Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where Were You When?

     Coverage of the Virginia earthquake, the one that damaged the capitol, jolted the east coast and commandeered the media for a whole day, started me thinking.  The last earthquake I experienced was as memorable as anything I’ve lived through, not because it was so serious and destructive—it wasn’t—but because we were so naïve.
I had a meeting in Denver and, two weeks later, we were scheduled to attend a wedding in Los Angeles.  Once halfway across the country, surely we had to stay out west.  We packed up our three parrots, our most formal clothes (the wedding was at the Beverly Wilshire hotel) and whatever else we could think of and flew to Denver to pick up our rented motor home.
     Between Denver and LA we park-hopped, visiting the national parks we had only seen in photos.  I can still see the incredible reds and yellows of Bryce Canyon and I can feel the terror when we drove the outside lane of the Colorado National Monument.  The road through the Monument is on the edge of the cliffs, without guardrails, and unbelievably twisted.
     After we marveled at El Capitan, we decided to explore Palm Desert. From the comfort of our air conditioned coach, we looked at what we thought was a ghost town.  There was no one on the street.  We parked and decided to explore, stepped out of the motor home and didn’t even touch the ground.  We retreated to the comfort of our air conditioning so fast, that all I could think of was a movie played in reverse.  Don’t go to the desert in July.
     Our final destination was just south of Malibu and a camp on a cliff overlooking the Pacific.  We settled down on a site in the first row, the front of the motor home extending over the edge of the cliff.  The next day our newly married son and daughter-in-law joined us so we could attend the wedding together.
     Our only transportation was a motor home with three very noisy parrots in their traveling cages, so off we went to the Beverly Wilshire.  I dare say the doormen still remember the ridiculous scene, the four of us in our formal attire, descending from a motor home that sounded like an aviary.  A motor home is out of place in front of the Beverly Wilshire but not quite as bad as it was in front of our condo in Trump Tower in Manhattan.
     The wedding was…beautiful, stuffy, formal, noisy, and very expensive.  When we finally returned to our paradise overlooking the Pacific, it was late and all of us to fell asleep almost immediately, our son and his wife slept in the front room and we retreated to the rear bedroom.
     At about three in the morning, the motor home began to feel like a boat.  It was bobbing and shaking for no apparent reason.  What were those kids doing up there?  Motor homes rock when jostled and we figured they were they cause.  We looked out the window to check on the picnic table.  It hadn’t moved, so we agreed not to say anything for fear of embarrassing the two in the front room. 
     We didn’t even think about the bobbing and rocking until the next morning, when the father of the bride asked if we had liked their entertainment, which he proceeded to explain was an earthquake.  So it wasn’t our kids having a good time.  I liked our explanation better—it was more enticing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hair, Hair, Hair

     This story in the Miami Herald prompted me to share my hair issues.
     Curly yellow hair is my identity.  When I went to a conference last June, people kept telling me they knew me, and asking where we had met.  We hadn’t.  What they remembered was the curly yellow hair in my Facebook picture.
     It’s been yellow since forever. In high school, my mother encouraged me to leave the mousy brown in the dust. It was bad enough that I had to deal with frizz, mousy brown was just too much.  When my mother met one of her friends in the supermarket, her reply to “Did you see your daughter’s hair?” was “I did it for her.” 
     Why does a bad hair day have to define your psyche?  Having a bad hair day has become a pseudonym for whatever can go wrong in 24 hours. I envy the other side of the human race—men can shave their heads and people don’t make ugly faces at them. 
     About 8 years ago I discovered "Curly Girl, Lorraine Massey's curly hair bible.  Some of the advice in this article makes sense but.... 

     Carolyn Brundage recommended products that are wallet-killers.  I've tried them all, spent a small fortune, need more storage in my bathroom, and finally settled on L'oreal's Everpure moisture conditioner, the one in the metallic pink tube available for well under $7.00 at Walmart, Publix, Walgreens…,. No shampoo.  Never shampoo.  I use shampoo twice a year, when I frost my hair. The rest of the year, just conditioner.  I wash my hair with it and then use some more and leave it in.  (I promise, my hair isn't dirty, doesn't look oily, and doesn't smell.)

     I follow Lorraine’s Curly Girl rule and avoid all the "cones."  No silicone.  It doesn't rinse out and it’s too heavy. When I remember to do it, I “deep condition:” put in some stuff, cover it with one of those hotel shower caps, and proceed to spend my half hour on the elliptical machine. I’m convinced that it doesn’t matter what stuff I use; it’s the moist heat that makes the difference.

     As to color:  my hair isn't yellow and it’s worse than mousy brown.  Thanks to curly girl, I discovered that demi-permanent color does the job and doesn't mess with my really delicate curly hair.  I mix it with 20 volume peroxide, not the 10 volume they recommend, and it works as well as the smelly permanent stuff with ammonia.

     The article left out the most important advice of all.  Along with the no shampoo rule, no hairbrush, ever. And no hot implements unless you are desperate and have to coax a few strands into the corkscrews that you're looking for, in which case a small curling iron works. Otherwise, air is your best friend. Let your hair air dry. I love my convertible but hate my motorcycle helmet. 
     Years ago, when I was commuting on the Long Island Railroad, I used to stand on the windy platform in Port Washington with my wet hair.  It was then that I came to understand the igloo factor.  When my hair froze solid, my head felt warm.  See, that’s why the Eskimos live in igloos—ice is a good insulator. 
     Why all the fuss?  Why do we focus on hair?  When you visualize Debbie Wasserman Schultz, what do you see?  Her yellow curls.  Gloria Estefan’s curls are her identity when she doesn’t choose to fight them.  Julia Roberts looks best with her curls. The same for so many others.  Have they figured out the solution?  I think so, because they look pretty good.
     My curly hair doesn’t always look the same.  It varies from day to day.  Sometimes it gets frizzy, sometimes it doesn’t behave, sometimes I hate it. But, I never have a bad hair day, or is every day a bad hair day?