Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OMG I could just dye!

I've been wanting to touch up my roots for weeks now. I've been saying almost every night to Patrick, "If Jules goes right to sleep tonight, I want to do my hair," but either he didn't go right to sleep, or I was tired, or I wanted to veg out on the couch. I bought the little root touch up kit a long time ago but it's just been sitting there. Meanwhile, my roots got longer.

Last night I finally had a chance, so after getting the boy snug in his bed, I went in the bathroom to do my hair.

You should know: I suck at this kind of thing. Not just my hair, but makeup, manicures, pedicures, whatever. I want to look nice, sure, but I lack the sort of girly patience or coordination necessary to do these things. I don't spend a lot of time on myself on a day-to-day basis, but you know? A little upkeep now and then keeps me from sliding into that whole baggy cargo pants + sweatshirt category.

And then, in regards to my hair, I'm a little ambivalent about it. On the one hand... what's wrong with a little gray? I'm only 40 and I don't really care who knows my age, and my mom never dyed her hair and she had beautiful salt and pepper hair... and on the other hand: I'm vain.

I'd been getting my color done at the salon where I get my hair cut, and I was fine with that arrangement, but one day the cost of it started making me feel a little guilty. And some friends, who do their own roots, convinced me that it was easy and doable, even for me.

Now, I've had experiences with home dye jobs before - I've tried this in the past, with mostly disastrous results. Tragedy has struck (my hair was an unfortunate shade of auburn once, and that's not a color that flatters me) before. But the root kits are pretty simple, and the time involved is minimal, and you would think that opportunities for screwing up would be few.

You'd think.

It turned out that I bought a different brand of color. No biggie, I wasn't concerned with matching: dark brown is dark brown is dark brown (thank you, Gertrude Stein). What was different was the process of mixing the color. My usual kit comes with this great little tube of white stuff. You open up one end and add the other little tube of brown stuff. You put the cap back on and shake it up in the tube. Then, you take the cap off and replace it with the stiff little brush you use to apply the color to your hair.

It's a genius-y little arrangement, and it works great.

The kit I bought this time around had none of that. Instead, they provided a cheap, tiny little plastic tub in which you are supposed to mix the two things together (what are these mystery substances? I have no idea. Obviously, when mixed together they create the color. Maybe if they packaged them together it would invoke some dangerous reaction?). The instructions clearly say to put the little tub on a stable, sturdy surface. My bathroom counter top is small. My bathroom is straight out of 1940, and I seriously think everything in there is original. The bright green X-Files paint I chose 12 years ago when we moved in doesn't help anything. It's not a great room. Still: the 4 inch rim to my bathroom sink is pretty sturdy. It's definitely stable. However, my husband's electric shaver, which was perched on the edge of the shelf above the sink, apparently is not.

Minutes after putting the little tub down (fully mixed) on the edge of the sink, the shaver, plugged in and everything, took a dive and knocked my color onto the ground. About a quarter of it landed in the sink. Another quarter of it landed on the floor. I didn't wake up the baby, but my "Oh shit!" was loud enough that Patrick heard me from out in the living room.

Instead of giving up, I decided to soldier on. I cleaned up and used the remaining color. My hair is still kind of short, my grays are not pervasive, I thought it would be enough.

It wasn't enough.

I had enough for the crown of my head, but not for the hairline around my ears.

Oh, well. The package says the color only lasts for 3 weeks anyway. Aside from the little spot on the wall that I missed in my cleaning, nothing bad really happened. I did decide one thing, though: I'm not doing it myself anymore. It's just too much of a hassle. I'm good at lots of other things: this just isn't one of them. Maybe I won't be able to get it done quite as often anymore, but I need to just put my trust in the professionals and pay somebody to do it for me.

Lesson learned. I already have an appointment at the salon where they cut my hair for next month.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving, the theatre, breastfeeding

Thanksgiving was last week, and I have a few things to say about it, primarily, that my brother Dan cooked an amazingly delicious turkey. There was butter, and herbs (herb butter?), and that thing was pretty darn perfect.

I made the mashed potatoes, and with Dan's permission, used half & half, which I had just recently heard about on some cooking show (Ina Garten, I'm looking at you). I was a little disappointed. As much as I love me some mashies, these were not up to the quality I am used to, either made by me, or by my dad (who makes the best potato items, ever, including hash browns). They weren't horrible, but they weren't as good as they could've been. I think the half & half was a mistake. Sure, maybe I added too much, or too little, but whatever. Oh, and I also melted the butter ahead of time, which is also a different technique (which I'm also sure I heard of from some Food Network star). I should've stuck to doing it the way I've always done it.

I also made the cranberries, the night before. This is a classic Ina Garten recipe that I've been making for years, and they're always a hit. I was out with my sister-in-law the night before, and she said she too was making cranberries this year, using a Paula Deen receipe. I asked her what was in it, and she named all the same ingredients as Ina's recipe. I was all, "That's not Paula Deen's recipe!" and then she said, "... and Grand Marnier." Well, alrighty, then. My cranberries don't contain bourbon! (Is that what Grand Marnier is? I'm not even sure.) I'm sure both were good, just different.

Oh, and Dan led me through making the sweet potatoes, which I'd never made before. He roasted them, and I removed their skins (hot hot hot), and added buttermilk, butter, and milk, and then I mashed them for a while, and then we got out the hand-mixer I used in high school to make chocolate chip cookies. Even with the mixer, it was tough to get out all the lumps (next time we'll either get out the big mixer or maybe try using a food processor). After doing the best I could, I put them in a casserole with an arrangement of big marshmallows across the top, and Dan stuck 'em under the broiler. I have to admit, after the turkey, the sweet potatoes were my favorite item this year. They were perfect (though there were a couple of lumps!). Even when I was taking the skins off, before we added the fat, they were delicious. Sweet potatoes might be the perfect food.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was fun. Jules had fun, too - he was great all day.

After that, our weekend was really mellow. I didn't have to go to the theater on Friday, and it was nice to stay home with the boys. I don't remember what we did but I'm sure it was sweet. I also don't remember what we did on Saturday, but I'm sure it was also sweet. Sunday I went to the theater to be in the booth for the final performance of Orestes 3.0 by Charles Mee. We had a great audience, and the performances were really good. I really liked this show, even though the subject matter (matricide! incest! war!) is pretty grim. There were always things to look at and think about. On the other hand, this concludes my committment to be at the theatre on Sundays. They're running "The Bald Soprano" through the end of December, and I'll be in the booth for that on Fridays only, but it's a huge relief to be done with Sundays.

You can check out The Bald Soprano here.

I love being at the theatre, and being involved in the beautiful work they do, and doing my job there, but I'm finally starting to realize that making a commitment like this was possibly a bad idea, or made too soon. I miss being at home with Jules. And, I can't do everything: being there means I didn't play my flute with my friends in flute choir this quarter. Honestly, I've decided that I should be putting my time, what little free time I have, into my flute playing. That's the thing that I love, the thing that I'm really good at, the thing that kind of helps makes me who I am. Being in the booth has been challenging and mostly fun, but in the end, I do it for somebody else. I'm glad I've done it, proud of myself for sticking it out, but time is short, you know? Time to get back to where I was on my flute, and work some more.

So at some point on this blog, I'm sure I mentioned that the boy was sick on Halloween? He had a stomach bug - throwing up and diarrhea, the whole 9 yards. It was not fun. All in all, I  think it lasted about 4 days, but, his appetite is still not quite what it should be. As such, he's been nursing up a storm. There are good and bad things associated with this. The good? I haven't gained any (more) weight, and I've pretty much been eating anything that's not nailed down. The bad - He's been nursing up a storm. Dude: I'm tired. Before he got sick, we'd had about a whole week of him only waking up once at night. Wasn't that awesome! And short-lived. Now he's back to three times a night. The last two weeks were short weeks for me at work, so I think my being home those extra days were great for him, but tiring for me. I had a rough time with this last week. Whoever says that breastfeeding is natural and easy - well, good for you. It's natural, and sure, it's easy, but it's also a huge drain sometimes. That bond that I have with him is precious and beautiful, and also a little overwhelming at times. Okay, those times would between 1:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. I was just worn out. However, I talked to my La Leche League lady last week, and she straightened me out. It wasn't like I was wanting to wean: I just wanted a shoulder to (literally) cry on. I'm going to try to make it to a meeting this week, too. He's almost 22 months old, I think he's hitting a lot of milestones.

Boy, what else? This morning was a huge challenge at work but I'm not going to write about it other to say, I should never let incompetence surprise me. It's sad but true.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello hello heaven

Last night on the drive home from the theater, Bo asked me what my favorite Yes song is.

Other than being a question that probably hasn't been asked in at least 20 years, I actually enjoyed discussing this with him. He used to work in a music store, and he has a wealth of knowledge about music. Not all of it is good music, but taste aside, he's fun to talk to about this kind of thing. As it turns out, his favorite Yes song is "Your Move," which most of us know as the opening of "I've Seen All Good People." I didn't know that "Your Move" was a single, but apparently it was. This is the kind of trivia that Bo knows. The thing that's kind of crazy is that these songs all came out in 1970. (One of us is old. Hint: it ain't me.)

We talked about and sang that song together for most of our drive home, and I never answered the question. Carpooling is so much fun, sometimes.

This morning, on my way to work, my iPod decided to play... "Leave It," by Yes. I'm not even sure when or why I downloaded that song (I think it might be the only Yes song I even have on my iPod), but I recently restored and updated my iPod so it's been playing songs I haven't heard in ages (and not playing my mom's Christian music!), which is cool. So I guess that's my favorite Yes song, because otherwise why would I have bothered to download it?

Later this morning I heard Jackson Browne's "Sky Blue and Black," another song I would never know about if weren't for Bo, and as always, I cried. What is it with that song that makes me cry? Am I just a total cornball? (Yes.)

Isn't it funny how music gets in your brain sometimes? I don't really think Jackson Browne is the greatest guy in the world; I'm not sure I'd like to know him personally (as opposed to say, Stewart Copeland), but he sure writes some beautiful lyrics sometimes.

Go listen to some music. It doesn't have to be Yes, or Jackson Browne... in fact, if I had my iPod out right now I might be listening to the Cars, or Radiohead, or my new David Byrne album. Enjoy whatever it is you enjoy. Turn it up, you know, loud.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I miss Alan Keyes

I very rarely talk about politics here, because I know I don't have enough background to truly offer anything uniquely informative, other than my opinion (and opinions, as we all know, are like... fill in the blank). Even I don't trust my own opinion all the time, why should you?

But I read the following in the NY Times today, and I have a reaction:
“You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity — I mean, this is huge,” Mr. Romney said. “Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group.”
Dear Mr. Romney,

I am Hispanic. I didn't vote for President Obama because of the Dream Act or because of free healthcare. I voted for Obama because he's NOT YOU. I'm insulted by your comment above, as I have been by most of your comments in the past. You, your ideals, your ideas, your method of communication, your choice of words: none of these things have anything to do with me, as a citizen of the United States, as a person, as a voter.


Irene Palma

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our local Bristol Farms was turned into a Lazy Acres recently, and today we went over there to check it out. Mostly we were interested in the Groundworks coffee, but I also wanted to try the McConnell's ice cream. We've been shopping pretty regularly at Fresh and Easy for years now, which works great because I hate grocery shopping and F&E is small enough but well stocked that we get our weekly shopping done in about a half hour. What could be more perfect than that?

Lazy Acres is bigger than F&E but smaller than Whole Foods. They have everything you could possibly want, including an awesome sandwich bar. The hot buffet looked incredible. I saw pork ribs. The ice cream was delicious (I got salted caramel: HEAVENLY).

It was also cool being able to get Groundworks coffee without having to go all the way to Venice.

However. After walking around in there for awhile, I started to get a little panicky. There's so much stuff. The soft lighting seemed like it should be gentle on the eyes but I felt like I couldn't really SEE anything. And it was crowded. Someone always wanted something right where I was standing, or vice versa.

Now all this could just be me. My allergies are acting up, I know I need new glasses, I'm tired, I hate crowded grocery stores, I'm used to Fresh and Easy.

It's probably just me. Anyway, we'll be back. That ice cream was amazing.