Saturday, August 27, 2011

dead man whacking

this story has been percolating for a long time & i've finally decided that i'm going to write it, because it's just too bizarre and it wants to be told. and even though it sounds like i've made parts up, i assure you, i do not daydream up stories about such things.

when i was 21 (a lot of my stories seem to have happened around that time. they were sort of my glory days. i did lots of stupid stuff that makes for great story fodder, but i would never want to live it again.) i went to a movie theatre with a girlfriend to see "Dead Man Walking."  if you haven't seen it, there's a link to the trailer, but essentially, it's the story of a convicted murderer on death row & a nun who is his spiritual advisor. it is a sad drama.

the movie had been playing for at least half an hour. there weren't many people in the theatre because it had been out for quite a while and it was a weekday. then a man came in & sat down 3 seats away from me. it seemed odd to me that with all the empty seats in the theatre, he'd chosen to sit with just 2 empty chairs between us. it was also odd that he'd come into the movie so long after it had started. other than thinking those two things, i didn't pay any attention to the man.

a few minutes later, i got the feeling that i was being watched. i glanced over & saw that he was staring at my legs. both myself and my friend were wearing shorts & we had our feet up on the empty seats in front of us and that man was very clearly & openly looking at our legs. i nudged my friend and pointed at him. at that time in our lives, we were used to getting checked out by men, so it didn't strike us as surprising, just tacky to be so obvious about it.

shortly after that, i noticed movement out of the corner of my eye and peeked toward him again. there was movement in the region of his lap. i was elbowing my friend & whispering frantically that i thought the dude was handling himself. she wasn't shy at all about turning to stare straight at him to determine if i was right. and sure enough, he wasn't just handling his business, he had pulled it all the way out.

we were pretty shocked to be sitting in a sad movie in a public theatre and to have a man sitting beside us, spanking his monkey. we didn't know what we should do. we would have had to climb over him to get to the aisle or else climb over a seat to get into a different row and neither of those options seemed good, so we just sat there, unable to even notice what was happening on the big screen because we had our own drama unfolding right in our row.

we started saying "gross!" and "dirty old man" in loud whispers, hoping that would make him leave. it didn't. we put our legs down and tucked them under us so he wouldn't be looking at them anymore, but still he kept up his obviously pleasurable activities. we started hissing out phrases more loudly, like "that's disgusting!" or "put your nasty thing away, no one wants to see that!" it seemed as though our complaining was adding to his enjoyment and before too long, his head was thrown back and his pace increased until it was finally over. then he looked straight at us and grinned, adjusted his pants and left.

we were very relieved when he left. the movie had climaxed along with the man and we were just waiting for it to be finished so we could go out & shriek about what we'd just seen. unfortunately, that's when a different man came in & sat in the same seat that had just been vacated by the first perv. we could hardly believe our eyes when he sat right down, and whipped out his meat wrench with no hesitation or warning and started petting it.

this guy looked nothing like the first guy. they were at least 30 years apart in age, different races and dressed in such a way that they appeared to be from very different socio-economic groups. we couldn't figure out how it could happen once during our movie watching experience, but twice was just too much to comprehend.

we'd had more than enough by then & we started talking loudly & guesturing toward him to try to draw the attention of the others in the theatre. it worked and he didn't stay long before he buttoned up & skeedaddled out of there.

once the movie was over, we carefully stepped over the puddle on the floor in front of the dirty dude's seat & raced out to our car, terrified that we'd be followed. we made it home safely, but were left with a story we can never forget.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


when i was single and about 20, i had a guy friend who was cute. actually, i had a lot of guy friends who were cute, but this story is only about one of them. we didn't know each other well, but we had several mutual friends and often hung out in the same group of people. he was nicer than most of the guys i knew and never seemed like he was trying to be cool or impress anyone with his "game".

we kind of checked each other out for a while and eventually he asked me out. i was glad that he did and happily said yes. i think we went out for dinner or a movie and then afterwards, we went to a little ice cream shop. we were having fun, but i wasn't feeling like there was a romantic connection between us. it felt like going out with a friend or maybe my cousin.

while we were eating ice cream and laughing, i noticed that he was looking at my boobs. then he wasn't laughing or smiling anymore. he was staring very intently at my deep cleavage and didn't seem to be listening to what i was saying. i stopped talking & just stared at him, wondering what was going on.

then he reached out his hand & started slowly reaching toward me. and not just reaching toward me, but reaching toward my chest. this was completely out of character for him, especially since we were on a first date & sitting in a public shop surrounded by families. i just watched him, almost mesmerized by the oddity of it.

then he suddenly SLAPPED me, right on the top of my left boob! my jaw dropped, my eyes popped and i was speechless. that's when he looked up at my face & noticed the shock and he started stammering. he finally managed to explain that there had been a bug crawling down my shirt from my collarbone, heading into the crack of my boobs and he'd managed to slap it away before it made contact with skin.

he turned red in the face and i burst out laughing because of how crazy it had all been for a minute there. we didn't have a second date, but stayed friends, and i still like to tell his wife that story sometimes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

belly baby

this post is not going to be entertaining and you will not leave here laughing your abs off. if you're not in the mood for some raw & honest emotions, feel free to click away, baby, click away.

when we had been married for a couple years, i decided that i needed to have a baby. i told that story over here, so if you're interested you can check it out. it took a couple years and a some fertility testing and treatments (including a sperm donation from my husband) before we eventually got pregnant with brooke.

we decided that if we were going to have the one, we would like her to have a sibling so she wouldn't be a bored, selfish only child, and we wanted that second child to be close to brooke's age, so our goal was to have the kids 2 years or less apart. almost as soon as brooke was born, we were ready to try again for baby number 2, but once again, we had no success at getting pregnant.

2 years went by with no luck, so we decided that as long as the kids could be 3 years or less apart, it would be fine. at least then brooke wouldn't be an only child. shortly after brooke's second birthday, i got pregnant. i was still doing the whole temperature charting, ovulation predicting thing, so i knew i was pregnant within just a few days of it happening.

i was looking forward to the time when i was far enough along to take a pregnancy test and see the positive results. i waited a few weeks because i was busy and i already knew in my mind that the results were positive, so there wasn't a big rush. then one day i started bleeding and cramping and i rushed to the store for a test. the result was a very weak positive, but it told me my baby was really there. unfortunately the bleeding continued and i resigned myself to the fact that was having a miscarriage.

i tried to block out the emotional distress. i went on about my life as if nothing was happening and i didn't talk about it very much. i took care of brooke every day, but i couldn't focus on anything except my lost baby.

three months later, i was pregnant again. it was 3 years to the day of when i'd gotten a positive result on a pregnancy test with brooke & that felt to me like a good sign. i was going to have 2 kids 3 years apart and one of my best friends had just found out she was pregnant a week earlier, so there was the extra excitement of sharing my pregnancy with her. i felt confident that this one was going to work. i didn't let myself dwell on the miscarriage, i just prayed and trusted that this was the who was going to complete our little family.

 a few weeks later, the bleeding started again. and it was painful. i went to a doctor who told me that yes i was pregnant, but that the baby had died before the heartbeat could be detected. i probably wouldn't need a d&c, i just needed to wait for it to pass.

this time, i was eaten up with the grief. i was devastated and felt like i'd been destroyed. i could hardly get out of bed. my child was left to fend for herself during many of the hours when chris went to work. she would sometimes hug me and kiss my stomach and say she was kissing my belly baby. she brought me her toys and snacks to try to cheer me up, but all i could do was cry and tell her that the belly baby was in heaven now.

i dreaded going to the bathroom because i knew that i would have to see the mess that was flowing out of my body. i didn't want to let it go. it was coming out of me in clots, so every time i changed a pad, i felt like i was throwing pieces of my baby in the trash. one night i sat on the toilet and held a used pad wrapped up in a wad in my arms and hugged it and bawled because it was the only chance i'd ever have to hold and hug my baby. i knew it was gross, but i just couldn't let go. just because it was small didn't mean it deserved to go into the garbage with old hair and q-tips. it took me a long time to leave it behind.

i ran a bath that night & filled the tub with a massive quantity of bubbles, then turned off the lights and climbed in. i dunked myself so far down into the tub that only my nose and mouth were out and i closed my eyes and thought about how i would never get to spend any time with my second or third babies. i'd never get to know them or see them or hug them. i thought about how maybe if i just ended my own life in the bathtub, i could go be with them and stop feeling like i was breaking all into little pieces.

knowing that brooke would be left without a mommy if i went through with that terrible idea was enough to keep my nose out of the water. barely. so instead i took that time in the bath, in the dark, and i cried out all my pain. i buried my head in a mountain of bubbles and imagined that my two tiny babies were in there with me and that they knew how much i loved them. i thought about an email i'd gotten from a friend's mom telling me that she'd had a miscarriage too and that she was consoled at the idea that her baby was being cared for and loved by Jesus in heaven. and what better babysitter than the king of the universe.

eventually the physical pain subsided, but the emotional pain lasted a lot longer. so many people said things to me that they meant to be kind, but were hurtful instead. they told me i'd have more children eventually. they told me it was God's will that the babies weren't born. they told me that most likely they didn't make it because they were physically defective and therefore, better off not ever being born.

i wanted to scream at all of them. i wanted to tell them that their child was dead and then pat their shoulder and with a trite little smile say that it was God's will. i wanted to tell them that they were defective and better off dead. i wanted them all to shut up. they had nothing practical to offer me and their words were brutal. i wanted them to stop asking if they could help and instead, come over and take care of brooke for me. i wanted someone to bring dinner to my house so that at least there would be something to eat for the family members who could still swallow food. i wanted someone to do the piles of laundry that were piling up that i didn't have the energy to wash.

but i didn't ask for help. i didn't ask for anything. i just slowly started picking up the pieces of myself and trying to put me back together again.

after that, i decided that i had enough children. one was going to be my perfect number. i was going to do everything i could to prevent brooke from becoming a spoiled, self-centered only child, but i was going to pour myself into her every single day and be thankful for her.

and i was never again going to offer stupid condolences that had no action behind them. i was going to send cards to anyone i knew who had a miscarriage, just like i would if their breathing child died. i was going to use my own awful experience to become a more sensitive person. and i was going to hug brooke. a lot.


i don't know if you know this, but i come from a colorful family. well, that hasn't always been the case because when i was born, i was the second child in a pure white family that was as white bread as they come.

when i was almost 11, my parents adopted my sister sarah. she was only 3 days old when we got her, so right from the beginning, she's been just as much my real sister as my blood sibling. because i was old enough to appreciate her, but young enough to still be home most of the time, sarah was like my little living doll. i got to name her because we first got her as a foster child & weren't expecting to be able to keep her. my parents figured she'd be going to her permanent home before long, where she'd get her permanent name, so what harm was there in letting the 10 year old name the baby. by the time we found out we could keep her when she was a few weeks old, we were all used to calling her sarah, so we left her name as it was. sorry, sar that i wasn't more creative in naming you.

my second sister, erica, came along 3 years after sarah. she was also a brand new baby when we got her and once again, i had a new doll baby to play with. i spent hours dressing them up & fixing their hair. i learned some great braiding skills and i can put in some mean cornrows or microbraids. i've always been thrilled that my parents decided to adopt and i wasn't sad to lose my place as the baby of the family. my sisters made our family feel complete and they added more than just themselves to us, they also added some color and flavor to our otherwise average family.

sarah is bi-racial, so she's usually a lovely shade of brown and erica is black with this great, chocolately skin.

they might not look like me, but they're as much a part of me as my parents and brother.
Easter 1993

since i've moved back here, i've gotten to spend a lot more time with my sisters than i have in a lot of years, and the older we get, the more i appreciate them. i love that we look nothing alike, but we all grew up in the same family. we understand and enjoy each other in a way that i can't share with anybody else. i love going places with them or meeting each other's circles of friends and having people not believe that we're sisters. i've been asked a bunch of times if i was their mom, but no one guesses that i'm the sister.

we may all be different shapes, sizes, ages and colors, but we are all the way sisters in every way that counts. sarah and erica, i love you guys.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

beers and tears - a warning tale of imbibery

when i was 20, i was dating a guy (let's call him mike) who was in the army & he was living on a base about 5 hours from my house. we visited each other when we were able to and it was both exciting and tedious, due to the geographic distance between us. i would drive down to the base once or twice a month to visit him & that was always a very strange thing for naive little me because i  usually couldn't afford a hotel, so i stayed in the barracks with him when i was there.

before i started dating him, i'd pictured barracks to be like the ones you see in movies where there's one big, open room broken up by rows of bunk beds. these barracks were nothing like that. it was more like a college dorm and in each room there would be two or three guys sharing a bedroom and a filthy bathroom. mike only had one roommate, but he had one of the only vcr's in the building, so it was a hot spot for the other guys to hang out, watch movies and drink beer.

one friday, after working all day, i'd driven the 5 hrs to go see mike. i pulled off a couple exits before his stop to fix myself up a little bit, excited to see my man and wanting to look and smell good when i got there. i arrived on base, parked, and carried my overnight bag up the three flights of concrete steps to his room and knocked on his door. my heart was pounding, partly due to running up the steps and partly in anticipation of seeing the guy i'd been missing so much.

there was no answer. i knocked louder. nothing. it was about 10 at night and i was starting to feel anxious because i didn't know what to do. i was in a place where i only barely knew a few guys, i had no cell phone because they weren't invented yet, and i didn't know how to get in touch with my boyfriend. then i started to get mad. i'd driven 5 hours to see him, i was tired and hungry and he didn't even care enough to be there when i arrived. he was expecting me, but he'd just gone somewhere else.

i stood there in that outdoor hallway for a few minutes trying to figure out what to do. i was close to tears and at a loss for what to do next when 2 soldiers walked through and saw me standing there. they were friends of mike who i'd met a couple times before and they stopped to talk to me. when i told them what was going on, they invited me to their room where i could wait for mike to return. i was tremendously relieved, so i followed them back down a set of stairs and into their room.

i had never drank alcohol before, but when one of them offered me a beer, i was just mad enough to take it gladly & chug it right down. mike knew i didn't drink and he liked that about me, so i thought it would serve him right when he got back if he found me a little bit tipsy & hanging out with his friends. one drink turned into 4 and somewhere in that process, i lost my memory and all sense of things that might trouble me. i remember that we were sitting on their couch watching animal planet and there was lots of laughing. beyond that, i remember nothing until there was a loud, sudden pounding on their door.

i recognized mike's voice yelling through the door to open up because he knew i was in there. it was as if i woke up then and i was thrilled that he was there & couldn't really remember where i was or what was going on, only that i was glad that my man had come for me. i sprung clumsily up off the couch and was about to open the door to greet him when i heard the two guys i'd been sitting with hissing for me to button up my shirt and not to tell him anything. i couldn't tell him anything because i didn't remember anything, but i was happy to button up my shirt because, huh, how did that get open?

i flung open the door and greeted mike with open arms and a great big, beery kiss. then i noticed that he was wearing an eye patch and he didn't seem happy to see me at all. he glared at his friends, then he scooped up me and my bag and carried me up the stairs to his room. he plunked me down on his bed & asked me what happened and why i was in that room with those guys.

that's when i remembered to be mad. i was in there cuz he hadn't been around when i'd arrived a couple hours before and i'd had to go somewhere. i didn't want to just sit on the hallway floor waiting for him all night. and by the way, why was he wearing an eye patch?

he pulled the patch off, un-taped a bandage and showed me his eye. it was swollen and purple and there was a zig zag of stitching through the eyelid. he'd been in a car accident and not wearing his seat belt, so his face he gone through the windshield, cutting his eyelid in two in the process. he was in the emergency room getting his face stitched up when i'd arrived and there was no way for him to contact me.

then, he got back to the barracks and found me drunk and apparently fooling around with his friends. he started crying then and i watched in horror, not just because i'd never seen my soldier man cry, but because he was crying tears of blood that streamed down his face and into his shirt.

it was a very traumatic night for me and it was a long time before i tried to drink again, but i've never been able to drink beer since because it immediately brings to my mind those terrible tears of blood.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

hair bonanza - the final chapter x2

i met my future husband when my hair was growing out of the buzz stage & into something infinitely less attractive. my hair was approximately 1 inch long all over with no shape & going nearly straight up into the air. i have no idea why he asked me out, but i'm very glad he did & sure enough, i managed to grow my hair back and look like a normal girl before our wedding.

i changed the color of it on a regular basis in order to get my hair fix without the drastic cutting. i had about every shade of blond, brown & red imaginable & then one day i decided to make the leap to a deep, dark brown. the shade was called "midnight ruby."
if you'll notice, my natural coloring is extremely similar to the woman in this picture, so the color was destined to look awesome on me. after a little while of that, i decided to go all the way to black. i wanted to look like an asian woman right down to my roots, so i bought a box of blue/black & became a whole new woman. actually, chris decided to join me on my black hair endeavor, so we shared a bottle & both went black (can't say we never went back though). chris looked kind of like the devil when his facial hair all freshly dyed black too.

here's a picture of me with my sister sarah where, for only a brief period of time, my hair was darker than hers. i kind of liked it being black for the sake of variety, but it was hard to maintain because my roots were dreadful when they started growing in. and unlike some people, i don't use sharpie along my root line to keep it looking fresh (ahem... sarah.. cough, cough). i also looked pretty corpsey if i didn't wear a bunch of makeup to cover the pastiness & freckles.

one night while i was lying in bed with my black head, i had the overwhelming urge to purge the black & go platinum. i wanted it to be lighter than it had ever been before & i could hardly wait til morning so i could go buy some bleach. i was just sure that it was going to be great, but alas, reality threw me for a loop. it turned a hideous shade of orange that even I couldn't live with. i cut most of it off in my bathroom that day & then bought more bleach. i believe i bleached & dyed it a total of 5 times in rapid succession over the course of a week. during that week i drove with my honey to new york for his virgin voyage north of washington d.c. we stayed with my aunt & uncle & a couple cousins. my cousin drew decided to get in on the bleaching fun, so he & i would color each others' hair at night while laughing at how it kept getting progressively worse.

then i decided that since it was bordering on intolerably horrid, i'd go to sally beauty supply & pick up a bottle of blue hair dye. i had never gone way off the natural color wheel like that & i was picturing something deep & drastic, in the royal blue family for some good shock value. alas, what i got was something more closely resembling baby bird feathers. lots of it had fallen out in the process of all the bleaching & dying and for some reason, the blue didn't come out at all as i'd envisioned it. it was like i had a sad, 4-yr-old-styled "my little pony" on my head & it had crossed way over the line to intolerable. it was time for drastic measures - i would have to shave it... again. so my cousin steve & my husband both had a go at my hair with the clippers (properly charged this time) and had a bit of fun while they were at it. here's a picture of steve giving me a sneak peek at a possible future of male pattern balding. lovely, isn't it? i believe there was also a rat tail.

this time around, my shaving experience was a bit different than the first time. this time my scalp was wounded & weeping from all the chemical abuse it had suffered in the previous week. it more closely resembled a world globe than a head, complete with oozing mountainous peaks of lava & some patches of blue for the oceans. there were some darker places where the bleach hadn't fully penetrated that looked kind of like land & some nearly white patches of fuzz that from a couple feet away could have been mistaken for cloud cover from the air.

i was visiting with lots of friends & family, some of whom i hadn't seen in years & i'm guessing that it was probably a bit of a shock for them when this bald, scabby headed woman showed up at their doors with a wink & a smile. here's a shot of me visiting with my friend cristi. surprisingly she was willing to be seen with me outside of her apartment.

it wasn't more than a month or two later that my grandfather died & i drove north again to attend his funeral. my mom asked that i please wear one of my wigs in order to not give any of the old folks heart attacks. here's the best wig that i owned during my bald periods.

it came in pretty handy when i didn't feel like standing out so severely. i was working at a retail store for kids clothes at the time & i often wore my wig to work so as not to startle the small children. i would have strangers compliment me on my great cut & expertly placed highlights. there were numerous times when a customer would ask me for the name of my hair dresser & with a gleam in my eye, i'd tell them i was my own hair dresser. then my co-workers would start giving me the look, just begging me with their eyes not to do it again, but i could never resist. i would always reach up & yank that wig off my head & expose my hideous scalp to the horror of everyone around.

ahhh, fun times...

it grew back out, slowly but surely & i managed to keep it trimmed up into something more fashionable this time around. dying it a lovely shade of strawberry blond helped take the edge off too.

eventually i learned to leave it alone. for the most part anyway. it was after the second shaving that i decided to calm the heck down & let my head be normal rather than being a gross lumpy globe. so now i just play with highlights & varying lengths. but i'll always be glad for the hair adventures that i've taken in my life. it helps me remember when memorable things happened in my past... oh yeah! the last time i saw you was when my hair was about an inch long after the first time i shaved it. gosh, that's been 14 years!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

hair bonanaza - the bald years x2

i don't know if you tuned in yesterday for the maiden episode of hair bonanza, but if you didn't, you might like to go there first to see how the ground work was set for today's edition where the hair seems to spiral out of control. and unfortunately, i don't mean that in a curly, voluminous sort of way.

when we left off, i was in a dorm bathroom with julie, sporting a juicy mohawk. julie and i spent a lot of time together & after college, we even managed to both get live-in nanny jobs nearby each other so that we could spend our days tanning by the country club pool & taking kids to the mall. our nights were spent in a variety of ... other pursuits. here's a shot of me, probably at the tannest i've ever been & certainly at the thinnest i'd ever been up to that point. i was attempting to show my serious & yet sexy side.

oh collar bones, how i miss you!

i wore my hair like that for a year or so & then i got a stupid hair cut that required too much effort. i hated it because while i enjoy hair games, the reality of actually fixing hair for more than 5 minutes in any given day is out of the question for me. that same day of the yuck hair cut, i watched oprah. that changed my life. demi moore was on the show that day & she had just shaved her head to play g.i. jane & on the show she barely had any hair at all, just a bit of a buzz & damn but she was looking sexy! she had great makeup & long dangly earrings & some little voice in my head said, "you can look like her too. you just have to shave off your hair! and just think, then you won't have to fix it at all!"

so i got julie & out we went to walmart to buy some clippers. we got back to julie's nanny room & i sat down on the toilet lid in her bathroom & she grabbed up chunks of my hair & started hacking it off, right down to my scalp. while we were laughing hysterically and chopping off my locks, the clippers were charging close at hand. we didn't wait quite long enough for them to finish charging because we were in a hurry to get the job done, so as julie would run them through my hair, after only a few swipes, the battery would run out & they would start to yank rather than cut the scraps of hair that remained on my head. over & over we had to put them back on the base to charge, all the while we laughed & laughed & laughed in nearly feverish hysteria. it took so long for the job to be done that i started wondering if i'd made a horrible mistake. maybe being 21 & bald wasn't such a hot idea after all. but it was too late. i might get fired from my cushy nanny job for becoming a freak. i might never find another man. i might get really cold since it was november & i wasn't a fan of stocking caps.

eventually, the job was done. i went home & spent a prickly night in bed, waking up repeatedly, wondering if it was all a dream. no such luck; my pillow case sticking to the 1/8 inch long spikes covering my head was a clear indication that it was entirely too real. i wore a baseball hat the next morning to face my boss. she wasn't happy & clearly hadn't ever dealt with such a scenario with any of her former nannies. there's apparently no rule about what to say or do when the caretaker of your children goes from a normalish person to a bald-headed freak overnight. to her credit, she didn't fire me, just asked me to please not shave it again.

a couple of days later, the weekend arrived. julie & i generally went to this one club on the weekends where we knew a lot of people & could get in for free. it was our spot. our stomping grounds. the scene of our crimes. so we got decked out in our sexy little mini dresses, did our makeup & nails & she did her hair. we drove over there like we always did & suddenly, when we were just about to arrive, my heart started pounding really hard. i felt like i couldn't breathe. i thought i'd throw up. how could i possibly go into this place where i'd always felt so cool & let everyone see me with a bald head? i nearly turned the car around & took my panicked self home, but julie helped me up & out into the night for my first public display of insanity. everyone stared. people pointed. mouths dropped open and it was pretty clear they weren't staring because i was looking super fly.

a few drinks later, i overcame my panic & started having fun with it. i had a few strangers ask me if i was going through chemo. they told me to be strong & fight the good fight. i had some men whisper in my ear that it was surprisingly sexy. one dude rubbed my head & told me he wanted to put his toes in it because it felt like a carpet.

it wasn't long before i realized the benefits of being bald - no need for shampoo. no need for hair products of any kind, for that matter. i didn't waste time blowing or fixing it. i never had a bad hair day. but the downside was that i felt like i always had to keep a full face of makeup painted on if i was leaving the house. i couldn't forget my earrings & i always had to have my acrylic nails fresh & fabulous in order to keep myself looking healthy & not sickly. no cancer patient action for this girl. i also went to a modeling agency & started taking some classes & had a portfolio made. here are some of the pictures that i still have from those days of traipsing about a gorgeous set with a photographer in tow.

i had to face my family eventually & my darling sister sarah, who was 10 at the time, told me that my head felt like a little animal. my mom didn't want to look at me and they weren't exactly rushing to take pictures of me to send to their friends. i did dig up a couple pics taken by my mom as it started growing back out a smidge.

you'll notice in this one, the doilied monstrosity made another appearance. i believe we were headed out to the nutcracker that sarah was dancing in & it was the only non-flowery dress i owned that would be appropriate for wearing in classy company. i love the contradictions here where i'm in this old, tacky dress with a buzz cut & smiling like it was the most normal thing in the world. and snuggled up tight beside me is my sister erica who doesn't exactly look like a relative & she's wearing a bead factory on her body. this picture makes me smile every time i see it.

here's another gem of a picture, this one taken with julie while i was bald. i'm not sure where we were since i've got on going out eye makeup, but she's wearing a flannel & i'm wearing a corduroy shirt, so clearly we weren't headed out on the town. it's like a mystery from my past.

i think there will need to be a third edition in this series since i've still got a bunch more pics to share & no time left for blogging today. ahh, more hair fun to which you can look forward.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

hair bonanza x2

i'm resurrecting one of my favorite posts since things in my brain have been too hectic to present new material. i posted it about a year ago, but i had about 150 fewer followers than i do now. i figure most of you haven't read it, so please read on & have a laugh at my expense. or be inspired to take your own trip down hair memory lane. i'd love to read yours!

ever since i was in second grade and my best friend amy got her hair cut to shoulder length & feathered, i've had a thing for hair. before that i remember having very few thoughts about hair other than that my mom pulled too hard when she was brushing & parting it to make me presentable. but ever since then, hair has been something i've been fairly creative with. i finally convinced my mom to let me get a hair cut to match amy's after months of begging. i went from this

to this.

a few years later, when i was 10, i got it cut really short in the back & got the top permed - because, well, because it was the 80's & my fabulous aunt joan had hers like that and i strove to be like her. i can't find any pictures that really showed the awesomeness of the style at the moment, but i did find one from that time period where i had some friends over & we decided to go all out punk, complete with hair, makeup & clothes. i think we were 11 here & we were channelling madonna and cindy lauper. i'm the one w/ the mirrored sunglasses & hearty socks.

along the line there were lots & lots of perms done in my grandma's kitchen because i wasn't cool enough to get the spiral perms of beauty shop lore.

i also went through many bottles of sun-in & lemon juice with peroxide applied to fried hair with a hair dryer. my parents were pretty conservative & didn't seem to understand my need to constantly cook, cut, dye, perm, and shave off my hair. they let me do some things, but had to draw the line somewhere & i guess sun-in was okay because orange & stalky was acceptable, but miss clairol was somehow over the line.

i did my time with the poofy bangs. my hair is really small & flat, but i was dedicated with the hair spray bottle and curling irons. here you see me, at 12, attempting to give the best sexy face i could manage.

i once went to camp for a week when i was 13 or 14 & came home with the back, bottom half of my head shaved totally bald. as if my hair wasn't small enough already, i had to go & decrease my volume by half. good plan there, sher! i actually found the clump of my hair a couple weeks ago when i was digging through boxes of relics in my parents attic. the guys who hacked off my hair for me were thoughtful enough to hold the end of my now-removed pony tail into some melted candle wax so i could save it as a summer memento. it also serves as a reminder of when i first went rogue w/ my hair. i'd decided i didn't need parental permission anymore for anything i wanted to do to my own head.

here's another shot of me trying to do big hair when i was about 16. it never lasted long, but the first half hour was generally ok before the flop kicked in. there wasn't enough rave hairspray in the world to keep this flat stuff in the air.

finally, straight hair came back into fashion & for a while there, i was in luck. i could stop perming it & just put some gentle curling iron coercion onto my bangs to prevent them from sticking to my greasy forehead & things went fairly well for a spell. here i was, my senior year of high school wearing a lovely ruffled denim shirt & having a pretty good hair day. that's my brother w/ the icky mustache in the back. i almost cropped him out, but i feel like it adds character to the picture. some gritty flavor, if you will.

and while we're at it, i need to add this picture of me in my golden corral uniform too. that hanky they made me wear on my head made me feel smokin hot. i liked working there because the sweet outfit helped me pick up guys. my claw-like hand, dirty keds and transparent apron look foxy here too.

then, right around the time of my 18th birthday, i had a break up that started a trend where i felt like i needed to make some physical change to myself when a relationship ended. this time, it was a big hair cut where i got my hair chopped into a very "mature" style. in other words, i had the hair of a 40 yr old woman. a couple months later, i was just about to head off to college & wasn't loving the hair, so i got a bright idea of how to fix it .... i permed it! and the next thing i knew, i was no longer a 40 yr old woman, i had become an octogenarian. i had the fluffy, short hair of my grandmother & i was only 18.

are you digging my huge, manly wool sweater? i think it offsets the granny hair. (btw, this is the same amy from my early childhood. we're still together after all these decades.)

whadaya know, the granny hair didn't prevent me from finding a boyfriend... even if he was shorter than me.

i got it trimmed a few months later to try to get rid of the granny that was lurking around my head, and i think that was probably a good thing, but as you can clearly see in this picture, my duck smile and velvet, poofy-sleeved, doilie collared monstrosity of a dress left something to be desired.

eventually that grew out. here's me in college dying it into a lovely faux-hawk w/ my newly met bestie, julie in the background. she became a regular partner in the hair crimes i committed against myself even if she wasn't going to make the same foolish hair mistakes on herself that i did.

this was when i developed the concept of "hair is intended for amusement purposes - if it's looking good, it amuses me; if it's looking bad, it amuses others." i believe that the scales don't tip in my favor by this standard.

there's a whole slew of other exciting hair follies, but this has gotten too long already. so tune in next time for the second installment of hair bonanza - the bald years.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

gerbils and helium

when i was a junior in high school, my whole family (consisting of 2 parents, 2 teenagers and 2 toddlers) took a month long drive from our house in ny, all the way out to california, down the coast, back across the country and up the east coast. we stayed in a different motel 6 almost every night and spent most of our daylight hours on the road. it was a wonderful trip and we got a chance to learn a lot about our great big country while traveling fairly cheap.

while we were gone, our pets were left with various friends around town, but when we returned, we discovered that one of our gerbils hadn't made it. our friend didn't want to tell us about it while we were still on the road for fear that we'd feel sad and it would dampen our trip, so she put the gerbil into a butter tub and stuck it in her freezer.

this gerbil was not an especially treasured pet. we always had lots of pets and my brother went through a phase of rodent collecting, so it was just one of several. we didn't know if this one was male or female, so it was named Herm. in other words, we didn't know if it was a her or a him. hence, her/m. never mind, the joke goes flat when you have to explain it.

it was october when we got home and by the time we had the little buttery body back in our possession, the ground in our part of the country was already getting too hard for digging holes. we didn't want to flush herm down the toilet, partly because, well, yuck, and partly because it was questionable if it was too large to make it through the pipes. so we opted to leave the critter cadaver on ice through the winter.

the next spring we remembered that it was still there and we had a long distance move in our near future, so we needed to go ahead and get herm into a final resting place. my brother was often colorful in his sense of humor and liked to do things a little differently, so he came up with an unusual plan for disposing of his little dead pet.

it was his senior year at the time and we planned a big graduation party for all of our friends. we rented a helium tank, but no balloons so that guests could just fill up their lungs with it and we'd have a big, noisy munchkin festival. we converted a small shoe box into a lovely, satin lined coffin for herm and we even attached little poles to each corner so that it could be carried like a proper coffin to the burial place.

we drafted 4 strong male friends to be pall bearers and carry the corpse through the yard on their shoulders to the garden. we had friends who participated in being loud and raucous mourners as the somber procession moved through the yard. we had a "pastor" on hand who said a few kind words and a prayer at the grave sight. a couple people stood by the hole and recounted their memories of herm while wiping tears from their eyes.

slowly, herm's casket was lowered to the ground and placed gently into the hole we'd prepared. all our party guests took turns throwing handfuls of dirt into the grave until the hole was filled. a stone was placed at the head of the hole with "HERM" engraved on it.

we fake cried a little bit more and then commenced with the revelry and helium huffing. and a good time was had by all.

Friday, August 5, 2011

she's a green diva now

oh yes, my friends, this is an application of the kitty rule.
ladies, this post is for you. men, i cherish you & your company, but this time you might want to avert your eyes. go do a lil reading about baseball or perhaps some cage fighting. or if you're more of an intellectual or just not interested in sports some chess or politics might be more your speed.

i'm not really one to do product reviews (and i'm certainly not being reimbursed for my opinion today), but i came across a little gem recently and i had to share it with you since you probably don't know about it. have you ever heard of a Diva Cup? i know, it sounds like a bra, but it's not. i stumbled across this thing in the feminine hygiene section of an organic health food store and i started snickering & called chris over for a giggle. while i was standing there squeezing the box and reading the side of it, the saleswoman walked over & announced that she just loves her diva cup and she's been using it for 5 years now and will never use anything else. she seemed pretty genuine and not like she was just feeding me a line for the purpose of pitching a sale, so i started asking questions.

okay, the deal with this thing is that it's a little silicone cup that you insert into your vagina during your period and it catches all the blood so that you never need to use a pad or tampon again. it can last for up to ten years if you take proper care of it and it saves you the trouble of ever having to carry extra feminine supplies along when you go places. you don't have anything gross to throw away & risk having a dog dig out of the bathroom garbage can.

admittedly it feels a little different to insert and to wear and i was a bit wary at first. you know how it feels when a tampon is riding low and you fear that if you have a sudden sneeze or laugh too hard it's going to shoot out like a bloody torpedo? well this feels a little bit like that at first.  however, this little thing isn't going anywhere.

it works with a sort of vacuum seal once you get it up in there correctly and then it doesn't come out unless it's given a good pull. you can't be squeamish about handling your lady parts if you're going to use one of these things because there's no long string dangling for removal. but there are so many up-sides to it that i don't think i'll ever go back.

i got it on sale for $30. it usually sells at that store for $37, but then you don't have to buy other stuff for period maintenance for years. you're doing the planet a favor by not tossing that mess into a landfill or flushing it down a toilet.

there's no link to women getting TSS from using it and you can't accidentally have sex with it in, leading to a really awkward visit to your doctor, because it blocks the entrance.

i was talking about it to a friend whose response was, "so you're telling me that you're walking around with a cup of blood sloshing around in your twat right now?" umm... yeah, that's pretty much the gist of it. but it seems to me that it beats a cotton ball on a rope with potential to leak. this bugger doesn't leak a drop. dump and clean it 2 or 3 times a day and you're golden.

this now concludes my unpaid infomercial for the diva cup.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

9 ~ the start of something new

my little girl just turned 9. and somehow 9 seems different than all the ages that have come before. it's the place where i really remember my life beginning. i moved from one city to another when i was 9 and there were a lot of things that i remember from that period of time that stand out clearly in my memory. it's when i stopped feeling like a little kid & realized that i wasn't the property of my parents but rather of myself.

i remember that the house we were moving out of was about 1 and a half stories high at the highest point (part of it was underground) and my brother & i opened my bedroom window, removed the screen & jumped out the window to the ground without getting hurt & then ran back in through the front door feeling very proud of ourselves and also scared that mom would realize what we'd done & punish us.

i remember that i started growing boobs, but my mom thought maybe something was wrong with me because she didn't expect to see them arriving so early, so she took me to the doctor who twiddled and pinched me & then called in another doctor who did the same & then they agreed that it was simply breast buds and nothing to be worried about. so mom took me to j.c. penney's and bought me a white stretchy starter bra.

i remember that when we got to our new house, my bed was put into the guest room & i was told that we would go buy me a new bed. but i didn't want a new bed, i wanted to sleep in one of the giant wardrobe boxes from the move. so for a couple months, i slept in my rainbow brite sleeping bag in my box like a hobo, loving that i could move it from one space to another or color all over my box walls or ceiling whenever i wanted.

i remember that there was a boy who i really liked named joe deckman. he was 11 and went to the same church as me; our parents were friends. right before we moved, he asked if he could take me out on a date and for some unfathomable reason, both sets of parents agreed. he and his mom picked me up in their huge station wagon & dropped us off at a pizza shop for one hour. afterwards, his mom took us back to their house where we played a round of life which made me feel all nervous because it talked about us becoming adults and parents and having houses. then we went for a walk through the woods behind his house & we held hands.

oh my gosh, my stomach is suddenly feeling nervous just thinking about the fact that one of these days, my little bitty girl will be feeling butterflies about boys and holding their hands. it feels like the start of a new piece of life.

i've loved every part of her life so far and somehow it seems like each part just keeps getting better. she's old enough to get jokes now and sarcasm. she's figured out the humor of word play. she reads books for fun and types like a pro. she knows that johnny depp is hot even though he's kind of crazy. she makes decisions for herself based on logic and reason and she doesn't second guess herself. she's still a little girl, but i'm starting to see glimpses of the older, wiser, beautiful young woman who she's becoming. i'm so glad i'm her mom.

and on a totally unrelated note, i submitted a story to the cheesy bloggers for their Best. Story. Ever. theme and i wanted to invite you to go check them out. it's a great collection of bloggers who get together and share their crazy and delightful stories. my story was definitely NOT delightful, but they published it anyway, along with my first kiss story from a couple weeks ago.

Monday, August 1, 2011

hey girlfrand!

i've had some really great times with my female friends and family members since i moved here 2 months ago. it's been wonderful reconnecting with old friends & making some new ones. for the year and a half before moving here, we were down to only one car and with my husband working second shift, i had almost zero social life. it was like a vital part of me was snipped unceremoniously off and i was shrivelling up in some ways because i had no one to talk to except my computer. you guys became my social life and my feedback since i wasn't able to have much of it in the real world.

but i'm way too sociable to not get together with my lovely lady friends for regular rounds of laughing, joking, complaining and commiserating. there's something so wonderful about being with someone face to face that i missed badly. there's something delicious about getting a case of the giggles over something you see or talk about that makes you laugh until your stomach hurts, you can't form words or swallow food. you can only cover your mouth and laugh your guts out. cross your legs and try not to pee, but even if you do, it'll totally be worth it because the laugh was just that fantastic.

i hope for all of you that you have people in your lives with whom you can share that too. people who you can talk to about all the nitty gritty bits of parenting and marriage. who you can remember or relate old stories together that are just too great to forget. someone you can compare and contrast life situations with to help you gain some perspective. someone you can confide in when you have doubts about choices to be made. someone who shares your value system or maybe someone who doesn't, but due to your mutual respect of each other, it almost makes you like them more because it doesn't matter. you expand your world view when you talk to that person.

i also want to thank all of my regular readers and especially my commenters for taking the time to stop by here and say hi. thanks for sharing your opinions and stories and laughs with me. i feel like we're friends and i appreciate you.

and to you, amy, thanks so much for that wonderful card i recieved from you in the mail today. she's a bloggy friend who actually sent me a lovely card in the mail with a recipe for something delicious. i'd love to put a happy little piece of mail in the snail mail box of a couple of you who would be willing to email me your addresses. if you want some mail, contact me at

now go call someone & make a date for coffee or wine or a pool day or just a chance to sit around in your yard and chatter and laugh while your kids run around in the sprinkler, covered in grass clippings, but smiling and happy.