Monday, April 27, 2020

Just a box of hair color

Was it Clairol that had the campaign slogan, "It's just a box of hair color," I think with a radiant Jane Seymour modeling her shining tresses? Presumably those shining tresses were the result of said Clairol hair color.

I have mixed feelings about coloring my hair. I loved the rich brown I had into my 30s, but as I aged, I noticed the inevitable gray hairs coming in. My dad, who had beautiful black hair, silvered very gracefully, first with a shock at his forehead, then the silver spread very evenly over his head, making him very distinguished. I, too, have that shock of silver in the front, but the rest of my hair is fading to the dishwater gray-brown that my mother ended up with. So, I enhance nature. I color to keep the richer brown of 20-some years ago, and tolerate the lighter shock up front that no amount of color seems to be able to cover completely. A generous friend says I'm channeling my inner Bonnie Raitt. I'll take it. I think she's beautiful.

I have a neighbor, "Nancy," who is in her early 80's. I've been her neighbor for more than 35 years, so we know each other well. My husband, who grew up in this house, has known her most of his life. He babysat her daughters back in the day. She watched us raise our own children. She said to me the other day, "When is your hair going to go gray?" This is not the first time she has said this. I'm not embarrassed to say that hair color is my secret. This would not be the first time I've told her this. I asked my husband if he thought my hair color seemed unnatural. He asked me if I thought Nancy should be the bellwether for my personal grooming decisions. Made me laugh, but it occurred to me this morning, coloring my hair myself in these COVID times, that, maybe, in an "out of the mouths of babes" kind of way, she might have a point. Older people, like children, have few filters. Maybe my hair is "younger" than my face?

A very good friend of mine in her 70s has a glorious mane of curly hair, now more white than anything else. She says she started turning in her 20s. She was in Asia a few years ago, and the waitress at the restaurant where she was having dinner commented to her (talk about no filters) that she had "old hair-- young face," which amused us all, but the idea (mine anyway) is to not put forth the opposite.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Time flies. . .

Time does fly, sometimes. These are weird times, life in the time of Covid. I am working from home for now, making me feel freer to browse some of my old habits, like blogging. The modern journal, in my case, an electronic picking up of the dog-eared diary of my youth.

Today's milestone? I just finished my latest needlepoint canvas. I remembered that I'd written a post about a new stitching project-- ELEVEN years ago. Holy cow. Anyway, I started this one not long after I'd posted about it, then put it away for a long time.
The colors are wonderful, but so subtle I needed bright light to keep the blues and the greens separate. The only free time I had was in the evenings, and the light was never good enough. New job and other life changes also interrupted my concentration. It is now finished, and I declare myself pleased. 

It is kind of bittersweet, my obsession with a bee motif. The urban hives in my yard have been abandoned for several seasons now. It is difficult to keep a hive going through the winter here. Not that we are all that consistently cold, but because we are not, the mite problems are not to be trifled with. My bee partners and I preferred not to chemically intervene as much as some bee keepers do, and I'm sure that contributed to our hive losses. The hive boxes still sit there, an admonishment to our pride at our first bumper harvest. It is expensive to start all over again, which we did for three years in a row, so my bee partners and I have decided to leave off for now. Now that I'm working for a local university, maybe I'll inquire to see if the biology department has any interest in the equipment. Or maybe we'll try again. Hope springs eternal.

Monday, June 19, 2017


So it's been a long time. Things are weird at work. Things are weird personally too. Lost my dad this spring. A sad passing, but it was time. We thought he was just "not there," but I think he was more "there" than we thought. Which kind of breaks my heart, but I get that he made up his mind it was time to go. Even bit the spoon I was using to try to feed him. He was saying, "Nope, I'm done."

Then my boss, whom we all love, decides after a difficult year, to retire early. And then one after the other staff member finds other employment. So it's down to two of us full-time, and two hourly, out of seven. So a new normal must be found.

This will be my sounding board. Nobody is listening, so it's my little diary, minus the miniature key to open the book that I had as a little girl. Where is that book? God, I would love to see what crap I thought was important then.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Garth and Wayne really enjoyed yesterday's beautiful weather. They chased down various bugs in the grass, and generally tolerated Bruno's attempts at getting them to play.

In previous years, I would see some of the bees poking around the damp, sun-warmed earth. Sad that there's no activity like that this spring. The bee class is going well though, so we'll have our order in for some new bees in a few weeks. The instructor told us that we could send off some of the dead bees and comb to be analyzed by a department of the University of Maryland extension office. Will have to explore that. Would be useful to know if there was a disease vector, or mites, or something like that. In the meantime, there are a couple of frames of capped honey waiting to be harvested. Once the weather warms more consistently we'll break everything down, scrape all the old comb and propolis off the frames, and do a thorough cleaning in advance of the new bees.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Time to Start Anew

Well, it's official. The bees are gone. Bee Partner Linda and I didn't even suit up to crack all three hives open last weekend to check them. There's been no activity at the hive openings, so we feared the worst. It was still disappointing. There were a few sad clusters of dead bees, as if they'd clung together 'til the end. Small consolation that this is the story all over the region. The combination last year of too wet, then too dry, too cold, then too hot. . . Feeding them didn't help after all. With the help of our mentor, Frank, we'll determine if mites might have been part of their demise as well.

Linda and I start our BANV bee class next month and will order two new sets of queens and entourage. We certainly have all the equipment and the determination. Bee sisters Jan and Nora have moved, so Linda and I are it. Jan retired to her farmette in Lexington, perhaps to start her own hives, and Nora moved to Boston to be nearer her boyfriend and hopefully to find a job she loves too.

So stay tuned. We have a lot of house hive cleaning to do, new frames and foundation to put together. I'm going to seek out our own honey harvesting equipment too. Ever optimistic am I!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweet Tribute

I'm a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I check into his blog now and again, though reading his travel schedule makes me realize I'm not THAT much of a fan. I probably wouldn't pay to hear him read somewhere, certainly wouldn't travel to a distant city to see him in person. But I enjoy his novels and short stories. His blog is a bit more personal, even if I skim most of it. His latest post hit close to home, though, and made me realize I have something in common with him. He loved his dog and cried when he died. I could relate. A very sweet tribute indeed.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Animal Crackers

Meet Wayne and Garth, or actually, that's Garth on the left. Just when I thought we were close to being empty nesters. . .

And meet Bruno.

He doesn't always sit at the dining room table. He thought he was so clever.

After Molly and Mosby died, we swore we'd be dog-free for a while, maybe forever. I offered to dog-sit for a co-worker/friend, and when she ended up being in need, while her teenage son was ill, it seemed a good arrangement. Come to find out, the dog had gotten bigger than she'd planned on, and he was outgrowing their two-bedroom apartment. The son got better, but Bruno stayed with us. I think her son has finally forgiven his mother and me for our collusion.

The kitties, well, "they" were supposed to be "a" kitten, promised for my birthday. But when we went to the animal shelter, there were these brothers and we hadn't the heart to separate them. So Wayne and Garth came home too. I'll take credit for the names, but we were all coming up with various duos. Batman and Robin. Cheech and Chong. No-- I didn't want to have to explain the drug references, or encourage the 15-year old to watch those old movies to understand the characters. Wayne's World was juvenile enough for me, thank you very much. And somehow the kittens are growing into the characters.

My goal is to get a picture of the dog and the kitties together, but detante is still a distant dream. They do play together, but there's no snuggling yet. I have hopes.