Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

This morning I cut my hair myself, something I’ve been messing about doing half my life it seems.  And I’ve spent the other half being upset with, happy with, or puzzled by the results of professional haircuts.  At least when I do it myself I save time, learn something, and am always delighted to use the money and time I would have spent with a hairdresser on something more fun.  And less traumatizing.

When we first moved to the Arctic with our one year old daughter my hair was long and straight.  I wore it pulled back at the neck, braided, up in a pony tail and even in pig tails sometimes.   We lived in an isolated community with few amenities, accessible only by air, and I was pregnant and bored.  There’s a deadly combination.  After weeks of conversing with a toddler because my husband was always working or away, using up all my yarn and craft supplies and watching it snow,  I decided to hack off my hair.  Hey, it passed some time.  I took off only a few inches that first time, but then my mother in law sent me the first curling iron I ever owned and the real experimenting began.

image
This is me with my two babies (February 1976) after six months in Cambridge Bay and who knows how many self-inflicted hair cuts.  Once my son arrived I had much less time to be bored so the frequency of hair cuts slowed down considerably.

Fast forward to Christmas that same year when we flew to Ontario.  Our son was almost eleven months old and our daughter was two and a half.  I was long overdue for a visit to a salon.  Mothers of young children generally aren’t known for their astute sense of fashion and style, which might explain why I decided to get my hair cut in a “shag”‘ made popular by people like Jane Fonda in the movie Klute.

When I returned with my newly shorn “do” my daughter stopped in her tracks and stared at me.  Not much ever made that kid slow down, so that’s why I remember it.  I picked her up and she grabbed a little fist full of what was left of the hair at my forehead and said “MOMMY ARE YOU IN THERE?”  Yes, my daughter always spoke in caps lock.

image image
And yes, those are bangs. The shortest bangs in history, except maybe for the ones little kids cut by accident on themselves.  I thought you also might enjoy seeing W in a pink paper party hat, and a messy gift opening Christmas Eve.  And my classy shoes?  Don’t miss those.

The great thing about hair is it keeps on growing and after a couple of months I finally made peace with this hair cut.

image
image
Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.

A Day Without Needles

Hey, what happened to my flashback Fridays?

When I have an upcoming appointment scheduled (and the latest one was this morning at the university hospital) my whole self goes in to a semi catatonic state of mild dread. I don’t function well, unless you consider worrying to be a skill.

The funny thing is I don’t realize I’m doing it until there’s this rush of relief flooding over me when it’s all done and I’m driving home and the sun is shining and it’s Friday and the weekend and FRIDAY!  Oh yeah!  The flashback thing I started.

But first, finally I talked to a doctor who would like to try something different instead of repeating the same procedures in what has seemed to be a random fashion, always giving the same negative results.  So instead of doing yet another needle biopsy less than four months after the last double one, he did only an ultrasound this morning.  He is going to schedule me for a core biopsy instead because it removes a larger tissue sample on which they can do more tests.  And it involves a local anesthetic, and thus a needle but there were no needles today!

So until that’s arranged and the cycle of dread begins again, I feel light-hearted and anxiety free and in a mood to make fun of my hair styles over the years.

image image image
From age six to grade six to Teachers College graduation, the Dutch boy cut morphed to a bob with a Hollywood wave and then to a sleek whatever that is. Easy to look after mostly, and in the process of growing to acceptable hippy length standards.

In between somewhere there was this.

imageThe original cone head?  I can’t even.  But look at that swanky screen door with the big M.  I remember when we got that, thinking it was pretty nice, and a good backdrop for a photo I guess.  Who knows what all was going on in my pointy little head.

Hope you’re having a no needle Friday wherever you are, and whatever the state of your hair.  Don’t worry, one day you will get to the point where it’s just hilariously funny and doesn’t really matter that much anymore.  Except maybe to the people who have to be seen with you in public.  But that’s their problem.

Sharing My World 58

image

One of those Facebook shares for which the source eludes me.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 15

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I am an open book once you get me talking.  I will spill everything and tell you many things, some of which couldn’t possibly interest you and I don’t even care.  It happened at my CT scan last week when the nurse asked me one innocent little question and I proceeded to blather away for ten minutes as her eyes glazed over.  Then I just decided to shut up.  It was probably nerves.  But here’s the thing you would never guess.  I hate talking to strangers.    So I have no idea what makes me feel like I have to do it.

Maybe I was conditioned from working so long as an optician in a retail setting where it was a job requirement to interact with patients and customers.  I always had to push myself to initiate a conversation.  And then I’d learn all kinds of weird things once we got started. People confide in this face.

I also hate being asked when I’m shopping if I need any help.  Yes of course I need help, but not necessarily the kind I’m being offered unless the employee is a psychiatric therapist working part-time in a shoe store and can give me some life skill tips.

See what I mean?  I just say shit and wonder why later.

If a distant uncle dies and you were always his favorite and he leaves you $50,000 (any currency) in his will, what would you do?

First I would wonder why I was always his favourite.  Because for sure I never called him or remembered his birthday.  I would gratefully accept the cash and put it in the bank.  From there it would slowly dwindle away and disappear.  Then I would wonder where the hell it all went.

Where do you hide junk when people come over?

In cupboards and drawers and closets or just stacked neatly in plain sight.  If I get too creative about squirreling it away it may never surface again.  This house is not that big so it’s incredible how many things go missing in a day.  But random things also show up.  Like the iSkin film for my iPad to keep the screen from getting all wrecked.  It turned up yesterday from under a pile of papers, but it might as well have stayed missing because I made such a mess putting it on that I peeled it off again and threw it out.  Gawd, my life is just one traumatic episode after another.

Complete this sentence: I want to learn more about …

…..historic castles in Britain.  I did not know I wanted to learn more about them until a couple of days ago when I started watching “Secrets of Great British Castles” on Netflix.  The Tower of London was once a sort of zoo housing exotic animals royalty received as gifts.  Why did nobody ever tell me this before?  I’m surprised it’s never come up in the check out line up at the grocery store.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

W has come home from the east to wait for the river ice to break up at the island and then he will head back for spring fishing and whatever he messes about doing for the rest of the summer.  While he is home I have put him to work on the lawn.  Because what are husbands good for if not rigorous yard work.

I have sanded and painted the stair railings, working outside in the sunshine, inhaling sawdust and paint fumes.  It will be interesting to see if I can put them back where they came from right side up and all.  There is still some prep work left to do on the walls and trim in the back entrance and then the second coat of white goes on the ceiling and the trim.  The rest will be a beautiful shade called coconut milk which will compliment the wood panels part way up two walls.  It’s the greatest stuff for a hallway because it absorbs boot and shoe and handprint marks.  If it was all paint I probably wouldn’t let anyone come in via the back door ever again.  Sort of like how I don’t want anyone to touch the taps or turn on the water after the sink is all sparkly clean.

Every day I add something to the garage sale pile.  W firmly believes the garage sale is imaginary and will never happen.  Oh he of little faith, who may be right, but the stuff is going somewhere, someday.

Next week I’m looking forward to carrying on carrying on.  And maybe naming those galaxies in my coffee.

share-your-world2

Sharing My World 57

image

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 14

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

With cleaning and yard work I wonder if there is anyone who needs help more than I do.  And that’s why I have help already with both of those things. Although this summer I’m going to attempt the lawn maintenance on my own because it’s so expensive and I could use the exercise and I have lots of time for it.  So far I’ve done nothing.  But I have contemplated raking.  Well, that’s a start isn’t it?  I’ve also sighed and rolled my eyes at the flower beds.

W often helps with the cooking (and I don’t even have to pay him for it) but he likes to cook things like potatoes and perogies and bacon.  I would like to hire a soup and salad chef.  Can you imagine how damned healthy I would be if it didn’t involve having to chop things up on my own?  Yes, I am exactly that lazy and often buy salad kits in a bag because putting one together from scratch just feels too labour intensive to be tolerated.  I admire people who can chop things small enough so that a spoonful of soup contains six different vegetables, instead of one hunk of green pepper big enough to choke you.

If this excellent chopper I’ve hired could also do interesting things with chicken and fish and the occasional steak, I would probably never enter the kitchen again.  And no doubt boast about it to my friends.  And have them over for dinner parties.

What makes you laugh the most?

My first thought was to say my daughter because she can make the most ordinary story hilariously funny, but its actually both my kids, especially when they’re together.  One is loud and a little crazy, and the other is deadpan dry humour personified, reminding me of my dad who always said droll things with a completely straight face.  I love that they find the funny in things, and that they’re drawn to people who make them laugh too. Life would be hell if you couldn’t laugh at it.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

Strangely enough it was little triangular salmon sandwiches.  White bread, canned pink salmon mixed with salt and pepper and white vinegar, real butter on the bread, sweet mixed pickles on the side.  These were a treat for special occasions and picnics and usually meant for company. If we’d had them every day I can’t imagine they would have had the same appeal.  I still love canned salmon, with the bones mashed up in it, and  don’t care at all for fresh salmon.

Second place goes to a concoction my grandmother used to make for us, little potatoes and fresh yellow beans all soft and mushy in a white creamy buttery sauce.  Maybe she made it when we were starving and that’s why I remember it being delicious.  Or maybe it was simply delicious.  I’ve never tried making it myself, afraid to crush the memory.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Sunflowers, daisies, black eyed susans, tiger lilies and anything that has red leaves.  I love the smell of tomato plants and the look of big ripe red tomatoes on the vine.  I might try planting some yellow beans in my back flower bed this year.  They’re supposed to be pretty hard to kill.  Most other plants are no challenge for me, they wither and die if I look at them sideways.  Or don’t look at them at all.  Perhaps that’s part of the problem.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for a quiet week of listening to myself breathe and wondering why I’m wheezy.  Allergy meds don’t seem to have any effect.  Maybe I need something stronger.  Like vodka.  Or weed.

I’m grateful that I’ve finally made it to the end of the last season of Weeds on Netflix.  What a binge watch, and what a bizarre show and what a dumb ending.  I like Mary Louise Parker or I would never have lasted to the final episode.

Next week I have another visit to the university hospital and then I see my family doctor and then I think I will beg them all to leave me alone. Unless of course they find something dire, and then I will rethink that plan.

And THEN I might do some art work.  Sadly, when something begins to feel like work, I stop doing it.  I am looking forward to rekindling the joy.  It’s in here somewhere.

share-your-world2

Sharing My World 56

image

Haha! Just messing with you.  I know it’s Thursday. Happy early April Fools Day. Unless the world ends before tomorrow, then the joke is on me.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 13

Are you left or right-handed?

I am right-handed but I like to practice doing things with my left hand just in case the right one ever wears out or goes missing.  This is a sign of a great worrier, thinking up obscure and unlikely events and preparing for them.  Or worrying because I’m not prepared for them at all.

If you had only one TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

We do have only one TV.  It is in the basement.  I like it there, away from the rest of the house where I can’t hear it.  Most commercials  (and all advertising) drive me nuts.  I am near-sighted and don’t like wearing my glasses, and I don’t hear well.  So I watch TV shows up close on my iPad, with subtitles.  If there was no television in the house I don’t think I’d miss it much.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

Yes I have!  It was twenty years ago and I walked 15 kilometres for the Children’s Miracle Network, or some such similar worthy cause.  The details are fuzzy after all this time, but I definitely recall the 15 km part vividly.  The choices were to do 5, 7, or 15.  When we got to the 7 km point my coworker (who was the one who decided to do the damned walk in the first place) wanted to stop, but I said what the hell, we’ve come this far, let’s do the whole thing.  Our second mistake was sitting on the ground and taking our shoes off to eat a snack when we made it to the end.  We couldn’t get our shoes back on and we couldn’t get up.  We found it hysterically funny that we might have to crawl to the parking lot and drive home in sock feet.  Physical exhaustion does weird things to your sense of humour.

It didn’t come to that, but there’s a reason I’ve never attempted such a long trek since.  It took days for my muscles to recover.  And there’s a reason why sane people do a lot of training beforehand.  I get it now.

Complete this sentence: Love is… .

Love is hard work and rarely perfect, but worth it anyway.  I don’t think I’ve ever used a bible quote here before, but I quite like this one.

image

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I have chosen four colours for my house and not one of them is yellow!  Well, okay, one of them sort of is but it’s called coconut milk so it doesn’t count.  The back entrance is small and poorly lit and needs serious lightening up.  Coconut milk should work.  I’m grateful that we’ve made a start with white ceiling and trim paint too.  Maybe we’ll need sunglasses back there after this.  Instead of a flashlight.

My medical procedures continue (blah) but I’m grateful this last CT scan on Tuesday was at our new local hospital.  What a great place!  Even though it took three people five tries to find a vein for the contrast dye, I’m impressed with the facility.  It’s a ten minute drive from home and beats the hassle of going into the city.  Had my three-month blood work done today and had to explain my bruises but got poked only once this time.  Little things like this make me curiously happy.

As for next week, who knows?  I have lots to keep me busy, but ever fewer excuses to ignore the art room.  Back to that soon I hope.  Meanwhile, this old house continues to endure its facelift.

Yay for April!

share-your-world2

Sharing My World 55

image

On the first day of spring I started to share my world with the normal world but I got seriously sidetracked, much like the girl on the right.  You know, doing extremely important shit.  But look at me now, having put things off but not given up on them entirely and at last, on Spring Day Four, here we go.

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 12

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

Like someone I knew a long time ago, you might THINK there is some magic potion other than water which quenches your thirst, but you would be deluded.  My friends choice at the time was Pepsi.  I suggested it satisfied her desire for sugar and caffeine and had very little to do with thirst, but she would not be persuaded.  This happens sometimes, me being incredibly smart and the other person refusing to have a clue. The reason I have held on to this particular memory might simply be because it’s a rare thing of course.  Me being totally right about something.

Anyway, my final answer is water with no weird things added to it.  I mean seriously, does anyone crave coffee in the desert?

What made you feel good this past week?

Being ALONE.  I would not crave aloneness in the desert either,  but I often crave it here in my house.  On Sunday morning W left for Ontario where he will visit his parents for a couple of weeks.  I don’t think he was gone an hour before I had created a colossal mess taking wallpaper off the back door entrance-way and down the basement steps.  I removed trim and nails and a bit of stucco ceiling by mistake and there was nobody looking over my shoulder being helpful or critical or freaked out by the chaos.  It made me happy to stop abruptly at any random point when the mood hit me and wander off to do something else.  Or nothing else.  I have actually been doing a lot of that these past few days with minimum guilt.

This type of little euphoric pause in being a responsible functioning adult with normal sleeping and eating patterns doesn’t last long and then I will be happy to have someone around to talk to again.  Meanwhile, alone is very okay.

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

Barefoot was always my choice until my feet started to wear out.  Now I wear neon pink flip-flops until my feet get cold and I am forced to change into gigantic fuzzy socks.  When I go outside, even just to empty the garbage, I try to put on some shoes that are half-assed normal. Or go with my nightgown.  Because, you know, neighbors.

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

When it’s very hot I am even more lethargic than normal and would probably wilt and die without air conditioning.  When it’s very cold at least there’s the option of gigantic fuzzy clothing to get warmed up.

Either way the “always” part would be hard to like. Variety is nice, like snowfall on the second day of spring or rain in the middle of winter.  I don’t know how else to start a conversation with a stranger unless there’s weird weather on which to comment.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My daughter has offered to paint our house, ceilings and all, and I have finally made a decision on where to start.  Soon our house will be paper free!  Taking the wallpaper off in the entryway has made me remember why I put it up there in the first place.  It covered a multitude of wall flaws in a hurry.  Time to repair them properly.

I know that once one area is all cleaned up with a fresh coat of paint it’s impossible to stop until the next room is done, and the next one and the next one…..  I am grateful to have help, with my most important duty being colour selection.  Truthfully, I’m willing to hand that one over to her as well since so far all I’ve been able to pick out is sixteen different shades of yellow.

The best part of all is taking ten decorative things off the walls and then putting only two back up.  I don’t know if I can do it, but I’m going to try.

The funniest thing that happened this week (I am always grateful for funny things) is the furnace maintenance guy doing his yearly check up on our heating system and wondering why we had set the furnace to half heat.  I said I didn’t know what that meant so he explained about dual versus single and completely lost me in furnace-speak.   He thinks someone must have been randomly pushing buttons on the thermostat and he had to reset everything including the clock.  Okay, that part I understand.  And I was able to blame it totally on W because he’s not here to defend himself.  Bonus.  I am never touching the thermostat again.  It will be forever 19 degrees celsius day and night in all seasons until we die.  One less decision to make.

Okay!  Back to the wallpaper!  Although what’s the point now, might as well wait until tomorrow.  Or the weekend.  It’s not going anywhere.

share-your-world2

What Makes Things Go

imageMy big brother was always interested in things that ran, things with wheels, mechanical and motorized and intricately put together devices and how they functioned.  He loved mechanical sets and model airplanes and taking things apart to discover how they were assembled in the first place.  My dad often said if anybody could figure out how something worked it was him.

He wasn’t always a hundred percent successful.  I had an alarm clock with a face painted in a woodsy scene with two little elves moving up and down on a teeter- totter with each tick-tock.  I begged him to leave it alone.  And then one day, there it was, in a million pieces with my brother poring over the parts, happily working away on something that wasn’t broken until he decided to fix it.  The little elves never played on that see-saw again.

Not surprisingly, with all that practice, he became an amazing mechanic.  We learned to never ask him anything about our vehicles unless we wanted to listen to an hours worth of baffling diagnostic mechanical information.  Once he warmed to his subject there was no shutting him down.  Might as well grab a coffee and try to keep up with your eyes open.

There are a few of photos of me as a child with a cat draped over my shoulder.  It’s a mystery to me why a kid thinks a cat needs to be picked up and carted about, or why a cat allows it.  We always had outside barn cats, never house cats until we were adults.  I was afraid of dogs for a long time with a recurring nightmare of a big black dog chasing me.  No idea where that came from.  Anyway, there I am, confused by how happy my brother is to be making a little wooden tricycle go when there are cats to be lugged around.

Often we had cats of unknown origin on the farm.  They may have migrated from other farms close by or been dropped off in the country as discarded city pets.  They kept the rodent population in check and more or less looked after themselves.  Once we had a litter of all white kittens which we happily named Snow, Snowflake, Snowball, Sugar, Winter…every white thing we could think of.  They all ended up being called “one of those white cats” because we couldn’t tell them apart.  Later we progressed to more sophisticated cat names such as Spooky, Pooky, Donovan and Trigere.

In his last years on the farm dad had two almost identically marked cats he called Daryl and Other Brother Daryl.  He claimed to know one from the other, but I’m skeptical about that.

Despite all the cats, or maybe because of them, I never became a cat lady.  Although I suppose there’s still time for that to happen, if I ever get to missing a big furry body purring in my face.  My brother had dogs as pets his whole life.  Could be, compared to cats, it’s just much more interesting to figure out what makes a dog tick.