Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just Dig In...

And make those mistakes.... er, learn how to do new things. 

When I first bought my house, it was with the intention that it was just a starter home, and I'd save for a good down payment on a nicer place.

I've lived here 13 years, and even though I'm not Ms. Fashionable, and I kinda suck at decorating (it's too expensive to buy so much cutesy stuff that never quite appeals to me anyway), I've overseen some positive upgrades to the place, if not done them myself.  I hope they'll add resale value.

When I bought the house, it looked deceptively tiny from the street.  There were huge bushes and trees  all over the place, and my bedroom was almost completely hidden by trees.  My father brought over his chainsaw and we got to work clearing out the property of most of the overgrown, scraggly vegetation that was too close to the house anyway.  (I'm terrified of chainsaws.  Blame Tobe Hooper and every seasonal haunted house in the area for that.) 

Privet was running amuck and didn't even have the courtesy to grow into something with a full shape.  In fact, over a decade later, I'm STILL fighting to eradicate the privet.  It keeps popping up in random places even though we cut it all down and sprayed it.  It's just that tenacious.

The attic now has a floor that runs almost the entire length of the house. Great for storage of all that stuff you can't commit to trashing just yet, though you really should.  Yeah, guilty.  Someday.  Still, you can safely walk around up there and it's no longer sweltering hot, thanks to the ridge vents I had installed with the new roof a few years back.  30-year architectural shingles, even. That's quite an upgrade over the previous roof.  It looks so much nicer than before.

The bathroom remodel was just a few years ago.  New tub / shower surround, flooring, and most importantly, SHEETROCK.  No more cardboard tile.  I'm still trying to find the right tub caulk though.  Seems like it all cracks and grows mildew, despite the guarantees that it won't.  I'm open to suggestions. Dap, Loctite, and "professional" caulk were all failures.

The kitchen... Well, it needs a good paint job.  I tried a buttery yellow, and didn't like the results.  I think a warm beige or bright white would be better, though I'll have to work really hard to paint the knotty pine planking.  As soon as I become strong enough to move the washer, dryer, & refrigerator all by myself, I'll be all over that.  I hate the kitchen.  It needs remodeling, but it's not wise for me to sink lots of money into that, knowing I want to sell it.  Prettying it up as is will have to do. 

Back to the outside.  I've been working hard on landscaping.  There was just one overgrown flower bed in the beginning, so I bordered it with retaining wall blocks. Ooh, that looked good! I created a second bed a few years ago and mulched it thoroughly, but it just looked untidy, so I built a retaining wall around that one too last year. The problem was that the mulch would slide out, and I could never get close enough with the mower to cut a nice sharp border.  Grass always fuzzed over the border.

I needed the matching blocks but time was running out so I did not "properly" lay those blocks.  I didn't dig out their base and then place them atop crushed rock and sand and dirt and fairy dust.  No, I just went ahead and laid the blocks, knowing that before long, the grass underneath would rot and they would eventually be sitting on dirt anyhow. Lol. And I was right about that, though I do need to dig and level a couple of blocks.  The rest look just fine.  

Really, expensive upgrades in my neighborhood are just a waste of money.  I just want a buyer to know that I've taken care of the place and improved it quite a lot since I bought it.  They need to know it's a good value, and hopefully worth more than I paid for it.  At the very least, I need to get my money back on it.

This summer, I went ahead and dug a new flower bed under the living room window.  It was bare and always grew tall weeds against the house, and mowing it was tricky. Now there's a gentle curve across those joined flower beds, and mowing is easier because I dug trenches in front of both beds, perfect for riding the mower wheels into for clean cuts.  I also trenches under the two big trees and poured fresh mulch, as I do every year.  The mulch was originally for cutting down on weedeating, but it was always scattered into the yard if the person mowing wasn't careful.  And as much blood and sweat and money as I've put into the mulching, I don't appreciate having all that ruined by careless sweeps of the mower.  It just about makes me cry from frustration.  (I'm not the guilty one on that.)  So the trenches are helpful for weed control, mowing, and mulch retention.  

Oh, the mistake with the new bed?  I dug the trench, properly removed the sod, and had to hurry to build up the bed for planting, because the trailer holding my bulk load of mulch was on loan for the weekend only.  (My brother located and hauled the mulch to my house on the trailer he uses in his construction business, for free, so I didn't want to inconvenience him after he had helped me out so much already.). I poured in purchased garden soil, topsoil, and then the mulch, before I ever bought those blocks.  Ha ha ha. I would recommend that you lay the blocks first and then fill it in with your soils and amendments. Much easier.  

I found that getting down and just shoving the layers backwards all at once kept them intact and allowed me to lay the blocks pretty well.  This time I leveled dirt as I went.  Almost a properly done job!  No, I'm still not messing with gravel and stuff. I refuse.  Thus using a patio.  And if I ever lay a patio, I'm probably going to use paver base pieces anyway.  Being the solo girl landscaper, it's just easier for me to get those near-instant results I need to keep my motivation high.  

I tired pretty quickly of trying to mow close enough to the trees, and getting concussion-whacked in the forehead by thick low limbs.  Better just to stay away from the tree bases, if you ask me.  The yard is now MUCH easier to mow.  

I helped build a porch roof in the backyard, and as of this summer, it has a sturdy new metal roof decked with Advantech instead of plain old plywood.  Sometimes plywood is appropriate, and sometimes, it isn't. Lol. Anyway, the porch is wired and will have a new ceiling fan sometime in the near future.  There was just a concrete pad out back when I moved in.  Porches are nice. :)

I also had a fence put around the backyard.  You know what they say -- good fences make good neighbors. Lol I had some issues with people cutting through my property pretty often, and leaving trash scattered about.  It got old fast.  There was also some theft, and I thought the locked fence would be a useful deterrent.  I was right.  My annoyances were lessened.  

With any project, if you make a mistake, you can persevere for a solution and learn new skills in the process.  I just prefer to get it right the first time.  I must admit that I'm always apprehensive about starting new home projects, but then I remember what I learned when I finally got my nerve up, and most projects weren't disasters.  :) 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Not-So-Haute Couture

I came across instructions for sewing simple skirts and I've started considering making my own clothes again.  Granted, I haven't done if in a few years and my experiences have been mixed, but there's something very satisfying about wearing something made just for you.

As long as it looks sharp and is completely flattering, of course.

One of the crazier things I've seen has been skirts made from fat quarters. I only say it's crazy because I don't know if I'm daring enough to wear something that wild looking.  I love them because they are bold, bright, and lusciously patterned.  I have a small collection of batik fat quarters that have, until now, seemed destined as nothing but mini-bolt decorations for my studio.  I would love to put them to use.  Heck, I'd love to have a garment made of any one of those fabrics.

Yes, I'm a tie-dye fan.  The bigger the rainbow involved, the better.  Maybe I should be living in Hawaii?

My give-a-damn about making my own clothes is sadly, not broken.  I have no doubt several of my coworkers will cut me to shreds over anything I wear, as they already do about the fact that I have a limited and plain wardrobe, and don't slavishly follow the current trends.  (I've got a small closet and I don't feel like wasting my money for one year's wear.) 

For example: the chevron trend.  Not so flattering for most adults to wear, but wear it they do.  Because it's "in".  I refuse to wear it, if for no other reasons than I think it's tacky and would make me look huge.  Another trend is beginning that I don't understand... Extra-long bloomers with ruffles at the bottom.  Like Charo, Ms. Hootchie-Kootchie girl from the 70s.  Why??  I don't know.  Someone pronounced it cute and the women just line up to buy it.  

Not this woman.  I don't think I could sleep in that without laughing.  

There's so much heard of "Oh, what a cute outfit!" That really means, "you have blindly jumped on the latest trend bandwagon, therefore I approve of you!"  Today's trend is so often tomorrow's joke.  I prefer to dress in more conservative styles.

Soon we will have a Jo-Ann's Fabrics in town, and I want to make myself some clothes.  They will be less expensive and finally, perfectly suited in color to please me.  I've tailored my own clothes a bit before with t-shirts I've painted and re shaped for my body.  Everything else, well, it was made from scratch for me only, so I guess that would make it couture of a sort.  I've made dresses, tops, pants, shorts, hats, bow ties, jumpers, costumes, quilts, and vests.  Well, if you include knitting and crochet, it expands to mittens, gloves, leg warmers (lol), hats, scarves... What am I so worried about? I do know how to sew.  Lol. I've even put in... *gasp!* zippers!

Maybe I'll get inspired once more.  

Thursday, July 10, 2014

8 Signs of a a Relationship Gone Horribly Wrong

http://www.upworthy.com/8-warning-signs-of-a-relationship-gone-horribly-wrong?g=2&c=ufb1
"8 Signs of a Relationship Gone Horribly Wrong"

Sorry, my app doesn't allow me to create links without a computer, so here is the graphic from the article.

Anyway, think about some of the situations I mention that happened to me, and if they sound familiar to you, please reconsider staying with that person, because these people often turn suddenly violent, as mine did.




I only today looked this closely at a man I was dating about ten years ago.  I'll call him H for short.  Something about him just worried me.  I was advised to "learn to love him" because he was "probably the last chance I'd get to find a husband." I'm still not sure if that was sincere but misled advice, or if it might have been a bit of sabotage because misery loves company.  

1.  Intensity: He lied about his temper.  He exaggerated about the grandeur of his home. *cough* trailer *cough*.  He gazed into my kitchen saying he was envisioning how his appliances would look in it.  He decided he was moving in as soon as he got a job and teaching license here.  (Um, I didn't invite him?). He lied about his finances, often waiting until the check came to disclose he hadn't been to the check advance place that week (Ugh! Warning sign!) and needed me to pay for dinner.  Repeatedly.  Constantly emailing me, and constantly texting.  Calling EVERY night with nothing to talk about but insisting I hold the phone for a couple of hours nightly while he did stuff around his house.  No talking, just tying me to the phone for hours listening to him doing chores.

(Okay, that's enough to lose the guy right there, but I was told by my mom to give him a few more months to straighten up.) 

2.  Jealousy: He became irate that I would talk to, email, or spend time with any friends or family.  He accused me of cheating on him constantly.  He grilled me on every aspect of my life, though the more he pushed, the more distant I became.  

3.  Control: When I said that I couldn't afford his nightly calls and excessive texts on my cell phone bill, he gave me a cell phone on his account to use for the required nightly check-ups.  If I fell asleep, he got on my computer and went through my emails and messaging accounts and read them.  When he was back at his place, I would wake up in the morning to find my accounts had just been signed off remotely a few minutes before.  He was accessing them from his house without my permission.  Look all he might, though, he would never find any proof that I was cheating on him, because I wasn't.  And oddly enough, it made him even more suspicious that he couldn't find proof!  Oh, I'm not going to talk about the coercion part.  That was just too horrible.  

4. Isolation: He didn't want me to go to my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, insisting he didn't like to be around other people.  When I told him I would go without him, he very angrily decided to go with me, and then proceeded to behave in the most passive-aggressive sulky way.  He was rude to other people.  He sat in a corner away from everyone with his arms crossed in a huff, insisting that we blow off my entire family, and demanding that we leave early.  However, Mr. Antisocial demanded that I help him move his mother's belongings in St. Louis, and spend that day with all of them.  When Christmas came, he decided that we would take his whole extended family out for Christmas dinner, and he said it was only fair that he and I split the bill. It would be "our" gift, as a couple.  (The "couple" who gave no gifts to my own family.  I gave them MY gifts.  He wouldn't have it any other way.)  I refused.  I thought if he wanted to make a nice gesture, it should have been to buy ME dinner.  I told him, "No, this is your gift to YOUR family," and smiled.  I still had to pay for my dinner myself.  

5.  Criticism: Not much of that, other than trying to make me think that his behavior was acceptable, and that he warned me he didn't like people, so his bad behavior was all my fault. How dare I want to spend the holidays with my family, when his family was the only option?!?  Oh, he did spend a lot of time running my family into the ground.  Don't mess with my family.

6.  Sabotage: I took him to Christmas dinner at my workplace.  He acted like a chauvinistic Neanderthal.  He tried ordering me around while he sat there.  Get me some tea! I need sugar! I need salt!  Get me a second dessert!  I was gracious enough to get him a second glass of tea, but after hearing his order-giving tone, I told him to get it himself if he wanted it.  (If he was going to try to humiliate me at work, I was betting I had a few friends there who would quickly remove him from the premises in zip-ties and take him on down to the jail.) I was honestly curious to see if I was reading his ugly attitude right.  This was three months into our relationship and I was already wondering if I was imagining things or being "too picky" about men.  One day after he had left for his house, I realized that the cell phone he had loaned me was missing.  I called and told him about it, and bizarrely, he brushed off my concern that it had been stolen from my car.  He said not to worry, it would turn up.  This from a man who couldn't make ends meet and was weekly hitting a check advance place for money.  On Christmas Day, he commandeered my video camera and nastily proclaimed that he was "busy looking at it -- just wait until he was done!!" when I wanted to film the little ones opening their gifts.  He wouldn't give it back until they were done. 

7.  Blame: His reason for breaking up with me was that I "wasn't willing to FIGHT for our relationship."  Hey now, this isn't Jerry Springer, and if you think you'll get the thrill of seeing me as your own personal gladiator, think again.  I haven't seen a man yet that made me think it was worthwhile to act like a redneck woman.  He blamed me for my family not being nice to him. (They were very nice to him, actually, but he stonewalled them like a spoiled brat.) He blamed me for not helping him get his teaching license in my state faster. (Because I have no connections to teacher licensing in any way, I couldn't have done more than give him stamps and envelopes.). He blamed me for not getting him a job in my district.  (He was a band director, and ours were a married couple too young to consider retirement and unlikely to die soon.  Sheesh. There were exactly two band director positions in my district, and seeing that I'm not an elitist social climber, I had no pull with the district powers-that-be.). Irony: The day after he dumped me via email (classy guy -- courageous too!), he received a teaching license for my state, and sent me a "Ha ha ha, only kidding about the breakup!" email.  Fortunately, that was later in the spring, and I told him the breakup stood, and to make sure everyone knew it was HIS choice.

8.  Anger: Christmas Day, he wanted to stop at at restaurant by his house to eat.  They were closed.  He flew into a rage behind the wheel of his vehicle, jerking the car all over the really icy and slick road at fifty-five miles per hour.  He almost slid us off the road into a tree, and when I told him that, he said he hoped he did drive into a tree and kill us all, because he was tired of that place being closed whenever he went by.  (Hello... It's Christmas Day?) I was afraid for me, and for my dog, the closest thing I had to a child. Abusiveness? *sigh* Yes, I just don't want to talk about it or think about it, but it was going on.  One day late in the spring, I was washing dishes in the kitchen, and he was showing off how handy he was.  He was in the living room, changing out one of my old-fashioned two-prong outlets for a modern one with three prongs in it.  It was just a two-outlet receptacle.  My dad had told me if was a simple procedure.  I kept hearing some blunder from the living room, and then he would curse.  It seems he kept dropping the receptacle box into the wall, and then he would have to fish it out.  (This was all my house's fault.  It's a stupid piece of shit house, he said.) I don't know why it never occurred to anchor the box so it wouldn't slip. Masking tape, a piece of wood, a ruler...lots of things would have worked.  He was getting angrier by the minute and told me to stay in the kitchen after I suggested an anchor.  And suddenly, he went nuts in the other room.  He took the screwdriver he had been using and started furiously STABBING THE WALL.  He stabbed it so many times that he tore a huge hole in the Sheetrock, and he had to put in a four-outlet receptacle afterward to fill the hole. (He tried to shirk his responsibility to repair his damage completely.) I still had to patch and repair the space that was left afterward.  I believe that if I'd gone In there to ask him to stop damaging my home, that he would have stabbed me with the screwdriver.

And that was when I started really looking for an escape from that psycho.  When he said he was breaking up with me for his crazy reasons, I encouraged it.  And you know what? For another year, he kept logging into one of my accounts and reading my messages.  Too bad for him that I had stopped using that account. 

Looking back, I used to say that I got away from him before he became physically abusive.  It was just psychological.  But now that I seriously think about some things he did, I realize he was already being physically abusive and I was just in denial, and I couldn't even use the excuse that I loved him, because I never did.  Not for one second.  I was just told from all sides that I wasn't trying hard enough, there must be something I could do to make him happier.  Me, me, me, I'm the one to blame.

And that's how it happens, folks -- victim-blaming until the victim doesn't have any sense of self or self-preservation left.  

I can only figure that my lifetime of almost nonexistent self-esteem made me believe I never deserved any better treatment.  But I refuse to believe that now.  Nobody deserves that.

I still believe that I was very lucky.  I didn't just dodge a bullet.  I dodged a screwdriver.


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Travel Fatigue

Millions of Americans say that when they retire, they'll do their traveling then.  Some of them say that as an excuse for not traveling when they really don't want to travel anyway.  That's a valid point of view, and I can't blame them for being homebodies.  

However, so many more intend to travel at retirement, and never actually do it.  There are various reasons: they don't have the money, they have too many responsibilities to take a break, they don't have anyone to travel with, or they're not physically well enough to travel any longer.

Travel fatigue is a situation that dogs me with every trip I take.  It's more than jet lag.  It feels like an exponentially increasing case of jet lag that overcomes me to the point I fall asleep on benches in Paris, surrounded by pickpockets.  I fall asleep with my feet propped on the wall, perpendicular to my head, in the middle of a sentence which segues confusingly into sleep talk in the middle of a thought.  I'm not sure if it is exacerbated by my constant femoral nerve pain, but that could be a contributing factor.   (Yet I still run and lift weights, hopeful that someday I'll accidentally knock that nerve free, I suppose.)

Someone very close to me told me that he wishes he could travel now that he's retired, but he has no one to travel with.  I remember that when he was in his 50s, he supposedly slept his way through a Caribbean cruise.  It was a subject of much complaint for his wife.  She accused him of being difficult, and not wanting her to have any fun.  At the time, I wondered why he would do that myself.  

Now I'm beginning to see that he probably didn't have a choice.  As many hours as he worked each week, I understand why he slept so much. He worked third shift, still has untreated obstructive sleep apnea, and probably never EVER got enough rest to recuperate in all those years. Anytime he got a few days to rest, his body put him out.  

Mine does that when I have an accumulated sleep debt. At some point, my brain shuts down everything under my conscious control.  The problem is, you can't get five hours of sleep each night through the week and then make it up by sleeping twelve hours a night on the weekend.  It doesn't work that way.  My gut tells me that if you don't compensate within two days, you won't be able to make it up, and the body prefers consistent sleep times and lengths.  

I could put it this way -- I'm just too old for staying up late.  I can still handle doing it, but feeling like crap for several days afterward just isn't worth it to me.  I've discovered that 8 1/2 - 9 hours of sleep is what I need.  If I'm sick, I might need more, but if I'm not, about ten hours of sleep will make me feel pretty awful.  

My first trip out of the country was a cruise to Mexico. It was during spring break from work, and I was already worn out from job stress and inadequate sleep for the last 8 months.  What I remember the most about that cruise was that I slept around fourteen hours a day on board. I would take hours-long naps in the room in the middle of the afternoon.  (I suppose that's my body's warning system -- lengthy naps I can't avoid in the afternoon point to inadequate sleep at night.).  Maybe it was the slight motion of the boat.  Maybe it was the fact that out interior room was totally black with the lights off and it was the perfect suggestion to stay asleep for a long time.  Maybe it was the ear infection I didn't yet realize I had.  Hmm.  Who knows?  I wasn't even exercising at that point, and I had a marked feeling of being old.

My second trip out of the country was to Italy, and early on, I was falling asleep with my feet on the wall.  I couldn't sleep well on the flight in, my legs swelled horribly, and I just felt worn out every night.  I had been exercising for a year by then, and had been running for several months, but I still felt exhausted.  Drinking water like crazy that excessively hot Mediterranean July didn't help much.  I was likely dehydrated already.  It was abnormally hot in Rome that summer -- the Vatican was allowing visitors to wear shorts, if that tells you anything.  

The third trip out of the country was a cruise to the Bahamas with my sister.  I was tired (it was spring break, once again -- no rest time between work and the cruise), my legs swelled up from flying, we did a lot of walking in the ports, but we did a lot of lying around and relaxing, so it was okay.  I didn't sleep quite so excessively ion that cruise, so perhaps my exercising was helping me out with stamina.

The fourth trip out of the country was last month.  I went to Ireland, England, Wales, and France.  Considering that it was a high speed tour like the Italy trip, it's no wonder I was so tired.  I'm sure I was dehydrated because bathroom opportunities were not plentiful, and I knew it.  Why would I want to go around with an overfull bladder literally all day and night?  So I didn't drink enough, and definitely not enough water.  It just wasn't practical.  This time, I wore compression socks on the plane, and they worked! But instead I my legs swelling up, it was my torso.  Yep, the whole thing.  Even my bra was overflowing, in that not-a-good way when it's too tight everywhere. 

I made a few mistakes on this last trip.  I brought plenty of gum for the flights, and it was even sugar free gum, but you know, this was NOT the best time to discover I have a digestive problem with Xylitol. I threw away three almost-new packs of gum in the hotel when I realized why my tummy was so troubled.  I didn't drink enough water.  But I couldn't.  They say that when you drink enough water consistently, you stop having frequent trips to the bathroom to get rid of it, and your body stops bloating with water every time you drink it.  Not me. Every 20 minutes.  It never equalizes in my body. Imagine teaching an hour long class with no way to go to the bathroom once, let alone three times.  I can go fast, but there is no bathroom close to my classroom, so, um, yeah.  That's a problem.

I wish I'd had opportunities to ship things home as the tour progressed. I'd bought most of my souvenirs halfway through the trip, and they were dead weight the rest of the time.  I got off the Eurostar in Paris with a feeling of impending doom.  I honestly believed that I was going to DIE if I had to take my luggage another city block.  I wanted to cry.  I was afraid I was going to.  Granted, this was day 9 of an 11 day tour, and I was already accumulating sleep debt, dehydrated, and suffering from Continental breakfasts since we left Wales. And of course, not in great shape to begin with. My own fault.

I had plenty of energy in Ireland and Wales because the day began with protein-rich breakfasts.  Sure, there were some carbs, but protein makes the energy last.  The breakfast provided by the English and 
French hotels was mostly bread, and in France, just a tiny slice of meat and cheese to go with it. So I grabbed several slices, and it still wasn't much of a breakfast.  The provided dinners weren't much more help -- we had parsnip soup for lunch one day and thin crust pizza for dinner one evening, with meat sprinkled like bacon bits on top.  Carbs, starches... Must have protein!  I suppose it's about the cost. Apparently the Irish are willing to provide meat at all meals.  I love them for that.  

I was at a bit of a loss about what to do for protein based snacks, other than bring small packs of mixed nuts to keep my blood sugar up.  Beef jerky would have been okay, but Ireland has restrictions against bringing in foreign meats and cheeses, and I had no clue where to buy anything like that once I arrived.  I had protein and granola bars, but the sweetness became too much for me to stand pretty fast. 

Please, if you have any helpful suggestions about combating travel fatigue, make a comment. I'll go back to Europe in a couple of years, and it would be nice to bounce with energy the whole time.  I was pretty good about taking my iron, b-complex and b-12 supplements, but I could have felt SO much better than I did.  I couldn't take energy gels, because of liquid restrictions.  I did take Sport Beans, but they require water because of the sodium content.  

What's a tired girl to do, when she wants to enjoy her travels? :). (Don't recommend illicit drugs, please.  Lol   And not sugar... I'm a diabetic.)

Countries visited:

Mexico
Bahamas 
Spain
Italy
The Vatican
England
Ireland
Wales
France

Such a short list... You think I'm gonna stop?  :) You could always join us -- save for a few months like I do, and let me know if you want to join the group.

Countries I still want to see:

Scotland
Australia
New Zealand
Germany
Greece
Sweden
Switzerland
China
Japan
Norway
Denmark

Oh heck, I'd like to see all of Europe. :). And Hawaii.  Lol. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

My Silvery Locks

I'm not worried about my hair going from brown to silver.  Yes, silver, and not grey.  Mine is sparkly.  Lol. I've noticed that grey hair is different in sheen than silver, and I get mine from my father, so I know what's coming.  

For a while though, I've been concerned because it looks like my hair is falling out.  Eek! I know I said that at some point I'm going to completely stop coloring my hair and just let it go silver, but I really need to actually HAVE some hair to accomplish this.  Lol

I've noticed I have a problem with shedding, and you would think that it's my dog's hair, but nope, those are my strands all over my clothes.  And all over my house.  And my car.  And... Well, the only shedder I know who can out shed me is my brother's German Shepherd.  Maybe he feels sorry for me, and that's why he rubs so doggone much of his coat onto me.  

So, my formerly thick and occasionally unmanageable brown hair is being rapidly replaced by silver hair, and dare I say it, white hair.  Okay, the white is unnerving.  I'm not really old enough for that, but I'm going to blame the loss of my melanin on general life and job stress.  

It's why my ponytail, now that I've let my hair grow long enough for one, is not really as lush as I would like for it to be.  It's why I hate short hair on myself even more than I did when I had my hair badly chopped off to make me look like a little boy so many years ago.  The "reason" was that I cried when someone else brushed (yanked) my tangled hair.  I dreaded it so much every morning that I became nauseated standing there.  So, oh, I know you want to be a pretty little girl like your sister, but you and your tangles get on my nerves so I'll cut it as short as I can and make you look like an ugly little boy with a really bad haircut.  

Yeah, that works.  I know I'm supposed to just let that go, but it still hurts, remembering just how often I was told I was ugly.  So short hair?  Never again.  I may be an 80 year old woman with thin, waist length silvery white hair, but it's my freaking hair, okay?  

All right, I realize that chopping my hair off was not a deliberate act to kill my self esteem, only to speed up getting ready for school.  But from a seven year old's perspective, it's life-shattering.

Actually, I think silver hair will look good on me, but this brown/silver mix isn't a good look, so for now, I'll go with the brown.

Now, the problem with the thinning hair isn't that my hair is falling out for good.  It's that the brown falls out, being replaced by silver or white, and those are much finer hair than the brown. So the volume is being reduced while the number of hairs is probably consistent.

I haven't seen any bald spots -- not since that time I got a really bad perm in college and my hair broke off at scalp level.  From the guy who at the time was reputed to be the best hairstylist in town, no less.  He just fried my healthy, undyed hair completely.  

Another thing I need to clear up... I have not been bleaching my hair blonde.  Lol. No, I have no desire to be blonde.  It wouldn't look good on me at all.  Wrong skin tone.  

I've been accused of trying to be a blonde.  So here's the absolute truth:

I've been trying to remain a brunette.  My hair dye is so dark that it's burgundy / purple while it's being squished through my hair and smeared onto my silver temples!  And it sits... And sits.... Soaking in as much as possible.  No matter how many days I wait between washings, and how cold the wash and rinse water are for my hair, how gentle I am about letting my hair air dry naturally, dye doesn't stick for long on my silver hair.  It starts washing off or fading away after a couple of weeks and I'm left with very light brown hair, almost blonde, streaking through my hair that is still naturally brown.  In the sunlight, I've got some gorgeous sparkly highlights.  

This isn't my stylist's fault -- it's just the way my hair is.  Besides, I'm due for an appointment in a couple of days, and I'm looking at nearly half an inch of silver roots, which grew there courtesy of no dye ever touching them.  :). Roots are gonna show, because my hair is gonna grow.  Not a big worrying point for me. Actually, it's great for a laugh when young people see my roots and kinda freak out.  It freaks them out worse when I tell them it started going silver when I was sixteen.  

So I'm just pretending that I still have thick, dark brown hair.  It's changing now, pretty quickly.  I doubt I'll make it to 50 with any brown hair of my own.  And I'm okay with that.  After all, my life has been a series of episodes of trying to learn what to do with my hair.  It's going to be long.  I'm going to wear a ponytail when I feel like it.  I'll never be able to do the complicated braids and things I sighed and resigned myself to do for my daughter's hair.  (Ha ha, you know how well that worked out.)

Hey, I might have great nieces someday that I could actually get to see in my life!  And you know what?  

They will probably all want short hair.  :)