24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

In many ways, it's been a great holiday season. My house is lightly decorated. It was so much easier! My mantle is decorated just how I like it. There's touches of Christmas here and there. I wouldn't mind keeping it this way all year long! Sparky the dog has tried to touch, but everything is just out of his reach. Hahaha. I hosted my book club holiday party early in December. I'm so glad to know such a great group of women. We talk a lot, eat a lot, and talk about the book a little. This time we read "gods In Alabama" by Joshilyn Jackson. Everyone loved it. I had my family over for the "9th" day of Hanukkah. It was my first time making brisket and not knowing how much to buy, I made enough to feed a football team. The get-together was so much fun and the start of a new tradition. I stayed strong and resisted the urge to throw my big holiday party. It was the right decision for this year. I hope next year to be excited about it.

I'm off work till after New Years, for the first time. SO excited. I have lots of coffee in the foreseeable future, and if you know me, that's exciting! I'm headed to the mountains tomorrow for a much-needed vacation. Looking forward to gazing into a fireplace, reading a few books, soaking in the outdoor hot tub, eating good food, snow tubing, and making memories with family and friends.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas!

29 November 2012


Yeah, yeah, I know: it's been forever. It's back to mostly mundane. I'm a warm-weather person and I'm happiest then. That's the time of year I look forward to. Christmas will be here before we know it, and this year for the first time, I'm not having my holiday party. I chose to go with less stress. I think I'll be really excited about resuming the tradition next year. I'm still having conflict with my decision, but really know it was the best one. Without company, I'm not decorating as much. As in not much at all, for me. I've threatened for years that I wasn't going to put up the Christmas tree and was always met with total opposition. This year I decided I just wasn't going to say anything. Then I remembered the dog. Sparky. No way can I have a tree with that puppy. Then I realized I couldn't display all my small trees. That has me sad, but it's not going to be that way always. Somehow next year I'll have things back to how I like them. And be excited.

Have I mentioned I think puppies are cute but wish I didn't have one? It came with my daughter, and as is usually the case, the mother is the one that winds up taking care of it. He deserves better than me, but we're sticking it out. I'm doing it for my child. Isn't that what mothers do?

My mom was released from the rehabilitation center and is back in assisted living after 6 weeks away. That was so hard on her, and on me. SO glad that chapter is closed. She's in pretty horrible pain. I try to put that out of my mind as much as I can.

Work is good. Thank goodness for work.

My daughter asked on Facebook on Thanksgiving what people were thankful for. The first (but not only) thing that came to my mind was my fortitude. It's been slipping a little lately, but I'm ever the optimist and am sure I'll be Ladeda-ing again real soon.

30 October 2012

Fallen leaves

It's the day after the super storm. I spent a good deal of energy preparing for the worst, which never happened, thank goodness. I got all the leaves cleared out of my backyard and the deck furniture put away. Things I had to do eventually anyway. We had a lot of rain and wind and ferocious wind gusts. I went out a few times in my head-to-toe rain gear to walk Emily's dog. Otherwise I ate and watched TV. It was a lazy day. We never lost power, for which I remain thankful. I was very surprised that my salon stayed closed today. I know a lot of people lost power; that must be the reason. It rained all day and was cold and gray. I can't wait to see the sun again! What I'll remember most of the aftermath was how bright and beautiful the fallen leaves were. Bright green ones that weren't ready to come off mixed with the colorful ones that were.

My mom was moved to a rehab center last Tuesday. Poor, poor Mom. She's in so much pain. She's SO sorry that she let this happen by doing something, in her words, stupid. I don't like the rehab center at all. There are some wonderful caring people that work there, but for the most part it's far below par. I'm not sure how long she'll have to stay there. I'm counting the days till she can get out and back to her home. Yesterday was her 80th birthday. I decorated her room a little. She's received a lot of cards. We'll have a real celebration when she's better. She deserves it!

Till the next time....

22 October 2012

It's not about ME

I powered up my laptop to write this. It really is the only time I turn it on. My iPad is my go-to Internet tool. I take it everywhere. Lately and for the foreseeable future, that means wherever my mother is. If you follow me on Facebook you know what's happened. If not, here it is.

My mom had a fall on Wednesday. She's not supposed to stand at all. She just had physical therapy the day before (for the first time in ages) and the therapist told her to never stand alone. My brother called that night and told my mom that the therapy wasn't to teach her to walk again. He stressed how important it was to be safe and not do anything that could cause a fall. He told her that if she fell and had to be hospitalized that we wouldn't be able to sit by her side at a hospital. Lisa is recovering from her surgery and he and I work. The next day she stood to break some dead branches off of a plant in a raised bed, lost her balance, and fell. She had a traumatic break in her left femur near her pelvis, with a few small fractures in her hip. She was transferred from her usual hospital to MD Shock Trauma, where they're equipped to handle the kind of surgery she needed. My brother was with me for most of that 14 hour day. I didn't give her a hard time about the consequence of her action. I did say that she wasn't a very good patient for her physical therapist. Her response was that she was being herself. The surgery lasted 5 hours. I've spent most of the last four days at the hospital with my mom. She's only in pain when they move her leg. She's lethargic, not eating, and not really talking. She moves her lips to talk but no sound comes out. Occasionally she does talk. She'll call my name. She's told me to shut up! To not put words in her mouth. She told one nurse she was fat and another she was pretty. She knows who she is, where she's at, and all that other important stuff. It's heartbreaking to see her like this. I feel compelled to be with her. I called her nurse this morning to see how she's doing. The nurse said she's fine! Of course she's not. I know how she is because I left her late last night. So, it's time to go back to the hospital. I know it well by now.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I'll remain the optimist. We've been through this before. Rehab will be next. It will be a long road.

15 October 2012


I didn't have anyplace I had to go today. There was nothing I had to do. I thought about going through the clothes in my closet and cleaning out half of them. I thought about cleaning out my pantry. I'm not one to stay home on a day off. I find idle time depressing. But I did it. It was a very weird weather day. It was balmy in the morning and I took Sparky for a walk. I thought about riding my bike when I came back, but it started pouring. I made a batch of
Carrot Curry Soup.
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, cut in chunks
1-2 inch piece of ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon curry powder
4-5 cups carrots, cut in chunks
1 (15-ounce) can light coconut milk
3 cups vegetable stock
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, cook the onion until it begins to soften and turn translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the ginger and curry powder. Cook for another minute.
Add the carrots and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften a bit.
Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the carrots in the broth for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they are soft.
Put the carrot mixture into a blender or use an immersion blender. Puree until very smooth. Pour into a bowl. Top with fresh chopped cilantro.
*I don't always use the coconut milk. Sometimes I just increase the stock.

I watched a few programs I'd DVR'd. Revenge. Once Upon a Time. The Good Wife. I never watch TV during the day, except for The Today Show when I'm getting ready for work.

I did a little laundry. Walked the dog again. Sparky. He sure is cute. I worked on teaching him "stay" with pieces of hot dog (Kosher, no less) for bait. I worked on "come" too.
I'm still not a dog person. I'm taking care of him because he lives here and he needs me. Maybe one day I'll feel I need him too?

It poured on and off all day long. I decided to ride my bike during one break. I didn't get far before I saw the sky looking like this. I got home before the skies opened up. I set my beach chair in the open garage and sat there with Sparky watching the rain.

I spent Saturday night with my cousin Jill. We went a yoga studio that was hosting an art exhibit of Jill's former classmate. The art was about yoga, and how it influenced the artist's life. It made me want to do yoga. I'm thinking about it. We went to Clyde's afterward for a drink, and they had a 70's cover band. I loved it! They played the songs of my youth.

I hung out at my parent's place yesterday. I cut my mom's hair. Short. It's a good thing she has those snazzy glasses. They make her look very modern. I really like hanging out there. Most of the residents know me and there's a lot of greetings all around. I usually walk around the dining room during meals and pour coffee for the residents. It really is a home. I'm so thankful my parents are there. If you've known me for a while you know how bad it was when they were still in their home. This place is perfect. Not fancy. Not without many flaws. Just right.

I think I've written enough ramble-y things for one night. I'm so glad I'm still writing!

11 October 2012

Debate time, but first a word or two

I can't believe it's been over a week since I've written and I don't want to let any more time pass. I have the debate on pause and I'll watch it after a little writing.

My sister from GA has been my house guest for over a week and she's been great company. We've run around on my days off, and spent the nights in front of the television eating ice cream. How many people get the opportunity to hang out with their siblings and have sleep-overs once they've become 'grown-ups'? My sister came to town to be with my parents and also to go away for the weekend with a group of her high school friends. It was fortuitous that she was here when my sister Lisa had a medical emergency. Lisa woke up one morning in horrible pain and was diagnosed with an intestinal obstruction. She had to have major surgery to repair it. Poor Lisa. It's been good that Ilene has been around to visit. Me too. Lisa will be out of work for many weeks. She missed the big dinner we had at The Annapolitan tonight with my parents, my brother and sister, my daughter and her friend, two nieces, nephew and grand-nephew. We feasted on lots and lots of Chinese food we brought in and ate in the private dining room. It was a lot of fun.

I had some excitement around here last night. I try to keep my garage door closed, but sometimes I forget. When I went out to walk the dog last night I noticed a bicycle laying at the end of my neighbor's driveway, and I called to tell her about it. When I got back, the neighbor wheeled the bike over to my garage. It was then I noticed my bike was missing! The bike I love! I called the police, and a K-9 officer that was nearby came over, listened to my story and told me a regular officer would be by, but that he'd ride around and look. The next officer came and I told him my story. He got a call and told me they might have found my bike, that they suspect, and I'd have to come with him to identify the bike. The K-9 officer saw a kid riding a bike in my neighborhood that matched my description. Long story short, we drove to a nearby bad neighborhood and they had a young kid in handcuffs along with my bike. I was very, very lucky. If I had called an hour or two later it would never have been found.
The cops said kids look for open garages and take bikes all the time. Very scary.

So that's a little something from my world. Hope things are good in yours. And now it's back to the debate.

30 September 2012

Sunday again?

Here's how you can tell the difference between a dog-lover and Me. A dog-lover wouldn't mind their pet smelling like a dog. It's a good thing Sparky's cute. I've bathed him twice in the last two weeks. Then I found out Westies shouldn't be bathed often because they're prone to dry skin and skin problems. I use a towel to wipe him down each time I take him out, and I brush him. He just smells like a dog. Not his fault. On the upside, I like going for walks with him. So far I haven't had to take him out in the rain, and it's not cold yet. Yes, I'm attached to him. I just wish he didn't smell.

I was looking over some old posts and saw I wrote about planting a zillion zinnia seedlings in the spring. It was wonderful having a large cutting garden on the far side of my house. I'm glad that's where it was because the bottoms of the plant got powdery mildew and dried out, but they kept producing beautiful flowers. Next spring I'm going to look through catalogs so I can find even more varieties. I'm also going to plant a second batch halfway through the summer. I just picked these today.

I thought I'd multi-task and include a picture of my new iPhone with the flowers. I got it on Friday. So excited! I got a cool red case for it today. I love new electronics! My nephew is selling my iPhone4 for me; I'm hoping to cover the cost of my new one. I know some people who get a new phone every year by selling their old ones on Craigslist. That could be me next year. I'm still loving my iPad. I use it all the time. About the only time I use my laptop is to write my blog. And as you know that's hardly ever.

Till the next time...

23 September 2012

Goodnight Sunday

It felt good to write in my blog again and very nice to get responses. It's the end of a long Sunday. It was absolutely beautiful outside. I wish I could have gotten out on my bike but I'm still nursing whatever's going on with my knee. I might try it tomorrow. We're having such beautiful weather here in Maryland. I think the high for today was 70°. It's lovely. Even though I wish I could still be swimming in the pool, there's a lot to be said for fall weather.

My daughter has always wanted a dog but not me. I've never wanted a dog. I've always said that I'm missing an animal gene because I've never felt any affection for any animal expect my bird. More specifically my first bird, Zeus. Emily got a dog about six months ago. A beautiful Westy puppy named Sparky. So, we have a pet. I'm getting used to it. I'm Sparky's aunt. He's been a pain because he's had no training. He doesn't know how to walk on a leash. He doesn't know any commands. No "no", no here, no nothing. He walked us. Sparky's been a bad dog. Well, it just so happens that I have a client who calls himself a dog whisperer. He spoke to my daughter when she first got Sparky, but none of his words of wisdom stuck. Today Mike came to our house to train us. Amazingly, a miracle occurred. We became the Alphas. Sparky is obeying us. Today is just day one, but we're off to a great start. !

I made a great Mediterranean chicken dish for my book club. It's been ages since I cooked anything using a recipe. I cook pretty plain. This dish had chicken, olive oil, lemon, oregano, kalamata olives, onions, garlic, tomatoes and feta cheese. Its a keeper! The book (I didn't read) was Song of Achilles. Since it took place in Greece, we all made Greek food. What an epicurean delight. I'm so thankful to be a part of my book club. I picked our next selection, Gods in Alabama, by Joshlyn Jackson. It's a great, great book. I know the book club is going to love it.

Well, I feel I'm rambling. Time for bed. I'm going kayaking first thing in the morning!

19 September 2012

Been a long time

Hi! It would have been nice to announce a blogging break instead of dropping completely out of sight. Had I have known, I would have. I just stopped writing. I never planned on not coming back. Here I am!

I just looked over my last post and find it hard to believe it was so long ago. June! I want June back. I want summer again. I was talking to a client the other day and telling her things I don't like about the long, long winter. The bare trees, etc. She pointed out that she loves the beauty of bare trees silhouetted against the sky with deciduous trees for contrast. I'm going to embrace that point of view as best I can. Remember to look for the sunny side in things.

It's been a great summer. I'll just do a short recap. I did a lot of planting in the spring, and really enjoyed my garden. I started out spending a lot of time at the Naval Academy, then not so much. I spent a lot of time in Annapolis, then not so much. I took up swimming again, and got a lot of joy out of that. Because of swimming I developed a lot of neck pain, and had to be satisfied with only about 7 laps per day, but that was OK. I took up bike riding again too, and have racked up over 300 miles during the course of the summer. I went kayaking twice with a friend and once with Rob and loved that! I usually don't exercise at all, and it feels good to be healthier and in better shape. I don't think it's going to last. I memorized the feel of swimming on the last day the pool was open, and the way the light was reflected in the water. I knew it was the last time. I hurt my knee the last time I biked. I hope that wasn't my last time of the season.

It was an expensive summer. I got a new roof. Not a fun way to spend money at all!!! I also had two huge trees taken down. And new tires put on. And I lost my glasses! I still need to buy new ones.

I went on some fun trips this summer. I did some day trips with my friend Kit and with Happy One. I RV camped with my brother and his family for a few days in Urbanna, Va. Rob and I went on vacation for a week to Ocean City, MD. We biked, kayaked, etc. It was great. I missed going to Myrtle Beach, but just couldn't do it this year. The great thing about going local was the much shorter drive. I also visited my cousins on their vacation in Stone Harbor, NJ. We had such a great time together. I only stayed for 3 days; I wish it could have been longer. The end of August I went to my niece's wedding in GA. My mother, daughter, sister, brother and niece and I all flew down together for 4 days. It was wonderful.

So, that's the short version. I hope it will get me started.

Let me know if you read this; I'd love to hear from you!

04 June 2012

I'm predictable

My life is so routine, but in a good way. I like routine.

I've been spending most of my free time in Annapolis these days. I picked up my mom after work on Saturday and off we went. It's such an easy thing to do with her. Because she has a handicap hang-tag, we can drive and park at the Naval Academy. It was a perfect day. We saw 4 different bridal parties by the magnificent chapel. We spoke to a gentleman from the class of '47. We were fascinated by his stories and he was happy to share them. We saw hundreds and hundreds of high school students who were there to experience the academy to see if they might be interested in attending one day. There's always something going on there. My mom and I ate at a crepe restaurant for dinner at an outdoor table, then went to the dock to people and boat watch. We left very happy.
Happy Mom

This tree was 8-10 feet wide!
I went back to Annapolis on Sunday and met my friend Kit. We were there for the 1st Sunday Arts Festival (I attended in May with my sister Lisa). It was another perfect weather day. Afterward we walked the backstreets. It's all very historic and I love the old homes. Almost best of all, I love the old trees. And the clouds. We went to the crepe place for dinner (so good!) and walked to the dock where we ate, and watched people and the boats.

I could have done the same thing today!

I drove to my client Karen P's house this morning. She's a long-time client and we have a lot in common, but we've never hung out. I've never made a rolled pie crust before, and I was there to learn. We (she) made a cherry pie. The cherries are jarred, from Trader Joe's. They are rated the best cherries by Cook's Illustrated. I stayed till the pie came out of the oven. Because it had to cool completely, I'll be going to Karen's house before work tomorrow to retrieve my half-pie. I can't wait! Karen is a master gardener. Her landscaping, mostly shaded, was amazing. It was a great visit.

Karen's pond

I drove to Annapolis from there to hang out with my daughter. Not downtown :) I would have, though. I'm not tired of it yet. It's a good routine.

I'm sitting on my porch, writing this. What else? I'm a creature of habit.

24 May 2012

Day off scribbles

I hate that I can't sit on my porch without getting eaten by mosquitoes. There's only an hour of daylight left but I think it's still worth putting on repellent. Be right back. Okay, done. It's a little after the fact because I'm already very itchy. It will have to do. A few years ago Tiger mosquitoes came to our area. I think that's what they're called. They're awful!!! It's almost impossible to sit outside without protection. I think I need to stock up on OFF!

I'm sitting out on my porch, of course. I'm on my iPad and I'm using the dictation feature. So far I've spoken this text and had it translated. How cool is that? I see I have to go back and fix a few things but it looks like only about six words are incorrect. Not bad.

Today was my day off. I started out by meeting my friend and co-worker Pattie at the Dutch Market for breakfast. I'm not sure if I've mentioned my guilty pleasure. I've been going once a week, usually on Thursday or Friday. Sometimes I meet Pattie for breakfast, which is nice. The highlight is always the desserts. Every week I buy half of a black cherry pie. Okay, I also buy an apple fritter. Sometimes I buy two slices of pumpkin roll with cream cheese filling. Yeah, I know. The pie lasts me almost a week. Or maybe 5 days. Every night I have a small slice with a scoop or two of light vanilla ice cream. The crust stays delicious the whole week. I always have the apple fritter the first day, and I'm always sorry. They make the best apple fritters I've ever had. I eat a lot of salads and healthy food for all my other meals. I have to.

I drove out to see Rob today. He was supposed to come to my house yesterday but twisted his ankle on his morning run and wound up going to the ER. He has a sprained ankle and has it wrapped in an ace bandage with a splint. Poor Rob. He lives about an hour away, and it was certainly my turn to drive to him. We stopped at one of our favorite diners, the Chesapeake Grill, for lunch. Every time I'm there I have an open-face Reuben sandwich, which I love. Rob always has a BLT. Why change a good thing? We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside at his house. It was so hot in the sun! In the shade, it was delightful.

I was home with plenty of time left to spend outside. I watered my garden, which takes a lot of time. I love watering...it's very relaxing. I did a little of this and that. Mango hung out in his cage outside with me. As usual, I'll stay out on my porch till the lights come on. Then shower off the bug spray.

The dictation feature is wonderful. It's my new best friend.

21 May 2012

My time

I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't spend time outside. It saves me. Fills my time. Entertains me. My happiness increases the moment I'm able to be outdoors. If I were to look back on what I've written the last 6 Springs, they would all probably sound so similar. Like now. I'm sitting on my porch on a beautiful evening. There's a breeze and a coolness to the air. The birds are so loud! My garden is so lush. I'm waiting for the hummingbirds to make their rounds. Life is good. Really, those things are all it takes for me to be happy. Any stress or worries are out of mind. I typically stay on my porch till the lights come on at 8:30. Sometimes I stay later. I do wonder what my neighbors think. There's Cheryl again, they might say. Doesn't she have a life? Well, it's a pretty solitary life, but it's a good one, and I keep myself amused. A lot of the times, it's on the porch. Little porch at that. I'm a firm believer that life is all about simple pleasures.

I've done SO much work in my garden this year. It's looking fantastic (if I do say so myself). It's cost a lot of $$$, but the payoff will be huge. I finally got the last of my zinnia seedlings in the ground yesterday. Probably at least a hundred of them! I just got up to look and someone (maybe the baby bunny I saw 10 minutes ago) bit off the top of one. I'll be so mad if they get eaten! I planted over a hundred seedlings at my salon, and the neighbor girls planted some in their garden. It should be a riot of flowers this summer. Stay tuned!

I probably mentioned that I discovered the grounds of the Naval Academy when my sister came to town in April. All this time I've lived here and never knew how wonderful it was. I've hung out there at least 5 times since then.  I love the huge trees and shady paths and large expanses of lawn. The landscaping is beautiful. The architecture is majestic. I got off work at 3 on Saturday, and thought, OK, now what? I changed into shorts and drove the short distance to Annapolis, then walked to the Academy. Turns out it was the night of a formal dance for the second-year midshipmen. The men (boys) were in their dress whites and their dates in long gowns. They were everywhere. How fun for me to see all that! I sat on a bench and watched the midshipmen, and couples photographing their babies, and daters walking, and a photography class taking pictures, etc. Did I mention it was a perfect weather day and night? I stayed there a few hours, then walked to Main St. I got an iced Americano (my new favorite drink) from Starbucks and a salad to go from a Mexican place, then sat on the dock, people-watching and looking over the bay, and eating. I finally left when it was dark. I'm so thankful I can find things to do alone that can make me so happy. I'm so thankful that it's Spring!

It got a little cool and dark out so I'm back in he house. I'd love to add pictures, but if I start on that, I might never push publish, so I'll end now. Hope to be back soon!

08 May 2012

My time of year

This is the first time I'm using the new Blogger template. That shows how long it's been since I've written. Part of the problem is that I hardly use my laptop anymore. I'm always on my iPad and I never use it to input more than a few lines of text. Really Cheryl, how hard is it to take out your laptop? I'm also not keeping up with blogs because I prefer to use Reader on my laptop. I'm spoiled by the ease of using my iPad, but clearly it's not good for everything. That said, it's still amazing.

 I'm just home from work and sitting on my porch. It's a little humid. The birds are singing. The garden is lush. My neighbor is filling his lawn mower with gas. The peacefulness is about to get shattered.

So, not much is going on around here. When I'm not working and the weather cooperates, I'm in my garden. Spending a fortune on mulch, compost and plants. I'm so sore I could hardly sleep last night and work today was hard! My body feels like it went through the spin cycle of a washing machine. I've planted the last three days in a row. I'm so glad the plants are in and that my body will recover before I plant some more. The reward is right in front of me. Worth it. My latest hangout (besides coffee shops)  is the grounds of the Naval Academy. The landscaping is so beautiful. The trees are so old and so big and there's such variety.  I've taken my mom twice and we stroll around and sit on the benches. I went there with my sister Lisa on Sunday. Everyone in my family enjoys the outdoors. I'm so glad that it's Spring. My life feels all-around better when everything is green and I can be outside. Like now.

Time to read some blogs. I will catch up!

23 April 2012

Not sunny

I've been meaning to write for days and days. I don't know why I put it off. Or why I feel obligated to write.

We've had some nasty weather. Boo hiss. Cold (in the 40's) and damp and rainy. Gray skies. Windy! I don't like it one bit. The rain I welcome, though of course I wish it came on workdays. The combination is just mean. On the bright side, Rob and I worked in my garden last week and he put down all the mulch. It looks just great, if I do say so myself. I planted my first rose, a double-red Knock Out. I'm excited. I'm glad I didn't put anything else in the ground with the weather we're having. I'm babying-along my hundreds of zinnia seedlings in my garage.

I went to a new dentist for the first time in probably 10 years. My old dentist walked away from his practice over a year ago. He was my cousin's husband, and very good. I finally got dental insurance and went to my daughter's dentist. It was a 10 minute drive as opposed to the hour I had been driving. The cleaning was the best I've ever gotten. I liked the new dentist very much. I have an appointment to go back in 3 weeks to have a cavity filled. He suggested I could use 2 crowns. I asked him if it was because the fillings in the teeth were old, or because they were bad. They were old. My former dentist left his practice because he wasn't a money-maker.

Emily gave me a gift certificate for a full-body massage for Christmas and I finally used it today. It was wonderful. Decadent. What a pleasurable experience. I bought gift certificates for Rob and Emily and myself for Christmas too. We all need to use them.

Rob and I went to the dermatologist on Thursday for body checks. I go once a year. The doctor took a small dark flat mole off my backside, and included plenty of surrounding flesh just in case, so there would be good margins. Yuck. The scab is about the size of a pencil eraser. Rob's was bigger and on the back of his shoulder. He got a call today that there were cancerous cells, but all clear margins. I didn't get a call. My labs were sent to a different facility, but I'm not expecting a call. Do you see a dermatologist? We all should.

I'm snuggled up on my couch with a blanket. Mango is on my shoulder. I wish I had pie. I can't wait for Spring to come back.

16 April 2012

Big dog, little bird

The time I've been waiting months and months and months for has arrived. Porch time. I'm really in my glory (is that phrase even used anymore?). The weather in the shade has been delightful. Not just nice, but perfect. Warm and breezy with no humidity. Blue sky. I wish every day could be like this. I'm sitting on my porch with my Big Dog dress on. (Check out the link for some history.) Mango has been hanging out with me in his cage, on the walkway. He seems to like it like it too...lots of birds singing. Here's one of my views right now:

I've loved having my mom's birdbath. The birds don't seem to notice me, and I get a front row view of their activities. The songbirds come alone. The robins are vigorous in their bathing. The starlings and other black birds come in groups and party. I feel like a voyeur!

I always say I 'get off on the little things.' It really is the the simple pleasures that give me joy. As I sat down to start writing, a hummingbird came to one of my feeders. If you know me, you know that made my day. And you know what? I knew it would happen today.

I put down 3 bags of mulch this morning, through the interior of my garden, around newly emerged perennials. What I found is that my knees aren't what they used to be. It was very hard to squat! I was probably sore from yesterday's task of digging up 60 tulip bulbs and transplanting them in my backyard. Rob loves to landscape so I'm saving the rest of the work for when he's here this week. He's glad I didn't do it without him. I brought my zinnia seedlings outside for the first time. I only have a couple of hundred of them!

I picked up my mom yesterday and met my sister Lisa and friend Kit at the restaurant my daughter works at. Brio. We sat outside in the shade and had a wonderful meal.

There's about a half hour of daylight left. I think I'll take a walk around the block to finish up this gift of a day. Happy me.

09 April 2012

The perfect job for me

My friend Josie hosts One Question Wednesday every week, and she answered my question (a few weeks ago) with one of her own. I'm posting my answer here. I don't actually remember her exact question, but it was something like this:

How did I decide to become a hairstylist?

I grew up hating my curly hair. I used to think to myself, What did I do to deserve naturally curly hair? From a very young age, I sat on the bathroom counter in front of the mirror and set my hair. I taped my bangs flat to my forehead with pink hair tape. I sat under a bonnet-style dryer till my hair was dry. After all that, I'd still have to sleep with the rollers in. I did this for years and years and years. Summertime was especially hard. I'd pull my hair into a rubber band to give it what I thought was a straight look. I'd set the ponytail with curlers. What I got was a front with deep waves and a sausage-roll back. Not a great look. Sometimes I'd even put the kind of mesh bag that held grapes (back when) over my head and sit under the dryer to try to dry it straight. Did I say I hated my hair? I was a slave to it.

Set hair

Sometime during my senior year of high school I let my hair dry curly for the first time. I can't believe I waited that long. I started wearing my hair curly occasionally, but only with the front held back and the rest flowing down. Because it had no layers, it was just very wavy and big. I continued my hair-setting ways into college. My roommate, Stella, was a fellow curly girl in denial. Hair nights found us isolated and off-limits in our dorm room. Here was our routine: set our hair and put the bonnet of the dryer on. Polish our nails. Go to sleep with the dryer on. At some point during the night we would wake up and turn the dryers off. Our hair would be done and our nails perfect. I can't believe I did that. Here's a college picture of me. Looking at that curly hair now, I wonder why I suffered to make it straight. It looks good to me. Or maybe it's the young version of me that I like :))

I was an art major at school, but really had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I loved art but I wasn't good enough to be an artist, and I didn't want to be a teacher. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. After almost 3 years, my parents let me quit. One day, shortly after, I was having lunch with a friend who always had very short and stylish hair. Somehow, (after a drink or two) she convinced me to get my long hair cut into a style. We drove to my house and she told my mother, who said, get on the phone and make an appointment right now! That same afternoon, I was in her hairdresser's chair. The stylists gathered around, exclaiming about my thick and curly hair. In my whole life, no one had ever told me I had nice hair. The stylist cut my hair in such a way that it dried in a perfect style. I thought to myself, "I think I could do that. It's like sculpture on the head."

That haircut changed my life, and rest is history. I've been a hairstylist for 34 years and it's been the perfect job for me.

04 April 2012

Catching up

I can't even think of what I've been so busy with that I haven't had time to blog. Hmm.

My iPad is keeping me busy. It's the best toy ever. I'm spending too much time playing Draw Something on it. I'm glad that we're allowed to have tablets on our stations at work, though I'm usually too busy to use it, which is a good thing. We're not allowed to have our cell phones out, and that's hard.

My Spring garden has been pretty beautiful. I'll be sad to see the tulips go and the phlox fade. The good news is that I have a long summer garden to look forward to.

Last year I planted zinnias for the first time, and I did them from seed, another first. They were so beautiful and I always had a vase of them at home and at work. I tried finding more seed packages late in the season to plant more, but they were nowhere to be found. This year I've gone more than a little crazy on zinnia seeds. I had no idea there were so many varieties and I bought 8 packages! I finished planting the last of them in seed starter soil in any kind of flat container I could find, including my 9X13 pans. Where in the world will I plant all these seedlings? Zinnias, anyone? I also loved the look of basil as the greenery for the flower arrangements and I bought 3 varieties. I think I'll sow those seeds directly in the soil. I ran out of containers.

My sister from GA is here with her husband Andy and their youngest son Jonathan. We went to Baltimore on Monday and had lunch at Joe Squared, a restaurant that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It was great! I especially loved the graffiti-covered alley we passed to get there.

We went to Lexington Market and Fells Point. I took a picture of this sign in a bathroom at the market.

We decided to go to Annapolis from Baltimore, and Emily met us there. We walked the grounds of the Naval Academy. I can't believe I've never done that before. The tulips were in full bloom, and it was just beautiful. I'll be sure to be back when the azaleas are in bloom.

That's all I've got tonight. Tired!

26 March 2012

Brrrr but beautiful

It's a brilliantly bright day. Deceiving because it's cold and very windy outside. Of course cold is relative. We've been spoiled rotten around here with a long stretch of almost summer-like weather. I tried going out a few times just to enjoy what looked like a perfect day only to come running back inside. I'll save all the compost and mulch I bought today for another day. Besides, Rob wants to help. I used my leaf blower yesterday to blow a lot of the pear flower petals out of the garden, then swept them up. With a little help. Had I waited till today, some other neighbor's yard would be full of them. It's that windy.

I also power-washed my sidewalk. It was actually fun. It wasn't as black as it appears in this picture, but it was bad.

It's pretty well-known that I love food. My new favorite is Vietnamese. I tried Pho the first time I went and just didn't love it, though I've noticed that most people order it at the restaurant. I've been back three times now and am delighted with the colors and textures and flavors of the food. On Saturday night Kit and I shared Vietnamese Crepe. It was a huge crepe filled with onions, scallions, bean sprouts, pork and shrimp. On the plate were lettuce cups, julienne carrots, cucumber and maybe radish, and a large branch of Thai basil, along with a wonderful sauce. I love eating food out of lettuce cups. Very messy but that's part of the fun. I can't wait to eat there again!

I'm loving my iPad! Yesterday, while hanging out at a coffee shop, I discovered the dictation feature. Anywhere that you can enter text, you can speak to text. It works almost perfectly. I went to the Apple store this morning for a iPhoto workshop. I still have a lot to learn. No rush.

Well, it's been a long day off. Lots of errands early, then housework and phone calls and paperwork. I think it's time to get under a blankie and watch some TV. Yup, that's the plan.

22 March 2012

I love a long day!

I'm SO happy to be sitting on my perch on the porch, writing. My hummingbird feeders are up and ready. The birds are enjoying the birdbath. The phlox is beginning to bloom and the red of the tulip buds are starting to peek through the green that encases them. Rob is putting down bags of Leafgro organic soil conditioner while I just sit here. I've never had help before!

I don't know if what's going on in MD with pear trees is occurring in other parts of the country. We are developing forests of these invasive trees. According to one of my clients, this is how it happened...Builders started planting pear trees because they were cheap, fast-growing and ornamental. They were sterile, which was a good thing. It came to be that the trees 'ripped' in the wind...the trees were very prone to splitting. A hybrid was developed that didn't rip and they weren't sterile. The trees have berries in the fall that birds love. The seeds readily propagate. They're crowding out the native trees. And the smell of the blooms stink to high heaven. MD is very smelly right now. I have one of these trees smack in the middle of my garden. In the spring, the casings from the flower buds fall from the tree and cover my driveway and garden. Then the tree blooms and it's beautiful and worth the stink. Then the flower petals fall and cover my driveway and garden. I have to wait to mulch till they're all down. The tree is very nice in the summer. In the fall the leaves fall and cover my driveway and garden. And then millions of berries fall everywhere. I use a shovel to scrape them off my driveway and sidewalk. And here we are again at spring. I have to weed my garden of the seedlings throughout this season if I don't want a forest. Here's a bunch under some tulips.

Rob and I ran a bunch of errands today. We went shopping at Marshall's. I hate to shop for clothes. We went to Brookstone so I could look for a new iPad case, but the only ones they had weighed too much. We went to the Apple store and I learned a little about iPhoto and I signed up for a workshop next Monday. I'm so excited that I got a new ankle bracelet from Brighton! We went to Home Depot. And the Dutch Market. It was nice to get a lot done, and still be home by late afternoon. I love a long day.

19 March 2012

Cherry Blossoms

Time really does fly. I can't believe that a week has gone by since I last posted. I'm not giving up, though. This is the journal of my life, for me. I wish I jotted down thoughts as they came into my head so I'd remember to write about them. I had some good ones!

I ordered the new iPad on the day it was announced. The 7th? The wait till it arrived was torturous! I wanted time to fly, fly and fly. It arrived on Friday at my salon and I was too busy to spend any time on it, plus our wireless wasn't working. SO frustrating! I used it when I got home, and was happy, but unsure of my decision to buy it. It was so expensive and I have a iPhone that I use all the time. On Saturday, all that changed. I'm enthralled with my iPad. It's amazing! I've also been totally addicted to playing DrawSomething on it. I'm thrilled with my new toy. My iPhone looks like a mini now.

I was watching the news late this morning and the announcer said it would be a perfect day to see the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin in DC. I got in touch with Emily and she said, let's go. We hopped on Metro and stepped out to a wonderland of blossoms. It was crowded, but nothing like what it will be like starting tomorrow when the festival period officially starts. It was a partly cloudy day and perfect for viewing the flowers and for taking pictures. I can't wait to see what comes out of Emily's great camera.

It's so nice to do something spontaneous. It's so nice to have this great relationship with my daughter after all we've been through in the past. I'm very thankful. And tired!

12 March 2012

Even my eyes are tired

No bird pictures today. That I'm posting. I did take pictures because he's just so cute!

I'm appalled and so, so sad about the massacre by the US soldier in Afghanistan. There are no words...

We've had such a mild winter in Maryland. A record winter. I think we had 2 dustings of snow and above average temps for months. I've loved it. I feel like we're well into Spring, but it hasn't even started. The bare trees have a hint of color. The cherry trees are in bloom and the pear trees are ready to pop. We have so many pear trees around here; forests of them.

I tackled such a big project today. I have 7 huge yew bushes that I planted 18.5 years ago. I've trimmed them twice a year (Rob did it the last two times!) to keep them a manageable size. My friend Lisa told me years ago I should take them out, but the thought of that big job was too daunting. Rob suggested we remove the the 3 that line my driveway and I agreed. He planned to borrow a chainsaw and have us work on it soon. What did I do today? I used loppers and cut them down to stumps. Then I used a pitch fork and shovel and brute strength to pull the stumps out. I pulled all the remaining roots out that I could. I used a bow rake to level the soil. I took 3 Motrin a few hours ago but it's not working like magic.

Here's 3 of the 4 remaining shrubs. Each one is about 4' in diameter.

Stumps and bagged shrubbery ready for yard waste pick-up.

See all that bare dirt on the left side of my driveway? What am I going to do with all this new planting space? Another big job coming up.

I'm so sore and tired that I reluctantly cancelled my evening plans. I joined a Meetup hiking group and tonight was the first walk around a large beautiful lake near where I work. I was really looking forward to it. I think it might be a once-a-week event. Hopefully I can do it next time.

Time to rest these fingers of mine. They're sore too.

11 March 2012

Mango's Big Day Out

Last week when I was at The Annapolitan I showed my mom's table mates videos of Mango. They enjoyed it so much that I told them I would bring him in next time I visited. That was today. It was such a wonderful experience! I carried him around to all the tables in the dining room so the residents could see him. Mr. Mango brought a smile to all. A number of residents have dogs and cats, which is another reason this place is really like home. I bet they'd love a bird like Mango.

Mom's table minus 2

This is Carol. She's great

Sylvia. It was love at first sight between her and Mango.

Dear Old Dad

I think Mom tolerated Mango

You know how when, for instance, a daughter has a baby and it's nice to see the daughter but it's really all about the baby? I think that's how it's going to be now with me and Mango. I have a feeling my popularity has been usurped.

Emily was the next one to visit with Mango while I went shopping (and sampling) at Whole Foods.

Next I saw a friend who lives around the corner from me in her yard so I pulled over and Mango visited with her grandkids on the sidewalk (in his cage) while we talked. Another neighbor walked by with his daughter, who sat on the sidewalk and talked to Mango.

Finally I went home, but it was so nice out that I put Mango's cage on the driveway while I got some fresh air and played Words With Friends.

Mango's been resting up for the last few hours. It was a big day out.

09 March 2012

No sliding

If I don't write today I'm going down that slippery slope. I just know it. Time to think quick.

I had a hair disaster on Wednesday. The end of the story is that the finished hair color was beautiful. In between, it was very bright coral, and my first try at a fix turned it purple. It was very hard not freak out, but I held it together. My client was very patient and never asked to look in the mirror. Thank goodness. When she did see herself, as I was drying her hair before putting the toner on, she was freaked. At that stage it was a yellow-orange, and much much better than the colors she didn't see. It was beautiful in the end. The cause of all this? A tube of bright reddish coral color was in the slot of what should have been a golden brown. Lesson learned? Trust your instincts (the color seemed off from the start, but I double-checked which tubes I used, then kept going) and check that you really do have the right color. What a day that was. It will stay in my memory forever.

I was so busy with that fiasco that I had no time to keep up with the iPad announcement that I was so anxious to hear. On Wednesday night I ordered 'The New iPad'. How's that for a name? Not iPad 3, but 'the new iPad'. Apple marketing; I'm sure it's a smart move, somehow. Anyway, I did it. I'm no longer the girl who cried wolf. I can't believe how expensive it was...that's the only thing that has me a little freaked out. It will be delivered to my workplace on Friday. I'm so excited! I bought an inexpensive case to take it home (just like a baby from the hospital). I've been searching Etsy for handmade cases. I think I want the book-type. If you have one, do you have a suggestion?

My 'new' bird bath

I'm so happy to have the bird bath from my parent's old home. My brother had given it to my mom years ago as a gift, and when I expressed an interest in it, he gave it to me. Isn't it beautiful? It's in the middle of my garden and as I sit on my porch in the warm days to come, I know I'm going to get so much pleasure out of seeing the birds enjoying it. My mom always did.

Happy Weekend! Mine will start at latte time tomorrow.

05 March 2012

Inside and Out

I started the day by vacuuming up bird food and bird stuff. You'd never know it now. I'm gonna look for a cage garter, if there is such a thing. I really don't mind the cleaning up. It's making me maintain a cleaner house. At least so far! You should see me when I have Mango on the couch. There's an old tablecloth draped over the back and top of the couch, and a dish towel over my shoulder, chest and lap. Ha Ha...can you picture it? I'm poop-proofing myself and the furniture.

I didn't have plans for today, and fought my natural instinct to get busy. That was hard because I like 'busy'. The thought occurred to me out of the blue to search YouTube for hair cutting tutorials. Lo and behold, there's a zillion of them and I watched for hours. I love to see how other people cut hair but rarely have the time to do that at work. There's always something new to learn from other people. The videos were great and I bookmarked a few YouTube channels and a hair cutting blog. I'm excited.

I finally got up and moving and bundled up for a long walk. It felt so good. Along the way I spotted a patch of miniature daffodils in the woods and gathered some, along with purple weeds. So pretty. It was wonderful to be outside getting fresh air and exercise after half a day inside. I felt complete. I spent an hour cleaning up in the garden just as an excuse to stay out a little longer.

04 March 2012

Mostly pets

I'm happiest when I'm busiest, as long as I have a few hours at the end of the day to just chill. These days that means watching my favorite shows. My favorites are, and probably in this order: Person of Interest, The Good Wife, Parenthood, Private Practice, Up All Night, Once Upon a Time, Revenge, Grey's Anatomy, Two and a Half Men, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, It's a Brad Brad World, and Smash. Oh, and Downton Abby. And Glee. I had no idea I watched so many shows and now I'm a little embarrassed. My DVR is always almost full, and though I love my shows, I seem to hoard them without watching. In other words, it's hard to keep up. I just checked and I have 15 episodes of shows waiting. No time for blogging, gotta go watch TV!! Kidding. Soon they will be over for the season, timed for the start of longer and warmer days when I'll want to spend all my time outdoors.

I thought I'd share this video of Mango. I'll be so disappointed if the link doesn't work! Excuse my talking to him in 'baby talk'. I guess that's what you do when you have a pet. I'm new to this!

So, I killed my parent's fish. I set up a 2.5 gallon fish tank in their bathroom when they moved into The Annapolitan last April. The goldfish had gotten way too big, and there was a big problem with the water. It was always pinkish red. Last Sunday I decided to take drastic measures and did an almost complete water change. I figured wrong that the fish who lived in that water could stand up to it. My mother called me the next day to say I killed the fish. I went to Petco today and decided to buy a blue betta fish. I decided to buy coordinating blue gravel. I had to clean that disgusting tank and was very proud of the job I did up until I put the new fish in. He's more than a little hard to see against all that blue. Oh well. I just hope it lives.

Blue Fish

02 March 2012


I love watching The Today Show while going about my morning. It helps to keep me current plus it's entertaining. Today I saw the "Doomsday" global seed vault in Norway that I'd learned about a few years ago. It's a repository for every type of seed in the world. The purpose is to allow agriculture to remain productive in the future, not only in case of catastrophe, but for seed diversity. The seeds should be viable for at least 20,000 years. I love this kind of stuff.

The signs of spring are everywhere and I'm excited. My life is so much better when I can be outside and active. A flicker was pounding away on the metal grate atop my chimney. A sure sign of spring as it happens every year. I had to step carefully as I was cleaning up my garden because of all the tulip greenery emerging from the soil. It's going to be so great to see the red tulips I planted in the fall! I spent a little time on my hammock yesterday but it was really a little chilly. Soon. Still, I think I'll go to Lowe's this morning to look at zinnia seeds. I can't help myself.

Random thought...I am SO tired of seeing the commercials for Cancer Institute of America. It seems like I can't turn on the television without seeing one. I do, however, love every commercial for jcpenny. More about that some other time.

I'm enjoying my bird Mango, and my house is cleaner than ever with my trying to keep the dander and food off the floor. It's nice to have a little buddy here at home with me. So far, no regrets.

Time to get off the couch and ready for a busy day at work. Happy Friday.

28 February 2012

The girl who cried wolf

I'll have to figure out how to embed the album of my NY trip. It shows up for me, but no one else. I'm not gonna stress!

I can't wait till March 7th. It's the rumored date of the announcement of the iPad3 and I'm so excited that I'm finally getting one. Really...I am. I was so excited when the first one came out. I was definitely getting it. I wanted it so bad and everyone knew it. What happened? I couldn't justify it, though others told me I didn't have to. It wasn't just the money, it was because I didn't need it. I spent so much time coming to that decision. When the second one came out, I was definitely getting it. So excited! What happened after obsessing about it? Couldn't do it. Again. I just couldn't justify it. Who needs a iPad when you have a iPhone that does everything you need? And here I am again, with a pending announcement. This time though, I'm not going to think about it. No more crying wolf. I have a Apple Gift card and enough Christmas gift money from my clients set aside to pay for it. The only thing to decide on now is what to have inscribed on the back when I place my order.

26 February 2012

New York City

Don't you hate it when something that should be simple becomes overly complicated? I had the hardest time trying to embed a link to my Picasaweb album. I uploaded the pictures and filled in the captions two days ago to make tonight's post easy. So much for good intentions; I continue to be humbled by them. If you saw this album on Facebook, you can skip this one...it's a copy. If you'd like to see it, click on the photo, then view it as a slideshow. I put captions on most of the pictures and they tell the story of my New York City trip. It was such a great adventure!