She does…….Lowlights!!!

P1150890My hair saga continues. This is a longer process than I thought, but not as difficult as I was told. Let’s go back a few weeks: I had a haircut just before Christmas. Not totally in agreement because I liked the length of my hair . What to do. Some of the blond had to go and that required cutting it. I thought it was too short, but it turned out very easy to manage and style.

Christmas came and went. I was using a special shampoo for blond/white hair. Slowly, but surely, my hair started to become too light. In photos, it looks like a halo around my face and that was not very flattering!! I started wearing darker colors and fancy necklaces and scarves to draw attention away from it. It was getting tiresome. Something had to be done and I was just delaying the inevitable.

My family and friends have been very supportive, but I do think they were not telling me what they really thought of this change. I saw myself in the mirror and wasn’t that happy. I had to do something…..

My roots were about 41/2 inches and cutting my hair shorter was not an option. It will take me forever to grow it again. So I needed a solution and I needed it fast. Of course, besides accessories I thought of losing weight. Why do women think losing weight is the answer? Whatever. I mostly kept my hair styled and ignore the looks. Didn’t I tell you? I have started to be noticed again…..

IMG_1106Finally, I found out a few things: the need for a new round at the stylist was necessary and we had to add a bit of color. The answer was simple: lowlights!!! That is the second phase of the process. Lowlights are darkening strands of hair achieved by using colors that are darker than your natural color. Remember, highlights are the exact opposite! The things I have learned during this time…..

An appointment was made and the day arrived. Little did I know I was going to have even less length and a different look. My hair was again separated into strands, colored a greyish-brown (if that is a color at all!!!). Again my head looked as if I could get signals from Mars, but I spent half the time waiting. The stylist declared all had worked out, cut about an inch off my hair and styled it again. A new look: the third in as many months. What to do.

I am not sure this is what I expected. My hair is darker in places and my roots are still grey. It looks as if I colored it, but it has bounce and shine and that is important. I have learned that the process is going to take longer than I thought. There is no way to get through this quickly, unless I cut my hair short. I don’t want to do that, so I’ll wait. I can’t avoid the two-tone effect, unless I keep doing lowlights and highlights. I am not interested in keep coloring my hair, no matter what it’s called. That was the point: I wanted to go natural. I wanted to stop the time and expense, the damage and the irritation that come from coloring my hair.

So there you have it. I am going to do this the hard way, apparently. Will continue to draw attention away from my multicolored hair, will try to lose some weight (which will be a wonderful thing!!!) and will ignore the looks and stares. The latter will be the easiest part!!! I will keep you posted.

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Lessons Learned and my Mother-in-Law

For those who know me well, this would be a very strange post. Adriana, my mother-in-law, and I had the kind of relationship that people write jokes about, the kind most people are afraid of when they marry or warn their daughters about. You do not see eye to eye or have opposite views on most everything or she is just so difficult. In my case, all of the above!!!

Yes, when I got married, I had already met her. Knew exactly what to expect……and I was wrong. It was actually worse and it didn’t get much better all the years she was alive after our marriage. This is not to say that we didn’t have our moments; I made an effort from time to time and she adored my children, which made a big difference in our relationship. It was stormy to say the least and I am sure people felt sorry for me, she was just difficult with everyone around her. Not a walk in the park, but a learning experience for me. Absolutely, I am admitting I learned from her. This is something I would have never done even a few years ago…….much less write about for everyone to read!!! It is the truth, though, and it’s never too late to accept that fact. Adriana was very true to herself. She knew what she wanted and got it most of the time. Her opinions and views were firm, unquestionable and never abandoned. You might not have agreed with them, but you could not have been but in awe of her perseverance. Having an argument with her was useless. She never lost her cool, never raised her voice. It could be infuriating!!! Still, I learned that if you want to make a point, getting hysterical and losing your cool was NOT the way to go. Here is lesson Number One: know who you are and be true to yourself.

She knew how to take care of herself. Since she was in her teens, when she spent a year without being able to walk, she learned the value of exercise. Yes, she took care of getting some exercise everyday, rain or shine. Be it a swim in the ocean or a walk in her yard. Her friends told me that she went on a diet for three months before her wedding, so she could fit in the dress she had designed….This was in 1945!!! When I met her, she was 52, slim and impeccably groomed: just right, never overdone. Later in life, she would take a day off a week and she didn’t work! She would go swimming, have lunch by herself or with friends and return home in the early afternoon. I have walked and lifted my 5 pound weights for years and learned to enjoy traveling on my own and to play bridge. Here is lesson Number Two: take care of your body and make time for yourself.

Adriana knew how to get the best service everywhere she went. From restaurants to boutiques, from airports to hotels, she always got someone to do her bidding. She got the best table or the room with the best view. She could convince sales staff to bring her clothing or shoes to her car for her to try at home. Then return what she didn’t want and pay for the rest!!! Would ask for a wheelchair at the airport when it wasn’t the thing to do and would hand over her carry-on to some stranger to handle for her. Never lost anything……Not there yet, but I have learned to get the best table and change rooms if I am not pleased. Here is lesson Number Three: it’s all in the way you ask and the way you present yourself.

She was not interested in housework, but knew how entertain. Something we had in common, I don’t like housework, as you know by now. Adriana had a flair for ignoring the whole thing, never letting a little dust or an unswept floor get in the way of her day. I am still trying to learn that one. She’d rather entertain and when she decided to, she would get organized: whipped a few munchies or a full dinner in a matter of hours, called everyone she wanted to see and practically ordered them to come. Most people would just come and ended up enjoying themselves!! I learned to take it easy with housework, still working on entertaining. Did learn from her to make a mean roast-beef. Here is lesson Number Four: learn to live the day, don’t stress about housework, it can wait.

Adriana passed away in 2001, after a short illness. In the years since, I have slowly realized that without meaning to, I learned a lot from her. I find myself, at times, appreciating the way she did things. Who would have known…..maybe it means I am getting older!!!

The Year of the Horse and Housework……

images-1Having heard this before, I can hear you saying: she’s lost it again!!! Bear with me, there is a point here and I will try to make it. Friday, January 31st, was the start of the Lunar New Year 4712: the Year of the Horse. For the next two weeks, there will be celebrations all over the world (not only in China), gifts wrapped in red paper, fireworks for good fortune, dances, decorations with handwritten poetry, posts on Facebook, jokes and great food to share. On February 14th, the Festival of Lanterns will close the celebration in style. You are still wondering, right?

Let’s get to the point, then. One of the things that I read about these celebrations is the fact that you clean your house BEFORE the New Year. Floors are swept, furniture dusted, laundry done. Of course, you change sheets and towels, clean the oven, empty cupboards and fridge……You know what I am talking about because people do it around the world for other New Year celebrations: such as Diwali in India. That is a lot of housework, don’t you think? I remember doing all the above at one point or another in Curaçao…..but I digress.

Your home is sparkling and, if you did most of it yourself, you are exhausted. Now comes the great part, the one I didn’t know about but is the best!! You don’t have to do any housework for the next few days. Yes, that’s it: no cleaning your house for the next few days. Apparently, sweeping, dusting and other such annoying chores will do away with your good luck…..absolute bliss!!!

What I am still trying to ascertain is how many days. Some article I read even mentioned not cleaning for the two weeks!! A bit much, if you ask me, still the principle is fabulous. Housework is not among my favorite things. I used to tell my friends that I am not domesticated. I do what needs to be done and I do it well……but don’t ask me to enjoy any of it, not even cooking!! Most women are like me, I am positive.

imagesI am in good company. There have been famous women that have boldly expressed their dislike for housework. It is wretched work and is not appreciated or noticed unless you forget to do it one day and then…….everyone has an opinion! I think women should get paid for this, regardless. Even if you work outside the home, you should be paid additionally and if you can afford it, you should have help. In previous lives, I have had household help. Yes, I know is not politically correct. On the other hand, politically is closely related to politician and we know how that works. Always felt that I was helping the economy. I was fair and never expected more than what I could do myself, I just didn’t want to do housework!!! So I don’t apologize for this and we can agree to disagree.

Back to the Year of the Horse….. This year promises to be interesting. It seems that this will be a very controversial year when it comes to world affairs. People sticking to their principles and ideas and not much compromising. Financial markets will be unstable, but anything to do with lumber, agriculture and the media will do fine….what? Now, if you were born on the Year of the Horse: lie low this year. The Ying-Yang opposition will be unbalanced (two Horses!!!) and there will be tension and stress in your life. To help you navigate these uncertain waters, wear RED as much as possible this year. Nice to know!!

If you were not born on the Year of the Horse, then just enjoy these days without housework, invest in media companies, take up wood carving or plant a vegetable garden. Everything else is out of your control!!!