30 November 2009

Monday, Monday in a good way

It's about time for a new post. It seems like forever, especially when I compare it to when I was writing almost daily. I'm way behind for the year, but it's one of those things that happens. Ya know? I have no plans of leaving. Back in the day I spent all my time cross-stitching. I loved doing it. Then I got big time into rubberstamping. I was so creative. I never thought the day would come that I'd stop doing it. Last Christmas was the last time I made cards. I loved it, and if I got started right now I know I'd spend every spare minute working on making the most perfect ones I could. I made the decision to simplify ( my version of it anyway) and buy cards this year. So now my time is being spent on other things. It's the same for all of us.

I'm deep into getting ready for parties. I have a busy schedule this month. My work party is this Saturday. My book club holiday meeting is at my house on Sunday. My big holiday party is here the following Saturday night. A baby shower is the next day. The following Sunday is the big cousins Hanukkah party. Somewhere in between those two weekends is my family get-together for Hanukkah. The following weekend is Christmas. I don't know what I'm doing for that.

I've been getting my house ready. Decorating. I should be spending every minute on that, but my weekend has been spent with my new friend. He's wonderful. That's all I'm saying. A big bonus has been spending time with my friend Julie from work and her family. She's who set us up. She's wonderful and I love hanging out with her family. She and I cooked together for the group of us on Saturday night. How cool to be chopping garlic and peeling shrimp with a friend? We all watched a movie afterward. I think Emily would like it there too, and when this busy month is over maybe she'll hang out with us. Julie has a son and nephew that live at home and two daughters who are there a lot.

I've continued to wake up at 4-something every morning. I don't get it, but what can you do? Today is my last day of vacation and starting tonight I'll get back to my usual bedtime. The earlier I go to sleep, the more hours I'll get in before 4 am.

On that note, I'm gonna jump in the shower. I think I'll hang the jingle bells this morning before driving the kids to school.

Happy Monday!

28 November 2009

Deck the halls

Coffee, Christmas and tunes. How 'bout you?

27 November 2009

Happy Vacay

Thanksgiving was wonderful. I'm always so happy to be with my family. It was a feel-good day for all. Here's a long glimpse into our day. I wish the picture quality was better, but... I think if you click on the 'HQ' tab of the video it's a little better.

I got about 4 hours of sleep last night. I'm not even sure I want coffee...afraid it will make me too hyper. You know that mixture of bleary eyes, the sweats and the coffee buzz? Don't think it's for me.

It was very hard to resist going out for the infamous Black Friday, both last night when I stayed up till almost 2, and again when I woke up by 6. I hadn't thought of it before looking at the ads yesterday. Just seeing them gave me a rush and made me want. I'm still here.

The agenda for the day is to start readying my house for Christmas. I have some cleaning up to do before that can begin. Starting with all clean surfaces is the only way to go. I have days off, and that's what I'll be concentrating on. I might check out the weather. A walk this morning would probably do me a world of good.

I took a break and now I'm back. I spent a few hours raking very wet and heavy leaves from my garden and front lawn. The driveway is lined with bags. The dirt is finally exposed and so are the hedges. Maybe with the wind we're having there will be some drying off? Maybe we'll have a break from all the rain we've had? I'm itching to use my new hedge trimmers and get the shrubs ready for lights.

Things are still going good on the other front. You know.

Emily got the job at American Eagle. At least for the holidays. She'll be working 2-10 today, her first ever 8-hour job. She's apprehensive about working such a long day on her feet, but she'll do just fine. We just found out that one of my nephews is working at Oakley in the same mall. Pretty cool. Maybe they can have breaks together.

OK. Time to eat. And drink coffee. And clean. Motivation...please come.

23 November 2009

Here I am

I just clicked on Reader and saw that I'm 173 posts behind. How can that be? How can I ever catch up? The answer is that I can't. I'm sure a lot of us are in that same bind. If you don't read every day, this is what happens. If I don't stop by your blog, I'm still there with you in mind and you know that, right?

It was a good 'weekend' but too short! We have a big break coming up. The salon is closed for 5 days, starting on Thursday. Woo hoo to that! It means that we work today, my Sunday. It's a 3-day workweek, so I'm not allowed to complain and I won't. Well, you know. I'll complain a little. So, Saturday was pretty great. I met my new 'friend' at Borders. Perfect place for me, right? We spent a few hours talking. We had plans with our mutual friends to meet for dinner. We walked around Borders, then Target while we were passing the time. Dinner with friends was great. Here's a funny. While reading the dessert menu, someone at the table said they could use some reading glasses. Our waiter Boris (a made-up name, I'm sure) said they have a basket of readers just for that purpose. No-way. I thought, I have to blog about this. Sure enough, he brought them over. Later I got to thinking they were probably left-behind glasses. Un-sanitized. Glad I didn't need them. I came home afterward and spent some good time with Emily. So all in all, a good night. Yesterday I dropped Emily at her boyfriend's so she could go to church with them, then out on their new yacht. You heard me right. I walked around the marina in his neighborhood for a bit to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I spent a bunch of time with my mom. We had pizza for lunch. Went grocery shopping together. I ran into Sears and bought a new hedge trimmer. Ran into Starbucks and bought this year's Christmas ornaments. Did stuff around her house, etc. It was a nice visit. Just as I was leaving Kit called me up and I drove over to her house to walk with her. We did a 30 minute brisk walk. Perfect. It was time for me to leave to get Emily from the boyfriend's house. I got there at the prescribed time, and immediately got a call from Emily saying they were stuck at the restaurant in Kent Island, waiting for the family friend to pick them up and bring them back to their house. Wah. I had to sit in my cold car in the dark for 45 minutes waiting. Luckily I have my iPhone so I was able to pass the time. Her being so late meant she had to miss the orientation for her new job. Luckily they'll allow her to do it today. Gosh am I rambling here. She was hired at American Eagle for the holiday season. She's going to be great there. They had a group interview. One of the questions they were asked was, what would they say to a parent looking for help with shopping for their child. Emily's first question for them was if they were looking for a complete outfit or separates. Did their child like skinny jeans, favorite boyfriend jeans, boot cut jeans, etc. Did they like to layer their tops, etc. That's my girl. She knows their clothes and could be a poster child for AE. If she turns out to be a good producer, they could keep her on. Anyway, the rest of the night was spent watching TV. Fringe. I don't think I like that show any more. It's too strange and half the time I have to cover my eyes so I don't see the gory stuff.

So, Thanksgiving is upon us. What are your plans? I have some cooking to do, and will go to my cousin's, as usual. If I have my count right, we'll be at least 38 strong. I can't wait.

I plan to be busy in my days off. I have major raking to do. I have to trim all the hedges so I can put the Christmas lights on them. I plan to totally decorate for Christmas. I'll be very busy. Hopefully happy and busy.

With that, I wish you a happy Monday.

20 November 2009

A quick hi on a Friday night

I'm making lunch to bring into work tomorrow. Chicken Corn Casserole. It's one my sister makes, and her family loves it. I bought a rotisserie chicken yesterday and there was way too much leftover for my little family of two. So, work gets lunch. Julie offered to make a salad and Dana's making cookies. Back in the day, we took turns bringing in Saturday lunch. We've discussed doing it again. My salon owner brings in lunch from time to time. It's always a treat to have food provided on a busy Saturday.

It's been a whirlwind week of busy at work. People gearing up for Thanksgiving. Most of my clients seem to be going somewhere. We go to my cousins' house every year, a tradition I love. They live about an hour away. I'm the family carver. Of course. I can't wait till Thursday. I love being with all my cousins, my aunt and uncle and my own family. We're usually a group of at least 38. They have a wonderful house with plenty of room. Everyone brings a dish. Or two. We're a pretty lively bunch.

It seems my new wake-up time is 4:30 AM. I realize I'm awake, but don't open my eyes, hoping I'll fall back asleep. After a while, I'll think, please don't let it be 4:30 when I look at the clock. But it is. It's usually 4:34 or 4:38 or somewhere around there. I wonder why? I just wake up.

I did Bon's hair today. It was great catching up with her. Here we are when I was finished. We're both holding our iPhones :) I took the picture.

Tomorrow morning I do Kathy's hair. I'll see if she'll pose for me. It's great to do my friends' hair. It's more like a play date than work.

Happy Weekend. Time to put the casserole in the fridge and call it a day.

19 November 2009

The real thing

I'm a bad blogger. I'm a bad blogging friend. There. I've said it. I haven't kept up with posting on a regular basis. I haven't kept up with reading your blogs. I've been at Borders for hours now and I've been writing e-mails instead of blogging.

So, yeah, I met a guy. Rob. He seems pretty wonderful. I've had a smile on my face all week long. I was convinced, not willingly, to meet him through one of my co-workers. I went to her house on Saturday to meet him, in a casual setting with her kids and husband and nephew there. I didn't dress up. I wasn't nervous. We hit it off from first sight. We talked for hours. We've e-mailed every day. He's going to meet me at Borders on Saturday. We'll probably spend our time grinning.

I've been preoccupied with a book I couldn't put down, and finished it yesterday. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf. My mother gave it to me at least a month ago, saying she couldn't put it down. I've had it in my car, my house and at work without turning the first page. I brought it to Sherwood with me on Monday and once I started, all I wanted to do was read. I couldn't put it down. I have a few other books I've been carrying around. Maybe I'll start one of them too.

I had a great time at Sherwood Forest on Monday. I got there a few hours before Kit. I walked down to the dock, book in hand. My Great Blue Heron was on the dock, waiting for me.

I wish I had a camera with a better optical zoom. I hope my camera breaks before the warranty expires so I can get a new one. It happened last time. Anyway, it's so beautiful there. It was just me on the dock with the sun shining and the river surrounded by what's left of the autumn leaves. I stayed for hours. The walk back to the cottage had me laughing. I didn't realize how steep the winding road was. I remembered the golf car not having enough power to get us up the hill and Kit having to push it with me steering. Kit got to the cottage and we had the soup I made that day, then I had to leave to get Emily and come home.

I've been here at Borders for 3 hours! I've had way too much caffeine. Whew.

I'm wearing my jeans and they're no longer uncomfortably tight. What a great feeling. Hopefully I can keep my good eating habits up as the holidays approach. Thanksgiving won't be hard. It's the in-between time before Christmas that's bad. Speaking of Thanksgiving, I can't wait to eat that meal. And spend time with the family, of course. I always bring home one of the turkey carcasses. My thank-you for being the carver. Last year I made a wonderful soup that starts with roasting the dry turkey bones. It was fabulous. I also made a recipe called Turkey Curry in a Hurry that was fantastic. It was only quick if you already had the roasted veggies. I'll make both recipes again.

It's noon and I should go. I still have a bunch of things to do today, and if I don't get started....

Hope your Thursday is a great one!

18 November 2009


Tomorrow I'll post. Promise. I'm heading to Borders in the morning for my latte with my laptop. I can't wait. Just thinking of that drink makes me happy.

16 November 2009

Good day, Sunshine

The sun is shining again. Two days in a row and I'm off work!

Guess what I woke up with? A hurting shoulder. I stopped by a platform overlooking the wetlands yesterday and did some stretches. That's all it took to get that old familiar hurt back. So strange. I guess I really can't think about swimming after all. Yesterday's walk was nice. It was more of a stroll. There was a huge great blue heron on a log that I watched for a long time. It never moved. It was just good to be outside. I'm going to do some strolling again when I'm done here. I wanted to rake, but with the shoulder, it's probably not a good idea.

I went to a play at Emily's school on Saturday night with my sister to see The Diary of Ann Frank. It was so well done, and so sad. It reminded me that I do like the theater. I had forgotten. I'm going to add that to my list of things to do.

Two things I'll talk about some other time:

I backed into my sister's car on Saturday night. It was dark, and she was parked in an unusual and unexpected spot that I couldn't see out of my rear-view mirror. I'm upset about it, but it will work out.

I met a guy last night who was really nice and we're both excited about it. Not much might come out of it, but I haven't even been on a date since my divorce, so this is big for me.

Stroll time. Then I'm making The Pioneer Woman's 'Carrot and Squash Soup with Curry.' I made it last week and it was amazing and I want more. Later on I'm meeting Kit at Sherwood and we're walking. Sound like a good day?

With that, I bid you adieu.

15 November 2009


I've been such a BAD blogger. What happened to my writing all the time? I miss getting comments but it's no wonder I don't since I'm hardly writing. It's ironic how life just cycles around. Sometimes you're busy and motivated and happy. Sometimes you've got time on your hands and no motivation to do anything with it. You can't think of what to do that would make you happy. That's kind of where I am right now, and for no good reason. I'm bored and unmotivated. Life with my teen is hard. I know that has a lot to do with my mood, but I feel like I should be able to handle that without letting it affect my whole mindset. The good news is that I love my job and I'm happy when I'm working. I don't know if a lot of people can say that. My house is neat so I don't feel bad about that. My knee is finally almost normal after 11 months of pain. My shoulder, which stopped me from swimming because of an over-use injury, is just fine. I've been eating healthy of weeks now, so I feel good about that. It sounds like I need to get out there and exercise. I used to love swimming. I've thought of doing it again, but I do so much driving for Emily to her friends (at least 20 miles away) and school (13 miles) that the thought of driving 18 miles to the pool has stopped me. Maybe I just need to DO it. Today, the sun is shining. It's supposed to be around 70 degrees after what seems like a week of steady rain and cold. When I finish this sentence, I'm getting dressed and going for a walk. I just talked myself into some motivation.

10 November 2009

Brought to you from Borders

It's the middle of a week-day and I'm hanging out at Borders. How's that for different? I had a big enough break at work that I didn't want to just stick around. I had my laptop in the car because I knew that I had a break, but didn't bring it into the salon because I hoped the break would be filled and I wouldn't need it. Alas, the break stayed. So, I'm at my happy place, but not with my happy drink. Today it's a decaf. Not the thrill that I get from my highly energy-charging latte, but that's OK. I have my laptop here, and that makes me happy. There's about 17 people in the Cafe. Some with laptops. Some studying. Some reading. Mostly everyone is alone. Alone in a crowd. I like that.

I spent most of my time here creating the e-vite for my holiday party. All that's left to do is add the addresses, which I'll have to do from home. I'm so glad I got that checked off my list. One stress out of the way.

Karen and I spent a nice day together yesterday. I suggested she take Emily out for a quick spin in her Corvette. Emily loved it! We left Emily at her boyfriend's, then headed out to Annapolis. We ate at an old deli on Main Street, then walked around. Afterward we went to the new Town Center and browsed the shops. We toured the models of the very expensive condos over the shops too. The only thing I bought all day was a magnetic peace sign for my car. For Emily. Thoughtful mom, huh? She noticed it right away when we picked her up. She was happy.

Well, I'm out of time. Work calls. Hope your Tuesday is a good one.

09 November 2009

The Secret to Looking Radiant

Mystery solved, I think.

I arrived at work on Friday and the first co-worker to see me said,"...you look so good! Your skin is glowing. Have you done something different?" I told her that I had the heat blasting in my car and it must have made my face red. She said it wasn't red, that it looked really good. Five minutes later, another co-worker said the same thing to me. She too asked it I'd done something different. Well, no. Not a thing. I changed my cleanser and toner that morning, but that couldn't have made such a noticeable difference. I told her that someone else had just said the same thing, and I had no idea why. Then my first client remarks, "Cheryl, you look just great today. Something about your skin...it looks so bright." I"m thinking, this is really weird. Maybe people are just noticing my new glasses for the first time? During the course of the day, at least 5-6 people told me how good I looked. One said maybe I'd just had a good night's sleep. It was a mystery. So, Saturday morning I'm putting on my makeup, trying to think if I'd done anything different the day before so I could replicate the look. Nope. Nothing different. I go to work and no one says I look good. I just look normal, like I do every day. Then I had a thought. An ah-ha moment. I always wear crew-neck tops. In cooler weather I wear mock-neck tops. All black. The day before I had worn a new black top with a lower, square-neck that showed more of my chest. Not cleavage, just more skin. I called over one of my co-workers who had complimented me the day before. I pulled down my collar and asked her if she thought that showing more skin the day before had been what made the difference. Lo and behold, that was exactly it. She said it lightened up my skin tone, brought out my face and elongated my neck. I showed it to someone else. They were amazed at the difference it made. I told one of my clients the story and she said, I was in the nail room last night and looked over at you and noticed how good you looked. Wow! Guess who's going out shopping for lower-necked knit tops?

The secret to looking radiant

Just a teaser. I really do have an answer, but it will have to wait till later. It's really surprising.

To be continued....

05 November 2009

Words but no title

Lots of bad news out there. The 3 college students who drowned in their car. Seems accidental. So sad. The rapist/killer and the growing number of bodies found at his house. The deadly shooting rampage in Ft. Hood, Texas. Twelve dead, 31 injured. So tragic. How could a soldier, a psychiatrist of all people, commit such a heinous crime?

We had a beautiful rainbow today. We pulled into a parking lot to take pictures. Rainbows are magical.

I did the driving this morning, then met my mother at Walmart. She was in the shopping center with Jess, her helper. Jess helped my mom into a scooter, then went back to my folk's house to cook for them. I hardly ever go to Walmart. I felt like walking every aisle, but my mom only wanted what was on her list. She barely tolerated my getting a few things. It's just as well. Walmart is the kind of place where you find everything you didn't know you needed. We didn't go to my favorite Chinese buffet in that shopping center because I still have my willpower. Yeah me :) I hung out with my mom at her house. I read the newspaper while I was there. I read a great article about a scanner used in correctional facilities called BOSS, which stands for Body Orifice Security Scanner. Get the picture? It's a great read.

I made tacos for Emily and her boyfriend for dinner. They were very happy. I had two myself. Not exactly diet food, but that's OK. I made brownies for dessert. I didn't eat any. Not even tempted.

Anyway, it was a good day. Nothing exciting, but happy. Hope it was the same in your part of the world.

02 November 2009

Why tight pants are a good thing

Why, you might ask, would I say that? Tight, uncomfortable pants are a constant reminder of why I'm trying to lose weight. Today is the start of my second week of eating lean. I have salmon and shrimp thawing out for dinner and lunches. The fridge is stocked with squash, green beans, raspberries, salads, cottage cheese and yogurt. The freezer has plenty of Lean Cuisines, veggies and fish. Emily picked out her own ice cream, a flavor that doesn't tempt me. I have to stay focused so I can be comfortable in my clothes again. I was starving when I was out today. I got a spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a. I scraped all the coating off with my Starbucks stirrer and ate only the chicken and pickles, no roll. It was too spicy anyway.

I submitted (electronically) the financial aid packet for Emily's coming school year yesterday. This is sent to an outside service that evaluates applications and determines how much assistance can be offered to a family based on the school's overall budget. They in turn give their recommendation to the school. I had been so stressed out about it! It was a lot of work, but I was methodical and 'got 'er done'. Last night I composed a personal letter to the financial aid committee at Emily's school, explaining Emily's history of education at her public high school and the positive impact her current school has had on her life. I spoke about my life as a single mom, my commission-only job, the effects of the economy on my finances, etc. I groveled. It was a fine piece of writing, if I do say so myself. It made for a compelling story. I sent it to my ex for his opinion, and he said it was very well written. That was nice. Today we Fed Ex'd our individual personal letters, copies of tax returns, and other supporting documents to the school. The next step will be sending in our 2009 tax returns. Then we wait and see. Emily's school is $22K a year, plus books, uniforms, etc. Crazy, huh? The only reason she is able to attend is because of the very generous financial aid we were given by the school for this school year. Her dad and I split the balance. Because we applied for admission and aid after the process was closed last year, we were given the maximum amount allowable without going through the normal application process. This time we're doing the real thing, just like everyone else. I'm trying to be optimistic. I'm hoping we get even more help this year. Hope with me, OK?

In my last post I wrote that Emily's field hockey team won their first ever game last Monday night. It was also the first time they scored. Emily scored one goal and assisted on the second. They played their final game on Thursday night and won again, 1-0. Emily scored the winning goal! It was amazing. The happiness lasted all night long!

I had fun giving out goodies to the trick-or-treaters. We have lots of kids in my neighborhood, and lots of kids that get 'bussed in' from other areas. I was the weird one who gave out mini bags of microwave popcorn and packets of hot cocoa mix. Say what you will, but the kids LOVED it. Most every one of them exclaimed with glee, I got popcorn! or, can I have the cocoa? Judging from what I could see in their baskets, there wasn't much premium candy going on. When kids came up to the door and just stood there, I just stood there too, till they said trick-or-treat. Then I said, oh, that's what you're here for! Silly me. I really did have fun.

I went to the movies this afternoon to see This Is It. The Michael Jackson movie. I wanted to see An Education, but it wasn't playing at the theater near me. I loved the MJ movie. His death has saddened me in a way that it didn't when it happened. What a terrible loss. I'd highly recommend the movie.

Well, it's time for me to start preparing dinner. I'll be cooking the salmon outside on my Foreman grill so I don't stink up the house. The salmon will be for my lunch salads. We'll have shrimp, green beans and baked potatoes for dinner. I'll get everything ready to cook, then pick Emily up from her friend's house. It's a 40 mile round trip. That's the disadvantage of going to a school that's 20 minutes away. All the friends live at least 20 miles away. It's all worth it.

Hope your Monday's been a good one. Sorry this was so long.