Sunday, September 30, 2012

Benefits/pitfalls to dating someone who was once married

Why you should date an ex-wife
(preferably not yours unless y'all fixed whatever was wrong)
  • She will make you food.
  • If you get sick, she will dote over you. (Well, at least pick a Jewish mother-type. heh)
  • She'll be good at housekeeping. (As long as she's not divorced because of her shitty homemaking skills.)
  • She will understand the concept of downtime.
  • She won't be in a rush to get married again
  • She will understand the value of your happiness adding to your happiness as a couple so she will encourage you to pursue things you enjoy.
  • She'll be used to sleeping next to someone so will be a good bed companion.
  • Will understand what can go wrong in a relationship and wants to have learned from it so it doesn't happen again.
  • She won't want it to fail next time so will be extra cautious going in and extra motivated staying in. 
  • She'll want to share her life with you. 

And pitfalls:
  • You will still have to kill all the spiders.
  • You will probably get less leeway for the things that she disliked last time around.
  • She will be more sensitive to normal conflict, afraid it might indicate pending doom.
  • She might be so used to being a wife that she doesn't remember how to be a girlfriend anymore.
  • She will want attention and reassurance that you think she's amazing and are crazy about her. (Neglect can be a sad side-effect of longterm relationships where an inevitable shift to devoting time & resources to career & family take precedence over the relationship.)
  • She may be more guarded about the value of her time and thus desire more help around the house.
  • She will want new furniture and things you can call yours together and not leftover from either partner's past but, practical girl she is, she won't feel comfortable acting on it because the expense will make this idea unrealistic. But she'll want it though.

And now for the funny divorce cartoons part:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

HOES. Hoes.

Submitted a sketch to an exhibit and saw it displayed today. This is the first time I've ever been in a gallery, and, while thrilling (even though it's a joint no one has ever heard of or ever will AND my piece is mounted next to the bubble gum mound unwittingly erected by bored 'tweens accompanying mothers who sneaked over for the free cookies -- Weight Watchers points don't count if it's not consumed in your own house), I still didn't announce the affair to my friends. I'm secretly extremely judgmental about art and as a beginner am intensely aware of my skill level. Zoo animals' drawing skillz can hump mine; I bow to evolutionary prowess.

Still, people asked me about my piece today.

"HOES," I wanted to say, pointing to my sketch, "see these lines? That's where I fucked up! And they took it anyway. Haha!"

Some people were walking around coughing and sniffling and so I made sure I licked whatever they touched. Disease can be inspiration for my next piece.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

7 things.

    1. Why do people think it's enough to run 0.02 seconds of water on their hands after using the bathroom? That is not WASHING.
    2. My favorite new saying, coined from Arrogant Ass's blog: "Can't a bitch have a vice?"
    3. I may or may not have stapled my cardigan yesterday.
    4. I hate the word "cardigan," it's so pretentious.
    5. Although how can you hate a whole type of clothing? But I do.
    6. I went to an event at my old workplace a couple nights ago and saw bigboobs, I can tell she still hates me. I'm sorry but I cannot help that I noticed -- stop handling your tits in public then!!
    7. Note to self: next time landlord has an inspection, PUHLEASE put away the medical textbook on The Genito-Urinary Tract.

    Saturday, September 22, 2012

    the one-sidedness of a punitive stance (link to advice column)

    This quote in an advice column got me thinking about the one-sidedness of a punitive stance:
    "You’re the one who tore our family apart, so you’re going to have to live with the consequences." (Carolyn Hax column)
    Why is it so easy to blame? "It takes two to tango" is such a worn cliche it could almost fall from unconscious lips and yet when it comes time to apply, it is forgotten.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    The Cyclist

    Date #5 with The Cyclist. We went to trivia night at some pub and I congratulated myself on knowing that Walmart is discontinuing the _________ (Amazon Kindle). He did great. The last set was listening to clips of 90s songs and guessing them and then afterwards, we left the pub and wandered around the city looking for dessert, holding hands and singing one of the songs they'd just had us guess ("Jumper" by Third Eye Blind). "I wish you would step back from that ledge my friend. Cut ties to aaaalll the lies that you've been living in, aaand.... if you do not want to see me again, I would understaaaayaaannddd."  

    He's fun. Maybe we shouldn't like each other. He's a huge Dylan fan. I once cried at a Katy Perry song. I'm very open (I mean, this BLOG, yo). He's extremely private. He hates social media. That's part of my JOB. I'm fatter and he lives at the gym. He runs for fun. I would maybe run from a serial killer for about 20 feet. When I come home from work, I immediately dive into a billion projects and he actually gets to relax for the evening. But despite the odds, our rapport is really good.

    He cut up slices of apple and surprise-handed them to me in a little plastic bag for my trip home. I was so touched by the tiny gesture. I thanked him, but if I gushed -- if I showed how I really felt -- would it look pathetic, like I am not too used to being doted over? Because I'm not. And then would that be permission to stop? I really like this whole being treated sweetly thing. I can't imagine ever getting used to it.

    The getting-to-know eachother process is moving extremely slowly but that's good. I need that right now.

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

    This is how procrastination starts

    (I wrote this Oct. 2010)

    And this is how it starts, the procrastination.

    Yesterday I heard something scratching incessantly at the air conditioning unit in my bedroom. Half-asleep, I picked up the nearest thing within reach, a paperback, and tossed it towards the A/C, thinking the noise would scare off any wayward critters before they ended up inside. I'm no fool. I realize it's warm, comfortable and dry in here and this observation is not lost to birds and squirrels.

    So, I tossed this homemade anti-beastie device whilst gripped by the tentacles of slumber, one eye completely closed and the other squinting sluggishly, collapsing immediately back into soft pillows the second the book left my fingertips.

    In my eager plans, I neglected to account for the Rube Goldbergesque architecture and placement of the site of attack; namely my bed, a fake plant, the A/C unit, one airborne book, and two decorative vases.

    Over the next four seconds, the book, trajectory slightly altered by the fake plant, hit the unit, toppling a nearby vase which fell and bounced off a second vase.

    I am convinced that there exists in the human body a separate nervous system designed to expedite the processing of shattering glass, fingernails on a chalkboard, screeching brakes, mating cats and screaming babies. This consists of a direct line linking the eardrum to the ZOMG!! alarm center of the brain.

    The last time I heard glass explode at this volume was when I accidentally left a plate on the stove. A burner was mistakenly turned on to "high" and instantly rendered my attractive dinnerware into shrapnel.

    At this most recent shattering of glass, I bolted upright out of bed and surveyed the damage. Shards of glass EVERYWHERE. Even across the room several feet away.

    Note that it was 7am Sunday morning.


    So I did what any responsible person would do: I went back to sleep.

    Fast forward to noon.

    Mind you, I'm catching up on sleep from Friday's minor surgical procedure and so I wasn't eager to leap out of bed even then. But I got up, carefully focusing on not slicing open my feet. I'd already been cut open with a sharp instrument a few days ago and didn't relish another reason to revisit this activity.

    I bent over carefully and began picking up the pieces.
    Brain: You realize this isn't going to work. You cannot pick up every last little piece. We need to vacuum.

    me: okay.

    me: wait. I don't have a vacuum anymore.

    Brain: Fine. BUY a vacuum.

    me: okay.

    me: but... I can't just leave the house. I need to shower and dry my hair and then redress the bandages and then clean out my purse and balance my checkbook!*

    And so that is how I started my afternoon nap.

    The mere prospect of the steps required to attack this new dilemma filled me with an overwhelming fatigue demanding no less than the complete and utter abandonment of consciousness.

    I couldn't just pick up a vacuum and clean like normal people, I had to shower and shave and leave the house and get gas and drive to the store and look for things which will have to be plugged in and tested because I have OCD about buying crappy appliances. . . I could just see entire hours whittling away in which I neither write NOR rest, effectively meeting none of my personal needs for a Sunday.

    So I bought a vacuum online.

    Then I carefully picked up as much glass as possible, only slicing into one digit in the process. But I got my R&R!

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

    "Our culture is not nurturing."

    I read this stirring editorial in the New York Times yesterday and I love this quote:
    "Our culture is not nurturing. We ask each other, “How are you doing?” but we do not really want to know. We do not really want that person to say anything other than “fine,” because that would mean we would have to listen, to really care, something that most of us have not even done with ourselves. ... And as a result, we have a “fine” culture that is everything but fine. Medicated smiles, robotic responses, whole lifetimes that pass under the guise of “fine” when all we really want is for someone to ask and care." 

    Alexandra Heather Foss 
    An old friend once lost her mother and sister to cancer and later lamented about how coworkers avoided her at work afterwards. "They didn't even tell me 'sorry for your loss' or anything." She sniffed.

    Personal troubles can be such a clumsy topic to broach, especially at work. After my husband and I separated, I basically announced that I would not be talking about it. (Well, except to close friends.) I did this because I couldn't run the risk of breaking down. Even the slightest mention, tilt of the head or sympathetic gesture would make me choke up. I hate HATE crying in front of anyone. It has always seemed like a cruel gift from the universe to grant the girl who hates being vulnerable such easy access to tears.

    So maybe this is why people don't say something when someone is going through a hard time. They don't know if it feels intrusive. But not saying anything can be worse. Either way, pain is a clumsy subject.

    One of the reasons I started blogging was experimenting with this side, with being open. It might be hard to believe but I wasn't always this expressive. I'm very good at listening but wasn't so much with sharing. I started my first blog in 2005. Not an ounce of it was personal. I used it as a digital collection device. It took another couple of years to gather the courage to write even on a superficial level and then only fairly recently did I begin this, what you're reading now.

    As difficult as it's been to be open, it's also been one of the most rewarding experiences because of the feedback (sometimes commented, sometimes emailed). It's allowed me to understand I'm not alone. And now this benefit is becoming mainstream -- people are talking about how vulnerability is the true gift that allows us to relate to each other and accept our own humanity (e.g.: Ted Talk by Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability -- 20 min video). I've enjoyed deeper relationships from this kind of sharing. It's so  rewarding to deeply relate.

    Monday, September 17, 2012

    And that is dying.

    I read these words from a comforting booklet, Gone From My Sight, that hospice provided on the process of dying:
    I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

    Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"

    "Gone where?"

    Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

    Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"

    And that is dying.

    ~ Henry Van Dyke

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

    Tribute to Mr. X. I never knew you but I loved your son.

    I went to a funeral service yesterday for an ex. I was never fortunate enough to meet the deceased -- his father -- while we were dating but sitting in the room amongst so many who'd gathered to send off this loved man, I felt like I wanted to pay tribute somehow too. I'm not particularly religious nor do I feel like the dead can hear us when they're gone, but I wanted to express something anyway. So quietly, in my head, I offered a little prayer.
    Dear Mister X, I loved your son once. I still do, although now we are only friends. From stories, I can see he got his sense of humor from you, his ability to joke quickly, laugh heartily, and live fully.  I can imagine as a father, one of the most important things in life you want is for your kids to turn out okay. He has so much to offer the world. He doesn't know or believe it yet, but those who love him see his many gifts and treasure him. He has many friends and we will look out over him now that you have joined your wife -- his mom. We won't let him be alone. Thank you for raising this wonderful young man who has taught me so much.
    I was so proud of him when he got up to share some memories, unrehearsed. He made the entire room laugh on a somber day.

    Afterwards, when everyone drifted away and we were alone, he slumped, face turned away from me. "Today was really, really fucking hard." 

    "I know," I said, rubbing his back gently. "I'm glad you invited me."

    "I'm glad you came."

    Friday, September 14, 2012

    the things that terrify

    I keep doing these things that terrify me. Maybe I have PTSD of the heart. Or maybe it's that, despite the fear, I keep trying. But it means I constantly fight to untangle the knots inside.

    Have you ever had a true panic attack? I don't mean feeling scared, I mean an honest-to-goodness experience where fear soaks your entire body and you feel you must fight for your life. I have once. I plunged, unprepared, into the ocean with a scuba tank on my back.

    Know what happens when you dive into the water with giant steel weight attached to your body? You sink. Immediately.

    There is no thinking following the sensation of being dragged under. You just fight. You fight not to die, because that's what it feels like.

    I clawed mightily towards the surface and when I reached it, I grabbed onto a float, ripped the regulator out of my mouth and gasped for air, then climbed weakly onto the boat and that was it. It wasn't until later that I even realized what happened -- my BCD hadn't been inflated -- but the next time I climbed into the water to snorkel a few days later I was uneasy and had to remind myself, "You just FEEL uncomfortable, nothing is actually wrong."

    I found myself saying the same thing last night on my date, the 3rd date with The Cyclist (the guy who is thinner than me that I mentioned earlier).

    The date was great, rapport awesome. He makes me giggle.

    He leaned forward to kiss me last time I'd seen him and paused. "Wait, what's your last name?"

    I said, "You were going to kiss me and you don't even know my last name?" I laughed. "I guess you didn't google my number yet."

    I knotted up inside, just like I almost always do. But nothing was actually wrong. I'm just terrified of being hurt. Last thing I wanted was to reveal this though -- that's CRAZY GURRL!! territory and I hate crazy. So I didn't say anything. And then something in me realized he was scared too. Not too scared to try though. And so we stood facing eachother in the dark and tentatively reached out.

    I tried to tell him things. "Asplenia," he said, cutting me off. "that's your business."

    Later, when sleep finally overtook me, I dreamt I was standing with the Dark-Haired Boy. He hugged me tight, lifted my face and asked of me one thing: "Be kind."

    I don't know how to be kind when there can be no certainty. But nothing is certain. We are wandering souls, connecting to discover and explore. This is a temporary place, this space between loneliness and love. By its definition, something temporary implies it is discarded when no longer needed. But that doesn't have to mean it lost value, right? As long as we all treat each other with care?

    This is the thing I struggle with most, that knots me inside.

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    The fallacy of too many options

    It's so easy to browse people online -- the choices appear endless, each profile seemingly better than the last.

    Imagine if our jobs were like that, if our bosses could see 30 competing resumes a day for our position. But they don't, because institutional knowledge & established history mean a lot in work relationship and so (luckily) employees aren't tossed aside for someone who looks better on paper. But after a failed relationship, we become wary. Discriminating.

    As we well should.

    Profiles won't say what you really need to know though: "I will care about your feelings. I will treat you like a cherished treasure. I will be happy to see you even when it's the 10,000th time. I'll rub your back when you're sick and make you food. I'll want you to have time to yourself. I'll support the things that make you happy & fulfilled even if they don't include me. But I'll share myself with you too. I'll give 100%."

    Profiles also will not tell you what only time will: can you relax around each other? Is the chemistry good? Do you have similar beliefs and goals?

    And do they walk the walk that they talk? People can say a lot of things. But you should pay attention to what they do.

    Only time will tell these things. How much time? I don't know, but usually a few months is enough (according to Chris Rock: "You're not dating them. You're dating their representative!"). I'm compiling some tips to evaluate though, coming soon. If you have any advice to share, happy to hear. (<-- My way of saying PUHLEASE help me get better at this! lol)

    Dating By Chris Rock by UZI4you

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    An unsexy conversation about porn

    A friend asked recently on a social network for feedback on how his friends felt about pornography.

    Maybe I fit into a stereotype but I'm not much into porn. I'd much rather read some steamy love scene in slow, flowery, luscious detail (and I do a fair share of my own writing and daydreaming when inspired) but I don't really seek pictures. But it never bothered me if my partner enjoyed porn. I mean, whatever, right? As long as no one is getting hurt.

    But this can be a complicated topic -- even if we supposed everyone in the porn industry was there consensually, are they okay? Are they happy? I mean, I'd hope that anyone who tried that type of work and found it injurious to the psyche would leave, but what if you felt trapped by money or stigma? Maybe you'd be typecast as a monochromatic actor after your first smutty film and doors to Hollywood would slam shut. Or maybe it'd feel like there's little choice because shameless wages couldn't sustain. Or maybe some people would stay despite inner misery, like emotional cutters, unable to stop themselves from doing the things that damaged them. There's probably a huge range of effects, as varied as the people themselves.

    No one said this couldn't apply to any profession though, or even anything. People stay with all sorts of things despite ill personal effects.

    So yeah, I have mixed feelings about porn. I have mixed feelings about anyone justifying anything that has a large, negative personal cost.

    What I do find extremely appealing, however, is passion. Passion in work, passion in love, lovemaking, art, expression, child-rearing, whatever. People can tell if you're engaged. Maybe what I find missing in a lot of porn is passion -- some of it just looks so detached and that seems boring to me.

    Chuck Pahlaniuk once said, "You can go a lifetime without feeling anything but skin."

    I want more than skin.

    Sunday, September 9, 2012

    Brazilian keratin treatment didn't work for me (first pix of other people, then my own)

    Note: I start this post with a funny story and then include my own before & after pictures when I finally decided to get a professional Brazilian keratin treatment. But I first started with the drugstore kit (which did not work!).
    Normally, I’m terribly skeptical about hair products but one day I was googling how to tame frizz and came across a bunch of magical before & after photos for something called the “Brazilian Keratin” hair treatment. It supposedly transforms curly hair into sleek, straight locks. I was hooked. For example, behold:

    Before and After Photos of Brazilian Keratin Treatment

    Steps for being me:
    This is the stuff I used.

    If it can do THAT, I thought, maybe it’ll work for me? Usually nothing does, but it only feels like I’ve tried everything. I hadn’t yet tried this.
    I looked up more info. It appeared that the process involved binding keratin onto the hair using formaldehyde so it must be applied under high heat. The whole routine takes hours and can only be done under the careful precision of a skilled salon artist and costs hundreds of dollars. 
    I usually try to avoid activities which involve immersing flammable body parts like hair in baths of toxic carcinogens, especially when large amounts of money are required but I was intrigued. I couldn’t give the idea up just yet. Maybe I wasn’t ready for a salon visit but I had to learn more. Time for a visit to the store.
    Halfway through hair aisle, I realized with horror that I only paid for 6 minutes at the parking meter. This would not be enough time to sniff, read, and analyze every hair product in stock.
    I returned to the car like a good citizen, determined to fix the error, and promptly paid for the spot next me by mistake.
    I considered just driving away but a small burst of rage made me boldly defiant. I returned to the store in disgust and rebellion, taunting parking ticket fate. It was easier to just abhor the entire city than fix things at this point.
    But success! I found a box treatment that sounded natural and immediately congratulated myself on my superior hair-product-shopping skills.
    When I got home, I read directions 3 times. Wait. Why do you need gloves to apply avocado oil? 
    "DO NOT GET ON SKIN" said the warning. "USE IN WELL-VENTILATED AREA." I hiked open the window and continued reading. "Apply product to dry hair. DO NOT OVERSATURATE."
    I oversaturated. 
    Now I had a half hour to kill before the next step: using a flat iron to “seal” the cuticle. 
    I decided to use this time wisely and plan my packing strategy for moving in a few days. 
    I laid on the bed with my head in a towel and considered buying heavy-duty trash bags to transport clothes instead of thin kitchen bags. 
    That was easy! Moving preparations were now done for the day.
    After the treatment soaked in, it was time to blow dry. 
    No one was home so I thought it was safe to make this part more fun and blasted the radio, sing-screaming Bad Romance. I made SURE my roommate wasn’t home like last time. Right at the second refrain, I saw my neighbor staring in horror at the open bathroom window. 
    I made the evening’s To Do list:
    • Learn to sing.
    • Google "lack of impulse control."
    Then I started ironing my strands, alarmed at smoky steam of residue burning off. Is that what "sealing" keratin looks like? If not, that Halloween wig might actually get more use than expected.

    Somehow I neglected to realize that the process involved saturating my hair with the product, blow drying it, then flat-ironing it, but not washing it out. It was supposed to stay on my head for TWO DAYS. I cancelled all plans except for moving — movers don't care if their customers look like greased alpacas. WHYYY did I give away my only hat?

    Fast forward 2 days, after moving day when I could finally wash it out & see the results.
    As you can see from this actual “after” photo, it didn’t work, and the product isn’t even sold anymore. The End! Thank you for coming to my beauty blog. 
    [For more funny stories, you can subscribe to my newsletter, which I never sell anything nor spam, it's just my comedy outlet.]
    But the rest of the story is below, since it doesn't really end here... I decided to try a professional salon treatment after all. 
    TL;DR it looked awful on me because my hair is too thin & fine with baby hairs popping up on the top of my head, but go ahead and judge from the pix below. It also didn't last but at this point I'm already convinced: not for me!



    I finally decided to get an actual Brazilian keratin treatment, like, from a salon.

    A friend said "if you're thinking about getting that Brazilian keratin treatment but not sure, well, just flat-iron your hair. If you like the way it looks straightened, then you will like the way it looks with that treatment."

    I wasn't sure, because my hair is both fine AND thin, and I just didn't know how the treatment would come out. I was worried for a reason -- I was right. I think it is too thin (and now flat) and doesn't look that great.

    I'm posting pictures of my hair before the Brazilian treatment and after so if you have similar hair, you can see how it will affect you. I think if my hair was THICK, then hale yes, I woulda rocked it. But now it just looks flat and lifeless framing my face (although granted, before it was so frizzy and dry that it wasn't necessarily great either). The side and back look great though. (Can't have it all I guess!)

    Before Brazilian keratin treatment:

    I took this in the salon just before the brazilian keratin treatment.
    (Sorry about all the smiley faces! Given the private nature of most of the rest of this blog, I don't want my face on it.
    But this is why I can totes be honest about embarrassing stuff.)
    See how my hair is wavy, but not curly?
    That makes the hair follicle nice & thirsty.
    Up close it looks frizzy.

    Side view - you can really see here how it is both fine
    (meaning very thin strands) and thin (meaning not that much of it)*
    I'm not trying to be derogatory, just honestly portray what my hair is like.

    *Because my hair is thinning with age, my dermatologist encouraged me to use Rogaine -- men's 5%, not the women's 2.5% -- to prevent further loss. I buy the generic, minoxodil, because it's SOOO much cheaper. I am pleased to say that it seems to be helping although new hair took like 4 months before I noticed it and is even thinner and finer than my normally thin fine hair. And if I stop using it even for a few days, it falls out so you have to be consistent and apply it morning and night. If your hair is thinning and you're considering options, ask your dr - I'm not a doc and I don't want to give medical advice on this blog.
    After Brazilian keratin treatment:
    It's really flat, you guys. Which looks awesome in the side view,
    as I'll demonstrate below, but not so great for the front view.
    Also note, this photo is not a close-up so you can't see the flaws as easily.

    So, this is the most important one I wanted you to see.
    See how my hair is sticking straight up?
    That's because my hair was all different lengths (broken, etc.)
    It's really accentuated now.
    This is the main reason I'm unhappy with it.
    Also, if you can look in the above photo of my part line and compare it to below, notice how the color is lighter there? I had JUST colored it the day before and it was very dark. Everyone said it is ideal to color first but the keratin treatment lifted some of the color out. I liked the effect everywhere but the part line though. It's subtle, however. I might notice it more than everyone else.

    (I'm not selling this treatment well, am I? haha. Most of my friends love it, but then again they do not have shitty hair like me.)

    Actually I'm glad I got it done even if it doesn't look as awesome as I hoped; I'd been wavering about it for like, a YEAR, unsure if my hair was too thin to make this a good decision for me. Well, now I know.

    Here's the composite before & after view I shared with my family and friends:

    Before & *right* after keratin treatment:
    The side and back view looks better, and from a distance you can't see all the
    hairs popping up on the top of my head. And compared to the texture of my hair before,
    it *is* an improvement, It's just not hair nirvana FRONT view,
    where it matters around my face so I'm not sure it's worth being a regular expense.
    I took this right after leaving the salon.

    After washing it JUST like they said:

    I let this wait longer the time period recommended for Chi Enviro (24 hours is the recommended, I waited an extra 16 hours beyond that), I washed it with special sulfate free shampoo that I bought at the salon and then styled it with special heat-protectants that I also bought at the salon, and look:

    Yuck! It seems 3% better than it was before but still messy-looking. UGH. Never again.
    At least not for me, although most of my friends have had a great experience with this.
    I think if your hair is very badly damaged from coloring, and is fine & thin, you might have similar results.
    If not, I bet it will turn out better for you than me.
    I like that it has some body now, but it definitely isn't sleek and smooth and healthy-looking.

    Left: right after the treatment. Right: the day I was allowed to wash it. It didn't take!
    What I learned about the keratin treatment:

    Okay, so I got the Chi Enviro treatment - my stylist recommended it because my hair was very damaged and colored and this is a gentler form. No formaldehyde. My eyes didn't sting or burn as she was blow-drying it and flat-ironing it to seal it in. Steam came off but it didn't smell unpleasant (although I still didn't want to breathe it in).

    Another lady in the salon was having a regular keratin treatment and her stylist was wearing a face mask but neither my stylist nor I needed to. (I have healthy lungs but I am very sensitive to scents and chemicals so I am pleased it didn't bother me.) I have no idea about the health effects but I would guess they're more substantial for the stylist who is exposed much more often.

    Two other hair stylists that I know personally recommended the "Coppola" keratin treatment but that's not what I got because it's harsher on hair and mine is too damaged. Both stylists emphasized that the results depend on the quality of the keratin treatment used and so brand really does matter. Chi Enviro and Coppola are supposed to both be very good brands.

    How does keratin improve hair? Because it is the same protein hair is made of and when you coat hair with it, it "fills in" the rough spots (like potholes) and smooths the cuticle. The chemical they use is necessary to bind the keratin protein to the hair shaft -- the formaldehyde (or other aldehyde or whatever's in the "gentler" ones) plus heat do the binding.

    Hair cuticle:

    Strand of hair up close - microscopic view.
    When those layers of the cuticle lie flat, the hair is shiny and flexible.
    When the cuticle is rough, the edges stick up like this.
    Keratin smooths it down and "fills in the potholes" in effect.
    Kindof a terrifying photo of split ends.
    I was told not to wash for 24 hours (with Coppola you have to wait 3 days) and cannot use a shampoo with sulfates. She said it should last about 3 months (possibly longer if I don't wash my hair every day).

    It cost me $250 and then I left a 20% tip because I know the stylist for quite a long time, but also I used to work for tips in college and tend towards the generous side. (Standard fare is like a restaurant, 10-20% depending on your satisfaction.) Either way, this isn't cheap, you guys. I'm glad I don't really like it! (Although I might like it better once I can wash it and style it - just got it done yesterday and so there is this tacky film in my hair and it feels awful. Don't make ANY plans where your looks matter until after you can wash it!)

    I have heard of people finding hair stylists on Craigslist or through referrals that will do it for as low as $170 so ask around.

    If you get a Groupon or coupon, look at the Yelp reviews for that salon -- I did a fair amount of research first since I *did* see coupons for hair keratin treatments and a lot of people reported that they experienced heavy upselling; the hair stylists ended up charging more for "better quality" keratin and pressured customers to buy special shampoos, conditioners and other treatments just so they could recoup the costs lost in the discount.

    Maybe it's still worth it -- just do your research.

    After you sleep on your hair before you're allowed to wash and style it, it will look messy when you wake up. No worries, just flat-iron it smooth again. Score: now you're sealing the keratin into your hair again. Be careful not to tuck it behind your ears or pin it up or throw it in a ponytail in that time before you can wash it out; anything you do will fix that shape into it.

    Next time I may try a "glaze" -- a friend told me her stylist will not do the Brazilian keratin treatment because she is convinced it's too harsh for hair, but will do a glaze after coloring and it makes her hair look great. It doesn't straighten it, but it does smooth the hair shaft and make it look shiny. Since keratin didn't work for me, I will see if that is any better. If so, I will post photos here so you can compare the results.

    Thank you for stopping by. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below -- my blog notifies me and I will pop back over and answer them as soon as I can. Best of luck!

    Saturday, September 8, 2012

    Two good things: nice date, and we DIDN'T get beat up!

    I went on date #2 with the guy who was thinner than me and expected to feel amazonian. Actually, I did feel amazonian, so that expectation was right on. I guess what I expected to happen, then, but didn't, was to feel the "meh" mechanism kicking in, as it so often seems. I thought the size difference would equal discomfort, but it didn't.

    I don't know if it's that we had a really great rapport, joke a lot, have similar world views on politics and religion and that he treats me with care but I like the dude. Enough to see him again.

    We actually talked about our size difference.
    Him: So what do you think the difference is? Three quarters of an inch? What do you think?
    Me: I don't know. I'm less concerned about the height than the weight. I'm a little sensitive about carrying some extra weight myself.
    Him: You are really cute and your weight is perfect.
    Me: rolls eyes (but that is a nice answer, dingdingding! Dudes who make a woman feel pretty will garner much appreciation.)
    The date was fun. I laughed and cried at the play of a dysfunctional family (August: Osage County), thinking OMG, y'all, my family is GOLDEN. Pshht.

    Friday, September 7, 2012

    me: 0; zombie apocalypse: 1

    "And for my FIRST decision of the day, I shall go back to sleep." -Jim Gaffigan
    I was sleeping over a girlfriend's house when air raid sirens blasted through the darkness, startling me out of a sound slumber. AIR RAID sirens are only unleashed when imminent death is descending upon the population; awareness of this fact is buried deep in our genetic code. I bolted upright and listened for telltale signs of the zombie apocalypse, like rotten fingernails clawing at windows and signs of survival panic emanating from my friend's room upstairs.

    The house remained quiet. I looked at the soft feather pillow and inviting rumple of blankets surrounding me. I wondered idly how close we were to a nuclear facility and whether I could get another full 90-minute sleep cycle before liquifying into an organic mud from the radiation meltdown. Decided it was worth the try, shrugged and tucked back under the covers.

    The will to sleep is much greater than the will to live, I guess. It's good to know these things about oneself!

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012


    Have you heard of DragonCon? I hadn't before a few years ago. It's a Science Fiction convention in Atlanta that attracts around 30-40,000 people annually around Labor Day; people dress up in bizarre and interesting outfits and attend panels and film showings. Two years ago, I went with a huge group of like 30 people; here are some shots from then, posting now because it's the perfect time of year to relive those days.

    Overheard at Dragoncon:

    (Overheard at a steak house)
    "I'm sorry, we are out of steak."
    "Why do you hate my freedom?"

    "Dude, the term 'laundering money' is
    just supposed to be an expression."

    "This elevator can hold ten people... or three Americans."

    "I stab you because I care."

    "I thought there might be a corset in my future until I realized they cost more than my plane ticket."

    "Ok, so, an Irishman walks out of a bar...
    (loooooong pause)
    ...and so that's the joke... The Irishman doesn't actually ever leave the bar..."


    Dragoncon missed connections:
    "You - WOW blond wizard. Me - ancient wizard. You were pressing awfully hard into me during our photo. Just wondering if there was a lingering interest. Put your robe color in Subject Line of first email."

    "I can't figure out why I left without getting your contact information. I know your name is Dan, and you make leather jackets. You were the best Wolverine I've ever seen. We talked for a while, just standing in the crowd. I wish I could find a picture of us. Hopefully, I'll see you at another convention soon."

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    The Great Asplenia Protuberance

    Standing by the register at the cleaners recently, I noticed a rack of dresses for sale. "This is cute!" I commented, poking at one.

    "You try on," urged the owner in her thick Russian accent. "You size [fictional number]?"

    I shook my head. "It varies."

    She took a sweeping glance, eyes landing on my backside and nodded solemnly.

    "Ah. Because you..." she paused, looking for words and, failing, flowed her hands in a wide arc mimicking an enormous and grossly-misshapen hourglass. "You. Beeeg!! THERE."

    She pointed at my rear, beaming, having happily identified The Great Asplenia Protuberance.



    Saturday, September 1, 2012

    What? "Fleshy orb" doesn't sound appealing on a dating profile?

    "Hi, it's me!!" he was saying, as he ran toward me from the street. I was tucked into an alley next to the restaurant we were supposed to meet at, surreptitiously taking pictures of the violet-spike-heeled lady wearing a loud and aggressively matching top that passed for little more than a bra (the people watching in Chinatown is awesome) when he caught me off guard. I gave him my best "No, I wasn't just taking pictures of hos!" look and we shook hands all professional-like. And that's when I felt self-conscious.

    A wee bit taller is one thing and not a big of a deal but FATTER is a different story. It's a scientific fact that the North American female will only comfortably disrobe in the presence of a mate heavier than her. Otherwise I will feel like an angler fish whose only objective in life is to absorb my man.

    Female angler fish with attached male (circled in red),
    soon to be absorbed.
    He smiled easily and looked fun so we snuck inside the Irish bar for a drink. Conversation was easy and we laughed, and he had this endearing way of throwing back his head and emitting a throaty rise, and so we will probably meet again. We hugged goodbye afterwards but contact was stiff and awkward. I think he was scared of getting too close lest he disappear into the hefty protuberances of my fleshy orb.