30 July 2007

Today has been so BLAH. Yucky. Long and wasted. I just couldn't fall asleep last night. I turned off the light for the first time at midnight. Then it was on again, off and on, I should say, till 2:30. Then I was up at 6:30. I've been having some sensitivity in my back molars, so I called my cousin whose husband is my dentist, and they fit me in with a 10:00 appointment. I went to Sam's Club first to look at tires. I've noticed that mine are about bald, and I'll be putting a lot of miles on with this vacation. No one was in the tire department, so I went to the dentist. He took out a filling to get at a new cavity, and did it without a shot. Yes! I went back to Sam's to find there's a 2.5 hour wait for tires. So, I paid for them (over $400!) and will go back before work tomorrow. My membership lets me get in at 7 AM, though I won't go that early. When I left there I went home, forgetting that I need my oil changed. I came home and did lots of laundry, but my eyes were bleary with lack of sleep, and I didn't get anything else done. Well I did, but the house is still a mess, and I have so much packing to do. I really needed a nap, but I never take one. I stopped the newspapers and the mail. Found the maps and printed directions. Got all the chargers together. Put all the food and cleaning supplies in boxes. I spent forever making a motel reservation in SC, about 430 miles into our trip. Em and I will leave this Friday morning, and arrive in Edisto Island, SC early on Saturday. We'll be there for the first week. I'm so excited. We were there 2 years ago, also with my GA family. This place, Edisto, is the real SC Lowcountry. If you've ever read a Pat Conroy novel, this is the place he writes about. I'll tell you more about it later.

I'm going to get up now and do some speed cleaning/packing/gathering/etc... so I can sit on the porch. Oh, here's a picture of the front porch at Edisto:

And, the side screened-in porch:

Yes, I'm excited.

29 July 2007

A portrait with a story...

Yes that's me. Can you see how close that hummingbird was to my head? I was just coming back from my walk. I noticed that the hummingbird was at the feeder. When he wasn't looking, I got a little closer. Suddenly, he flew right to my head! The staccato beating of his wings sounded like a hovering helicopter. I froze. Was I wearing a red top, I thought? Is he going to land in my hair??? It was the strangest feeling. I stayed as still as a statue, till he flew away.

28 July 2007

I've spent the last hour or so looking for the condo I'll be staying at on Google Earth. It was really a lesson in frustration. I had a hard time zooming in to the exact location, so I had to do a lot of navigating. From what I did see, it looks like the beach is more accessible in N. Myrtle Beach, where we stayed at last year, than Myrtle Beach, where we're going for our second week of vacation. You know what they say about a little knowledge. I'm going to leave it alone and hope that I'm pleasantly surprised.

Today finished out my busy week. I went to Border's. Went to the library. Came home, and shortly afterwards, my father dropped my mom off at my house. She came in and said, I'm going to take a nap on your couch. That was fine. I went over to my neighbor's house to put on her hair color. I don't mind doing that at all. Still, she gave me a gift card to Trader Joe's, which was very nice, but not necessary. Like I said, I don't mind. I came home and made dinner for my mom and me. (Em's at a friend's) Then I cut my mom's hair. That's work. I cut it nice and short and she won't need a haircut for a while. It's summer, right? She'll probably say something about how short it is in the morning. Anyway, she watched TV while I played with Google Earth. And, here I am. In the morning Mom and I will go to Old Country Buffet (favorite place of hers) for their breakfast buffet. She's been wanting to do that for a long time. We'll do some stuff in Annapolis afterwards, then pick up Emily at the mall.

And, that's the news of the day.

27 July 2007

The rest of the day was ordinary with a lot of hard work thrown in. I did a big make-over. My client came in a few weeks ago for a consultation. I've been doing her color and highlights for a while, but her hair never looks great because she likes it long, and it's in bad shape. She brought in a picture of Nichole Richie, wanting the color and the hairstyle. I cut about 5 inches off the length and layered her hair into the style. Then I gave her a whole new color and highlights. It came out great and I was totally pleased. It kind of made my day. My client was a little in shock because of the length but I know she'll love it when she gets used to it.

One more day of work then it's time for coffee and the weekend. I can't wait.
I think I've seen it all. I was sitting on the couch, on the computer, when I heard a thump from the deck. I looked thru the blinds to see the squirrels in action. By action, I mean 2 of them running around trying to have sex. On my deck! They ran circles through the 2 tomato planters. Circles through the planter of flowers. On the chaise lounge. On the railing. The boy trying his best to get on the girl. I just couldn't believe my eyes. Finally, I went out, scaring them, picked up the few green mauled tomatoes, and put the Squirrel Away powder around the dirt of the planters. I mean, come on. Get a hotel room!

26 July 2007

Emily got home safe and sound last night. She had a great time and was totally worn out!

This morning I took the same walking route as I did on Tuesday. I'm amazed that I walked so long. It's good to have a sense of accomplishment from pushing yourself to do something out of your comfort zone. I even did it without music. I thought I'd give it a try, and went about a third of my route before turning on my MP3 player. That's when I found out I was out of battery. It was fine walking without it, but I think I like it with, better. Well, I'm going to get an early start and head to the sporting goods store before work. I really do want to get a pedometer.

25 July 2007

The best time of day for me is about now. I'm outside, the fan is blowing, the songbirds are singing, and all's right with the world. Then I think of where Emily is. She's been at the Van's Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion since 11:00 this morning. Merriweather is a large music venue and today there are many bands playing on numerous stages. She went there with two friends and a mother. I've spoken to her a few times today, and she's having a great time. It ends at 9:00 tonight, but then there'll be autographing, etc... I don't like that she's there without me. She doesn't want me watching over her, but it's hard not to. I trust her, and hope that she'll make smart decisions. I'm excited that she's having so much fun. Still... I'll feel better when she's safe and at home.

This morning I realized that I am working tomorrow. I'm fitting in extra days to make up for how long I'll be off on my vacation. So, no MAC makeover. I'll be working especially hard, but that will make the day go faster. Next week I only work Tuesday-Thursday, then I'm off for over 2 weeks. Yes, I'm excited.

I'm going to do some reading now. Catch up with you later!

24 July 2007

Thought I'd do a quick post before I left for work. Tuesdays are my Mondays since it's the first workday for me. Usually, as much as I love my time off, I'm ready to go back, at least for a few days. It was my usual busy morning. I got in a good walk that I'm going to guess was at least 3 miles. It was a good route, good music, and I think I'll follow the same path tomorrow. I cooked the dinner I meant to make last night. It had to be done. I made my lunch, including all the fixings for a BLT. I have so many ripe tomatoes. Thank you squirrel for not taking them all!

We went to Annapolis Mall last night. It was a fun outing. I got Em a pair of shoes for school, and some make-up for me. We both signed up to have our make-up done at MAC on Thursday morning. Just for fun. You know I'll have my camera. We went to the Apple store for some pictures. It's been a long time since we've done that.

Have a great day!

23 July 2007

It's done. Verizon got here at 8:30 and the technician left at 1:00. Yes! I've done a little exploring with the Internet and it seems fast. Very fast. More later.

22 July 2007

I don't remember the last time I wrote a proper entry here. Maybe I'm running out of things to say? Hmmm.

I've been keeping up with my walking, but I'm not having any fun doing it. I walk and think: 'I'm hating this. When will I be done? Fortunately, I keep on going. I think part of the reason is the music I've been listening to. It's just too slow. Too much Norah Jones. I've been deleting a lot of songs from my MP3 and need to add new stuff. Like Toby Keith. I used to love walking to his songs. Here's what I have on my player now: Alicia Keys, Corrine Bailey Rae, The Dixie Chicks, The Fray, James Blunt, John Mayer, Keane, Regina Spektor, the television soundtrack from Dawson's Creek, and Rob Thomas. All good stuff, but not quite the right mix.

Jamie asked about the FiOS I've mentioned. It's Verizon's fiber-optic Internet and TV service that they're installing throughout the country. They installed it in my neighborhood 3 years ago, but it just became available this month. Comcast has taken Verizon to court on flimsy technicalities at every turn to try to stop them. They don't want to give up their almost monopoly. Here's a little official blurb: FiOS is the latest in fiber-optic technology. It delivers laser-generated pulses of light, riding on hair-thin strands of glass fiber, all the way to your front door. I hope that the days of losing my Internet connection are gone, and that my FiOS will be super fast to boot. Tomorrow will be a stay at home day. Verizon will get here between 8 AM and noon, and the install can last up to 6 hours. Can you imagine that? I can't and hope they get here at 8 and out by noon.

Today has been the 3rd day in a row with outstanding weather. No air-conditioning. A blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Low humidity and in the 80's. The sun is setting right now and it's beautiful. Just thought I'd share that with you.

Emily and I spent a good part of the day at the pool with our neighbors. It was perfect. Ahh, summertime.

20 July 2007

I was torn between walking after work, and just sitting down. The latter won out. There are days that just wear me out, and today was one of them. I think I'm going to do some reading tonight, and I'll write another time when I'm feeling more energetic.
The cable guy came this morning to repair my connection and, of course, it was working. Figures, huh? Monday I get my FiOs installed and I'm hoping that works like a charm.

I'm off to work... I'll write for real tonight. Enjoy this beautiful day. Here in MD it's in the low 80's and windy with low humidity. I was outside for a while this morning, so I got my 'fix.'

18 July 2007

This is the second night that I'm sitting on someone else's porch. A mosquito is flying around me and I really hope the OFF! is working. I'm sitting here so I can use Kelly's Internet signal. She also has a lovely garden to look at, but it doesn't smell real good over here. Early this spring I wrote about the groundhog digging under her porch. She filled the hole with moth balls. Not quite what you'd expect to smell when you're surrounded by flowers. The groundhog is the only rodent we haven't seen around here in a while. What I have seen is the squirrel. The planters on my deck need water every day, so yesterday when I got home I went down the stairs from the deck to turn on the hose. I noticed two green tomatoes on one of the steps with what looked like gnaw marks. They were perfectly placed side-by-side, so I assumed that Emily and her Dad must have found them fallen down from the planters and placed them there, then forgot them. They looked salvageable as the skin wasn't broken.

I asked Emily about them but she said she didn't know anything. Hmmm, I thought.

I put out a new ear of corn for the squirrels this afternoon before Emily and I left to run errands. We bought, among other things, thistle seed, wild bird seed, and a big bag of corn cobs. When we got home we went out on the deck so Emily could fill the newest feeder (a story for another time). I saw that the corn holder was empty. We weren't gone that long. Still, I was feeling generous so I went to get a new one. Emily wasn't and she went out in the back yard to look for it. Let's see what she found:

This is what he/she (I've seen both, and can tell the difference) is supposed to be eating, but it should be in the corn holder hanging from the deck.

The tomatoes and corn were found a full story down from the deck, and about 30 feet into the woods. Oh, and there were kernels of corn on every step of the deck. I guess he stopped for a bite cause transporting all that booty was a lot of work. It's funny, I had about 10 ripe tomatoes on the counter this morning and was wondering what I was going to do with them all. Little did I realize I'd be sharing what was left on the plants with my sworn enemies, those darned squirrels. I really am mad at them, for all the good that will do me.

On another note, today was really good. I was able to walk this morning. My toe doesn't look good but feels fine. Emily and I did lots of things around the house. I ironed 2 weeks of clothes. That was an accomplishment. I cleaned the wood floors. Big job with lots of elbow grease. We went to Sam's Club, Walmart and the grocery store. We watched The Notebook. Made a tomato pie. Had dinner. A full day, with no drama. Yeah! She's at her boyfriend's now to watch another movie. I'll be picking her up soon.

Well, I'm starting to feel itchy, so I'm going back home. I'll have to catch up on reading blogs another time, unless I get lucky, and get a signal inside my house.

16 July 2007

Today didn't turn out like I planned. Emily didn't want to wake up and walk with me. I rode my bike instead! It was harder than walking, but a nice change. I woke Emily up to go to the orthodontist, but she realized the appointment was for tomorrow. We got ready to go to the pool, but then Emily's boyfriend called to say he had a doctor's appointment. Emily didn't want to go without him. Grrr. I did laundry. Made another zucchini pie, which I've decided I don't really like. I did some pricing research on Verizon FiOs, which is supposed to be installed next week. Then, guess what? My Internet went out. I spent forever trying to talk to customer service. To no avail. Emily and I went to the high school to try to fix something with her schedule. We went to her old middle school, and I tripped walking up the stairs. I jammed my big toe, and it's now black and blue below the nail. We picked up Em's MSA test results, and I dropped her off at the boyfriend's. That was the big outing of the day. I spent the next few hours outside. Em's Dad picked her up to go to a Washington National's game. Back outside for me. I put down dirt and seed and straw where Verizon dug. I watered. I sweated. I came in and watched, of all things, Victoria Beckham: Coming to America. Unbelievable!

So, I'm using my neighbor's Internet signal. I'm hot and dirty. And, I won't be able to get my sneakers on to go walking in the morning. I'm putting this day to rest.

One last thing. Thank you to everyone who stops by. It means so much to me. :))
If you've followed my blog for a while, you'll find that I've not been very introspective in my writing. I come across as this really peaceful, nature-loving kind of person. Just kind of la de da (hence the title). In my profile, you'll find where it says, I'm not always what I seem. On the one hand, I live a life in public. I'm a busy hairdresser, and while at work, I'm surrounded by people. I'm one-on-one with my clients, and they're looking at me (in the mirror) while I work. I'm in constant conversation. I have an ongoing, progressive relationship with my clients. I really like them, and visa verse. As I've said before, it's a very rewarding job, and one in which there's immediate rewards. I never mind being at work, and am never in a bad mood there. At home, I'm really solitary. There's not a spouse to talk to. When there was one, he didn't have much to say (talk about a contrast between work and home). Thirteen-year olds do not like to spend a lot of time with their moms. So, at home, I have to keep myself occupied. I tend to get fixated on stuff. Christmas is a big one. If you didn't read me back then, you'll see come December. Fortunately, there's no house projects coming up. Being that it's summer, I'm all about being outside. I've thought to myself lately, you really have to stop talking about the garden and about birds and squirrels cause you're going to be boring. But...those things keep me occupied, and for now, they make me really happy. But, I like writing, and I like the things I like, and I like getting comments and I really like the connections I've made with the people I've met through this blog. Whew. Did I get away from talking about being introspective? I don't like to dwell on things. I like to be nice. I like to be liked. I wish I had more friends. I'm optimistic. I'm pretty happy. But serene? Not. Being a single Mom with an outspoken, opinionated daughter with a boyfriend is really hard. I get worried, and angry, and depressed, and a slew of other anxiety-ridden emotions, and I just have to find the things that make me happy. Like looking at this boy squirrel. Aren't I bad? It took me by surprise too.

Emily came home last night. We were very happy that she was home. She showed me the many-hundred pictures that she took while she was gone. She is one lucky girl to have gone on such an adventure-packed vacation. I think I'd need a vacation from that vacation. My idea of a vacation is laid back. It was a good reunion for Em and me, and we have our own vacation coming up in a few weeks.

I walked for the 5th time this week. Today was the hardest walk yet, and it felt so good when I finally got home. I think it's time to find the old pedometer so I can start setting some goals. Em walked to her boyfriend's house this morning to have breakfast with his family, and hang out. I did some stuff around here, including making another zucchini pie, and sort of didn't know what to do with myself. I decided to drive out to my Mom's and take her to the pool. She belongs to the community pool I grew up at. I'll have to take pictures. It's a beautiful place, on the grounds of what was the mansion of a famous Maryland family in colonial times. It was a very hot yet not too humid day. The pool temperature was perfect. I went off the diving board. I swam laps. I read my Wired magazine and listened to music on my MP3. I walked the edges of the pool with my mother. For those that don't know it, my mom had a terrible stroke almost 7 years ago, and she's handicapped because of it. She likes to walk in the water holding on to the edge with her one hand that 'works'. I spend whatever time I can with her to keep her company, 'cause she has a very lonely life. Anyway, my point is that the day turned out to be a great one. My neighbors invited Emily and me over for dinner. They found out I've never had shish kabob and wanted to make it for me. It was great! They made skewers of marinated shrimp, steak and chicken. The vegetable skewers had onions, peppers, mushrooms, potatoes and tomatoes. Yum. They made a Paula Dean peach cobbler for dessert. We had lively conversations through out. What a great ending. I took pictures. Of the food.

Tomorrow will be busy. Emily wants to walk with me in the morning. We're going to the high school to find out about her schedule. Then to the orthodontist. Then we're taking Em's boyfriend with us to my parent's pool. I better get to bed so I can rest up for it.

13 July 2007

I did it! I paced myself and had time for everything...this morning. Right. I used that word again. Well, it is the morning.

I have 30 minutes of computer time before I leave. I got up early and walked. That makes four days this week. I'm psyched about that. I came home and watered, and weeded. (When I told my mom she said, that's 3 W's. She likes to count things). I made my salad and shrimp salad to bring in for work. I finished my book! I got ready for work and have my breakfast ready to go. My clothes are laid out. And here I am. It's a wonderful morning. Yes, I'm outside again and the weather is just great. I wish I could stay longer, but I can't, and can't complain.

Well, I have to write about my party house. You heard right. I'm talking about my feathered friends. It's the funniest thing. The last few days I've come home and my wild bird feeder in front has been empty. I couldn't imagine that the regular birds were emptying in in less than 7 hours. I filled it again last night, and have been watching it from outside and from my windows every chance I get. Here's the scoop: The perches can hold 6 birds, and they're always full, with 4-5 birds clinging on the bark of the tree, waiting. I don't know how many are in the branches hanging out. The finch feeder next door also holds 6 birds and is always full. There's 4-6 morning doves on the ground eating the spillage. I've seen all the regular finches, plus blue jays, cardinals, and a woodpecker. You should see how many fly away when they're startled. The best part? There's 3 squirrels running around on the tree and ground and, they can't get to the feeders! This is quite a thrill for me. Now, I'm not so foolish as to say never, because I'll probably come home to watch them hanging off the empty feeder. But for now? I find this spot on my porch to be the most entertaining place to be. I know what that says about me. 1) I don't have much of a life. 2) I'm easily amused.

12 July 2007

I was looking at some recent posts of mine and noticed that a lot of them have the word 'morning' in the first line. I guess I've been a morning writer.

I'm sitting outside, where I had my dinner. Guess what I ate? Tomato Pie. That and the zucchini pie have been my lunch and dinner every day since Monday. I'm almost tired of them. Almost. I'm going to bake another batch and put them in the freezer. I picked 6 ripe tomatoes today, and that's just too many to eat in a salad. You know?

I went to a wonderful garden center today looking for a bird bath to put in my front garden. My brother has one that I really liked, but I couldn't find it. The ones they had were all just too big. Finally I found this one. It's really meant to hold seeds, it turns out, but it was just what I didn't know I was looking for. It's made of iron and stands about 15" tall.

So Mom and I got to The Country Buffet at 11:00 when they opened for lunch. We were in line with the seniors and construction workers. We said hello to all the regulars we see there. One of these days I'm going to ask the couple who sit in the booth next to us how often they come. How can it be that the same people are always there, unless they eat there every day, or every Thursday or Monday, which is the days we go there? It's really a great value. I think the seniors we see regularly pace themselves, and stay for a long time. It might be their only meal of the day.

I've been outside since getting back home. Read my book. Filled all the bird feeders. Watered the plants. Ate. And here I am. Ah, what a day.
I really meant to write this morning. Good intentions...have you ever debated whether they count or not? I have and been on the side of them counting. The arguement against was just is strong.

I walked again this morning. That makes 3 times this week, so far. Too soon to tell if it's really going to stick. We'll see. In the meantime, I feel good.

I'm off to the folks house. Will stop at Starbucks on the way. I'll run some errands with my mom, then we'll go to her favorite place, Old Country Buffet, for lunch. Not my favorite place, but it's for her and the food is actually not bad.


11 July 2007

Things I wish I had time for this morning...

Reading my book: Water For Elephants. I can't put it down but have to.

Writing in my blog. This is it.

Reading my friend's blogs. Yes. I do mean you.

Sitting outside. You know.

I'll be meeting my friend Kit after work at her family's house in Sherwood Forest. I'll tell you about it because it's a great place.

Hope you all have a great day. I'll write tonight, between reading, that is.

09 July 2007

So, I'm back where I started this morning. The fan is making it just tolerable. What a day. In the past, I would have spent my day off at the pool. These days I really don't want to get tanner. I have enough sun damage from the years we thought it was good to get as tan as you could. That doesn't mean I never hang out in the sun...I'm just careful now. Going out in the morning and after the sun starts to go down is still a great way to spend a summer day. I just watched the sun disappear behind the treeline. It was quite beautiful.

What did I do today? I hung out. I did laundry and picked up all around the house. It's such a good feeling to look around and see everything neat. While reading Andrew's blog I followed a link to shy_smiley's blog where I found a link to a website that is trying to get people to donate and mail Beanie Babies to troops in Iraq. Apparently they're having a lot of success handing out these cute stuffed animals to the Iraqi children. Yes, I was a Beanie Baby addict. I'll admit it. It was partly the cute factor and partly that I'm a little bit of a compulsive collector. I gathered up a boxful of animals, and headed out to the post office. I'm going to find my 'stash' (remember I cleaned out the basement? I don't know where I put them) and mail the rest out. Anyway, I decided that I also felt like cooking. I got some zucchini from my sister's garden, and got the recipe for zucchini pie that my GA sister recently made. Then I remembered how much I love tomato pie and decided to make that too. I stopped at 2 vegetable stands for the tomatoes. I spent a long time cooking and then cleaning. Kelly came over and shared the meal with me. It was...delicious.

There's not much daylight left; I'll be spending the remainder right here. First, I'll post some pictures. 'Cause I love doing that.

Wish you could have joined us for dinner. What will I do with all the leftovers?
I just read Proxima's latest post, and thought I'd contribute a picture of a meal I recently ate at The Cheesecake Factory. This is their version of Lettuce Wraps. I'd highly recommend it.

Emily had the Chicken Quesadillas. Another dish we love.

Emily sent me a few pictures of the falls this morning. Here's one of them, taken from the window of her hotel room. Do you think I'm a little envious?

It's been an awesome morning. I went out walking this morning for the first time in a long time. I listened to the Dixie Chicks as I took in the sights of the neighborhood. I sat on the front porch and watched the birds at the feeders, including the newest one in the collection:

I don't know if you can tell, but the middle feeder's hanging from a very long hook. I cut away any nearby branches in the hopes that there's no way a squirrel could reach it. We'll see.

Putting a fan on my little porch has been the best thing! It really keeps me cool. I read the entire Sunday Washington Post newspaper. Drank my coffee. Then I spent about an hour in the garden with a pair of scissors and a container and leisurly dead-headed the flowers that were spent. It's 10:30 now, and I'm ready to pick up around here while I think of what else I'll do today. It might be a good day to see a movie...

08 July 2007

OK...I'm ready to write. I'm all caught up on my blogs. I finished my book and haven't started the next. So, I'm ready.

I had time for a coffee at Border's after work yesterday. I tried a Cinnamon Latte and liked it as much as the Caramel. Good to know. I picked my mother up at the airport. She was returning from a 2 week visit with my sister in Georgia. First I couldn't find the cell phone lot, where I planned to wait till I got her call. Then I got on the wrong highway and had to take the next exit so I could get back on the right road. Then I missed my exit because of the distraction that is the cell phone. Finally I got to the right lot, and got my mom. We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner, then headed home. She sat with me watching the bird feeders on my deck, than sat on the porch reading while I did my usual. You know. She went to bed early and I went next door and watched the movie, Annapolis, with my neighbor Kelly. It was a little too violent for me, but OK. So, that was my Saturday. Mom and I hung out this morning, then went to her house. I unpacked her luggage, did her hair color, had lunch, and had my dad help me with my tip envelopes. That took a long time. I'll explain...when clients tip they either give me cash, or put my tip into a tip envelope. I use the cash for most of my purchases, but save all the envelopes. Today we opened all the envelopes that I had collected over the last 6 months. It's really fun to do, and the table is covered with my tips. I use the money to pay for large purchases, like my new garage door, the repair of my bay window, my laptop, etc...I don't have anything in mind to buy now and will resist the urge to do something like buy an LCD TV. I don't need one, just want.

Today has been brutally hot. I know that everyone is having terrible weather and am thankful that it's just the heat we're dealing with. It's too hot for the pool, or to be outside. So, I'm at Caribou Coffee. I'm sitting by a large window, and the place is filled with fellow coffee lovers. It's a good place to be. I just got off the phone with Kit and she's on her way to meet me here. I guess I'll be staying!

Emily left early this morning and is in Niagria Falls now. She was so excited! I'll miss the good times we have but it will be a nice break for both of us. Emily's dad was an event planner, and knows how to put together a great vacation. Emily, if you're reading this, I miss you already!

06 July 2007

Bait and Switch...

I've been waiting for Verizon's FiOS to be available in my area. They installed the fiber optic cable 3 summers ago. Comcast has been fighting them tooth and nail to try to prevent them from offering video (TV) service. Little by little, Verizon is gaining ground here in MD and Comcast's monopoly is coming to an end. I got a call this week from Verizon offering me service for Video, Internet and phone. I was very specific with my questions as to exactly what I would be getting; I like to be an informed consumer. I asked for the total price including all the taxes, surcharges, and endless fees. I had an installation date. I was told that the special price I was getting was different from any Internet offers. Hmmm. I had to check that out. I've also been curious about changing my phone service over to SunRocket, a VoIP company. I called Verizon today to find out the cost of Video and Internet only. Come to find out, the price I was quoted had been totally wrong. I was told that it's 'resellers' who make the 'cold calls' and that there is no way they would know the taxes for my area and give me a specific price. The Internet speed on the work order was 5 Mbps, not the 15 Mbps I agreed to. I was told I'd get 2 set top boxes for my TVs for free; they told me one is free and the other is $4.99 a month. I was so mad. I guess some people don't really check and go along with whatever. I told them I wanted to cancel my order, and I was switched to the Retention office. The person there was nice, and offered me all kinds of incentives to get their service. So, I still have my install date of July 23, but I'm going to do my homework before I go through with this. And that's my little rant for the night.

Otherwise, it's been a busy 2 days at work. Good and busy, the way I like it. Tonight is Emily's last night at home before she leaves for vacation with her father and step-mother. They're going to Canada, including Niagara Falls, for a week. She's pretty lucky when it comes to vacations. Last year they went out West. It'll be a relaxing week for me.

I returned my Squirrel Buster Plus bird feeder today. True, the squirrels couldn't get into it, but the big black birds were emptying the feeder at an alarming rate, and they were pooping all over my deck. So, it wasn't any better. I exchanged it for a feeder that has a cage around it that supposedly keeps out the nuisance birds and squirrels. I hope this one does the trick.
I've been too busy to read my favorite blogs, or write a new post here. I'll be back soon....

05 July 2007

I could use about another 2 hours before work instead of the 35 minutes I have left. Why? So I could have more time with my book. I just can't put it down. This is the new book by the author of The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini. If you didn't read that book, you should. If you have (or haven't yet), you should read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Here's a review from The New York Times. You'd think after 4 days off that I'd be ready to go back to work. It has been wonderful to have this time off, at home. Emily and I did some fun stuff. I got nothing 'accomplished', but didn't really need to.

OK..time to read. Have a great day!

03 July 2007

Isn't nature grand?

I like my guests to feel comfortable and at home.

First butterfly I've noticed. And, it's on my Butterfly Bush!

Emily getting her new camera from her dad.

Emily getting her softball trophy from Coach (notice the proud Dad in the background?)

Can you tell I'm never without my camera? It keeps me amused.
Not sure where this idea came from, but I thought I'd post some favorite recipes from time to time. I'll only include the ones that draw raves and requests for the recipe. Let me know if anyone tries them.

This recipe is from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. About 25 years ago, they opened a tiny food store in Manhattan, The Silver Palate, and this was one of their signiture dishes. Yum. I wish I had some right now. This recipe is copyrighted, and I hope that by giving them the credit, I'll be in the clear. Last week I got an official notice from Blogger for a poem I posted in January that was a copyright violation. I took it right down.

Tarragon Chicken Salad
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 pounds), well rinsed and patted dry
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch-long pencil strips
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 tablespoon crumbled dried tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350*
2. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in a large baking pan and spread the cream evenly over them. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the cream.
3. Shred the meat into bite-size pieces and transfer it to a bowl. Discard the cream.
4. Whisk the sour cream and mayonnaise together in a small bowl, and pour over the chicken.
5. Add the celery, walnuts, tarragon, and salt and pepper, and toss well.
6. Cover and refrigerator at least 4 hours. Correct the seasoning before serving.

4-6 servings

02 July 2007

It's in the 60's this morning. Hard to believe. Thought I'd share some pictures of the garden.

It was a gloriously beautiful day. Impressive. A gift. I spent the entire day outside, and didn't come in till dark. Emily stayed in and cleaned the house. She did a great job. Allowance is a great incentive, plus sometimes she's just in the mood. I wound up hauling 23 bags of mulch that I stacked under my deck. Emily and I mowed the lawn. I worked in the garden, deadheading the plants that needed it, and adding mulch to the areas that got messed up when I attacked the mole. I listened to music on my MP3 player while I worked. Nice. I'll have to post some new garden pictures--everything's in full bloom.

We went to Andover Park in the afternoon. It's on the grounds of BWI airport, about 15 minutes from where we live. The planes fly directly overhead as they cross the road to land at the airport. The park has a great playground, many benches, and a 16 mile paved trail that takes you through a beautiful pine forest. It's fascinating to watch the planes. People bring lawn chairs and just hang out. I think the adults love it as much as the children. Emily and I have ridden our bikes along the trail, but today we walked. We brought a picnic lunch. It was just great. We passed walkers and runners, and people on bikes, skateboards, and scooters. It was a great day to be outside. That's me in the hat, and Emily's boyfriend in the middle.

How was your weekend?