Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hair today...

...and not gone tomorrow.

It worked. All my herbal concoctions and nutritional changes worked and my hair is no longer thinning. I have lots of curly dark new hair and you can no longer see my pink scalp shining through. I'm so excited. It worked!

In my middle thirties I began finding silver hairs, so I yanked them out. In the back of my mind I thought pulling them out would cause two more to grow in their place, but I didn't care. I was too young to go gray -- unless of course it happened overnight and I ended up with Marilyn Monroe platinum. I could live with that. But, no, nature decreed the platinum would creep up slowly, making my dark brown hair look like I had walked under a low arch covered in fresh paint that coated selected strands that hid until I wanted to look especially nice. Then it would pop up like a coiled steel spring and refuse to be tamed.

For the longest time the silver popped and I plucked. I didn't realize I was thinning my baby fine hair until a friend and I had a fight and she slashed me in the face with the news. "Well, you're going bald!" she shrieked. We started discussing her work mistakes and she ended the discussion by attacking me. I resisted the impulse to run, hands covering my head. I smiled, excused myself and walked to the restroom -- to see if she was right.

She was.

I had missed the changes. Shining through the now sparse strands was my clean scalp, pink and grinning up at me with a triumphant gleam. I panicked, but I waited until I got home to collapse in tears. I was going bald. Thus began the drain on my finances.

I bought Rogaine for women in the pink bottle. It smelled bad and I hated having my hair look flat and oily. That didn't last long. Next came vitamins and biotin and shampoos, anything and nearly everything. I stopped short of the spray paint I saw on an infomercial one dark and rainy night, my hair wrapped in a steaming towel while the oils and store bought goop worked into my hair-deficient scalp. I cheered and celebrated every new hair, mourned the ever increasing gleam of my bare scalp.

For a while I gave up, finally allowing myself to be talked into coloring my gray hair and letting it grow. More money down the tubes. I shudder remembering just how much money I spent each month. Enough for a new car or top of the line loaded SUV. And all the while I dined on Budget Gourmet microwave dinners and patched my worn clothes. After all, I worked from home. I really didn't need nice clothes just to parade my balding mane.

When I moved into the cabin I discovered herbs, and not just for cooking. I always knew about that. I discovered that herbs could cure illness and maintain health. And then I discovered the miracle of rosemary. Before I washed my hair, I boiled water, steeped dried rosemary and climbed into the shower while the tea cooled. After I washed and rinsed my hair, I poured on the warm tea and massaged it into my scalp. My head tingled and smelled faintly medicinal, but I was certain this would work. Besides it was cheaper.

Now, nearly two years later, while I was focused on work, moving, decorating, painting and all the various and sundry demands on my time and attention, I noticed a change. This morning I washed my face in front of the mirror and little curly wisps of dark brown hair curled and winked around my previous near naked hairline. I definitely need to do my roots, but my scalp no longer grins up at me. It's hidden by a rich growth of curling and wavy strands. Finally, I have something to celebrate -- the return of my hair.

I guess it's time to get rid of the box of clip-on hair I bought and resisted dyeing to match my hair. I can take the fishing line halo of hair and the various lengths of clip-on mane, box them up and take them to Goodwill or Arc for some poor balding soul who can't afford Rogaine, Biotin or the million other shampoos, rinses and slimy gels that hide their grinning scalp. After all, no one should sink to spray painting their skull --

-- unless they're rabid sports fans supporting their favorite teams.

Friday, April 21, 2006

No good deed...

...goes unpunished -- or so they say.

I wondered who they was until last night. I volunteered to put together the local ham radio club's newsletter and have had nothing but grief since then. I'm working with -- or rather besieged by -- a bunch of guys who have no idea how to work with a real editor. The president is doing his best to micromanage me and I'm getting fed up. That is, I was fed up until I talked to a friend -- the only person in the entire club who took the time to Google me and read my writing and about me. He has become my advocate and keeps a ready supply of ear plugs for when I get emails like the one I got last night.

Suffice it to say that after a few phone calls, talking to the Evil One (who, I might add, calmed me down considerably and offered his point of view -- and a bit of salacious rumor) and deciding how best to work out a resolution with the dunderheads, I have calmed down considerably and am nearly finished with next month's issue of the newsletter. Of course, I don't have a lead article and I don't have all the material that must go into the newsletter (club and board meeting minutes, president column, membership report, and various committee reports), but the hard part is done and I have all the monthly changes made. I had to impose a firm deadline for the people who absolutely must have their article, news item, changes in the issue and I will not bend on that. The rest of it is calling the printer to make sure he got the emailed issue and when I can expect to have the issue finished and ready to be picked up, calling the people who pick it up, put it together and mail it out, and wait for another month's worth of bitching and moaning. What amazes me most is that the issues I have seen in the archives that span the past 3-4 years are amateurish, have some missing issues (they weren't published) and were late month after month and they're griping because the membership had their printed issues three days before the club meeting.

The Evil One told me it was way too much pressure and grousing for a volunteer position that no one else wanted in the first place. I know there is no one warming up in the bull pen anxious to take over as editor because the previous editor couldn't give away the job for two years -- and I know he begged, pleaded and offered his first born if someone would. Oh, well, I'm not the type to cut and run when things get tough. Instead I take the political jerks head-on until one of us is bloodied and bowed. So, for the nonce, I am here to stay.

That message rather took the joy out of my dinner date last night. After a sleepless night, scrambling for work and another long night ahead of me, I have finally regained that sense of peace and relaxation I had after dinner last night. The conversation was good, the laughter flowing like a placid stream and the company definitely a keeper. Of course, being with a boy scout is no camping trip, but you just never know. I think I have a new pagan friend with leanings toward Celtic Druidism.

Looking out my windows as the afternoon glides toward evening, I am finally able to breathe calmly. A playful breeze tickles the ends of my hair, which still smells like Aramis, and brings me the scent of BBQ and mesquite from my favorite restaurant. The scent is a combination of wood smoke and bubbling honey and spices that reminds me it's time to pop dinner in the microwave and settle down in front of Brokeback Mountain. I have heard good and bad and mediocre things about the movie, but I want to make up my own mind.

I always do.

Night before last I was transported to a world of subtle mystery and beauty as it walked side by side with jealousy, vanity and sadism with Nitta Sayuri as she became a celebrated geisha in Memoirs of a Geisha. Surprisingly, the movie is based on a book by Arthur Golden. The screenplay is an interplay of lush color and subtle darkness and intrigue that shows a hidden world that is misunderstood by most westerners. Geisha means artist, not prostitute, and geisha are the "wives of nightfall," half a wife to men of power who followed tradition and familial expectations to marry the women chosen for them.

"Remember, Chiyo, Geisha are not courtesans, and we're not wives. We sell our skills, not our bodies. We create another secret world, a place only of beauty."

Makes me wonder about the sanctity of marriage, but that is a topic for another post.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What? Again?

How can anyone ever get tired of such beautiful days? I certainly don't.

The tree I look at every day I sit at my computer, the one that was "pruned" last year into a two-fingered salute, is blossoming with frilly, ferny leaves like yellow-green feathers at the end of the spindly branches. The confused little squirrel who spent most of last year humping everything that passed his way, and getting smacked around for it by the other bigger male squirrels, and especially Chubby Squirrel, has been rubbing his furry cheeks against the cut where a strong bark covered arm once pointed to the mountains in the distance. Today the sky is so clear I can see the lodgepole pines on the upper reaches of the mountains beneath the arching canopy of a Wedgewood blue sky. A few translucent puffs of clouds are caught on the canvas of the sky without a wind to push them along. The clouds slowly drift into new shapes, massing briefly and then dissipating into wispy flares of white, as they hover near the horizon.

The once bleak winter landscape has exploded with color and sound. A bush on the other side of the Lon Chaney house next door is loaded with bittersweet orange berries and little spears of green thrust up through the soft turned earth in the flower beds in the front yard. A few brave bright yellow tulips cup a cluster of velvet black stamens, mirroring and following the golden ball of the sun as it tracks across the heavens. The chill breeze of this morning has warmed with the rising sun and stirs the furry branches of the tree across the way, waving and bowing gently with the wind's whims and games.

I wish I had a digital camera, or any camera, so that I could capture some of this transient beauty on film. But then I'd probably have to get a bigger place just to keep all the pictures, or a bigger hard drive for my computer to hold the digital images. At least I can still capture them in words to keep the memories in my mind fresh.

The clouds have drifted away like an ambling herd of white deer. All that remains is a faint sketching of white above the mountains. The street is weekday quiet and most of the cars are gone. Time for me to get back to the grind for a while and then my lunch date with the park.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Deep sighs and signs

unwrapped my lunch and uncapped my water bottle I looked around at the empty park where a couple of women sauntered along the pathway beside the tennis courts and just breathed in the warm, fragrant air. Cars whizzed by and soon one car stopped, parked and disgorged a troop of squealing preschoolers who raced for the playground. The adults followed with a somewhat relieved sigh, taking their time. Across the street on the front porch of a neat little yellow cottage with a dark blue door, a stoop-shouldered little old person (couldn't tell if it was a woman or a man) lovingly watered the hanging plants, swept the porch and disappeared inside.

Did you know vegetables look brighter and more colorful in the sunshine? I didn't realize that until I started eating. And I decided that from now on, rain or shine, I'm going to make my lunch and walk to the park to eat. It's not far, but the exercise and the fresh air will do me good. It might even make me more willing to come back and work if I can look forward to that brief idyllic respite every day.

Why in the rain? There is a covered shelter and I don't mind getting wet. Thunderstorms are exciting and exhilarating and I love them. If I'm really wet when I get home I can change clothes, but a little rain won't melt me. So, the parks and I have a date every day for lunch and I might even get some productive work done in the afternoons instead of longing to be outside. Sounds to me like a win-win situation.

I might even get a bit of a tan. You just never know.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

And the blog goes on

From an Internet idea about giving people space to talk about their live and loves, frustrations and triumphs, poetry and prose, and everything from politics to religion to sex comes a young man with a red paper clip that he is determined to trade for a house. Think it can't be done?

That's the power of the blog.

News and plugs

The trees outside my windows are bursting with deep green and creamy pink blossoms, greenish-yellow leaves and singing birds. Squirrels romp among the branches, stopping to catch up tasty morsels and rub their cheeks against the bark, marking their favorite dining spots. The arching canopy is a hazy aquamarine dusting the upper ridge of the mountains in the distance and the air smells of fresh promise.

It's quiet in the neighborhood streets, the occasional car drifting past on Sunday errands or just for a drive. I can just catch a whiff of fabric softener as Nel does her weekly laundry. Other than the whistling and twittering birds and the odd dog woofing the news down the street, there is a laid back easy peace.

The sun woke me with a sharp reminder the day was moving on without me and for a while I curled up with my latest review book. Friday night I mapped out the week, losing my way somewhere around noon Saturday between the last few pages of A Secret History of Lucifer, something that crossed my search a few weeks ago and has fascinated me since I picked it up, ignoring everything but work and revisions on Past Imperfect since Beanie has hounded me with flaws, errors and changes -- most of the name confusion kind. (That's what I get for doing a global name change using common names.) I spent a good part of yesterday cleaning up the last of the changes and adding another scene, which isn't quite done yet. The total word count is dangerously near 70,000 and may even top 75,000 by the time I'm finished with it. For some reason, Beanie's enthusiasm for the book, despite it not being her type of novel, has fired my enthusiasm for getting it ready to make the rounds of the various publishing houses. Good thing I have a job now since I can afford to print out several copies and pay the back and forth freight for manuscript and rejections, otherwise it would continue to sit on one of my blogs indefinitely.

I indeed finished The Secret History of Lucifer, made a couple of posts, drafted out a post for another of my blogs and began the new spy thriller between watching Dark Water, which was surprisingly good, and browsing past a few movies on cable while fixing and eating lunch and, eventually, dinner. Here I am, back at the computer pounding out another chapter of Anything For Love and realizing this might take a while, especially since I need to put in some time on my regular job, fold and put away the laundry and cleaning the kitchen in between readings of the new review novel. Suddenly, I feel like putting on some clothes and taking a long walk in the sunshine with my paper journal, a pen and a bottle of water just to get away from all the things I have to or should do. This is one of those days when I don't want to be responsible and adult; I want to be adventurous and follow the call of sun, wind and spring. Time for me to wrestle the options and decide which one is going to win today.

In the meantime, go enjoy and celebrate your particular holiday or just celebrate life.

That is all. Disperse.

They just go together

Like rice and beans and springtime and flowers, boys and dogs go together. That's what I call a no-brainer.

This is what marriage is all about. One woman, one man, financial benefits for all. Think it's time the government started paying their employees better?

Expectations. Everyone has them and no one more so than a parent. On a day when part of the world celebrates a time of joy, we should all be thankful for life in whatever form it takes.