Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hair There and Everywhere!

Only God, my dear, 
Could love you for yourself alone 
And not your yellow hair.
~W.B. Yeats

I never really gave it a whole lotta thought until lately,  and lately it's been on my mind constantly, but my hair is a big part of my identity.  I suppose it always has been.   When I was little, it was down to my butt, and shiny and blonde.  When I was nine years old, my mom cut it into the then popular Dorothy Hammel  wedge cut (basically a bowl cut) which meant that she took off about 9 inches!   Devastation is the only word to describe how I felt.

 Then came the Eighties,  and I was all about the New Wave Eighties hair movement.

 From then on, MY hair, was how I expressed MY individuality.  MY identity.  I have been every length,  cut and color you could imagine.  I have been, long,  short  ,

  (okay, not this short, but close), and in between.   Believe it or not, I even rocked a bright pink and blue Mohawk!

By nature, I am dirty blonde but I have been strawberry blonde, copper penny red, blue-black, and light brown.   I have even been Paula Deen white. 

I have had many an unfortunate accident that resulted in pee yellow, icky green or cal-works orange until I could arrange for my savior (hair stylist extraordinaire)  to save me from myself and correct the color I never seem to get right when I do it myself from the box, and yet....I never seem to learn.  I always fall prey to the do-it-yourself hair color aisle and all of the shiny boxes with their promises that this box will deliver the prettiest, longest lasting most luminous blonde, red, something in between hair color for the low low price of $9.99. 

A good hair day, can make the worst of days tolerable.  A bad hair day can make the happiest of days drag by.  This is not news.  A good hairstylist is like gold.  Feeling bad about yourself?  Feeling fat?  Ugly?  Stupid?  Got a big zit?   Been dumped?  Get a new haircut!  Change your hair color!  It is that simple.  

But be careful....a love affair with hair can break your heart.  I was unprepared for this heartbreak.  

A year or so ago, I cut my long hair short.  After years of having short hair in many colors, I married my husband, and my long blonde hair.  My husband loves long blonde hair and I love my husband.  And it was a great big ego stroke that he looked at me adoringly and told me I was beautiful several times a day, so it was not a big hardship.   There was no discussion, he never said,  "grow your hair long or I won't like it" , in fact, my hair was only slightly more than chin length at the time, I just knew he liked long hair, so I grew it.  

But as time went on I was working full time, and (although I didn't realize it at the time) getting ill, and taking care of my long hair was becoming tiresome.  I had such fond memories of my short colorful past and made several comments.  I was most likely very annoying.  It was extremely hot at the time as I recall, and we were watching Wife Swap, and one of the wives had a cute funky haircut. I commented about it, and to my surprise, my husband said "ya, it's cute, why don't you cut your hair like that?".   Well that's all I needed!   The very next day we were off to my mother in law's in Santa Maria (110 degrees that day!) and I had me a Short Hair magazine, that I poured through the whole four hour trip, and an appointment (thanks to my niece)  with a fantastic hair stylist (Scottie Moore, Santa Maria California).  When my niece and I walked in with the picture of the cut that we (the Hubs and I) had finally settled on, a very short, very rock star cut, Scottie looked like he was either gonna pass out, or run away screaming.  Here is an (almost) 40 year old woman, with very conservative long hair, wanting to cut it all off  and go rock star (and I admit, my niece did have to bring me a thermos of wine, I did after all have my long locks for 12 years)!  But after another 4 grueling hours in the hottest (both senses of the word, remember, 110 degrees) I was rocking the cutest cut I have ever had.  I went back to the Casa with butterflies in my stomach and aside from a huge outburst from my mother-in-law (gotta love her, she speaks her mind) and a new nick name from my nephew (Uncle Bob/George), the reviews were good overall.  Better than expected.   However......

I was downgraded from beautiful to cute.  Cute is not so bad, but let's face it, once you've been "beautiful", "cute" is a downgrade.  It was gradual, and I didn't notice at first.  I loved my new look.  It was freeing.  It was funky.  It was easy, and cool in the heat.  I felt like a rock star.  I felt lighter.  And for a while I thought my husband finally liked short hair.  And then I started to notice the downgrade.  And it became and issue.  I think he took it personally, my wanting to look different than I knew he liked.  And to be fair to him, he didn't know the me that played with my hair (except for color, he is very familiar with her).  To him it must have seemed like I moved out and another woman moved in.  And I took the downgrade personally, like he did it on purpose.  And even though he still told me I was beautiful occasionally, I couldn't help thinking it was only because I complained.  It was a little heartbreaking.  We had many discussions, some not so civil.   But then, the upkeep of short hair began to wear on me, you have to go more often for the trims, etc., and the pictures of my former self in long blonde hair made me nostalgic.  And he is the one I want looking at me, thinking I'm beautiful after all .  Nothing makes me happier actually.  So I decided to grow my hair.   And hear is where the love affair with hair breaks your heart.

I've been growing my hair out for about a year.  But instead of growing out, She's falling out, traitorous bitch.  Not just a little bit, not like "everyone loses 100 strands a day" kind of falling out.  She won't grow, she falls out in the shower, reducing me to tears.  Great sobbing tears.  I know why, I have Lupus, and I take a medication for it.  Both make your hair fall out.  So I've stopped blow drying, started using special shampoo and taking special vitamins.  But my identity if falling out of my head! AHHHH!  My poor Hubby has not known what to say but has been wonderful and supportive.  It has become painfully obvious over the last few weeks that growing my hair is not going to be an option, but neither one of us has really admitted it.  Until now.

The other night,  the Hubs told me to get a rock star hair cut.  My response was childish.  I said " I'm not gonna be downgraded again!  No way!"   He said, "if you cut it, you won't have to worry so much about it falling out, you won't be so stressed about it".   Still pouty, I said, "I'm not gonna cut it until I have no choice".  But I'm already at that point.  I can't keep bawling in the shower because I just got a big ole' handful of hair.  I'm crushed to know that I have to cut my hair.  It's only hair, but god damnit!  I don't want to cut it unless I want to cut it.  But my husband was giving me a gift, telling me that he loves me and will love me even with short hair.  I will be gracious and accept that gift, and I hope if he reads this, he will read the apology between the lines for not being exactly gracious at the moment in which he gave the gift.    I just hope he remembers that if the time ever comes that I need a Dolly Patron wig,  he's gonna have to get me some Dolly Parton boobs too.

Now, I'm gonna need some help picking out that cut:  

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why I Play the Lottery

I was driving around town the other day, listening to Dr. Laura (that's whole 'nother blog) and I heard a preview for another show.  I'm not sure who it was, I think maybe Sean Hannity?  I don't really know who he is or anything about him though so I can't say for sure, all I know is it sounded like some opinionated blow hard like Rush Limbaugh (hate) or John and Ken (love).  The guy was saying something about some statistic that the higher a person's income, the less likely they were to play the lottery.  Okay, I guess I buy that.  I don't know whether this is an actual factual statistic or something he made up.  Then he said something obnoxious along the lines of  "because people higher incomes are too intelligent to waste their time/money playing lottery hoping to get rich".  I wish I could remember the exact line because it was really obnoxious.  I understood the point he was trying to make, and he was probably right, people with higher incomes (I believe he was using $100k per year as the standard, but I don't really even remember that) probably don't stop and pick up a lottery ticket every week. But his delivery sucks.

And it got me thinking, why, do play the lottery.  Do I wanna win?  Duh!  Do I think I'm going to win? Probably not (don't read that Universe! Of course I am!) so why waste the money?

I guess it's because I'm not just buying a chance to win the Jackpot, I'm buying a little bit of hope, and you can never have too much hope.  I'm also getting myself a tiny bit of imagination, and keeping up a positive attitude.

When I buy my ticket, or tickets (the most I ever bought was $7, and that was hard because I am cheap) I usually go to the same store, the Bootlegger II on Avenue K and Division Street, and buy them from the same clerk.  I say the same thing, or just about, " give me (however many) quick pick tickets, and make at least one the winning one!" and she always says "okay, I'll try to get the right one this time!".  I make sure when I buy them to think that one is the winner, and I make sure to believe I have a winner right up until I see that I don't, just in case the Universe is paying attention.  I might spend a few seconds thinking about what I would do with the big bucks if I win.

But that's about it, I don't bet my life on winning the lottery, I don't get disappointed when I don't (okay, except that last really big Mega Millions, I was kinda depressed then) and I don't think people that play the lottery do so because we are lower on the food chain.

So far my system hasn't really worked for us, we are not yet millionaires, so today I picked  my lucky numbers: 3 for the number of grandchildren I have (and marriages, third time is the charm!), 28 for my anniversary date, 11 for the number of years I've been married, 9 for the number of children we have, 40 for my age, which really is fabulous, and 41 for the Mega because I will be that fabulous in a few months.  Wish me luck!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fish Out of Water

Recently I've had some health issues causing me to see a  Rhuemetologist, who recommends that  yoga and swimming are the only acceptable forms of exercise.  As my health has declined, I have been unable to exercise, yet have lost about 30 pounds (man what I would have given to do that at other times in my life!). But I miss the chance to shake my money maker so I've asked him if I can lift weights, use the elliptical, recumbent bike, etc. Apparently, I can do whatever I can handle that doesn't hurt me or tire me excessively, but he prefers that I stick to yoga and swimming.  I prefer to try my regular exercise routine but it turns out that those things all hurt me, especially my hips, and at my next appointment I complain to him that I have actually had to stop exercising altogether and am in fact experiencing new pain.

After bending me like a pretzel, this way and that, into positions I don't think I could have gotten into when I was twenty, much less now that I'm (gasp) 40 and falling apart, he recommends big long needle in my hip (not happening) and he would like me to swim.  I can try yoga because I need to work on my flexibility (ouch, thanks, you really know how to hurt a girl), but he really wants me to swim two or three times a week and come back in a month.

He hands me an address to an indoor pool ( I am supposed to stay away from the sun like a vampire, I sparkle in the sun's rays) and off I go.  Now, I am not the least bit interested in yoga, but  I really don't like to swim at all.  Never have.  Not even as a child.  I like to float in the pool.  In fact, I prefer a blow up pool in the back yard to a big in ground pool.  When my kids were little, every summer we put up the blow up Dough Boy pool.  I played a great game of "see who can swim under mommy on the floaty thing the most times or the fastest"  (yes beer in hand like any good mommy, and no, we don't live in a double-wide) .  I  am not a good swimmer.  If its possible to be a clumsy swimmer, that's me.  My Grandma loves to tell anyone who will listen that when she put the pool in when I was a small child, she taught every child in the neighborhood to swim.....except for me, no matter how hard she tried.  In fact, if any of you have met my grandmother, I'm sure you've heard her tell it, over and over again.  It's really good for my self-esteem by the way, and no, I never thought about drowning on purpose while listening to her tell it while I was in the pool trying to do the breast stroke while everyone was watching me.

But it isn't just that I don't like to swim, he was sending me to a public pool.  Umm yuck.  I mean, I have visions of the public pools of my childhood at the park, crowded with smelly, snot nosed kids gulping pool water all day long and never getting out to pee (come on, you know you never got out to pee either), babies in diapers in the water, and who knows how often they clean the pool or check the chemicals, aaahhh!!   And aside from the yuck factor, how the hell am I going to swim in public with my Grandma right there in my head telling everyone that no matter how hard she tried she just couldn't teach me how to swim?  Will they open early enough for me to get there and swim before everyone else?  And will I be motivated enough to get up that early to swim? Doubtful.

Well,  I have to do it right?  Right.  So, off I go, looking for the yucky indoor public pool.  I think I know where it is because I have passed it before, only... I can't find it.  Doc only gave me the address on a Post-it note, no name or anything.  In addition to just plain being directionally challenged, I get easily confused these days due to what ails me, so after finally finding the address, which is a strip mall, housing several businesses identified by suite numbers, one of which is my husband's former ortho doctor, I throw in the towel in frustration and decide to go back the next day now that I've found the address.  At this point I'm just about to decide that all these little problems are signs that I shouldn't be doing this, I was not meant to swim and that  my only salvation is a bottle of wine, when my husband tells me that he remembers the physical therapist there has an indoor pool.  This is awesome news!  That means no public pool for me!!  Yay, no cooties!   No clumsy breast stroke in front of a crowd of onlookers!  Okay!  I can do this!  So.... I'll go tomorrow no problem.

But tomorrow comes, and  here is the problem, I have no referral from my doctor.  "But" I say "I have a Post-it. With the address on it.  For an indoor pool, in which I am supposed to swim".  For some reason, this does not seem reasonable to the front desk staff.  Hmmmm....well, it takes a couple of weeks to get a referral, but I am welcome to join the water aerobics class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday if I like.  Crap!  It is a sign, I am NOT supposed to swim. But okay, I'll ask the Doc (who is on vacation right now, imagine!) for a DAMN referral if he thinks this is what I should do and take the class in the meantime.   I have worked damn hard to follow doctors orders, and to get over my aversion to swimming and  to making an ass of myself in public and I am not gonna backslide now baby!

So I show up bright and early Friday morning in my tasteful little two piece suit with the halter style top and skirt on the bottom, which covers all my sins (which are admittedly the product of too many Zins) yet is still stylish, pay my seven bucks and walk the green mile back to the pool area, right smack into the Senior Citizens Club.

Now, I am not an ageist.  I love the elderly.  God willing, I'm gonna be elderly one day.  But both my primary care physician's and my specialist's main clientele are the elderly, and I recently spent quite a bit of time and effort convincing my primary care physician that I AM NOT AN 80 YEAR OLD WOMAN, SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG WITH THE WAY I'M FEELING DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT DAMN IT!!  Not to mention the fact that I was looking around for my Grandma to see if she was there to tell everyone that I could never be taught how to swim (she doesn't belong the the Senior Citizens Club, but you can see why I might be concerned, no?).  So I was nonplussed to say the least.  But there I was, might as make the best of it.  I was sure I wasn't gonna get much of a workout but what the hell, at least the water was warm.

Holy cow!  Those old ladies kicked my ass!  There wasn't even any actual swimming.  There was a whole lot of ass kickin goin on!  I was the youngest woman there by about 30 years, and I was the only one out of breath, the least flexible, and the least coordinated.  In order to cover up my discomfort, I regressed back to high school and cracked joke after joke, cracking myself up.  Unfortunately, those old biddies take their water fitness seriously and barely gave me a courtesy laugh.

After about twenty humiliating minutes I shut my pie hole and finished the class in awkward silence, except the occasional demonstration of several moves from a woman who, on land, I was sure I could run circles around (okay, now I'm not so sure).

Anyway, pride wounded, I went home wondering if I would in fact go back to the class, for a number of reasons.  Because I was so uncomfortable, I didn't think I had gotten much out of the class.  But good God!  That night I was so sore you would think I'd run a marathon!  I was sure I would not be able to go again!  I could not believe I couldn't handle a senior citizens water aerobics class!  After I got over (drowned) my pride, I decided to give it another try.  I'm not usually that proud, and I really, really need some form of exercise, and hey, if these ladies can kick my ass at their ripe old age, there must be something to this water aerobics thing, so I'm gonna go back.  And I did go back, a week later.  This time there were fewer people, but I knew some of the moves, felt more confident and when I walked in, they new my name.  It was like walking into Cheers!  Hey, Norm!  Hey, Mindi!  We were worried that you were sore last week!  Great!  I'm the wuss in the senior class.  But, like a champ, I worked hard, and I kept up with the old broads.  My Grandma would have been proud of me, I didn't swallow any water.  And I was a little sore afterward, but not much, a good sore.  So I went back again, this time only two days later.  Hey, Norm!  There were 10 women there today!  One was even close to my age, and nobody kick my ass or had to show me how to do one move.  They even laughed at my jokes ( I did swallow water this time,  don't you dare tell my Grandma)!  So I'm part of the senior crowd, I just don't get the discount.

I finally got my physical therapy referral and it's not even for the same place.  I start next week because the water aerobics isn't really doing much for my hip, even if I think my thighs and core are getting firmer.

But you know what?  I went way out of my comfort zone, and learned a little something about myself, and about someone else in the process (old chicks kick ass!).  And I think I found a little of my Mojo in the process, so  I'm still gonna go work out with my Calendar Girls :)