Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's Wednesday morning and I'm getting ready for work.  Once I leave work today, it's a 4 day weekend.....YAY!!

What really cheers me up is the fact that we are getting TONS of rain.  We've not had any rain for weeks and my husband and I just re-sodded our front yard (because we had to).  We've been watering and watering and our water bill looks like our electric bill.  Yikes!!

So - it's a gray, watery day - being from the Northeast it's a day I love.  I can feel cozy inside and light candles (after work, of course).  Florida's relentless sunshine in the winter sometimes becomes....tiresome.  I know there are people in the colder climes who will want to clock me right in the jaw, but it's true.  There are times I long for a cloudy, rainy day to just be inside.   Sunny days tell me I have to get outside and do yard work, and perhaps run errands - and there is so much to do.  Rainy days tell me to sleep later, read a book, light a candle, listen to the rain on the roof.

My front yard will love it - and it will save us some money.  My flowers and butterfly garden will be renewed.  No matter how much I water my garden, it seems to do much better when the water comes from the sky - maybe it's the chlorine and fluoride in our water, I don't know - but what comes from the sky restores the bright flower colors and the green grass.

I'm thankful for:
my salvation
my Lord Jesus Christ
the rain
that I still have a job!!!!
that my husband still has a job!!
my home
my garden
more than enough to eat
living in America

To everyone - have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Beautiful Longfellow Poem

This poem sums up what I feel about the past, what I've always felt.  I was recently reading my journal from when I was 18, and I was fascinated by passing time then.  I wrote back then of how I wondered it would be when I was 20 years older and reading my words.  It's like looking in a mirror and seeing a thousand enchoing relfections to read what you wrote in anticipation of reading what you wrote back then - got that?  Here is the poem by Longfellow.  The lines in italics are my interjections.....

The Golden Mile-stone

(The scene is winter - winter is a melancholy time.)
Leafless are the trees;  their purple branches
Spread themselves aborad, like reefs of coral,
                           Rising silent
In the Red Sea of the winter sunset.

(Ah - I no longer live in a village.  I live in the encroaching city and it is sad that I live so far from my original home).
From the hundred chimneys of the village,
Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,
                           Smoky columns
Tower aloft into the air of amber.

At the window winks the flickering firelight;
Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer,
                           Social watch-fires
answering one another through the darkness.

On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
And like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree,
                           For its freedom
Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

(Here is the most powerful part - for is SO true)
By the fireside there are old men seated,
See ruined cities in the ashes,
                           Asking sadly
Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways,
                          Asking blindly
Of the Future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted
In whose scenes appear two actors only,
                          Wife and husband,
And above them God, the sole spectator.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
Wives and children, with fair, thoughtful faces,
                           Waiting, watching,
For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Goldn Mile-stone;
Is the central point, from which he measures
                            Evey distance
Through the gateways of the world around him

(I still see my original home, my childhood and I remember those who are now gone.)
In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,
                             As he heard them
When he sat with those who were, but are not.

(Indeed, this is true - but not of me.  And so I see the ruined cities in the flame)
Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
Nor the march of the encroaching city,
                              Drives an exile
From the hearth of his ancestral homestead.

We may build more splendid habitations,
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
                              But we cannot
Buy with gold the old associations.

Isn't that beautiful?  Beautiful, but sad - and I think, true.  At 18 years of age I was asking the future what it could not give, and now I look back and ask the past what it cannot give.  Heaven is the only perfect place where all this time business ceases to be important at all.

Hair Salons

I had an older friend many years ago who cut and styled her own short hair.  She was well acquainted with the good points and flaws of her hair and knew what to use to bring out it's best.  One time she had gotten tired of doing it herself and wanted to try a hair salon.  The last time she had been to a salon had been in the 60's or 70's and she was only familiar with "hair technology" from that era.  This included perms and hairsprays and setting styles with curlers. 

By the time she visited the salon next it was the late 80's and none of the techniques and products that had been in use in the 60's or 70's were still in use.  Hair stylists should be taught the history of their art - not just what the latest fad is.  If the history of hair style were known, they might know what "marcel" is or "water wave" or "pin curl".  Some terms last forever, like "bob".  Hair was first bobbed in the early 1920's and it has remained a style ever since - hair cut straight, the same length, all the way around - about shoulder height or higher.  In any case, my friend was not happy with her 80's salon experience.  They tried to blow dry her hair - curlers were out of fashion by that time, although they could be used under duress, but curlers were never in the first string anymore.  LaVerne knew they should NOT blow her hair dry - she was unfamiliar with the custom and the results, and she knew that curlers worked.  They tried to tell her about her hair as if she was unaware what was best for it.  They tried to use new products and techniques on her hair when she knew exactly what would work and what wouldn't.  In any case, the poor, unprepared hair stylist became frustrated because my friend would not listen and did not like what was being done - and my friend was frustrated because the stylist would not listen and did only whatever was the latest thing. 

I was thinking about all this when I went to a new stylist yesterday.  For years I have gone to a median upscale salon.  It isn't Hair Cuttery, but it isn't frou frou and too expensive either.  It is in the middle.  However, there are cheaper alternatives, and in this economy, I can't bring myself to spend beaucoup bucks at a salon when I can spend less elsewhere.  So I did something I haven't done in perhaps 20 years - I went to a totally new and unknown stylist because the price was right.  The salon is only down the street from my job, so I could get a wash, cut and blow dry during lunch - all for $25.00.  That was not bad - it doesn't include the tip, but it was a lot cheaper than where I had gone in the past.  The same stylist washed my hair and cut it, so I didn't have to divide a tip between a shampoo-ist and a stylist.  The lady cut my hair - actually a trim - exactly as I wanted.   When she shampooed my hair she did a thorough job and made my head feel good.  She combed creme rinse through my hair and didn't rush through anything - it was lovely.  The only problem is that nowadays the prevalent custom is to use a flattening iron on the hair and then put some oil on it.  I'm a child of the 70's and 80's - I like lots of body and no gunk on my hair.  When the stylist had blown my hair dry I was very happy.  She then proceeded to get out the flattening iron - and I cut her short and said I did not like what it did to my hair.  It makes it flat and limp and stuck close to my head - ugh.  She did, however, put oil in her hands (I didn't know it was oil or I would have stopped her) and rubbed it through the finished hair.  It smelled good, but by 2pm I looked as if my hair was oily and dirty like when I had been a teenager with skin problems and greasy hair - ew. 

This was easy to solve - I just went home and re-washed my hair and blew it dry myself - voila - it was great. 

This whole episode reminded me that hair stylists just take for granted that whatever the prevalent fad, the customer must want it - and that's not true, especially of older clientelle.  No problem - I just have to keep on my toes.  My old stylist at the more expensive place always had to be reminded.  Every time she did my hair I had to tell her - no flat iron - and she would pout because she could only judge the quality and correctness of the cut if she flattened everything out.  Plus I didn't let her use oil either, but she got used to that and just applied a little hair spray. 

That said - I only get my hair cut every 6 months or so, just to keep it from looking awful.  The other issue that could put me in the poor house is roots.  I started 20 years ago with highlights over my natural color.  That progressed about 8 years ago to full color to cover gray.  Now, every 3 weeks, I have ugly gray roots.  I was having the roots done in the salon at $55.00 a pop - no blow dry, just a shampoo to get the gunk out, and out the door I'd go.  That didn't include tips.   Since I couldn't stop my hair from growing, in 3 weeks I'd start really noticing those stupid gray roots again, and I'd try to hold off for 6 weeks, thinking of the expense.  I finally bought professional color and developer myself and apply it myself.  It surely isn't as good a job as the stylist could do - but it covers my gray mostly - and it costs about $7.00 - that's one heck of a lot cheaper than $55.00 plus $10.00 for the stylist and $5.00 for the shampoo girl (who used to give head massages that would make you weak in the knees - she was fabulous, hence the $5.00 tip - but I don't NEED that.)

So I have succeeded in cutting down the cost of upkeep on my hair for now.  The next step is to let it go gray (my husband says "NO"!) and let it grow to my knees.  That would cost......nothing.