Newest posts are first. Scroll down on the right to see a list of Archive posts and also subject posts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

back to work

Good morning.
Another beautiful weekend over.
And I can't say I did much besides our trip.
I did scrub the portable gas grill we use on our trips, and did some weeding and deadheading. Oh, and I did book 2 more trips for the fall. :-)
We've had less than an inch of rain at our house this month. Only got 1/4 of an inch this past weekend. Had a lot more than that at the campground. So I'm continuing to water, trying to keep the yard looking good for the mid August wedding pics.
The Salon looks to be fairly busy this week, with an interesting color request I'm doing Thursday evening. She has very dark brown hair, and wants me to make it blond with purple streaks. She has a lot of color build-up in her hair. We'll see if I'm able to achieve the look she wants without melting all her hair off. :-) Of course, she's 17. That age group seems to be always doing something to their hair. I don't have a lot of customers that age. Seems like most of my customers are aging along with me. The only kids I do are customers kids.
Anyway, I'm off for another work week....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

weekend trip #6

Good morning.
This past weekends trip took us to a campground between the cities of Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo.
We arrived Friday afternoon, driving through a horrendous rain storm. But the storm had past by the time we got to the campground, so the set-up was easy. We took a walk around the campground to find it about 2/3 full. The park sits next to the Kalamazoo river, which is popular for boating. The river is still closed from the oil spill a year earlier. They estimate only about 10% of the oil has been recovered. The rest is sitting at the bottom of the river in various stretches. That may be why the campground wasn't full.
Anyway, we fixed turkey sausages for dinner and watched a couple of DVDs. No campfires this trip. 90 is too hot for a fire, although many campers had one.
I awoke Saturday morning to another rain storm. Thunder and lightening all over the place. Decided to put down the antenna. Just in case. By the time I woke up Craig, it was over. Had our coffee walk, and headed out to the MSU Bird Sanctuary on a nearby lake between us and Kalamazoo.

It was a really beautiful setting, with a large assortment of birds eager to get some of the corn they sell you when you come in.
The birds of prey they have are in small pens scattered through the park.
After that, it was off to the Taste Of Kalamazoo. We were quite impressed with the number of restaurants and the entertainment they had. We've been to the grand daddy of tastes, the Taste of Chicago, and this was every bit as good if not better. The food seemed expensive at first. Tickets were $.50 each and most things were 8 tickets. But we soon discovered that these were full size portions! I had some tasty ribs and a fried oyster sandwich, Craig gobbled down a beef tip wrap, and a beef burrito. Washed it all down with some beer, and to the sounds of live entertainment. A very nice afternoon. As the sky again darkened, we headed back to the campground, arriving just before another round of rain.
We finished the evening with cocktails, snacks and DVDS.
Sunday morning, I went for a bike ride, since it was a nice cool 73 out. :-) Came back, took a shower, woke Craig up, and had our coffee walk. Back at the campsite, fixed us breakfast of eggs, toast, and vegi sausage links. We really like these vegi products. Good texture and taste considering they're not meat. We use Morning Star brand.
Anyway, after breakfast we decide to get a little gambling fix. Fire Keepers casino is just a few miles down the highway. There, we spent a couple of hours, Craig losing as usual and me winning. Came out about even all together. We stopped at a Meijer store for ingredients for a pasta salad Craig was going to make for dinner. Back at the campground we decided to go to the beach. They have a nice lake inside the park.
Even with a rainy weekend, you can see how dry it's been here in Michigan.
We brought our camp chairs, relaxed on the beach reading the Sunday paper, and people watching. Back at the camp site, I helped Craig prepare the pasta salad, and as it 'rested', we went for a walk. They were talking of possible severe storms for during the night, so we broke down camp, taking down the lights, and rolling up the awning. I grilled chicken thighs and legs to go with the pasta salad. We finished the evening with more DVDs.
Monday morning, I went for another bike ride, and then strapped them back on the bike rack. Cleaned the grill and stored it away. Took my shower, woke Craig up, made him coffee, finished preparing the mo-ho for the trip home, and we arrived around noon. Another good trip!

Monday, July 25, 2011

another trip

Good morning.
We've just returned from another long weekend trip.
This was a short one. Just over an hours drive to Ft Custer Recreation Area.
It was a hot, steamy, stormy weekend, but we got there safe, and returned home safe. So another good trip!
More to come....

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's Daylily time!

Good morning from a sweltering Lansing, MI.
After 1 more day of 90's, we should 'cool' down next week into the lower 80's.
The Salon has been very busy this week, and looking forward to another weekend. :-)
And here's some of the daylillies I have blooming right now. I have about 50 different varieties. They don't all bloom at the same time, but right now I have the most blooming. If you care to see all the varieties look here at my webshots album.

Keep cool, and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

good and hot!

Good morning.
The heat wave continues, and except for watering constantly, I'm lovin it!
Have been working in the yard, mainly in the early morning while Craig sleeps.
Many of my readers know, Craig is a car person. What I mean by that, is he gets personally attached to his cars. If we had the money and space, he'd still have every car he's ever owned.
He gives them names, he parks way out in the lot at stores. You get the picture. Well, he also has to make them special. I mean, they need to not look like any others. There needs to be something different. His Honda, he had the air foil thingy taken off and ground effects added. The PT Cruiser, he went on-line and found different tail lights. Even the mo-ho, which he named "big guy', he had a license plate with that name and it's on the front of the mo-ho. Sooo, you can guess where I'm going with this, yep, he had to modify the Kia also. He went on-line and salivated over all the things he could do to it.
He finally settled on the front grills....

Except for the silver trim around the top grill, both the top grill and the bottom grill were black. I thought of taking a pic after we had already installed the silver grill in the top one.

And here's the finished product. Silver grills and frames on the top and bottom. He even got a soul nameplate to put where a license plate would go. We don't need a front plate in Michigan, just a back one. Now his Kia Soul won't look like all the others. :-)
So with the searing heat, that's about all we got done yesterday besides mowing.
In other news, we're still getting an occasional venting into the house from the water heater. The fresh air thingy seems to be working okay, but it still sometimes sucks air in from the water heater vent. It appears we may have to go with another water heater with a power vent. They can't 'add' a power vent to our existing one. :-(
Anyway, it's time for another work week, and it looks to be another fairly busy one. Good, power vented water heaters are expensive.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a pond post

Good morning.
Since I've gotten numerous comments about the pond, I thought I'd do a pond post. :-)

My pond is approximately 15 by 30. I hand dug it over the course of 2 seasons. It ranges in depth from 14 to 18 inches deep. No fish. It would need to be over 3 ft deep for fish to over winter, and Craig wouldn't let me dig it that deep. Something about needing a fence then or something. Besides, it was enough work to do this much. :-)
There is a pump at this end that plugs into an outlet hidden by the bush.
It pumps water through a 2 inch hose to the other end for the waterfall.
This also helps with water circulation. Sucking it from one end, and putting it back in at the other end. Also helps with aeration.
In the pond are dwarf cattails, 3 colors of water lilies, and purple pickerel rush.

I occasionally have to add a pond clarifier and algacide to keep it clear.

Dirt dug for the pond was used to raise the end high enough for a waterfall.
I used concrete blocks for the back, and broken concrete for the top and front. Pea gravel was used to fill in the cracks on top. There are steps on this side, and a rising gravel path on the other.
Ground cover hides most of the concrete blocks on the back. The benches were made also. For the top, we used a piece of plywood. Cut a section of plastic lawn edging and attached it to the plywood in a curved fashion. Did that for the front and back. Used straight sections for the ends. Mixed up concrete and filled the 'form' half way. added some rebar for strength, and filled it full. For the 'legs' we used 2 kitchen trash containers and filled them with concrete. when set, cut away the plastic and flip over. Cheap durable benches.
A view back up towards the house.

The plastic liner is held in place by a row of bricks. They are covered by flagstone. I dug a small trench around the flagstones and poured concrete, giving the pond a more finished edge, and locking the flagstones in place.

Another view of the pond from the other end of the house. Our yard slopes down away from the house. The back of the yard was the only fairly level place to put the pond.
So that's all about the pond.
Yesterday, I spent most of the day in the yard. I re-leveled 2 bird baths, weeded, and dead-headed. It was hot! 92 for a high, so I took it slow and easy. :-)
Dinner, we had the last 2 t-bones from the 4 pack I bought for the 4th, with baked potatoes and grilled zucchini.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A sycamore post

Good morning.
The heat wave continues.....91 yesterday with the same forecast for the rest of the week.
While Craig did his usual laundry and bookkeeping, I did manage to do a lot of weeding and deadheading despite the heat. Just took it slow. :-)
I also cleaned and filled the birdbaths.
Here's some pics of our still fairly young Sycamore tree.

See all the debris on the grass?
It's peeling bark, falling from the branches as they grow.
It does make for a mess, but that's also what gives the tree it's unique mottled look.
You can see up into the tree and see the bark coming off the branches.
This will last for a few weeks. The peeled bark is easily mowed up.
Dinner was ham steaks, steamed cauliflower, and mashed potatoes.
And that's all I got for today.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the salon, as usual.
It ended up being a very busy week in the Salon. It's good to see business picking up more after a slow 2008 and 2009. Craig actually said I had my best June in years. ;-)
And after drowning in our record wet spring, the rain has disappeared. Only 1/2 inch in over 6 weeks. Makes for nice weekends, but getting very dry. When we were in Toledo last weekend, the grass there was brown. It's been even hotter and dryer than here. I've been watering different sections of the yard daily in hopes of keeping it looking good for the wedding party pics scheduled for early August. Don't know if I'll be able to with such a large yard, and forecast temps around 90 for the next couple of weeks.
And here's my latest pic. The hair doesn't look as thin with it shorter. I should take a pic of the top so you can see how thin it is, but it looks pretty good in this pic so I won't. :-)
And now I'm going to work in the yard for an hour before my shower and wake up lazy bones. :-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

more garden pics

Good morning.
It's been a steady week so far in the Salon.
The weather has been great!
Here's some more pics of the gardens....

The gardens are really peaking right now. That's not to mean they're almost done. It just means I've got the most stuff blooming at this time. I still have a lot of flowers to bloom. My day lillies are just beginning and I've got 50 or so of them.
And it looks to be another hot dry weekend. :-)
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

another beautiful weekend

Good morning.
It was another beautiful weekend, camping, and at home. :-)
Yesterday, I managed to wax another 2/3 of one side of the mo-ho.
I've also been busy constantly sweeping up leaves and it's not even fall!
We have a very large old crabapple on the west side of the house. It has some condition where during the summer, it ends up dropping most of it's leaves. By late summer, it looks real bad. I don't see it much, because it's on the other side of the house where we don't go much.
Anyway, the gardens look real good, despite the annual arrival of the Japanese beetles. They eat mostly my roses, so I won't see any more of their flowers for the rest of the season. :-(
But here's a couple of pics of what is blooming....

And now, it's time for another work week. Looks to be a fairly busy one. I need a haircut real bad, hope to find some time to have someone cut it. :-)

And I'm going to try short. My hair has been thinning a lot on top, and even though cutting it shorter will make it look thinner, It will still look better than this long stringy crap I've got now. It's hell getting old..... :-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

more on trip #5

Good afternoon. I'm posting this this afternoon instead of in the morning, because we got a ton of more rain, and I can't work in the yard. :-)

Saturday morning, I arose at my usual 5am, and played on the puter until it was light enough to go for a bike ride. I rode through all the loops, noticing that about 80% were due to leave Sunday. That is usual for most state parks. very busy on the weekends, and quite quiet during the week.
Returned to the mo-ho, took a shower, and got Craig up. We had a schedule for the day, first it was to the Libby outlet store for some new beverage glasses. Then to the farmers market where we picked up taters, zucchini, and green onions to go with our next 2 meals. Then we hit Tony Packo's for their tasty fried pickles, and a couple of their Hungarian chili dogs.
Back at the state park, we drove over to the beach. The beach and hotel are nearly a mile from the campgroundMe on the bridge going from the marina to the hotel....
Most campers drive over to the beach, especially this weekend with temps near 90. We checked out the music, the craft show, and food vendors. Mostly typical stuff, nothing unique. The sand castle building contest was even lamer, but what should you expect for such a small setting.
Above, the winner of the contest......a 'sand' crab......hehehe
We then headed over to the boat tour booth. Craig wanted to find out the ticket price, and when the boat was leaving Sunday morning. The price, $25 per person, time Sunday at 9:20am. I thought the price was a little high just to take a boat out around the light house. There would be no landing or tour of the building. But Craig wanted to see it so we will. Back at the campground, we relaxed with cocktails. Our site had our sitting area facing east, so our awning gave us much needed shade from the hot sun. We were also fortunate we had a large poplar tree right next to our west side that shaded us most of the afternoon. We had only 30 amp service here, so that means only 1 roof top air unit. But it keep the inside comfortable.
Dinner was pork steaks, potatoes and zucchini on the grill.
Then we took an after dinner bike ride around the campground. It's amazing to see all the stuff people bring with them for just a weekend.

Sunday morning, I took a bike ride. There's 2 trails from the campground to the beach. I took the beach trail there, and the woods trail back.

It was a nice ride, quiet with few others out so early. Back at the mo-ho, I played on the puter until it was time to get Craig up for our boat ride. Made it to the beach in plenty of time. Discovered they were having some issue with the boat, and cancelled the first outing. They didn't know if the 2nd at 1:30 would go either. Craig decided not to do it, and they gave us a refund. later he discovered that the building doesn't look like the pictures we've seen. The pics were taken years ago. Now, the windows are all boarded up, and there's an ugly array of solar panels on the one side.
The light house in Maumee Bay. From the internet....
So back at the campground, we went for a bike ride waiting for our next itinerary, the polish festival which started at noon.
With my map reading skills, :-) we made it to the Toledo north side neighborhood, found a parking spot, and was there shortly after it opened. It spanned about 5 blocks. There appeared to be a fairly heavy police presence which feel safe and a bit cautious at the same time. There were a lot of people there already. We strolled through the vendors area toward the giant tent at the other end. I thought there would be more polish food vendors, but mostly they had carnival type vendors. We grabbed a couple of beers and sat down at a table in the tent and listened to the music and people watched.

The music was quite varied and was enjoyable. We sampled a couple of polish food selections that were very good. Then we headed out toward the campground with a stop at Walmart for a few supplies.
back at the campground, we read the Sunday paper, Craig made potato salad that needed to rest before dinner, then went for a walk. We were surprised to see that after so many people left in the morning, a good number were coming in. But this is a very nice campground. :-)
Back at the campground, I cooked chicken on the gill. We pared that with his potato salad and some baked beans.

Craig riding toward the beach....
After another bike ride, this time the beach trail, we settled in for some TV. it was too hot this weekend to even think about a campfire, though other campers did.
Monday morning found me finishing this post on my laptop for a quicker posting once we returned home. The night before, we put up the awning and put away the chairs and rug.
Okay, here's an update........
We returned home safe and sound. Drove through a hellish storm, but got home safe. It even let up enough for us to gas up at Flying J and do a thorough dump cleaning.
So again, (knock on wood....) another good trip!

trip #5

Good morning.
I'm writing this post from our mo-ho sitting in the campground of Maumee Bay State Park.
Yep! We're on weekend trip #5. The weather is fantastic! Sunny and high 80's. After a hectic busy morning in the Salon, we left Lansing around noon, and arrived at the campground around 2:30 without incident. :-) Checked in, filled our fresh water tank, and got to our campsite. Un-hooked the car and car caddy. Because of the angled sites, I had to drive the mo-ho to the end, around the circle, and back again to our site. We had the first site in our loop. Nice, as we have no neighbors on our sitting side to stare at. The campground is the most spacious one we've ever been in. All the Ohio state parks we've been to are similar. There are also no entrance fees to get into any of the state parks either. I don't know how they have such well maintained campgrounds and parks with no day use fees. Maybe Michigan could learn a few things from them. :-)
Anyway, I helped maneuver Craig into our site and we got a perfect fit.
Got set up, mixed us beverages, and went for a campground walk. The campground was very busy. We expected it to be full, as this weekend is the Light House Festival. Over at the beach was to have boat tours to the light house, live music all day, and food vendors and arts and crafts.
Back at the campsite, I fixed us turkey Cheddar sausages on the grill. Went for an after dinner walk, and stopped to chat with another couple who had a Kountry Star motor home. There's was a 2004 40 ft diesel. We discussed what we liked about Newmar motor homes, and we both agreed, they were of good quality. They happily gave us a tour. very spacious with 4 slides. They were full timing and staying just a couple of nights as they were on there way to their sons home a little south of Toledo.
back at the mo-ho, we settled in and watched a bit of TV before going to bed.
I've posted this from the hotel on the beach of the park that has wi-f.
The rest of the trip and more after we return home on Monday.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

zombie land

Good afternoon,
Sorry, no morning post today. I didn't get home from the Salon until after 10pm yesterday, and got up too late to post and get to the Salon by 7:30 this morning. :-\
The corrective color I did lasted over 4 hours! There was just an unbelievable amount of color build-up that took the largest chunk of time and I still didn't get it all off. So, no blond with purple streaks for her! But I was exhausted by the time I got home. A 14 hour day is just tooo long at my age. :-)
I even felt like a zombie this morning. So bad, I mixed the wrong color for my first client. Good thing I caught it as I was applying it. It didn't look right coming out of the bottle. Pulled the tube out of the trash to find a tube had fallen over a notch. I usually double check the number on the tube when I open it, but like I said, I was a bit of a zombie this morning. I was applying a warm brown instead of a dark blond. That would not have been good. But I quickly got that off and reapplied the right one. Glad this was a short day today.
And with all the rain the last couple of days, Our rain gauge says 4+ inches, I won't have to water for a while. ;-)
And here's some more pics of the yard.....

Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 08, 2011

another upgrade

Good morning.
It's been a hectic week in the Salon. The phone has been ringing off the hook! But busy is good! :-)
With our Salon now 14 years old, we've been doing some remodeling. You remember the new chair mats we got last year and the new surveillance system, now we've replace the heat lamps. I've never liked this type, but there wasn't much selection back then. The top light was shorting out so instead of fixing it, we decided an upgrade was necessary.The old lights above, and the nifty new ones below...

The new ones have only 1 light in the back instead of 2. It was way too much heat on the back of a clients head. And the new ones have 4 branched lights instead of just 3 for better heat distribution. We use the lights for speeding up the processing of hair color. Mainly foils. That's how you get those variations of shades from hi-lights to low-lights.
Also, the new lights have a dimmer switch to control the intensity of the heat. The old ones were just on or off.
Anyway, they are a nice upgrade, and we're very happy with them.
I've got another crazy busy day today, so it's off to the shower I go.......

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

just a quicky

Good morning.
This post is a day late due to issues I discovered with Internet explorer 9. But by searching through the help menu, found a fix. :-)

Our beautiful weekend is over. :-(
But it was nice. I spent the best part of the morning transferring stuff to the new puter. New puters don't come with much useful software, so I needed to go online and find my favorite stuff. But I'm happy to say, the new puter is already feeling comfortable. There's just a few different things about window 7 that takes some getting use to. And I've also got the new Internet explorer 9 and I must say it is nice. A very clean interface.
I had to go and get another longer Ethernet cord. The new tower has a vent on the left side, so I needed to put it on the other side of the desk. My old one had vents in the front and back. This one, on top, left side, and back.
But anyway, because of the new puter, not much else got done. Craig mowed the yard, and I did a little weeding. We also ran to Sam's for salon supplies.
And now it's back to work for what looks to be a fairly busy week.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

dead and done

Good morning.
It's been a busy couple of days.
My computer decided to quit on me. I woke it up from sleep mode, and no picture. I turned off the puter, waited, and turned it back picture. Checked the monitor with my laptop, works fine. Decided the puter was dead. It was an XP from 2002. Craig suggested trying to hit the F1 button when I start it up. I said I don't even get the set-up screen, nothing at all. He said to try it anyway and I did. Somehow, I got safe mode and a screen. He thought I must have a virus. I ran my collection of anti virus programs. Got nothing. Figured the old puter was probably nearing the end. While it was still working, I turned off sleep mode, and started backing everything to disks. Then, I went on-line and found me a nice new puter. More power and memory than my old XP and for a fraction of the price. So Sunday was pretty much a wasted day as far as getting anything else done. But I'm happy I was able to get everything off the old puter I wanted.
I went into the salon yesterday morning, and managed to get 3 more tiles replaced. back home, I washed the mo-ho, Kia and Cruiser. After Craig got up, we went to Best Buy and picked up my new puter. Then the post office and Meijers. Back home, I managed to get the Kia waxed and 2/3 of 1 side of the mo-ho done. For a holiday treat, we had t-bone steaks on the grill with baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Those steaks were sooo good!
So far this morning, I've been busy getting my new puter set up and loaded with all my stuff. And it appears to be quite a bit faster then my old one. And the tower is about half the size of my old one too.
And the weather has been awesome! Sunny and low 80's. Lovin it!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

only 1

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon. Took me over 2 hours today since I did a more thorough cleaning than usual.
I didn't get the 6 tiles up yesterday morning, just one. They're glued to the floor really tight. So it came up in tiny pieces. Took a lot of work just to get the 1 up. But was able to get it prepped and the new one laid before our first customer arrived. And it ended up busy than expected. Got several phone calls, so filled in the day nicely. Craig on the other hand, had just 2 customers, and one had called and left a message she had to cancel. So I sent him out to get a new atlas , propane and more tp for the mo-ho. After work, back at home, I started a pitcher of home made Sangria. It needs to 'rest' over night to let the fruits and wine time to 'mingle'. Thought that would be a nice beverage for the holiday weekend.
We then relaxed on the deck with cocktails, enjoying the quiet afternoon. Dinner was chicken cordon bleu, noodles Alfredo, and Parmesan zucchini.
Now it's shower time and wake up Craig. :-)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

laying low

Good morning.
Haven't posted lately, not much to say. Sometimes that's a good thing. :-)
Work has been very busy this week, except for today. Being a holiday weekend, nobody wants to come in today. I have just 4 customers on the books. Craig 2. But that's okay, the busy past few days more than make up for the lighter today. Since my first customer isn't until 10am, I'm going in early to see if I can get those 6 cracked tiles up and the floor prepped for new tiles. I haven't taken up this kind of tile before, so I don't know what to expect. We'll see. :-)
Everyone have a great holiday weekend. We're laying low, Should be mostly sunny and in the low 80's. :-) Maybe I'll start waxing the mo-ho.