29 November 2010

The party's over

My big accomplishment on Friday was decorating the Christmas tree. It's a 'job' I have to be in the mood for, and luckily I got there. It's the decorating I least look forward to. It looks great! I didn't do any Black Friday shopping. I spent some time at a coffee shop. Walked in and out of Homegoods and Marshall's. There was nothing I needed that couldn't wait. Rob arrived at my house late in the day. We left Saturday morning for Wyomissing, PA. Yeah, I'd never heard of it either. It's outside of Reading. Rob was being inducted into the Reading Buccaneers Hall of Fame. What might that be? A world I never knew existed before meeting him: drum and bugle corps. This link brings you to the Buccaneers and a bio of Rob. The banquet was endless. My feet hurt in my heels and I was squeezed in my Spanx shaper. The things we women do to look good! I was proud of Rob and happy to be there for him, despite my discomfort. I'll admit to playing Angry Birds during some of the speeches. I did say endless, right?

Rob and the inductees.

We stayed at a nice hotel. I checked for bedbugs.

We visited The Pagoda in Reading. Yes, a Japanese pagoda on the side of a hill/mountain.

We got a tourist to take our picture.

We could see The Reading Railroad in the distance. You know, like in Monopoly?

All in all...a nice get away. We arrived home last night without running into any holiday traffic. We listened to Pandora radio the whole way home. That was awesome.

I cleaned house and finished decorating today. In the afternoon I met 4 of my co-workers to see 'Love and Other Drugs'. I have to say, Jake Gyllenhaal is hot. HOT. Anne Hathaway was great. I loved the movie.

And that's the rundown. My five days off are over. Time flies. The party's over.

26 November 2010

Are you shopping?

I didn't want to be up early. Must have been that late-night coffee and now I have a lack-of-sleep hangover. I'm a sucker for coffee. My waking-thought was Black Friday, even though I wasn't going shopping. It was in my brain because of all the media hype. I started playing Angry Birds (mistake) and before I knew it, an hour disappeared. I got up and turned on the tv and computer. I'm delaying decorating my house. I'm going to start very soon because I have to. Because I'll be so happy when it's over. I don't love the process but I love the results. My first party is December 5th, so it's now or never. I cleaned the surfaces yesterday and the tree is up. If only I could clone myself...

My house has the bad smell of burnt butter that spilled onto my oven floor yesterday. It overflowed from my pineapple bread pudding. Not sure how that happened, but it caused a lot of smoke and the smell is reminiscent of when i seasoned my iron skillet. It's a bad smell. Wish I could have the windows open.

Thanksgiving with the relatives was wonderful, as always. There were 33 of us. I did my usual carving job. I ate too much. I got to talk to cousins that I don't get to see often enough. Emily and I got to spend time alone during the drive. It was a great day.

I hope everyone enjoys this day. I hope I do too.

21 November 2010

Lurking and stress, with a little optimism for good luck

I've been meaning to write a new post all day. It's 9:00 at night and I'm finally getting to it.

I'm not sure what brought me to Blogger. I think it was when my old friend Sheree started a blog to chronicle bringing her daughter home from China. I saw the little tab on top that said, 'next blog'. With that little click, I entered into a part of the web I had no idea existed. I clicked, next, next, next until I found The 4th Avenue Blues. And I read. I spent hours reading. I read Andrew's blog back to the beginning. Andrew inspired me to start my own blog. I'm so grateful to him for that. I read his blog, but I never commented. His writing was so good. I didn't think I could write anything nearly as good in response. The comments that people left on his blog were so good too. I started reading their blogs. I was a lurker. I didn't even know the term existed until Andrew wrote a post about it. I came out. Not only did I comment on Andrew's blog, but I commented on the blogs of the people who consistently left comments on his. They wrote wonderful blogs. You know who you are, friends. My life has really been enriched by the people I've met here. It started with Andrew, and he's always held a special place in my heart. I've seen his life evolve. He listed my blog on his sidebar years ago, and my readership quadrupled. I was honored to be his special friend. He helped me figure out the HTML and get my former template up and running. He put this one up too. I trusted him with my password. I've sent him cards over the years. He's been a buddy, a friend. I'm profoundly sad that he's gone without a trace. So many people feel the same way. If you're reading this Andrew, know that I miss you. You won't be forgotten. I await the day that I hear from you.

I had a horrendous hair color experience on Saturday with a long-time client. Lesson of the day? Trust your instinct. I was very careful with mixing my client's color. I was showing someone new to the salon how we use scales to measure color. I told myself, Cheryl, pay attention to what you're doing because you're talking and measuring and reading your formula all at the same time. So when *the color in the bowl didn't look quite right, I ignored my instinct that something was wrong. Because I knew I measured the right colors exactly. I had a break while she processed and I spent it hanging out in the back room. I never have time to hang out. I should have checked her color since my instinct had told me that *the color in the bowl didn't look quite right. When I saw her color (I had applied it to her inch of gray roots only), I was speechless. She had an inch of pinkish-red hair. We don't have mirrors in the color area. Oh shit, oh no. Red is very hard to fix. Pink-red especially. I broke it to her, and told her I'd be getting my friend Sheri to help me out. Sweat. Fear. Loathing. Well, stress, yeah. My client was great about it. So easy-going. She said she didn't have anything to do so she was fine. Sheri was only going to Bed Bath and Beyond. I was supposed to get off early and go to Borders. I really, really wanted to go to Borders. Thank goodness she was my last client. Long story short? Can't do it. I told Sheri how sure I was that I did the right thing. We looked in the trash to find the empty color tubes. 6G (gold). Check. 7G. Check. 7N (natural)? No. 9R? Yes. RED! How could this be? So it was my fault. Sheri came up with the formula to correct it. I apply it. I leave it on a full 30 minutes. Sheri stays. What an angel. We rinse it out and it's...darker and red. I had to tell my client again. She said, maybe I should look at it? I said, I don't think that would be a good idea. And she didn't! Can you believe that? The fix should have worked. The fix was 6G and yellow. While I was working on the next step, which was putting in foil highlights, Sheri investigated. She checked all the chemical records of the day. One person used 9R and threw away the empty tube. The one in the trash. So it wasn't me! I didn't use red on her hair. The fault was with whatever was in the tube of 6G. And not just one tube. The one that caused the initial problem. The one that didn't fix it. So, I foiled. Another stylist, Debbie, helped. We tested a new color to apply to the roots of the un-foiled red hair. It worked. We applied it in-between each foil. The 'fix' took 90 minutes. When my client finally saw herself, she said she could still see a little red. We told her what she was seeing was nothing compared to what it had been. It was barely noticeable. And the good/bad thing about reds? They fade. Can I tell you how happy I was to leave for the day? SO happy. I went to Starbucks and had two lattes. It was BOGO day and I needed both.

Tomorrow's a work day. I'm having a one-day weekend. Tomorrow I have 3 (count 'em) 3 new clients. Three new clients in one day is really stressful. I'm not one to wish away time, but I can't wait till tomorrow is over. Even though I know in the end the day will turn out to be fine, just fine. Forever an optimist. That's me.

Is it Thanksgiving yet?

17 November 2010

The Band Perry

Time for a 10 minute post again.

I've been watching The CMA's on my DVR and saw and heard what I thought was an amazing song sung by the sweetest voice. It was "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. Check it out on YouTube if you're inclined. I listened to it a few times.

So windy here. Crazy windy. The sun is shining so bright. The clouds are amazing. I'm about to leave for work but will build in a few minutes to just gaze at the sky. A little sustenance before work.

Talking about work (since this has to be a ramble I have to move on), I was so busy yesterday but it was a perfect day, especially time-wise. I was on time for every client. I was booked on the half-hour, as usual. Every client came in a little early. I worked my butt off, but it was like a well-choreographed dance. I was starved when it was over, but happy.

I came home to the trash and recycle bins left at the curb (grrr), refrigerator door open, and the house stinking from 2 bags of burned popcorn. Didn't put me in the best mood.

Fortunately, there's always a new day. I have some breaks at work and will read my book. I'm off tomorrow. Did I mention that my crown is just not right? After so many appointments? I have an appointment tomorrow. I'll spend time with my parent's after that. They need me.

Issues with the folks. Doctor's appt's that are hard to schedule. Hygiene issues. Etc... I'm afraid to get old. Wah. I love hearing stories of people in their 90's that are independent. I always wish for health. Please Lord, let me stay healthy.

And with that, I wish you a great Wednesday!

15 November 2010

A lot about a little

My wake-up call came at 6:45. "Hello, this is BGE Home and we'll be at your house between 9 and 11 am to install your hot water heater." Not quite sure why they call so early. I was thankful that it wasn't a 'bad' call. You know the kind. We used the shower and I did a load of laundry before they came at 9:00. It didn't take long to do the job. New AC and furnace last Monday, new hot water heater today. I'm set, I hope, for the long run. I also had a 'smart switch' put on my outside AC unit, part of BGE PeakRewards. They cycle your AC off for short periods during the summer months and you get $10-$15 off your summer bills. The only thing left to do is fully understand my thermostat.

Emily's school is having their annual food drive for the county Food Bank. I always contribute and it's a great way for me to clear my pantry and help those in need. Well, was I in for a surprise. I had an unbelievable amount of expired food. I spent hours expunging. I started with my pantry. Then my cabinets. Then my basement. Then the refrigerator. Then my medicines and cosmetics. I emptied and rinsed and put my garbage disposal to work. I had to break out the second recycle bin, and fill a second trash bag. And that was without looking in the freezer. Enough for one day! It made me realize I have to shop smarter. Brownies anyone? I have two boxes about to expire.

I set up automatic payments with my new mortgage company today. I'll be putting the savings from my new interest rate towards paying my principle. First though, I'll be paying back the money I borrowed for my new appliances. I'm so glad I'm able to make extra principle payments. It will help pay off my loan that much sooner. If I ever get it paid off. Who knows how long I'll live here? I love my home but one day I'll be an empty-nester and I might want something smaller.

Rob came over this weekend. Yea! We ate at Pei Wei Friday night. It's the Asian Bistro owned by P.F. Chang's, and a favorite of ours. I worked on Saturday and Rob worked with his friend Tim in Tim's recording studio. I went to Borders for my much loved latte, then met Rob and we went to Jalepeno's for their Happy Hour appetizers. Yes, that makes two Saturdays in a row for me. We went to Cafe Pronto for coffee afterward.

Yesterday started with church. We came back and Rob volunteered to help me bring my Christmas tree up from the basement. It's up! Not decorated but up and ready. Yes, it's early, but my first party is December 5th. That's right around the corner. Will I spend less time decorating my home this year? What do you think?

Have I mentioned how much I dislike decorating my tree? It's just too big. It takes a gazillion ornaments. I looked at smaller trees but none looked as good as mine. When it's decorated I'll be happy. I'd love to have some elves visit while I'm sleeping. Any elves out there?

We worked together and raked my whole backyard! I also used my leaf blower for the first time. It was SO great to have a partner. The backyard looks great. There's still more leaves to fall, but not nearly as much as we cleared.

Check out the color!

OK. This is getting way too long! I'll end by embedding this video of Em and me that I made using JibJab. I won't tell you how many I made or how much fun I had.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

10 November 2010

Ready, set, go

I set my timer for 10 minutes. Let's see what I can do.

I took today off so I could be in the salon tomorrow for a night of mini-make-overs. It's a first and I thought it might be something my clients would try. We carry Jane Iredale make-up. Good stuff, only carried in salons.

I spent the day at the folk's. I made 2 lasagna's...one that I baked for them and one that I took home to freeze. It was nice to know that I was hanging out for the day and not there with a time schedule. I spent most of the day cooking. I ate potato chips for lunch. And mini-Dove bars for dessert. Decadent.

Have you surmised that Emily's boyfriend spends most of his time over here? I've come to like it. It used to be Emily upstairs on her computer and me downstairs on the couch. Now it's like I have a little family. I'm cooking more. They're downstairs. It's definitely a change.

I just checked the timer. Five minutes to go. Sometimes I don't blog because I don't think I have the time. I'm seeing that I don't have to write a novel.

I started reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for my December book club. Very interesting from the start. Anyone know about her story? I even have time for a link! Check it out if you can. The story is current and poses many ethical questions. And if you like knowledge, well, check it out. I'm about to get into bed, very early, and do some reading.

Timer went off and I'm in overtime, so, adios friends.

08 November 2010


I'm having a lazy day at home and it's getting depressing. Some might think it's nice to sit around and watch TV on your day off. I'm stuck at home because my new AC and furnace are being installed. It's the perfect day to get things done around here. It's about time to start. I'll write just a little first.

It was another weekend of not seeing Rob. He's too busy! He was up at his parent's house this weekend. His son is living with his parents for the time being. Rob is also super busy with school work. He has a major paper he's writing on stem cell research. We've both learned a lot about that subject. I think you could spend years researching the pros and cons of embryonic stem cell research and never come to the right conclusion. The reason? It's all about beliefs and who's to say that one person's belief is right and another person's belief is wrong? Anyway...he's been busy. He has two papers and an oral presentation due this week. I miss our every-weekend togetherness.

I met my friend Kit on Saturday after Borders. We had dinner at a fantastic restaurant in Annapolis, Jalapenos. Check out their tapas/appetizer menu. It's gourmet Mexican/Spanish and not at all what I expected. I can't wait to go back. We went to HH Gregg afterward for Kit to do some shopping. She bought a camera and a GPS. I was just along for the ride but bought the same GPS and a DVD player. I can't believe I bought a Sony DVD player for $29. Old technology is cheap. We ended the night cruising the mall and I saw a sight that literally stopped me in my tracks. I saw a woman walking by me wearing black opaque pantyhose with a top and heels. They were not leggings...they were pantyhose! I didn't see the front of her, but I literally stared till she was out of sight. When I turned around a family was also stopped, staring. We had a fun time talking about it. Crazy!

Kit and I met up on Sunday too. We ordered our GPS's the night before and they were shipped overnight. I'm so directionally-challenged and my old cheap GPS died a few months ago. I was lost without it! This one is big and much smarter and I hope I can figure it out. Kit and I had lunch and coffee afterward and I used my first Groupon coupon. I paid $5 for a $10 voucher at a private coffee shop. I love seeing the daily Groupon deals.

Anyway, I wound up spending the day at home, doing nothing after all. I watched many DVR'd episodes of Brothers and Sisters. Occasionally I'd peek at the progress of my HVAC installation. It took about 7 hours, 4 trucks and 4 men. And a lot of money. Not what I would choose to spend my money on, but it's what you have to do when you own a home.

So, mundane day. Almost over. Tomorrow starts my Monday.

04 November 2010

Room with a view

It's been a long day with an abundance of hours. Of course, every day has 24 hours, so that's an exaggeration. Still, it was one of those days that was long enough. Most aren't.

It was cool and rainy and it was my day off and I didn't have to go anywhere or do anything. How often does that happen? I had a day at home that was filled with so much yet somehow didn't include down time. I did a lot of laundry. Changed my sheets (a job I very much dislike, second only to mopping floors). I cleaned my counters and wrote checks. I called Sears about a new hot water heater. Called BGE Home about the same. I called my doctor about results (all fine). Called my dentist about my crown that isn't right. Cleaned 2 bathrooms. Did online banking. Put away things. You get the drift. I was busy. I only looked at the computer from time to time. I didn't play any games on my phone. I didn't snuggle up with a blanket and read a book. I would have liked that too.

I guess BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric) Home (a subsidiary of the parent company) has different contractors. I called this morning because I couldn't find the prices that Dave from BGE Home gave me when we signed the contract for my HVAC system that's being installed on Monday. I spoke to someone else, and asked if they were having any specials. I told him that from time to time I receive a postcard with a 20% discount. He was surprised at that (it was true), but said he could give me a 15% discount on the heater, not the labor. Yea! I am my mother's daughter...always looking for the best price. He quoted me prices on two different models with different length warranties. He gave me his phone number and I told him I'd get back to him. I left a message for Dave to call me. I wanted to have all the work done on Monday. Dave calls and tells me he can't find the paper with his quotes either. I told him about my call earlier in the day and he asked me what prices I was given. I said no, you tell me yours first. His prices were much higher. I told him about the discount. He was surprised. He couldn't match it and said I should go with the other guy. And so I will.

My sister Ilene left yesterday after visiting for a week. We took my mom to the neurosurgeon on Friday (her birthday) for a consult. She was diagnosed with a small brain aneurysm when she was in the hospital 6 weeks ago. After viewing the MRA scan, he advised an angiogram of her brain to get a 3-D image. They go through the groin all the way to the brain. Wow! It's too risky not to have it done, although any procedure has risk factors. The doctor said if it were his mother he would definitely have it done. So, we're going to schedule that. We had all the local family over that night to celebrate my mom's birthday. Clicking on the picture will bring you to the Picasa Web Album. I'd view it as a slide-show. I have other albums uploaded if you'd like to see them. There were 16 of us for the celebration. My mom said it was one of her best birthdays ever.

Mom's 78th Birthday

The next day 8 of us went out for lunch. Another fun day. I want to do that again soon. Love being with family. Love eating.

I drove up towards where Rob lives after work on Saturday. He's house-sitting for a friend, and we stayed there. It was interesting to be in someone else's house. It was old, and I like new. There were 'nooks and crannies' everywhere. I thought of ghosts but tried not to.

We went to Panera's for dinner and had a lively conversation about Rob's next essay on stem cell research. Having my iPhone/computer with me made it easy to look up all kinds of information. His classes and essays have been thought-provoking for both of us, and that's been fun, but I'm still glad I'm not the student. We went to McDonald's for lunch on Sunday before I headed home, but not before playing air hockey in the kids room.

It's been busy at work. Yea for that! I did the client I wrote about that made me so uncomfortable the first time. I was 45 minutes late for her. Not a good thing and she wasn't happy. It all worked out, though. We found things to talk about this time, and in the end she was thrilled that I didn't charge her. That kind of lateness is just wrong. The day started with two late clients and just got worse but as always, ended well.

I just finished helping Emily with her essay for Mythology. In my next life, I might like to be an editor.

I sure do wish Andrew would post on his blog. I worry about him every day.

02 November 2010

Just a note to say hello

How can I write so much, and then so little? I like it much better when I'm all caught up. All is well around here, and I'll be back asap to fill you in on life in my part of the world. At least I'll leave you with a picture...

Emily and her coach on her last day of field hockey

Happy day to all of you!