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Posts Tagged ‘bad hair days’

final

Another news item to file away. First it was free-range chickens, now it is free-range kids. Yup, I said it, you heard it. According to the news anchor this morning, free-range children are those kids whose parents allow them to walk home from school unaccompanied or go to the park with their siblings or friends with no adult supervision. Some states have laws governing whether you can or cannot allow this, but in many states the laws are unclear when it comes to when and at what age this is permissible.

For those of us raised in a time where our parents regularly ushered us outside on our own to play, this seems a sad situation. Play dates were non-existent entities when I was growing up. Youngsters were released on the world early in the day to create their own adventures, returning only when they got hungry or the sun went down. From one to nine I lived with my mother in my maternal grandparents home. Their home sat on a rise on a rambling piece of property reaching out to the Atlantic ocean. As a youngster these hills were my playground.  On warm summer days the grassy knolls could be transformed into a pirate’s treasure island or become the perfect backdrop for a teddy bear picnic served on my grandfather’s favorite lap robe. I rode my bike to the park to get ice cream with my allowance, played jacks under the elm tree on the corner with my friends, and scooped tadpoles into a Mason jar at the frog pond without any supervision. Not that I was neglected, quite the opposite I was a bit spoiled, but children roamed free back in the day. Young minds found fascinating things to explore using our vivid imaginations extending far beyond the scope of a device in our laps. So glad am I to have been born when I was. To be able to be raised with such freedom of movement, racing through the door with burrs in my socks and grass stains on my knees.  Flowers flourish in the warm sunlight and gentle breezes as do small humans. Wiggling bare feet in an icy stream or throwing snow balls at the enemy were rights of passage for kids when I was losing my grip on my childhood. Times change, life goes on, but somehow it feels like something precious has been left behind.

Leaving my misspent youth for a while, I poured my second cup of coffee, returning my focus to the news. A story was airing about adding a cancer warning to coffee. Really? When it turns out in the end the only safe foods left to ingest are tofu and raw seaweed I’m throwing in the towel and getting ready to beam up. Hear me loud and clear. I have given up cigarettes (which sadly I rather enjoyed), liquor rarely crosses my lips, and I don’t do drugs of any kind other than an occasional antibiotic, but coffee will remain firmly entrenched in my morning routine period, end of conversation. I will simply have to deal with the consequences of my actions. Without my morning cup of Joe I am a far less amiable and energetic person. Admitting my bubbly personality may largely be attributed to a small brown bean is not an easy admission, but there you have it.

News is on my mind these days with so much available at my fingertips. You can’t escape it. Even while in the hairdressers yesterday, a place where I usually get my monthly dose of celebrity gossip from the current People magazine, I was caught up in a discussion about current events. My hairdresser says she no longer tunes in newscasts as they spread negative ideas and leave her depressed. I get that. However, part of me needs to know what is going on in the world. Particularly lately when the political climate fluctuates so dramatically from one day to the next. That being said, I must admit I am growing weary of the endless political discussions after dinner with friends, and  tiresome social media infighting. I don’t remember it being like this before the current administration took the reins, but I won’t go there lest I start some political maelstrom on my humble blog.

Once we’d put the discussion about world events to bed at the beauty parlor our thoughts again turned to my hair. This was my first appointment in this shop so I brought a picture to illustrate what color I was aiming for. The model smiling back in the photo sported lush hair with brownish undertones warmly highlighted with blonde. Nodding and smiling the stylist indicated she understood the concept. Two hours later I exited the shop looking as though I’d been dipped head first in a hot fudge machine. Back to the drawing board. Sigh. Thankfully, hair color is a temporary situation. If this is the worst hurdle I have to scale in my life I believe I will survive. Was I twenty years younger there would be a crisis but these days like a twig in a stream Susie sort of rolls with the ebb and flow of things. Don’t sweat the small stuff is my mantra and I have a tee shirt to prove it.

For women finding a new stylist who suits her can be very stressful. I don’t know if this pertains to our male counterparts, but I would imagine it might. Certainly I have had my share of bad hair cuts and sloppy color jobs through the years. Many times I have threatened to let my hair grow naturally to my ankles and allow starlings to nest in it before trusting anyone else to get their hands on it. This resolve usually lasts about six weeks until a line of growth becomes visible and once again I find myself draped and ready for the latest manifestation of myself hoping for the best.

Another beef, while I’m in full voice here, is even when they manage the color and cut to your satisfaction they often fall down on the style. I have left salons looking like everyone from Annie Lennox to Richard Simmons. To me when you walk in with your hair styled a certain way and indicate you like it that way it should be obvious you might like to walk out in a similar manner, yes? I keep a spare hat in my back seat in case I need to stop at the store or run an errand on the way home so as not to frighten the townspeople.

So I come to the end of my rant for the day. The rain has finally ceased outside my window and I’m preparing to head out. I made this soup yesterday out of a leftover chub of pork loin and it was amazingly delicious.

Leftover Pork and Black Bean Soup

1 large onion chopped
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups cubed pork loin (cooked)
1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
1 15 oz. can kernel corn, drained
1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles
3 oz. (1/2 can tomato paste)
7 cups water
1/2 small potato peeled and diced
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Mexican blend cheese
Tortilla chips

Heat oil in stock pot over med-low heat. Add onion and cook over low heat for 6-8 mins. until translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 50 minutes.

Serve with sprinkled cheese and tortilla tips.

Serves 4

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final

Yesterday I went to the hair dresser to celebrate a monthly rite of passage, “the hiding of the gray”. My first gray hair made its debut before my twenty-first birthday shortly after the rather arduous birth of my son. Whether this was due to the difficult labor or my little boy’s unquenchable energy once home, remains up for debate. Several times, particularly since I am now of the appropriate age, I have considered letting the gray have its way with me. Usually, however, once the decision is made I find myself once again draped and staring in the mirror at the salon deciding to give it another birthday before sealing the deal.

Today hair dressers are often referred to as beauticians or stylists. Like physicians who branch out into neurosurgery or podiatry stylists too have specialties such as sculpturing or coloring.  There are those who are aces at long hair with others excelling at short. Not all hairdressers, despite extensive training, have a natural gift for their craft. I had my only perm at a beauty college in middle school. The hairdresser responsible for that abomination should have been charged with defacing a child.  Most of my summer between seventh and eighth grade was spent sitting in the closet with a paper bag over my head chanting “grow, grow, damn you”.

More than once over the years I have found myself on the losing end of a pair of shears. Once while living in Alabama in the 90’s I badly needed a “touch up”. New to the area with no Yelp to guide me, I allowed my finger to do the walking through the yellow pages. Finding a salon not far from the house I booked an appointment.  Arriving at the set time the following day the lobby was packed. Cooling my heels for twenty minutes the owner, Jean-Paul, a man in his mid fifties guided me to a chair. Apologizing for the wait he explained it was prom weekend and they were particularly busy.  A few minutes were devoted to discussing my color and how I liked my coffee before he again disappeared. A shop employee delivered the requested coffee with an assurance color would be quickly behind.  Fifteen minutes later an elderly woman carrying a plastic bowl and a coloring brush arrived at my station. Hmmmm. Turns out this was “Memaw”. Memaw told me later she was still going strong at eighty-eight.  Impressive. Memaw in the south is synonymous with Grandma or Nana in the northern states. The salon, Memaw explained, was a family affair. Five members of the owners family were employed in some capacity, including Memaw herself who pitched in with color and shampoos when they were overbooked. Now Memaw, who I would surmise probably didn’t manage five feet when fully erect, was bent over so far over she appeared to be perpetually studying her shoes. Please do not confuse this with a disparaging remark towards those suffering with osteoporosis. I have the beginning stages of the disease and salute the lady for working at all in such condition much less at her age. Rather I insert this sentence by way of painting an accurate picture of the woman about to slather color on my locks. A small footstool was placed behind me. Memaw gamely climbed on top. Without benefit of being able to look up to see where she was dabbing the woman somehow began the process of applying color to my hair. The end result made me wonder how the how the name Shear Genius ever came to be associated with the shop and why, unless they were the only beauty shop in town, there was standing room only in the lobby. Ach. Not only was the color so far off my normal color as to be from an alternate universe, the application was done in such a hit and miss manner I looked like a mottled Australian sheep dog. My husband on seeing me when he arrived home tried to avoid eye contact. When I inquired as to what he thought, he immediately went into that self-defense mode male animals do when cornered. You know the one when you ask loaded questions such as “do I look fat in this” or “do these pants make my behind look big”. Cautiously while studying the tile pattern on the kitchen floor he responded, “what do you think”? Ah, clever man. I began to cry. In the end I had to have a temporary fix applied and wear a hat in 110 degree weather with 98% humidity until I could safely repair the damage the following month. Not good, not good at all.

Over the years more male faces have begun to show up in the chairs next to me. Perhaps this is due to salons expanding their services to include such spa amenities as massages, facials and waxing. This doesn’t bother me much now, but when I was younger having a man seated next to me while I was wearing folded foil packets on my head or spiked with purple glop was a little off-putting. I recall an instance while getting my hair done in Southern California. The salon was quite expensive as I recall, so I only frequented it on special occasions. This particular day the goo was in place and I was only half way through my first People magazine. Suddenly I smelled smoke and the smoke alarms came to life. Stylists began rushing their customers out the door in all stages of development. The woman next to me still had shampoo in her hair, while another woman getting a frosting looked as if she was wearing an upside down colander with with cooked spaghetti poking out of the holes.

highlighting-cap

Fire trucks began to arrive packed with gloriously attractive emergency personnel. Are there any homely firemen? Question to ponder. While moving toward the building I caught several of these gorgeous men eying our motley group huddled on the lawn as if we’d just exited the mother ship. Turned out it was a small localized fire with more smoke than damage. By the time we were allowed back in the building the color had actually dyed the skin around my face giving me the look of having recently been poorly tattooed. Fortunately this faded as the days passed. I did not return to that salon again before moving from the area.

For now I will continue my monthly routine. In November when I once again add a candle to my cake, I’ll revisit going gray again.

This soup is rich deliciousness. Yum. I found red lentils at the Mediterranean market and it was the perfect choice for a rainy day.

Red Lentil Soup

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 cups red lentils washed and sorted
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 lemon juiced
Cilantro
Sour Cream
Crumbled bacon

Heat oil in stock pot over med. heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook for 6-8 mins. Add seasonings and cook and stir for 3 mins. Add all remaining ingredients through lentils. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook uncovered for 40 mins. Cool slightly. Place 1/2 soup in blender and puree. Return to pot. Add parsley and lemon.

Serve topped with slice of lemon, cilantro, sour cream and bacon as desired.

Serves 4

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