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.

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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.

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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.

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Jane Fonda, eat your heart out.

Not Quite Right

 

Hey! It's the Christmas Witch Doctor!

Hey! It’s the Christmas Witch Doctor!

If I am boring myself enough with all my health related thoughts that I can’t stay awake to write them down, then there isn’t much chance that anyone else will find them gripping.  Or helpful.  Thus my procrastination when it comes to ending this blog-neglect thing I have going on.

But I seriously have NOTHING much else happening in my life just now.

Except maybe for Facebook where I read this little story about a nurse who was bathing her patient when he asked her, “Are my testicles black?”   So she checked them out for him and reassured him that everything looked just fine down there.

“Well, that’s great,” he said, “But what I asked you was ARE MY TEST RESULTS BACK?”

This is a perfect example of how I hear things, all mangled up and misconstrued and just not quite on the money.  W requested the other day from another room that I put play dough on the grocery shopping list.  That’s what I heard.  I think it could have been bagels or maybe Leggo.  I don’t know.

And when I went for more needle biopsies on my neck last week (follow-up from a year ago in case there are changes) the doctor told me when he was finished to keep the band-aid on for fifty hours.  That sounded odd, so I wondered if maybe he meant fifteen hours, but that seemed a strange time frame too.  A few hours??  Then he went on to talk about pain killers and results and another visit and I had to pay attention to all that so I forgot to ask for clarification on the band-aid issue.  I took it off when it started to itch.  I am still alive.

Whenever I ask W to repeat himself he gets annoyed and on my case about getting a hearing aid.  But I don’t want one yet.  And here are some of the reasons why I’m being stubborn about it.

  1.  I have inherited my dads intolerance for noise.  He didn’t like the television or the radio blaring away either.  Or people who shouted when they talked.  Or a lot of different types of racket going on at once.  He liked peace and quiet.  Me too.
  2. At night I can still hear clocks ticking and faucets dripping and dogs barking and husbands snoring.  I’d like to get deaf enough to NOT hear those things.  Then we’ll talk.  And I won’t be able to even wildly guess what you’re telling me, so won’t that be fun?
  3. When I was an optician I found people in denial about their need for progressive lenses to be the most apt to dislike them and not adapt to wearing their new multi focal glasses.  I’ve heard it’s the same with hearing aids.  I don’t want to spend all that money on something until I’m sure I need it and really want it and will wear it and like it.  The option of being able to turn it off at will is certainly appealing.
  4. Part of my hearing “problem” is no doubt my inability to pay attention.  My mind wanders off on tangents.  I zone out.  Teachers often remarked about how much time I spent day dreaming.  I’m still doing it.  Sorry, did you say something?
  5. The things I hear are often way funnier than the things actually being said.  Who would want to give that up?

So, how do you like my new lazy Christmas decorating method where you don’t take anything ordinary away but simply add some holiday stuff to the junk you already have lying around?  Whoa, Martha’s got nothing on me.  If you’re disagreeing with that, I can’t hear you.

Nothing says Peace quite like an alien giraffe.

Nothing says Peace quite like an alien giraffe.

Timeless

 

Scanned christmas letter
If my spirit animal was not a sloth (sorry if I just insulted all sloths, some of whom in comparison to me no doubt look down right ambitious) I would have published this hundred and two year old treasure in a more timely fashion, on Christmas eve two years ago, when it was exactly one hundred years old.

Maybe I did, but I’m too lazy to check that out.

It is a letter written to my grandmother, by her grandparents.  Think about that for a minute.  My grandmother would have been twenty five years old in 1912, making her grandparents freaking ancient.  I’m also too lazy to look up their exact ages but it doesn’t matter anyway.  They were grandparents giving a Christmas gift to their grandchildren.  Time goes by and some things hardly change.

The gladsome time of Xmas has again come round and we the undersigned were young once but now are old.  We recollect the wants of  young folks and that often they must go unserved, therefore we thought it our duty to try to do a little for our young people, so concluded to enclose a trifle to each.  Providence having favoured more than normal we thought it but right to divide up a little of that with those whom Providence had used as instruments for our welfare.

Now enclose a trifle for you as a token of our love and esteem trusting that you will benefit in the same spirit as that in which it is given.

We wish you all the compliments of the season and many happy returns and may the Good Lord ever be with you to bless and comfort you. 

The transcription may not be perfect, but the sentiments are certainly clear.  Let me put that into “2014-speak”.

It’s Christmas!  Time for us old geezers (who surprisingly enough still remember what it was like to be young like you) to give you some Christmas cheer in the form of cash.  We’re doing okay, with some extra to share.  It may not be much, but it makes us happy to be able to help you out whenever we can.  Do some little thing for yourself that brings you joy.  Merry Christmas.  We love you and wish you nothing but the best, today and forever.

It’s been a long week off from all things bloggish, but this morning I made a pre-new years resolution to blog every day from now until the end of the year, thinking that was three blog posts, and then realizing it is in fact four.  Still, I think I can handle it.  Even though I’m ridiculously old and lazy as hell.  At least I don’t have to dip a fountain pen in an inkwell and compose something readable without spell check.  Horrors.

All the best of the season to you and yours.

Christmas Baking for the Christmas Baking Impaired

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Butter Tarts in Progress! I preheated the oven to 400. Separated the frozen tart shells (but left them in their little foil containers) and jam-packed as many as humanly possible on to a cookie sheet. Yes, I buy the frozen ones because it cuts the tart making stress in half.  I learned my lesson the hard way, because no matter what, tart shells and filling never EVER come out even.  Before I perfected my method,  if there was too much pastry I would mix up more filling, and if the pastry ran out I would have to make more of that to use up the filling, and this would go on and on until I got fed up and poured myself several drinks and said to hell with it.  So yeah.  Frozen pastry is the way to go.

I put raisins and chopped pecans in the shells first.  There’s nothing more annoying than picking a tart that has only three raisins in it.  Or maybe I’m the only one who would get annoyed by that.  Anyway,  on to the filling.

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2 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn syrup

2 T melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

1 T vinegar

a pinch of salt

I’m sure there’s some fancy order in which you’re supposed to do this, but I throw everything into a gigantic measuring cup with a pouring spout and combine it with a hand mixer.  (I save my arms and wrist muscles for the fudge mixing which comes later.)

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The reason there’s a pouring thing on my ‘mixing bowl’ is because I have also learned from trial and error that using a spoon is messy and inaccurate.  And often involves a lot of finger licking.  And if you fill these things too full (try for 3/4) they bubble over and stuff burns on to the cookie sheet and you have to toss it and buy a new one.  Just kidding.  But it is a pain to scrub the stupid thing clean.  They are supposed to take between 12 and 15 minutes to bake, so I set the timer for lucky 13.

imageSee that original pan on the far left?  Notice how many more butter tarts I had to make to use up all the filling?  See what I mean?? A good thing about taking pictures of this process is that I clean as I go.  Sort of.  You of course cannot see what is behind me on the kitchen table and in the kitchen sink at this point.

imageThe fudge recipe I make is super simple and easy.  There actually should be no other kind of recipe allowed anywhere.  Especially at Christmas.  I should be giving you quantities in metric, but I learned to cook with cups and spoons, so this is just easier.  I am all about easy.

1 & 2/3 cups white sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 T butter

1/2 tsp salt

Bring these ingredients to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Boil for five minutes.  Do not try to make yourself a cup of coffee during this process, or attempt to take a picture during the rapid-boiling constantly stirring part.  No one I know is that coordinated.

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This is what it looks like after five minutes.  I doubled the recipe, by the way.  I hate doing things twice.

imageWhile everything is still all bubbly and hot, stir in

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 & 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

(or chopped pecans which never made it into the butter tarts)

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Stir until the marshmallows and chocolate chips are melted, or until your arms or your spoon breaks, whichever comes first.  Spread in a parchment paper lined pan.  Choose a really beat up old piece of crap you’ve had in your cupboard for a hundred years because it is so photogenic.  Let cool.  Four hours or longer is good.  Cut into squares (some of which will crumble because you were impatient and did not wait for four hours) and store in an air tight container in the fridge.

Pray that the fudge and the tarts won’t all be gone before you leave to visit your grandchildren.

Sharing My World 12

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Share Your World – 2014 Week 49

What is your preferred hot drink: coffee, tea, water, hot chocolate, or other?

Coffee addict here.  Start, spend and end my day with some form of it or another.  I love the idea of a cup of tea, or afternoon tea, or a tea party, and I’ve tried to like tea itself,  but I just can’t do it.   Plain hot water would be preferable to any kind of tea, no matter what blend or flavour you try to tempt me with or whatever wonderful things you add to it.  Hot chocolate is okay, but generally too sweet.  I went through a stage at work once drinking nothing but mochas (half coffee and half hot chocolate) but I’m a coffee purist at heart.  Whatever that is.  Probably made it up.

What was your favorite toy as a child . . . and now?

One Christmas I asked for a black baby.  This was in the early 1950’s when I was three or four.  I don’t know where the idea came from, but there was nothing I wanted more and Santa must have known that because he delivered.  Yay!  She was the most beautiful doll I’d ever seen, with her black hair and chocolate face and little red and white checkered dress.  I must have loved her to pieces, because I don’t know what became of her.  All my Christmases have been pretty much down hill since that one.

Now my favourite toy is my I-Pad.  I use it so much that sometimes I have to recharge it during the day if I want to watch NetFlix on it later.  The corners of the cover are starting to fray and the rubbery stuff is peeling off at the edges and the screen is filthy most of the time.  It’s like having a little mini computer permanently attached to my right arm.  It is well-worn and much-loved.  But not quite to pieces yet.

Candy factories of the entire world have become one and will now be making only one kind of candy. Which kind, if you were calling the shots?

Oh gawd, I don’t care.  Something with vegetables in it that tastes disgusting so I won’t be tempted to eat it.  But do you know how sad this world would be without Mars Bars?  Pretty damned sad.

Would you want $100,000 right now or $120,000 in a year (tax Free)?

I’ll take it now, please.  Who knows how many buses I could get run over by in the next 365 days?

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

Last week was a rather lazy one for me, not unlike all the other weeks of my entire life.  However, I am getting things ready and organized for Christmas this week.  We will be travelling north and spending time with kids and grandkids and grand dogs.  I’m grateful for the weather staying less than horrible.  I can’t say it’s good, because it IS winter after all.  It’s less than a week to go to the shortest day of the year.  And before we know it, 2014 will be over and gone.  Just like the remaining hours of this day.  Those gifts are not going to wrap themselves.  Guess what I’m doing next.  If I had that hundred grand I bet I’d seriously consider paying somebody to do it for me.

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Santa on a Saturday

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This is my favourite Santa. I painted him many years ago and gave him to my mom.  She hung him up for a lot of Christmases. When she died, somehow I got him back with little effort on my part.  He was a gift and I didn’t expect he’d ever come back to me.  But I’m glad he did.

I love the softness about him, and the impossible floaty star-shaped balloons.  And the fact that he might not even be wearing pants or boots under that too-long dragging coat, for all we know.

Most of all I love the warm happy feeling I get when I see him and remember my mother.  Maybe he made her think of me too.

It’s just a funny little old Santa who surprised me by turning in to my best Christmas treasure.