Kiss the Sky

That’s me and my dad…30 years ago. It’s one of my favorites from an amazing day. Taken just after he told me he was proud of who I had become and amazed at how calm I was (the photographer had to remind me to get dressed, I was happily chilling in cutoffs and a t-shirt an hour before the wedding). Then, as the music started, just as we were about to walk down the aisle, he asked me the question all dads should ask their daughters…are you sure, we love Greg, but you need to be 100% sure. I was sure. He smiled and off we went. What I love about this picture is it kinda looks like I was holding him up. The truth is…I was, he was shaking and on the verge of tears. Once down the aisle, when he was supposed to release me to my man, we had an extra long hug…an oh no, is he going to let her go hug. I loved it.

My dad was a typical dad from the 70s, commuting to work, reading the paper while sipping coffee and smoking, tennis, volleyball, fixing up the house, doing the bills…he loved us dearly but my mom did most of the kid related stuff. He was always good at saying I love you, ahead of his time on that one, affection usually came in the form of a slap on the thigh while driving in the car, no eye contact, just a slap then shake and an I love you Kat, I miss that.

Side note: as I suspected in May, I have seen no OpEd articles on why Father’s Day should be obliterated. No stories about how it is not fair because some people had bad dads, or some people no longer have dads on this earth. I guess those emotions only apply to women, celebrating male parental units is totally fine. Sigh.

Celebrating my dad even though he no longer is physically here is a choice I made early on. He passed away when my kids were young, young enough to only kind of remember him. I wanted my kids to know him…his likes, his quirkiness, his humor, his gentle nature, and his incredible smarts. We celebrated Dia de Muertos with an altar with all the things he loved when they were young. We eat Entemmann’s cakes, licorice, and donuts in honor of him on special days (tough work but but we power through it). We talk like he is still around, Jacob, you look just like Papa when you sit like that…Olivia, you are so funny, Papa used to come up with great answers to games just like you. They know their Papa just like kids who get to see their grandpas in person. He lives on.

As with Mother’s Day I feel for those who do not have nice relationships with their fathers, and my heart hurts for those who no longer have a dad to hug. I understand the later, and it does sting. That said, the best way for me to honor my dad is to have a nice day, maybe with a little extra sweetness in it, maybe a little chat with him while I walk on the beach…and most definitely, with a kiss to the sky.

I love you dad. A lot.

Happy Father’s Day to all who are celebrating it. A special shout out to the wonderful father of our two kids, there was never any doubt in my mind you would be a great dad. To all the Uncles, Brothers, Grandpas, and good men who take time to make this world better…thank you and enjoy the day.

KGS GHV JKL

This is a Swoon that will change your life…because once I tell you what the letter combos above mean, you will never be able to unsee it. Your mind will create little blurbs from the license plates no matter how hard you try to stop it. I’m sorry.

Kat & Greg Snuggle. Greg Hugs Via. Jacob Kicks Leah. Sorry Leah…it just pops in and I do not edit. I am not sure when this started, and I assume it will go on for the rest of my life…whether driving or walking in a parking lot, my mind spins little stories of the ones I love. It is kind of comforting.

Greg has his own game while in the car, I will be happily scrolling on my phone, listening to a podcast while he is driving and suddenly…I get a Wet Willy…Greg Slobbers on Kat (GSK) or a pinch (GPK). I will immediately look up and have to guess based on his action and the car in front of us. It can be quite startling to get flicked (GFK) out of nowhere…he keeps me on my toes. Sometimes I feel like I have taken on the role his younger sisters fulfilled for his first 19 years…especially on long car rides.

We had our 30th anniversary date yesterday. Just us, 3 hours of driving for strawberry and asparagus picking, antiquing, an outdoor meal, and just being out in beautiful air while enjoying spectacular scenery. Cleansing. We arrived home to realize we had picked enough strawberries for our own festival, so we did a quick distribution to those in need of strawberries. My mom graciously cleaned and removed the stems of 12 cups of fresh berries. A beautiful batch of homemade ice cream, frozen baggies for smoothies, crushed berries with lemon and a bit of sugar for future drinks, pancakes, and ice cream…glorious. Then we made dinner together and the four of us watched a movie. What a day. A perfect day.

I have watched people celebrate anniversaries with big trips to Italy, buying a boat, or sporting new diamond ring. The twenty year old me dreamed of this stuff…oh so romantic…but I can honestly say I had the most swoon-worthy day…simple, silly, and full of goodness.

Here’s to the next 30…Swoon.

30

Thirty…a number that has popped up for me quite a bit in the last three days. I choose to take it as a sign. I am not sure what the sign means, but it must mean something.

Thirty. Recently I was talking with a dear friend whose teenager is not so great at putting up with the bullshit of her peers, an old soul. I told her the story of waking up on my 30th birthday and feeling like I was finally the age I was meant to be. It was like everything all lined up and made sense. I died at a ripe old age the last time I did this life thing. A senior staff house keeper in an English society family, think Mrs Hughes on Downton Abbey. Taking care of people, knowing how to serve and give parties, being in the background getting it all done. I believe we have all lived many lives, and have more to come. If we allow ourselves to remember our past experiences…our current stay will be much easier. Old souls like my friend’s daughter and myself have not been teens for a long time…we prefer the company of adults, we prefer to avoid the drama of teendom, we can not wait to get the hell out of high school. I feel for my friend’s daughter but I do not worry about her. It’s great to have your best years ahead of you…peaking early is overrated.

Thirty. My husband and I have been married for thirty years. That. Is. Crazy. We are both perfect for each other…and exceptionally horrible together…with a whole lot of boring normal survival in-between. The thing that makes us stick with it is knowing that some more perfect might be just around the corner, like a promise of an ice cream cone after a long drive. It is not easy, but it is worth it. Thirty years of adventures, struggles, joy, kids, grief…moments that make life worth living. That is almost 11, 000 days, which seems ridiculous because some days feel like they will never end. Time is funny. My in-laws celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary two days after we got married. They were SO old, I worried if they could make it to a Broadway show on their own…you know, being their 50s.

Thirty. I am selling my Peloton. It is just not for me. I would love to be like those people who wake up eager to be yelled at while sweating to the 80s with Tiffany…so not me. Tiffany, feel free to take your perky attitude and thigh gap and jump in a lake. I would much rather take a walk or dance to the 80s in my studio…alone. Posting things for sale is difficult for me, I am a giver, not a seller…I don’t have tag sales, I have free piles. That is not an option with a ridiculously expensive piece of exercise equipment that has been used 10 times then ignored. After much interest then many we can’t because situations…I found a buyer. She is thrilled and I am thrilled for her, she wants to lose 30 pounds…thirty.

Thanks to a reminder from my countdown to all things good daughter…in thirty days I will see my son. We have not hugged since 5am on March 10, 2020…it will have been 69 weeks…or about 483 days…but who’s counting. That is a long time to not be able to hug my baby. Swoon.

I have no clue what all this Thirty-something stuff means…ha Thirtysomething, I used to love that show about “old” people. Sometimes there is no meaning other than a spark to remember and connect thoughts. That is good enough for me.

Being 30.

A Toast to Barbara

I woke up to a FB alert…60s Franciscan Earthenware in the Starburst pattern…was I dreaming? The bursts, the dots, the memories of these dishes in my Aunt Jean’s kitchen cabinets. Swoon.

Quickly asking if they were still available I waited for a reply, was I too late? Private message again, reply on the FB post…me! me! me!…I am so very interested. I hate waiting. Watching others write interested. Ugh, they are not as interested as me, can I have them please? I so want those dishes.

My Aunt Jean just passed away. Over ninety years on this earth, she lived a good life. She was a woman of culture and class, Mid-Century Danish Modern everything, Rouault Jesus hanging in the living room, and gorgeous funky Franciscan Starburst dishes…teal and chartreuse, bursts galore…she had it all. My Uncle Bill, featured many times in this blog, was just as much if not more responsible for the styling of their home, but to me, the dishes were all her. She would whisper her little oh oh oh if a dish was put back on the shelf with a bit of a bang. Oh oh oh, Katharine, oh. I can hear her praying for the safe return of the dish to the shelf.

Ding, this is it, a response…come and get it…and into the car with my boxes and towels I flew. They were mine, well, 40 minutes away from being mine. Doing my diligent social media stalk, I had confirmed I was not walking into the Mid-Century Modern Murder Den. You can never be too careful with cash transactions with older women who own vintage dishware. My death would not become a limited run TV series.

I was greeted by Barbara, all smiles, no mask (she had been vaccinated and also recently tested). She was moving into an independent living home, thrilled it was independent and not assisted. Barbara needs no assistance, Barbara is a rockstar. She and I chatted as I packed up the dishes. She had so many because her sister had the same set on her registry, but cancelled the wedding (a badass move for the time) so Barbara took her dishes making a double set. Win win for me.

Barbara is nobody’s fool, she had an itemized list of what each piece was worth, she knew she was giving me a gift. I told her Ohhhhhh I know, I know, I so appreciate it, I am not selling these, I will use them, I will cherish them. The smile on her face was electric, we did a double high five, she was as happy as I was. As I carried out the first batch she noted that little women are very strong, we were the same size. She decided to stay outside and chat with my mom while I went back to pack another box. Maybe she checked my background before letting me in, maybe she just trusted people. I returned with the last box and approached her to give my thanks and let her know she should call if she ever needed anything. Dishware buddies, we needed to stick together. Barbara agreed, she invited us to visit with her, maybe even go for a swim. Like old friends.

As we said goodbye she had one ask…when you are eating off these dishes, maybe raise your glass and give a toast to Barbara. I promised we would…she did not even need to ask.

Wishing my new friend an easy move tomorrow…and a beautiful new chapter.

check out the olive oil vessel in the back…and how the cups are stored…and those sweet little plates…ridiculously amazing stuff

Prom

I didn’t go. Uncomfortable in my skin, not dating anyone, unable to embrace the “just go with a friend” thing, I stayed home and sobbed in my bed…very teen angsty. My choice, my loss. Prom in Pleasantville is dreamy, no limos, kids pile onto buses, traveling drink and drug free (or so we like to believe). The HS front circle packed with prommers and spectators, admiring the fashion reveals and posing for photos. Groups of friends exchange flowers, no need for dates. Joyful, until… they leave for the group house afterparties.

Twenty underage kids, a rental house in the middle of nowhere, no adults…what could go wrong. Well as you can probably guess, a LOT. Car crashes, trips to the ER, emotional drama, destroyed property. The stories are plentiful and the repercussions are real. It was not happening with my kids and I was pretty glad they knew me well enough not to even ask. Ha.

The winter before graduating high school my son asked about using the Fire Island house for an after prom getaway…it kind of went like this. J: Mom, can we use the house for after prom. K: Sure Jacob, I would be happy to host you all. J: MOM! Forget it, we are NOT going if YOU are there. End of story until April. J: Mom, ok, (like he was doing me a favor) we decided it was ok if you were there. So, that’s how it went. I shopped, cleaned, and prepared the house for 9 kids, I worked from my bedroom and did not show my face. I cooked and set out buffet meals 3 times a day. Goals were born…someday I would own a B&B. We gave them a stress free, drama free, good old fashioned fun weekend…a forever memory, swoon. Even with the no alcohol/no drug, policy…they had an amazing time…teens love an excuse to be young. Parental win to be repeated for Olivia and her friends two years later.

The summer between my Freshmen and Sophomore years of college my mom had done the same for me. My group of friends came for an overnight at the beach and my mom offered to host. There was pushback from some but I was thrilled she was there. I certainly did not want to be in charge and I loved the idea of a cook and a maid! It was 1985, so naturally we got off the boat with cases and cases of beer. There were no rules other than no swimming at night if you had been drinking. I guess drunk daytime swimming was less of a risk. I don’t remember seeing my mom at all that weekend, she cooked, cleaned, and graciously faded to the background. I learned from the master. The underage drinking thing was not really her fault, we had been legal at 18, then it switched to 19, then to 21. My drivers license had been adapted many times, thank goodness for X-acto knives and Rapidograph pens.

When my brother was 17 he wanted his Fire Island friends weekend. At that point I think my parents were kind of exhausted. My mom asked if I would mind “just being there, in case”. I was 21, had a credit card, I was an adult…no problem. I invited two friends, we would do our thing and the teenagers would take care of themselves. Oh. My. God. It seemed like there were 50 kids there, ages 15-22, it was chaos. A John Hughes “the parents are away, let’s party” movie at the beach. I tried to set rules… no swimming at night, or if you had been drinking, no sand in the house. They looked at me like I was insane. Kids went missing, one guy passed out in the seagrass to be found covered in ticks and bug bites, girls huddled together playing board games…trying so hard to ignore the insanity happening around them. My girlfriends and I barricaded ourselves in a bedroom, three in a full size bed, we would deal with the nightmare “out there” in the morning.

Waking up and seeing the carnage was a Tom Cruise in Risky Business morning after moment…house destroyed and a day to fix it. First…assess the damage. 75 pounds of sand in the house…of course, 40 cases of empty beer cans scattered all over the property…check, food wrappers covered in very happy ants littering the floors…yes, hung-over people sleeping on every surface…yup, and bathroom sink in the middle of the living room…Roger that. Ok then. It all was put back to normal and nobody was harmed.

There is a reason GenXers are helicopter parents, we know just how bad things can get. We also have the ability to get ourselves out of any situation…because we have lived them. I am still on the fence about which is a better parenting method. I guess there must be a happy medium. Imagine that.

This weekend I took joy in getting the Fire Island house ready for the next group of after prom teens to use the house. My nephew and his friends will arrive mid-week for an overnight. Beds are made, games are out, and boogie boards are stacked. My brother… the one I love to the moon and back, who defied death more times than any alley cat, who broke every single rule ever given to him…will be there with his wife, hosting, cooking, and monitoring the kids…who will enjoy a last bit of together before going their separate ways in the fall. The PG-rated tradition continues.

Oh the stories this house could tell.

Sugar Sigh

Last week I was chatting with my sister-in-law about the merits of Bubble Yum, Hubba Bubba, and Bubblicious. We both agreed Bubble Yum was the best…which is important, no need for family conflict on crucial matters. My nephews politely listened, a bit confused as we gushed and critiqued the attributes of the gums of our generation. For me it was the ability to actually crunch on the sugar crystals, grinding them down until the wad was smooth enough to blow a bubble the size of my head. No matter what those rubber loving Hubba Bubba fans said… I did not believe the spider eggs rumor. My dad showed me the New York Times full page ad, we had a lesson in stopping a rumor dead in it’s tracks…about spending tens of thousands of dollars to save a million dollar company…about trying to take down a competitor with fake stories; all good lessons. Best of all, there was no need to give up… the best. gum. ever.

Yesterday I was listing to the “oldies station”. When I was little that meant Elvis, today it means REM and Elvis Costello. Sigh. There was a chat about missing candy from our youth and the REGGIE! (bar) came up. It’s funny, I aways thought it was a Reggie Bar…but in looking for images I see it was just the REGGIE! Carmel, peanuts, chocolate, all kinds of fabulous for a quarter, yes, a quarter.

The “rich kids” were able to go to Alene’s Craft and Candy Store every single day after school. Whether they had a dime or a dollar they were set for some sugar infused energy after a long day. On “mom is in a great mood at pick up days” we were able to get a treat too, and on perfect days we went to Alene’s instead of the gray, drab, traditionally stocked pharmacy next door. Alene’s had energy…shelves and shelves stacked with bright colored boxes, Hershey Smershy…these were cutting-edge sugar products, so many choices. What should I do with my quarter, 5-10 pieces of penny candy or go big with a candy bar. Marathon Bars, oh the lovely braided bit of caramel goodness with the super milky chocolate coating…that melted within 5 seconds of unwrapping the bar. Everyone knew that Marathons and Charleston Chews were better frozen, but who on earth had the will power to wait for the freeze. The freeze…then the crack, perfect bite size bits of heaven. It is a wonder I have teeth.

My mother was pretty cool about candy, considering my dad was a sugarholic I guess she had to be. The way to throw her over the edge was to bring home a Lik-m-aid or Pixy Sticks…pure sugar…no hiding the fact that we were pouring dyed sugar down our throats. Lik-m-aid was far superior to a Pixy Stick. No stripped paper dissolving in your mouth, no sugar clumping clogs to deal with. A bit of marketing genius…an interactive candy in a container that begged you to save some for later. Fun fact: one time at Fire Island I fell asleep with an open Lik-m-aid pack and woke up literally covered in ants. Life lessons.

There is absolutely no point to this Swoon, other than it made me happy to write it. Remembering the mom and pop stores in our little town. Reliving the stickiness and joy of leaving school on sunny days like today. Empathizing with my mom who would plead with us to “just get candy at the pharmacy”…it was so much faster, and she probably still had a million things to do. Childhood was pretty unstructured, candy was a treat, life was far from perfect, but it was pretty darn good.

Swoon.

Feel free to share your favorite childhood candy in the comments… I would love to have more blast from the past memories today.

Cherish

Four hours into today and it has been chock full of goodness…tea outside in the garden with the birds; a visit to Rockefeller State Park to see the peonies; a game of Scrabble where I kicked the Scrabble champion of this household’s butt; and some early dinner prep, marinating chicken so it’s super delicious later…all by 10:59am. Swoon.

I had my first experience with a vertigo episode on Friday. I had three meetings planned and a day and a half of work to do…my body told me otherwise. I woke up, twirled out of bed, and collapsed on the floor. Spinning, spinning, how did the floor get on the ceiling, It was horrifying. Picturing myself in Royal Wedding, dancing on the ceiling with Fred Astaire, but fearing it was more like a scene from Trainspotting…which I have never seen but heard was pretty gruesome.

A day of this led me to believe that this would be my life forever, I would just spin and stare cross-eyed at the walls trying to make them stop moving. Crawling from place to place seemed good enough for dogs, sigh. Since my usual solution of mind over matter was not working, I took to YouTube… and thanks to a few exercises that involved throwing my body around and counting to 30 numerous times; taking the day off; advice from friends; and extreme hydration…I began to feel sort of human by day two. Thankful that the spinning had stopped.

Spinning…why does it take being ill, or having people I love in pain, to remind me to stop spinning about things that just do not matter. Why don’t I spin less and cherish more?

Today I will cherish…I’m sure I will also be annoyed at something…but I plan on stopping the spin into that dark place…to reset, regroup…and cherish the moment.

Cherish your today.

Miss Kat

There are those who look back and remember all the hurts, problems, and pain…others who choose to remember the goodness…and others who remember nothing at all. I like to remember the goodness. I do not forget the hurt, I just file it further in the back.

When my daughter was in Kindergarten a flyer came home in her backpack. This was back in the days where “being green” was a reference to Kermit the Frog and there was no such thing as communicating via email. Be A Daisy! For those not in the know…a Daisy is the lowest rung on the Girl Scout ladder. A place for fun and exploration, where girls learned to be strong and self assured. Learn to camp, craft, and do good deeds for others in a supportive group setting! Well that sounded fantastic, sign her up! Catch, they needed leaders, of course there was a catch. I worked full time, was class mom for two of my two children, and taught Sunday school, there was no time for another commitment…not happening.

So that is how I became a co-leader of a Daisy troop.

Walking 12 tiny, squeaky, brightly dressed little pipsqueaks from the school to the meeting used to stop traffic. It was the human equivalent of Make Way for Ducklings. We quickly learned that we were not the camping and whittling wood while sitting in dirt type of troop…we put on plays, did crafts, baked, hosted events, learned art history, participated in singalongs, had professional women come speak, and did service project after service project. No Veteran in our town was without a card or candy dish. No service people overseas without a Valentine or bag of travel size toiletries. No woman with breast cancer in need of a cozy pillow to rest on. We were doers.

Remember the good.

There was plenty of drama, girls left, new girls came in. Some girls strutting their stuff and others not sure of who they would become. Times were tough, teenagers are tortured souls…but as long as my daughter wanted me there, I was there. We stuck it out. We started with 12 in kindergarten and ended with 13 by senior year in high school…with a total of 23 different girls coming in and out. Four girls, who had been involved since day one achieved Gold Awards. Remember the good.

Miss Kat…I just received a thank you note from a local troop addressed to Miss Kat. The leaders knew my husband and I had been involved in a community scavenger hunt and asked for some advice. My advice…oh can I please do it for you? I love planning, I love events, I love that I will not have to actually be there. Please! Creating the clues, the searches, the box of props (essential when the hunters are tween girls with cell phones)…such joy.

Joy. I became Miss Kat on a yellow school bus heading into Manhattan for a Girl Scout overnight…sleeping under the 94 foot blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History…my kind of camping. The girls were beside themselves with glee, Kat can we do…Kat when will we…Kat…Kat…Kat, when the head of the local council whipped her head around and glared at me, “are they calling you…KAT?” Oops, in trouble with council again. I was really not into the militant aspect of scouting so I had become known as “that woman” in council headquarters. Now I was really in trouble. Yes, I don’t really go by Mrs Nemec, there is someone who already has that name, she is 78 and lives in Iowa. That is where I learned being called by my name was not ok…the girls would need to call me Miss Kat.

Deal, and if I am being honest, I could not love being called Miss Kat any more than I do. To this day, if I run into any of my girls, who are now working adults…I am Miss Kat, emphasis on the Miss. An inside joke that brings us right back to being on that bus, and sleeping under that whale, and remembering the good from a very difficult age.

It’s Kinda Funny

Evidently Mother’s Day is a bit controversial. In the last few days I have seen articles and essays by some pretty vocal Mother’s Day haters.

What I have learned…Mothers are not all that; being a mom is not a career and should not define you; some moms suck; not all women can become mothers, a day celebrating moms makes some feel sad; buying chocolate and flowers once a year is an inconvenience; mothers do not raise kids alone, why only celebrate the mom; some moms have passed away, it is really hard to celebrate someone you no longer have.

Here is the thing, I agree with all of those arguments.

Here is the other thing…seriously? I really wanted to say something a bit harsher but thought better of it. I’m still on the fence about my decision.

When I was little little and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was “a mom”…a don’t think just answer, answer. This want lead to a lot of anxiety after overhearing a phone conversation my mom was on. It seemed that not everyone who wanted to be a mom could be one. Mind blown and the anxiety about not being able to have kids clock started. I think I was like ten. My heart and every bit of my soul goes out to people who wanted kids and it did not work out for them. Most of these women are the best Aunties, Stepmoms, and advocates for children that I know. They have fur babies, they volunteer, and they help raise the children of others with grace. I applaud them, I thank them, and I do not think they want to cancel Mother’s Day.

Newsflash…some moms do really suck. Being a mom is insanely hard. I cherish it and it exhausts me. I have moments of being a really good mom and moments I beg for forgiveness at the harm I have done. Like weight loss, where there are 30,000 methods and only 1 or 2 might work with ones brain and body type…there are millions of ways to mess up a kid…and one needs to remember that what works with one human might be the worst thing for the next. It is endless worry, problem solving, and as my mom sad recently…it never every ends. Whether your kid is 2 or 62, your kid is your kid. A career with no retirement date…forever.

I am blessed to still have my mom and mother-in-law on this earth, I will celebrate them. I am surrounded by a glorious group of women who did not give birth but who give 110% of themselves to the children in their lives, I will celebrate them. I will celebrate the women in my life who have passed away too soon with a toast, a tear, and a smile.

I admit, I do expect some token of appreciation from the humans I created. They spent months inside my body dancing on my bladder…send me a card. I don’t give a hoot if it is called a Hallmark holiday…there is also a National Orange Juice Day (May 4th), I saw no nasty essays about the Orange Juice Lobby. It will be interesting to see what happens in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day. My guess is there will not be one OpEd article calling out the injustices of that “holiday”…just dads with golf clubs, fishing rods, and new bottles of bourbon, taking the day off to relax and be appreciated.

Reach out to that woman who made you a better person, write them a note, kiss their cheek, or kiss the sky. Celebrating others is fun if you let it be.

…and to all the wonderful mommies, aunties, babysitters, stepmoms, grandmas, girlfriends out there… Happy Mother’s Day. It takes a village. I applaud you and appreciate you. Swoon.

Being in the car with my crew… one of my top ten mom moments!

Dye It

My first time was about 38 years ago, I was around 17. Bored, creative, why not. Hello Henna. A deep eggplant natural color wash seemed like a good plan for my dark locks. Girlfriends over, an afternoon of laughing, mixing the mud, spreading the swamp-smelling glop on our heads, and topping them off with hand-crafted tinfoil hats. Time to kill, no internet back then…the perfect time for a photoshoot, in a boat, on a table…never try and figure out the minds of teenage girls.

I used Henna for years, mostly purple, sometimes black… it only really showed when I stood in the sun, a very safe statement. I am Mediterranean, olive-toned…green. Most hair colors do not work on me, so I spent years sticking with a splash of color on my dark and crazy abundance of curls…sigh…I had big inflexible hair.

Ohhh did I envy my sister…she was blessed with “mousy brown” hair, (her description, not mine) and white porcelain skin…think Molly Ringwald. She could sport any hair color or style…blonde in the front/black in the back, electric red, or Peter Frampton gold, perm and all…a beautiful blank canvas. My brother, who had similar coloring to me, not so much. He bleached his hair blonde one afternoon. He walked in the kitchen and my father had a stroke. His hair was comic book orange, (his girlfriend failed to understand the concept of double process). Orange hair and green skin…he was a mishmashed Oompa Loompa. While feeling massive amounts of relief that I had never taken that plunge, I felt for him. He looked ridiculous. My father was beyond furious, almost in tears. My mother crossing her legs laughing while repeating relax, hon, relax, it is just hair, it’s just hair. So, my brother shaved his head, problem solved.

After a year of going back and forth between embracing and hating my gray, I dyed my hair…no jobs coming in before noon, I prep, I paint, I wait, I rinse.

It is DARK…holy smokes. Nothing subtle about that head of hair! I am startled every time I pass the mirror. Who is that? My mom doesn’t notice till I point it out, she says Good Girl! Thank God! It must be hard having a daughter who goes gray the same time you do…note, she embraced gray at 83. Olivia does not notice, but we stand eye to eye, that girl has little chance of seeing the top of my head. Greg does not notice without a prompt…we are cooking together, he is a foot taller than me, he should notice. Hellooooooooo I say while pointing to my roots. He smiles, big smile. It looks great! I didn’t notice because that is how you always look to me.

Swoon.