Hot and Heavy

I’m involved in a love/hate relationship of sorts.  It really shouldn’t be this way, since we’ve spent a lot of time together over the years.  Part of the appeal of blogging is that it’s free therapy, and I need to get this off my chest.

It’s my hair.

No, there isn’t any on my chest.  Not that I’ve noticed anyway, but maybe I should look.

But I have A LOT of hair on my head.  Summertime is when I realize HOW MUCH I really have.  It’s like a warm, fuzzy blanket that I wear around my neck and halfway down my back.  I hate how it looks when I put it up, so I don’t do that often.  Until the temps hit 100 degrees or higher (today was our first 100+ day, hence the blog post).  I guess the hair looks fine up; it just draws more attention to my face.  Ugh.

Cut it short you say?  Not a chance.  The last time my hair was short was during a dark period of the 1970’s, when my mom took me to get a cute shag.  I would post a picture of it, but the only thing worse than the shag was the clothing I wore in the 70’s.  Nobody needs to see that.

See, my mom was a very smart woman.  She told me I needed to take good care of my dreadlocks hair, since I was old enough to brush and wash it on my own.  I’m sure I listened on some kid level, and that was the extent of it.  Until I got the knot.  THE KNOT at the nape of my neck that birds attempted to lay eggs in.  It was rumored that lost socks were in there somewhere.  Women with knitting needles started eyeing it, picturing the fuzzy scarf they could knit with it.  THE KNOT that no comb could conquer.  Tears, cream rinse, No More Tangles spray….nothing would work.  So, we went to get the cute shag.

That was the last time I had short hair.  Well, that short anyway.

Over the years after that, I had a plethora of hairstyles.  Farrah Fawcett feathers in high school, bangs (grown out and cut again many times over), side parts, center parts, and spiral perms.  My dark brown hair would get a golden tint each summer from time spent in the sun and in the pool.  Not thinking that was enough, I had an unfortunate incident with Super Sun-In right before college, which turned my hair a rancid shade of orange.  I looked like a popsicle.

The orange hair took several years to grow out, during which time my hair did get shorter….just to get rid of the orange.  The last bit of faded orange was trimmed away weeks before my wedding (whew!).

Now my head is being invaded by the nasty grays.  Tons of them.  They have already been invading for years; now they have called for reinforcements.  After several calculations using algebra in front of the bathroom mirror the other day, I am convinced that the brown hairs may be the new minority. 

So I color the grays a shade not far off from the summer color I used to get naturally, for free.  Only it’s not so free now, and I have to go every 6 – 8 weeks to keep from looking like I should be riding a broom instead of driving a Honda.  I will keep doing it until the grays no longer accept any color they don’t like.  I’m hoping this isn’t until I am well into my 80’s.

So between the hot neck and the salon bills, I’m feeling a bit at the mercy of my hair and our tenuous relationship these days.  Not complaining, just taking advantage of the free therapy.

Makes orange not look so bad.  Maybe something in a cute shag.

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Summer Daze

It’s been two weeks since school let out, which means summer is in full swing around here!  So far, I have been making a conscious effort to be lazy relax and enjoy the slower pace.  My family still seems to wind up with clean clothes, a spotless clean-enough house, and a somewhat homemade meal on the table sometime after 6pm.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that chaos hasn’t broken out.  Yet.

I am trying to be more mindful this summer, to enjoy things as they come and not always be thinking of the next thing that needs to be done.  Or what hasn’t been done from yesterday.  Or whether or not I should consider Botox.  Or that we are one year away from paying for college.  Or global warming.

Really, I think it’s working.

So in honor of being mindful and relaxed, I want to share a few things I have learned so far this summer:

  • Puppies do NOT automatically calm down when they turn 1 year old.  That must have been in the fine print.
  • The “gradual tanning” lotion and my skin have decided that they will NOT cooperate with each other.  I keep trying, but the lotion still smells bad and my skin stays pasty white.
  • If I flex my arms muscles in just the right way, I can still wave and/or clap in a sleeveless top without arm jiggle.
  • If you offer a teenager a cup of coffee, he will take it.  And add tons of sugar.  Then he wants a cup the following morning.  A few mornings after that, he will not only pour HIS cup, but he will attempt to put YOUR cup into a travel mug and take it with him.  It’s like that Mouse and that Cookie….except for the fact that Mommy needs her coffee, and that boy was willing to share his cookies.
  • If you go shopping in the first week or two of summer, you will run into many, many teachers and other school employees.  It’s like we are on parole for good behavior, let out of the cage, set free.
  • If you are enjoying lunch with friends and the waiter keeps bringing you endless iced tea refills, do NOT pass up an opportunity to use the restroom before leaving the restaurant.  It’s a long ride home.  A long, uncomfortable ride.
  • Contrary to what I previously believed, the earth does not stop spinning if I leave the house with wet, uncurled hair.  Actually, nobody seems to notice or care.
  • I still don’t like leaving the house with wet, uncurled hair.
  • Guacamole and chips make a wonderful lunch.  Just don’t tell my kids.
  • I really enjoy spending time with my kids.  Really.

What little bits of wisdom have you learned so far this summer?

Chill Out!

I came to the realization this week that I stink at relaxing.  You wouldn’t think relaxing is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.  I may be missing a gene, or maybe I was dropped on my head as an infant.  I could have missed a class on relaxation. Whatever the reason, I just can’t relax. Hang out. Chill.

So this summer, I will learn to relax.  Except that sounds like I am planning to relax, which in effect negates the whole idea of relaxing.

This is hard.

I envy people who can just chill out on the couch, watching sports or a favorite sitcom.  I can watch TV, but I am usually also thumbing through a magazine, folding clothes, trying to blog, surfing the Internet, stretching my chronically stiff hips, or playing fetch with the dog.  And relaxing, I guess.

Even if I pour a glass of wine, shut down the laptop, and cuddle next to hubby on the couch I am likely to still be “on” in my head.  Menus to plan, schedules to coordinate, who needs to be where tomorrow at what time?  It’s like that ticker on Wall Street with the same information streaming by every few minutes. Except even the stock market shuts down and takes a break. No ticker, just quiet.

Some people relax while going for a walk.  I usually spend time on a walk thinking about what I need to do when I get home. Or what I should be doing rather than walking.  Walks feel like they need a destination, a purpose.  Other than just the relaxing, of course.

I tried yoga class a few years back.  Friends said it would be relaxing.  It felt good to stretch, but I just couldn’t turn my head off.  After about 15 minutes, I started clock-watching.  When would this relaxing be over, so I could get on with things that needed to be done?  After the class ended, so did my stint with yoga.  I may try again someday, in a studio with no clock.

I do enjoy reading, something that I find more time for in the summer.  But sometimes I find that I want to finish a book so I can start the NEXT book in my pile.  Now it seems like a task to complete, not a method of relaxation.

Maybe my problem is that I don’t REALIZE I am relaxing while I enjoy favorite activities.  Relaxation may not have to take place on its own, but instead with a symphony of other things interrupting it in the background.

Or maybe I just have the attention span of a Cub Scout.

This summer, I have visions of a lounge chair on the beach, a great book, listening to the waves, and trying to soak up some sun through my SPF 50, umbrella, and floppy hat.  Sometime this summer I will relax, and I will enjoy it.  It may have to be while I am asleep, but I will be relaxed.