Saturday, May 24, 2008

Not Loving It

First off, I want to thank everyone who rang in on their thoughts of which haircut I should get. Mostly it seemed as if Martina was the preference followed closely by Heather. Mandy seemed out due to "high maintenance" issues. I totally agree. My mother, when asked her opinion (big mistake!), said, "it's about time you got a haircut! You've got waaayyy too much going on. I don't like it this long. Shorter is much better on you." She's never liked long hair - on anyone.

So I went to the appointment yesterday with high hopes of a new sassy, hip style. Mostly I wanted the overwhelming bulk of my hair taken down some to move away from the triangle shape I was flirting wi
th. I went in with hair like this:

Longer than shoulder-length and thick.

I've never had my hair cut in quite this manner before. The stylist looks at a head of curly hair "like a sculpture" and addresses each head uniquely. She cuts the hair dry so that essentially each curl can be cut individually for maximum results. We talked about what I was looking for, seemed to reach agreement, and she started. Lifting my hair in little sections and cutting. Twirling and snipping the tiniest bits, it seemed. And then in a blink the bulk was gone and the weight of my hair was lifted from below the chin level to above. The triangle was gone and my curls were bouncing. Literally. And there was a fat load of my hair on the floor all around the chair. Then, after the dry cut, she took me to the sink for a wash and then revisited my hair, cutting any random long strands previously missed. Then she used a diffuser to semi-dry my hair and sent me on my way, damp-headed.

It wasn't until I got home that I saw the full effect of the cut. And hated it.

It was much longer in the back than the sides. I'm not a fan of the angling down to the middle of the back of the head look. It just looked really random. As my hair was drying the curls were shrinking, as they tend to do, and it was looking really poufy. I didn't cry, but tears were threatening to leak out at any second. And to make matters worse I was expecting a friend and her kids over for an after-school playdate, so I had very little time to try to remedy the situation. To this date I have NEVER had a hairstylist style my hair at the salon in a way that I love. I usually hate the way my hair looks when I leave. They do funny things to my bangs, or I'm all frizzed out, or something. It's my common practice to have to come home and start-over, styling my hair myself to get a good idea of how it will end up looking. This cut? Sucked.

So I did what any self-respecting curly-headed girl would do: grab the scissors and get to work fixing it. Curls hide a lot of sins, and my hair is never cut straight anyway. So I got down to the business of taking SEVERAL INCHES off the back. The back! By myself! With just a hand mirror and my own sense of touch to guide me. Don't worry, I've done this before. I think I should have an honorary beauticians license by now. So I snipped here and I hacked there. I checked, double-checked, and cut some more. I was cutting chunks of my own hair! When I saw how short she'd cut my bangs I nearly lost it. No help there other than time, sadly. My bathroom counter is all fuzzy with the evidence of my self-cut. Really, I cut a lot. But it's better now than it was, if you can believe it.

This morning I had dragon boat practice so I had to wait to completely wet my hair and style it until afterwards. I was eager to jump into the shower and get a clean slate, so to speak, on my hair. I dried it using my hairdryer and diffuser. And used the products I like to use on it. I know what works for me. It needed a little more snip snipping to catch a few random spots I had missed yesterday, but that was about it. And because everyone requested "after" pictures, here they are. And like the title of this post, I'm not loving it. It's back to chin length again, essentially, and my bangs are too short/layered. There is very little movement in my hair anymore it's so textured. It's hard to put it in a ponytail because it is so textured. I have a lot more "playing' to do to figure out a cute way to wear it up/back. I miss my old hair and regret going for this cut. I needed something done to my hair, but this was not what I was after. Boo-hoo!

The cut. New look. Change is hard. I have to get used to this. My mother will really like it, but she might be the only one. I'd say it's easily 5 inches shorter than it was.

Side view on the side I part my hair (messy part). If/when I tuck my hair behind an ear, this is the side that gets tucked.

Other side - "thicker" because it's the non-part side. I like this side of my hair better than the other, generally. Strange how two sides of the same head can look so different.... Notice how the length in the back is not essentially the same as the sides? Yeah, I did that. Before it was a good 2-3 inches longer in the back.

Back view. Not much to see here but a mess of curls, although I will say it looks pretty even and pat myself on the back for THAT skill. Any suggestions out there about what I could do with my hair now to make it cuter? I feel like this cut makes me look less sophisticated than before, and there are definitely fewer styling options. I probably just need to get used to it and suck it up, but this is just so NOT what I was expecting! I think it looks "sensible" when I was hoping for chic. More "soccer mom" and less "MILF".

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hair Crisis - Input Needed!

As you may or may not know, for what feels like forever I've been growing my hair. It got pretty long - nearly hitting bra strap mid back when wet (curls tend to shrink some when dry...). It was the longest I'd ever had my hair - ever. For as long as I can remember I've tended to keep my hair chin length, give or take, thinking/assuming it was the most flattering for my narrow-ish face. But for a change I figured I'd give longer a try. And I got/get a lot of compliments and truly like the flexibility of just being able to put it back. I like how I look with my hair off my face. So you know what that means: lots of ponytails.

I've been going to the same hairdresser for a number of years. She's a friend of mine and gives me a pretty good deal on the cost of cuts and colorings. And all in all I think she does a good job. But, lately, with my hair getting longer and all, I think I need a change. I've asked around and got the name of a stylist whose getting a reputation for being really good with curly hair. I've made an appointment for this Friday. And while I feel a bit guilty for "cheating" on my friend/hairdresser, I think getting the perspective of someone different from time to time can be a good thing. And my style needs a LOT of help. That's where you come in.

I love Whoorl and have scoured her site for ideas and images. I found 3 that might apply to me and I really want anyone who reads this to chime in and give me your opinion as which cut, if any, I should get. You've seen the (horrible) picture of me at the top of this post (I'm super-critical of all pictures of myself - gah!) My hair is color treated to hide gray, very thick and curly/wavy (spiral, ringlet-type curls underneath, looser wavy curls on the top/outside layer. I have long layers but am flirting dangerously with the dreaded triangle shape. Yuck. My hair tends to frizz. It's too thick and curly to blow-dry straight/flat iron with any sort of regularity, so I try to just go with the curls and not fight it. I look better with bangs. Trust me, I've tried growing them out and look nasty. So, with all of that in mind, here are the 3 hairstyles that I like and think might work for me. What do you think?? So you like Martina, Heather, or Mandy? Please, I really am looking for outside opinions here! Thanks in advance! I'll try to post a picture of how my hair turns out after it's cut on Friday.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's All Who You Know

It's an old cliche, but it's true: It's all who you know. For a long time I've been musing about how fun and cool it would be if I could teach a knitting and crocheting class. I've noticed that my local YMCA (where I happen to work very part-time) offers a fee-based knitting class, but I've never gone because it's never appealed to me. I don't want to have to pay to sit with a bunch of people I don't know and knit or crochet in a stuffy room. No thanks. But on the other hand, there is a group of people at the Y that is vastly underserved: the 'tweens (and teens, to a certain extent). I've thought about teaching these kids to knit and crochet and donate the items we make to charity. A win-win! They learn a new skill/craft, we serve the community by charitable giving, and the Y has another offering for these kids. Well, it's hard to get things done at the Y. Lots of deaf ears. But that's about to change.

As luck would have it, I've befriended a woman at Lauren's speech therapy class. Her son is in the same class and we sit and chat for the hour the kids are in therapy. I learned that her best friend is a mom I would see at the Y from my time in child watch. Connections made. I also learned that this friend was on the board of directors at the Y. Who knew? So for all these months I've been chatting with my friend at speech therapy, knitting and crocheting away. I mentioned my idea for teaching to the the 'tweens and teens and making it a charity thing, blah blah blah, and wouldn't you know, she mentioned it recently to her friend on the board. Bingo! So I'm headed into the Y the other night to work my shift and the friend pulls me aside to say that she's taking my idea to the board of directors and could I please put together a proposal for her? Um, hell yeah!

So yesterday I spent quite a bit of time crafting my proposal. I summarized the various benefits to knitting and crocheting, beyond the obvious. How it is often equated to yoga for the stress-relieving benefits. And how it helps with manual dexterity, patience, math, and design. And how knitting for charity fosters a sense of community and purpose. It's intergenerational, etc. I also highlighted a charitable grassroots organization called Warm Up America! that gathers and joins 7"x 9" rectangles of knitting or crocheting
to make blankets for distribution to various shelters, charities, hospitals, etc. I did a start-up cost analysis to bottom line a budget (cheap!) and provided pictures of projects I've done to give them an idea of my skill level. I even spoke with a family member who used to own her own yarn and knitting store in another state for ideas. She told me that when you are leading a group to do things for charity you can often receive donated yarn and supplies. If we could get that rolling it would really help the budget. Also, I plan to make knitting needles from wooden dowels that the kids can make and decorate themselves for them to keep. It's just $1.99 for 10 dowels / 5 pairs of needles. I made a pair just last night - it's super-easy, fun, and they work pretty well! Pretty cost-effective, I'd say.

Anyway, I just submitted my proposal this morning. The board meeting is next week. Keep your fingers crossed that it gets approved and I get the green-light to get this class started. How much fun would that be?! It wouldn't pay much of anything - just my regular low hourly rate I'm earning now at the YMCA, but I'd enjoy my work/time there so much more! I can't wait!

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Decade

Scene 1: May 9, 1998. MP and Mr. Chick at the church, surrounded by friends and family. Vows are repeated, promises are made. Everyone is smiling, happy, and in love.

Scene 2: May 9, 2008. MP and Mr. Chick are a bit older and wiser, surrounded by two kids. Vows have been honored, promises kept. Everyone is smiling, happy, and still in love. 10 years have gone by in a blink.

Today is our wedding anniversary. I've been a married lady for 10 whole years. Marrying Mr. Chick was the best decision I ever made, hands down. For the past
couple of days we've been having a lot of fun talking about our anniversary. Text flirting, if you will. Like the one I sent him yesterday saying that 10 yrs ago from this very minute I was nervously, excitedly rehearsing for the wedding and how I still smile when I think about seeing him later that day. And he emailed me the picture of the floorplan of the pimpy suite we've booked for our anniversary trip to Vegas at the end of the month. We've been acting all goofy and teenager-y lately, mooning at each other. I love it.

I love how Mr. Chick told me about how he happened to mention that today was our 10 yr anniversary to a law school buddy because he was proud of it (and he likes to shock friends who we didn't know 10 years ago and are younger than us and are surprised we are as old as we are and have been together as long as we have (10 yrs married, 16+ yrs together)).

I love how we check on the kids together at night before we go to bed.

I love that, on most nights, we go to bed together.

I love that we both observe the little courtesies that make such a difference (like how he'll make the coffee for me in the morning, even if he isn't having any himself. Or how he calls me when he's about to leave the office and ask if I need him to stop at the store for anything. Or how he always remembers to pull the curtain across the doorway to our closet/bathroom so the light doesn't shine in my eyes. Or how he'll reach to hold my hand when we're driving in the car together.)

I love that hearing of the breakup of other peoples' marriages makes us sad and want to cling to ours more fiercely. (that reads funny - we're NEVER happy or love to hear about couples breaking up. I just appreciate how it brings us closer together instead of making either of us contemplate the upside of divorce.)

I love how being with him makes me a better person. Not a day goes by that I don't have this thought. Sometimes I feel lazy about housework, for example, and the kitchen is a mess with dishes piled up in the sink and general untidiness abounds. And then I'll think about Mr. Chick and how hard he works for us, and how he doesn't deserve to come home to this, and I want to keep up my end - for him if not for me. And so I'll pull my act together and clean things up so he can come home to peace and calm. I know he appreciates it.

I think that's the essence to keeping things g
ood in a marriage: keeping each other top of mind and finding ways to make the other persons day just a little bit better somehow. Like making the coffee or keeping the house nice. Trivial, little things that make all the difference. Treat your man well and he'll treat you like a queen! I do that, and I get that. And I wouldn't trade it for the world!

How am I being treated like a queen, literally? You should SEE the suite Mr. Chick booked for us for our anniversary trip to Vegas. OMG - !! We're staying for 3 nights in the newest 5-star tower on the strip (part of the Venetian) called The Palazzo. It looks AMAZING! It's only been open a few months, so it's brand new. Mr. Chick insisted that if we were going to celebrate this milestone of an anniversary we were going to do it in style (see? a queen!). We're both so excited - we may never leave the room! I've been to Las Vegas several times, and Mr. Chick has been to Vegas several times, but we've never been together. There is so much to see and do that it's a given we'll have a fantastic time - we've always traveled well together. See what 10 years of mutual love and devotion gets you? :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Next She'll Be Asking To Borrow The Car

Yesterday was a beautiful day in the Pac NW. The birds were singing, the sun was shining, and Lauren was being a pain in the ass. Well, maybe that's too harsh. She was being tempermental. She had her new gymnastics class in the morning and I had her all dressed and at the class on time, only to have her stubbornly refuse to participate. Very unlike her. She was clingy, shy and even a little weepy. I couldn't figure it out. None of my usual tricks were working. Threats of "if we have to go home and you didn't do your class, it means no TV and no computer" weren't working. She meant business. So we left and she was crying and I wasn't happy - I just LOVE wasting my time and money like that. Anyway, that was the morning and we all got over it.

Flash forward to the afternoon and the beautiful day and a very bored Lauren. I take her outside and we practice riding a 2-wheeler bicycle without training wheels. She's been working on it, little by little, for a week or so. But yesterday it clicked for her and she was off! So good that I decided to have her ride the bike (Nicholas's bike, mind you, with the seat lowered) all the way to the elementary school so we could pick up Nicholas and ride/scooter home together. She had to stop many times on the way to school, but that's OK. She never fell. If she felt wobbly or unsteady she mastered braking (at least a little bit) and then dropping her feet to the ground. Turns still give her trouble, but she's getting better with each attempt. We made it to school, surprised Nicholas, and headed home. On the way back Lauren was much stronger - going for whole blocks before stopping at each corner (per my instructions). It was very exciting for me to see her do this! She learned a whole year earlier than Nicholas, which I understand to be pretty typical. Little sibling in a fat hurry to catch up to big sibling and all that. And Nicholas was cool about letting her ride his bike and him riding the scooter home instead. I like when they're nice to each other and share without whining about it. He was even encouraging her and giving big praise for how well she was doing. :)

I'm looking forward to being able to take family bike rides this summer, and having Lauren ride her bike next to me when I go for a run** (I've never liked pushing a kid or two in the jog stroller - ug!) This feels like freedom, her being able to ride a bike. A last hurdle we made it over in leaving the "little kid" hindrances behind. We're past diapers, naps, and now training wheels. Woot!

** Speaking of running, I've just agreed to join a Hood to Coast relay team with Mr. Chick. I've done a similar race years ago, but this will be my first Hood to Coast. It's a 12-person, 196-mile relay from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast. Each runner runs 3 legs of the race, and each leg varies between 3-7 miles. Sometimes you end up running in the middle of the night, depending. It's a lot of fun, but will be a lot of work getting ready. But I find I need a "goal" to keep me motivated to do stuff, so this fits the bill. I've been running, mostly on treadmills, for ages now as we've had crappy weather for such a long time. Now I'll need to adjust to running on the streets again, which is very different. Time for some new running shoes!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Of My Own Design

Now that Lauren is in preschool she's been receiving many more invitations to birthday parties, which is a good thing. The most recent was this past weekend for a girl in her class. We didn't get much advance notice about the party, but I still got the crazy idea that I could make the present for the birthday girl. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I prefer to make gifts whenever possible. So, with just 2 days to do it, I got started on the gift. I must have been crazy to tackle this, but sometimes inspiration strikes and I decide to go for it. I had all the materials on hand so at least I spared myself a trip or two to the craft store if nothing else.

My gift was a knit purse with the birthday girls' name on one side and hearts on the other. I didn't know this little girl (turning 4) very well and didn't have a clue as to what kinds of toys or activities she liked, so a purse was a sweet, generic sort of thing to give her. Every girl needs a purse or some sort of bag in
which to carry your treasures, right? And so I got started designing it.

First I did some searching online to find
patterns for the letters. I had never knit letters into anything before - no time like the present (ha ha - pun intended!) I've done some stranding / fair isle knitting before (and I need more practice!), so I felt OK tackling such a technique. I found a pattern for letters but felt they were too "thick" for a small-ish purse. So, I printed some grid paper and modified the pattern. I also found a pattern for little hearts I thought would be cute on the other side of the purse. I prefer to knit in the round vs. flat knitting whenever possible, so I did some quick counting and figured out how many stitches to cast on, etc. to knit the purse in the round. It took me a day and a half to knit the purse and the rest of the time to finish it with a scalloped crochet edging along the top and on both sides of the strap. And to sew the liner.

Speaking of the liner... yikes. I didn't think ahead too much on that one. Making the liner was simple enough and I thought I would simply sew it into the purse and save me the time of weaving in the various ends and such since all the madness of the fair isle knitting would be hidden inside the liner. Well, good in theory. When it came time to actually attempt to sew the liner to the knitted piece it was too thick or something for my machine to handle and it wasn't being fed properly. Crap! That meant I had to stitch the liner to the knit purse by hand. Which actually worked out for the best as I was better able to hide the thread within the yarn, but still - what a pain. My hand-stitching leaves much to be desired....

Ultimately the purse turned out pretty much as I had envisioned it,
minus a small miscalculation with the centering of the 3 hearts on the back of the purse. But all in all I was pleased with how it turned out and enjoyed giving it to Lauren's friend. It was met with lots of "ooh's" and "ahh's" and raised eyebrows in surprise when they found out I had made it myself. Not many of the preschool moms knew I could knit and crochet and were therefore impressed I had created the gift myself. Me? I was just glad I got the thing done in time!

Free Counters
Hit Counters

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?