Jun
10
2014

  Terry's Band, Mill

Terry noticed that I had not posted any links about his band, so I am posting now to rectify that spousal oversight.

Terry has been playing in a band called *Mill* for nearly a year now. Previously, the band was called *Liz Fitz Darcy* but that was not such a popular name and the band (wisely, in my opinion) used the occasion of the lead singer leaving for Germany to choose a new name coincident with the arrival of a new singer.

Here is a link to the band's current website:
BandCalledMill

You can listen to some of their music there, and that's one place to look for news about their upcoming events. Another place to check out is their Facebook page (search on "bandcalledmill" and like the page to get updates in your Facebook news feed).

Finally, they just released their new EP, and it's available to listen to or purchase as a digital download on the site band camp:
BandCalledMill

Jan
08
2014

  To Journal or To Blog

I stopped blogging so much when Google made it very difficult for me to post my photos online in a way that I could embed them here in my blog. So much for their "don't be evil" mantra-- I am very disappointed that they eliminated a feature I have used for years.

I still feel the need to write things down in order not only to record things that happen, but also to organize my thoughts about things. But I am unsure if I want to figure out a way to blog more easily, or to keep a private journal.

Right now, since I am out of the habit of blogging, I am leaning toward keeping a private journal. Most blogs now are different than they were way back when I started this one. Before, few people had blogs, and they mostly contained glimpses into thier lives. That is how I modeled my blog, as well. However, blogs have morphed into these profit-minded things, where people are tailoring their content to drive ad revenue. That is not quite appealing to me. Call me an old geezer, but I remember how the Internet was back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and there were many things that I liked better back then. It was a far less commercialized space.

Is there still room for an old throwback blog, one that is not concerned with sticking "on message" and producing pages of vacuous drivel meant to "draw eyeballs"? I'm not sure. Back in the day, there were not so many millions of blogs, and people could browse amongst the few there were to find one they cared to follow. Now, how do you begin to sort it out? The "popular" blogs are not always the ones with the best content (the same as best sellers in the print world). If my blog is out of step with the times, not going to get picked up by HuffPost or whatever, I have to ask myself the current purpose.

There are many ideas that I like to share with the world, because I think other people will benefit from the knowledge, or that I will benefit when people understand me better. But then there are many things that I feel like writing about now and then, that are of little interest to anyone but myself. Sometimes I blog about them anyway, but other times the ideas are lost or recorded elsewhere in a haphazard way. If I had a specific journaling app, I could keep everything in one place.

I think I've answered my own question through the process if tapping it out (this way of text entry on an iPad can hardly be called typing). I will try a dedicated journaling app for myself. If I make an entry that makes sense to post, I will post it here. Or in the diet section, or the review section, or wherever, I do still actively use all the sections of this blog (except for the gallery, that remains for historical review only at this point).

So if I continue to fail to post often, it is probably because my life holds little of interest except to its participants. I'm no longer gallivanting around NYC, or traveling as an executive housewife to cities all over North America. I lead a simple life at home raising two young boys. A life familiar to many mothers, and dull to non-mothers. The moments I enjoy throughout the day are not often ones that I need to ruminate over and reflect upon. The laughter of a child, the sight of two brothers playing nicely together without a care in the world, et al. These moments don't last long, and really there is not much reflection or exposition required, they can just be experienced and enjoyed and then life goes on and it's time to put in another load of laundry or start cooking dinner.

I do post photos of the boys on Facebook, and records occasional cute moments there, so do "friend" me there if you would like to keep up with that-- be sure to note in your request that you follow my blog so I will friend you back if I don't happen to know you personally.

Oct
19
2013

  Haircolor Success

My hair started going gray the summer Max was born. The week of my birthday, to be exact. Happy Birthday to me! Sure, I had seen a gray hair here or there over the years, but I just plucked it out and that was that for another 6 months or so until I noticed another. But that year was different, and made worse because my hair color had also darkened a few shades over the years, so the gray stood out more against dark blond than it did against light blond.

So it was an easy decision to begin coloring my hair regularly. The dark blond it had become was mousy anyway, so there was no reason to preserve that. It's been over two years since then, so I don't remember the precise order of things, but I'll do my best.

My first impulse was to go light. I grabbed a box of color off the shelf at WalMart that looked like a nice light blonde. The color looked OK at first, but when it faded after a week or two I was left with weird yellowness that was more like yellow crayon than the blonde I was going for. I tried all manner of various light blondes, looking for ONE that would work with my hair. No luck. I think I spent about a year with hair that contained varied degrees of weird yellow overtones.

The yellow didn't flatter me, so I decided maybe I would try to go darker, not really dark, just enough to match the shade my hair grows naturally now. I liked the darker colors, actually, they were generally flattering, and they faded out to a natural color. But fade they did. A lot. But after trying various colors, I settled on my favorite (Clairol 6RN), a dark strawberry blonde. But after I told T that I was done trying different colors and this was going to be my new color, he asked me to change it since he really didn't like the red. He had not really weighed in on the colors previously since I tried a new one every 6-8 weeks, and he figured it would just change anyway.

Back to square one. My next strategy was to try to match my natural hair color exactly, so that I would not have any roots showing except the roots would have some gray hairs. While I succeeded in finding my haircolor match (8N), it did not give me the result I desired. Because it faded, like all haircolor. So while all my hair was the same color as my new roots at first, over time it all faded and got lighter, so by the time the roots grew out, they were darker than the rest of my hair anyway! Plus, I did not like the merry-go-round cycle of color, where I went from dark to medium to light over the course of 6-8 weeks then back to dark again. I wanted to look consistent from week-to-week.

So my next strategy was to match the hair dye to the color of my hair after the haircolor faded out. So my cycle would be more of a vibrant color to faded color over time, but that is far more subtle than going from dark to light. I started out just dying the roots, and then pulling down some more color to blend it in in the last five minutes of processing. T noted that it was more like painting my hair than dying it. Yes. By keeping most of the hair in its undyed (post-dyed?) state, there was less area to even be subject to the light/dark fade. That technique was successful, so I took it one step further this month.

I dyed everything one shade lighter than it naturally grows in. And this time, I was pleasantly amazed to see that I finally found the natural blonde color I had 15 years ago. And so far, with no weird yellow overtones like I was getting in the beginning. I suspect that at first I had too much natural pigment in my hair and it was just interacting with the dye in a bad way. But over the years, the color had been gradually stripped from my hair and so it became easier for the dye to override. But then I got the fading problem. So hopefully this new color I've settled on (L'Oreal 9N) is light enough that there just isn't much difference in tone between fresh color and the fade. And going forward I will use the painting-the-roots technique to minimize the amount of hair subject to the fade-out to begin with, and also to minimize the number of times my hair is subject to the chemicals.

Now that I've succeeded in recapturing the color of my youth, I'm undecided if I'm just going to leave it at that, or figure out how to best incorporate highlights. I miss having my hair highlighted, it does look more interesting than "regular" hair, even though the single-process colors aren't monolithic and do do a good job at incorporating subtle variations of color themselves.

It might just be that I am latching onto the idea of highlights since it is something I can control, since I know how to do it myself. I've become expert at mixing dyes at home and am not afraid of experimenting or the whole process, after two years of this I'm getting pretty good. But by focusing on something I can control, I am pushing off dealing with what I cannot control, which is the haircut. I have not been truly happy with any haircut since my old stylist in NYC left public practice to just work on models at photo shoots full time. Since then I have found a few stylists who have given me adequate haircuts, but I am not really happy with the situation. I am currently looking for a new stylist, but honestly, I don't see a lot of great haircuts on women around town. Otherwise I'd just ask them who their stylist is and try them. But there are a lot of haircuts out there that are pretty much the same quality as mine-- adequate, but nothing to get excited about. I saw ONE unknown woman at a charity luncheon last month with a good cut, but I did not ask her where she went, and am now kicking myself for not being more forward about that since I have not seen another woman with a great haircut since then. But I am on the hunt. We will see how long THIS phase of the quest for perfect hair takes.

Sep
21
2013

  William Made a Sandwich

A combination of factors went into William reaching a milestone yesterday-- he made his own sandwich!

First of all, the idea must've entered my subconscious a few days ago, when a post about self-sufficiency in children made the rounds on Facebook. One of the items was the idea that kids were old enough to pack their own lunches by age 5. Secondly, we had sandwich ingredients in the house, so it was possible. Thirdly, W wasn't interested in eating either the lunch that I had prepared or leftovers, his usual options since I generally don't take special requests unless they are made before I start preparing something else.

Despite being "not hungry for YOUR food", W was whining about his hunger, so I asked him what he thought he would eat for lunch since he rejected my options. His first many ideas were vetoed. Things like, "I could eat marshmallows!" Et al. But then when he said, "what about a ham sandwich with mustard?" I remembered that we had both sliced bread and deli meat, and it was a reasonable thing to eat for lunch, so I surprised him by saying he could eat a ham sandwich if he made it himself.

W scowled and asked, "But am I old enough to make a sandwich by myself? Will I get hurt if I try to do it by myself?" I stifled a laugh at the thought of hurting yourself making a sandwich, but it could easily be an idea he picked up from his father given T's reluctance to make any food for himself, sandwiches included. I told W I would teach him how to make a sandwich safely this time, and it the future he could do it all on his own.

He was able to get the bread from the freezer and the ham and mustard from the fridge. He plugged in the toaster, and put the bread in the slots. He did need help pushing down the lever, our toaster is over ten years old, if that is the only thing standing in the way of W making his own lunch, I might spring for a new toaster with a less-sticky lever. He was able to take out the toast without burning his fingers on the hot metal. I showed him the appropriate amount of mustard to use, he was able to control the amount coming out of the tube surprisingly well, and he spread it with a knife. I usually am lazy and just spread it around with a piece of meat, but I figured I should teach him a more civilized way. Then he chose to use three pieces of ham (I gave him the option of two slices if he was "regular hungry" or three slices if he was very hungry) and lined them up and folded the edges to make them fit on the bread, I didn't explain this, but he must have been watching me make sandwiches in the past since it was exactly like I do it. Then I let him use the big knife to cut the sandwich. That part I'm not sure he's ready to do without supervision. He wasn't able to quickly and easily cut the sandwiches like I do, I'm not sure if he lacks the upper body strength or if I just have some sort of knife skills that I have had for so long I don't even realize it must be taught. But he's a cautious boy, I think I can start to teach him to use a chef's knife under supervision. He was very conscientious about unplugging the toaster after he finished with it. I think he would be equally conscientious about not chopping his fingers off with a big knife. But I will supervise him closely until I am SURE of it.

And then he moved the sandwich pieces from the cutting board to a plate and ate them all up. I think the next step might be peanut butter sandwiches, since he asks for them often but I really can't be bothered making both sandwiches AND salads, so I usually just make salads. But if HE made the sandwich, then he and M could share one and still eat the salads I make. And they would be introduced the concept of the half-sandwich and salad for lunch, which is a healthier option than just a sandwich and a good habit to grow up with.

Sep
11
2013

  WOW! New Protocol Worked Fast!

I got the results of a full-head EEG today. After analyzing my brain-wave patterns in different states, the therapists came up with a plan to optimize my brain function. I won't bore you with the specifics, but generally they confirmed that I have several patterns typical of people with ADD, and came up with a plan to encourage my brain to normalize. There was a little time left after my therapist explained it all to me, and so she hooked me up for a trial run, 12 minutes of low Hz alpha, and 5 minutes of SMR. I could feel that it was "working" at the time, since there is a certain feeling of relaxation that I get from a good session (I have been doing a higher Hz alpha protocol several times per week at home since earlier this year). But usually at home I do 20-40 minute sessions, so today's was shorter than that.

But something extremely unusual happened after I left today. After running another errand (normal), I went through a drive thru for lunch. And not only did I not order fries or onion rings, which I was honestly looking forward to eating on the drive over there, when I ordered I asked for a SALAD. And then when I was grocery shopping at the While Foods, I went down the chips aisle, since I always treat myself to some fancy flavored chips on the ride home from there, when I thought to myself, "you always eat the whole bag of chips on the ride home. Lets skip that today." And I walked away without even buying any.

This is very, very unusual for me. Usually my brain is telling me things like, "you process chips better than crackers, get some chips," or, "but the fries are just so good, go ahead and get them."

My first thought was that my year+ of food journaling had FINALLY made a difference, but then later I realized that perhaps having just emerged from a new brain-train was a bit too much of a coincidence to not suspect it was the cause of this sudden and DRAMATIC shift in my subconscious thinking. Remember, consciously I was looking forward to the onion rings. But "salad" came out of my mouth, to my surprise. With GRILLED chicken instead of crispy at that. I NEVER do that. Highly unusual.

Is SMR the part of the brain that works toward achieving long-range goals instead of instant gratification? Or should I credit lower Hz alpha? Either way, if my this new training is responsible for my subconscious actually working to help me achieve my long-term goals, then it bodes very, very well for me getting my act together very quickly. If my SUBCONSCIOUS is on my side, then things will be So Much Easier for me. Because then I just do the right things automatically, without having to come up with "strategies" for every @&$&@ thing I have to get done in my life. Whew.

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