Monday, July 27, 2020

The Hair! The Hair! The Hair!

How long have I been growing out this mop? Since I retired, I think, but not completely sure--two years maybe? Two years in and still trying to figure things out.

I go through stages of wanting to prune it or enjoy it with an inspection and adoration of the new locks. There isn't much emotion that falls between, to be honest--love or hate. And the endless number of alluring products--mostly with similar ingredients and SO MUCH scent. Good golly, I'm not trying to hide a corpse!

My most recent discovery is a combination of oils that don't leave my hair greasy and separating into . . . something less appetizing. Jessicurl has a product  that has been working well for me. I combine it with her Confident Curls, and Garnier Fructis leave in conditioner. But that doesn't mean I won't find something completely different in a couple of months. Always searching, that's me. One of things I appreciate about Jessicurl is her sample sizes. Who wants to buy a big bottle of untried hair product, over and over? Which makes me wonder if we shouldn't start requesting those sample sizes from all the companies.

These new oil combos, are a far cry from what was on offer in the seventies. I could never get the hang of the Alberto VO5 conditioning treatment in a tube. Could you? Always reminds me of that pomade I got into as a youngster. But these leave-in conditioners are much easier to apply, though you do have to figure out the combination that works best over a period of time and trials.

And here I sit with damp hair, wondering how the newest product, Klorane, is going to work. Huh, is my hair a hobby? It certainly is right now, K, it certainly is.

"Dear Hair,

You're a wavy whorl
Flowing through the air
The blonde spirals of curl
Full of frizz.
Unlike my friends' straight locks
Whom lay softly is
Mostly straightened and faux
I've learned to embrace
Creatively control
Keep in place
My mane in whole.
Cherished above
You are a terrific thrill.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

The Twenty-Eighth: The Possibilities of a Day

My late apologies, this ended up more like a rerun, but that seems right for these extraordinary times, when everything seems mostly the same each day. {K shrugs}

This afternoon, a social media bud, posted about what small things they're missing. And then my wheels start to spin a bit. My first thought was a concern such pondering might depress someone staying close to home during this pandemic, but once I began to muse, I realized it's an exercise into cherishing and inspecting those small, unexpected pleasures.

What comes to mind first? The sweet wee exchanges at the check-out counters--whether it's another customer or the clerk or both, they can lift the mood, open a face and maybe even bring a chuckle.

Perhaps I'm alone on the next possible bringer of joy, but doubtful. Now that I've begun to mull this one over, I'm wondering when it happened last. When you have a list of places you need to go, pet shop, post office, grocery store, book store, etc, and you plan the route that pleases.

So many of the looked forward to, appreciated, hoped for, involve people and places. Marked as, "something to look forward to", whenever enough people start taking this seriously and start wearing a mask.

I can wait.
I may not be thrilled,
but there's nothing to stop me from planning for afterwards.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Twenty-Seventh: Freedom

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

There's a story that Mom would share about the two of us waiting in the doctor's waiting room. I was quite small, perhaps a toddler, and I was in pain, sitting on her lap, loudly wailing and sobbing, sobbing and wailing, my red wet eyes and my snotty nose. And then-- I stopped. And a smile erupted to transform that moment for all the witnesses. I can imagine my Mother's relief and then (perhaps) horror at the sight of what flowed out of my ear. Ah yes, the good old ear infection and the eventual freedom from pain.

When I was eleven or twelve, I was allowed to ride a Greyhound bus one hundred and six miles, all on my own--me and my little flowered suitcase. I'm unclear as to how it happened, but I do remember wanting to spend more time with my cousin Clarissa. Perhaps my cousin and I planned the entire trip--we didn't write those long long letters to one another about nothing. Or Mom had a brainstorm, but I usually had to push for any freedoms. It's still a surprise to me now, that I was allowed to go on that big adventure.

Huh, as I'm composing the next sentence in my head, I realize that it was peer pressure that nudged me to my first real job. Huh. My pal T, suddenly had more spending money of her own and was saving for her dream car. How? Where? When? Can I? Soon there were three of us buds working at Sizzler together. And soon I had a reason and money to get my own car. She was a lovely yellow, two door, Ford Pinto. The first thing I can remember doing after taking possession? I hopped in and started driving and then found myself at the beach. What an amazing feeling that was. Yeah, that was great.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Twenty-Sixth: Cha Cha Cha Changes

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

When I met N, it was during one of the "big eyewear moments"--as in size of lenses and frames. I enjoyed how his glasses accented his face, the bottom edge resting on his cheeks, rising up a tad, when he'd smile. Silly, I know, but I only knew a handful people who wore glasses back then. When they did, it was because of dire need. "I never saw birds or power lines, until I got my glasses", my childhood pal T informed me. And then, once we were wed, N began to notice my squinting. That's when I joined the spec club and began to appreciate clear vision.

I think that's one of the first "changes" I can remember. No, not the changes that we know are coming. I'm talking about our growing, maturing, learning and the eventual slippery slide towards death. The things we believe define us, the things we show or tell the people around us. Until we have an eye test . . . a realization, an epiphany, or we open our eyes wide enough to question those old tenets cluttering our brains.

One of the silliest changes? When we lived in Tillamook for 3 years, I began to associate the big black flies, the constant summer smell of manure slurry on the pastures, with the coast. Once we left, I didn't want to return. I can remember enjoying the surprise on people's faces, when I'd spout all of the reasons I rejected the beach. And now? Now it's one of my happy places, because we all know the benefits of a stroll on the beach or the lure of a sun sinking into the surf.

And there are others that amuse: my rejection of all red clothing for myself for years. Now I want all the red in my closet and drawers. Either I've changed my mind or those dyes are more pleasing? Who knows why. It's probably called being human isn't it? To evolve or soften or have a different opinion, show growth, reexamine old ideas. Yes, let's call it that--human.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Twenty-Fifth: Public Radio Nerd Alert

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

One of my favorite times of the morning, is when N and I loll and twine in bed for an hourish, listening to public radio. We snooze in and out of full listening mode, but when we listen to a story--it's with few distractions: those familiar soothing voices sharing news, music, nature, history, science and, yes, those less than soothing stories. We hadn't always immersed ourselves in their worlds, at least not in our first decade together.

There was a moment of introduction by my older brother in the late eighties--whether it was Prairie Home Companion or Car Talk or The New Yorker Radio Hour. Once we discovered there was entertainment to be had on the radio for road trips, we began to seek it out more often. And then, one day, it was only off once we turned on the television in the evenings.

That's when our offspring began to campaign during the pledge drives. I can still hear the scathing, snarky, tones--
"you know they're talking to you, right?"
"have you called yet?"
"it's called stealing."
"here, I wrote down the number for you."
"even Grandma M is a member!"
We resisted, we joked, and then finally joined the club. Or, perhaps I ought to phrase that differently--we caved? surrendered? cried uncle? And it felt good, to be honest.

And now, public radio has become intertwined with family memories: many long drives home, with various teens in the backseat, and we realize the quiet isn't due to sleeping-- no, they're engaged in a story. The sleepovers, where the offspring would show their friends how we spent our Saturday evenings--watching Keeping Up Appearances or The Vicar of Dibley or To the Manor Born. Apparently, that's when they thought we'd gone a step too far. {K shrugs and smiles and hopes the memories continue to bring them a smile.}

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Twenty-Fourth: Daily Delight

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

Well, then--where shall I begin? {At the beginning, K. Duh} 

The first possible delight of the day, is waking and discovering how many hours since I last checked the clock (something "working me", made an effort not to do). "An entire four hours!", I might remark to myself, while also inserting a mental high five.

And when Hope eats her food at the appointed time? It can feel like an unexpected gift of an hour, where I don't have to keep one eye on that dish, because Izzy does not need double meals.

Most days (particularly now, at this historical moment), I try to complete three crossword puzzles. How I love to come across a clue that my brain knows the answer to, yet I rarely know how. A delightful gobsmack?

SNAIL MAIL--both the receiving and the sending--and the joy is extended to crafting the replies; Having all of the ingredients for a recipe you chose at the last minute; Kitchen dance parties; Receiving a text from a bud; The pull of a good book; Writing; Taking a shower; Checking the plants in our yard; An earworm attached to a happy memory; Crawling into bed; Looking into N's eyes; Listening/visiting with our adult moppets; A job well done.

How about you? Where do you find your daily delights?

Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Twenty-Third: Rocks, Agates, Stones, Pebbles, BamBam

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

Everyone enjoys rocks . . . right? Doesn't everyone have a small or large collection, or a favorite stone or six they keep close? What? They don't? Holy Sedimentary Rocks! How is this possible?

My first rock memory, was in Mrs. Minerva Kane's first grade classroom. We littles would bring in interesting bits of road gravel to share and she'd take it, admire its attributes, tell the owner what type of rock it was and then add it to the growing collection on the expansive window sill. She's the reason I used my first book sale quarter on a small book of gemstones.

Oh and did I mention that my folks were rockhounds? I don't recall any rock collecting trips during my time at home, but there was plenty of evidence to be found around our property. When my Pops decided to find a way to enjoy and display their prize finds, he created a base for a yard light. I don't know how involved I was in the process, but I do remember helping select and decide stone placement, when it was time to set them into the surface of the wet concrete.

Whenever we'd pass a rock shop during a road trip, I knew there was a chance the parents would stop. And the treat of touching, admiring those smooth, glossy surfaces, enjoying the patterns, crystals, colors and shapes, never got old: Montana Moss, Obsidian, Jasper, Tiger Eye, thunder eggs.

Many years later, when I was doing the science lessons with the wee folk, bud K and I eventually created a year end review. During our last sessions, we'd pass out remembering stones (agates) in velveteen pouches and each student would have the opportunity to share which science demo they enjoyed most. One year, all of us agreed that the breezy day we took our parachutes outside and one was caught in a tall tree and another sailed higher and higher, was a high point. Yes, that was some day. I can still picture your excited faces. Thanks for the joy.

Monday, July 6, 2020

The Twenty-Second: Reading Aloud

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

{Oh no! She's writing about reading again?Yes!}

Reading aloud can be quite enjoyable, but only WITH an audience. Otherwise . . . people may come to believe you're losing your marbles and you may shrug and wonder the same. {nothing new here} Besides, art needs feedback, in my opinion. I probably read to our two littles for far too long, but we all three enjoyed it. We digested Lucy Maude Montgomery, Madeleine L'Engle, Lee Nesbit and others who have since escaped my grey cells. I can even recall a summer trip, when I read my current novel, at the time, to N as he drove us across the state. All because I sensed, after a chapter, my constant laughter wasn't a kind gift to the driver--especially with a book that produced guffaws rather than chuckles.

During the first several years of working with the wee folk, it was rare for me to be given opportunities to read to them, but when we began doing small group weekly science lessons, I eventually found ways to wrap a book into our 20-30 minutes. I ended up with a nice collection of both fiction and nonfiction books that complemented our teaching targets. Then, during a lean time, our school district decided to cut librarians. We still had instructional assistants running the libraries, but running a class while checking out books, is a big job for one person.

Eventually I began reading the books during our library class--which led to me buying my own personal collection of books. And what a collection of books! So many characters! So many rhymes! And doing the voices and building the tension and milking the fun and oh how I miss it now. {K sighs and smiles} So, to sum up--it was an honor and a delight to read to all of you, whether for fun or knowledge, and I'll treasure the memories, as I travel through the following life chapters. Cheers!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

The Twenty-First: When They See You

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

This is for those adults who seem to understand that young folk want to be informed, seen and heard. Like the pilot, when lucky wee me got to join G'ma Weeks for a plane ride to the mountains. When we were first gaining altitude, and those power lines appeared to reach arms and wires out to ensnare and electrify us four(?) to death, the pilot casually commented (most likely after seeing my facial expression) on their presence and how they weren't as close as it seemed. Instant unclenching of the stomach muscles and the ability to enjoy the trip soon followed.

I can recall several instances of moments like that, like when a brother-in-law came to my rescue when a clutch cable broke on my first car. Afterwards, I felt like I'd contributed to the repair, rather than treated like a useless child. And then there was Uncle Dave, who we only saw once a year, but knew he'd see us and enjoy our company: he flipped as many pancakes as we could gobble up, gathered us to help churn ice cream, as he shared his favorite stories or (even better) act out his stories around the campfire. What joy! And I loved to retell those stories to others. Perhaps as a way of hanging onto the lore and making it stick in the memory?

To be honest, it's something I hoped to emulate as an adult, but the opportunities are rare these days. I'll take heart that I offered a few of those moments on the playground or in the classroom. There will be moments in the future--and here's me taking this opportunity to remind myself that the current situation is temporary. Truly.
See you . . . always.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Twentieth: Egg Me, Please

Part of a series inspired by Ross Gay
that starts here: 

If there's one food that stands out above the others in my life, it would be eggs. It's a love affair that began early and stuck--like that missed smear of yolk on your plate."by the way, are you going to eat that?" Not like the dreaded banana, that (apparently) I was born to loathe. Mother would share that story once in awhile. She couldn't believe it was banana that I refused to get past my lips. (gag) I can.

But back to eggs, lovely eggs . . .  Every weekday childhood breakfast, included a bowl of oatmeal and an over easy egg with toast. I didn't dally over the oatmeal, but I had a particular routine/method when it came to enjoying that egg and the most important part was the division of the single piece of toast: toast for dipping and toast for slipping what remained of the egg onto--then open mouth to slowly, methodically, savor each buttery, yolky, crunchy, bite. Sigh.

There was one morning, (I remember, thanks to offending the cook) when Mother wasn't cooking breakfast--instead it was oldest sissy S at the stove (13 years older than I). She preferred to cook her eggs on a higher heat . . . leading to the DREADED wires around the egg edges! Sadly, this little imp pointed it out and the story still lives on. (No, I did not roll my eyes just now, I swear.)

Though, my most favorite egg memory, was when I was home in bed with one bug or another, and Mother would deliver a perfectly cooked, 3 minute egg, cubed and peppered on a saucer, with toast, to my bed. I tried to duplicate that nostalgic wee meal several times, but finally decided it was the memory and moment, rather than the actual food. Thanks for that lovely egg memory, Mom. Love you always.