Saturday, April 26, 2014

The No Poo Project

One of the reasons why I chopped all my hair off five years ago was: the frizz.  It was fuzzy enough as its natural, wavy self.  When I started colouring it regularly in my early 30's, it turned into a hopeless shrubbery.  So, now that I'm growing it long again, I'm determined not to go down the same road.  I have no desire for my head to look like the business end of a toilet brush.

For starters, I'm not colouring my hair anymore.  I have decided to embrace the grey streak in my bangs.  My sister even told me that it suits me, and I didn't pay her to say that, so I feel pretty good about it.

My stylist advised me to wash my hair less frequently.  He said "I know some people who never wash their hair."  Ew, gross.  Well, maybe it works for people who were freakishly born with no sweat or oil glands on their scalp, but it's not for me.  One of my least favourite smells in the world is the reek of rancid hair oil.  Dis-gusting.  That must be avoided at all costs.

I started shampooing less frequently.  If it wasn't a shampoo day, it was a conditioner day.  I would rinse my hair and then condition it, to counteract any potential stinkyness.  I thought that I was simply moisturizing my hair.  In fact, I was unwittingly building up layers of silicone.  Because I use cheap conditioner.  Oops.  So, that didn't work out very well.  My head didn't smell bad, but it felt caked in buildup.  Yucko.

I wised up and decided to do some research.  There's a lot of material online dedicated to "going 'poo-free".  Honestly, I'm glad that Google is a smart search engine, because it never would have occurred to me to include "no poo" in my search string.  That seems much more likely to bring up results involving prunes and Ex-Lax.  Live and learn.

I followed the advice in this article which describes how to make your own "shampoo" and "conditioner" using only baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and water.  I didn't have high expectations.  But huzzah - it worked!  I am amazed!  As suggested, I am doing the natural wash thing twice per week.  The process leaves my hair a little frizzy, so I jumped on another natural health bandwagon and bought a jar of coconut oil at the supermarket.  Just a tiny rub of the stuff is all it takes to smooth me right down.  And I don't smell like a piƱa colada either.

So far so good.  I think I have a winner hair system happening now.  More time will tell.  And if worst comes to worst, I can just chop it all off again.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mulling Over Mortality

It's been a sad week.  A good friend of mine, Val the Bingo Queen, lost a friend to cancer last Saturday.  It was one of those "thank goodness she can finally rest in peace" deaths, i.e. the run-up to it was spectacularly awful and packed with suffering.  However, at least everyone knew it was coming.  The woman who passed away had a chance to say goodbye to her nearest and dearest.  She also left instructions such that after her passing, her Facebook location changed to "Chillin' with Jesus" and her occupation changed to "Haunting you all".  Nice touch!

So that was all very sobering, but Val was coping.

Then, on Tuesday, I got a phone call from Val.  She was in tears.  And if you knew Val, you'd know how rare that is.  She's the steeliest woman I've ever met.  What happened?  Well, remember the wedding I went to just a few months ago?  The bride, one of Val's closest friends, at only 55 years of age, had very suddenly died of a heart attack.

As if that weren't hard enough to take, the groom asked Val if she could call all of their other friends to give them the news.  Of course she did.  She's used to being the strong one.  But it wasn't easy.

I work with Val, and another woman who is part of that group of friends.  I was called upon this week to do my share of listening and consoling.  It's my honour and privilege to be there to help.  But I must say, it's been a bit grim.

This Sunday I'll be joining Val and her group of friends for Easter lunch at a buffet.  She asked them if they minded if Ken and I were invited, and they all seemed keen to have us there.  It might be a relief to have some people around who aren't so personally affected by this double whammy of losses.  I plan on wearing my most reassuring smile to start off with, and I'm ready to take their lead in terms of the mood of the gathering.  I expect they'll want to tell good-memories stories and joke about the two women getting up to trouble together in Heaven.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bas Couture

Well, that's interesting.  I meant for the title of this post to translate as "Low Fashion", inasmuch as "bas" means "low".  ("Couture", for the record, means "sewing".)  However, Google Translate tells me that the phrase "bas couture" means "seamed stockings".  Go figure.  So, I present to you: Low Fashion, or Seamed Stockings, as you prefer.

I have been doing a little spring shopping.  Initially I wasn't much in the mood for it, however I've managed to outgrow some of my summer work shirts, so I thought I'd better hit the mall.

The mall let me down.  90% of this season's clothes are black, white, and grey.  I am not  entirely against neutrals - they obviously have their place - but after this dreary winter I'm craving colour.  Who's with me?

(The entire city of Toronto, stripped of its blanket of snow, is such a stunned, grey-beige landscape at the moment that we may need a mega-sized set of defibrillator paddles to shock some life back into the land.)

In the  meantime, I spent this weekend at a couple of thrift shops, in search of inspiration.  I found it.  Here is photographic evidence of my haul.  Excuse me while I gloat about my bargains.

This dress fits as though it were custom made for me.  It was a steal at $13.

I don't usually go in for drapey blouses, but I couldn't resist the roses on this one.  It's 100% polyester, so static is going to be an issue, but I have a can of Static Guard, and it's sure going to be easy to launder.  It was a reasonable $9.

I always get chilly in air conditioning, and I didn't have any cardigans that would work with this particular top, so I bought one.  So cozy!  It was $7.

If there's anything I don't need more of, especially at this time of year, it's pullover sweaters.  But this one called my name.  I figured, what's 8 bucks for a chance to wear half the rainbow?

You get a closeup of this shirt, so that you can appreciate the pink Hawaiian print.  So cute!  (This one was $5.)

In the end, I managed to fill a big bag with clothes for under $50.  Now that's what I'm talking about! I was willing to pay full price at the mall, but they didn't have anything that I wanted.  More's the luck for me.  Not to mention that I found $2 in the change room.  Score!  Now I just have to run all my finds through the laundry (some of them do smell a little odd) and I'm all set.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hot Dog Art and a Cold

Spring is finally here!  And with it, the Common Cold.  I'm not really complaining.  Last year I was off work for a whole week in February.  This year's cold isn't nearly as bad.  My brave friends even let me attend our weekly game night on Saturday, so I didn't miss out on any of the fun. I hope they all survive being exposed to my germs.

My Maltese friend baked these adorable and delicious figolli (which have nothing to do with figs).  They are sort of double-layer cookies filled with a marzipan-like ground almond mixture.

Lambies!  Those who were brave enough to eat the black icing got to show off their super-attractive blackened teeth to the rest of us.

We played Munchkin.  The gender-specificity of this card might bug LL Cool Joe, but I did like getting a cute shoulder dragon.  Who could ask for more in a fashion accessory?

I had a ticket to a classical piano concert this afternoon, but having woken up hacking and sneezing I decided that I'd better stay home.  I was technically well enough to go, but my wheezing would have spoiled the performance for everyone else.  Instead I went out and bought tissues with lotion and a bag of oranges.

I'm guessing I have another two or three days of this cold nonsense to get through, but I'll be back to my old self soon enough.