25 October 2010

Another day in the life...

I'm watching TV with the kids. Right now Hoarders is on. I've never seen the show and the one that's on is disgusting. Everything is covered in cat feces. Big, big yuck! Before this we watched Intervention. I've never seen that one either. This episode featured an 18-year old heroin addict. It was just heartbreaking for the family. She agreed to rehab and did well for 5 months. She left against the center's advice, came home, and started using again. The family had to kick her out. I made Emily and Phil promise never to become addicts and they agreed.

I had a good day. Doctor's appointment in the morning, then lunch with Karen. We haven't had an outing in a long time. It was great to spend time with her. I love her house. It's so interesting. Neat stuff in every nook and cranny. I left there and headed to my salon. It's open on Mondays with just a receptionist and my bosses. They take care of business and clean the entire salon. Today they were having a new phone system put in and security cameras installed. My bosses spend a lot of time taking care of the salon! I really needed to polish my toes and couldn't find any colors at home I liked so I asked Pam if I could polish them there. Odd, I know. It was nice to hang out with her for a while. We never have the time to do that during working hours. I'll have to take a picture of my new color Jules. It's a very dark ruby. Emily asked if I had on black polish. I think I like it. It's not my usual blue or purple or teal. I went to the library and voted. This is the first time in MD that we have early voting. The number of campaign signs was astounding. Elections are great for sign-makers. I went to the grocery store from there. I don't feel so bad about how much the broccoli cost yesterday because today's grocery store adventure made up for it. Pork tenderloin was BOGO and I was charged for both. The store's policy is to refund the cost of their mistake so I got S7.50 back. So there. Karma?

I just glanced up at Hoarders. They found another dead cat. I'm totally grossed out.

24 October 2010

Keeping up

And how was your Sunday?

I watched an episode of Outlaw. How decadent to watch a DVR'd show first thing in the morning? I watched a bit of 'Sunday Morning' on CBS. Did you see the segment on earthquakes? I'm glad I don't live in San Francisco and hope none of you do. I spent the first part of my 'work' day in the garden. I shoveled up pounds of berries from my pear tree. What a 'pain in the neck' tree. It's only nice when it's smelly but beautiful in full bloom, and then during the summer. It's awful when it's dropping berries, dropping all it's leaves, and dropping flower petals. I pulled all the annuals and did other clean-up jobs. It was SO nice outside. Then I detailed my car. I spent hours and hours working on my car. I even used wheel cleaner and tire shine. It was a satisfying day. I can look at my garden and see the results. I can look at my car and see the results. Emily and Phil went shopping for me. I'm trying to get over the fact that Emily keyed in the code for 2 broccoli bunches at $2.98 each instead of 2 broccoli crowns for $1.29/pound. Ouch. She'll do better next time. Anyway, they spent hours on their pumpkins. They downloaded their patterns. I had no clue what they were working on till dark.

Super Mario and Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. Seeing the pumpkins lit up at night made a day that turned into drudgery worthwhile in the end.

I cooked one of our very favorite dishes for dinner. I've talked about it before...baked chicken breasts encrusted with French's french fried onion rings. The recipe is on the container. It's heavenly.

Rob's been away this weekend. He's been working the last few Saturdays judging marching bands. He spent today at his parent's in PA. I spent a bunch of time after work yesterday chatting with my neighbors. I had take-out from TGIF with my neighbor Kelly for dinner. It wasn't very good, but it was good to spend time with her. We watched Anchorman. It wasn't very good. It was a quiet weekend, but good. And I still have tomorrow! It feels like a 3-day weekend.

20 October 2010

Yes, it really is me again

I attended the funeral service for David, son of my friend Patty. It was an uplifting, beautiful service that was attended by hundreds. He would have been amazed at the number of people who cared for him and for his family. He suffered from the diagnosed mental illness of depression. His suffering is over. I pray that this is the last death I hear about for a long time.

I went to visit my parents' afterward before going over to Patty's house. While there, my father got a phone call and after hearing him say he was sitting at the table and didn't see a bill anywhere, I asked him to give me the phone. It was their insurance agent, and I found that the policy for their auto and home hadn't been paid and had been canceled. My sister has been paying bills, but my father has 'lost' some of them without her knowledge. Two weeks ago my mother's charge card was denied. It turned out the bill hadn't been paid. We have to come up with a better system. My father's dementia, while still in the early stages, is becoming more evident. In some ways he's still very sharp. In others, not. It's very interesting to see. He spends much of his time reading now, sitting at the kitchen table. He has a big stack of books. For the longest time he had stopped reading. This is a very good hobby to have and I'm glad he has it back. He reads and watches DVDs and TV in the kitchen, and he naps. He sits on the back patio. He seems happier. I wonder how you can read so much while forgetting so many other things?

By the time I straightened up the insurance mess at the office, I thought it was too late to go to Patty's house. I found out later that people stayed a very long time and now I regret that I didn't go.

I went to Caribou Coffee instead, with my laptop. I wound up spending about 2 hours writing a e-mail to my ex about my daughter and college. After writing, writing, writing and editing, editing, editing, I thought that I probably shouldn't send it. I wasn't happy with that idea since I had just spent so much time writing. I didn't think I could articulate my feelings as well face-to-face with him as I could in a 'letter'. Then again, many has been the time that I've written to him and gotten what I've considered a lecture back in return. I didn't want that. So I texted him, telling him that I wrote a tome that I hadn't yet sent, about college. I told him that AOL wasn't letting me send it (true), but if he wanted to talk after reading it that I'd like to do it in person. He texted back suggesting we meet in the morning. I got home with every intention of sending the e-mail, but in an instant decided it was a bad idea. It's so easy to misconstrue a e-mail, however well-intentioned. I texted him to say I wouldn't be sending it; that talking is much better. We're meeting in the morning. I'm SO glad I didn't push 'send'. I would have gotten a lecture. I'm going to print it out, just so I can look at it for reference. It's good to have a cheat-cheat for back-up.

I'll end this randomly. I live across the street from an Army base. It took years for me to realize we could hear the bugle calls: reveille, retreat and taps, each and every day. I'm not sure of the time of the first two, but the last is at 9:00 PM. I like that I can hear it.

19 October 2010


Doesn't this tomato hornworm look so at-home on this plant? They can defoliate a plant in a few days. Since it's almost the end of October, this one can eat away. It was huge, btw. Almost as big around as my thumb.

Today I signed a contract to have a new furnace and air conditioner installed. It's my second big ticket purchase since buying my house. The first was new floors, in 2006. I've replaced my dishwasher, disposal, washing machine and garage doors. That's not much. I had three people out to give me estimates. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the world of HVAC. I wanted to go with the first guy because my neighbor used him and was very pleased. I wasn't sure if I trusted the information I got from the second guy after talking to my neighbor. I really wanted to go with the third guy because he backed up what my neighbor said about the second and because he gave me such an education. The first two used Carrier products. The third used Trane. The Trane contractor talked to me twice on the phone after his initial visit. He spent a lot of time with me. I asked a million questions. I asked if anyone had ever asked as many questions as me. He said only once, and it was an engineer. I was a little proud of myself :) He told me his feelings wouldn't be hurt if I didn't choose him. I fretted over my decision. I compared Carrier and Trane. I read a ton of customer reviews. I called the county about permits. The second guy was the only one who was correct. I did need a permit. The HVAC system he proposed was the better one. The warranty was good. I called him back to ask a few more questions. I chose #2. He jokingly asked if I'd like a job. No thanks!! I'll be sending #3 a thank-you note for all his help. BTW, with the available tax credit and the rebates it's a great time to buy a new HVAC system. I'm going to get a new hot water heater too. I've been told it's just a matter of time till it will go. I don't plan to research this one. I have a price from guy #2 and will get one more price. End of that story. Next year I'll get a new roof. That's gonna hurt!

Tomorrow will start with the funeral of my good friend Patty's son. Another young life lost to suicide. Another devastated family. I'm so, so sad for them. Their lives are forever changed and I don't know how you live with this kind of loss.

17 October 2010

Rambling along

I cut Rob's hair tonight. As I was vacuuming the 'trimmings' I remembered why I wasn't so upset when I spilled half my bag of kettle corn on the floor last week. The upstairs was suddenly infused with the smell of kettle corn. It smelled wonderful. I might just keep that vacuum bag around for a while. I cut Rob's hair short and he said it was the best cut ever. One of the perks of having a girlfriend who's good with scissors.

Talking about haircuts, I had two new-client cancellations on Friday. Two hour-long appointments in a row. I had met the first client on Wednesday, introduced to me by one of our estheticians. I was told she was annoyed that I was off on Thursday because she really wanted it done right away (not a good start). She didn't show up on Friday. When called, she said, oh, I meant to cancel. That's it. The next appointment canceled because she had a medical procedure done that morning and was in pain. Makes sense. I don't think I'd make an appointment for a haircut on the same day. I went to Borders with my laptop to pass the time while waiting for my next client, even though I couldn't have caffeine. I had another client cancel on Saturday. I'd cut her hair the week before and she thought she wanted more taken off the back. She called before her appointment to say she was maybe going to grow it out some or maybe make an appointment in a few days...she'd have to think about it. I really don't get many cancellations or no-shows. I'm just whining. It's a commission job, you know?

Rob was playing (music) at church this morning and I dropped him off for rehearsal. I saw the sign announcing a pot luck lunch after the service so I went to a nearby shopping center and picked up two dessert loafs (that no one ate because there was so much food). I stopped in the local Starbucks with my laptop to kill some time. I thought I'd get a little something to eat to tide me over till the lunch. I don't know if it's a new practice, but Starbucks lists the calorie count next to the food. Most everything was between 400-500 calories. Even scones! The yogurt parfait had 12 grams of fat! Who knew? So I get up to the register and who do I see to the left of the cashier? Creepy (she really is, whether it's her fault or not) barista from Borders. Ack!! I didn't look at her so she wouldn't look at me! The cashier asked me if I wanted something to eat with my drink. I told him I did but that everything had too many calories. He said maybe next time. I said not if I wanted to maintain my figure. I wonder why they have no low-calorie, low-fat options? I asked if he could call my name when my drink was ready. Why? It's embarrassing to have everyone know how complicated your drink is. The cashier had to explain my drink to the barista I was pretending wasn't there. My new favorite is a toffee mocha latte, extra shot, extra hot, skim, no foam. See why I prefer them to call my name? The Borders/Starbucks barista put my finished drink on the counter and called my name. She walked away before I got it. On purpose was just fine with me. I didn't mind pretending and I don't think she did either. And I'm pretending my drink is low-cal, low-fat too.

Rob did a great job playing at church. It's really a wonderful church. They maintain a half-acre farm and they donate the harvest to shelters, food pantry's, etc. This year they donated 1,700 pounds of produce. Today's service was a Harvest service. We had a bountiful potluck lunch outdoors afterward.

Rob settled in for some sports when we got back home. I don't do sports. I took the newspaper out to the hammock and relaxed. The weather was delightful! When I finished reading, I took some pictures.
Look, no feet!

I'm so glad I don't really look like this.

My hair really is this curly.

I really am going to write about my newly found HVAC knowledge. Maybe tomorrow.

I got a bluetooth headset! I'm excited because I love new tech toys. Maryland just passed a hands-free law and tucking my phone in my seatbelt on speakerphone just wasn't cutting it. My plan is to use it in the car and at home. Rob got a matching one. Thank you Amazon for your great price. We saw the same one at Sam's Club today for double the price.

That's it. Over and out!

14 October 2010

Making up for lost time

What's up with me and TV? It seems like my go-to thing every day. I've always had favorite shows, but hardly kept up with them. Now it's like, what's on the DVR tonight?

Where to start? My client Betty told me she was disappointed about one thing. I was worried that she was going to say something about the way I was doing her hair. She told me it had been over a week. I immediately knew what she was talking about. My 'week of blogs' that I last wrote about that's been way more than a week. Sorry.

So, what's been happening here? Well, my daughter turned 17 on the 5th. That's so grown up! Here's a few pics...

Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory a few days before.

Wearing the crown for the 17th time. It's getting harder and harder to make her wear it. Next year she'll be away at college and thinks she won't have to wear it. Not!

Here she is wearing the crown for the first time.

On a much sadder note, I've had two friends lose their sons to suicide this month. I'm just heartbroken for their families. My hope for these troubled kids is that they're finally at peace. I'm dismayed that they felt it was the only way out of their pain. I've spent a lot of time thinking of what my friends are going through right now. I've spoken to Emily and her boyfriend at length about the subject. It's a tragic epidemic. My Aunt Sandra also died this month, from lung cancer. Her husband died from the same disease. I hadn't seen my aunt since I was very young, but feel so badly for her children. If you smoke, you really should stop. Smoking is a killer.

I did a lot of traveling last weekend. Emily and I drove to Georgetown, DE to attend my neighbor's wedding. She and her new husband were junior high and high school sweethearts. They said good-bye at graduation and Kelly went to college and Mike to the Army. They married other people, but those marriages ended in divorce. They reconnected through classmates.com.

1978 Junior-Senior Prom

2010 Wedding

My sister Lisa and I went to the Color Fest in Thurmont, MD the following day. It was a gorgeous weekend. The leaves were just beginning to turn. I've never seen so many crafts in one place. It was nice to just look and not have to buy. I have enough stuff. The food was great. All I came home with was Kettle Corn!

Work has been good as always. Lots of great clients. Lots of new clients. Lots of hair, hair everywhere. I love my job.

I was finally able to make it to one of Emily's field hockey games on Monday. They're having a winning season. Emily scored 3 goals on this game. We parents are very, very vocal. Last year they didn't score till the next to the last game. This year is a very big deal for us.

Can you spot my daughter's big smile?

Today was a busy day. I drove to Baltimore for some fun (not) tests. I had a pelvic sonogram...nothing worrisome, just to check on an existing fibroid. It was not easy drinking coffee then 32 oz of water then having to wait an hour for the sonogram. Next up was the mammogram. Easy. I'm just glad I don't have tiny boobs. From there I drove to Bethesda to have my permanent crown put on. Finally. It feels strange in my mouth, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Emily called when I was finishing up to ask if I could bring her practice clothes to school since the game was canceled. Did I mention I did all this driving in the pouring rain? I drove home, then to her school near Annapolis. I did some shopping afterward, then settled in for....TV!

Now it's time for bed. See all that you missed? Are you saying ho hum? Stay tuned for my next post when I tell you how I've become an HVAC expert.