Archive for lessons learned

Haircut or Hair Smut?



#1: You spot a new hair salon and because it’s located between a small engine repair shop and a gas station you think it’ll be reasonable.


I did that. And, even though they had these amazingly comfy massaging shampoo chairs, my ‘trim’ cost $45.00 and looked like it came from one of the lawnmowers in the repair shop.

#2: If a low-cost franchise salon is your next choice – proceed with caution. Even if you luck out and find a fantastic hairdresser, assume you’ll face a waiting list each visit.

#3: Now, if you are prepared to wait — don’t bring your partner along unless there is a coffee shop close by. Otherwise waiting becomes the enemy.

#4: Okay, let’s say you’ve ignored rule #3 — Please don’t let the enemy force you to take unwise action. Like tossing caution to the wind and going with the only available hairdresser who looks like she’d like to be somewhere else. She may be a nervous trainee. Or new to the country with only a meager grasp on the English language.

#5: So, say you’ve gone rogue and ignored #4 too — Trust me when I say — question that wide-eyed stare from the hairdresser when you tell her to ‘cut it two fingers high’. And, for god’s sake, make sure that you use show & tell with your fingers. Show her the two fingers are stacked, not side-by-side. (And don’t assume it’s normal that she mumbles in her native tongue the entire cut).

#6: Here’s the biggie —Don’t even for a single heartbeat think you can trust the gods-that-be enough to lean back and relax with your eyes closed. No. No. No. Eyes open, brain in gear.

#7: Second to last rule is more a peep of warning to the partner you took along —Do not smirkingly offer her your baseball cap when she comes out. Especially if your next ‘trim’ is due and she’s your hair cutter.

Yes, I am that childish. . .I didn’t want to be the baldest head in the mobile.

But it’s all good because . . .

#8: Hair grows.





Both ears wide open


A family member dies unexpectedly. Someone drops in for a stay. Family members begin popping in. A change from our usual simple way. We’ve become engaged in daily visits, talked way more than normal and heard how others face, and deal, with the issues in their lives.

During one of our early morning trips to the coffee shop. Time alone, just Man-Wonder and myself, I’ve come to realize what this summer has been teaching me.


To let the grieving say what’s in their hearts instead of rushing in with words because I find their pain uncomfortable.

To be an empty bucket with ears to someone is struggling to find their place in the world; instead of a bucket overflowing with good advice.

To let someone talk through a shitload of anger and frustration without getting all tangled up in their angst.

The art of listening. With both ears and brain fully engaged. To focus on the words coming, to hearing what and where those words are coming from instead of half-listening because my brain is busy creating a response. Really listening.

Someone, somewhere, I forget who or where,  wrote, ‘Listen to the silence around the spoken words and you will understand better.’

The funny thing — as I learn to be quiet and listen — there’s this lovely sense of harmony. Something I’ve been chasing after most of my life and all I had to do was sit down and shut up.

Huh. Who knew eh.


Not all learning comes from books

Life likes to teach us and sometimes a mini-lesson zips in from the most unexpected, yet perfect source.

Like the other day — I was downtown, leaving the library, and heading across the public square to visit a favorite stitchery shop across the street. To get there I had to pass through  two groups. One was a hoods-up, grunged-down, life-in-a-backpack and barely-out-of-diapers gathering of teens taking turns yelling out rap tunes. The other group was a bunch of native fellows; their faces carrying a tough tiredness as they argued about where to go.

To say I was uncomfortable, and that I hesitated, would be the truth since I’m just this somewhat square-ish, even bore-ish and definitely old-ish woman, who’s imagination always runs to the most worse scenerios. And, boy, was my imagination (and judgment) pinging right then.

But the desire for more embroidery thread won out.

Of course, the young people ignored me—they were too busy rapping and living their style.

And the other group? They, after agreeing on a direction, which meant passing in front of me, didn’t even noticed me. At least not until the last guy in the group—this little guy who looked like life had shaken him too hard and too often. When he and I eye-contact he pushed up the corners of his mouth with his fingers and then said,“Smile, your face will feel happier.”

I smiled. I couldn’t help it. And not only did my face get happier — so did my mind once I stopped imagining what might happen and paid attention to what was happening.

So . . . thank you native guy, this old white broad appreciated your words. She ‘got it’.

One last thing . . .  why are we called white? We’re pink.

Homemade something or other

Ever made lotion? I mean something you could actually, safely put on anything other than feet?

My first DIY lotion ended up like a wobbly petroleum jelly. It melted on contact and felt a bit like a coating of motor oil. Definitely not a face lotion! But it worked wonders on my alligator-skin feet. At least at night. With thick wool socks on.

Too bad it turned the socks a vomit-yellow.

The second recipe was going well, until I added my very own ‘yep-I-created-it-all-by-myself’ scent! Seriously, by itself the scent wasn’t half bad,  but man oh man — mixed into the lotion blend it turned —pee-ew-t-full!  I couldn’t even convince dear Man-Wonder to give it a try. . .and his sniffer isn’t that good. In the end, it went into the outside garbage can and I can’t say it improved the can aroma either.

Anyway, time passed and, as the scent of failure faded, I decided to try again. Sometimes I wonder though — am I on the dense side genetically, or do I just have an undying blind faith in things working out?

Because, I decided, since I wasn’t having any luck with something as simple as a ‘lotion’ recipe, maybe I needed to complicate it up by attempting a ‘cream’ recipe. And didn’t I always want a beautiful rose-scented cream? (Have I mentioned how expensive Rose EO is?) Well, you know that old quote about babies and idiots?

The cream recipe came out on the thin side making it the most luxurious, rich, divine-smelling lotion ever!

Now here’s where it gets a bit daft. (dafter?)

I have a working (sort of) lotion recipe and I love, love, love the smell and feel of it so why not just go with it for the next batch. But no. I have to tweak. Something less expensive scent-wise? Maybe another DIY scent?

The monkey never learns does it?

But I truly wanted to have a scented lotion Man-Wonder would be willing to use. He’s not fond of smelling like a rose garden but he does like the great outdoors and since I’m a fan of trees—why not woodsy?

Only I got carried away and my ‘Woodsy’ blend had a slight scent closer to a creature of the forest. But since there was a birch-cedar edge to it I used it.(Lesson #1,382,504  — know which EOs, or combos, will react with your oil/water mixture. You don’t want it thickening to fast.

And, man-oh-man, did it thicken too fast! We are talking instant seizure. I suddenly had a bowl full of white lumps and no matter how long I blended it wouldn’t thin out.

So what did I put my ‘Woodsy’ label on? A jar of white jelly beanish stuff smelling weirdly bushy-ish. And it truly is a manly lotion. . . since it needs some serious muscle  to rub in!

But, in spite of Man-Wonder claiming,”It’s like going to bed with a lumber-jack whose feet are covered in zinc lotion” my feet are feeling bum-soft now. And, another wee bonus is my woolies are losing their vomit-yellow glow.

Now . . .if I could just make something I’m not afraid to put on my face. . .