going informing us consumers that any spices labeled 'bottled in Baltimore' are at least 15 years old and need to be tossed. I emptied so many containers of spices. My trash is very fragrant. I found a new organic market that sells bulk spices by the ounce. I'll be restocking in that fashion, as needed.

It was family time later in the day to celebrate my mother's 74th birthday. That's a lot of birthdays. We were 5 for dinner at Tony Roma's, then back to my parent's for cake and ice cream. I'll say it, cause I think we'd all agree. We're a dysfunctional family. I think most families are??

This is the bad. A client of mine, a warm and caring woman, died 10 days ago after a 7 year battle with cancer. I found out on Saturday when someone brought me her obituary. I will miss her a lot, and can't get her out of my thoughts. Another client, who's hair I did 2 weeks ago, just found out she has 12 tumors in her brain and stage 4 bone cancer throughout, and they still don't know the primary site. She's so wonderful and so optimistic. Another client is undergoing chemo and radiation. Two others are done with treatment but it will be quite some time before they have enough hair to see me. I am praying for all of them, and when I wish for anything, it's always for health.

Hate to end this on a bad note. Tomorrow's a new day. That is a great thing.

22 October 2006

What to do on a Saturday night? Go to the mall with your teenage daughter? Hang out at the Apple store and take pictures with their photobooth software? It was a lot of fun, actually. The only money we spent was on our food court dinner. So, it was a cheap night out and some good mother/daughter time. We came home and went to our respective computers. I finished watching all the episodes of Jericho. I LOVE watching TV on my laptop. The picture is crystal clear and there's a minimum of commercials. I've become a real TV junkie. I remember when I watched nothing. My old hairdresser friend Louis told me I had to watch TV so I could be informed and have things to talk about with my clients. Well, I watch TV now. Do I talk to my clients about it? Not much, but I am entertained.