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.