Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied*…

It’s just hair.

Why have so many of us bought into the marketing myth that the perfect hair style, or hair product, will absolutely revolutionize our lives? We consider stylists to be magicians – that they can wave magic scissors and completely transform all that is rotten in our lives into goodness and light.

We all want to look good. To be attractive. That’s human. A flattering hairstyle is part of that… but it seems we look to “The Haircut” as the Big Momma of Transformation! i see dozens of photos of friends and acquaintances as they leave the stylists chair – “I did something! Look! It’s a New Me!” The modern, mysterious phenomenon that drives millions of people to take selfies in their cars** seems, in part, based on people feeling that they’re having a “good hair day”.

i’ll say it again – It’s just hair.

i’ve been sucked into this myth as much as anyone. i’ve kept long hair since childhood. i couldn’t imagine having short hair. A response to medication made most of my hair fall out about 20 years ago, and i was mortified! Hairpieces, products… you name it, i bought it! During the recovery phase, as my hair grew back, i felt that i looked terrible with short hair, and believed that it mattered.

Genetically predisposed to white hair, mine would have lost all color by the time i was 40, if i hadn’t intervened. Keeping some of the white for a few years, i spent a lot of money getting my hairs professionally painted. i played with bright red, purple and blue for the past few years, sorting out what i might want to do with all that white some day.

But this year, something snapped. Not sure whether it was triggered by retirement, or the time i’ve spent living outdoors, but the hair became a liability. A nuisance. It was thinning anyway, and i had to spend a lot more time to get it to look ok. Never ‘good’, just ok.

Without giving it too much thought, i told my hairdresser to just shave it all off. And she did. No more color, either. Cold turkey, it was just gone.

hairs2

From a maintenance point of view? i absolutely love it! i wake up with a funky mohawked, bed-headed look, but a quick swat with a brush and it’s fine. My neck gets cold, but i have a gazillion scarves.

hairs1

Appearance-wise? Still not totally used to it. Deeply ingrained in my personal body dysmorphic disorder is that i must have long hair to be attractive. Sexy? Maybe with some more piercings and a bit of leather.

i think that will come with time… Perhaps a bit less frequent than in my 40’s, the quality of sex in my life is delicious, and i’m happy.

Form follows function. It’s just hair. Most importantly? It aligns with the life i choose to live – on the road, off the beaten path. The very definition of simplicity.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 * No googling – anyone know the referenced lyrics?  

** i don’t understand it. Maybe it’s the natural light? If someone knows the answer, please enlighten me. As a friend says “I don’t just get in my car and say ‘damn, I think I look good in my car! Better capture this moment!”

 

 

No Regrets: Second Quarter? Already?

At the turn of the year i set forth on a quest of mindfulness. As i did last year, i’m doing quarterly updates on my progress, or regress as the case may be… Slow and steady going through the end of the first quarter, i’ve been on a bit of a roller coaster this quarter, so results are a little jumbled.

The categories:

Bridges – repairing relationships that have mattered to me.

Ducks – getting things in shape to assure the least hassle to my children after i die.

Vessel – assuring that my body can carry me through the adventures i desire.

My scorecard for the second quarter:

Bridges: Small efforts yielded wonderful re-connections! A comment on the first quarter update by an old friend, cramnitram, led to a lunch date, and a few other looooong overdue conversations. Yoda surprised me with a book for my birthday. i hosted a party for my daughter – and spent time with a former sister-in-law that i haven’t seen in years. Facebook brought me a meet up with one of my former “kids”, who is all grown up and doing well professionally. Being attentive and looking for opportunities, slowing down enough to make time to talk… This has been a very good quarter, and i hope to maintain momentum.

Ducks: STILL working through Mom’s estate, i found myself with yet another carload of old memorabilia, photographs, journals and letters after excavating the large storage locker. My office remains buried in paperwork, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s proven difficult to take care of my own estate planning while up to my tonsils in her business…

Due to the kitchen renovation, i gave away two tables, 8 chairs, a refrigerator, a stove, a dishwasher and 14 serviceable kitchen cabinets as i launched into construction. It has been a massive project, but almost done. While unpacking all of my kitchen gear, i was quite brutal, giving away unnecessary stuff. A bit of a draw, volume-wise, considering the scale of the new kitchen.

i also set up an ‘Advanced Directive’ for my senior doggie with my veterinarian. It seemed the right thing to do, staring at so much travel this year. i didn’t want to leave my pet sitter dealing with difficult decisions, should i be out contact.

Facing the end of the quarter, i also printed out several ‘change of beneficiary’ forms. These are currently payable to my ex-husband. i’ve never really worried about it since the divorce, knowing that he would do the right thing with the funds and hand it all over to the kids, but it’s kind of simple to take care of, and i’ll get it done before the end of the next quarter.

Vessel: Holy shit, this one is a demon! i’ve done well with exercise, despite a pretty busy schedule. Sticking with lunch hour cardio, the Saturday morning fitness classes, and regular after work bike rides, i’m not too horrified at my follow through here. But food? Booze? i’m eating like it’s my job, and no longer holding my alcohol consumption to just weekends. The cruise – where we had access to an endless variety of food, and unlimited top shelf liquor – was a factor in keeping me chubby. i’d lost about five more pounds early in the quarter, and have managed to gain that right back in the last few weeks.

During construction, i had one month with only small refrigerator and a microwave for a kitchen. i was eating peanut butter, microwaved popcorn and oatmeal for dinner most nights. No reason i couldn’t have done better, but i was living in a major construction zone, working on my pieces of the project at night, and wasn’t particularly motivated to do better.

With the new kitchen up and running, i’ve started cooking again! Went from an electric cooktop to a glorious gas stove!  i’m learning how to cook with the new gear, and it’s been fun! So there’s hope that my lean eating habits from earlier in the year can be dusted off…

Bridge, Duck, Vessel - Get it?

silly image found here…

Halfway through the year. Much more to do. Putting together the scorecard, i’m optimistic that i can at least wrap up “Ducks” by the end of the year… Onward!

The Five-Oh

Walking across the parking lot to my car on the day before my 50th birthday, i heard them before i saw them.  Squeals.  Hoots and hollers.  The sound of the chains on the swing set squeaking as the older children pumped skyward in canvas slings.  Giggles, laughs and squawks.

“Child Development Center”.  What was called a “Day Care” when my children were small.  Before that?  We called them “baby sitters” before “newspeak” demanded higher purpose.

Doesn’t matter what you call it.  It’s the sound of a village taking care of children.

There’s one just across the street from my office, and i am occasional sent tripping down memory lane when i hear those sounds.  The happy sounds of small humans in the throes of unstructured play.  Outside.

In the winter, i am delighted to see them in their Eskimo coats, bundled up, and soaking in the distant, ineffective sun.  They go out after lunch every day, and again at the end of the day.  So long as it’s not pissing rain or ice.  And they play.  Without adults coaching, controlling the field, or telling them where to go and what to do.  Gently kicking them back into play when they go out-of-bounds.  Certainly referring the occasional fight.

On the bikes with Studley after work last week, i was quite surprised to see a little kid, maybe three years old, standing in his back yard.  As we cruised along the bikeway, he was poking at the bark on a tree, and pulling leaves.  Deeply ensconced in the mechanics of being a small child. Whatever he was doing, it was pretty important.  Dad was in a lawn chair about thirty yards away.  Reading a book.  NOT entertaining him.

Something i rarely see anymore.

Every day, i spot dozens of minivans with children lashed into the back seat, watching videos on the on-board entertainment systems.  i swear at the traffic jam near the soccer fields, as parents rush home from work, feed their kids on the fly, and cart them off to recreational practices.

But i’m still astonished to see a child at play.

Growing up?  The neighborhood was lousy with suburban yard urchins. We were kicked outside after breakfast, fed lunch on the picnic table, expected to be home for dinner when the Dads arrived home, launched out til twilight, when we were called home for the night.  Repeat until Labor Day.

We played.  Army.  Kickball, whiffleball, softball, football.  Climbed trees and swiped apples.  Ate green apples until we got “the trots”.  Built forts.  Fought.  Bullied and got bullied.  Created imaginary adult scenarios with suitcases full of Barbie dolls, who were insidiously destroying our natural body images. Complex games of “Private Investigator”, complete with dossiers on the neighbors.

i love hearing those happy squeals from the little critters as they push trikes and scooters around the yard.  It’s nice to hear them playing, even for an hour a day. Even inside a fence at the baby sitters a day care a child development center.

We’ve robbed our children.  Swiped something very important from them in the name of “good parenting”.  In the millions of ways we’ve fucked them over?  i believe this is among the worst….

pic that could have been from my childhood found here

Post-script:  Wrote a rough draft of this at my desk this morning. At the ripened age of 50 years and three days.  The nostalgia.  The glimmers of wisdom that have come with age.  Feeling ancient.  Absent-mindedly rubbing my hand across my chin, i encountered yet another unmistakable sign of age — one of those fucking chin whiskers, with the constitution of steel, that spring up over-night.  Stroking my granny-spike with annoyance, i then encountered  something else.  Something fresh.  Bringing the unmistakable sign of greasy youth.  A grape-sized subcutaneous zit, about to erupt right next to that fucking chin hair.  [sigh]

I’m not quite dead yet…

Clearing my e-mail before bedtime, i was rattled by the appearance of this obviously targeted pop-up advertisement on my screen:

Senior people?  Oh, for fuckssake, i’m only 48…  Do i look like a senior citizen?  Doesn’t that start when you’re, like, sixty or something?

Granted, when i turned 47 last year, i started telling everyone i’d turned 50.  My logic is bullet proof.  Once you reach 47, you are no longer in your “mid-forties”.  You officially enter your “late-forties”, and if you tell someone you are in your “late-forties”, they will assume you are a lying sack of shit in denial, and are really fifty. 

So why not go ahead and round it up?

The idea of an on-line dating site for folks over 50 is fine.  But why is their sample chat so damn lame?   “Do you like movies?”  “Yes, all types!  Care to join me?” says the suave and debonair* “LadiesMan”.  Yeah.  i can’t wait to get my hands on that piece of studliness…  When i’m in my 50’s i can damn near guarantee i’ll be a bit more direct – why waste time with small talk, when the clock starts to tick a little louder?

LadiesMan:  Hi!  I like your profile!

50sGal:  You have any medical problems?  Heart trouble?  Un-corrected ED?  How are your teeth?  Latex allergies?

LadiesMan: Would you like to see a movie with me?

50sGal: [offline]

Got this in an e-card from a friend, and this is probably a little closer to where my mental state lies at the moment.  i had one helluva birthday weekend, thankyouverymuch!  This rolling stone ain’t gathering no moss.  At least not yet…

* pronounced “soo-AH-veh and de-BONE-er”…

Granny Busts A Hip Bone

Another birthday looms next week, and as i approach 48 (which might as well be 50) my body has been reminding me that some of my parts may be entering the “Wear Out” regime of the bathtub reliability curve*.  My fitness quest no longer has a ‘target weight’ by ‘such and such’ a date.  i am painfully aware that i must continue to push my body out of the sofa zone for the rest of my life if i wish to live aggressively.

Over the long weekend, my workout buddy and i managed to put over 80 miles on the bicycles.  Time-wise?  That’s about seven hours of pedaling.  We try to make it fun, change up the routes, throw in interesting destinations.  But mostly?  We ride.  We sweat.  We ride some more.  We ingest metric tons of gnats.  But it still beats the hell out of being in a gym.

Friday night, we ended up at the playground in a local park. Farting around on the swings, i noticed the soft bed of mulch under my feet.  For safety.  Looking over to the lame plastic slide thingie.  No higher than maybe six feet, and surrounded by soft, shock-absorbing mulch.

It occurred to me that playgrounds aren’t much fun anymore.

Liability laws have driven the really cool stuff into the history books – those spinny steel merry-go-rounds were the best!  If you didn’t go flying off into the dirt when the older kids started twirling it wildly, then you got so dizzy you puked before you went home!  Doesn’t get much better than that when you’re ten years old!

And the mulch?  Really?  At my elementary school, we had a 14’ metal slide on the playground.  The landing zone – concrete.  It was a parking lot.  Under the swings – nothing but gravel. 

It seemed that at least once a day, the teachers standing around talking smack about the students during recess would be interrupted by a bleeding child.  Maybe pulling a dirty tissue out of a coat pocket for an impromptu spit-cleanse if it was a small raspberry on a knee, or shipping the kid to the school nurse for some mercurochrome and a bandaid if it was a little worse…

As my bike buddy and i wandered toward the water fountain to refill our bottles before heading back, we stopped at the teeter-totters. Tires, dug into the dirt, were placed under the ends of the teeter-totters making it impossible to hit the ground hard and bounce your fellow rider hard enough to crack teeth. i continued my rant about how pathetic it is that ‘safety overrides fun’ on the modern playground.

 With a little maneuvering, he was able to torque the wooden plank sideways just enough to miss the tires and hit the dirt… At that point, i pretty much shut up about how pussy-fied playgrounds have become.

Perhaps this is the playground of my future… 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Well known “reliability” curve in the engineering realm. Failures early in the operational lifetime of an object are primarily due to manufacturing flaws, or other defects. These are known as “Infant Mortalities”. The object will likely then experience a long period of low failure rates, and this is referred to as “Useful Life”. As bits and pieces start to suffer damage during use, the failure rate again increases, and this is known as the “Wear-out” phase. This curve also explains why i am far more comfortable getting onto an airplane of ‘a certain age’, than i am leaving the earth in the shiny new ones…

 

Forever young… not…

“What?  He’s too young to have a stroke? What the FUCK?!?”

Ummm… just because i’ll always see him as that long-haired, deep-thinking hippie boy with the irresistible impish grin, doesn’t mean he’s too young for a stroke.  He’s 48.  And at the moment, he’s still in neuro-ICU, unable to speak, with complete right side paralysis. 

Although he and i hadn’t seen each other in decades, i stumbled upon his twin sister via facebook last January.  She’d been my best friend through 7th-8th grade (and NOT just because i had a crush on her brother), but we’d followed rather different paths and lost touch. 

After a few conversations with him, on a whim i hopped a plane out of town for a terrific weekend last summer.  One of those people in your life.  Our connection wasn’t based on the past — shit, we were 12 years old when we’d last had a conversation — but the connection was a good one.

Prognosis?  Who knows.  He’s overcome much worse during those 48 years, so my money is on him.  His twin is at his bedside.  He has an extensive network of close friends in town.  There’s nothing to be done…

As if we all need another reminder, don’t put it off.  Whatever it is.  Don’t fucking wait til next week, next month, next year. 

Get on it.