28 July 2010

I love sweet tea

I just looked at my blog and was amazed to see that it's been 8 days since I've written anything. I'll chalk it up to summer. And having a boyfriend. And changing priorities. Well, mostly the first two.

It's been a great summer so far. Emily got out of school on June 10, and summer seems to start when the kids are out of school. So this year, it was really early. I left for my beach vacation on the 23, and that was just wonderful and relaxing. It was one of the best beach vacations I've had in years. As much as it's great for my mom to be on vacation with us, and as much as my sister and I love her having the experience, it was a true vacation not having to take much care of anyone. The kids are all over 16, and good kids, and my sister and I were really able to leave them up to 'their own devices'. Meals were all about sustenance rather than effort. We all relaxed.

The three weeks that I've been back have flown. Work has been as always: steady, fulfilling, and predictable. I'm all about routine, and I can count on that at work. No drama. Great clients. Co-workers that are easy and fun to work alongside with. As I always say, I have the perfect job for me. How great is it to have a job where your clients love their time with you and the feeling is mutual? Very great.

I've been swimming at my community pool 3-4 times a week. I'm up to 28 laps. I find the fact that I'm doing that amazing. It takes about 45 minutes. I alternate the breast stroke and the elementary back stroke, which is done body up. I think it's a little known stroke, but I love it. You know me...I get to see the sky and the trees while I'm gliding through the water, and that makes me happy. I love being in the water. If my shoulder continues to hold up, I'll join the indoor pool after this one closes.

I have no home projects going on. I barely clean. The house is neat with most things in their place. I just don't spend any time on it other than what I have to do. It's summer! I play. Swim. Look for frogs. Take pictures of the sunsets and the clouds. Watch the hummingbirds. Grill. Sit on my porch. Time flies. I don't read. Don't watch TV. I spend time with my parents, but not nearly enough. That's my one guilt, and something that I will have to change. After my next vacation.

Rob comes out here every weekend. When I think about it, I'm amazed that I'm in this SO happy relationship. Remember that I didn't date once in at least 9 years? That I was happy alone? So, it is amazing. And it's not just any old relationship. It's a relationship that I believe most people never get to experience. He's just that wonderful to me. Here's some of the texts I wake up to in the mornings: "What a gift to have you in my life" "Good morning sweetie" "Good morning beautiful!!!!" "Good morning my most beautiful lady. Happy day!!" How many men tell you they cherish you every single day? Mine does. So, things are going good on the relationship front. I'm still taking it one day at a time...no future plans. Just happy as it is.

For right now, for this time in my life, life really is good. I'm appreciating every moment of the good. It's been bad. The medical times with my parents were stressful beyond belief. This reprieve from those times will be short-lived. I don't think either parent is really well, and the decline in both is very evident. It's just a matter of time for another crisis, and that's something you're never prepared for. So, I'm living life large when I can, ya know?

I could write more, now that I've gotten started, but work beckons and I have to beautify myself. Well, try :)

Happy Day!

20 July 2010

Honda happening

Yesterday was the big day. After much searching and angst, we found the car for Emily. Actually, she was the one that found it on the Internet and contacted the salesperson, Christen, at Brown's used cars of Glen Burnie. We went there on Saturday to check it out, then yesterday morning to bring it to our mechanic. All was well with the car. We brought it back to the dealer where they replaced the spare, had their traveling window guy fix two tiny nicks in the windshield, and glued something on the inside. All with no hassle. The car was detailed and gassed up while we filled out the paperwork.

Emily is the very, very, very happy owner of a silver 2001 Honda Civic EX coupe. We have a Honda house now!

In other news...all is well. Today starts another work week. Bring it on!

15 July 2010

Yeah, it really is all that.

I'm back to blogging in the chair on my porch that no longer has a hornets nest above it. I have a clear view of the hummingbird feeders and they love to come out at dusk. I'm sprayed with OFF! and my chlorine-soaked hair is air-drying. I threw on some clothes from the laundry room floor when I got home from the pool. I'm not fancy.

The quest around here has been to find a good used car for Emily. Her dad and I will contribute about equally with what Emily is putting in. Her dream car? A 2003-04 blue Honda Civic EX coupe with a spoiler. Not that she's picky. As it turns out, older-model Honda Civics are very hard to find because they last so long that people hold onto them. We thought we found a good one at Heritage Honda in Westminster, which is about 45 miles away. We saw it last Saturday and I went back for it Monday morning so my mechanic could check it out. Turns out it had been in an accident and had some other issues that were undisclosed to us. They acted surprised when I showed them what was on my mechanic's print out. Of course they knew it had been in an accident. It seems like they should have to disclose it by law, just like you do with a house when you know something's wrong. I was nice. They didn't offer to negotiate, and I didn't feel like bothering. It was all quite civil. Oh, and I drove in a horrendous white-knuckle thunderstorm the entire way there. I drove in rush hour traffic on the way home. Wah. Last night I found two cars. One, a 2002 blue Camry LE on Craigslist and another, a silver 2000 Acura Integra LS from a place called The Park 'N Sell. Both were priced right, and the Acura was beautiful. The Carfax report was online and it was good. I called to ask a few questions, including if we could bring it to my mechanic, and told John we'd be there when they opened. We drove by the Camry and I thought it was great, but it wasn't what Emily wanted. Boo. We drove to The Park 'N Sell and there was the Acura. Sporty. Sweet. The paint was peeling a little around the side-view mirrors, but John told us he'd paint that or take $100 off. There were a few scratches on the bumpers, but normal for a 10-year old car. Emily and her dad took it for a test drive and were impressed. Next stop...my mechanic. We hung out at a nearby shopping center while waiting for the news. Dann, my mechanic, called and asked us to come in while it was on the lift. He's pretty thorough. He asked us if we saw the broken antenna. We hadn't and he told us they should definitely replace it or knock $150 off the price. He pointed out the dog smell and hair/dust, but that was OK. The car drifted left a little, but it could be the road, which is heavily used by trucks. The A/C had minimal cooling but Dann said it probably just needed recharging that would cost about $130. There was the beginning of some rust by one of the quarter panels and that concerned me. The rear tires passed inspection but would need to be replaced very soon. There was a nail in one of the front tires. There was some other stuff underneath that would need some work that wouldn't cost too much and would again be in line with what you'd expect in a 10-year old car. I really wanted Emily to want that Camry. We drove around the corner to the body shop that fixed my car when I had my accident last year. Johnson's Auto Body. The owner, Doug, is a great guy. He looked at the peeling paint by the mirrors. He said, have them take $100 off and I'll do it at no charge. He also said he'd fix the rust. He said they should definitely replace the antenna. I felt better after talking to him. Tony and I discussed it, and felt we should ask for about $400 off, mainly for the cost of replacing the tires and fixing the AC, plus have them replace the antenna. I was going to do the talking :) When we walked in, there was another worker at a shared desk. The first thing John said to us was, what did you do to the antenna. I told him that the first thing the mechanic pointed out to us was that the antenna was cracked and broken. We all sat down. I told him that we really liked the car. I told him that the antenna would need to be replaced by them. He said no. Just no. You could tell right away that he had his back up. He asked what the mechanic had to say. I started to say that the mechanic found some things wrong. He took the sheet out of my hand and said, dog hair? The other guy said, did he tell you all the things that were great instead of all the things that were wrong? Did he tell you how outstanding it was that the timing belt had been replaced? John said, what does this mean? He was looking at the paper from the mechanic. I thought he couldn't read Dann's handwriting. I started telling him. He said, this is not negotiable, and stood up. He said, I don't want to hear this. There's nothing to talk about. Tony said, you're kidding? You're not willing to negotiate at all? That's crazy. The other man said, this is private property and I'm telling you all to get out now. Tony again asked if he was kidding. He clearly was not. He told us to get out NOW. Tony said something about writing an Internet review of www.theparknsell.com and John said something to the effect of, they sell 70 cars a week and he wasn't scared. Tony and I walked out. Emily had a few choice things to say to them after we left. I can only imagine. We were stunned. It all happened so fast and with such venom on their part. Had The Park 'N Sell displayed a sign stating, "Absolutely no negotiation on any vehicle" we would have saved the $83 we payed to our mechanic and saved the hours invested in this car. We're not wheelers and dealers. We just wanted fair. The place bought this car at auction and I have no doubt they could have afforded lowering the price to make this deal. Rude doesn't begin to describe them. Emily was pissed and crushed. She loved the car. We thought she'd be driving it home.

I found a nice Nissan Altima SL on Craigslist when we got home. Tony and Emily were done with cars for the day so they went their separate ways and I went to check out the car, which was nearby. It was blue. It was in great shape. It had a V6 engine. It was too big for Emily and too powerful and doesn't get good gas mileage. I drove it. Nice. For someone else.

So, the car quest continues. We'll keep on paying Dann $83 to check out our finds. I hope it doesn't take too much longer.

I had a Rita's Ice for dinner, then went to the pool to swim my laps. 25 tonight. I have pain with swimming, but the gain outweighs it so far. I love my pool. I love to swim. Yeah. It's all that. It made up for the morning and afternoon.

Time to shower off the bug spray and chlorine. And I'm hungry.

13 July 2010

Not much, but something

I'm so far behind in posting posts. And reading posts. Last night I spent so much time editing pictures to include in posts that I had no time to post. Geez.

All is well here. Work is easy. I had a great weekend with Rob. Spent a lot of time on a quest for a car for Emily. Went to the pool. Normal mundane stuff.

Hummingbird nest at the neighbor's house and not mine.

This is a snippet from the Seattle Times: "Shaped like an open cup, the nest is fashioned from plant down and other material, all secured with spider web and covered with lichens on the outside." So I'm the neighbor with all the feeders and the birds decide to build a nest across the street. I'm envious, of course, but happy that it's in a place I can see. I hope it's not been abandoned. I walk over every once-in-a-while to see it, but so far it appears to be empty.

Rob's got a new shorter haircut that I like much better.

Rob had been growing his hair out. I liked it better short. As it turned out, so did he and he asked me to cut it. He's one picky client. It's a good thing I like him. I grilled chicken for dinner and our little faux family of three ate out on the deck. Rob got a bad splinter. We forgot to tell him we never go barefoot on the deck.

I loved this hornet/wasp nest. I was lucky I didn't get stung. It's gone now.

I got up real close to take this picture. I didn't realize how dangerous that could be. Fiwa set me straight. I'm glad I got this picture. I sprayed the nest with bee killer this morning. The wasps fell dead to the ground. I took down the nest tonight. It was a little sad. Too bad they picked the corner of my porch to build. That's my spot!

It's past my bedtime. Come back time. I want more of you.

08 July 2010

Two. It's true.

Can it really be that I'm posting twice in one day? I'm impressing myself. I impress easily :)

I wanted to post a picture of the July 4th parade. That was impressive.

On our way back from PA we saw signs that said, 'Fresh Oil and Chips'. Who ever heard of such a thing? I couldn't get a picture of that but pulled over and ran out to get a picture of this sign. Fresh oil, huh? And what's a Red Detour? I think it's a Pennsylvania kind of thing. I don't mean that in a bad way.

My mother let her hair color grow out and went gray over a year ago. It was kind of my idea. It was just too hard to do at home. Too hard to wash it out in the kitchen sink. Too messy to do in the shower. Most everyone loved my mom's silver and gray hair. About 2 months ago she told me she wanted it colored again. She said she felt old when she looked in the mirror. I didn't think she should do it. My sisters didn't think so either. Her brother and SIL were the only ones who told my mother they didn't like it gray. They told her that every time they saw her. I got to thinking about it and realized that there's so many things in my mother's life that she has no control over, and that she should be able to do what she wants with her own hair. So.... today was the day.



She's really happy and we all agree that it looks great. My mom has always been "Laura the redhead". In a way, she's back to 'her old self', as she would say.

After cutting and coloring my mom's hair, we all went out to a Chinese buffet for lunch. That was great. I left shortly after getting back. I hung out with Emily, then went to the pool. I swam my 20 laps. I don't know how I ever swam a mile, which I think is 36. I like the 20 lap goal. I did laundry for the first time since being at the beach! Made dinner. Watered the garden.

It's bedtime now. It's been a good, good day!

A real blog post. Really.

It's Thursday morning and here I am, lazing around, just like on vacation. Drinking coffee. Wish I were doing it on the beach, but I'm on my couch. Darn. Wish I had a water view. So glad I have a home. I know what to be thankful for.

I'll conclude my vacation blogging by saying it was simply relaxing. I just stopped. I have no clue how I sat on the beach day after day doing nothing. I didn't read. I spent time in the water, but not too much. I sat on my chair under an umbrella with my sister and looked around. Listened to music. That's it. Simply wonderful. I spent one day at Brookgreen Gardens, and that was hard because I hated taking a day away from the beach. I'm so glad I did. I love the Lowcountry, and the gardens were draped in Spanish Moss. I followed Summer's advice and bought fresh shrimp, went to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk and saw the Second Avenue pier. Summer is the Myrtle Beach queen. Wish I could experience it with her. One of my quests during the week was to find a longleaf pine seedling to bring home and plant in my grove of trees. There was no good place for me to pull over and 'pull'. Better luck next year :) The teens got along so well all week long. Bringing Emily's boyfriend was a great decision. It made Emily very happy and the boys really liked him. The week flew by, as usual. Our rental ended Saturday morning but on Friday I made a quick decision to leave that night instead. So smart! We were out by 8pm and at our very budget motel in Smithfield, NC by 11. It was great to miss all the vacationers leaving at the same time and to have a 3 hour head start on our trip home. Saturday's drive was easy and a bright blue sky kind of day...my favorite. Unpacking was easy. I finished the day by swimming at the pool and having my DQ.

I spent July 4th in Havre de Grace with Rob. We went to the parade. It's a small town and the parade is a very big deal and huge. It lasted 2 hours! We were sitting in the shade of a huge tree, thank goodness. I got to meet some of Rob's friends. Got to meet his son. Rob loved having me on his turf, and I was glad to be there. We left after the parade and drove to West Chester, PA and I met his family for the first time. They were having a cookout so I got to meet all the people I've heard about including his parents, sister, aunts, cousins, etc. It was great. I found it funny that they were fascinated by my hair. I guess they've never seen naturally curly hair close up! Everyone was very nice and it was about time I met them! We stayed for about 2 hours then drove back to Rob's to watch the fireworks. I drove a few hundred miles that day, but didn't mind at all. I spent the night at Rob's for the first time. He really loved having me at his home and I was glad to be there.

Monday was spent in a haze of caffeine withdrawal. I know from experience that it affects me by zapping my energy. I couldn't do a thing. I laid on the couch. It was depressing. It was too hot to be outside. Finally, after dinner, I went to the pool. That was great. I swam laps. I got happier. I came home and had a great night's sleep.

Back to work has been just great. I love my job. Have you heard how hot it's been around here? Crazy hot. Working in a very nicely air-conditioned building is a great way to spend your days. I went to the pool last night after work and swam my laps. So nice. I picked up Emily on my way home and we went to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. So much for burning up calories!

Well, my lazing time is over. I'm about to head out to my parents. I haven't been there since before vacation. I'll be doing my mom's hair. Maybe going out to lunch. I'm bringing my bathing suit along in the hope my mom will want to go to the pool. I have the whole day ahead of me and I'm sure I'll stay busy. You know me.

Happy Thursday!

06 July 2010


It just seems like I disappeared. I didn't and will be back with tales to tell. All good. In the meantime, I've been working on my pictures. The easiest way to share them is thru my Picasa Web albums. So, here's the link. There's an album from Brookgreen Gardens, and another one from the beach. It's best to view them as full-screen slide-shows. I've put some captions in. If you're interested, there's other albums you can see. My life is a (mostly) open book.

Today was my first day back to work. It was really good. I'm pooped and will be asleep in a few minutes.

Be back soon. Promise.

04 July 2010

There's no place like home?

We got back yesterday from our great vacation. There's no place like home, except for being on a great vacation. Did I mention I go on another one 4 weeks from today? Happy me.

I'll post soon and include pictures.

Happy 4th of July to our great country!